A year in the life of a Guidebook

Time. Our closest ally and perhaps most fickle of masters. Any creative will know that you need it for near enough everything and when it comes to books, time really is a friend.

This weekend will see the one year anniversary of Consistent Creative Content being released. The guide book that could and in that time has become the most successful first year for any of my releases. An ambition to create an honest guide for indie/self published authors and bloggers like me slowly burned inside over some years. I could go as far back as 2017 and recall sharing my book promotion results across social media to a positive response – and that is the basics in which this is all built upon. If something is well received, do more of it.

By the time 2020 rolled around, there came a realisation that perhaps some of the things I have learned could benefit others who are in different stages of their creative journey. What if I just wrote a guide that laid out everything I have done to publish books, promote them and of course everything I have learned as a blogger on social media? The concept above everything is a snapshot at providing some reassurance that fellow creatives are on a path to something representing improvement.

Being open and honest about my results, both good and bad has catapulted me to a following and success I’d never imagine. That might be what I am known for now and you’ll be surprised how being open and honest wins the day online these days and CCC represents that and much more. This book was the first project I’d written for others whereas everything else on my shelf was mainly just for me. At release, my Twitter following hit 10,000 and now a year later it is about to hit 30,000 which hopefully proves the methods in the guide book that I use daily actually work.

Initially the release was digital only and this was only because at the time my sales were mainly digital. Of course the pre-order run was kind of a revelation as it managed at least one order for every day of the run which was rather incredible. But after an outcry from readers, the paperback version arrived in December 2021 and then came the deluge of paperback sales – the lesson here is simple, if you don’t allow yourself to have the availability in the first place then nobody will buy what you are selling.

Through the challenges being a social media indie author represents, this book has succeeded in reaching some of those who could benefit from it. The reviews speak for themselves and are in a number that I’ve never seen in year one of a release. At the very core of Consistent Creative Content is a very important message and that is to be proud of your journey and achievements no matter the size or significance. You can find success you are happy with in both blogging and self/indie publishing as well as social media.

This generation of social media creatives is breaking barriers and carving their own path to success which is possible for anyone as long as you dedicate yourself and of course take the time.

You can expect some celebratory things this weekend including an exclusive narration of Consistent Creative Content over on my Patreon – this will be free to listen to. There will be a few other things too.

To all of those who have supported my guide book, thank you.

Further Reading:

Pre-order and Release Guide

First Pages of Consistent Creative Content

Twitter Coaching Sessions

The Teleporter turns 4 Today

Time flies when your busy reading, writing, tweeting, blogging and just trying to survive this world. Today marks the 4th anniversary of when I took a huge plunge into the unknown by releasing a super hero comedy novella called The Teleporter. Today, it is my most successful book.

The truth is, I really wanted readers to enjoy and find something within that at least made them laugh just once because comedy has brightened my life so much over the years and if you can laugh at just one thing every day, even if it is in the mirror like me, then you’re probably doing okay. Back when I began this indie author journey, there were just two stories that kept nudging me to write them, one of of which became my debut and the other became The Teleporter which at the time and probably even now is a far cry from my usual genre of horror, thrillers and stuff that seems darker in tone. When I wrote it, I just wanted to have some fun and come away from those darker tones.

There is a lot of advice going around in the writing industry about staying in genre and not pushing boundaries too far from your usual stuff but The Teleporter goes against that grain and took me out of my comfort zone. While some ‘industry’ advice does work for all, following your heart and your creativity is important because anytime I have created out of my comfort zone, things have eventually gone well. After an initial release that saw less than 20 sales in the first month, I was convinced very early on that I had failed. 2018 Lee was a different, less patient creative who had no idea about the path that was coming.

It is never too late for a book to find success and The Teleporter is proof of that because just over a year after release, BookBub selected it for a featured deal. A BookBub featured deal is a huge thing for any author and is often referred to as the holy grail of advertising deals. For a very small time indie author to have a book I thought nobody liked selected by BookBub was a truly special moment and then in 2021 they selected it again – at the time, it had around 20 Amazon ratings. These two moments are what I always draw to whenever I have any doubts because if a site like BookBub who often feature literary giants like James Patterson and Stephen King say yes to my book, well then I must be doing something right.

And today there aren’t many doubts about this book which was downloaded over 10,000 times in a single day for that second featured deal. Just some days later it then became a Best Seller on Amazon and just months after it hit 100 Amazon ratings. Every month since that second deal which was the best business decision I’d ever made, The Teleporter has always sold copies and to me is the greatest proof that it is never too late for a book to find success.

To all of those who have supported this super hero comedy, thank you.

You can read all about how I secured that 2nd BookBub Featured Deal here.

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:

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!

5 Great Author Tools Worth Trying At Least Once by Savannah Cordova

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!

1. Plottr

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).

Lay out characters’ individual arcs with color-coded threads, referring to the upper-hand
chapter headings to keep track of when each plot point occurs. (via Plottr)

2. Evernote

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.

Formatyour book with chapter headings, an auto-generated table of contents,
and even front and back matter for when you publish. (via Reedsy Book Editor)

4. Grammarly

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.

Cold Turkey also provides stats on which websites and apps you use the most,
so you know which platforms are most important to block. (via Cold Turkey)

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.

Featured Image via: by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Book Promotion Results – September 2021

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!

Aim/Objective/Expectation

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
The first copy of Open Evening has aged less than the author…

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’.

131 Paid sales makes September 2021 the 2nd greatest month of all time for sales. The 1st being April 2021 – you can read how I got those numbers here.

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

The Teleporter

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.

Final Thoughts

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!

Essential Self-Help Book Rec’s for Authors

Sometimes consulting the Google isn’t enough and my top advice for anyone looking to learn a new skill or to even hone their current ability in anything is to pick up a book about it. The non-fiction market is huge and also packed with some very handy guides about the intricacies of authoring and publishing.

This is my 600th Blog post and it is dedicated to showcasing the best self-help books I’ve read over the years, from the one that inspired this blog to Amazon algorithm optimization all the way to a part memoir packed with awesome practical writing tips; these are essential self-help book recommendations for authors…

‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ – Stephen King

Okay, were starting with a relatively high bar and even for those who say they have never read anything by possibly America’s greatest storyteller (near enough everyone it seems) you’ll find something worthwhile in this book. Even though it’s relatively short for a Stephen King title this memoir takes us through his early days all the way to finding success as an author. We even hear about his near fatal accident – thank the Lord he survived! The focus is on his journey while every so often giving hints and tips throughout – some are even basic practicalities like where you should situate a writing desk! What I enjoyed the most about this book is the clear admiration King has for the craft and writing style while also mentioning other authors. For anyone at any level in writing this book is essential trust me!

‘How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market’ by Ricardo Fayet

If you want to seriously earn money in authoring then this is the guide for you. It literally shows you the calculations on how you can convert a hobby into a potential career through the right marketing channels. Recently reviewed on here and for Reedsy Discovery this book is basically an extensive extension of Reedsy’s guides and blog posts that dive into everything you need to know about selling books and where to do it. From ‘going wide’ to Amazon chart optimization all the way to having readers find you. This recent release is essential if you are serious about writing as a career.

‘Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing’ By Catherine Ryan Howard

There aren’t many that know the Hall of Information blog was inspired by this book which I read way back in 2014. After a hugely successful career as an indie author, Catherine Ryan Howard has sort of become the benchmark for me in terms of success. She even secured a six figure publishing deal and the wonderful thing is her career started as an indie author. ‘Self ‘Printed’ is now into it’s third edition and because of the wonderful advice within that led me here it deserves a mention! You’ll find specific guides on how to format and publish books via Amazon all the way to selling, of course this is accompanied by a fun style of delivery – just read the blurb and you’ll know. To me it’s essential and something I even go back to every so often.

‘Amazon Keywords for Books: How to Use Keywords for Better Discovery on Amazon’ by Dale L. Roberts

Another Reedsy Discovery find and it’s an incredible eye opening resource for those published via Amazon – most reading this are and this book homes in on the power of Amazon’s search bar/key word optimization. This is just the tip of a big iceberg that deep dives into how the world’s biggest book retailer functions. The easy to understand writing style explains Amazon and that finding readers is just like having a conversation with an old friend you’ve got a lot in common with – trust me, Dale explains it way better… My verdict after reading this one is that I’m not using Amazon correctly and the knowledge I gained was essential and applied straight away! Here’s my review.

The wonderful thing about the writing industry is that no matter what level you are there will always be someone looking to support you. All of the authors above do just that and so if you are in doubt, you are never far away from a fellow scholar looking to share some much needed clarity and advice.

And so that wraps up my essential list of self-help books for Authors. If you’re looking for some further reading and a few more author resources then check out my own section dedicated to such. Let me know in the comments if you have any self-help book rec’s for authors.

Pre-order now!

It might be a tad indulgent to include my own title in this post but I also have a self help book for authors and bloggers and you can now pre-order it for a discounted price.

How I landed a deal with Bookbub!

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

Lee's Hall of information

As an author you probably don’t have to go far from the Google to find out what Bookbub is. For those not in the know, Bookbub is referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of book promotion sites and even more so for readers because it’s probably the most prestigious book connector site out there. And what’s even better is that they near enough guran-damn-tee returns on their investments…

From very early in my indie author career I tried and tried to land a promotion deal with them. Those lucky enough to land a deal report of a good amount of sales and even returns on the investment of a Bookbub ‘featured deal’ promo. Just looking at some of the ‘requirements’ for acceptance is pretty damn intimidating, with some even boasting you need 50 plus reviews, but…

Its all about looking the part and persistence…

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None of my books have anywhere…

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‘The Pirate Captain – A love story’ by Jill A. Logan – Review

A feel-good swashbuckling fairy tale style romance of the seven seas…

The Pirate Captain is an easy to read short but fun tale that follows the journey of young lady ‘Avalee’ who escapes her abusive confines and empty promises made to her for an education. From the first page we get a lot of information that helps set the scene as her life transitions from that confinement to escape and the terror of being on the run to an eventual destination; that being a stowaway on an infamous Pirate’s ship.

After some quick thinking our heroine disguises herself to fit in and talks her way into joining the crew of this vessel. She changes her name and spends her days adjusting to the life of a pirate in sometimes amusing and possibly disastrous ways that almost reveal her true identity. All the time ‘Lee’s’ journey unfolds a slow burning admiration for the ship’s captain begins to form into something more.

The strength of this story is the slow build towards an eventual romance which runs the course of an enjoyable tale where the worst of situations in life bring the best possible outcomes. Nearer the end it get’s a little steamy making this one probably better suited for a more mature audience. My only real critique is that the story does tend to tell as opposed to show but for a shorter book that works.

4 Stars -Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads.

A guide to getting published: Part 1

Hello friends, today’s post is a re blog all the way back from 2017 although it’s still very relevant today. As I continue to research and put together a blogging and authoring guide book, this is just a snippet of what you can expect for bloggers and authors of all levels….

Lee's Hall of information

Very recently I was asked in person about my experiences of being a published author. What does it take to reach that moment of holding your own book in your hands?

How do you go from imagination and thought harnessing all the way to print?

Thinking about it, if we can go deep only for a few reflective moments and if I were to turn around and look at the road that lays behind me. Just beyond that moonlit horizon is a whole series of stories and experiences that made up my official journey to publication.

This series of posts is a guide of how I did it, what I learned, what went well, what didn’t and above all and like everything in the world of ‘publishing’ it’s subjective towards the beholder. By that I mean there is more than one way to get ‘published’ and be ‘successful’. There are…

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