Weekly Ramble #99

Things are shaping up rather well for Book #7. It’s edited and pretty much ready for BETA reader eyes. Only then will I really know if we’ve got something good. Perhaps that’s always been the thrill for me, putting out a book and not knowing how it will be received.

Fashioning everything I have learned in both authoring and blogging has been something I’ve had to re-visit a number of times since August because the learning curves are still emerging from this journey that’s continual. Figuring this whole deal out from scratch has given me a bunch of stuff to write about with hopes just an ounce of it will be effectively passed on to someone who needs it. In this world of authoring and blogging online there is no better feeling than helping others and then seeing them succeed. I’ve said before a victory for one author is a victory for all.

Reviews are still coming in for The Teleporter which seems to still be selling even at a higher price. Perhaps soon I should do another promo run just to capitalise on the exposure it continues to have. The only thing is now, that book has a huge amount of reviews compared to everything else. I should get promoting them. New eyes seem to be on this blog and near enough every effort I have online, it’s kind of strange…

A Concise List of Book Promotion Sites

Book promotion sites are a great way to advertise a free, discounted or full priced book. Over the many years of promoting my work I have built up quite a list of sites that have been effective in helping me get some much needed sales or downloads and now it’s time to help a fellow author.

What are Book Promotion sites?

For beginners Book Promotion sites are an advertising method that utilises a large reach of people through email subscribers or their site might get a lot of traffic because it’s popular. The general consensus with these sites is that they advertise something that’s either free or discounted so you’ll need to organise pricing depending on what a site will offer. Some will advertise your work for free while others will charge. Basically you are paying to use their voice which is probably louder than yours. Having sold more e copies of my work than paperback I’m inclined to say book promo sites focus mainly on e books.

This list is broken down into three different tiers. The high end, the middle of the road and lower end. They are listed this way to reflect on price and overall effectiveness. My tip would be to use sites from all 3 tiers in a single promotion for the best results. All of the sites listed can be found through a quick Google search.

The High End…

BookBub

E Reader News Today

Freebooksy

Bookrunes

Robin Reads

Except for the early days, every one of my promotional runs has included one of the above sites. BookBub particularly are very hard to get in with so be warned. Their featured deal if you can get one is the ‘holy grail’ trust me. You can read more about BookBub here. Some of these sites also expect your book to have some reviews but check their specific submission policies for more info.

Price Range: Anything north of $40

The Middle of the Road

Pretty Hot

Armadillo E books

E book Booster

It’s Write Now

Awesomegang

Bookwerm

Bookdoggy

Bookhippo

Ask David

Book Angel

Book Bongo

These sites are probably the most effective for the money I have paid. Using a few of them in one promo can be particularly effective. Not all of them will charge you a fee also.

Price Range: From $10 to $25 – dependent on the package/ some sites are free

The Lower End

Indie Book of the Day

Book Goodies

Discount Book Man

Bookzio

Whisper reads

Free 99 Books

Reading Deals

This is Writing

While this list is classed as the lower end that doesn’t reflect fully on how effective they can be when stacked alongside other book promo sites. They are down here because all of them offer a free package.

Price Range: Mostly free but up to $5

Book Promotion sites are an effective way to market and drive sales for a book but they are not the only way to sell. You can read much more about marketing, book promotion and all things writery over in my resources section. I have a self help guide book coming this May, so watch this space.

My top tip when it comes to marketing is to focus on getting people to invest in you as a person by being active in the author arena online. This can be as simple as leaving a review for a fellow author’s book or having a presence on social media. Look after fellow wordsmiths and they will do the same.

If you haven’t got a platform or blog for leaving reviews I have just opened submissions for them on this site which gets thousands of views. There’s nothing better than authors promoting each other and so I will promote you extensively if you have a book review or article you want to publish.

Of course thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the next one!

Bookbub Featured Deal Promo Results

Well that was a ride… and I’m partially still on the rollercoaster of emotion, sales and everything else that comes with having your largely unknown book thrust into the hands of the mainstream… this is my reflection, review and hopefully knowledge passing-on post about how my Featured Deal with Bookbub went. Let’s dive in…

The who’s?

For those who just want to know the results, scroll down. For the finer detail start here…

Firstly who are Bookbub? In a sentence-ish; they are a big time distribution site that advertises books to a huge following with a somewhat promise of actual return on investment – they are hard to get in with, very hard and their featured deal is considered the Holy Grail of promotions. You can read more about them here in my post explaining how I got a featured deal… Authors can sign up to Bookbub, create a profile and then list their books. People can even leave reviews for them…

Who am I? Well for those who have arrived on this blog’s shores for the first time, hello, I’m Lee, I’m from the UK and I am an indie author of 6 books so far. I’m relatively unknown although I’ve been around for a few years now, my books have a moderate to small amount of reviews – I’m a small time scrappy underdog of an author trying to get the world to read my stuff and I don’t give up… In terms of book sales, I’ve sold around 1000 since 2016 through my various promotional efforts. I’m nowhere near earning a living from this but one can dream right?

Who were bookbub going to Feature from my backlist? My super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’.

The Deal

After somehow agreeing to advertise my book, Bookbub agreed to feature it on Saturday the 6th of February in all their major markets. The US, UK, Canada, Australia and India. It would be advertised as Free to download and so I set the price to zero for that day. Because I have other books available I set them to 99 cents a piece also…

Top Book Promo tip: A Free book promo is a great way to get a lot of downloads. It’s a please all method that many folks will grab. Personally I tend to keep my free promo day’s few and far between – once every quarter is probably enough and even then for me it will be a different title every time.

The Result…

I’ve always had a rather funny relationship with Lady Luck. On the day of the promotion I was struck down with a rather bad spell of food poisoning. Even in my reduced state I managed to do some tweeting and social media-ing but things were not great for me, we’ll go into what I did to promote the deal below, however in terms of book promotional efforts let me refer you to the graphic…

I think we can all agree 10,000 plus downloads in one day for a small time nobody like me is pretty damn incredible. Now I know it was free but normally my reach for a promo like this is 10% of that. Damn, that’s a lot of downloads! The free downloads trickled into the next day with 580 more by the time the price went back up to 99 cents.

If my maths is correct and if 8000 of these readers actually read The Teleporter fully then I am set to make about 3 Grand from page reads…

Final Free Download count: 10,926

Due to my state of health I couldn’t properly track chart positioning’s during the day of the promo but it went to #1 in multiple territories. But that’s not all. For the day I set the price of my other books all to 99 cents or equivalent and they sold!

As you can see the numbers aren’t huge but every book I have available sold for actual money and so here comes another top tip: When promoting a book for free make sure you set your other works to a discount – this will near enough guarantee a little interest. Of course this only applies if you have other titles, if not grab that pen and get writing more books!

Here are the final figures of everything I sold after a week:

It’s quite funny that I only sold 1 paperback out of 10,000 sales. Thanks to whoever bought it, you are literally 1 in 10,000! Basically every sales record was smashed during this run with sales happening for a record 9 consecutive days after and so that brings us to…

The Aftermath

Now the immediate results were awesome but the real result of any book and it’s promotion is best measured over time. Boy this is where the real rollercoaster began…

Literally on the day of the promo KENP page reads shot up. From an average of 20-50 page reads a day to hundreds, the 10,000 readers had began their journey but that’s not all. Now The Teleporter was in front of newer eyes it began to sell even after it was free. Every day after the promo for a week it sold.

This is where a free promo or any promo will pay off because the exposure has pushed the book a lot further up the charts in front of new eyes. And then after a few days came the crowning moment…

The orange label of destiny found itself attached to my scrappy little underdog of a book. The Teleporter had become a best seller and made me, a best selling author… while my food poisoning had subsided and I was seemingly on cloud 9, things weren’t all celebratory…

Lessons learned the hard way….

Wholeheartedly, if I were to do Featured Deal again, I would. The results above you can see have turned a corner for my authoring career but and although I am relatively thick skinned there came a point where reviews started coming in and not all of them were positive. In fact the rating across the board for The Teleporter has dropped a little. It appears only the folks who didn’t like it are leaving reviews…

Lesson: When you present the mainstream with a free book they will download it no matter their taste. They see the price first and perhaps nothing else. Some of these folks might not like what they read and they will express that in sometimes scathing, hurtful reviews. This started to unfold by day 4 and it’s still unfolding, although there’s were so many more positive reviews, the negatives are the one’s we dwell on… As an author I know the reality of reviews, I am also an adult but sometimes things folks say can hurt. That is probably the one warning or take away I want anyone else to have from this: the more your work is exposed to the masses, the higher chance you’ll find someone who doesn’t like it. That’s okay and it’s normal because the whole literary industry is built upon it’s favourite word; subjective. Those who have left scathing reviews don’t really provide me with any valuable feedback so it’s kind of pointless. Either way it’s also quite hilarious to see people react in such a way for a comedy. It kind of makes me want to write a sequel just to get back at them.

Comedy is probably the most subjective genre out there, the gulf of different reviews has proven that. The highs have been high and the lows have been scathing – people really will tell you if they didn’t like a comedy… combine that with it being free and the emotion exploded. My author friend Karl on Twitter explained it way better than me..

Like most things in life we skim over the bad and embrace the good, and so that’s what I will do now…

The 2nd Aftermath…

I’ve never received so many new reviews in such short time. The amount of ratings The Teleporter had was below 20 and now it’s growing, good or bad, a rating is a rating. Here’s a couple of the better one’s…

But that’s not all because the aftermath kept on aftermathing…

By day 9 The Teleporter had crossed over 50 ratings in my home territory of the UK – just another awesome achievement. Ratings above all are proof of readership.

Factors for Success

I’ve explained everything the best I can but for anyone looking to successfully promote a book via Bookbub or not, this is the section for you because now I shall delve into what I did and why it worked… Some of this stuff might feel like a repeat but this is what you need to successfully promote your book:

Pro cover art work and banners to boot: Selling books starts with the visuals and people do judge them by their covers. I have invested good money in my cover art work and it looks great. Design for Writers deserve the credit for this but you need a pro looking cover to sell books! Combine that with a shiny banner and you are set.

A badass social media game: Due to my wonderful engaged following on Twitter I am currently killing it with tweets regularly being liked by hundreds of folks. Things have really stepped up recently and so that has to be taken into account for the success of this promo!

Distribution: The greatest struggle an author faces is making the world aware of their works. What did I do to spread that awareness? Of course Bookbub helped but I did these things also:

Used my mailing list: I have an email list of 80 or so readers. On the day I sent them an email with the above banner and information on where to buy my other discounted books.

Utilised that social media following: On the day I put out a blog post, put out a post on Facebook and plastered the link all over twitter to over 6000 followers. Using the right hashtags can increase visibility big time. In particular I took advantage of the #shamelessselfpromo movement that happens over on twitter at the weekend. My tweet is below:

Took advantage of having a backlist: The best way to sell books is to write more and have more available. Not only did folks download The Teleporter for free but they bought the others that were discounted.

I didn’t just rely on Bookbub: Okay Bookbub’s reach is awesome but I really wanted to make sure I got the most out of this promotion so I also advertised The Teleporter on a range of other promotional sites. Some were paid and others were free. They were:

E Reader News Today

Ebook Bookster

Indie Book of the Day

Bookrunes

Bookdoggy

Bookbongo

Bookhippo

Bookwerm

Bookangel

Pretty Hot

Itswritenow

Armadillo E books

Timing: This is a huge factor for success of a book promo. Without looking at genre and the time of year because that’s a thing, The Teleporter was available on a Saturday which is normally a busy day for internet traffic.

The Teleporter is a niche genre: Bookbub are incredibly hard to get in with. Authors try for years to convince them and it’s perceived your book needs to be award winning and highly reviewed to have any chance. My book is neither, while it was accepted by them a few years back it’s a bit of a wildcard but the humour genre has a small catchment rate – by that I mean it’s not like the thousands of crime thrillers that get rejected each day because nothing against crime thrillers but it’s a popular mainstream genre compared to humour, the queue is longer – The Teleporter stands out in genre which is probably one of the main reasons it got chosen. Plus it’s good, fu***ng good and seeing as this is the second Bookbub featured it, they must like it also.

Reviews/ratings: Although the amount of reviews the book now has is much bigger, beforehand it was 20ish which means it’s had some readership and those reviews were from the year of release all the way to recently. Recent and old reviews together show a longevity of readership.

Investment of money: Bookbub charged me over $200 for this featured deal and if you are serious about promoting books you need to invest serious money.

Concluding thoughts…

If I can get myself a Bookbub featured deal and 10,000 plus downloads then you certainly can and everything above is proof of that. Never before has my authoring profile been thrown in front of so much exposure and for that I am grateful above everything else. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotion and as I take a deep sighing breath of satisfaction, to me it was worth it. From the initial explosion of sales to the aftermath and even lessons learned and then the second aftermath, what a ride. This was my most important promotion moment as an author and it will hopefully be a huge turning point. Only time will tell.

The wonderful thing about this promotion is that it has proved indie authors who have a platform can also be given a voice and be successful. This featured deal was a victory for all of us indies and I’m incredibly proud of how it went. The best outcome is the fact my soon to be published authoring and blogging guide book had one section left blank to be written, it was a section that was going to explain my most recent book promotion efforts. Guess I better get writing!

If you do have any questions then please do drop them in the comments and for everything else book promo do check out my resources section.

To everyone who has supported me as an author and blogger, thank you and to those who have read this post, I tip my cap to you! Peace out and may the words be with you…

Coming Soon

A message from Best Selling Indie Author Lee Hall

Above all, thank you to everyone who has ever had faith in my words. For me to be sharing this moment is both surreal and quite humbling. Those who did tune in yesterday via social media will know the news but for those who didn’t, I shall leave it here…

I’ve said before that the material things that come with writing; the sales, the reviews, the ‘success’ don’t really matter as opposed to the writing journey and that is still true to me but when the worlds largest book retailer decide that you are a best seller, then that’s a moment you cherish. This is not just a personal victory but for the wider brethren of indie authors that make up a wonderful writing community. A win for one author is a win for all.

From being 12 years old on a rainy day facing that windows 98 computer about to start this journey with nothing but starry eyed dreams to the now many wonderful people who support stories I’ve released into this world. This road has been paved by moments like this, it perhaps justifies the efforts, the hours and the work. There’s a place in the world for my stories and they can be successful, they can be best selling and they can stand on their own. And probably the most wonderful crowning moment of all of this; if I can do it, there’s no reason why you can’t. While on paper everything I have achieved over the years may appear absurd, it’s achievable by anyone willing to make the journey. How do I know that, because I did it, I achieved it!

Thank you Bookbub for the distribution and having faith in my work. Thank you readers for taking on my work and of course thank you Canada for making me a best selling author. Keep going writers and bloggers, your words are needed in this world…

Weekly Ramble #95

Things are better than yesterday. As an author and creator that’s all I can hope for. Better results than yesterday fuelled by the desire to carry on. The whole ‘keep going’ thing is ingrained on my philosophy and hasn’t ever let me down. I said last week that this is going to be a brutal year and it is, but there is hope to found even in dark times.

When someone asks me how it’s going. The sales, the blog views the whole authoring and blogging social media deal – I simply tell them it’s better than it was, better than yesterday and it is. From selling a couple of books a month to selling one every ten days to now selling more than one every four days. I’ve trialled and errored my way into figuring out book marketing, social media marketing and knowing when to swoop in and convince a person to buy into me. Timing and time is the above all attribute that I hold responsible for all of my success, that is with the sheer will to keep going put to one side.

All of those successful moments and trials and errors I have meticulously laid out in a self help guide book that I am going to be looking to publish this side of the year. While I edit and continually add to it, my uncertainty rears it’s ugly head every now and then. Will anyone benefit from this rather broad explanation of how I got to here? Does anything in this project matter? That imposter syndrome – something I refuse to believe in is perhaps creeping in. I have always cared what people think of my stuff. I’m going to begin searching for some much needed second opinions soon. BETA readers need apply here. I’m gonna need your level headed thoughts to get through this..

Discounted Book(s) Alert!

Hello cultured follower. Some of you may know that in my spare time I write books. Now there are a bunch of you who have taken the time to read, review and generally be an awesome supporter of them. Of course there are some newer folks who might not have read them or read all of them, and right now 4 of these books are discounted to 99 cents per e-copy. Banners, links and info below, enjoy…

The Ghost Beside Me

Inspired partly by a true ghost story my Grandfather told me when I was much younger and partly from a potentially paranormal experience of my own in a previous place I lived; ‘Ghost’ makes for a unique diary style account of one lonely person’s quest to get over his social awkwardness by way of an entity not of the mortal persuasion. It’s powerful, gripping and quick – basically the best advert for my writing there is because if you liked this book you’ll probably read my other stuff but if you didn’t it’s only a few hours reading so you haven’t lost much…

The Teleporter

Let’s face it, we all need to laugh more. And considering this is my only comedy book (unless you laughed at the others) you’ll probably find something that’ll get you laughing in this story of one slouch who get’s superpowers and decides to do the right thing. It’s also novella length so again, nothing lost if you don’t like it. There’s a range of diverse characters and it’s also a middle finger to the nearly previous President…

Open Evening and Darke Blood

The two oldest rides in the fairground are and always will be 99 cents from now on. They mark the beginning of my journey and the Order of the Following Series which is still running strong. From hive mind creatures to vampires, the two worlds in these books eventually collide later on making for a multi character Avengers of the Occult world.

Well there we are cultured followers, that’s about all I have in terms of pitching my books to you. Click on the banners for the Amazon dot com links. Some more links are below and do let me know if you grab a copy of something – I’ll happily give you a shout out via social media! Rock and roll man!

Amazon UK Page

Amazon Canada Page

Amazon Australia Page

Book Promotion Results October 2020

I’ve been promoting books again, or at least one book anyway and so here’s a breakdown of the results, methods and hopefully something a fellow author can use because we all know marketing is hard… let’s dive in…

Introduction/Aim

It’s important to start with some kind of plan or at least something to aim for when it comes to promoting books. For this promotional run, my ghost story novella ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ was going to be free for a few days before and on the day of Halloween via kindle. My aim, to get as many free downloads as possible during that time.

Although this is a great way of generating many downloads, my voice alone isn’t loud enough to tell everyone so I invested in some methods listed below.

Top tip: Promoting a Ghost story over Halloween in theory is a good idea. Some genres work better during different seasons. Another example would be my super hero comedy book which always sells better in summer months (northern hemisphere) as it makes for a beach read. Have you got a Christmas themed story coming up? December is closing in. Timing is important folks…

Strategy – how was I going to do it?

As mentioned I would firstly set the price of my book to free via Kindle Direct Publishing. If your e book is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited they allow you so many days every so often to make that book free for promotional purposes. In terms of target market, because it will be free, we were aiming for everyone – free books are more of a blanket approach in terms of targeting. There are some authors who insist they’ll never make their work available for free – you’ll probably never reach a larger scale audience if you think that way, no matter how special you think that book is…

How exactly was I going to reach as many people as possible?

  1. Book Promotion websites that offer paid advertising. Websites listed below.
  2. Via my social media following – 4k twitter followers and 500+ blog followers and 500+ Facebook page followers.

There are many paid and free book promotion sites that do a great job in reaching readers. When running a promo I would recommend using them and in my case I spread them out over the three days the book would be free. This is also a great way of knowing which sites are effective.

Top tip: When paying for anything online make sure you use a reputable payment service such as PayPal. There are also many authors like myself who will share results highlighting who are the better sites so remember to do your research.

Results

As you can see nearly 2000 people downloaded the book across 9 different Amazon territories over the 3 days. Day 2 was the most popular and we even got a number 1 chart position over in the US, so let us look at the methods I used in detail.

Methods in Detail

The following things made this promo a success:

Existing Book Reviews

Let’s face it, getting book reviews is a struggle but the one’s we get help immensely when running a promo as lot’s of traffic will be passing by your book page to see them. If there are just a few reviews that will increase the chances of that book being downloaded. In my case ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ had a healthy number of reviews in both the UK and US markets. This helped.

Book Promo Sites

The engine room of this promo was the sites I invested in to advertise and tell people about the book.

You can near enough pin point which promo sites were effective. Day 1 only got a handful of downloads.

The sites I used for day 1 were:

My Book Place ($25 Feature)

Book Reader Magazine ($10)

I would most likely not use these sites for this type of promotion again. For $35 I expect a little better… lesson learned and recorded for future use…

For Day 2 which yielded the brunt of my results I used the following sites:

Hotstuff Romance Free Friday Promotion ($15)

Book Angel (Free)

Freebookshub .co.uk ($15)

Book Bongo Book Bump ($9.99) 2 Day Promo

E Book Deals Today ($9.99) 2 Day Promo

Freebooksy Paranormal Romance Deal ($99)

From the results we can gather that the Freebooksy deal which was the most expensive and probably did the most work, but combining promo sites is a great way to spread the word. My advice, if you want maximum downloads be prepared to pay for the advertising.

Social Media

For Day 3 I simply relied on the two day promos alongside a blog post on here and utilizing Shameless Self Promo Saturday over on Twitter. On Day 2 and 3 I also put up a post on the Facebook Page. All of these posts included this book banner.

Top Tip: Get yourself a decent book banner to share your works on. I made this myself via Pixlr but you can get a freelancer to put one together over on Fiverr for a decent price and half the time. Book Promo Banners are an essential visual. Visuals result in sales. The same also goes for a professional looking cover. People do judge books by them…

This is all combined with the fact Day 3 was also Halloween. Here’s what my Twitter post looked like:

Top Tip: When it comes to Twitter, hashtags and getting people to engage are key. You can see on this tweet above I encouraged others to drop links while also providing incentive to Retweet and follow back – incentives and having something to offer are a must for successful engagement.

Factors for Success

So how exactly did I get the results I got?

Firstly I had a plan and an aim – to get as many free downloads.

The book had some existing reviews which helped passers by notice it.

I invested money in advertising.

I implemented and used my social media following with a post that included hashtags and incentive to engage,

It was the right time for a Ghost story promo – Halloween

Book Banners helped for the visual factor along with a professional cover.

Results Further

Since the promo ‘Ghost’ has already received two new reviews which is a huge result but the results for a good promotional run will last a while after with page reads being tracked via KDP and possibly further sales. Overall for a stand alone short read that has only been out 10 months at the time of promo, I’ very happy with the results. This was my last promo of the year and a good one to finish things with.

My advice for anyone looking to promo their own work is to consider the factors for success listed above and of course combine that with your own expectation as there are so many other factors that help sell books – genre, what’s happening in the news etc. This takes time and patience, if you have those things, you’ll be okay.

If you promote your books a handful of times a year there’s no doubt your readership will eventually grow. Investment is the most important thing and not giving up. Thank you for reading, there is a stack of more useful information for authoring and blogging over on the resources page. That is until next year when the self help book arrives. Peace out!

Book Promotion Results September 2020 Pt1

Ah the selling of books, I’ve done that, quite a lot this year and my latest Book Promotional efforts are looking towards being personal best material. With that in mind and for the purposes of helping a fellow author here’s a detailed breakdown of what I did and the results I got. Roll the intro….

Introduction/Aim

First of all, before setting out and committing to any type of book promotional run it’s important to aim for something. What exactly are we looking to achieve here? In my case which I hope doesn’t sound too complex I wanted to promote my book ‘Cemetery House’ and get as many folks as possible to grab a copy during the run. The ‘run’ meaning the time it was going to be free to download and advertised. The more complex bit is below and optional to read.

Not so important background info, skip if you don’t care…

Over the 2 years ‘CH’ has been available it’s been the most under-performing book on my back list. It has the least amount of sales, reviews and I’m not sure many have actually read it. This is a shame, because it’s the bigger, better older brother to my clunky (but also good) debut novel ‘Open Evening’. ‘Cemetery House’ is also part of the wider ‘Order of the Following Series’ which continues in the form of my 6th book which arrives at the end of this month (September 2020) so you kinda need to read it in order for book 6 to make sense. My true aim in this promo run was to fix all of the problems stated above by getting some folks to actually download and eventually read it.

Strategy – how was I going to do it?

So the best way to get as many downloads for a book is to set the price to Free for a minimal amount of time. 2 days works quite well, you can generate a sense of urgency by saying ‘Free for a limited time only’ which is a sneaky way of pressurising people into downloading it. So as all of my works are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited they allow you so many days within a certain period to set any of your books for Free. So I did that.

Cemetery House would be avalable for Free on the 3rd and 4th of September 2020. And then advertised as Discounted on the next two days.

While Free is good, along with the small space of time this offer is available they are not a guaranteed way of shifting books and like every author everywhere the greatest struggle we all face is being heard. Our voice is only as loud as our social media following and even that sometimes isn’t enough.

You can see the pain in his face, he’s clearly an author…

My go-to way of amplifying my author voice is to used paid advertising in the form of Book Promotion sites. Using a combination of paid sites and some of which were free, I would be able to amplify my voice while also working in tandem with my social media platforms on the days of the promo to maximise telling folks about it. This strategy can be used for all books across all genres. E books sell a lot more than physical copies in my case but that’s not to say you can’t use this strategy to sell all types. Just do your research, there are plenty of authors out there who share their results. And use the Google if in doubt.

Results first, how I did it later…

While you all probably just want to know how I did it, you first need the context of how well things went to gauge whether or not you can try and achieve the same. So here are the results.

Day 1

Cemetery House Free Downloads: 1643

Stuff I didn’t expect or account for:

Selling nearly all my back list in one damn day….

Including sales of the other two books in the series which are priced at 99 cents:

Darke Blood: 20

Open Evening: 30

Sale of other books not in the series:

The Ghost Beside Me: 1 x Paperback

Total Sales of priced books on Day 1: 51

Context/debrief:

I probably sold 51 books last year in total without promo. This is an unexpected but wonderful result.

Open Evening sold 33 copies on release way back in 2016. For this promo, in which it wasn’t even specifically advertised, it got downloaded 30 times in one damn day.

Day 2

Day 3

All 3 books in the ‘Order of the Following’ series sold very well over the promo run. A huge factor in the success of this is governed by the fact ‘CH’ is the middle book in the series, although there is no particular order in which you need to read them. It is also mentioned on each of their Amazon pages, as seen below with Open Evening. It is mentioned in the start of each book also.

Although on this run I advertised ‘CH’ as stand alone which it can be enjoyed as, there was still plenty of interest for other books in the series and they are both available for 99 cents.

Honorable mentions for both ‘The Teleporter’ and ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ which sold copies without any prior advertisement on this run and proof that my single best piece of marketing advice is true. That advice being, the best way to sell a book is to have another available, and then another and so forth. The graph and breakdowns above sing from that hymn sheet big time!

Amazon Chart Movement

My newest strategy in promoting free books is to then advertise them straight after the run as discounted. On this occasion this only generated 3 discounted sales of ‘CH’ after the run, but the sales of ‘Open Evening’ and ‘Darke Blood’ rocketed them both up their respective charts, from several thousand to double figures in a matter of days which will give them some new visibility as they begin to recede back to the dark depths of the unknown, like me…

Tis the season

All three books in the Order of the Following Series are occult, horror or thrillers. I’ve been waiting all damn year for the Spooky season to promote them and they always do well this time of year so let that be a top tip; genre and seasons coincide with sales no matter what book you’ve got to offer non fiction or fiction. People will gravitate towards a spooky tale during the run up to Autumn and Halloween. This is probably why ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ sold some copies also.

Execution – what I did

This is most probably best described as the ‘good part’ of the post and probably the reason why you are here, so here’s what I did.

Book Promo Sites

Freebooksy Horror Promotion – Cost: $40 – Date: 3rd

E Reader News Today – Cost: $40 – Date: 3rd and 4th

E Book Booster Guranteed Promo – Cost: $20 – Date 3rd and 4th

Pretty Hot – Cost: $25 – Date: 4th

Bookzio – Cost: Free – Date 5th and 6th

Booangel – Cost: Free – Date 5th and 6th

As you can see some of the dates and sites overlap with one another. A top tip: if you really want to know how much reach a certain book promo site actually has, then just advertise with them only on a single date. The more expensive normally means better reach. You have to be willing to spend a little money if you want some good reach.

Twitter:

On the first day of the Free promotion I put up this banner and then RT’d it later on in the day to coincide with Eastern Time for my American Friends. I’m near to 4k followers so it probably helped with some international reach. I’m proud of this banner which I put together myself via Pixlr.

Instagram

My ‘gram following isn’t huge but I also shared the banner and put some other info about the results via my story. Come and say hi, you can find me here...

Facebook Page

Good ol life invader. I don’t use my page that much these days but my 500 plus following will always be appreciated and so I shared the banner and relevant links on day 2.

A blog post

My blogging efforts are very busy and so I didn’t have the time or space to put out a post on the Free days so instead I put one out on the Saturday. If you want to know what it looks like, here’s the link…

Factors that helped…

Having already mentioned that ‘CH’ is part of a wider series and this is clearly marked on each book’s amazon page, what else helped shift a bunch more books than usual?

Amazon Reviews

Reviews, ratings, critiques whatever you call them, spiritually they don’t matter but in the sense of book promotion they do so it’s a conflicting double edged sword. Even though ‘CH’ did not have any US Amazon reviews at the time of this promo, the two other books did. Having a star rating on Amazon will help shift more copies and I could even argue that is the only purpose reviews serve – that’s a rabbit hole of debate that I wont go into right now.

Book Covers

I firmly sit in the corner of investing well in a good book cover. This is such a huge factor that will attract passing trade. Yes your book is free and being paraded in front of a big internet audience but does it look good? People do judge a book by it’s cover. If you scroll to the very top of this site you will see all 5 of my book covers. Trust me, they matter in sales and they are shiny also.

I Invested with money

It doesn’t take a business major to see a potential flaw in this book promo run. Giving a book away for free but paying for advertising, how are you going to make a profit? The answer to that question is, I’m not, in the short term. The purpose of the book promotion is to maximise readers, if your work is quality enough for readers to look at more of your books then this will eventually lead to potential profits. Right now I am in the process of building that readership which is growing. This also coincides with having more work available which the results of this promo have proved as a tactic in selling books. If you seriously want success in publishing you need to invest money.

Final thoughts…

The numbers speak for themselves and I was pleasantly surprised to sell anything more than what I tried to promote. Like everything in publishing apart from the story, us writers aren’t actually in control and that’s both scary and thrilling. Embrace all the stuff you don’t intend to achieve in writing, trust me, its normally the best stuff. Quite recently I have been very much enjoying the connecting with fellow writers who’ve published all types of works from cookery books to vampires which are still the fashion!

To everyone who has read up to this point thank you, I hope you find this post useful an you can hopefully expect the full guide book to arrive next year. But just remember, this post is just Part 1…

But wait there’s more…

You can read part 2 here….

Thanks for reading, stay safe and peace out!

Book Promotion Results – July 2020

The results are in! Let’s take a look at my most recent book promotion efforts and analyse what went well and what didn’t. Here we go…

Sell Tickets

This has no relevance to my results, it’s just colourful…

Slight Preamble…

Seeing as this year kind of took a dive in March, some will even argue it ended there. I decided to take what was happening in my stride and carry on. Carrying on might be the single best decision I have made in all of my blogging, writing and general being online endeavours. Trust me, and it was really tough to begin with. The numbers for this blog, my sales and overall results were dwindling for a little while until I dug deep, thought of a few new ways to continue producing content and kablamo, things are looking good, in fact they are real good, I’m talking best ever numbers kind of good.

I do truly feel for the many folks out there who have been stopped in their tracks from what’s currently going on (we don’t dignify these times with a name) but for me and without realizing this whole deal has kind of fallen into my hands with an opportunity that I have seized. For anyone struggling right now who is able to produce some kind of content, I would highly advise you do so, this world has changed and probably won’t be going back to ‘normality’ possibly for a while. More people seem to read my blog these days than my books, which is cool but we’re here to talk about my books…

The planning…

Seeing as I have five of them (books not kids, I hope…), I have content that is readily available right now for people to access. This year I have stuck to my guns in trying to do all I can to promote Darke Blood, the series it’s a part of and the sequel which drops next month. Having that wider back list gives me the options to change things around and promote another work, that work being The Teleporter – a stand alone, novella length comedy book about super heroes with a political edge – it’s current, relevant and relatable. Seeing as Marvel is mainstream these days having a super hero tale is quite handy – and trust me people grab this book when they see it probably more than any others (of mine).

So I decided I wanted to get 2 things out of promoting the Teleporter this time around:

(this is important in book promotion, you need to decide what you want to get out of it, then you can manage expectations/disappointment levels after…)

1.First and foremost I wanted as many people to grab it while it was free for one day.

2. I wanted actual paid sales after the promo date to drive the books chart position upwards and get some new eyes on the product It will be discounted to 99 cents and this wasn’t just a ploy to turn a profit, what’s a profit in writing?

The booking

So this would involve fighting the promotion battle on 2 fronts but with mainly the same process – book promo sites.

For those who don’t know book promotion sites offer advertisement for a fee, some are free. They have access to big mailing lists and distribution methods to get your work seen. Considering this isn’t my first rodeo, I have compiled a list of trust worthy, reputable sites who can help. Using a bunch of different sites at the same time is quite a useful method.

For this promotion I would split the promo sites between advertising on the one free day and the next few days where it was discounted.

The Teleporter would be free to download on Wednesday 22nd of July and then discounted for 3 days after at 99 cents. 

Here are the sites I used for the 22nd Free Promo:

E Reader News Today – (humor promotion) Cost $40 

Bookrunes – Free Promotion – Cost $40

Indie Book of the Day – Cost Free

Book Goodies – Cost $9

Bookwerm – Cost $5

Book of the Day Dot Org – Free

ebook booster – Cost $20 – placements on up to 15 other sites

Sites I used to promote The Teleporter at 99 cents discount (23rd and 24th) 

Armadillo Ebooks – Cost $25 – both dates

Prettyhot – (Featured listing) – Cost $25 – 23rd only

Discount book man – Cost $10 – 24th only 

Bookbongo – (bookblast) – Cost $20 – 23rd and 24th 

Bookdoggy – Free

The Preparation

So the promo sites were booked and now I needed to prepare my other promo methods. In the past I had explored the option of book banners – a poster that just doesn’t show the cover but acts as a kind of billboard. Seeing as Fiverr offers this kind of thing I got one put together for the Teleporter.

The Teleporter promo banner

Generally people tend to click on the link more when they see something other than just a book cover. And it didn’t cost much, there are loads of different merchants on Fiverr who do this sort of thing at a very reasonable price.

This time around I would focus more on the days after the free promotion and kept my tweeting and general social media lips sealed until then.

On the discounted days I tweeted to my 3000+ followers and put up a post on my Facebook page to 500 followers and I even put together a blog post on here for my 500 plus following.

The Results…

So how did it go? How much do I hate myself this time? I can honestly say it went rather okay to good, so not that much self hate…

Here are the results for the Free downloads on the 22nd with slight overlap on the 23rd

teleporter free download results 20202

downloads

Overall this was the best ever day for The Telporter in terms of free downloads and the 3rd best of all time in all free promos I have done. Not bad at all.

I didn’t track the chart position that much on the Free day but it was #5 in one of it’s charts. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein was #1 at the time… I very much enjoy it when my book is in the same picture as something so highly regarded! Darke Blood did once go above a Dean Koontz book – my only claim to fame thus far…mary shelly

 

And now let’s look at the results for the days after the Free promo when it went to 99 cents…

teleporter discount results

On the day after the free promo, 20 good folks downloaded the Teleporter while it was discounted. The next day we had 1 download and then on the third and final day we had 4. Someone else downloaded it at full price a few days after that also.

I didn’t properly track chart positions but it did climb higher than usual but got nowhere near single digit positions.

20 downloads in one day for any of my books is a win and this year’s best day of sales and my 2nd best day of all time. The 1st being last July with the same book but boosted by a Bookbub featured deal.

I can probably expect a few new reviews soon.

What went well?

The whole thing went well in my eyes but here are the factors that helped.

1.July, something about this month in the past two years has been really good for book promotion and this blog in general. July 2019 holds the record for most blog views ever and in 2nd place is July 2020 – beach read season I reckon…

stoner on a rollercoaster

2. The day after the Free promotion a fellow blogger and friend of the Hall of Information, Stoner on a Roller Coaster re blogged my post about the promo – this helped massively so thank you! Many more good folks shared and retweeted things on Twitter – so thanks for that also!

3. The Teleporter is an established book and my 2nd most reviewed on Goodreads. It also has a good bunch of international reviews on Amazon. This helps big time.

4. I have a back list. Books sell easier when the author has more than one. People grab a book with hopes they like it and then will explore other titles if they do.

5. Fellow authors looking to give back – those whom I have connected with over the years and especially those who have books I reviewed sometimes feel inclined to return that favor, having one of my books available for free pushes that a little further – not that I expect anyone to buy my book in return for anything but it is very much appreciated.

6. The current state of affairs in this world: People need content, people are getting into reading more, e books are safe and are a low risk form of entertainment. Hence the opportunity arises.

 

Anything to improve? 

Book promotion is led mainly by the following and voice of an author. If that voice is louder, more people hear. I’m always trying to improve that volume (following) and of course there are few things that could have gone better.

I did try to get a bookbub featured deal but to no success this time. Maybe I could have explored Facebook advertising but I didn’t bother this time around.

All in all this promo run went rather well. I have on final book promo run planned before the release of Darke Awakening in late September. Stay tuned and thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reverting to Zero

Zero sales, Zero engagement the sun goes down alone…

It’s funny that this whole book publishing stuff for me and most of us started at absolute zero and most of the time things just revert back to it.

Thousands of followers dont mean shit if they are all vying for the same thing and I’ll admit I have delved into the emptiness of shameless self promotion every now and then. Just one fucking sale would make my week but right now, invisibility city.

What’s the damn point in spending 7 years getting 500 Facebook likes if not one person even engages in a post?

Screenshot_20200707-145509_Facebook

This isn’t even an attempt at fishing for anything other than exploration of my own feeling of going down a seemingly pointless road. I know my writing is worth reading. My books are proper books – I’m not just trying to fling one full length story and live just off that, I have 5 books out there, a damned backlist that feels, invisible. It’s hard to swallow because I have something worth giving to the world but it feels like nobody even knows it’s there all of a sudden.

I’m on the cusp of releasing book 4 of a series maybe 13 people have read. That tells you I’m doing this for the writing, myself and for the journey. The weight it has on ones mental health can be heavy at times but is it supposed to that hard to get people to buy and read your stuff?

I guarantee on release 13 people will buy that book and then in two years time I will be forced to set the price to zero in order to gain any type of interest.

Zero – that damned word again…