The past week has been a ride. To see my debut book get downloaded several thousand times in 24 hours has been a rollercoaster of emotion. As a proprietor of one’s and two’s in terms of sales, these numbers aren’t exactly a daily occurrence.
Its going to take a while to come down and this result has kind of been everything I have ever wanted on this path and it is even more special because it is my debut book. It might not be my best work, and yes it is of a certain age but to see my book get an opportunity to be thrown in front of just a slice of mainstream readers is awesome.
Of course the reviews will contrast from glowing to obsessively obtuse and weird – I’ve been there before and to see my book after all these years get such numbers is fantastic. In the middle of all that was a hugely successful launch of my 8th book which has outsold every one of my previous releases. Sometimes this whole deal can be awesome.
And now I can retreat back into content creating and even editing of a book that I am going to hopefully query next year. You can expect the results of that recent promotion soon.
All the usual festivities of a book release are coming. Book 8 ‘Darke Apocalypse’ is about a month and half away from release and it will be a relief to get this one over the line.
Way back in 2020 I committed to releasing this book next and so that time and work is about to culminate. Social media promotion is a grind but I am ready and now we are in August I’ve got no choice but to ramp up my presence because all of the sales, follows, reviews, interactions and success is built upon presence. When someone does ask me how I get daily book sales I simply tell them it is based on presence but of course a lot of other factors have to align also.
August also marks the anniversary of starting Patreon which has now become quite a success. 10 kind Patrons have signed up and the content is growing – to those who support me there, thank you. I plan on releasing much more soon so for that and my 8th book, I’ll say what I always say, watch this space!
The results are here for my latest book promotion efforts and now I am ready to share how it went and who I advertised with. Let us dive in!
With all of my book promotional efforts there’s always a wider plan and motive. So first of all, for the complete beginners, what is a book promo run? Well to me, its a short period of time where I lower the price of a book and advertise it for maximum sales.
Now I don’t advertise my work constantly apart from regular social media posting and my book selling philosophy is to be present on social media to the point where it interests potential readers to first of all engage or follow me and then buy from me. I have 30,000+ following on Twitter that regularly buys my work as long as I stay active.
The plan for this promo run was to set the price for my super hero comedy The Teleporter to free for one day and then raise the price only slightly the next day to 99 cents whilst using advertisers for both of those days. My vision was to get maximum free downloads and then hopefully some paid discounted sales after.
On the day The Teleporter was free it was downloaded over 1000 times across 9 countries! This is a fantastic number!
And here are the results for the next day with paid sales.
21 paid sales with a few trickling in after is a moderate number. It’s not world beating but good enough for me considering I already potentially have 1000+ new readers. It was also good to see page reads boosted.
On the day of it being free, The Teleporter hit #1 in the Free Satire Fiction chart over in the US which is great for that little extra visibility.
So for most of my book promo runs I advertise with book promotion websites. They are generally good places to tell hopefully masses of readers about my books. Most book promo sites boast large mailing lists and that’s essentially what I am paying for. You can find a list of book promo sites at the bottom of this post.
Here’s who I used for this promo run.
Day 1 – The Teleporter is Free
Freebooksy Sci Fi Promotion
Book Runes Featured Free Book
Day 2 – The Teleporter is discounted to 99 cents
Just Kindle Books
These 4 advertisers were all paid, check them out for individual pricing.
Not a bad promo run, in fact I consider anything over a 1000 free downloads to be a massive success. In order to move numbers with book sales its important to consider paying for advertising, although most of my promos run at a loss, the returns I get are reviews, future sales and readers.
Thank you for reading and below you shall find some resources to help with your own promo efforts.
Want to know how I have mastered Twitter and turned it into a book selling machine? Check out my Patreon coaching sessions which lay out book promotion and much more!
A Concise List of Book Promotion Sites
My guide book lays everything out in detail plus there is a whole section dedicated to my many successful book promo runs I have done over the years!
Twitter can be a strange and weird platform to figure out. But it is also a fantastic opportunity to connect with millions of others who could potentially be your next follower, reader and even customer.
Leveraging that following can be difficult but I’ve spent nearly 10 years on the platform and now with over 32,000 followers, I am living proof that the knowledge I’ve gained works to increase my growth, marketing reach, engagement and sales. Now I have the means to pass on this experience so anyone can achieve what I have.
If you are not sure where to start and are looking for better results to achieve awesome things like me then look no further than my Twitter Coaching Sessions. You’ll learn everything I have in just a few hours as opposed to the many years I spent carving a following that regularly buys my books.
These 10 audio classes are a crash course in everything I have learned to get good results on Twitter – from constructing the ideal profile and presence to even the finer details of increasing engagement to get those all important sales. There is even a session dedicated to staying safe.
Start your journey to better Tweet Machine Results today. Coaching Sessions 1 and 2 are free to listen and then it costs less than $2 to access the rest.
More sessions are coming that will lay out everything I have learned to give you the best chance of social media success!
The results are in for my latest book promotion efforts and loyal Rock Star Patrons got to see it before anyone elsebut now its available for all. Let us dive in!
Its good to lay down a plan and my plan was simple this time around; to celebrate the one year anniversary of Consistent Creative Content being released by running a weekend price reduction promotion with a little paid advertising. Using a few different advertisers over a few days I even had the grand vision of the book reaching #1 and Best Seller status on Amazon. There were a few other promotional things planned for the weekend and run up to it also.
I’ve been eyeing up this anniversary for a little while now and so I booked my advertising at the end of April – some advertisers tend to get booked up so planning in advance always helps with that.
The Price Promotion would be $0.99 and run from Friday the 20th to Sunday the 22nd with the usual price being $3.99 – a considerable drop so I was hopeful for this one. A few days or a weekend is more than enough to run a price promotion, I tend to only run them in short bursts to create some urgency, plus after day 2 or 3 I run out of the energy required to keep tweeting about the same thing.
For the Friday I used Robin Reads and their $0.99 Non-Fiction Feature that cost $65
For the Saturday I used E Reader News Today ($55) and Bargain Booksy ($35)
(Give these sites a Google if you want to find out more)
These advertisers I have used previously and generally bring good results. As you can see they have a cost which is something that you need to be prepared to do if you want serious results.
The wonderful thing is I paid for this advertising with the royalties I’ve earned so far this year from book sales.
For many years, I’ve run these promotions at a loss but there have been other returns in the form of Amazon chart movement, reviews, further sales, social media follows and new readers. Plus this isn’t my day job, so there is no pressure to earn actual money.
Other Promotional Things
To tie in with the anniversary I put together a reflective blog post about the first year of Consistent Creative Content and I also released a special presentation of yours truly narrating some of the book which was made free to listen.
These other promotional things tend to help just a little and the more platforms you are active on, the better chance you have of reaching just a few extra potential readers. So in theory, the more you do, the better chance of reach.
My initial plan was to keep things discreet on Twitter until the Saturday because the platform tends to figure out that I would be trying to sell things and therefore the algorithms would kick in or start kicking me and reduce my visibility – I can’t say Twitter does this 100% but I have a feeling something happens beneath the curtain when anyone gets a little too advertisey. On this weekend in particular, it was looking like I’d be reaching the 30,000 follower milestone on Twitter.
As you can see, day 1 brought in the most sales. There were even a few full priced sales the day before over in the US which gave Consistent Creative Content a great start.
Day 2 saw 23 sales and then things slowed down on the Sunday to just 3 sales.
For the time CCC was discounted it sold over 60 copies!
By the time Friday evening rolled around CCC shot all the way up to #2 in the US Amazon Charts under the Writing Skill Reference Chart. Usually its in the 1000’s which is an incredible result and will help with visibility.
Pro Tip: If you are looking for more visibility and perhaps even thinking of applying for a BookBub Featured deal, getting your book higher up the charts just before applying will help.
Because of the surprising chart position over in the US by Friday evening, I decided to take the plunge into tweeting. I got a little excited and hoped that maybe CCC would reach best seller…
Now the book never got to #1 which would have been awesome but perhaps another achievement for another day. I did spend the weekend tweeting quite a lot about CCC which effectively killed my engagement and visibility for the time. Even with a following as large as mine being sales focused constantly will reduce my reach or that’s how it seems anyway. Here’s an insight into that:
Friday Organic Twitter Impressions: 42,000+ (less book plug stuff)
Sunday Organic Twitter Impressions: 16,00+ (more book plug stuff)
This is also another reason why just a few days for a promo is enough.
I’m happy with this one year anniversary promo. CCC is becoming my most successful book but that success takes some time and time is a book’s best friend. Perhaps in a few years time the results will be even better!
Thanks for reading.
Quite soon I’ll be recording a new Twitter Coaching Sessions which is a celebratory glance at how I reached 30,000 Twitter followers and it will be free for all to listen!
And so I’m back to share my most recent book promotion results. Those who do follow me on Twitter might have seen my efforts last weekend and so I am here to share my results with a hope it may help a fellow author.
For those who don’t know me, my name is Lee Hall, I’m an indie/self published author of seven books from the UK. I’m a huge believer in helping and supporting other creatives in the community and the majority of my success has come from building trust with others. I also never give up and my dream for the world to read my words is getting closer by the day. Using mostly social media, I regularly sell books around the world but every now and then I’ll give those books a little extra help by way of some paid advertising.
So what do I mean by book promotion? Well to me, book promotion is a large umbrella of variety that covers many different methods to sell books. As an indie and someone who began this journey at zero much like many of you, I have determined that sometimes, selling books is really hard but not impossible. Its all about visibility and making people aware of your work.
There are a plethora of ways to increase your visibility and the majority of mine comes from Twitter where I have over 25,000 followers – something I spent a long time working at growing. From this, I normally manage to get sales roughly every other day which is awesome but every now and then I like to give my books a bigger push.
From the seven books I have published, four of them are a part of the Occult Order of the Following Series which is horror/thriller in genre. My next release is going to be the fifth and final book in the series and so my aim for this book promotion was to increase my sales for theses titles.
So how was I going to promote these 4 books? By way of some paid advertising. Over the years I have used many different book promotion sites which are basically websites that offer a range of advertising for a fee while some are free. Many of these sites have access to large mailing lists which can help get those books in front of newer eyes. This method normally focuses on selling digital books and my e book sales have always been stronger than paperback.
Generally, the more books you have available, the more cool things you can do to try and sell them.
Free is good for visibility:For those who do have a series like me, pricing Book 1 for free in digital format and then discounting the others to 99 cents or equivalent will help sales.Book 1 will most likely attract readers who then will hopefully check out the series. Those with e books enrolled in KDP select will be given a number of optional days each period to price your book for free.
Create a Series Page:Amazon allow you to create a separate page for your series which also helps for visibility. Having this link to share helps direct readers to your work. Here’s mine.
Time and Urgency:Running a promotion for just a short time really helps create a sense of urgency – Amazon allow five days for a book to be free but one or two is perfect.
Invest with Money: I’ve said this before but if you want serious results, sometimes you have to spend money for that.
Spread across Platforms: When I run any promo, normally I create a post on here where my 900+ followers will see. I also do some stuff on Instagram and of course Twitter. This cross platform spread helps get the word out.
Book Banners: Book Banners work quite well for a nice visual that can be shared across social media. Combined with a professionally designed cover, they help. I created this banner myselfand there are plenty of decent online Photoshop sites out there along with licence free image sites like Pixabay.
Who did I advertise with?
For this promo which I ran for just one day on Saturday April 9th 2022, I advertised with Free Booksy and their awesome series feature which allowed me to link the rest of the books in my Order of the Following Series beginning with Open Evening (Book 1) which was free.
Stacking Promotions: Normally during any promotional run I will advertise with multiple sites, this is known as stacking, but for this promo I used just Free Booksy. They offer a range of advertising services and not just for series.
This was the first time I had used just a single advertiser. And so, on with the results!
There are two main ways in which I look at the results. Firstly the free downloads of Book 1 Open Evening:
Just 3 downloads shy of 300 for a single day with just a handful over spilling the next day was a fantastic result. With 6 different territories taking part and considering this was a promo with a single advertiser, I am happy. But, did the free promo entice any paid sales for the rest of the books in the series?
The answer is yes! And I haven’t seen that many paid sales in a single day for quite some time and because I have never ran a series promo with just a single advertiser, this is a personal best!
The most popular title seemed to be Book 4 Darke Awakening which had a rather quiet release back in 2020 and proves my theory that it is never too late for a book to find sales!
Now the best indicator of a good book promotion run isn’t the day of the run but what happens after. And a good book promo run will continue to bring in results for some time after. Seeing as this run was only a few days ago, here are some more results:
After a very dry spell in terms of KENP page reads, they finally sparked to life. All of my fiction is on Kindle Unlimited and so that extra visibility has boosted page reads!
It might be unrelated but the day after the promo, my super hero comedy The Teleporter hit 180 Amazon ratings! So perhaps this promo even brought in other books in my bibliography.
Factors for Success
With nearly 400 digital copies of my works finding readers, let us look at why this promo run was a success:
All of my works have professionally designed covers which is a must for that first visual impression. Check out Design For Writers – they do some fantastic work and have done all of my covers;
Some reviews help and every one of the books in the Order of the Following Series have at least 5;
I have a series page on Amazon which means all of the books in the series are in one place;
The price reduction across the series pretty much guaranteed a few readers looking for a bargain to grab them and because this was a one day only deal, the urgency probably motivated that;
I invested money in the promotion and sometimes you have pay serious money to get serious results;
My social media game was on point. Not only did I put out a post on here but during the day I was active on Twitter and made sure my audience knew about the promo.
I do hope this post has helped in some capacity because marketing and selling books is an uphill struggle for most of us. These methods seem to help but there is always something else to do be done. You can only do what you know at the time. My advice would be to take your time and try and few things at once. It is never too late for a book to find readers and my first book Open Evening which was released in 2016 is proof of that!
Thanks for reading!
Here’s a short list of resources that will hopefully help with your book promo efforts:
The majority of people enjoy nice experiences and the same can be said for most people on social media. A nice or pleasant social media experience can lead to so many possibilities from making new friends and connections, to even earning someone else’s trust or perhaps making a sale. Subconsciously and over many years, I made my social media presence across the platforms a nice place for my followers to hang out. This was also driven by how welcome I have been made to feel by so many others. Because social media is sometimes viewed in a negative light for many reasons, being pleasant tends to stand out.
I’m going to use this post to talk about Twitter in particular and how for me it compares to a bar or pub. Those who know me will also know I love an analogy! As of today my Twitter stands at nearly 30,000+ followers and it is also my primary method to sell books. Every day I am present on the platform and regularly my posts are seen by lots of people everyday. Twitter presents a wonderful opportunity for anyone to speak and find others to connect with pretty much instantly. For those of the writing persuasion, its a natural fit as Tweeting is mostly dialogue and whether you write fiction or news articles, poetry or screenplays – dialogue turns that Twitter machine.
Think of your favourite bar, pub or restaurant – a place you’ve had a nice experience and would most probably return to. Now I want you to think why you enjoyed your time there and what factors made the experience worthwhile. The same can pretty much be applied to who you engage with on Twitter and how you engage with them. We’re going to look at why a good experience in a hospitality setting is similar to Twitter.
First Impressions – The Basics
Imagine if you will, the first thing you see when heading out for the evening is the venue and of course the signage for the bar/pub/place outside – for Twitter this is your profile. From your handle to profile picture, banner and pinned Tweet and recent tweets. All of this comes into account when someone has been intrigued enough to check out your profile. Much like the physical building of the bar you face, does your profile resemble what you expect a decent approachable venue to look like?
From the signage (your name, handle and bio – are they clear in what you are about?) to just the general look of the place (your profile picture and banner – are they professional looking or at least friendly/approachable in appearance while also relaying what you have to offer?) There’s a sign outside advertising two for one cocktails (your pinned tweet – does it relay what you are about? – it could be a link to your book or something recently compelling that you want an audience to know about.) You have a pinned tweet right?
All of these basic visual things are first impressions. And most of us know that first impressions are quite important. Getting the balance on all of the above is the difference between being followed or engaged with or not. Before anything else you need engagement and your profile is key to that.
Heading Inside – Conduct
Most visitors to a bar or hospitality venue will decide within the first few steps whether or not they are going to spend extended time there. In those settings there are a bunch of inputs like lighting, odour, sights, noise, décor and layout but the same can also be applied to your Twitter. This is the part where a potential follower has scrolled down your profile to check out some recent tweets.
Near enough everything on my Twitter is governed by what I tweet about and so if your subject matter and content isn’t inviting it won’t receive any engagement. I generally Tweet about something that inspires, informs, entertains, gives value or has some kind of incentive – the more of these five elements of conduct a tweet has, the better. And the best way to figure out what works is to spend time Tweeting things that include this stuff while also being approachable. Someone who has a feed full of links probably won’t get much engagement much like someone who tweets about angry stuff or heavily opinionated stuff. We want to make solid connections here who might be our customers some day or they might even help us someday or vice-versa. Keeping things relatively light most of the time will make a good impression.
So as for this bar, you’ve stepped inside to see the lighting is ambient, the layout is clear, there are no bad smells, the customers aren’t noisy or hostile and the staff are inviting. You take a seat and order some drinks which there is a nice range of (your potential follower sees your tweet subject matter which ranges, your tweets are mostly friendly and approachable). The staff check up on you every so often – not in an overbearing controlling way, but in a finely balanced non-intrusive way (you reply to people who engage with your tweets, even if it is a simple thank you – this is a major booster for many things.) If you can, try to be like good staff at a venue – above all, good hospitality staff make good hosts.
Keeping Customers Engaged – The Long Game
Now your customer has had a drink we need to keep them interested so they can spend more money (followers choosing to follow and engage with you more) – bars or restaurants will have a range of food and drink to help this and if it is of a high quality, people will stay – the same can be said about your Twitter. What are you offering your followers in order for them to stick around?
Time and incentive go hand in hand here along with conduct, remember the five elements of conduct. If you spend time on the platform, tweeting and offering incentive, you won’t ever have to worry about customers leaving after one drink (losing followers). They’ll move on to ordering food or snacks (buy your books, visit your blog, invest in you, become you friend or simply just be there beside you on the platform), some will even invite their own friends. You don’t have to give a lot to provide incentive – incentive is just another word for offering something which includes: being friendly, helping others, engaging with others, following others, retweeting other folks tweets, liking their tweets – all of this is free. Even just spreading some positive thoughts online goes a long way.
This stuff will eventually turn heads towards your profile and tweets while also building a level of trust. Any venue that provides hospitality is a success because of the overall customer experience and the same can be said about twitter. Give your followers reason to engage with you and everything else will eventually fall into place. Reputation takes time to build and being a good host will help you grow that and eventually your Twitter will be known for being a nice place – something which resonates with mostly everyone. This is a long game and one you can certainly win.
I hope this analogy helps your Twitter growth and here are some specific basics that I do frequently to grow:
Show up everyday – even if I am busy with work or social stuff, I make the effort to spend even just a few minutes responding or even scheduling a tweet or two.
Try new things constantly – I am always trying something new, from sharing something I haven’t showed anyone before to even just tweeting a lot more. Change it up until you find what works for you.
Share more important stuff later on in the day – as the day unfolds more and more people log in to Twitter so by the evening here in the UK there are several time zones in the world that are online so I’ll plug my books and blog stuff later.
Reply back if applicable/possible – replying back will boost visibility on your tweets and others will see that you are engaging and will want that also.
Keep going – yesterday might have been a slow day but the twitter machine moves quickly and every day is a new day to seize the opportunity.
Thank you for stopping by. Quite soon I shall be releasing a series of audio based coaching sessions based on my Twitter experience, you can read more about that here.
For those who want some further reading do check out the resources section which is packed full of free-to-read guides on twitter and the wider subject of book marketing.
For some further listening, on my Patreon I have an audio series based upon my Twitter experiences with a hope it will help a fellow creative. Sessions 1 and 2 are free.
Those who do sign up to my Patreon will receive regular shout-outs for them and their books/creative things via my Twitter.
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.
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.
PartiallySubjective 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?
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 nottosell your book on social media?
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?
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.
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:
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:
Writing and publishing a book is an incredible achievement and then comes the daunting task of actually selling it to readers. The truth is, that part is really hard sometimes and finding ways to sell online and through social media really is a challenge.
Marketing is often dismissed by authors because they tend to think they are no good at it and that’s okay. For many years I thought I was terrible at cooking until I followed a coherent and simple recipe to realise with some practice and effort, cooking isn’t that hard. The same can be said about book marketing. With some perspective and a little consistency, selling books online is possible and even fun. I’m someone who regularly sells their books through social media and I’m going to share with you my lessons and observations that will hopefully help you.
We will look in detail at using social media as an author and selling books online while also analysing why some authors struggle.
Whether you are self or trad published, you’ll probably appreciate the work that goes into firstly putting a book together and then the wider journey of marketing. Authors are expected to do a lot of that work but there is a slight misconception or at least a lot of advice that is over simplified or out of date.
‘Write a book and share it to your social media audience – Instant Sales‘
This statement although paraphrased is probably why a lot of us fail or at least feel like selling books is a struggle. Oversimplified advice from 2009 is just a Google search away and social media tends to echo stuff like this. On Twitter, authors in their droves share their book links every day and then newer authors see that and do the same and so forth. The truth is, and I realised a while back is this:
Just because your book exists and is published doesn’t mean it will sell a single copy. Take that expectation away and your view on the whole deal will be a lot easier. I know you worked hard and I know you love that story which is okay because the first person who should appreciate a good book is you. But to me, most of the time, dropping that link on social media is in vain. Yes there will always be exceptions and there will even be some that live by dropping their links but from my experience, I sell my books with the link holstered most of the time. Dropping links can still be valid on occasion but it does tend to bury my engagement on twitter at least.
Analogy: Just because there is breathable air doesn’t mean your body will just absorb it. You need to work for it by using your lungs and wider circulatory system to deliver that breathable stuff around your body. I know lungs function mostly without us being conscious of them but you hopefully get my point. And so the same can be said about that book of yours. Social media is an opportunity to make readers firstly aware of you and then your work. I like to say social first and media second.
The Basics: You and Your Book
Social and media are two separate entities and so are the basics in book selling which are you and your book. Firstly when it comes to social media, conduct takes precedence over anything else. And by this I mean day to day behaviour and general presence. Attitude good or bad sticks out on the platforms and for Twitter where I spend most of the time, it is quite easy to read between the lines of someone’s profile and tweets to gauge their attitude. I often have authors interact with me who say they are struggling with sales and have tried ‘everything’ for me to see their recent interactions were arguments, heavy opinion and generally an attitude that doesn’t help their image. Or their recent activity is just book links over an extended period of time.
While it can be great to share and of course freedom of speech is something I support, social media tends to make you visible and that is both good and bad. Being an author in particular will put you in a glass house sometimes, especially if someone takes offence to what you have said. Now you are published it is time to really really think about what you say online.
Over the years I have conducted my own set of rules when it comes to being an author on social media. These include:
No real heavy opinion on anything that can lead to passionate discussion/arguments. My seat on the fence is comfortable;
Be approachable, supportive and mindful for others and mindful of what I am posting at all times;
Do my best to inspire, inform, entertain or give some level of value;
Be consistent – show up regularly.
If you follow most of these basics, you will eventually find followers which in turn may become readers. And the wonderful thing about social media is the quick results – when you post something you’ll pretty much know if it was good or bad by the end of a day if not sooner. Those with smaller followings may struggle with this to begin with so remember to use relevant hashtags to boost visibility. And because there are so many users on social media, there is always opportunity to reinvent yourself for newer people. This method is long term and takes time along with some patience. If you are looking to sell masses of books quickly then you are in the wrong place.
So if you conduct yourself in the ways stated above you are set for at least more positive social media interaction and visibility which go hand in hand and also contribute towards selling books eventually. The main problem we all have is spreading awareness to the masses that our books exist. We will look into the finer details of expanding visibility below but in order to sell your media or have a higher chance of it selling then it will need to have a decent anatomy.
The basic anatomy of a book is something I mention in my guide book Consistent Creative Content and if yours has it, then eventually it will sell. These are:
A stand out or unique title that fits the genre well;
A professional attractive cover;
An enticing blurb;
A reasonable price;
Editing/proofreading to the point that is reasonably practicable.
Some of the above can be outsourced for a reasonable price. I have always invested in a professional cover using the services of Design For Writers. They also offer book formatting and even website construction among other wonderful things. For some who might be on a tight budget you can find some wonderful creatives online who might even help you for free – my most recent release was proofread and beta read by some awesome connections I have made online and for free.
The Everyday Things
So you’ve got the basics and now it is time to face the daunting task that is marketing yourself and that book of yours. There are so many ways to get yourself noticed along with that book but I would suggest picking a handful of methods at a time and seeing what works. Over time you’ll find what suits you and this really is a voyage into the unknown for many.
When it comes to social media all you really have to do is stand out to get noticed. Getting noticed will result in visibility and visibility will equal sales or engagement .
Easier said than done right? But how?
I turn up on social media every day. I keep my visibility boosted by using Twitter and have built a following of over 20,000 by putting in the time. The majority of that following trust me and have got used to me being there all the time – I’m not addicted honest…
These Everyday things increase my visibility:
Timing – know and understand when the majority of your following is online – this is huge for visibility;
Visual content such as screenshots of recent reviews, excerpts, book banners and covers, paperback selfies or pictures, memes – variety is key here and don’t over share the same thing;
Well wishing/positivity – reaching out to your following and hoping they have a good day will bring you closer to your followers and increase engagement on your posts. This also proves that you are human and when everyone else is sharing book links a little variety of the pleasant kind can be nice;
Supporting others – being supportive of a fellow follower is a great way to earn trust, get some visibility for you and others while also building some trust. Plus for me it feels good helping others;
Reply back when you can – this became a revelation for me but if someone puts in the effort to comment on your post, do you best to think of a reply, even a simple ‘thank you’ will help boost both parties;
Sharing links in a tactical way – Instead of sharing a link on a post or tweet I either drop it in the comments/replies below or tell my audience that it can be found via my bio/profile – this is huge on Twitter especially;
Use relevant hashtags – there was once a time where I would always include hashtags on all of my posts and they help boost visibility. These include #writingcommunity #author #booktwitter #booktwt #writerscommunity
Book Selling Related Solutions
Having all of the above will eventually and most likely lead to sales but what about specifics? Here are some things you can try to help sales:
Run a price promotion – from a free promo to a price reduction they are usually effective with some advertising and the right terminology (today only);
Share a plethora of content about your book – from cover art and banners to the blurb and even the first page, this stuff makes for some great material to attract readers;
Write a stand alone book – marketing the 3rd or even 2nd book in a series is difficult and attracting new readers is a huge challenge. A stand alone story will eventually attract new readers. This also naturally leads into having more books available will increase the chances they sell.
The Longer Term
Time sits above everything and I firmly believe there are no real quick fixes to selling books on social media unless you have stacks of cash you are willing to throw at it and even then there is no guarantee. Over many years and books I have grown towards regular sales, reviews and social media followers by spending time doing the above. It isn’t easy and there are so many authors like you and me who want the same thing. Even that can help us because our togetherness sometimes makes us stronger.
Social media is an opportunity to succeed but requires work to figure it out. If you really want readers and success then you’ll find a way to get there. Find your crowd, earn their trust and stay visible – these things will eventually help you sell books. Of course there are always exceptions that are good and bad. Try and keep trying because eventually you will succeed. That’s all I have done and here I stand selling books on average every two to three days.
This post is long enough without really dipping into the physical selling side of being an author and I run the risk of repeating already published information which can be read on this site for free. Below you’ll find some links to guides that I have created through the many lessons I have learned over years. Thank you for reading!
The following guides will help with physical book selling:
And for those who want a more detailed view of my journey, this book lays out how I published 6 books in 5 years and how I use social media to sell them regularly. Available now in both paperback and digital.
For today only, my three most popular books are 99 cents or equivalent to download.
From an author/blogger guide book all the way to a fun super hero comedy, there’s even a short powerful ghost romance you can pick up for a fraction of the price. Details and things are below. If you grab a copy of anything, remember to leave a review!
In recent times ‘Ghost’ has been doing most of my authory heavy lifting and is becoming an author’s favourite. Just 60 pages long, this powerful but short romance captures everything about love in the moment.
The Teleporter – Super Hero Comedy
Regular Price $/£2.99
Today’s Price $/£0.99
KABLAMO! 2021’s most successful Lee Hall title has far surpassed my expectations this year with over 10,000 people downloading it in a single day and the 140 new ratings/reviews. Not all of them were favourable and that’s plenty of reason alone to check it out. And if you didn’t like it, the book is only a few hundred pages anyway…
Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age – Self-help guide.
Regular Price $3.99/£2.99
Today’s Price $/£0.99
Considering the usual price, for 99 cents or pence you’ll get the best value for money in a guide that tells you everything I have learned to be successful in this author/blogger game and how you can too! With 20 ratings in the first year of release CCC is becoming my most successful title.