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 its 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.
This was also the run up of Labour Day weekend over the US which is a big market to tap into. Those good folks from the US of A have supported me well over the years!
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.
Book Promo Sites
Freebooksy Horror Promotion – Cost: $40 – Date: 3rd
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 but that’s not always the case. Remember 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…
But wait there’s more…
Thanks for reading, stay safe and peace out!
I mean most of my books have remained constantly discounted this year for part promotion part people need to read something in order to distract themselves from the dumpster fire that is 2020 but why is this significant now?
If you have just a few moments let me entertain that question and thought. Now ‘Cemetery House’ is a sequel, part of a series and also works quite well as a stand alone or even an entry point to my Order of the Following Series. Where my debut novel ‘Open Evening’ has all the traits and clunkyness of a debut novel (although I still reckon it’s worth a look), ‘CH’ is the smoothly flowing bigger brother of a sequel.
It’s been Free to download yesterday and the day before, I would have told you this on here but I equally love posting memes and author interviews so there was no blog space unless I wanted to post multiple times a day and I don’t think you as an audience member are ready, and neither am I. Plus buying it after a free promo run while it is on discount will help a lot more, not because of royalties, what are they? But because after a promo run the book is much more visible and has a good chance of climbing the trees of the amazonian eco system known as the charts.
As I write this, this current book promo run has been the most successful ever or all time. There will be a results post sharing what I did to achieve this soon.
If you like this time of year – lets face it Spooky season is great, then Cemetery House is the book for you. It’s part ‘Final Destination’, ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and ‘the Faculty’ all rolled into one. Set mostly in a creepy horror themed amusement park during Halloween, do I need to sell it any more? There is also some great characters and witty dialogue which is all wrapped up in one hell of a thrill ride that is written in the rhythm of a roller coaster.
I’m immensley proud of Cemetery House and the lack of reviews really doesn’t reflect how great this story is. I know I’m tooting my own horn here but for this book I have to until someone actually reviews it. You can grab ‘CH’ for 99 cents or the equivalent of that in your territory.
If you want to grab a copy, there is a link below or you can just copy this number and put that into your regional Amazon search bar: B07JZ6KTBL
It’s a new month and yet another week so with that in mind it’s time to share memes. Perhaps there’s something amongst all this you will find inspirational, either way September is going to be the busiest month of all time for me. If you hear the faint sound of an explosion in the distance around the 1st of October, it’s just me, exploding….
I suppose we can all relate, although things have been okay-ish this year apart from the global pandemic….. okay maybe I am in denial and I should just accept this year for the dumpster fire it is…
Ah, those tricky interview questions that require an answer outside of logic….
Don’t get me started with the Youtube. Would you like premium? Please start this survey, have another ad…. WE NEED A NEW VIDEO PLATFORM without these things…. do something, someone, oh hello Bill Gates…
Good ol’ Bill…. but windows 8 was crap… no hard feelings though, especially if that vaccine works and you create a new platform to rival Youtube! I’m not asking for much…
Feel free to copy and paste this all around writers, that’s what I did…. let us browse past the $10,000 part quietly….
And this here graphic shows August was my best ever month for organic book sales ever – no promo, no enhancements just natural sales!
Speaking of Book Sales, this month like I mentioned will be busy and will also see the release of my 6th book Darke Awakening which is part of the Order of the Following Series.
Other books in that series will be on promo starting with Cemetery House which will be FREE to download today and the next day – then discounted over the weekend. If you like a Halloween vibes type of read then check it out, it works as a stand alone also and it NEEDS REVIEWS!
You can also expect another Hall of Information Interview very soon! Stay tuned folks, stay positive but for the love of God do not test positive. Thanks for reading, hope you were moderately inspired. Peace out, rock and roll man!
They live on the fringes of society chasing and fighting the horror of what lurks just beneath the surface…
Their symbol opposes evil.
There are five corners to a pentagram.
This Pentalogy is governed and connected by those who look to expel evil from this world.
They are The Order of the Following.
These stories stand on their own but they are also linked….
Embrace the unexpected….
A story of survival of what lurks underneath the fringes of small town America. The sole follower arrives and leads an unlikely group…
‘Twister pointed to a small pentagram tattoo on her inner arm. Over the top was a more prominent tattoo of a crucifix. He then revealed the exact same mark on his arm…’
You’ve never known true darkness…
Vampires and the occult world; two pillars which are linked to the story of Open Evening while also cutting its own path through the lightless void…
‘Our following could benefit with more like you two. I shall give you a day to think about the choices you make. If no, then the sun’s power awaits you.’
– a man named ‘Hudson’ (Mayor of Darke Heath township)
Survival was just the beginning…
The lone Follower Twister is no longer a solo Warrior. His newly assembled group look to find answers about the evil that lurks below. Their story becomes aligned with the occult. They learn of Twister’s origins and the ‘book’…
‘Dreads gently took out a large leather-bound book from the felt bag. That was the first time I saw the symbol. You know, the pentagram with a crucifix over it…’
“If I can see you. They can see you…”
4. DARKE AWAKENING
Embrace the true darkness…
Everything you thought about these stories is going to change. There has been an awakening in Darke Heath and so the fourth corner appears….
The characters of these stories will collide in an epic cross over full of revelations, action and the occult.
Creatures, witches and vampires will collide!
It’s time to embrace the true darkness!
COMING SEPTEMBER 2020
The editing process of book number 6 has gone well. ‘Darke Awakening’ is a bold and somewhat incredible feat – if I’m allowed to say so. The work we do must give us some sense of pride and as I reached the summit of what was a second draft, I feel a little more relaxed about it.
When it comes to my own stuff, my main concerns when penning any story are:
1. Is this thing going to work?
2. How the hell am I going to market it?
Luckily when I drafted ‘Darke 2’ I put in a huge amount of effort in answering question 1. First drafts serve that purpose and now comes the probable difficulty in all of this – getting people to read it!
My marketing endeavours have historically worked to an extent and this time around I shall be looking at previous methods while also trying to find new ones. My audience is in a constant state of gradual growth which helps immensely.
Those in the loop will realise I have subtly prefixed ‘The Order of the Following’ on the end of Open Evening, Cemetery House and Darke Blood’s amazon page titles. And in order for Darke Awakening to be fully appreciated they need to be read first as it is all linked together in what is an ambitious crossover. You can expect to hear more about ‘The Order’ soon.
The hardest challenge an indie author faces is brand awareness and distribution. Translation- telling people your works exist and that they have appeal. That’s what I shall be doing in the coming months so watch this space!
For a while I can let it sit and go back to reading some awesome indie books. My current read is a book called ‘NightJar’ – its a wonderful foray into the English language, I urge you to check it out.
Those of the author persuasion how do you tell people about your works?
Halloween approaches, the leaves have turned and the temperature has began to recede. While the shadows do their best to cast over everything it’s time to embrace the season and the unexpected because both Open Evening and it’s sequel Cemetery House are free to download today and tomorrow only! (this is a one off deal)
Every published author has that book which broke them into the world of story telling and Open Evening is that for me. It’s a story in which I am immensely proud of and I pretty much got to work on making a sequel for straight after; that was after penning Darke Blood which happens to be set in the same world now known as the ‘Order of the Following’.
There are going to be more books based on these stories coming soon!
So what are they about?
Open Evening and Cemetery House are two fast paced reads of the unexpected and survival. They are about so much more than the horror that is on the surface; they highlight the social struggle of growing up along with what it’s really like to go through high school. As much as there is terror and action, they are stories of friendship, coming of age and above all life. Much of the stuff in this book represents the years I spent at school – so it’s real to an extent.
Its ‘Alien’ meets ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ ‘Final Destination’ and ‘Blade’ all wrapped up in some Halloween spookyness!
A recent review of Open Evening:
“If you ever found secondary school hard, then you’ll be able to relate to the main character. If you loved Buffy the vampire slayer, then you’ll love this book…”
Cemetery House then picks up literally three weeks after the events Open Evening. High School is over and those who survived have moved into the world of work while something else lurks just underneath the surface. Not only is this a sequel but in this one you get answers and the rabbit hole goes deeper into this world which will then lead into the Darke Blood sequel!
‘CH’ is ‘Jurassic Park’ meets ‘House on Haunted Hill’ while continuing on from Open Evening.
A recent review of Cemetery House:
“I really enjoyed this follow up to Open evening, gripping story definitely a page turner for me…”
This is probably one of the only times both of these books will be available together for free!
I’ve reached 2000 tweet machine follows folks! To celebrate I am giving away all 4 of my books!
Details are below. To enter head on over to my Twitter or check out the side bar >>> where you will find the promo tweet!
FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY! Celebrating 2K Twitter followers!
3 Prizes available
1. Open Evening & Cemetery House
2. Darke Blood
3. The Teleporter
All paperback copies will be signed. Entrants must provide mailing address.
To enter: RT, like and comment on this post and follow me (I’ll follow back)
The 3 Winners will be contacted this Friday the 21st of June 2019
Thank you followers old and new for helping me reach the 2000 milestone! In return I am running my biggest book giveaway ever!