Hello cultured follower. Some of you may know that in my spare time I write books. Now there are a bunch of you who have taken the time to read, review and generally be an awesome supporter of them. Of course there are some newer folks who might not have read them or read all of them, and right now 4 of these books are discounted to 99 cents per e-copy. Banners, links and info below, enjoy…
The Ghost Beside Me
Inspired partly by a true ghost story my Grandfather told me when I was much younger and partly from a potentially paranormal experience of my own in a previous place I lived; ‘Ghost’ makes for a unique diary style account of one lonely person’s quest to get over his social awkwardness by way of an entity not of the mortal persuasion. It’s powerful, gripping and quick – basically the best advert for my writing there is because if you liked this book you’ll probably read my other stuff but if you didn’t it’s only a few hours reading so you haven’t lost much…
Let’s face it, we all need to laugh more. And considering this is my only comedy book (unless you laughed at the others) you’ll probably find something that’ll get you laughing in this story of one slouch who get’s superpowers and decides to do the right thing. It’s also novella length so again, nothing lost if you don’t like it. There’s a range of diverse characters and it’s also a middle finger to the nearly previous President…
Open Evening and Darke Blood
The two oldest rides in the fairground are and always will be 99 cents from now on. They mark the beginning of my journey and the Order of the Following Series which is still running strong. From hive mind creatures to vampires, the two worlds in these books eventually collide later on making for a multi character Avengers of the Occult world.
Well there we are cultured followers, that’s about all I have in terms of pitching my books to you. Click on the banners for the Amazon dot com links. Some more links are below and do let me know if you grab a copy of something – I’ll happily give you a shout out via social media! Rock and roll man!
Ah the selling of books, I’ve done that, quite a lot this year and my latest Book Promotional efforts are looking towards being personal best material. With that in mind and for the purposes of helping a fellow author here’s a detailed breakdown of what I did and the results I got. Roll the intro….
First of all, before setting out and committing to any type of book promotional run it’s important to aim for something. What exactly are we looking to achieve here? In my case which I hope doesn’t sound too complex I wanted to promote my book ‘Cemetery House’ and get as many folks as possible to grab a copy during the run. The ‘run’ meaning the time it was going to be free to download and advertised. The more complex bit is below and optional to read.
Not so important background info, skip if you don’t care…
Over the 2 years ‘CH’ has been available it’s been the most under-performing book on my back list. It has the least amount of sales, reviews and I’m not sure many have actually read it. This is a shame, because it’s the bigger, better older brother to my clunky (but also good) debut novel ‘Open Evening’. ‘Cemetery House’ is also part of the wider ‘Order of the Following Series’ which continues in the form of my 6th book which arrives at the end of this month (September 2020) so you kinda need to read it in order for book 6 to make sense. My true aim in this promo run was to fix all of the problems stated above by getting some folks to actually download and eventually read it.
Strategy – how was I going to do it?
So the best way to get as many downloads for a book is to set the price to Free for a minimal amount of time. 2 days works quite well, you can generate a sense of urgency by saying ‘Free for a limited time only’ which is a sneaky way of pressurising people into downloading it. So as all of my works are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited they allow you so many days within a certain period to set any of your books for Free. So I did that.
Cemetery House would be avalable for Free on the 3rd and 4th of September 2020. And then advertised as Discounted on the next two days.
While Free is good, along with the small space of time this offer is available they are not a guaranteed way of shifting books and like every author everywhere the greatest struggle we all face is being heard. Our voice is only as loud as our social media following and even that sometimes isn’t enough.
My go-to way of amplifying my author voice is to used paid advertising in the form of Book Promotion sites. Using a combination of paid sites and some of which were free, I would be able to amplify my voice while also working in tandem with my social media platforms on the days of the promo to maximise telling folks about it. This strategy can be used for all books across all genres. E books sell a lot more than physical copies in my case but that’s not to say you can’t use this strategy to sell all types. Just do your research, there are plenty of authors out there who share their results. And use the Google if in doubt.
Results first, how I did it later…
While you all probably just want to know how I did it, you first need the context of how well things went to gauge whether or not you can try and achieve the same. So here are the results.
Cemetery House Free Downloads: 1643
Stuff I didn’t expect or account for:
Selling nearly all my back list in one damn day….
Including sales of the other two books in the series which are priced at 99 cents:
Darke Blood: 20
Open Evening: 30
Sale of other books not in the series:
The Ghost Beside Me: 1 x Paperback
Total Sales of priced books on Day 1: 51
I probably sold 51 books last year in total without promo. This is an unexpected but wonderful result.
Open Evening sold 33 copies on release way back in 2016. For this promo, in which it wasn’t even specifically advertised, it got downloaded 30 times in one damn day.
All 3 books in the ‘Order of the Following’ series sold very well over the promo run. A huge factor in the success of this is governed by the fact ‘CH’ is the middle book in the series, although there is no particular order in which you need to read them. It is also mentioned on each of their Amazon pages, as seen below with Open Evening. It is mentioned in the start of each book also.
Although on this run I advertised ‘CH’ as stand alone which it can be enjoyed as, there was still plenty of interest for other books in the series and they are both available for 99 cents.
Honorable mentions for both ‘The Teleporter’ and ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ which sold copies without any prior advertisement on this run and proof that my single best piece of marketing advice is true. That advice being, the best way to sell a book is to have another available, and then another and so forth. The graph and breakdowns above sing from that hymn sheet big time!
Amazon Chart Movement
My newest strategy in promoting free books is to then advertise them straight after the run as discounted. On this occasion this only generated 3 discounted sales of ‘CH’ after the run, but the sales of ‘Open Evening’ and ‘Darke Blood’ rocketed them both up their respective charts, from several thousand to double figures in a matter of days which will give them some new visibility as they begin to recede back to the dark depths of the unknown, like me…
‘Tis the season
All three books in the Order of the Following Series are occult, horror or thrillers. I’ve been waiting all damn year for the Spooky season to promote them and they always do well this time of year so let that be a top tip; genre and seasons coincide with sales no matter what book you’ve got to offer non fiction or fiction. People will gravitate towards a spooky tale during the run up to Autumn and Halloween. This is probably why ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ sold some copies also.
Execution – what I did
This is most probably best described as the ‘good part’ of the post and probably the reason why you are here, so here’s what I did.
E Reader News Today – Cost: $40 – Date: 3rd and 4th
E Book Booster Guranteed Promo – Cost: $20 – Date 3rd and 4th
Pretty Hot – Cost: $25 – Date: 4th
Bookzio – Cost: Free – Date 5th and 6th
Booangel – Cost: Free – Date 5th and 6th
As you can see some of the dates and sites overlap with one another. A top tip: if you really want to know how much reach a certain book promo site actually has, then just advertise with them only on a single date. The more expensive normally means better reach. You have to be willing to spend a little money if you want some good reach.
On the first day of the Free promotion I put up this banner and then RT’d it later on in the day to coincide with Eastern Time for my American Friends. I’m near to 4k followers so it probably helped with some international reach. I’m proud of this banner which I put together myself via Pixlr.
My ‘gram following isn’t huge but I also shared the banner and put some other info about the results via my story. Come and say hi, you can find me here...
Good ol life invader. I don’t use my page that much these days but my 500 plus following will always be appreciated and so I shared the banner and relevant links on day 2.
A blog post
My blogging efforts are very busy and so I didn’t have the time or space to put out a post on the Free days so instead I put one out on the Saturday. If you want to know what it looks like, here’s the link…
Factors that helped…
Having already mentioned that ‘CH’ is part of a wider series and this is clearly marked on each book’s amazon page, what else helped shift a bunch more books than usual?
Reviews, ratings, critiques whatever you call them, spiritually they don’t matter but in the sense of book promotion they do so it’s a conflicting double edged sword. Even though ‘CH’ did not have any US Amazon reviews at the time of this promo, the two other books did. Having a star rating on Amazon will help shift more copies and I could even argue that is the only purpose reviews serve – that’s a rabbit hole of debate that I wont go into right now.
I firmly sit in the corner of investing well in a good book cover. This is such a huge factor that will attract passing trade. Yes your book is free and being paraded in front of a big internet audience but does it look good? People do judge a book by it’s cover. If you scroll to the very top of this site you will see all 5 of my book covers. Trust me, they matter in sales and they are shiny also.
I Invested with money…
It doesn’t take a business major to see a potential flaw in this book promo run. Giving a book away for free but paying for advertising, how are you going to make a profit? The answer to that question is, I’m not, in the short term. The purpose of the book promotion is to maximise readers, if your work is quality enough for readers to look at more of your books then this will eventually lead to potential profits. Right now I am in the process of building that readership which is growing. This also coincides with having more work available which the results of this promo have proved as a tactic in selling books. If you seriously want success in publishing you need to invest money.
The numbers speak for themselves and I was pleasantly surprised to sell anything more than what I tried to promote. Like everything in publishing apart from the story, us writers aren’t actually in control and that’s both scary and thrilling. Embrace all the stuff you don’t intend to achieve in writing, trust me, its normally the best stuff. Quite recently I have been very much enjoying the connecting with fellow writers who’ve published all types of works from cookery books to vampires which are still the fashion!
To everyone who has read up to this point thank you, I hope you find this post useful an you can hopefully expect the full guide book to arrive next year. But just remember, this post is just Part 1…
Here at the Hall of Information we are always on the look-out for proven techniques that work on the subject of book promotion. Even though this operation is small, we still try our best to pass on all experiences and results, good or bad for the greater good of fellow wordsmiths looking to get their work out into the wider world. Well it was only a matter of time until a bad one came along, or shall we say a ‘not so good’ one. Right now I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed…
This week I took a dive into the complicated, convoluted world of Bookbub advertising. Now first let me determine that this is not the ‘featured deal’ advertising you can apply for which they will probably reject, but in fact another service via their ‘partners’ site. Anyone can pretty much sign up and get advertising straight away or so they say.
You are asked to fill in boxes with your book’s URL, and the whole thing is pretty standard if you are comparing to other advertisers. But then it gets a little complicated as you are asked to find an audience who will potentially click on what is essentially a thumbnail sized pop up that will appear in their inboxes the next time Bookbub sends them a circular. This is essentially what the advert is, a small pop up of your cover and 60 characters to hook someone into clicking on it. Did I hook someone? Anyone? Just one person? Find out below…
It isn’t really explained whether broad or specific audiences are preferable. Specific would target individuals most likely to buy I suppose? When I reached the green area it suggested I’m on track (unlike the example below) and so after putting a few Darke Blood related author tags and genres into this targeting thing, it seemed to be happy.
Next you are asked about date ranges, budget and then of course more complicated things known as ‘Bid’ which is an impressions based of clicks budget – again very convoluted for the layman author looking to sling a few ebooks. I selected a continuous option because the ambition in me just imagined the sales rolling in…
So after fudging around with the figures – figures I cannot show you because Bookbub have already deleted the campaigns I put on pause – I was ready to go. My first campaign looked a little like this…
I guran-damn-tee somebody who stumbles upon this here post, even in ten years time will click on that buy now button, but when my ad ran for 24 hours, with over 200 impressions, not one person clicked on it…
Ok, so maybe it was me, not being able to navigate the system probably. So the very next day I tried again, and changed a few things. By lunchtime I was done. No clicks and me left wondering what I did wrong, like everyday… I don’t have time to figure out over complicated advertisement algorithms, and maybe you do, but I’ve got books to write.
My total spend on this abject failure was $17.69 and I know for a fact I can get book sales for less than that. In fact I have, with my Bookbub featured deal last year I spent $86.00 and sold 66 books that day. But the many other promo sites I’ve used have given me a way better return.
My advice would be to go elsewhere. Of course my book promo lists/results can be found in the many posts I have put out there previously. Here are a couple of recents:
Straight after I was done failing at Book bub ads, I cobbled together this little mock up via an online photo shop site. Seeing as I just got a fresh review, I quoted it and then put it up on the Tweet machine.
As you can see the results are 3 times better than bookbub ads, and not a dime was spent…
The moral of the story, not all advertisers work, and neither do I… Be wise with your money and don’t just dive into something…
As an author you probably don’t have to go far from the Google to find out what Bookbub is. For those not in the know, Bookbub is referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of book promotion sites and even more so for readers because it’s probably the most prestigious book connector site out there. And what’s even better is that they near enough guran-damn-tee returns on their investments…
From very early in my indie author career I tried and tried to land a promotion deal with them. Those lucky enough to land a deal report of a good amount of sales and even returns on the investment of a Bookbub ‘featured deal’ promo. Just looking at some of the ‘requirements’ for acceptance is pretty damn intimidating, with some even boasting you need 50 plus reviews, but…
Its all about looking the part and persistence…
None of my books have anywhere near the dizzy heights of what is perceived as a requirement amount of reviews BUT the reduced amount of reviews in comparison I do have are mainly positive and diversely ranged from bloggers, readers and even people I do not know. There are reviews on Amazon UK, US, Canada and even AUS which reflects my initial efforts in getting The Teleporter read and out there. Many of them even put their reviews up on Goodreads. There even a few reviews that are probably better than the book!
The cover artwork is second to none, like all of my stuff I invested in a great cover from some awesome folks called Design for Writers who have made all of my books look as good as any other author, pro or indie out there.
It’s also well edited and formatted by my awesome publisher. It simply looks the part from all angles and this is proof even small time indies like me can be taken seriously. Underdogs can win, even in publishing.
Above all I also never stopped applying. Every month or so I would submit a new deal to Bookbub and eventually they agreed to promote The Teleporter!
Standing out from the crowd…
There aren’t many super hero comedy books out there right now and there aren’t any called the The Teleporter. Like all of my books I have tried to title them in a way that is unique or sticks out from the crowd. So by submitting to Bookbub in the ‘humor’ category I think I set myself out from the crowd. In this world different is good, not the try hard to be different sort, just the naturally occurring different and that’s what the Teleporter is! Find a niche category and if everything else is aligned you may get chosen.
Combination of stuff…
There isn’t one sole reason why I got chosen by Bookbub. All of the above as a combination have led to this. A top tip would be to check on their site what books are currently being promoted, if they are similar to yours then they might be looking for that kind of thing.
Reviewers have helped this book in a huge way along with the awesome writing community who helped promote in recent times.
For anyone who did that, THANK YOU, this feels like our book and it’s going to the big dance and hopefully to a more mainstream audience. You folks can boast, if all goes well, that you read it before it was huge!