Great writers deserve worthy tools — and if you want to publish a book, you’re going to need a lot more than just pen and paper! Luckily, there’s an author tool out there for every step of the publishing process, from organizing your initial ideas to formatting your final product.
This list avoids the obvious word processors like Google Docs and Microsoft Word, instead focusing on author tools that fit into more specific niches. They’re all either free or offer free trials, so you can test each one and decide which tools work best for you!
First on my list is a fantastic tool to help you jump-start your story. Plottr, as the name suggests, allows you to plot and organize your work in detail. You can chart character arcs and subplots scene-by-scene, with color-coded lines for easy visual comparison. Additionally, you can create separate notes for character traits, settings, and more. And if you’re not sure where to start, Plottr also offers over a dozen reliable story structure templates to help!
Pricing: Free trial for 30 days, yearly subscriptions ranging $25 to $65 (depending on the number of devices you use).
Evernote is another excellent tool to help you stay organized. Gone are the days of messy drafts and random thoughts crowding up your phone’s notes app — with features like to-do lists, PDFs, and voice notes, Evernote will lend structure to your thoughts for optimal organization and productivity. You can even sync your notes across devices so you’ve got your best-selling ideas with you at all times! It’s not just for writers, either; whether you’re jotting down a grocery list or brainstorming for a book, Evernote will ensure you never lose the plot.
Pricing: Free basic plan, $7.99/month for the Personal plan, $9.99 for the Professional plan.
3. Reedsy Book Editor
The Reedsy Book Editor is a free online production tool which formats your book as you write, producing a ready-to-print PDF (or an EPUB if you’re writing an ebook). With built-in goal reminders and the ability to work collaboratively with an editor, the RBE will help you stay on top of your writing schedule and keep all your work in one place. It’s the perfect author tool to try out if you’re looking for a clean, distraction-free interface to solve all your formatting woes.
Pricing: Free with email signup.
Before you find an editor, you’ll want your manuscript to be as polished as possible — otherwise you’ll end up paying for edits you could have done yourself. Grammarly is just the tool you need to nip these errors in the bud. Not only will it check your spelling and grammar, but the Premium version also gives tips on style, tone, and clarity. All this should make your self-edit go much more smoothly — and like Evernote, you can use Grammarly across devices and purposes, for everything from your personal manuscript to work emails.
Pricing: Free basic plan, $12/month for Premium plan.
5. Cold Turkey
Finally, if you’re easily distracted and need a little external discipline to help you focus (don’t we all sometimes?), Cold Turkey is your new best friend. It lets you block different websites and apps when you want to stay focused; this could be just Twitter, or the entire internet. Compared to similar tools, Cold Turkey makes it much harder for you to stop the block once you turn it on, so you’ll be forced to stay on task — which is honestly a godsend on days when you have to write, but feel like you’d rather do anything else.
Pricing: Free basic plan, $39 for lifetime Blocker Pro.
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with needing a little help with your creative process. With these varied new additions to your toolkit, you’ll be one step closer to finishing — and publishing! — your next amazing book.
Savannah Cordova is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world’s best resources and professionals. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories.
I’ve been promoting my books again and for the first time I had seven to play with. It is my belief that the more books an author has, the more promotional things one can do with them.
September 2021 served as a milestone month for me as it is five years since my words first graced publication. It is also a crucial month for many of my books as their genres tend to pick up around this time of year and look at that – a promo tip in the damn intro, horror, thriller, occult, spooky, ghosts, gothic – all of these start selling rather well from Labor Day onwards – that’s a public holiday weekend over in the US and for me the spiritual beginning of spooky season.
Like all of my previous book promo posts this will look into my plan, my results, how I got them and of course the most important part of any book promo – the longer term results. That’s part of the reason why this post has only just dropped, exclusively first on Patreon and then to the awesome followers on my blog. Let us dive in!
In any type of promo run its good to set out an overall aim while also setting a realistic or at least an achievable expectation but first of all and for beginners, what do I mean by promo run?
To me a book promotion run is when I advertise my books in order to sell them over a short amount of specific time. There are many inputs and ways to promote books and my process consists of paying for some advertisement every quarter or so while also reducing my prices to hook in new readers for just a few days. This quarterly or so method keeps sales from completely tanking to zero and while I am continually active on social media, newer readers are in theory always arriving onto my authory shores. I tend to sell books regularly via social media or mostly Twitter but not in huge numbers so I like a nice burst of sales every four or so months.
So on this occasion I would be running two price promotions simultaneously.
The e version of my debut high school creature feature horror ‘Open Evening’ would be Free to download celebrating five years since publication, for one day.
And the rest of my e books (6 others in total) would be reduced to 99 cents or equivalent for the whole of Labor Day weekend. In this category there are some books which are stand alone and others that are connected to ‘Open Evening’. Most of which are spooky season appropriate or popular all-year-round sellers.
Promo tip: Setting one book for free and advertising it will bring eyes onto all other books if you have any. Time and time again I have sold other books on my shelf while another was free. Discounting these titles pretty much guarantees some interest.
My overall aim was to sell as many books as possible to try and make an effort towards paying for the advertising I was going to use.
The Results Pt.1
The results of an effective book promotion run will last for days after the initial advertising dates but Pt.1 will look into the results of the first few days. So first of all let us look at the total.
As you can see the blue bar represents the free downloads for ‘Open Evening’ which managed 377 in one day across 6 different territories.
So that day broke a new record for me personally. This is the first time all 7 of my books were downloaded in 24 hours and every other book on my shelf although discounted made paid sales on the next day also.
Paid sales for Labor Day weekend are as follows below with my newest release and self help authoring and blogging guide book ‘Consistent Creative Content’ being the top seller followed by ‘Darke Awakening’ my newest release after ‘CCC’.
Let us briefly look at some chart movement which is an often overlooked part of these promo runs because good chart movement equals more visibility from passing trade.
Seeing as it was my top seller of the weekend ‘CCC’ made the best progress by hitting #10 in the Amazon US Writing Skill Reference chart which is a huge achievement because this chart is super competitive. I’m talking authors who do TedTalk’s normally head up the top spots.
Overall. I was happy with the sales of this weekend which led into several days after of sales which we will look into soon. But first let me break down what I did to get these numbers.
Methods of Promotion
My biggest tip when it comes to advertising books is to invest money. If you want serious results then you need to advertise seriously by spending. This is probably why I do this every four or so months. These days, I let my royalties accumulate and put them into advertising. It is also worth noting that being an indie author isn’t my primary source of income so I can afford to make losses financially with these promos – but to me there are no losses, just opportunity to find more readers and gain more traction as an author in the market – that’s what I’m really paying for.
Here are the book promotion sites/services I paid for:
‘Open Evening‘ – Free Booksy Horror Series Promotion. Cost $65 and this gives you an option to link all 4 books in the series which I did.
‘Consistent Creative Content‘
Bargain Booksy 99 cents Promotion. Cost $30.
Bookrunes. Cost $25
E Reader News Today – Humour Category. Cost $45.
Book Doggy. Cost £20
Total Advertising Cost: $185
As you can see my budget focused on evenly spreading the advertising. I could have run ads for every individual book but these three at the time were my most popular.
What else did I do?
Of course advertising via book promo sites is just part of my efforts. I also put out a blog post on here and various tweets throughout the weekend sharing various visual things. My Twitter following is over 15k which is a big opportunity for book sales. For those visual things I used these book banners in particular:
Book Banners are relatively easy to put together – I make my own using free stock imagers and Pixlr. Banners add just that little extra dimension to the visual appeal that may grab a potential readers attention.
The Books in my Order of the Following Series also have their own series page on Amazon – this helps for whole series visibility especially when one of the book in that series is free and the others are discounted.
Random Promo Tips:
Most book promo sites will ask you to include a brief description of the book that isn’t just the blurb. This is an opportunity to get creative and even mention that it could be a part of a series or that the rest of your works are currently discounted.
On social media think about terminology such as ‘For Today Only’ or ‘Exclusive Discount’. Stuff that embraces the gimmick of selling and stirs impulse. I always run a promo for just a few days to add a sense or urgency. Although Amazon will let you run a free promo for up to 5 days, 2 is enough.
Weekends tend to work really well post pandemic and so I like to include at least a Saturday as there is way more traffic online.
Existing reviews for a book really help sell more books – this is part of the reason why you see me put out a weekly Tweet saying how important reviews are. Most of my books have at least 15 reviews. This helps, big time!
The more books you have, the better things should be. Having just one or two books is much more of a challenge as readers tend to gravitate towards authors with more releases so get writing those books. This deal gets better with time.
The Results Pt2
Now it may seem like a paid quite a large sum to pay for some advertisement but all promo runs aren’t just about sales. Let us take a look at the most important part of a promo run – the aftermath…
From the 2 days before the promo and to the 8 days that followed I had at least 1 paid sale. This is 10 consecutive days of paid sales and new record. As you can see the rest of the month sales of the paid persuasion trickled in. Now if we compare it to the month previous…
The coloured bars may seem bigger but the numbers are drastically smaller for that month previous and this is just one of the things I am paying for with this promotion – extended visibility which in turn drives so much more.
September 2021 almost became another $100 royalty month and its not quite covered the cost of the promo but still a good portion of it has been recovered. Now let’s take a look at the wider scope in terms of royalties…
This 90 day graphic looks a little more promising but sales is not all that I am paying for because there is something else these promos drive and they are gold dust to authors and maybe worth more than a lot of money.
Reviews started appearing a few weeks after the promotional run, in fact 8 ratings for several different books came from this promo run which is a new monthly record and confirmation that this money investment was very much worthwhile. You can read a breakdown of the other reviews here.
Making money, getting more reviews, and sales takes time to master in the world of book promotion and this post is only just a snippet of years worth of work I have put in to figure all this out, that is without mentioning the work that goes into writing more books but, there is hope because this post above all shows that indie authors can sell their work and make money from it.
To me, book promotion runs are just a portion of what I do, perhaps even a small slice of a much larger cake that includes social media presence, blogging, reviewing other authors books and being a brand. There is always some work to be done in order to sell my brand and my works and remember that the more social you are on social media, the more someone will notice and eventually invest in you. Build trust and engage with others, that sells more than anything. Thanks for reading and peace out!
This post is based upon my own experience and circumstances on Twitter. Everyone’s experience and circumstances are different when it comes to twitter so this post is designed to help anyone who uses it for the sake of marketing. As an author myself, I very much appreciate the struggle of social media as a marketing tool and to sell books regularly takes a lot of presence and work.
While increasing my presence on Twitter over the past year or so I have began to form a conclusion in my own mind that the platform has a complex underbelly that favours those who use it more often, those who post often and of course those who use it for conversation. Twitter wants you to stay on Twitter and so when you try to divert others away from it through links, that complex underbelly kicks in – the word algorithm get’s used often when it comes to Twitter and now I firmly believe that under the right circumstances, if you share an external link on twitter and specifically via one of your own tweets, it will get less visibility – sometimes dramatically less visibility.
This post will do two things:
1. Lay out my own Twitter circumstances (my following count /tweets per day, etc).
2. Show you what I did to prove that Twitter reduces visibility on Tweets that share links and how to get around this in 2021 – no doubt this post will become outdated but you can still share links on Twitter and get good results. Everything is variable and subjective and this is just my experience.
So who am I when it comes to Twitter?
My circumstances are important to lay out because it will give you an indication of my engagement and activity on Twitter.
Top Tip: The more time you spend on Twitter, the more it will reward you eventually and this goes for tweeting more, commenting more and just being on there more. What to tweet about you ask? Anything…
My name is Lee Hall and I am an independently published author who probably spends way too much time on Twitter. Although I will say I enjoy being on Twitter and eventually I must have started doing something right because back in December 2020 I had Five Thousand Followers and now I have Twelve Thousand. My Tweets regularly get 20 to 40 likes or even more and normally a few comments – this depends on what I Tweet about and the time of day but generally I have quite a decent engaged following. Here are the numbers in clearer format:
Followers (July 2021): 12k – Mainly UK/US/Canada Time zones
Tweets Per Day on Average: 7 to 10
Hours Spent Per Day: I’d rather not say… but it’s a lot.
These three factors are important to note because firstly my following is a mix of time zones which means when I wake up only UK followers are around mainly so later in my day tends to bring better engagement levels as the US and Canada see sunrise.
Tweets per day is another big factor because the more you tweet, the more your profile will be pushed to followers. And well, hours spent, if you’ve got the time then do it…
Because I have spent so much time on Twitter over the last year I have started to realise that sharing links doesn’t always work out well and so I decided to run a test for a few months to see if this was the case.
‘Write a book and then share it with your social media following. Instant sales and success’
While the quote above might have been the case once, right now in 2021 it is so far from the truth and kind of makes me mad that there are people out there sharing this kind of ‘expertise’. Being a social media author who started at zero takes a lot of work, time, patience, effort and drive to reach any level of happiness with your results. The mountain is so high sometimes and the inner workings of social media are designed not to help you.
There are so many authors who will tweet daily about feeling invisible only for me to check out their feed and see it is full of links or they just sporadically tweet every other day. In this day and age that’s the equivalent of standing up in parliament and then taping your mouth shut before trying to give a speech. If there is just one thing I want you to take away from this post it is this:
Talk first, share links later.
And that is what my test is based upon.
The Actual Test
What have I been doing to avoid my links being silenced by the ‘algorithms’? Quite simply I’ve been following a two step approach.
1. Tweet something enticing about a link.
2. Put the link in a reply below that tweet.
Now I am going to prove to you that this approach works.
On July the 9th I set out to share a link in two different ways and at two different times of the day. The link I shared was for my ever popular blog post ’10 Ways to Sell a Book Without Dropping The Link on Social Media’. Yes I am aware of the sarcastic irony which I have a PHD in. Also to make this test fair, I used the same link, hashtag and set specific timings to simply prove how effective this two step approach is.
At 10:09AM UK time I put out this tweet with the link in the reply. Now my only major audience online at this time is the UK so there is generally less people around to see this tweet. I did this deliberately – you’ll understand why below.
At 07:00PM UK time I put out Tweet 2 with just the link – by this time the majority of UK, US and Canada Time zones were in daytime hours. So you’d think this tweet would get way more attention and this is after several tweets went out during the day.
I deliberately gave Tweet 2 the advantage of a much bigger audience being online and so you’d think this would work in favour of that tweet. Now I left both of these tweets until today (13th July) to harvest the statistics and so here they are.
As you can see this time with the numbers its looking quite good. And now with the statistics of this tweet….
The ‘Detail Expands’ tells me followers were enticed by this tweet and moved on to the reply where the link was contained….
The ‘Link Clicks’ is the important number there which is also quite high for me. Now let’s take a look at Tweet 2
As you can see, very little activity for a Tweet that I put out during ‘prime time’. And so here are the stats…
And the numbers are dramatically less than Tweet 1. These numbers were taken on the day this post was published.
The Supplementary Test
Okay, so I have tried my best to do my own ‘fair’ or at least decent enough test but here’s some a supplementary extra. because there will always be someone trying to refute me it seems.
Yes this is Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and yes he put the link in the comments below the status. Now I know this is taken from Facebook but if the man who basically founded social media in part is doing this, well it says it all really…
I’ve had my eyes set on putting a blog post like this together for a while and from the numbers shared above I can pretty much confirm that link dropping on Twitter most of the time will have an adverse effect on a users numbers. Let me stress that this is entirely dependent on your circumstances which I cannot speak for. Most of my guides are based upon what I have done and learned.
There is hope when it comes to link sharing because right now there is a simple way around it. Tweet 1’s two step method of an enticing tweet followed by a call to action and then sharing the link in the reply is an effective way to get traffic clicking on that link. There are also a plethora of methods to sell something without sharing a link all the time. Hopefully this post has at least stirred some thoughts about how to better get something from social media when it comes to link sharing.
Thanks for reading and you’ll find some further reading below.
Further Reading (Because I kind of have a family to feed…)
If you enjoyed this post then you’ll probably enjoy and get something out of my self help guide book for authors and bloggers. Consistent Creative Content is written with you in mind and will hopefully guide you to results that you are happy with. Here are some recent reviews and click on the billboard for the US link. Everyone else, just search Consistent Creative Content Lee Hall on Amazon – this will boost my key word relevancy
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…
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.
Decent pro cover art
Catchy title that matches genre and cover
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:
Reach out to book bloggers for a review – offer a free copy in exchange. We don’t bite…
Friends and relatives are a great starting point for reads/reviews. Ask them to help.
Read and review other authors works – many writers will repay you because that’s just manners (don’t expect this though).
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…
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.
Okay, here goes the blurb reveal for Book 7 which is a self help guide book for authors and bloggers. Pre-order now for a discounted price!
Best-selling indie author and blogger Lee Hall shares his journey of experience in this part-memoir part-guidebook that aims to inspire and inform budding wordsmiths at any level. From the basics of blogging and authoring all the way to advanced social media methods and marketing; this book is filled with good practical advice, top tips and effective strategies. You’ll even find some never before shared resources to help navigate your way to authoring and blogging success in the social media age. Subjects include:
Basic and advanced blogging;
Basic authoring and a publishing overview;
Social media for authors and bloggers;
Book marketing and the art of indirect selling;
Book promotion strategies. Including worked examples;
Building your own turning point and identifying when that ‘wave of success’ is coming;
Plus, a whole host of resources with links to the various guides and tutorials Lee has published via his highly successful Hall of Information blog.
After selling hundreds of books and getting thousands of blog views, you’ll discover how Lee Hall published six books in five years through a detailed road map and how he put together the building blocks of success to sell books and gain social media traction. This easy-to-read guide will inspire the modern-day author and blogger to achieve the same by carving their own path and all you need is Consistent Creative Content.
‘You can do this, quite simply because I did and you might even leapfrog anything I’ve achieved…”
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…
E Reader News Today
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
Armadillo E books
E book Booster
It’s Write Now
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
Discount Book Man
Free 99 Books
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. I have a self help guide book coming this May, so watch this space.
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!
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..
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.
A new blog series emerges, out of the unknown void of creativity where I sometimes have ideas…
Let’s talk about writing. You’re probably not going far and neither am I.
So while I’m here and you are (hopefully) let’s use this time to reflect on writing, after all it’s what most of us blogger types do.
Personally there is no full proof blue print to teach someone to write. You have to find that within yourself but I can sure as hell talk about it and hopefully pass on some ‘wisdom’ about the craft. If you tuned in to Twitter recently you may have seen my recent thread that 4 people probably read all about that first draft.
It’s easier and relatable to think of writing in a way that everyone can. So for this post, we are going to use the analogy of cooking to represent writing that first…
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…
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?
Book Promotion websites that offer paid advertising. Websites listed below.
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 sitesso remember to do your research.
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.
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 3I 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 existingreviews 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.
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!
Reviewing 41 books in just over 10 months is up there with 2020’s finest moments for me. These days book reviews are the anchor of premier content for this blog and they make the whole thing seemingly tick. Not only do they provide content that an audience likes but with book reviews comes a plethora of opportunity.
Although I’ve said writing more books is probably the best advice I can give for marketing, first of all you have to convince people to invest in you before they’ll invest in any of those books and so comes that opportunity. Reviewing books by fellow authors will get you more personal investment than any marketing trick or tip out there. It proves you want to contribute to the industry and be a part of it. You’ll be seen in a trustworthy light, and with trust comes loyalty. This will take time and all good things do.
Let’s face it, if your an author you know the struggle to get reviews, if your a blogger you know the struggle to get reads, I know it too and so I set out to fight back by helping others as I would wish to be helped – that’s all this is and the road to being taken as a genuine and respected figure in blogging and authoring is paved by giving back. The best forms of engagement rely on being genuine, honest and giving without expectation. I’ll say that word again trust. Commenting on another blogger’s post will sometimes make their day and most of us know how much a good review can help an author’s general mood.
And what do I expect in return – well here’s the wonderful thing, I actually expect nothing back because reviewing and helping authors is done out of mutual feeling so if I get anything out of it, that’s a bonus. This whole deal is a state if mind and importantly above all I’m reading wonderful books – something I have loved doing most of my life. If you can fashion a passion into a worthwhile cause then you are a better person for it. There have even been better outcomes than selling books or getting reviews because now I regularly connect with authors through email, twitter and this blog. Some just want to talk while others run ideas by me, not that I know much but I’m happy to help.
To all the authors I have connected with through reviews and social media endeavours, you were the one’s who got me interested in your work and pushed me to this achievement so thank you. Where do we go from here? Well the year isn’t out yet so you can expect this Hall of Information blog to do what it always does, to review more books!