I’ve been promoting my books again and for the first time I had seven to play with. It is my belief that the more books an author has, the more promotional things one can do with them.
September 2021 served as a milestone month for me as it is five years since my words first graced publication. It is also a crucial month for many of my books as their genres tend to pick up around this time of year and look at that – a promo tip in the damn intro, horror, thriller, occult, spooky, ghosts, gothic – all of these start selling rather well from Labor Day onwards – that’s a public holiday weekend over in the US and for me the spiritual beginning of spooky season.
Like all of my previous book promo posts this will look into my plan, my results, how I got them and of course the most important part of any book promo – the longer term results. That’s part of the reason why this post has only just dropped, exclusively first on Patreon and then to the awesome followers on my blog. Let us dive in!
In any type of promo run its good to set out an overall aim while also setting a realistic or at least an achievable expectation but first of all and for beginners, what do I mean by promo run?
To me a book promotion run is when I advertise my books in order to sell them over a short amount of specific time. There are many inputs and ways to promote books and my process consists of paying for some advertisement every quarter or so while also reducing my prices to hook in new readers for just a few days. This quarterly or so method keeps sales from completely tanking to zero and while I am continually active on social media, newer readers are in theory always arriving onto my authory shores. I tend to sell books regularly via social media or mostly Twitter but not in huge numbers so I like a nice burst of sales every four or so months.
So on this occasion I would be running two price promotions simultaneously.
- The e version of my debut high school creature feature horror ‘Open Evening’ would be Free to download celebrating five years since publication, for one day.
- And the rest of my e books (6 others in total) would be reduced to 99 cents or equivalent for the whole of Labor Day weekend. In this category there are some books which are stand alone and others that are connected to ‘Open Evening’. Most of which are spooky season appropriate or popular all-year-round sellers.
Promo tip: Setting one book for free and advertising it will bring eyes onto all other books if you have any. Time and time again I have sold other books on my shelf while another was free. Discounting these titles pretty much guarantees some interest.
My overall aim was to sell as many books as possible to try and make an effort towards paying for the advertising I was going to use.
The Results Pt.1
The results of an effective book promotion run will last for days after the initial advertising dates but Pt.1 will look into the results of the first few days. So first of all let us look at the total.
As you can see the blue bar represents the free downloads for ‘Open Evening’ which managed 377 in one day across 6 different territories.
So that day broke a new record for me personally. This is the first time all 7 of my books were downloaded in 24 hours and every other book on my shelf although discounted made paid sales on the next day also.
Paid sales for Labor Day weekend are as follows below with my newest release and self help authoring and blogging guide book ‘Consistent Creative Content’ being the top seller followed by ‘Darke Awakening’ my newest release after ‘CCC’.
131 Paid sales makes September 2021 the 2nd greatest month of all time for sales. The 1st being April 2021 – you can read how I got those numbers here.
Let us briefly look at some chart movement which is an often overlooked part of these promo runs because good chart movement equals more visibility from passing trade.
Seeing as it was my top seller of the weekend ‘CCC’ made the best progress by hitting #10 in the Amazon US Writing Skill Reference chart which is a huge achievement because this chart is super competitive. I’m talking authors who do TedTalk’s normally head up the top spots.
Overall. I was happy with the sales of this weekend which led into several days after of sales which we will look into soon. But first let me break down what I did to get these numbers.
Methods of Promotion
My biggest tip when it comes to advertising books is to invest money. If you want serious results then you need to advertise seriously by spending. This is probably why I do this every four or so months. These days, I let my royalties accumulate and put them into advertising. It is also worth noting that being an indie author isn’t my primary source of income so I can afford to make losses financially with these promos – but to me there are no losses, just opportunity to find more readers and gain more traction as an author in the market – that’s what I’m really paying for.
Here are the book promotion sites/services I paid for:
‘Open Evening‘ – Free Booksy Horror Series Promotion. Cost $65 and this gives you an option to link all 4 books in the series which I did.
‘Consistent Creative Content‘
Bargain Booksy 99 cents Promotion. Cost $30.
Bookrunes. Cost $25
E Reader News Today – Humour Category. Cost $45.
Book Doggy. Cost £20
Total Advertising Cost: $185
As you can see my budget focused on evenly spreading the advertising. I could have run ads for every individual book but these three at the time were my most popular.
What else did I do?
Of course advertising via book promo sites is just part of my efforts. I also put out a blog post on here and various tweets throughout the weekend sharing various visual things. My Twitter following is over 15k which is a big opportunity for book sales. For those visual things I used these book banners in particular:
Book Banners are relatively easy to put together – I make my own using free stock imagers and Pixlr. Banners add just that little extra dimension to the visual appeal that may grab a potential readers attention.
The Books in my Order of the Following Series also have their own series page on Amazon – this helps for whole series visibility especially when one of the book in that series is free and the others are discounted.
Random Promo Tips:
Most book promo sites will ask you to include a brief description of the book that isn’t just the blurb. This is an opportunity to get creative and even mention that it could be a part of a series or that the rest of your works are currently discounted.
On social media think about terminology such as ‘For Today Only’ or ‘Exclusive Discount’. Stuff that embraces the gimmick of selling and stirs impulse. I always run a promo for just a few days to add a sense or urgency. Although Amazon will let you run a free promo for up to 5 days, 2 is enough.
Weekends tend to work really well post pandemic and so I like to include at least a Saturday as there is way more traffic online.
Existing reviews for a book really help sell more books – this is part of the reason why you see me put out a weekly Tweet saying how important reviews are. Most of my books have at least 15 reviews. This helps, big time!
The more books you have, the better things should be. Having just one or two books is much more of a challenge as readers tend to gravitate towards authors with more releases so get writing those books. This deal gets better with time.
The Results Pt2
Now it may seem like a paid quite a large sum to pay for some advertisement but all promo runs aren’t just about sales. Let us take a look at the most important part of a promo run – the aftermath…
From the 2 days before the promo and to the 8 days that followed I had at least 1 paid sale. This is 10 consecutive days of paid sales and new record. As you can see the rest of the month sales of the paid persuasion trickled in. Now if we compare it to the month previous…
The coloured bars may seem bigger but the numbers are drastically smaller for that month previous and this is just one of the things I am paying for with this promotion – extended visibility which in turn drives so much more.
September 2021 almost became another $100 royalty month and its not quite covered the cost of the promo but still a good portion of it has been recovered. Now let’s take a look at the wider scope in terms of royalties…
This 90 day graphic looks a little more promising but sales is not all that I am paying for because there is something else these promos drive and they are gold dust to authors and maybe worth more than a lot of money.
Reviews started appearing a few weeks after the promotional run, in fact 8 ratings for several different books came from this promo run which is a new monthly record and confirmation that this money investment was very much worthwhile. You can read a breakdown of the other reviews here.
Making money, getting more reviews, and sales takes time to master in the world of book promotion and this post is only just a snippet of years worth of work I have put in to figure all this out, that is without mentioning the work that goes into writing more books but, there is hope because this post above all shows that indie authors can sell their work and make money from it.
To me, book promotion runs are just a portion of what I do, perhaps even a small slice of a much larger cake that includes social media presence, blogging, reviewing other authors books and being a brand. There is always some work to be done in order to sell my brand and my works and remember that the more social you are on social media, the more someone will notice and eventually invest in you. Build trust and engage with others, that sells more than anything. Thanks for reading and peace out!