How I Landed my 3rd BookBub Featured Deal

Even though I have always believed in myself, I’m always in a slight state of disbelief when good things actually happen or when something goes as planned. The imposter syndrome will always find a way to creep in but then sometimes good things just align at the exact time. You see, good things arrive exactly when they are supposed to, they are neither late nor early. They arrive always when they are supposed to.

Being a proprietor of never giving up has brought me the best of rewards as a writer and creative online. All of which I firmly believe have pulled together to help me secure the subject of this post; my third BookBub Featured Deal. Hailed as the Holy Grail of Book Promotions in some crowds and I would agree to an extent, the illusive selectors that reside within the inner workings of the original Book Promo site have always been kind to me, no matter how many times they have rejected my efforts, its the times when they say yes that remain memorable and this post is designed to lay out how I secured that third featured deal. It is broken down into headings that I feel relay the most important factors any author needs when trying to secure their own BookBub Featured Deal.

Consistency

At the heart of all of my efforts as a social media creator and author is consistency. You’ll find it everywhere I go from being ever present on Twitter and growing from 3,000 followers in 2020 to 35,000 very recently to the books I have steadily released over the years. 7 in roughly 6 years with numero 8 dropping in a matter of weeks, its even in the same series as Open Evening – perhaps destiny or just chance or simply because I have positioned myself with consistency this has happened. Even the practicality of bothering BookBub with my submissions for their featured deal is part of why I’ve been selected three times. Every month, pretty much like clockwork I apply for a featured deal with one or several of my books with the ever present hope they would say yes. No matter how many times they don’t, the rewards of what a deal involves are too high for me to forget that monthly ritual of throwing the dice or even the coin into the well.

Conduct

You can be a success on Twitter; a conversational platform without sharing hard pressed opinion or something that will insight passionate debate because they are the two things that I have avoided for nearly a decade. And that conduct of mine has propelled my efforts in all departments of my online creativity. From book sales and reviews where hardly any point towards my personal conduct – yes there are reviewers out there who will hold authors accountable for their opinions online, I navigate myself through the sometimes troll heavy, always-an-argument-about-to-explode waters of social media with ease, the same can be said for this blog. BookBub may or may not be watching but if your social media content and posting is one hot mess of opinion, clumsy arguing and full of stuff that not even the hardiest of publicist will touch with a several foot long barge pole, then you’ll probably fall at the first hurdle. First and foremost you are your brand, so if you chose to throw it around like the many anonymous troll types who treat their presence as an anonymous avatar or you simply don’t have a care for what you say online, anything you publish or create will suffer for it.

Duration

Open Evening is my eldest title. It has seen several changes since the initial release such as the odd edit of typo and all the things that come with being able to amend a book that is live and published – not much has changed within as I personally feel going back to edit a book that has been released for a while kind of cheats the reader out of capturing my writing and imagination at a certain time in my life. This book has been a journeyman work horse for me. It has headed up the most free promos and has simply been there for all the years I have been published. This stuff isn’t an instant success (being an indie author) and finding that success takes time. In that time Open Evening has found reviews that have pushed it towards that apparent golden number of 50 – again is this something BookBub take into account? For the most part I’d like to think so but my super hero comedy The Teleporter was accepted by them twice with less than 20 ratings. Be in this for the duration, release books over time, enjoy the process, learn from it, let it make you a better author and then even when you are several books beyond that release you can still enjoy its success no matter when it arrives.

Timing

Just days before this featured deal my 8th book will drop, a book that shares the same series as Open Evening and now a sure fire launch campaign. The truth is, I have been waiting, waiting for the right time to promote this series as the last in the series was going to launch softly with me then figuring out the marketing after. Timing has changed that and it couldn’t more on point.

Seriousness

Even back when this was just sort of a hobby, I always took it seriously. Like when I used to perform in amdram, yes its amateur drama but the audience are still real and the money they paid me was very real and earned by them so therefore my effort was real. Treating this like a business for most parts has pushed me further and further to make business decisions and treat this whole thing like that. Even with the freedom and creativity that is writing a book as an indie, I take that seriously also and give it the highest level of respect. Stephen King and James Patterson are often featured by BookBub and without boasting or at least trying to, so is Lee Hall because he considers himself a writer too.

Learn

I am always taking on new information to shape what’s next. Just how does one secure a BookBub featured deal? You can apply all of the above and still possibly be nowhere near or they might say yes tomorrow because this journey is one of self learning and discovery. I can guarantee you will find some level of success if you remain open to learning from what have and have not achieved. This post isn’t the usual guide many will be used to, but I’m having a philosophical moment and those guides are great and all but writer Lee Hall is in the building right now and it is my wiring that has got me to this point.

Your writing can take you far also. Don’t give up.

Open Evening will be Free to download a little later this month through BookBub’s featured deal. Watch this space for more!

You shall find some practical advice on how to secure your own BookBub Featured Deal below. Sign up to my Patreon to listen and access all of my best guides.

Learn how to enjoy having your work critiqued by Sherry denBoer

via Sherry denBoer Author

Learn how to enjoy having your creative work critiqued might sound like an impossible assignment, but, in my experience, releasing the dislike or fear is about mindset.

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog post, the value of creating relationships with critique partners, I remember the jitters that came when first handing off a manuscript for critique.

Like most things precious to us, we don’t want to have our work dissected, altered, and criticized. We want it to remain whole, unchanged, and pleasing just as it is. And sometimes, we believe that our creation reflects us; so, critique it, and you critique us. We don’t enjoy hearing about the parts of our creation, and thus about us, the creator, that might need improvement.

But why are we so fragile about this? I can only speak for myself. Maybe you can relate.

When I first received a critique of the first draft of my manuscript, the many red markings in the margin (or wherever they fit) rose from the page like warning signals of personal failure. Even when I told myself I’d be okay with whatever came back to me, those pages of red markings were difficult to digest… at first. The next day, after I’d slept on the comments, interestingly, I felt differently about them. One or two of the comments immediately stood out; their improvement to my work was undeniable. If one or two comments made that much of a positive difference, what might all the rest do?

And just like that, I transformed from a wounded ego to an eager creator once more-more excited about my project than ever.

Instead of fearing failure or personal judgment, I experienced renewed excitement about my manuscript, and deep gratitude for the person who’d taken the time to read it, and the care to comment so generously.

My mindset had changed. The critique experience became thoroughly positive; it became a lesson in which I quickly found great value. I was now excited to contemplate and evaluate each thought or suggestion given to me. I moved through each comment with care and consideration. For each critique provided, one of the following occurred:

  • I accepted a critique suggestion outright;
  • I used the clear misunderstanding of a critique remark to change a manuscript description, plot element, character intention, word choice, or another such manuscript-related component. Each change brought a noticeable improvement;
  • Each change brought a noticeable improvement. I reworked a critique to better suit the intention of my manuscript;
  • I altogether discarded a critique.

Sometimes, well… I’d say, most of the time, we’re too close to our work to see objectively where it needs improvement.

Here are a few examples of errors or omissions we can too easily miss:

  • Words that don’t convey the meaning we intend;
  • Improper use of pronouns;
  • Improper use of tense;
  • Repetition of phrases or words or overused expressions;
  • Use of clichés;
  • Misspelled words;
  • Holes or gaps; the missing bridges that connect the plot or scene structure;
  • Creation of a character who lacks depth or isn’t relatable to the reader;
  • Inconsistencies in the timeline or other details.

In time, handing a manuscript or some other heartfelt creation over to a peer for critique becomes easier. We,

  • Move past worrying about being judged and get back to the business of producing the best creation we can;
  • We see the remarkable value in each critique—even the critiques that at first seem too heavy-handed or harsh;
  • Each remark becomes a path to improvement of creation and craft.

To enjoy having your creative work critiqued might sound like an impossible assignment, but, in my experience, releasing the dislike or fear is about mindset.

This is a guest post by Sherry denBoer and you can read the original version here.

You can also find Sherry on Twitter.

If you would like to publish a guest post on here then please do reach out.

The Twitter Bar Analogy: Creating a Nice place to be…

The majority of people enjoy nice experiences and the same can be said for most people on social media. A nice or pleasant social media experience can lead to so many possibilities from making new friends and connections, to even earning someone else’s trust or perhaps making a sale. Subconsciously and over many years, I made my social media presence across the platforms a nice place for my followers to hang out. This was also driven by how welcome I have been made to feel by so many others. Because social media is sometimes viewed in a negative light for many reasons, being pleasant tends to stand out.

I’m going to use this post to talk about Twitter in particular and how for me it compares to a bar or pub. Those who know me will also know I love an analogy! As of today my Twitter stands at nearly 30,000+ followers and it is also my primary method to sell books. Every day I am present on the platform and regularly my posts are seen by lots of people everyday. Twitter presents a wonderful opportunity for anyone to speak and find others to connect with pretty much instantly. For those of the writing persuasion, its a natural fit as Tweeting is mostly dialogue and whether you write fiction or news articles, poetry or screenplays – dialogue turns that Twitter machine.

Artwork via Pixabay

Think of your favourite bar, pub or restaurant – a place you’ve had a nice experience and would most probably return to. Now I want you to think why you enjoyed your time there and what factors made the experience worthwhile. The same can pretty much be applied to who you engage with on Twitter and how you engage with them. We’re going to look at why a good experience in a hospitality setting is similar to Twitter.

First Impressions – The Basics

Imagine if you will, the first thing you see when heading out for the evening is the venue and of course the signage for the bar/pub/place outside – for Twitter this is your profile. From your handle to profile picture, banner and pinned Tweet and recent tweets. All of this comes into account when someone has been intrigued enough to check out your profile. Much like the physical building of the bar you face, does your profile resemble what you expect a decent approachable venue to look like?

From the signage (your name, handle and bio – are they clear in what you are about?) to just the general look of the place (your profile picture and banner – are they professional looking or at least friendly/approachable in appearance while also relaying what you have to offer?) There’s a sign outside advertising two for one cocktails (your pinned tweet – does it relay what you are about? – it could be a link to your book or something recently compelling that you want an audience to know about.) You have a pinned tweet right?

All of these basic visual things are first impressions. And most of us know that first impressions are quite important. Getting the balance on all of the above is the difference between being followed or engaged with or not. Before anything else you need engagement and your profile is key to that.

Yep, that’s me trying to be artistic

Heading Inside – Conduct

Most visitors to a bar or hospitality venue will decide within the first few steps whether or not they are going to spend extended time there. In those settings there are a bunch of inputs like lighting, odour, sights, noise, décor and layout but the same can also be applied to your Twitter. This is the part where a potential follower has scrolled down your profile to check out some recent tweets.

Near enough everything on my Twitter is governed by what I tweet about and so if your subject matter and content isn’t inviting it won’t receive any engagement. I generally Tweet about something that inspires, informs, entertains, gives value or has some kind of incentive – the more of these five elements of conduct a tweet has, the better. And the best way to figure out what works is to spend time Tweeting things that include this stuff while also being approachable. Someone who has a feed full of links probably won’t get much engagement much like someone who tweets about angry stuff or heavily opinionated stuff. We want to make solid connections here who might be our customers some day or they might even help us someday or vice-versa. Keeping things relatively light most of the time will make a good impression.

So as for this bar, you’ve stepped inside to see the lighting is ambient, the layout is clear, there are no bad smells, the customers aren’t noisy or hostile and the staff are inviting. You take a seat and order some drinks which there is a nice range of (your potential follower sees your tweet subject matter which ranges, your tweets are mostly friendly and approachable). The staff check up on you every so often – not in an overbearing controlling way, but in a finely balanced non-intrusive way (you reply to people who engage with your tweets, even if it is a simple thank you – this is a major booster for many things.) If you can, try to be like good staff at a venue – above all, good hospitality staff make good hosts.

Keeping Customers Engaged – The Long Game

Now your customer has had a drink we need to keep them interested so they can spend more money (followers choosing to follow and engage with you more) – bars or restaurants will have a range of food and drink to help this and if it is of a high quality, people will stay – the same can be said about your Twitter. What are you offering your followers in order for them to stick around?

Time and incentive go hand in hand here along with conduct, remember the five elements of conduct. If you spend time on the platform, tweeting and offering incentive, you won’t ever have to worry about customers leaving after one drink (losing followers). They’ll move on to ordering food or snacks (buy your books, visit your blog, invest in you, become you friend or simply just be there beside you on the platform), some will even invite their own friends. You don’t have to give a lot to provide incentive – incentive is just another word for offering something which includes: being friendly, helping others, engaging with others, following others, retweeting other folks tweets, liking their tweets – all of this is free. Even just spreading some positive thoughts online goes a long way.

This stuff will eventually turn heads towards your profile and tweets while also building a level of trust. Any venue that provides hospitality is a success because of the overall customer experience and the same can be said about twitter. Give your followers reason to engage with you and everything else will eventually fall into place. Reputation takes time to build and being a good host will help you grow that and eventually your Twitter will be known for being a nice place – something which resonates with mostly everyone. This is a long game and one you can certainly win.

I hope this analogy helps your Twitter growth and here are some specific basics that I do frequently to grow:

Show up everyday – even if I am busy with work or social stuff, I make the effort to spend even just a few minutes responding or even scheduling a tweet or two.

Try new things constantly – I am always trying something new, from sharing something I haven’t showed anyone before to even just tweeting a lot more. Change it up until you find what works for you.

Share more important stuff later on in the day – as the day unfolds more and more people log in to Twitter so by the evening here in the UK there are several time zones in the world that are online so I’ll plug my books and blog stuff later.

Reply back if applicable/possible – replying back will boost visibility on your tweets and others will see that you are engaging and will want that also.

Keep going – yesterday might have been a slow day but the twitter machine moves quickly and every day is a new day to seize the opportunity.

Thank you for stopping by. Quite soon I shall be releasing a series of audio based coaching sessions based on my Twitter experience, you can read more about that here.

For those who want some further reading do check out the resources section which is packed full of free-to-read guides on twitter and the wider subject of book marketing.

For some further listening, on my Patreon I have an audio series based upon my Twitter experiences with a hope it will help a fellow creative. Sessions 1 and 2 are free.

Those who do sign up to my Patreon will receive regular shout-outs for them and their books/creative things via my Twitter.

Of course my journey is also laid out in guide book Consistent Creative Content which is available now on Amazon!

Top 5 Guides of 2021

Writing guides that help fellow authors, bloggers and social media-ers has become a vital pillar of my content in recent times. There’s a reason why this here blog is followed by over 900 good souls. Helping others also feels good and then seeing them succeed via some of my advice is even better. This post is dedicated to the top 5 guides I have put together this year, most of which are centered around book promotion, selling and social media.

5. Let’s talk about… why your book isn’t selling…

Viewed an impressive 400+ times this year, this post is dedicated to helping authors find all kinds of ideas to sell their books before and after publication. You can read the whole thing here.

4. How I landed another deal with Bookbub

Those who have been around a while will know that this year a major turning point came for me in the form of a BookBub Featured Deal for my super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’. 10,000+ people downloaded it in a single day. Shortly before the promo run I put together this detailed guide on how I got the featured deal. And for those asking, a BookBub featured deal really is worthwhile.

3. Book Promotion Results: April 2021

April 2021 serves as a record holder for so many things. It was my first $100 royalty month, it was also the month where my highest amount of paid sales happened in a single day. This guide highlights how I did it.

This one always gets a lot of attention and you might have seen me sharing the link for it on Twitter rather ironically. Link dropping is a rather interesting subject on Twitter and this guide shares how to sell books without dropping a link. With a viewership of over 500 its one of my best performing posts of the year and probably will be for some time. You can read it here.

1. A Concise List of Book Promotion Sites

Any my most viewed guide of 2021 is a list that many authors including myself use as reference, hence the fact it will probably be evergreen. I update it regularly too and book promo sites are a wonderful way of advertising your books. Check it out here.

And if you are looking for more guidance on authoring, blogging and social media-ing I have a guide book which is coming to paperback in the next few weeks.You can find more information here.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!

Guest Post: ‘Turning rejections into acceptances’ by Susie Kearley

Introducing freelance journalist and writer Susie Kearley who relays some insight and experience from her many successful years of writing articles.


Turning rejections into acceptances

Writing short pieces, like magazine articles or blogs, can hone your skills so when you’re writing books, you’re better at editing your own work and getting the tone right for the market.  When I started writing for magazines in 2011 it was a rocky road, littered with disappointment and rejection. But fortunately, with perseverance and determination, I’ve since sold well over 1000 articles to publishers across the globe. One thing I have learnt to do however, is master the art of turning rejections into opportunities, some of which have resulted in sales. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt.

Lesson 1: Give the editor what he or she wants

Take 3! The sound of eggs sizzling in the frying pan filled the air and James, the editor of Good Motoring magazine, asked: “What do you think of my breakfast this morning, Susie?”

He poked a microphone at my face and I garbled something incoherent about fry ups not being very nutritious. Porridge would be better.  

We were recording a podcast for the Good Motoring website, and the ‘cooking breakfast’ sounds were pre-recorded. I was nervous and didn’t like being unprepared. I wanted to write my answers down and read them back with confidence, but James whipped my notepad away saying he didn’t want it to sound staged. “No danger of that,” I thought.  

The interview was the outcome of a rejection letter. James had rejected my proposal to write about the hair-raising experience of being a learner motorcyclist on British roads, but said he was interested in other road safety ideas. So instead, I secured a commission to write about good nutrition to help drivers concentrate on the road – this podcast was part of the package.
“I don’t normally eat a full English breakfast,” said James, “but I thought it would give us more to talk about!” And so began the start of a beautiful working relationship – he has since bought my articles on speed cameras and motorcycle driving tests too.

What did I learn from this experience? To listen and learn from the feedback received. Look for opportunities that rejection letters reveal and then give the editor what he wants.

Lesson 2: Don’t write an essay!


One of my earliest customers was Paranormal magazine. The editor, Brian, didn’t offer firm commissions, but would tell me if he liked an idea. Then I’d submit a full article on spec for his consideration.

He was interested in an idea I’d pitched entitled ‘The Psychology of Fear’ so I trawled through my psychology degree books, writing up all things fear-related including conditions like panic attacks and their treatment. It was well researched but a bit academic, so I made an attempt to lighten it up and submitted it.

Brian rejected the piece saying it was ‘too clinical’. More suited to a psychology journal than a magazine about hauntings. I understood the problem and managed to find another buyer for some of the work: Leader magazine is an academic title published by the Association of Schools and Colleges. I used some of the ‘fear’ material in a feature on stress and it worked well because the body’s reactions to stress are very similar to fear.

Leader paid three times as much as Paranormal, and the sale resulted in commissions for a further two articles on the topics of nutrition and social media.

What I learnt: If you write something on spec which is rejected, think laterally about alternative markets for the piece, and consider whether parts of the article could be used to cover a different topic altogether. Rejected work can still form the basis of a good article for a different market, and that can lead to a profitable long-term relationship.

This is an extract from Freelance Writing on Health, Food and Gardens by Susie Kearley.

View the book here:

Susie Kearley is a British freelance writer and journalist, working for magazines, newspapers, and book publishers around the world. She has a collection of books on writing, and her debut novel ‘Pestilence’ is out now. You can view Susie’s Amazon author page here.


If you have an article or a book review and want to be a guest writer then the Hall of Information wants you! Reach out via the submit a book review/article section.




A Concise List of Book Promotion Sites

Book promotion sites are a great way to advertise a free, discounted or full priced book. Over the many years of promoting my work I have built up quite a list of sites that have been effective in helping me get some much needed sales or downloads and now it’s time to help a fellow author.

What are Book Promotion sites?

For beginners Book Promotion sites are an advertising method that utilises a large reach of people through email subscribers or their site might get a lot of traffic because it’s popular. The general consensus with these sites is that they advertise something that’s either free or discounted so you’ll need to organise pricing depending on what a site will offer. Some will advertise your work for free while others will charge. Basically you are paying to use their voice which is probably louder than yours. Having sold more e copies of my work than paperback I’m inclined to say book promo sites focus mainly on e books.

This list is broken down into three different tiers. The high end, the middle of the road and lower end. They are listed this way to reflect on price and overall effectiveness. My tip would be to use sites from all 3 tiers in a single promotion for the best results. All of the sites listed can be found through a quick Google search.

The High End…

BookBub

E Reader News Today

Freebooksy

Bookrunes

Robin Reads

Except for the early days, every one of my promotional runs has included one of the above sites. BookBub particularly are very hard to get in with so be warned. Their featured deal if you can get one is the ‘holy grail’ trust me. You can read more about BookBub here. Some of these sites also expect your book to have some reviews but check their specific submission policies for more info.

Price Range: Anything north of $40

The Middle of the Road

Pretty Hot

Armadillo E books

E book Booster

It’s Write Now

Awesomegang

Bookwerm

Bookdoggy

Bookhippo

Ask David

Book Angel

Book Bongo

These sites are probably the most effective for the money I have paid. Using a few of them in one promo can be particularly effective. Not all of them will charge you a fee also.

Price Range: From $10 to $25 – dependent on the package/ some sites are free

The Lower End

Book Goodies

Discount Book Man

Bookzio

Whisper reads

Free 99 Books

Reading Deals

This is Writing

Best Book Monkey

While this list is classed as the lower end that doesn’t reflect fully on how effective they can be when stacked alongside other book promo sites. They are down here because all of them offer a free package.

Price Range: Mostly free but up to $5

Book Promotion sites are an effective way to market and drive sales for a book but they are not the only way to sell. You can read much more about marketing, book promotion and all things writery over in my resources section.

My self help guide book Consistent Creative Content is packed full of resources about social media and marketing for authors.

My top tip when it comes to marketing is to focus on getting people to invest in you as a person by being active in the author arena online. This can be as simple as leaving a review for a fellow author’s book or having a presence on social media. Look after fellow wordsmiths and they will do the same.

If you haven’t got a platform or blog for leaving reviews I have just opened submissions for them on this site which has a loyal following. There’s nothing better than authors promoting each other and so I will promote you extensively if you have a book review or article you want to publish.

Of course thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the next one!

Bookbub Featured Deal Promo Results

Well that was a ride… and I’m partially still on the rollercoaster of emotion, sales and everything else that comes with having your largely unknown book thrust into the hands of the mainstream… this is my reflection, review and hopefully knowledge passing-on post about how my Featured Deal with Bookbub went. Let’s dive in…

The who’s?

For those who just want to know the results, scroll down. For the finer detail start here…

Firstly who are Bookbub? In a sentence-ish; they are a big time distribution site that advertises books to a huge following with a somewhat promise of actual return on investment – they are hard to get in with, very hard and their featured deal is considered the Holy Grail of promotions. You can read more about them here in my post explaining how I got a featured deal… Authors can sign up to Bookbub, create a profile and then list their books. People can even leave reviews for them…

Who am I? Well for those who have arrived on this blog’s shores for the first time, hello, I’m Lee, I’m from the UK and I am an indie author of 6 books so far. I’m relatively unknown although I’ve been around for a few years now, my books have a moderate to small amount of reviews – I’m a small time scrappy underdog of an author trying to get the world to read my stuff and I don’t give up… In terms of book sales, I’ve sold around 1000 since 2016 through my various promotional efforts. I’m nowhere near earning a living from this but one can dream right?

Who were bookbub going to Feature from my backlist? My super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’.

The Deal

After somehow agreeing to advertise my book, Bookbub agreed to feature it on Saturday the 6th of February in all their major markets. The US, UK, Canada, Australia and India. It would be advertised as Free to download and so I set the price to zero for that day. Because I have other books available I set them to 99 cents a piece also…

Top Book Promo tip: A Free book promo is a great way to get a lot of downloads. It’s a please all method that many folks will grab. Personally I tend to keep my free promo day’s few and far between – once every quarter is probably enough and even then for me it will be a different title every time.

The Result…

I’ve always had a rather funny relationship with Lady Luck. On the day of the promotion I was struck down with a rather bad spell of food poisoning. Even in my reduced state I managed to do some tweeting and social media-ing but things were not great for me, we’ll go into what I did to promote the deal below, however in terms of book promotional efforts let me refer you to the graphic…

I think we can all agree 10,000 plus downloads in one day for a small time nobody like me is pretty damn incredible. Now I know it was free but normally my reach for a promo like this is 10% of that. Damn, that’s a lot of downloads! The free downloads trickled into the next day with 580 more by the time the price went back up to 99 cents.

If my maths is correct and if 8000 of these readers actually read The Teleporter fully then I am set to make about 3 Grand from page reads…

Final Free Download count: 10,926

Due to my state of health I couldn’t properly track chart positioning’s during the day of the promo but it went to #1 in multiple territories. But that’s not all. For the day I set the price of my other books all to 99 cents or equivalent and they sold!

As you can see the numbers aren’t huge but every book I have available sold for actual money and so here comes another top tip: When promoting a book for free make sure you set your other works to a discount – this will near enough guarantee a little interest. Of course this only applies if you have other titles, if not grab that pen and get writing more books!

Here are the final figures of everything I sold after a week:

It’s quite funny that I only sold 1 paperback out of 10,000 sales. Thanks to whoever bought it, you are literally 1 in 10,000! Basically every sales record was smashed during this run with sales happening for a record 9 consecutive days after and so that brings us to…

The Aftermath

Now the immediate results were awesome but the real result of any book and it’s promotion is best measured over time. Boy this is where the real rollercoaster began…

Literally on the day of the promo KENP page reads shot up. From an average of 20-50 page reads a day to hundreds, the 10,000 readers had began their journey but that’s not all. Now The Teleporter was in front of newer eyes it began to sell even after it was free. Every day after the promo for a week it sold.

This is where a free promo or any promo will pay off because the exposure has pushed the book a lot further up the charts in front of new eyes. And then after a few days came the crowning moment…

The orange label of destiny found itself attached to my scrappy little underdog of a book. The Teleporter had become a best seller and made me, a best selling author… while my food poisoning had subsided and I was seemingly on cloud 9, things weren’t all celebratory…

Lessons learned the hard way….

Wholeheartedly, if I were to do Featured Deal again, I would. The results above you can see have turned a corner for my authoring career but and although I am relatively thick skinned there came a point where reviews started coming in and not all of them were positive. In fact the rating across the board for The Teleporter has dropped a little. It appears only the folks who didn’t like it are leaving reviews…

Lesson: When you present the mainstream with a free book they will download it no matter their taste. They see the price first and perhaps nothing else. Some of these folks might not like what they read and they will express that in sometimes scathing, hurtful reviews. This started to unfold by day 4 and it’s still unfolding, although there’s were so many more positive reviews, the negatives are the one’s we dwell on… As an author I know the reality of reviews, I am also an adult but sometimes things folks say can hurt. That is probably the one warning or take away I want anyone else to have from this: the more your work is exposed to the masses, the higher chance you’ll find someone who doesn’t like it. That’s okay and it’s normal because the whole literary industry is built upon it’s favourite word; subjective. Those who have left scathing reviews don’t really provide me with any valuable feedback so it’s kind of pointless. Either way it’s also quite hilarious to see people react in such a way for a comedy. It kind of makes me want to write a sequel just to get back at them.

Comedy is probably the most subjective genre out there, the gulf of different reviews has proven that. The highs have been high and the lows have been scathing – people really will tell you if they didn’t like a comedy… combine that with it being free and the emotion exploded. My author friend Karl on Twitter explained it way better than me..

Like most things in life we skim over the bad and embrace the good, and so that’s what I will do now…

The 2nd Aftermath…

I’ve never received so many new reviews in such short time. The amount of ratings The Teleporter had was below 20 and now it’s growing, good or bad, a rating is a rating. Here’s a couple of the better one’s…

But that’s not all because the aftermath kept on aftermathing…

By day 9 The Teleporter had crossed over 50 ratings in my home territory of the UK – just another awesome achievement. Ratings above all are proof of readership.

Factors for Success

I’ve explained everything the best I can but for anyone looking to successfully promote a book via Bookbub or not, this is the section for you because now I shall delve into what I did and why it worked… Some of this stuff might feel like a repeat but this is what you need to successfully promote your book:

Pro cover art work and banners to boot: Selling books starts with the visuals and people do judge them by their covers. I have invested good money in my cover art work and it looks great. Design for Writers deserve the credit for this but you need a pro looking cover to sell books! Combine that with a shiny banner and you are set.

A badass social media game: Due to my wonderful engaged following on Twitter I am currently killing it with tweets regularly being liked by hundreds of folks. Things have really stepped up recently and so that has to be taken into account for the success of this promo!

Distribution: The greatest struggle an author faces is making the world aware of their works. What did I do to spread that awareness? Of course Bookbub helped but I did these things also:

Used my mailing list: I have an email list of 80 or so readers. On the day I sent them an email with the above banner and information on where to buy my other discounted books.

Utilised that social media following: On the day I put out a blog post, put out a post on Facebook and plastered the link all over twitter to over 6000 followers. Using the right hashtags can increase visibility big time. In particular I took advantage of the #shamelessselfpromo movement that happens over on twitter at the weekend. My tweet is below:

Took advantage of having a backlist: The best way to sell books is to write more and have more available. Not only did folks download The Teleporter for free but they bought the others that were discounted.

I didn’t just rely on Bookbub: Okay Bookbub’s reach is awesome but I really wanted to make sure I got the most out of this promotion so I also advertised The Teleporter on a range of other promotional sites. Some were paid and others were free. They were:

E Reader News Today

Ebook Bookster

Indie Book of the Day

Bookrunes

Bookdoggy

Bookbongo

Bookhippo

Bookwerm

Bookangel

Pretty Hot

Itswritenow

Armadillo E books

Timing: This is a huge factor for success of a book promo. Without looking at genre and the time of year because that’s a thing, The Teleporter was available on a Saturday which is normally a busy day for internet traffic.

The Teleporter is a niche genre: Bookbub are incredibly hard to get in with. Authors try for years to convince them and it’s perceived your book needs to be award winning and highly reviewed to have any chance. My book is neither, while it was accepted by them a few years back it’s a bit of a wildcard but the humour genre has a small catchment rate – by that I mean it’s not like the thousands of crime thrillers that get rejected each day because nothing against crime thrillers but it’s a popular mainstream genre compared to humour, the queue is longer – The Teleporter stands out in genre which is probably one of the main reasons it got chosen. Plus it’s good, fu***ng good and seeing as this is the second Bookbub featured it, they must like it also.

Reviews/ratings: Although the amount of reviews the book now has is much bigger, beforehand it was 20ish which means it’s had some readership and those reviews were from the year of release all the way to recently. Recent and old reviews together show a longevity of readership.

Investment of money: Bookbub charged me over $200 for this featured deal and if you are serious about promoting books you need to invest serious money.

Concluding thoughts…

If I can get myself a Bookbub featured deal and 10,000 plus downloads then you certainly can and everything above is proof of that. Never before has my authoring profile been thrown in front of so much exposure and for that I am grateful above everything else. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotion and as I take a deep sighing breath of satisfaction, to me it was worth it. From the initial explosion of sales to the aftermath and even lessons learned and then the second aftermath, what a ride. This was my most important promotion moment as an author and it will hopefully be a huge turning point. Only time will tell.

The wonderful thing about this promotion is that it has proved indie authors who have a platform can also be given a voice and be successful. This featured deal was a victory for all of us indies and I’m incredibly proud of how it went. The best outcome is the fact my soon to be published authoring and blogging guide book had one section left blank to be written, it was a section that was going to explain my most recent book promotion efforts. Guess I better get writing!

If you do have any questions then please do drop them in the comments and for everything else book promo do check out my book which is currently available for discounted pre-order. It is full of marketing guides and resources for authors.

To everyone who has supported me as an author and blogger, thank you and to those who have read this post, I tip my cap to you! Peace out and may the words be with you…

How I landed a deal with Bookbub!

Looking back at how I somehow landed a featured deal with prestigious book promo site Bookbub – you never know if you don’t try…

Lee's Hall of information

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…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is the-teleporter-promo-banner.jpg

None of my books have anywhere…

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Weekly Ramble #89

November is a strange and long month. I’ve always called it the month of lethargy and it is in some senses. It just keeps going. The sky is normally grey and the weather turns along with the nights that seem endless, much like this year. And what a strange year this has been.

I’m still quite hopeful that quite possibly my best news is yet to appear. One is allowed to be optimistic and of course vague as the ace up my sleeve is paper thin, but it’s still an ace. Perhaps all my efforts have been building to something bigger, that’s the hope and hope is something that has kept me going time and time again throughout the slog that 2020 has been. Keep reviewing books and good things will happen, keep blogging even when everyone was taken over or distracted by fear and good things have happened. It’s turned out to be the biggest period of growth and success I’ve known to the point where others are noticing. Supporters are returning week in week out – this ramble series, the most viewed normally each week. Folks that care and perhaps even want me to succeed, ah the dream. Not once has this writing, blogging and social media-ing deal ever felt like work, although I treat it that way, if something get’s a good reception I just go with it and hope things stick.

All I have tried to do is carry on and support others like I wish to be supported. The give as good as you get philosophy but perhaps flipped around although my expectations are always grounded. We’ll see what happens next because that ace beckons…

Book Promotion Results October 2020

I’ve been promoting books again, or at least one book anyway and so here’s a breakdown of the results, methods and hopefully something a fellow author can use because we all know marketing is hard… let’s dive in…

Introduction/Aim

It’s important to start with some kind of plan or at least something to aim for when it comes to promoting books. For this promotional run, my ghost story novella ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ was going to be free for a few days before and on the day of Halloween via kindle. My aim, to get as many free downloads as possible during that time.

Although this is a great way of generating many downloads, my voice alone isn’t loud enough to tell everyone so I invested in some methods listed below.

Top tip: Promoting a Ghost story over Halloween in theory is a good idea. Some genres work better during different seasons. Another example would be my super hero comedy book which always sells better in summer months (northern hemisphere) as it makes for a beach read. Have you got a Christmas themed story coming up? December is closing in. Timing is important folks…

Strategy – how was I going to do it?

As mentioned I would firstly set the price of my book to free via Kindle Direct Publishing. If your e book is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited they allow you so many days every so often to make that book free for promotional purposes. In terms of target market, because it will be free, we were aiming for everyone – free books are more of a blanket approach in terms of targeting. There are some authors who insist they’ll never make their work available for free – you’ll probably never reach a larger scale audience if you think that way, no matter how special you think that book is…

How exactly was I going to reach as many people as possible?

  1. Book Promotion websites that offer paid advertising. Websites listed below.
  2. Via my social media following – 4k twitter followers and 500+ blog followers and 500+ Facebook page followers.

There are many paid and free book promotion sites that do a great job in reaching readers. When running a promo I would recommend using them and in my case I spread them out over the three days the book would be free. This is also a great way of knowing which sites are effective.

Top tip: When paying for anything online make sure you use a reputable payment service such as PayPal. There are also many authors like myself who will share results highlighting who are the better sites so remember to do your research.

Results

As you can see nearly 2000 people downloaded the book across 9 different Amazon territories over the 3 days. Day 2 was the most popular and we even got a number 1 chart position over in the US, so let us look at the methods I used in detail.

Methods in Detail

The following things made this promo a success:

Existing Book Reviews

Let’s face it, getting book reviews is a struggle but the one’s we get help immensely when running a promo as lot’s of traffic will be passing by your book page to see them. If there are just a few reviews that will increase the chances of that book being downloaded. In my case ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ had a healthy number of reviews in both the UK and US markets. This helped.

Book Promo Sites

The engine room of this promo was the sites I invested in to advertise and tell people about the book.

You can near enough pin point which promo sites were effective. Day 1 only got a handful of downloads.

The sites I used for day 1 were:

My Book Place ($25 Feature)

Book Reader Magazine ($10)

I would most likely not use these sites for this type of promotion again. For $35 I expect a little better… lesson learned and recorded for future use…

For Day 2 which yielded the brunt of my results I used the following sites:

Hotstuff Romance Free Friday Promotion ($15)

Book Angel (Free)

Freebookshub .co.uk ($15)

Book Bongo Book Bump ($9.99) 2 Day Promo

E Book Deals Today ($9.99) 2 Day Promo

Freebooksy Paranormal Romance Deal ($99)

From the results we can gather that the Freebooksy deal which was the most expensive and probably did the most work, but combining promo sites is a great way to spread the word. My advice, if you want maximum downloads be prepared to pay for the advertising.

Social Media

For Day 3 I simply relied on the two day promos alongside a blog post on here and utilizing Shameless Self Promo Saturday over on Twitter. On Day 2 and 3 I also put up a post on the Facebook Page. All of these posts included this book banner.

Top Tip: Get yourself a decent book banner to share your works on. I made this myself via Pixlr but you can get a freelancer to put one together over on Fiverr for a decent price and half the time. Book Promo Banners are an essential visual. Visuals result in sales. The same also goes for a professional looking cover. People do judge books by them…

This is all combined with the fact Day 3 was also Halloween. Here’s what my Twitter post looked like:

Top Tip: When it comes to Twitter, hashtags and getting people to engage are key. You can see on this tweet above I encouraged others to drop links while also providing incentive to Retweet and follow back – incentives and having something to offer are a must for successful engagement.

Factors for Success

So how exactly did I get the results I got?

Firstly I had a plan and an aim – to get as many free downloads.

The book had some existing reviews which helped passers by notice it.

I invested money in advertising.

I implemented and used my social media following with a post that included hashtags and incentive to engage,

It was the right time for a Ghost story promo – Halloween

Book Banners helped for the visual factor along with a professional cover.

Results Further

Since the promo ‘Ghost’ has already received two new reviews which is a huge result but the results for a good promotional run will last a while after with page reads being tracked via KDP and possibly further sales. Overall for a stand alone short read that has only been out 10 months at the time of promo, I’ very happy with the results. This was my last promo of the year and a good one to finish things with.

My advice for anyone looking to promo their own work is to consider the factors for success listed above and of course combine that with your own expectation as there are so many other factors that help sell books – genre, what’s happening in the news etc. This takes time and patience, if you have those things, you’ll be okay.

If you promote your books a handful of times a year there’s no doubt your readership will eventually grow. Investment is the most important thing and not giving up. Thank you for reading, there is a stack of more useful information for authoring and blogging over on the resources page. That is until next year when the self help book arrives. Peace out!