Let’s talk about… Book Marketing

Do you feel slightly dirty whenever you spam the link to your book on social media? People who see it feel the same too because nothing is worse than seeing an author constantly spamming their own social media platforms with their own stuff…

I thought it would be best I put together some other methods to get folks to buy and more importantly read your books. Marketing is the most overlooked part of being a writer and the excuses range from ‘I’m an introvert’ to ‘I’m not a salesman’. Well the truth is you need to be neither to get reads and sales. While selling stuff is subjective I can happily admit I’ve sold a few books in most corners of the civilised world so this is my talk about book marketing…

What you need to do above all is to set out a realistic and achievable goal. Before you even start, ask yourself what I do want to get out of this book I have bestowed upon the world?

What do you want and what do you need to do in order to get it?

Sales and money ? – in this age of everyone self publishing (which is good and sometimes very bad…) I wish you all the luck in the world. Unless it’s about a real current thing that’s gone crazily popular or even a masterpiece you’ve written, don’t expect instant bucks, just don’t. Breaking even is a dirty word around here… and so I can’t help with this one…

sales

People reading and reviewing your work – now this is a very achievable goal and the chances are of it happening will grow as you release more stuff – that is if you intend to write more than one book like a real writer… There are many a different factors that govern whether or not people will see you work, pick it up and then review it. I can’t list them all but here’s a mini breakdown.

  1. Reasonable Price
  2. Decent Blurb
  3. Decent pro cover art
  4. Catchy title that matches genre and cover
  5.  A social media presence of some kind

That’s great and all but HOW can I get people to read my work?

Well if you have the 5 factors above ticked then all you have to do is let the world know about it. And no don’t just go spamming the link every 5 minutes. Do these things instead:

  1. Reach out to book bloggers for a review – offer a free copy in exchange. We don’t bite…
  2. Friends and relatives are a great starting point for reads/reviews. Ask them to help.
  3. Give your E-book away for free and pay for advertising through many book promo sites – check this post out for more info on that 
  4. Read and review other authors works – many writers will repay you because that’s just manners (don’t expect this though).
  5. Write another book and then another – writers with a back catalogue will most likely have returning readers if they liked one of your titles. Immediately after reading my first Crichton novel, I pursued his whole catalogue…
  6. Start a blog like this and talk about the laments of being a writer. Share your woes, book sales results and give back to the community.

Some writers who stubbornly say they wont give their work away for free will not get very far. Unless you are already famous or some kind of popular figure it’s highly likely you are starting this from zero. Sometimes setting the price to zero will attract readers who might buy at full price next time.. this then leads into…

Use social media properly – The word ‘properly’ is just my humble opinion but I cannot stress enough how important it is to be active on social media and to engage with others both respectfully and genuinely.

Don’t just share your book link, don’t, I see you’re about to do it, just don’t!

Instead comment on other authors posts, be encouraging, friendly, follow back and retweet stuff. Trust me this will turn more heads than anything else on social media and of course Twitter. Be genuine.

If you want my top tip have a real profile picture. This is a very simple and effective way to be genuine. People who don’t have an actual person as a profile picture have an incomplete stance on social media, plus it’s kinda creepy that you would wish to remain anonymous. Honestly show your pretty face, it can’t be that bad…

Be patient – okay this one might be a cop out, but good things like having sales and reads take time, commitment and books. Write more, dive into the words and don’t dwell on people who haven’t discovered your work.

Many many more things – there are a stack of more things that come into play with book marketing, perhaps for another post sometime. But don’t forget luck, the time of year, what’s happening in the world and many many more things need to be taken into account in book marketing…

The biggest challenge any author faces is not the writing but what comes after. Informing the world you exist is that challenge. Embrace it, go after it and more importantly don’t give up on it. Giving literature to the world is a gift trust me…

And if you enjoyed this post head on over to my resources section for more book promotion and marketing things!

And and before you go, let me tell you about my recently released self-help book that is packed full of information and guides on selling books all the way to social media. All you need for success is Consistent Creative Content.

 

10 ways to sell a book without dropping the link on social media…

Every day I see hundreds of authors on social media dropping the links to their works. Some even blindly drop them on other users posts without asking or even context. First off, no bad feelings to anyone who does drop links, sometimes it can be effective to generate sales but I have ten other things to try instead.

Based upon observations and experience over time here are 10 ways to sell a book without dropping the link on social media…

1. Create and share a book banner

You’ll find most of the methods on this list to be visual because visual is what a lot of marketing on the internet is based upon and it is very effective. While scrolling the various social media feeds every so often something does grab our interest and it is normally visual.

While people do judge a book by its cover, an opportunity to capitalise on that concept further is by using a book banner. In terms of scope, the sky is the limit and I would say any book banner that heightens the theme or visual-ness of a book cover is an effective way to grab attention on social media.

These days and with the world of online picture editing being easily accessible, anyone can put together an effective book banner. I’ve created most of mine through pixlr but I have even used Fiverr and paid for them like the one below. From experience, book banners do work for selling books especially if it is clear enough where to find that book.

Top Tip: If your book is easy enough to find, all you really need is to tell people where it is – that is what the majority of this list is based upon. So make it easy for potential readers, have a permanent link in your profile/bio or even encourage folks to search for it on Amazon. In 2021 and on many social media platforms the algorithms tend to not push links as hard. If I can find a book after seeing an effective book banner, I’ll probably be inclined to buy it.

2. Share a Recent Review

There are so many reasons why sharing a review will positively contribute towards selling your work. First of all I would make sure it is a positive review and again the sky is the limit. You could quote that review in a simple tweet or Facebook status, you could even put it on your own book banner and share it on Instagram. As you can see from my billboard below I received a bunch of reviews just after release of ‘CCC’ and put them all together. Then I shared it across multiple platforms. You’ll see I even included each reviewers work because for this case they were all authors and so I was more than happy to plug their works also.

Top Tip: Quoting reviews and even giving a shout-out to the reviewer will get some positive attention – others might feel inclined to read and review your work if you are sharing their reviews in front of a social media audience.

3. Share a Screenshot of an Excerpt

While book covers and banners are awesome, sometimes a reader wants to actually read something, so how about a screenshot of an excerpt. A few paragraphs of a scene or even the introduction can fit into a screenshot sized picture and it makes for something different to share – variety is key when it comes to promoting a book. Because social media is plugged in to so many people scrolling you never know who could discover it, maybe your next reader.

4. Share a Selfie of Your Book

Those who know me will know that book selfies do sell books and this is a concept that I kind of accidentally discovered after releasing my debut novel ‘Open Evening’ some years ago. One of my readers shared a selfie and then someone else did until folks were doing it everywhere. Pets were even included!

5. Create a Simple Trailer

It may take a little more effort than a book banner but I consider a trailer to be a moving and perhaps even talking version of a book banner. I’ve created some simple but very effective trailers over the years using mainly free to download software. Here’s a recent one that I did for hopefully next years release.

6. Talk about your Books…

It might feel like your are just shouting into the empty void much of the time on social media but if you keep talking eventually somebody will answer. Talking about your works is a highly effective way to inform readers that they exist and the inputs for this are many. From putting together a thread on twitter to even discussing what inspired your works on a blog, sometimes a little extra information goes a long way to selling a book. To me, there is the blurb and then there’s what the actual story is about – confide in your social media following and they might be interested in your words.

Just recently I put out several twitter threads over the space of a week that contained fun facts about each of my works. I sold a copy of each book after – a good job done.

Every time I share my book promo results on this blog someone buys the book(s) mentioned. Just name dropping them will sometimes drive interest and as long as they are findable, people will buy them. Just last week and the day before the launch of my latest book I wrote a rallying blog post and it resulted in multiple pre-orders. Get talking authors.

7. Share your Statistics

While being an author can be solitary experience you are not alone and a great way to bridge that gap is to share your results. Personally I find comfort in knowing that other authors are in the same boat as me and it is also inspiring to see when an author does well. That’s why I believe it is important to share your statistics sometimes. Authors who are doing well or even those who aren’t will only really benefit from sharing – someone will see your progress or struggle and may decide to lend a hand.

8. Share a Relatable Meme/Something with Common Interest

Those who did tune in to my previous book release results post will know that sharing content with common interest is an effective way to talk about your work and sell it without actually mentioning it that much. So what do I mean? Well, sharing something that is within the same interest as your book will drive interest towards it like a meme or even a story about something in the same genre.

9. Supporting Others

Ah, the pillar that holds up everything for me. You’ll even find the inner message to my recently released self-help authoring and blogging book is to support others because:

  1. Supporting others feels good and makes the writing industry better for everyone.
  2. Supporting others is the best way to earn trust.

Personally you can only earn trust with honesty, if you are dishonest even if you appear to be helping others you will eventually get found out. Trust is what you need for readers to invest in you.

I have learned over many years that supporting others will eventually support you in some capacity. This is a long game but mostly with all the things I do to support others, I hardly have time to post my own book link anymore.

But what can you do to support others?

  1. Buy and review an authors book.
  2. Retweet, like, follow and support a fellow author or anyone else on the tweet machine.
  3. Engage in conversation on social media.
  4. Share your experiences so others can learn.
  5. Tell your friends about this blog post…
  6. The list goes on…

10. Make an Author Video

Even though it might take some effort, making a video starring you is great way to promote yourself and that book of yours. Over the years I have kept my appearances to the minimum, in fact, I have only appeared on video once on Twitter and it was to celebrate reaching 10,000 followers. You can see that here.

From reading a book excerpt to just saying thank you, appearing in a video might feel daunting but with a few practice runs you’ll do great and appearing in person is a great way for people to connect with you. Be sure to mention that book of yours while you are on video.

Concluding Thoughts

All you really need to sell books on social media is to create an easy way for potential readers to find it after they know it exists.

The ‘exists’ part is doing all of the above to get the book in front of as many eyes as possible. While I am not totally against the idea of sharing links on social media I do find that they tend to get less engagement than anything else. There is a time and a place to share your link but just dropping it on someone else’s post without asking is not the way and also constantly dropping links doesn’t look particularly social on social media. On Twitter you’ll see a self promo post nearly every day, sometimes I’ll drop my link and sometimes I’ll just drop a banner instead.

The best way to sell books on social media is to find a way to stand out, do what others aren’t doing. While it may seem like everyone is dropping their links, do something different, it will work eventually.

Hopefully this post was helpful, if it was, be sure to share it on your social media feeds, whether or not you include the link, that’s up to you!

If you did enjoy this post and found it useful you might be interested in my self-help guide book for authors and bloggers which is available now. There are plenty of tips and guides designed to help a fellow creative.

The stories that inspire us – ‘Timeline’

Hello friends, today’s re-blog is a timely one as it has been exactly a year since I began a new series of posts highlighting and celebrating the stories that inspired me. Seeing as my audience has grown in that time I thought I would share it again.

The deeper meaning to this one leads into marketing and my best advice for bloggers and writers is to always have more content for readers to invest in..

Lee's Hall of information

The stories we read, see and hear sometimes leave a lasting effect on our lives. Stories inspire us to be who we are. They shape our own journey and can take the mind anywhere. There are some stories that effect us so much, they even shape our future…

Welcome to a new series that hopes to give insight to some of the stories I have experienced that shaped me and my writing. Many of them I hold close to my heart and some you may end up taking on as recommendations. Without the stories in this series I would not be here today!

Although this series will cover stories from all mediums it starts with a book that might possibly be one of the most important I have ever read. This is the story of destiny and how I came to find a story called Timeline. 

I grew up near…

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Bookbub Ads – an abject failure

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 is super hard to get, 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.

borad

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…

Daily Budget $15 

Bid ‘CPM’ Budget $9ish 

_________________________________________________________________________________

dfw-lh-db-cover-ebook

There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness…

(Imagine a jazzy background)

Buy now

______________________________________________________________________________________

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:

Book Promo Results March 2020

Book Promo Results September 2019

Final Thought: 

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…

tweet

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…

Now if you are interested in my Featured Deal results, you can begin reading that saga here.

Swimming in the sea of self published books…

With the emergence of self publishing or indie publishing the world isn’t short of books right now. Writers everywhere are all looking for the same thing and so the marketing techniques are quickly becoming tired.

The ‘Free to download’ promotion has a shelf life and if everyone is doing it then there’s no value to such a deal. Readers might even see more value in priced books and so the marketing situation spins.

Reviews don’t actually carry much value. I have a liberal amount and even with few reviews my books still sell as much as those with more reviews. Its all about reach.

I’ve been public with most of my marketing efforts but even major companies omit recipes or ingredients. So yes there are few cards I hold to my chest, this ain’t charity. you know…  Many writers come to me and my resource page. They use the info and move forward, sometimes rinsing and repeating. That’s fine for a time but everyone with content must find their own ways of reaching their own market eventually. Find your own tribe.

Much of my advice adopts a ‘help all’ style but this will only take one so far; trust me I’m the first to use this stuff so I know.

Finding new ways to create reach is called innovation. And in the social media world which is rammed full of writers all looking for the same thing it does feel like we are swimming in the sea of self published stuff. My marketing strategy has always remained for as long as I am an indie author and that is to focus on selling one book at a time to one person at at time.

Eventually some of those ones return for another book and another – my next pillar of marketing – create more content which is then galvanised by me being active in the writing arena by reviewing books and giving back. Those three marketing strategies may not sell large amounts of books but they sell a satisfying amount and the circle of books is complete in my eyes.

I read a lot because I want to be able to write well. Professional athletes probably watch their own sport as much as they play it -the ones who want to get better do anyway….

This is an eye of the beholder situation and always has been…. Don’t be disheartened for single figure sales, they all count.

Do you have any unique book selling ideas other than just making your book free to download? 

Let’s talk about… Book Marketing

Do you feel slightly dirty whenever you spam the link to your book on social media? People who see it feel the same too because nothing is worse than seeing an author constantly spamming their own social media platforms with their own stuff…

I thought its best I put together some other methods to get folks to buy and more importantly read your books. Marketing is the most overlooked part of being a writer and the excuses range from ‘I’m an introvert’ to ‘I’m not a salesman’. Well the truth is you need to be neither to get reads and sales. While selling stuff is subjective I can happily admit I’ve sold a few books in most corners of the civilised world so this is my talk about book marketing…

What you need to do above all is to set out a realistic and achievable goal. Before you even start, ask yourself what I do want to get out of this book I have bestowed upon the world?

What do you want and what do you need to do in order to get it?

Sales and money ? – in this age of everyone self publishing (which is good and sometimes very bad…) I wish you all the luck in the world. Unless it’s about a real current thing that’s gone crazily popular or even a masterpiece you’ve written, don’t expect instant bucks, just don’t. Breaking even is a dirty word around here… and so I can’t help with this one…

sales

People reading and reviewing your work – now this is a very achievable goal and the chances are of it happening will grow as you release more stuff – that is if you intend to write more than one book like a real writer… There are many a different factors that govern whether or not people will see you work, pick it up and then review it. I can’t list them all but here’s a mini breakdown.

  1. Reasonable Price
  2. Decent Blurb
  3. Decent pro cover art
  4. Catchy title that matches genre and cover
  5.  A social media presence of some kind

That’s great and all but HOW can I get people to read my work?

Well if you have the 5 factors above ticked then all you have to do is let the world know about it. And no don’t just go spamming the link every 5 minutes. Do these things instead:

  1. Reach out to book bloggers for a review – offer a free copy in exchange. We don’t bite…
  2. Friends and relatives are a great starting point for reads/reviews. Ask them to help.
  3. Give your E-book away for free and pay for advertising through many book promo sites – check this post out for more info on that 
  4. Read and review other authors works – many writers will repay you because that’s just manners (don’t expect this though).
  5. Write another book and then another – writers with a back catalogue will most likely have returning readers if they liked one of your titles. Immediately after reading my first Crichton novel, I pursued his whole catalogue…
  6. Start a blog like this and talk about the laments of being a writer. Share your woes, book sales results and give back to the community.

Some writers who stubbornly say they wont give their work away for free will not get very far. Unless you are already famous or some kind of popular figure it’s highly likely you are starting this from zero. Sometimes setting the price to zero will attract readers who might buy at full price next time.. this then leads into…

Use social media properly – The word ‘properly’ is just my humble opinion but I cannot stress enough how important it is to be active on social media and to engage with others both respectfully and genuinely.

Don’t just share your book link, don’t, I see you’re about to do it, just don’t!

Instead comment on other authors posts, be encouraging, friendly, follow back and retweet stuff. Trust me this will turn more heads than anything else on social media and of course Twitter. Be genuine.

If you want my top tip have a real profile picture. This is a very simple and effective way to be genuine. People who don’t have an actual person as a profile picture have an incomplete stance on social media, plus it’s kinda creepy that you would wish to remain anonymous. Honestly show your pretty face, it can’t be that bad…

Be patient – okay this one might be a cop out, but good things like having sales and reads take time, commitment and books. Write more, dive into the words and don’t dwell on people who haven’t discovered your work.

Many many more things – there are a stack of more things that come into play with book marketing, perhaps for another post sometime. But don’t forget luck, the time of year, what’s happening in the world and many many more things need to be taken into account in book marketing…

The biggest challenge any author faces is not the writing but what comes after. Informing the world you exist is that challenge. Embrace it, go after it and more importantly don’t give up on it. Giving literature to the world is a gift trust me…

And if you enjoyed this post head on over to my resources section for more book promotion and marketing things!