A guide to book promotion

The thing about life and doing stuff means that sometimes you gain experience. And to be more specific, when it comes to writing books (I currently have 2 published with 3 in the pipeline) I have learned all sorts of crazy, funny and sometimes important things. I’ve dabbled many times in sharing my experiences all things publishing and this post is indeed another branch from my resources section.

This is my guide to book promotion…

First of all the results I got from my various endeavours is subjective and dependent on a lot of things. This includes: the type of book you are promoting, the state of the market, timing, pricing, quality of product and how it looks, how many reviews, yada yada yada.

A lot of things have to align pretty well for any book to sell, even thought there are snake like marketing tactics to trick people into buying things. You wont find any here, just honest experiences, ideas and tactics.

STEP 1 

Firstly you have to decide what you want. For me personally and my two books, I wanted people to know they existed, quite simply. Thousands of sales would be great but I realistically want to shift enough books just to know they are being read. A majority of 2017 I spent trying to figure out the best way to promote both of my books and truthfully my sales were god awful. (Basically near to zero).

I went from near enough nothing to a maximum of 600 plus sales in 1 day! Hell we even hit number 1 in the occult charts at one point. And there’s no proven secret, you just need to do your homework and that’s the next step.

STEP 2 – RESEARCH 

Now where did I do my homework? Goodreads!

image

There are hundreds of discussion boards/groups amongst the grand depths of goodreads full of mostly up to date and historic information. One particular group I joined; ‘Support for Indie Authors’ is packed to the rafters with stuff. And for the first time in my writing life, I knew I wasn’t alone.

This group is full of not only valuable tutorials but it is run by people who have been there just like you, their books haven’t sold either and they discuss it, vent and share. This is the wonderful thing about the modern age we live.

There is a section dedicated to book promotion, and so I got to work deciding how I would go about promoting my books. I wanted people to know my product was there so how would I do that?

I was willing to part ways with some money, not a lot mind, say around £50. How would I know my money was being put to use, I consulted the discussion boards where people tell you results and now here I am.

STEP 3- DECIDE 

I put together a short list of promo service providers. Websites and companies who specialize in promoting books via websites and mailing lists. Some of them promised over 10,000 eyes would look over their newsletters alone. I made contact with ones who looked genuine; many of them have a process such as a form making it all the more easier. I will list my results further down.

STEP 4 – IMPLEMENT 

I timed my booked promotions with a view to eventually give the e-book of Open Evening away for free. I enrolled in KDP select for both books and set up dates for them to be free (5 days in a row). (I only intended Open Evening to be free but Darke Blood was also for a time). Everything was organised and so I waited for the promo dates to roll by.

STEP 5 – TRACK SALES AND RESULTS

Book sales began to trickle in. And so here are the results and who I used:

Before books were free: 

Book Doggy – Cost $10 – Book sales – 21 (not bad huh?)

Bargian Booksy – Cost $43 – Book sales – 21 (somewhat pricey compared to above..)

Fiverr – Cost $5 – Book sales – 3 (Probably not worth it again, but lesson learned)

The 5 days my e-books were free:

Bookwerm – Cost $10 – Book sales – 10

And then things went a little crazy, by day 2 I had sold 83 books and then that number kept growing until my final day of being free. Open Evening was downloaded 629 times. We hit number 1 and many post downloads came in after! oe 1

So there it is, Open Evening officially arrived and I was only just touching the surface in terms of promotions. But this is the beginning.

The good thing about kindle is that you can also track pages read, and so here are my results…

people are reading

As you can see people are reading my book. Which is what I wanted from this, just to let people know it exists. When it comes to promotion of books, the job is never done. And there is always someone who has been in your situation.

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Design For Writers Review: Judging a book by its cover

No matter who you are, the first thing you do when judging something is by looking at the appearance. Now I’m not saying we are all judgmental like its a bad thing, this is just a fact.

When the wheels were put in motion for the publication of my first book OPEN EVENING, which arrives on the 29th of this month (or if you are reading this after, where have you been? Either way thanks for reading so you can stay), I set out to find the best possible way in which to display my book.

Many of my publishing inspirations have come from a particular author and blogger known as Catherine Ryan Howard. Her website is a very valuable resource for anyone looking to self-publish or even get published. Her book titled Self Printed is a fantastic guide to publishing. Even if you are curious about the process this lady knows it all so check it out. Saying that her recommendations pointed me towards Design for Writers.

design-for-writersJust their Facebook page alone will show you their wonderful capabilities and so I made contact. At this moment in time I wasn’t particularly sure what I wanted my cover to represent, in all the time of me having this story the tag line would always be ‘Embrace the unexpected’ so how do you depict that in the form of a cover?

Well design for writers have a wonderful way of gathering information about the book (they need to in order to create). Upon initiation of the project; I was invited to an online collaborative base camp. My objectives were clearly laid out along with the various stages of the whole development all the way to final proofs.

When taking on a project like this it is imperative to know the ins and outs of the book. After all the writer is the creator but without everyone else they are just idle words.

The objectives I needed to divulge information with included who I thought the target market would be, reader emotion when reading the book, tone, cultural references, particular poster scenes, perspective, themes, protagonists, synopsis, key words, blurb, genre, setting, point of view, ideas towards a cover, similar books, good design types and even bad.

So you probably get the idea that it takes a hell of a lot of detail to make a decent cover!

Saying that my experience from beginning to end was entirely pleasant and the people I dealt with were always helpful, contactable and professional. There is plenty of stuff I don’t know as a first time author so their patience and understanding was very much appreciated.

Working in the base camp allowed me to see the emergence of not one or two versions of a cover but three! All of them awesome in their own right but after much deliberation not only from me but close friends I came to the choice. Then came the blurb and finally the whole thing pulled together. The gradual piece together process gave the real essence of work in progress which resulted in a fantastic final product.

The cover of a book, especially in this age of ‘I want entertainment now!’ is a synonymous part to the success of it. In my case  its mysterious but also somewhat suggestive towards what the story is about. The colour scheme is eye catching but not too bright and overall it does the one job its supposed to, act as a great eye catching cover. You could sum it up to say the cover of my book OPEN EVENING is simple but very effective! 

Design for writers were wonderful to work with and well worth the investment of money which will only help towards the eventual goal of my stuff being read.The total price I paid was £249.00. which is way worth it for the cover I have.

Things are rolling towards publication day and if you want to be a part of it then join me at my online book launch event via Facebook!  My #YearOfWriting continues….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Simpsons Guy, a Review and I changed my name, sort of

Hello and welcome back to Lee’s Hall of information. I spent much time this week pondering as to what I was going to put into my blog this week. A wet, rainy and wild Monday morning hit me with a cold slap in the face with the realisation that winter was on the doorstep. But something else hit me.

When I first opened the Hall, back when the temperatures were hotter and the sky was somewhat brighter, so were my prospects of becoming self-published.  But Monday something hit me, with reference to the whole L A Hall author thing. Who the fu** is L A Hall? My name is Lee Hall and I don’t really give a flying frig who else is named the same, that’s me and that’s who I am. (I then marched upon Facebook, twitter and wordpress and changed my name accordingly to what it’s supposed to be!)

Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project is written by Lee Hall and Lee Hall only! Ah Lee Hall, nice guy (likes the sound of his own name and voice though)

Since coming back from my holiday and the start of this series I haven’t been involved in any writing. One of the key ways of surviving as a writer is to take a step back every now and then. The brain is also a muscle and many of us like to go to the gym and work on our muscles. But in order for them to grow a little rest is needed.

Soon it will be time to shortlist a group of agencies for submission. Of course a brand new synopisis will feature and I shall share that with you good people.

As I do send off my work, a week to week report will feature on the blog, tracking my progress, if any.

Please check out my resources section.

 

The Simpsons Guy

Television crossovers are a very rare and fragile thing. When I heard the news that Family Guy would cross with the Simpsons I was immediately intrigued as to how they would achieve such a thing.

the simpsons guy

 

For 24 years Matt Groening has delivered an animated television show that in my terms can only be described as undisputed. From politically loaded satire, to guest voices all the way to spoofing everything including itself. The Simpsons has achieved everything, even managing a box office smash film and then proceeding to recover and carry on.

How in the world is anything supposed to stand next to what the show has achieved? That’s what I asked myself, then an already cancelled once animation show came along. In many ways it echoed the Simpsons but Family guy is somewhat different. The themes are consistently adult and yes the spoofing and political satire is there. Throughout the late 00’s family guy began to snowball into something of a large following.

So I looked for what would make such a TV event work. To me it was what the two shows shared and what they had in differences ultimately made this wonderful viewing.

homer vs peter

Both families differ in so many ways, that when their scenes together were happening it was simply magic to me. It slotted together ever so well. I found myself enjoying what was unfolding on screen. A longer than usual running time, but this was needed because both families to me are larger than life. This was the moment when Family guy finally stood shoulder to shoulder with the Simpsons. And what I like the most about it is, the Simpsons can live with that.

I think only a certain age demographic will appreciate the Simpsons guy, but I recommend it to all that have seen either shows, just for the fact that it’s a massive writing undertaking and a great achievement by all involved. I look forward to the Simpsons Futurama crossover.