Book Promotion Results – April 2022

And so I’m back to share my most recent book promotion results. Those who do follow me on Twitter might have seen my efforts last weekend and so I am here to share my results with a hope it may help a fellow author.

Brief Intro

For those who don’t know me, my name is Lee Hall, I’m an indie/self published author of seven books from the UK. I’m a huge believer in helping and supporting other creatives in the community and the majority of my success has come from building trust with others. I also never give up and my dream for the world to read my words is getting closer by the day. Using mostly social media, I regularly sell books around the world but every now and then I’ll give those books a little extra help by way of some paid advertising.

Some Basics

So what do I mean by book promotion? Well to me, book promotion is a large umbrella of variety that covers many different methods to sell books. As an indie and someone who began this journey at zero much like many of you, I have determined that sometimes, selling books is really hard but not impossible. Its all about visibility and making people aware of your work.

There are a plethora of ways to increase your visibility and the majority of mine comes from Twitter where I have over 25,000 followers – something I spent a long time working at growing. From this, I normally manage to get sales roughly every other day which is awesome but every now and then I like to give my books a bigger push.

My Aim

From the seven books I have published, four of them are a part of the Occult Order of the Following Series which is horror/thriller in genre. My next release is going to be the fifth and final book in the series and so my aim for this book promotion was to increase my sales for theses titles.

How?/Methods

So how was I going to promote these 4 books? By way of some paid advertising. Over the years I have used many different book promotion sites which are basically websites that offer a range of advertising for a fee while some are free. Many of these sites have access to large mailing lists which can help get those books in front of newer eyes. This method normally focuses on selling digital books and my e book sales have always been stronger than paperback.

Basic Tips:

Generally, the more books you have available, the more cool things you can do to try and sell them.

Free is good for visibility: For those who do have a series like me, pricing Book 1 for free in digital format and then discounting the others to 99 cents or equivalent will help sales. Book 1 will most likely attract readers who then will hopefully check out the series. Those with e books enrolled in KDP select will be given a number of optional days each period to price your book for free.

Create a Series Page: Amazon allow you to create a separate page for your series which also helps for visibility. Having this link to share helps direct readers to your work. Here’s mine.

Time and Urgency: Running a promotion for just a short time really helps create a sense of urgency – Amazon allow five days for a book to be free but one or two is perfect.

Invest with Money: I’ve said this before but if you want serious results, sometimes you have to spend money for that.

Spread across Platforms: When I run any promo, normally I create a post on here where my 900+ followers will see. I also do some stuff on Instagram and of course Twitter. This cross platform spread helps get the word out.

Book Banners: Book Banners work quite well for a nice visual that can be shared across social media. Combined with a professionally designed cover, they help. I created this banner myself and there are plenty of decent online Photoshop sites out there along with licence free image sites like Pixabay.

Who did I advertise with?

For this promo which I ran for just one day on Saturday April 9th 2022, I advertised with Free Booksy and their awesome series feature which allowed me to link the rest of the books in my Order of the Following Series beginning with Open Evening (Book 1) which was free.

Stacking Promotions: Normally during any promotional run I will advertise with multiple sites, this is known as stacking, but for this promo I used just Free Booksy. They offer a range of advertising services and not just for series.

This was the first time I had used just a single advertiser. And so, on with the results!

Results

There are two main ways in which I look at the results. Firstly the free downloads of Book 1 Open Evening:

Just 3 downloads shy of 300 for a single day with just a handful over spilling the next day was a fantastic result. With 6 different territories taking part and considering this was a promo with a single advertiser, I am happy. But, did the free promo entice any paid sales for the rest of the books in the series?

The answer is yes! And I haven’t seen that many paid sales in a single day for quite some time and because I have never ran a series promo with just a single advertiser, this is a personal best!

The most popular title seemed to be Book 4 Darke Awakening which had a rather quiet release back in 2020 and proves my theory that it is never too late for a book to find sales!

Now the best indicator of a good book promotion run isn’t the day of the run but what happens after. And a good book promo run will continue to bring in results for some time after. Seeing as this run was only a few days ago, here are some more results:

After a very dry spell in terms of KENP page reads, they finally sparked to life. All of my fiction is on Kindle Unlimited and so that extra visibility has boosted page reads!

It might be unrelated but the day after the promo, my super hero comedy The Teleporter hit 180 Amazon ratings! So perhaps this promo even brought in other books in my bibliography.

Factors for Success

With nearly 400 digital copies of my works finding readers, let us look at why this promo run was a success:

All of my works have professionally designed covers which is a must for that first visual impression. Check out Design For Writers – they do some fantastic work and have done all of my covers;

Some reviews help and every one of the books in the Order of the Following Series have at least 5;

I have a series page on Amazon which means all of the books in the series are in one place;

The price reduction across the series pretty much guaranteed a few readers looking for a bargain to grab them and because this was a one day only deal, the urgency probably motivated that;

I invested money in the promotion and sometimes you have pay serious money to get serious results;

My social media game was on point. Not only did I put out a post on here but during the day I was active on Twitter and made sure my audience knew about the promo.

Final Thought

I do hope this post has helped in some capacity because marketing and selling books is an uphill struggle for most of us. These methods seem to help but there is always something else to do be done. You can only do what you know at the time. My advice would be to take your time and try and few things at once. It is never too late for a book to find readers and my first book Open Evening which was released in 2016 is proof of that!

Thanks for reading!

Here’s a short list of resources that will hopefully help with your book promo efforts:

A list of Book Promo Sites

Book Selling Troubleshooter

Free Book Promo Guide

You can also find a whole host of book marketing and social media advice in my guide book Consistent Creative Content which can be found on Amazon!

Free and Discounted Books Today Only!

Book Promotion Activated! Hello kind readers and followers, I have decided to take the plunge into some book promotion to celebrate reaching 27,000 Twitter followers and you’ll be able to grab my debut horror novel Open Evening for free today but that’s not all! You can also grab the three other books in the same series for a discounted price for today only. Details are below!

Today Only Open Evening is Free!

Open Evening was my first foray into indie/self publishing and serves not just as my debut but a tribute to horror films from the early 2000’s. If you enjoyed ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and ‘The Faculty’ you’ll most likely enjoy this one. Fans of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Alien’ will also find something to enjoy about this book which is also a partly semi-autobiographical tribute to my own school days.

“As soon as you open this book, it will grab your attention!”

Recent Review by Ellen Khodakivska

This book is also just the beginning of my wider occult Order of the Following Series with the 5th book planned for release soon. The three titles from that series are exclusively discounted today in digital format.

Head on over to Amazon and give one of the above titles a search to grab yourself some discounted or free goodness and if you do, remember to leave a review! Peace 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!

Relaunching Patreon

I’m bringing back my Patreon. Those who have been around since last year might remember that I took the plunge into starting one and now I’m ready to return to it. My initial vision to start a Patreon was simply an experiment and now with everything I have learned, I’m diving back in.

So just what am I offering on Patreon and what is Patreon? Good questions and simply Patreon is a subscription based platform where creatives can earn an income for their work. There will always be those who roll their eyes or turn their noses up at the concept of creatives making money and I’m not doing it for that but simply because my guides have value – you won’t be able to find what I have on offer anywhere else. I used my Patreon to release author/social media guides and a little fiction, some of it was free to read while others are behind an affordable pay wall of just over £1/$1. That content is still available including a whole book.

Time constraints and the fact my social media following was a lot less back then kind of forced me to re-think and put together a brand new strategy for how my Patreon would offer the very best in guides for fellow indie authors at an exclusive level. Now my Patreon will feature guides and specific coaching based content that will be found nowhere else. Very soon I am going to release a series of audio based guides that will provide detailed coaching on Twitter for creatives – a subject I know a lot about. From selling books/content regularly to reaching more followers, I’ve learned a bunch which I will exclusively pass on to Patrons. Those who do sign up will get regular shout-outs on my Twitter in front of 27,000+ followers and will also have access to all future content on Patreon.

I don’t see this as a cash grab as my subscription fee is very affordable but I do see my work as valuable to those who need it. I’ve spent many years working to this point and above all, I am incredibly excited to help fellow authors and creatives.

Right now I am working on updating my Patreon page, but here’s the link if you wanted to take a look. You can read some guides and the entire novel ‘Last Outlaw’ a book that I will probably publish next year.

You can expect to hear more soon!

Books not selling? A Troubleshooter Guide

Sometimes it can feel like you have done everything you possibly can to try and market and sell your book which can be difficult, especially for those who are self-published or indie because most of us have to face marketing alone.

There probably is always something else to try when it comes to marketing books but the problem might be before that. This post is a troubleshooter that will hopefully lay out why a book might not be selling by focusing on the basics. It is taken from experience which for me is nearly 6 years of being indie published with 7 books that have all sold well. Let us dive in…

The Basic Anatomy

To me there are no real rules when it comes to books but over the years I have concluded that they need to be a certain standard or at least have basic anatomy to have a chance of selling. That anatomy can be seen as two separate entities. Firstly the visual basics:

An enticing book title that matches the genre;

Professionally designed cover that also matches the genre;

An enticing proof read blurb.

Most probably my favourite book cover…

And secondly, the internal basics:

Professional or some level of editing that is reasonably practicable;

Professional or some level of formatting that is reasonably practicable.

These five basic things are important to get right or as right as possible depending on budget but I would say if you want to publish a book well then you need to invest in the right services. These five basics will eventually hook at least one reader in to the point where they might be interested in buying. If you think your book has these things, then the reason it might not be selling could be a little more subjective, so let us look at some more subjective factors that factor in to selling books.

Partially Subjective Factors (visual)

A fair price;

Book Rating/Amount of reviews.

Pricing and reviews can be an enigma sometimes. Price too low and readers might not think the book has value, price too high and readers think you are just in this for a cash grab. To me, the price and the rating kind of go hand in hand with review quantity being the key here. If your book has over 100 reviews, the chances are it has sold well and proven it can sell well so you have scope to maybe price a little higher. This stuff has no real concrete answer as it is based upon the individual book and author but my suggestion would be to experiment regularly with pricing.

In terms of average rating, for books, again it can be quite subjective. My book The Teleporter dances between 3.8 and 4.0 stars on Amazon regularly and has only gone up in sales as the quantity of reviews has grown. The Teleporter is my most successful book by a large margin.

I would say as long as the basics are mostly there, these partially subjective factors won’t effect your sales too much unless they are at the extreme (really high or low priced) and I call them partially subjective because over time you can work to improve these things. Reviews coming in should make the sales situation better while you also figure out the perfect price, so what else is there to troubleshoot?

Social Media

This deserves a whole section because a majority of the time, the reason a book isn’t selling is mainly due to visibility or lack of, so you have to ask yourself the question: what are you doing to sell your book on social media? Or sometimes what are you doing not to sell your book on social media?

Conduct

Being on social media and being published places you in the glass house that is the public domain. So now it is time to think about what we say and do at all times. Everything you say online; good or bad, positive or negative will most likely be seen by your following and may effect your sales – for those on Twitter, the majority of followers will see an argumentative response – this stuff tends to be overlooked and of course freedom of speech is something I fully support but my advice would be to keep things light on social media.

What can you do to sell books on social media?

The good thing about social media is that it is busy. Things move quickly and so its important to remind your following and the wider platform users that your book exists. You could just drop a link everyday but that will probably be buried by the social media platforms as they would prefer to keep you and users right there so its time use a little variety.

These seven things are a week’s worth if you spread them out because variety is key on social media- keep it light, conversational and occasionally about your work. Click on my tweet to see seven more ideas. As you can see, all of these things don’t mention dropping a link, if you can, put your book link in your bio or somewhere easy to find – algorithms on most platforms tend to suppress links sometimes.

My biggest tip about selling books on social media is to focus on convincing people to invest in you first. If they enjoy your content such as good conversation or even a little positivity that will go a long way towards selling. Consider social media platforms your stage and your books are available out in the gift shop.

It takes some effort and time to build a social media presence so what else can you do to sell books?

Check out my coaching sessions for more inputs on selling via Twitter

Quick-fire short term and long term Miscellaneous troubleshooting

(Lot’s of Things to consider)

Have you thought about advertising?

If so is it paid?

If so, is it with a reputable advertiser?

Have you thought about a temporary price reduction?

Is it just for a limited time? (this works well)

If so, have you informed your social media following?

Are you consistently present on social media? (this helps)

Are you supportive of others in the industry? (this helps build trust and trust helps sell)

Do you have multiple books available? (this helps)

Do you have stand alone and series books available? (this really helps)

Have you really considered whether your book really has the basic anatomy?

The final troubleshooting question is in red because if you have tried all of the above without a single sale then it is probably something before such as the basic anatomy or even social media conduct. Understandably Rome was not built in a day but eventually if you follow the advice in this post you will sell at least one book, I am 99% confident of that. Now this is all subjective which is my favourite word when it comes to publishing anything and means nothing is guaranteed.

The majority of my guides are received mainly by beginner or debut authors and so I will say this whole deal gets better over time. One slow release doesn’t seal your fate in publishing and especially after just one release. If you really want your book to be read you need to get yourself out there and more importantly create new content. This journey got way better for me after 5 or so releases and even then the results were slow. Regular blogging and social media posting drives my sales and this isn’t my day job but I treat it like one. Today I sell books roughly every other day and that is driven by the fact I have kept going.

Concluding Points

To conclude in as simple terms as possible, your book will most likely sell if:

It has the basic anatomy visually (pro cover, enticing title and blurb);

It has the basic anatomy internally (editing and formatting);

You have a decent conduct and regular presence on social media;

You try as many ways as possible to market yourself and that book.

Keep going, keep writing and don’t give up. Someday someone will read your work and it could change their life!

Thank you for reading, there were plenty of opportunities above to include links to my various free-to-read guides but I would prefer to leave them below so it does not interrupt the flow of this guide, so here they are:

A Guide to Selling Books on Social Media

The Twitter Campfire Analogy

Book Reviews: Some Quick Tips

A concise list of Book Promotion Websites

And finally, you’ll find the Basic Anatomy of a Book mentioned in detail via my author/blogger guide book Consistent Creative Content which is a concise, one-stop-shop for everything I have learned in publishing:

A Guide to Selling Books on Social Media

Writing and publishing a book is an incredible achievement and then comes the daunting task of actually selling it to readers. The truth is, that part is really hard sometimes and finding ways to sell online and through social media really is a challenge.

Marketing is often dismissed by authors because they tend to think they are no good at it and that’s okay. For many years I thought I was terrible at cooking until I followed a coherent and simple recipe to realise with some practice and effort, cooking isn’t that hard. The same can be said about book marketing. With some perspective and a little consistency, selling books online is possible and even fun. I’m someone who regularly sells their books through social media and I’m going to share with you my lessons and observations that will hopefully help you.

We will look in detail at using social media as an author and selling books online while also analysing why some authors struggle.

The Misconception

Whether you are self or trad published, you’ll probably appreciate the work that goes into firstly putting a book together and then the wider journey of marketing. Authors are expected to do a lot of that work but there is a slight misconception or at least a lot of advice that is over simplified or out of date.

Write a book and share it to your social media audience – Instant Sales

This statement although paraphrased is probably why a lot of us fail or at least feel like selling books is a struggle. Oversimplified advice from 2009 is just a Google search away and social media tends to echo stuff like this. On Twitter, authors in their droves share their book links every day and then newer authors see that and do the same and so forth. The truth is, and I realised a while back is this:

Just because your book exists and is published doesn’t mean it will sell a single copy. Take that expectation away and your view on the whole deal will be a lot easier. I know you worked hard and I know you love that story which is okay because the first person who should appreciate a good book is you. But to me, most of the time, dropping that link on social media is in vain. Yes there will always be exceptions and there will even be some that live by dropping their links but from my experience, I sell my books with the link holstered most of the time. Dropping links can still be valid on occasion but it does tend to bury my engagement on twitter at least.

Analogy: Just because there is breathable air doesn’t mean your body will just absorb it. You need to work for it by using your lungs and wider circulatory system to deliver that breathable stuff around your body. I know lungs function mostly without us being conscious of them but you hopefully get my point. And so the same can be said about that book of yours. Social media is an opportunity to make readers firstly aware of you and then your work. I like to say social first and media second.

The Basics: You and Your Book

You

Social and media are two separate entities and so are the basics in book selling which are you and your book. Firstly when it comes to social media, conduct takes precedence over anything else. And by this I mean day to day behaviour and general presence. Attitude good or bad sticks out on the platforms and for Twitter where I spend most of the time, it is quite easy to read between the lines of someone’s profile and tweets to gauge their attitude. I often have authors interact with me who say they are struggling with sales and have tried ‘everything’ for me to see their recent interactions were arguments, heavy opinion and generally an attitude that doesn’t help their image. Or their recent activity is just book links over an extended period of time.

While it can be great to share and of course freedom of speech is something I support, social media tends to make you visible and that is both good and bad. Being an author in particular will put you in a glass house sometimes, especially if someone takes offence to what you have said. Now you are published it is time to really really think about what you say online.

Over the years I have conducted my own set of rules when it comes to being an author on social media. These include:

No real heavy opinion on anything that can lead to passionate discussion/arguments. My seat on the fence is comfortable;

Be approachable, supportive and mindful for others and mindful of what I am posting at all times;

Do my best to inspire, inform, entertain or give some level of value;

Be consistent – show up regularly.

If you follow most of these basics, you will eventually find followers which in turn may become readers. And the wonderful thing about social media is the quick results – when you post something you’ll pretty much know if it was good or bad by the end of a day if not sooner. Those with smaller followings may struggle with this to begin with so remember to use relevant hashtags to boost visibility. And because there are so many users on social media, there is always opportunity to reinvent yourself for newer people. This method is long term and takes time along with some patience. If you are looking to sell masses of books quickly then you are in the wrong place.

Your Book

So if you conduct yourself in the ways stated above you are set for at least more positive social media interaction and visibility which go hand in hand and also contribute towards selling books eventually. The main problem we all have is spreading awareness to the masses that our books exist. We will look into the finer details of expanding visibility below but in order to sell your media or have a higher chance of it selling then it will need to have a decent anatomy.

The basic anatomy of a book is something I mention in my guide book Consistent Creative Content and if yours has it, then eventually it will sell. These are:

A stand out or unique title that fits the genre well;

A professional attractive cover;

An enticing blurb;

A reasonable price;

Editing/proofreading to the point that is reasonably practicable.

Some of the above can be outsourced for a reasonable price. I have always invested in a professional cover using the services of Design For Writers. They also offer book formatting and even website construction among other wonderful things. For some who might be on a tight budget you can find some wonderful creatives online who might even help you for free – my most recent release was proofread and beta read by some awesome connections I have made online and for free.

The Everyday Things

So you’ve got the basics and now it is time to face the daunting task that is marketing yourself and that book of yours. There are so many ways to get yourself noticed along with that book but I would suggest picking a handful of methods at a time and seeing what works. Over time you’ll find what suits you and this really is a voyage into the unknown for many.

When it comes to social media all you really have to do is stand out to get noticed. Getting noticed will result in visibility and visibility will equal sales or engagement .

Easier said than done right? But how?

I turn up on social media every day. I keep my visibility boosted by using Twitter and have built a following of over 20,000 by putting in the time. The majority of that following trust me and have got used to me being there all the time – I’m not addicted honest…

These Everyday things increase my visibility:

Timing – know and understand when the majority of your following is online – this is huge for visibility;

Visual content such as screenshots of recent reviews, excerpts, book banners and covers, paperback selfies or pictures, memes – variety is key here and don’t over share the same thing;

Well wishing/positivity – reaching out to your following and hoping they have a good day will bring you closer to your followers and increase engagement on your posts. This also proves that you are human and when everyone else is sharing book links a little variety of the pleasant kind can be nice;

Supporting others – being supportive of a fellow follower is a great way to earn trust, get some visibility for you and others while also building some trust. Plus for me it feels good helping others;

Reply back when you can – this became a revelation for me but if someone puts in the effort to comment on your post, do you best to think of a reply, even a simple ‘thank you’ will help boost both parties;

Sharing links in a tactical way – Instead of sharing a link on a post or tweet I either drop it in the comments/replies below or tell my audience that it can be found via my bio/profile – this is huge on Twitter especially;

Use relevant hashtags – there was once a time where I would always include hashtags on all of my posts and they help boost visibility. These include #writingcommunity #author #booktwitter #booktwt #writerscommunity

Book Selling Related Solutions

Having all of the above will eventually and most likely lead to sales but what about specifics? Here are some things you can try to help sales:

Run a price promotion – from a free promo to a price reduction they are usually effective with some advertising and the right terminology (today only);

Share a plethora of content about your book – from cover art and banners to the blurb and even the first page, this stuff makes for some great material to attract readers;

Write a stand alone book – marketing the 3rd or even 2nd book in a series is difficult and attracting new readers is a huge challenge. A stand alone story will eventually attract new readers. This also naturally leads into having more books available will increase the chances they sell.

The Longer Term

Time sits above everything and I firmly believe there are no real quick fixes to selling books on social media unless you have stacks of cash you are willing to throw at it and even then there is no guarantee. Over many years and books I have grown towards regular sales, reviews and social media followers by spending time doing the above. It isn’t easy and there are so many authors like you and me who want the same thing. Even that can help us because our togetherness sometimes makes us stronger.

Social media is an opportunity to succeed but requires work to figure it out. If you really want readers and success then you’ll find a way to get there. Find your crowd, earn their trust and stay visible – these things will eventually help you sell books. Of course there are always exceptions that are good and bad. Try and keep trying because eventually you will succeed. That’s all I have done and here I stand selling books on average every two to three days.

This post is long enough without really dipping into the physical selling side of being an author and I run the risk of repeating already published information which can be read on this site for free. Below you’ll find some links to guides that I have created through the many lessons I have learned over years. Thank you for reading!

The following guides will help with physical book selling:

A Concise List of Book Promotion Sites– mostly good places to advertise online

Book Release and Pre Order Guide – got a release coming up, this is worth a look…

And these free to read guides will help with social media:

The Twitter Campfire Analogy – conversation turns that twitter machine into potential sales

10 Ways to Sell a Book without Dropping the Link on Social Media – my most popular guide these days

And for those who want a more detailed view of my journey, this book lays out how I published 6 books in 5 years and how I use social media to sell them regularly. Available now in both paperback and digital.

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!

Weekly Ramble #129

I’m hanging on down in dry county… Truthfully, this whole author blogger social media plant requires constant watering if I want any type of flowers. The rain being how much I put in but the measure is determined by my following and how they receive my content. Sometimes no matter how much you raise your game, it just feels like you are wading though semi-dry concrete.

There are no reasons for me to complain because this year stands as the best ever but it is a grind and a constant one and as soon as you let off, everything drops to zero. I suppose the demand to keep going does make some fall of the wagon and its understandable. Very little reward for constant work can bring anyone down but those who do keep going throughout the droughts and rains will find something good eventually.

Social media success if forged by presence and reaching out to others. Conversation and interaction, giving and helping. All of the things that make us human are what help us succeed in the virtual world that we are becoming more and more reliant upon – something I enjoy and embrace. With this year nearly coming to an end, I just got to keep hanging on no matter the weather.

Let’s Talk About… The Free Book Promo

Ah, the freebie, a normally guaranteed way to stir any type of consumer interest or so they say. This post will look in detail at the free e book promotion – something I know a thing or two about because since being published in 2016, I have run the free book promo 16 times… Yikes, that may sound like a big number but spread out over 5 or so years it has served me quite well. Let’s talk about it…

By definition, the free book promotion to me is the concept of setting the price of an e book to zero. This can best be achieved through Amazon KDP and if your digital book is enrolled in KDP select then you are allocated up to 5 optional days every period to list that book for free. I have highlighted the ‘optional’ part because although 5 days seems like a good amount, in my eyes the shorter amount of time a book is free, the better – this taps into the whole impulse purchase and urgency thing which is quite important in selling anything. Creating a sense of impulse and urgency in a free promotion will increase the likelihood somebody will want to download your book.

So, is a free book promotion worthwhile?

There are plenty of authors I know who will never offer their work for free and that’s fine in my eyes. I suppose its a case of weighing up your individual options against the factors for success. For me, I don’t earn a living through the books I have published, in fact I am nowhere near that yet, so making money as a self-published author right now is not on my wish list. But gaining a readership is and if my free promotion is executed effectively then that is exactly what will happen, eventually, in theory, maybe…

This whole thing is subjective, so remember everyone’s situation is different.

I tend to use the word eventually in most of my author situations because this really is a long game and hopefully with my results below you’ll see that. Before we look at the results which have improved over time, there are several factors as to why a free promotion can be a success. Here are the main ones:

Type of Advertising/Budget

Probably above everything else, the who and how much you spend will dictate a lot of a book promo’s success. Higher end book promo advertisers also have higher quality readers who leave reviews like BookBub. Budget will also determine how much reach it will have. In my eyes, for a free promo, I’m going all in so the money I spend will be returned eventually through reviews, readers and even social media follows. You can find some of the book promo advertisers I have used here.

Combinations

The second major factor in all book promotion is combining different methods – what I mean by this is perhaps playing around with the price/advertisers/books available. This is where book promotion runs can be deemed a success or not. In the many times I have run promos I have also reduced the price of other books or even advertised the free book before and after a promo. Just free is great, but other combinations are even better. I nearly always ‘stack’ my promotion too – this means using multiple advertisers over several days.

Social Media Reach/Activity

The higher and more engaged your social media following, the better it should be for any promotional stuff. Me; I’m pretty much addicted to Twitter and my following of nearly 20k does help. At a glance, the more you put into social media over time, the more you get back. If your profile gets bigger, more people are going to be interested in your work. Building trust over time online will create a fanbase eventually. How? Here’s a guide for that.

Genre/Time of Year

A wintery ghost romance probably won’t sell much in the height of summer but it will during the autumn and winter months. Genres and seasons do tend to go hand in hand. From late September all the way to Halloween works really well for horror and thrillers.

Length of Promo

I mentioned above that being enrolled in KDP Select will allow you up to 5 days every enrollment period to use for free promo but the shorter the promo run, the better. Impulse and urgency sell books that are on a price promotion.

Reviews/Ratings

Most of my free promotion runs saw better results after a certain amount of reviews. There is no fixed number but having over 5 will help a little. The more reviews a book has the better in theory. In terms of ratings, anything over 3.5 stars average rating should do quite well also.

Bibliography

My top book promotion advice is to have more books available and the more you have on your shelf the more a potential reader will invest in you. Even if their first read from you is free, if the experience is enjoyable then they may just return as a paying reader next time.

Make it Easy for the Crowd

Have you ever offered a physical book or two for free to your social media audience? From a signed paperback to an advanced e copy? Was the response mostly crickets and you weren’t sure why? There’s something about singling people out and then offering them something because every so often it doesn’t work. People don’t tend to like being singled out and so a free e book promo makes everyone feel part of a crowd with way less reader pressure.

Worked Scenarios

We’ve looked at the factors now let us look at a few real life free book promo examples. When I ran my first free promo back in 2017 it was kind of a stab in the dark. Something I have tried to improve over the years… (the book selling, not actual knife things…).

Scenario 1 (2017)

Book Title: Open Evening + Darke Blood (Both Free)

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 6 (UK only)

Length of Free Promo: 5 Days

Month: September

Books Published: 2

Budget Spent on Advertising: $70

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 2,500

Facebook: 300

Result:

Open Evening Free Downloads: 713

Open Evening Paid Sales After: 12

Darke Blood Free Downloads: 144

Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 29

Conclusion:

A very good first attempt at a free promo. Although pricey, 800+ free downloads and then paid sales after for both books was a win in my eyes. Turning a profit at this stage is difficult and not a priority. This was a good entry level free promo and to me anything over 500 free downloads for a book is good. You can read in a little more detail about this promo here.

Scenario 2 (2019)

Book Title: Darke Blood (with ‘The Teleporter’ free on the final day)

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 10

Length of Free Promo: 3 Days

Month: September

Books Published: 4

Budget Spent on Advertising: $100

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 2,900

Facebook: 400

Result:

Darke Blood Free Downloads: 3,403

Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 2

The Teleporter Free Downloads: 88

Conclusion:

An excellent result. 3000+ downloads for any book in that space of time is huge. Capped off with the last minute free promo of The Teleporter on the final day – this proved my theory of eyes being on any other book you have published during a free promo – remember combinations? That’s a major factor for success which you’ll see in the third and final scenario. You can read my detailed report on this promo here.

Brief Interlude

While the above two scenarios are impressive in terms of numbers, the free promo gets more valuable when you have more books available. By the time of the next scenario (April 2021) I had 6 books available, 4 were part of a series and the free promo and a book series go hand in hand for combination stuff. This next scenario is also after my BookBub Featured Deal which was also a free promo and resulted in 10,000 downloads of The Teleporter in a day. Time is your friend with this stuff and you’ll see how my results shifted below.

Scenario 3 (2021)

Book Title: Open Evening with rest of the series discounted to 99 cents or equivalent

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 27

Length of Free Promo: 1 Day

Month: April

Books Published: 6

Budget Spent on Advertising: $165

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 7,000

Facebook: 500

Result:

Open Evening Free Downloads: 940

Open Evening Paid Sales After: 2

Paid Sales of other books in the Series on that day: 176

Total Paid Sales that month: 230 – A record that still stands today.

Conclusion:

You can see from the results that the free promo kind of takes a different role because the other books in the series all sold from that initial visibility. You can create a series page on Amazon that links all books in that series together – let Amazon do the work with this, they have the infrastructure so take advantage. Paid sales pushed all of my books up the charts and to better visibility and the best thing is this book promo broke even the next month. April 2021 was my first $100 royalty month and then the second was May. You can read about this promotion here.

Page Reads

Often overlooked is the concept of e book page reads with can be tracked via the KDP sales dashboard. As you can see from mine and historically they have spiked and even sustained after every promo run since 2017. With more books and promos this can become quite an opportunity while also tracking results.

Final Conclusion

From the scenarios and factors laid out before, you can make a free promo very worthwhile. Of course there have been plenty of not so great promos but they are all part of the journey. You just need a backlist, a budget and some tactics. So in conclusion and for an effective free promo, these things work well:

Minimum time – 1 or 2 days work fine. Impulse and urgency. Think of it as an occasion;

More books helps sell all involved. Discounted prices if its a series. Combinations;

Paying for advertising – kind of a no brainer, plenty of good book promo sites out there. Stack them over some days;

Social Media Following – helps but not essential;

Reviews – Some reviews help.

There are always a few anomalies and variables for the individual but everything laid out above should help to sell books. I have found running a free promo works best every quarter or so and over time it can help grow a readership. These days my book sales are regular and mostly at full price all because I started with the free promo some years ago and built a foundation from it.

Thank you for reading. What are your experiences with the free promo? Any lessons or thoughts?

If you enjoyed this post I have stack of more promo scenarios in my author/blogger guide book which is available now!