Self-Help Book Rec’s

If in doubt there’s probably a self-help book out there for it and so this post is dedicated to some of the self-help books I highly recommend. From writing craft to the finer details of marketing to even changing the way we think, let us dive in.

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

If there was one book that paved the way for this blog’s very existence, it would be this guide by Catherine Ryan Howard who has since gone on to have massive success with her writing – I’m talking six figure publishing deal kind of success, and my journey was inspired by Self-Printed which is a guide for both authors and bloggers. The writing style is fun and its a great insight into what it takes to self publish.

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

Say what you like about probably the greatest American story-teller of a generation and seemingly it appears to be the fashion to not like him in some circles but Stephen King has put together a fantastic guide that is both craft and practical based. I’d say that anyone who is looking to get more from their writing should invest in this one, its not even that long for a King book, so win win.

Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening! by DRTao

Keeping to the theme of shorter guides, ‘Break Them All’ refers to unlocking the potential of your own mind by overcoming things such as ego and ambition in a positive sense to be a better person. Easy to read and also intelligent, this different but great guide is well worth a look.

‘Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity’ by Kyle Bernier

I discovered this guide via Reedsy Discovery and ‘Lazy Creativity’ kind of normalises the fact that its okay to be lazy in your creative endeavours. Its detailed and covers many different types of creativity from the view of an artist who is also therapist. It certainly opened my eyes.

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

Another Reedsy Discovery find and it’s an incredible eye opening resource for those published via Amazon – most reading this are and this book focuses on the power of Amazon’s search bar/key word optimization. This is just the tip of a big iceberg that deep dives into how the world’s biggest book retailer functions. Highly recommended.

‘The Art & Business of Writing: A Practical Guide to the Writing Life’ by Chris Jones

Chris Jones lays out his tenured journey in the writing industry while generously passing on his wisdom in an easy-to-read guide full of resources that will either help or reassure the modern writer or both. Many other guides suffer from over informing or throwing way too much at once to the reader but here we get a fine balance between just the right amount of information and a tone that is friendly and consistent.

And so that wraps up my self-help book rec’s. Thank you for reading!

Reaching 30,000 Twitter Followers

Everyday I am on twitter. And over some years I’ve learned a lot about the platform as well as a lot about myself. Reaching 30,000 followers wasn’t a solo effort because like most social media platforms, success is mainly defined by those you interact with and others ultimately decide your success. In this post I am going to reflect on how I got to that number.

There was a time not too long ago where my tweets seemingly fell upon deaf ears. And back in April of 2020 my Twitter was nothing like it is now but then things started to gradually change. During a time of uncertainty I was granted probably the greatest gift you can give a writer; time. And looking back, I spent it figuring out the best possible way to turn my Twitter into something much more than it was. And to me, much like writing, Twitter is a journey of self discovery.

With 3,000 or so followers at that time and not a lot of engagement I dove in to the platform. Using some stuff I’d already realised about the platform’s potential and with some consistency, things began to change. It took time, it took effort and it took a boat load of constant trial and error. Everyone’s Twitter is different but the application of trial and error is something everyone can do pretty much everyday, even just for a few minutes.

From figuring out what time the majority of my following is online to see my tweets to simply learning that replying to those who reply to you is incredibly beneficial for visibility amongst so many vital lessons. The time I spent self-learning about this strange but wonderful conversation driven app started to churn out results. From book sales to blog views, from followers to friendships and even important contacts who would help me with BETA reading or even editing of future works.

I was talking and people from all over the world started listening whilst that following was gradually growing. By the end of 2020 I reached 5,000 followers and year later it was 20,000. All of this was driven by spending time and figuring out the value of being conversational. That’s all this is at the end of the day and for someone who finds dialogue a natural habitat – lets face it, most writers do. I eventually turned my Twitter into something truly worth having in my life.

Books were selling every 10 days in 2020 and today its near enough every few days which is also driven by mainly Twitter. My presence and persistence has paid off in so many ways, from building friendships to even having a purpose to those sales.

All of what I figured out gave me the best chance for others to ultimately decide my success, and if I could sum up everything I have done for people to decide my success on the platform it would simply be this:

For all the things you want to be on social media, just be kind. Kindness sticks out these days and good people will remember you for it.

To those who do follow me on Twitter, now over 30,000 of you, thank you. I’ll be recording a special celebration Twitter coaching session this week which will be free to listen to.

Below you’ll find some of my better resources for Twitter success.

Twitter Coaching Sessions – Pt 1 and 2 are Free to listen to. Sign up to listen to the rest.

Building an Algorithm of Trust – for better results on Twitter

Tips for Better Twitter Engagement

Nine Years on Twitter – What I’ve learned

How To Stay Creative With Chronic Pain by Ariel Jensine Dodge

Creatives face a myriad of daily challenges that get in the way of their craft. From day jobs to home demands to health issues, it seems there is always something standing between the desire to create and the act of actually doing it. One of the most significant challenges a creative might face in their lifetime is chronic pain.

In March of 2018, the cartilage in my left hip joint tore because of a malformation in my femur. Suddenly, sitting down to write or draw became an agony. Taking a walk outside could lead to a several-day flare-up. I was only 25 years old, and otherwise in good health, with an unusual presentation of symptoms that led to doctors brushing me off for over three years.

I felt like everything that had meaning in my life had been stolen from me in one moment.

So how did I manage to maintain focus on my novels throughout this challenging period in my life? Of course, everyone’s chronic pain story is different, but I hope these suggestions will help you stay creative through times of adverse health.

Rest when you need to.

In a society that encourages us to put productivity before health, it’s important to recognize when you need to LET YOURSELF REST. Do some self-care, take your medicine, or get lost in your favorite media. Powering through the pain will likely burn you out and worsen the pain long-term.

Create when you need to.

There may be days that you feel you may explode if you don’t write a few sentences or finish that outline. Take full advantage of inspirational episodes. Accommodate yourself by taking frequent breaks, make sure you’ve eaten and are hydrated. Write in bed if you have to! At the least, jot down some brainstorms in your journal for the next time you’re feeling better.

Don’t stop seeking relief!

In the early months of my injury, it became clear that this was not a health issue that would vanish on its own. As I continued to go undiagnosed, I lost hope many times that I would ever find a doctor who could help me.

A friend said to me one day, “Be persistent until you get relief.” Though her words were simple, the meaning and strength behind them were the reason I finally found a practitioner who could diagnose me. I am currently working towards a life with less pain. Please, don’t give up. You will find someone who can help you.

Finally, to maintain your creativity through chronic pain, there is one ultimate truth to hold in your heart:

NOTHING CAN TRULY STOP A CREATIVE PERSON FROM CREATING.

Art has persevered and permeated human society since the first smudge of ochre was painted on cave walls. Creation is our birthright, something that lives within us, even when we have no choice but to put it aside and focus on our health.

Whatever you do, don’t lose faith in yourself and your ability to create what is in your heart. The magic is there, and it will wait for you until you are ready to pick it up again.

You can read more from Ariel Jensine Dodge including this article via Medium

A Guide to Selling Books on Social Media

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

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

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

The Misconception

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

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

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

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

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

The Basics: You and Your Book

You

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be consistent – show up regularly.

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

Your Book

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

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

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

A professional attractive cover;

An enticing blurb;

A reasonable price;

Editing/proofreading to the point that is reasonably practicable.

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

The Everyday Things

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

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

Easier said than done right? But how?

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

These Everyday things increase my visibility:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Selling Related Solutions

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

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

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

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

The Longer Term

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

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

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

The following guides will help with physical book selling:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every Book I have read in 2021 Pt2

And we’re back for the second part of every book I have read in 2021 and this time I have 22 books to share and recommend! What a ride this year has been and made all the better for the wonderful reads you shall find below…

‘Spook City, U.S.A.: A Shadybrook Community Patrol Novella’ by Drew Purcell

Fun, unconventional easy-to-read comedy that never takes itself too seriously while delivering a good story with plenty of laughs…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Wonder Rush’ by Dan McKeon

An immersive and suspenseful teen spy thriller with some darker edges, a positive message, originality and depth…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Fear Farm No Trespassers’ by S.J. Krandall

‘Immersive page-turning horror stories full of thrills and chills…’

5 Stars Full Review

‘Nevada Noir : A Trilogy of Short Stories’ by David Arrowsmith

A brief but deeply descriptive brush with the dark…

4 Stars Full Review

‘A Few of My Favourite Things’ by A.J. Ross-Etheridge

Fun, honest, thought-provoking poetry guaranteed to put a smile on your face…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Sleeping Beauty and The Cursed Code’ by Emma Jean

Fairy tale and STEM combine for a fun story with an important message…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Evil Eye: A Slasher Story’ by April A. Taylor

An unpredictable fast-paced slasher with plenty of twists and tension as the storm unfolds…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Home’ by Thomas Overlook 

Unique and intriguing. A page-turning tale that’ll take readers down the rabbit hole of what’s there and what isn’t…

4 Stars Full Review

‘The Genius’ Guide to Bad Writing’ by R.T. Slaywood and R.C. Martinez

A refreshing outlook on writing and publishing that’ll make you smile…

5,000 Stars Full Review

‘Everything, Except You’ by Emma Jordan

A feel-good cosy romance story about two passionate souls

5 Stars Full Review

‘We Watch You’ By N.S. Ford 

Cleverly plotted British mystery thriller with darker psychological tones and twists…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Deceit of the Earth – Heavy Metal’ by Henry Cox

A thrilling jet-setting tale of deception stretching further than anyone can imagine…

5 Stars Full Review

‘The Right Thing’ by Kelsey Kupitz

‘An easy-to-read mystery full of intrigue, atmosphere and chills…’

5 Stars Full Review

‘Stars Never Die: A Movie To Die For’ by Walrus

‘Quick, fun and easy to read race against time story with murder mystery vibes…’

3 Stars Full Review

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

A comprehensive and valuable guide for any author looking to make a career out of their writing…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Beginner’s Luck’ by M.J. Furtek

‘A breezy action-packed and unpredictable page-turning spy thriller that could go anywhere next…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Fear and Fury’ by Jamie Jackson 

An unconventional and enjoyable superhero tale told with buckets of unique personality…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Dust & Lightning’ by Rebecca Crunden

Page-turning sci-fi action with a revolutionary theme…

5 Stars Full Review

‘The Bad Part of Time’ By Joshua Ingle

A thought provoking time travel caper exploring the themes of life, age and politics…

5 Stars Full Review

Star Child by D.K. Johnson – Review

The truth is out there among the stars and so is the journey to thought-provoking enlightenment

4 Stars Full Review

‘Body In The Waves’ by Kristina Gallo

Heavy themes and issues make for a dark but thrilling tale…

4 Stars Full Review

‘No Rest For The Wicked : Detective Stories’ by Megan Hinde

A collection of intriguing short noir crime stories

4 Stars Full Review

And so that wraps up an incredible year of indie and self published books. Thanks for reading and thank you to these awesome authors for their wonderful words! You can expect another post very soon highlighting my favorite books of 2021. Stay tuned!

Available now in Paperback – Consistent Creative Content

Like I always say, you can do this, quite simply because I did and you might even leapfrog anything I did…

What exactly am I talking about? Success in blogging, authoring and social media-ing because my guide book guides you towards it, and now in cost effective paperback!

With this book, I originally envisioned a digital only release due to the fact I only really sell e books but recent demand has taught me to change my stance and admit this may have been a slight oversight on my behalf. The learning curve here is to listen to your readers and so many wonderful folks asked for this to be released in paperback so here it is.

So what is Consistent Creative Content? Well kind reader, CCC is a part memoir and part guidebook that lays out everything I have learned on my path to 6 books in 5 years being published, gaining over 10,000 Twitter follows and how I turned this blog around to a near 900 plus following – I have even started to make money on this journey and now this book will guide you toward that. From marketing yourself to the basics of social media, there is even a stack of quotes by fellow authors and bloggers that I have connected with over the years. Above all this book teaches you to find happiness on your path and that there is no substitute for hard work.

Here I stand regularly selling books and with a loyal engaged following. All of it because you guys support my Consistent Creative Content across platforms. This book would make the perfect gift to give to the blogger, author or creative you know this season. You’ll find the link below and also some extra resources that are samples from this book. Thank you for the support kind readers!

Basic Blog Content Ideas

Twitter Basics – Stuff I follow everyday

The First Pages of Consistent Creative Content

Book Links:

US Link for CCC

UK Link for CCC

Weekly Ramble #131

One week until my final author act of 2021 unfolds. Consistent Creative Content is coming to paperback and will signify the end of what has been an incredible year. Although much of this path has been difficult, yet again the good outweighs the bad mostly and so we’re rolling on towards new heights.

The truth is, I’m a selfish writer, I tell stories I want to read for me but Consistent Creative Content is the first book I wrote for everyone else. Using all the things I learned while being a selfish creative serve as something that can help others and this era of self published social media authors are climbing ladders over gates previously kept for years. It seems that in order to succeed in art, you had to be someone, but now all you need is for your art to do the talking or at least that’s a battle we are now contending in. We’ve come a long way and gatekeeping is slowly being beaten by the happenings of self made self published creators who deserve for their work to be seen. We have a platform, we have social media and we have our dreams.

Only a few years ago did I notice that people paying attention to my guides and so I had the idea of putting a book together with all of my best advice, learning situations and methods – its called Consistent Creative Content and it is coming to paperback next week, I might have already mentioned that. The act of sharing our results and experiences as creators will only bring us closer. That whole keeping things secret so your competition doesn’t find out, that stuff deserves extinction because in art there is no competition. Our creativity unites us.

Let’s Talk About… The Free Book Promo

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

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

So, is a free book promotion worthwhile?

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

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

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

Type of Advertising/Budget

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

Combinations

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

Social Media Reach/Activity

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

Genre/Time of Year

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

Length of Promo

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

Reviews/Ratings

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

Bibliography

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

Make it Easy for the Crowd

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

Worked Scenarios

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

Scenario 1 (2017)

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

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 6 (UK only)

Length of Free Promo: 5 Days

Month: September

Books Published: 2

Budget Spent on Advertising: $70

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 2,500

Facebook: 300

Result:

Open Evening Free Downloads: 713

Open Evening Paid Sales After: 12

Darke Blood Free Downloads: 144

Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 29

Conclusion:

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

Scenario 2 (2019)

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

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 10

Length of Free Promo: 3 Days

Month: September

Books Published: 4

Budget Spent on Advertising: $100

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 2,900

Facebook: 400

Result:

Darke Blood Free Downloads: 3,403

Darke Blood Paid Sales After: 2

The Teleporter Free Downloads: 88

Conclusion:

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

Brief Interlude

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

Scenario 3 (2021)

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

Amount of Amazon Reviews: 27

Length of Free Promo: 1 Day

Month: April

Books Published: 6

Budget Spent on Advertising: $165

Social Media Following:

Twitter: 7,000

Facebook: 500

Result:

Open Evening Free Downloads: 940

Open Evening Paid Sales After: 2

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

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

Conclusion:

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

Page Reads

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

Final Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Social Media Following – helps but not essential;

Reviews – Some reviews help.

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

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

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

Paperback Launch of Consistent Creative Content!

Perhaps it was an oversight for me to offer this book in just digital format to begin with but in that time I have learned many of my readers still appreciate that feeling of holding a real book in their hands. Due to that demand I have taken the plunge of converting my guide book into paperback and it will be available from mid December just in time for gift season!

Do you know a budding author looking for a guiding light in the daunting industry of self publishing? Is the blogger in you ready to dive in but not sure where to start? Do you want to learn how to leverage your social media following into sales?

Consistent Creative Content would make the perfect gift for any writer at any stage because it is packed full of modern resources for the modern writer. Below you will find various snippets and other cool things about the book. Rock and roll man!

Opening Pages of Consistent Creative Content

Basic Blog Content Ideas – A sample from Consistent Creative Content

Tweet Machine Basics – A sample from Consistent Creative Content

BookTube Review of Consistent Creative Content

Instagram Interview where I talk about my journey

The Twitter Campfire Analogy

Twitter presents a wonderful opportunity for anyone to find success on social media. Whether you are looking to make friends or sell content, everything on Twitter revolves around connecting with others. This Campfire Analogy explains how you can reach others and find success on Twitter.

Image via Pixabay

So you’ve set up a small campfire on the edge of some woods (you’ve created a Twitter profile).

This nice spot is adjacent to a path, that path is then connected to a much wider path where people walk, jog, cycle and appear along frequently. (Basically the wider twitter community, no specific demographics)

You begin to talk to yourself while the small fire crackles away. There is a little warmth but other than the low hum of your quiet voice it’s pretty desolate.

You then talk a little louder (your tweets are specific to your interests, if you’re an author you use the writing community hashtag).

It might feel like you are talking to yourself but that busy path is ever so near. (it feels like you are talking to yourself. This is normal for a while)

A little time passes and someone along that wider path hears you talking (the hashtags amplified that voice of yours).

This person then moves onto the path adjacent to that campfire of yours, (you’ve attracted the attention of a specific demographic you’ve got something in common with).

You talk to this person as they have just replied to you. (they commented on your tweet). It was a brief but a pleasant exchange. This passer by then decides to come off that path and sit at your campfire (congratulations, you’ve just earned a follower).

Because this follower responded to something you said, you now tweet more about the subject you exchanged engagement with. You also talk directly to them (you follow them back).

Other passers-by begin to hear this follower talking to you and some at the very least stroll past the campfire. This one follower has sat at a few campfires before and those who he sat with can see the engagement you are having, (mutual followers of that first follower see your tweets in their feed).

You keep talking and exchange engagements. Some of these mutual followers have now walked by and sit at your camp fire. You talk to them also (follow each other). These folks even bring their own logs and the fire grows in brightness and warmth (more engagements happen, subjects range).

More folks who have been to other campfires see your campfire is a two way conversation and come to sit by it. (Your following steadily increases because you are talking and including them and you are present consistently over time).

The subjects you talk about are interesting and engaging. More passers-by join the congregating people already by your now roaring fire. You’re going to need more seating soon but you keep talking because these passers-by have become important connections. They have invested in you and trust you because your word is good and honest which started literally with you talking to a campfire. How do you know what to talk about everyday – you get better at this the more you do it. It even feels warm inside…

Some of these passers by now want more from you and so they see you have a product or service available that they know will be trust worthy or will at least provide something which will make them feel good, (You’ve grown your own algorithm of trust over time, as an author or content creator these followers buy from you).

You share with these fellow camp fire members how you got to this point. They eventually take on some of what you have learned and in their spare time they go and start their own campfires and the cycle continues, (you see others being successful at twitter also, they didn’t give up and kept talking also).

Although this is a specific analogy in a perfect scenario, it highlights the importance of being social no matter where you start.

This post is inspired by another guide which you can read here. Thanks for stopping by!