Book Promotion Results: April 2021

Alright authors here it is and due to popular demand the results of my most recent book promotion efforts which took place on the first weekend of April 2021. For the sake of helping a fellow wordsmith we’ll be looking into the basics, what I aimed to do, the results, how I got them and of course factors for success. This will be quite detailed but for reasons laid out ahead.

There might be some new faces visiting this here blog for the first time so allow me to introduce myself if you don’t already know me. My name is Lee Hall, I’m an independently published author from the UK. I have several books available and I am determined to persuade the world to read them – that is and always will be my dream. I’ve never given up and slowly over many years I’ve found some success. My readers and following on social media have been kind enough to keep that dream alive by showing amazing support. It is also my belief that authors should help each other because we are on this journey together so this post is for authors to hopefully gain something from. Let’s dive in…

The Basics

If you are published you’ll probably know that an author’s greatest struggle is informing the world their work exists. The next challenge is convincing someone to spend money and actually buy it. I know this pain very well and everyone with a book for sale feels it. Unfortunately just saying your book exists is not enough to sell it mainly because our voices aren’t loud enough on their own, so how do we amplify that voice? Through book promotion.

Book promotion is a rather large umbrella that covers many different methods of marketing and advertising. There are numerous ways to tell the world your book exists while also persuading a potential reader to buy it. Some require long term effort while others are instant, we’ll go into some methods below. Before setting out to promote your work it’s important to decide what you want and how you are going to do it along with setting a realistic expectation.

My aim

My aim on this occasion was get as many sales as possible for my four books which are all part of the Occult ‘Order of the Following Series’. The first book in that series ‘Open Evening’ would be free to download on Saturday the 3rd of April while the other three would be discounted to 99 cents or equivalent on that day also.

If your book is published via Amazon and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited they will allow you to set your price to free for so many days every period. Free is an effective, please-all method of getting downloads. It doesn’t guarantee reviews or even reads but that’s the gamble with every book sale.

The main method I would be advertising this sale was through various book promotion sites and across my own social media channels. For beginners, book promotion sites are an effective way to advertise books online. Some advertise for free while the better ones you have to pay for. More info on book promo sites here.

In terms of expectations, I envisioned some paid sales for the discounted books while the majority would be for the free book.

Top promo tip: If you have a series available, setting the price to one book for free and lowering the price for the others will drive sales to all books in that series if promoted well for a short time.

Background information: In February I managed to convince high end Book Promo site BookBub to feature my stand alone super hero comedy ‘The Teleporter’. It was downloaded 10,000 times, became a best seller and has got over 100 ratings since then. This is probably important to note because after that promo a lot more eyes have been on me and my work. The aftermath has been rather incredible. You can read about that here.

The Results

So this is how things went on Saturday the 3rd of April. After what started as a rather slow day soon took a turn for the better…

The free to download Open Evening made its way around the world with an impressive 874 downloads while every other book I have available sold, this included books that were not advertised anywhere! Now lets take a look at the paid sales that day in a little more detail.

176 paid sales in one day is a record breaking statistic for me. Not only did this smash the previous record of 60 paid sales in one day (2019) but also the monthly record that was 120 (September 2020).

‘Darke Awakening’ took the lead and sold nearly triple the amount it sold on release last year. Overall these numbers are something I’ve never seen before!

Let’s take a look at Amazon chart movement.

The highlight was seeing Open Evening beside Dean Koontz’s ‘Odd Interlude’ via the Free US Occult Suspense Chart.

‘Darke Awakening’ did the best in paid charts by peaking at 21 in the US Vampire Thriller charts. ‘An English vampire book in America’ being in the top 25 of the biggest Amazon market is huge! It was in the 1000’s previously!

‘Darke Blood’ just about crept into the top 50 of the US Occult Suspense Chart, again that was in the 1000’s beforehand.

‘Cemetery House’ managed a solid 52 in the US Occult Horror charts. A respectable number for what was my most problematic release back in 2018. Redemption!

For what was a truly fantastic day continued into the Sunday with more paid sales. This time ‘Open Evening’ started selling at 99 cents. Chart movement is an important thing because it throws books in front of new eyes and puts them alongside perhaps more known titles. This drives visibility for passing trade.

On this day my all time paid book sales record for the month was pushed to 200+ which then got further improved the next day…

As of this screen shot taken on the 5th the total for paid sales in April reached 216.

How I did it

This story is only half told because now we need to look into how I got these results and there are so many different factors as to why this sale was so successful. Hopefully this is the part where some of you guys can get something out of this information.

Normally during a promotional run I focus the advertising on one book but this time I spread that advertising across the series using multiple book promo sites. So here are the book promotion sites and the packages I used for each book:

Free Booksy – Horror Series Advertising Package for ‘Open Evening’ with the series linked – Cost $65

E Book Booster – Advertisement for ‘Open Evening’ – Cost $25

Bookrunes – Advertisement for ‘Cemetery House’ – Cost £25

Robin Reads – 99 cents Discounted Thriller Promotion for ‘Cemetery House’ – Cost $40

My Book Place – Advertisement for ‘Darke Blood’ – Cost $10

Total Cost: $165

This might seem like a lot of money to some but if you are serious about advertising then you need to invest money seriously. My recent BookBub featured deal cost around $250. This sale has turned out to be my most cost effective and potentially profitable!

Top promo tip: If you want to know how effective a certain book promo site is, just advertise with them only.

Factors for success

As you can see the paid advertising focused on the first three books in the series but the 4th book ‘Darke Awakening’ sold the most amount of copies. It is usually priced at $2.99 but the 99 cents discounted price is seen as quite a bargain. This was also the same for ‘Cemetery House’ which is usually $1.99 and was also discounted. Price differential, even by a small amount is a major factor in sales. Supermarkets do this all the time. Folks like to think they are getting a bargain and they were in this instance.

But why else did this promotional run go so well? (this is quite a list but here goes…)

The Basics (again)

Different basics this time but I firmly believe people will buy a book if it has the following things:

A professional cover, an enticing blurb, a unique title and a fair price. If your book has just these things, it will sell eventually, trust me.

Further visuals: Book banners seem to enhance the visual aspect of a book’s cover. I made most of mine through online photoshop sites and shared them through my social media platforms.

Some reviews/ratings: All four books in the series have some reviews and ratings. These take time to get but are very valuable when it comes to selling a book. That star rating is sat just beside the cover, people take it into account. Some promo sites will only accept books with a certain amount of reviews.

Open Evening was free: People love free things. Some folks won’t even think about liking the free thing before they grab it and if one of those books in a series is free, that leads into…

Amazon Series Link: If you are published via Amazon and have a series you can now create a separate product page for all the books in that series. This is kind of a no brainer and if used properly, potential readers will land on that page and they will then see all the books available. On this occasion they saw all the books were discounted.

Having more books, sells more books: If you have multiple books published then readers are more likely to buy from you. This is also my number one book selling advice – write more books. Easier said than done I know but authors with just one or two books, keep going because sales will get easier the more books you have published. Then you can do more things to promote them.

Having stand alone books helps also: I also have two stand alone books, one of which did very well a few months back in another promo. No doubt some folks who read it then saw these books were on sale and took the opportunity to buy one or two.

The sale only lasted a day: While over the years I have ran many different promos they all tend to be for a short time. This creates urgency, a one day only deal will push sales because a sense of demand is created.

Timing

The Easter weekend or any holiday weekend is a great time to advertise a bargain book. These days and post pandemic a lot more people are online and more people are reading. Saturday is a prime day for social media traffic and so I used that to my advantage.

The month of April is also a rather special time for Indie Authors because over on twitter there is a thing called #IndieApril where a whole lot of folks come out to support indie books. Which leads into…

A strong and long social media game

For some years I have been slowly ramping up my Twitter game and the chances are you came from Twitter to read this. In very recent times Twitter has brought me extraordinary results simply because I’ve kept going and tried my best to help fellow authors. Every day I show up and do my best to inspire, inform, entertain and hopefully provide something of value to an exceptional group known as the writing community. I know for a fact they came out in droves to support this recent sale and I’m truly thankful for it.

55 Likes for a writing tip – that’s awesome…

There is no quick way to get an engaged following on social media, it just takes time and effort. People have to trust you and that takes time to earn. I basically treat it like a job. As long as you keep going, eventually social media gets rewarding. Twitter in particular has a specific psychology to get right. For anyone who want’s to know more about getting better at twitter, here’s a recent guide.

For this sale I took full advantage of the shameless self promo Saturday hashtag and basically spent most of the day present on the platform sharing book banners and links. I manned the bridge and put all my efforts into navigating the S.S Lee Hall Writer through book promo waters…

While the promotion was unfolding I kept my Twitter following informed how it was going and this stirred even more engagement and reaction leading to sales. This also led to further sales on the days after.

Convince folks to buy into you first

Over the years Lee Hall has become a brand of loyalty that supports fellow authors by reviewing and embracing their works. Yes I just referred to myself in third person…

Last year I reviewed 40 plus indie books. Be a player in the game and the game will support you. I tend to speak less about my work and more about others, people see that I’m not just here to sell books, I am here to do so much more and you are so much more than a book link on social media. Be a person first and book link later.

The back story of my story

Because I have such an awesome audience on this blog and now on Twitter I shared a post about my high school days which were a struggle. That personal struggle is something that inspired ‘Open Evening’ and so a week or so before the promo I shared it on here and via Twitter. It was even my pinned tweet for the week running up to the promo. You can read that post here.

Momentum

The writing winds of destiny seem to be blowing my way as of recent. I’m not sure if I accidentally sold my soul or something but lady luck is shining on me right now and I’m riding that momentum. First a BookBub featured deal in February and now this awesome weekend of sales that is still aftermathing.

It’s never too late

Even years after its release Open Evening is now being read by my newer following. Books will probably outlast the best of us!

Things eventually align

This journey hasn’t been easy but I’ve never given up no matter the results. Perseverance pays dividends eventually, you just have to keep going. I’ve learned a lot over the years and next month the fruits of such will be published via my self help guide book. I’ll be looking for ARC readers soon.

Concluding thoughts

The true result of a good book promo run will happen long after the actual sales so right now I’m unsure how effective it was apart from the obvious visuals and stats I have shared. Overall I’m pretty happy with how things went.

I’m still getting over the emotional rollercoaster of February’s book promo and then this happened. It’s incredibly humbling to see my books getting sold in the numbers they did. I haven’t done anything special or even clever. Over the years, I’ve just kept going and that’s probably all I am qualified to tell you to do. Keep going. Chase those words and eventually good things come to those who work for it.

I shall leave you with this final graphic which shows royalties that I have never seen before, royalties that have started to turn things towards a profit and for me above all, hope.

Thank you to everyone who supported this recent book promo run and for taking the time to read this. The recent support you have all shown is incredible. You can find plenty of other book promo stuff in the resources section right here.

Peace out, rock and roll man!

Essential Self-Help Book Rec’s for Authors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coming Soon

It might be a tad indulgent to include my own title in this post but I also have a self help book for authors and bloggers coming this May.

Let’s talk about… why your book isn’t selling…

It might be a sore spot but here it’s okay to talk about lack of book sales. They never told us we’d have to put in a lot of effort to market our own… While we’re all too busy wrapped up in thinking we achieved something by reaching the end we’ve actually only pulled up to the starting line… I’ll retract part of that statement and say writing and finishing a book is a phenomenal achievement but nobody forewarned me that selling it would be a pain in the ass. This post is going to explore what authors can do to fight back from the struggle to sell their work.

Sales don’t just magically appear for an author and so this post will explore what can be done to get them by listing the things we should have done or should be doing. While saying ‘buy my book’ tends to be frowned upon we’re gonna look at how you can still say that but in disguised form. Let’s dive in…

Things you can do Before Release

Let’s face it, fail to prepare and prepare to fail because most of the marketing work that goes into selling books normally takes place prior to release, hindsight eh? We could all argue otherwise but let’s agree that if we did it again for the first time, things would hopefully be better; from generating the initial buzz to ramping up all your social media efforts all the way to the nuts and bolts of putting a book together; all of this is supposed to take place prior to release. There are so many reasons why a book doesn’t sell because the initial ground work wasn’t effective enough. Most of my book promotion efforts revolve around amplifying my reach so people notice my work but if an extensive amount of effort is not put in before publication then that book might be doomed from then on to never sell. So what can you do before release to make sure it does sell? These things, some of which might appear obvious but are essential in my eyes:

  • Announce the project as early as you can – even during drafting you should have a book title and genre so talk about it. Tell your social media followers, create a blog post, create an email newsletter to send to folks on your email list – if you haven’t got one of these then get one. Make an early trailer or even a mock-up book cover. Tell your followers this book is coming.
  • Up your social media game on all fronts – don’t just talk about your work, engage and get that following higher. My top advice when it comes to selling books is to sell yourself by being present online. Be social and post stuff that aims to inform, inspire, engage and help others – this might be more of a long term thing but go for it for the sake of that book!
  • Review books in a similar genre – start making your presence known in that genre by supporting it. Supporting fellow authors is a guaranteed way of getting noticed trust me. Some authors might even return the favour.
  • Reach out to BETA readers and then ARC readers who will leave early reviews upon release – people are the power when it comes to books. If they are true supporters they’ll spread the word through their own social media reach. Perhaps ask a higher profile author who writes in the same genre to take a look and offer to have their review quote on the cover. This one might take some socialising and the debut author might struggle but having folks in your corner will help.
  • Make sure your book has a good basic anatomy – nothing sells books more than a professional looking cover and an enticing blurb. Do your best to get these as awesome as possible. When you’ve got the final book cover it would also be a good idea to create a book banner to share on social media and pin to the top of your profile. I made the book banner below, pretty nifty right?
  • Set up a pre order, a price promotion and self promote – even if this is your debut novel I would suggest setting up a pre order for the e version via Amazon. Least this way you’ll already have an Amazon page and then you can share that link. You’ll be surprised at the folks who come out of the woodwork to support and pre order that book. You can even set up that pre order months before release. As an incentive, perhaps set the price for the pre order lower than what it will be after release and remember to tell your social media following about it.
  • Organise some advertising – there are book promo sites out there that will have a specific new book release package. This is worth exploring to enhance your reach. Here’s my list of promo sites.
  • Organise the official release – create a Facebook event for the launch day of your book and make a spectacle of the date. Invite friends and potential readers. Schedule a blog post on the day which leads into…
  • Blog about it – the pre release days of a book make for some great material to document via a blog. Talk about the story, the setting, the characters, share the blurb and share anything else relevant.
  • Promote other books on your back list – this only applies to those with other books but it’s important to bring them into play. Run a price promotion and mention you have another work coming in that promo.
  • Get yourself out there – there are plenty of places to submit guest posts and reviews to that might have a higher reach or following than you. This blog boasts a 700+ following and is looking for guest book reviews and articles.
  • Contact local press – its always worth reaching out to local press about your book because you never know if they are looking for some news to feature on a slow week. Is your work unique or does it have an interesting back story – local press love that sort of thing.

That’s 12 things an author can do prior to release to generate sales and I guarantee there’s probably a lot more. Now hindsight is a wonderful thing and all but what about those with books already out there? What can we do to sell our already published works?

Things you can do After Release

We’re sticking with the Back to the Future Theme here…
  • Run a promo or sale – like any other product out there books can benefit from being discounted or even free. You can do this any time after release to get some sales. Combine this discount or even free promo with some advertising and things might start to turn around. Reaching out to the right higher profile book promo site might result in your lucky day.
Getting a Featured Deal with these guys is a huge step in the right direction
  • Let readers find you – this is a longer term strategy but just going about your usual business of blogging and supporting fellow authors will eventually get you noticed in a positive light. I’m saying this because it happened to me. After deciding to offer indie book reviews on this blog back in 2018 my views have continually improved and so did my sales.
  • Write more books – another long term one but having more books on your shelf equal more choice for potential readers. If someone liked one of your works they will at least attempt to find out if there are any more. I’ve released 6 books in 5 years and experienced a gradual increase in sales over that time. Consistency is key.
  • Try not to worry so much – Good things take time and it might actually be a constant battle to find sales. You might never be fully satisfied so don’t let it get to you. Back when I had even 4 books released there were some months when I sold nothing and now after so many years and more releases I sell on average a book every 5 or so days. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your legacy…
  • Consider lowering the price permanently – I’ve never sold an e book for more than $2.99 so maybe consider aiming for lower than that. If your an indie I’m pretty sure you don’t rely on book sales for income so consider keeping your e books at 99 cents – this normally guarantees a few sales.
  • Reach out to some book bloggers for a few reviews – the more ratings a book has the more chance it has of selling and most book bloggers will accept a free e copy in exchange for a review.
  • Blog about it – you can still blog about your work long after it has been released. Perhaps an in depth post exploring 5 reasons why someone should read it or even a ‘making of’ post. Talk about it and be honest, readers are drawn to that.
  • Social media – every now and then I will share the link and cover art via twitter. It’s important to remind your following what you’ve written and what is available. On twitter those shameless self promo posts are good for visibility, especially on the weekends.
  • Read an excerpt out loud – go live on your social media and read a passage or excerpt of your work. Show your beautiful face and a passion for that work you created.

You’ll notice the list of methods after release is smaller because the preparation is way more important but that doesn’t deny the fact after release methods are any less important or effective. It is perceived that the first 30 days of a book’s release are the most important for future sales but I’d beg to differ especially if you can achieve a good promotional run. It took three years for my third book to gain any kind of traction along with my 4th. It’s great to do as much preparation as possible but that doesn’t doom a book for eternity because in marketing and book sales anything can happen.

There is also another often overlooked resource and that’s to ask your peers. The writing community is full of different folks on different parts of their journey and they have valuable experience. I put the question out on Twitter and so here’s some wisdom from those who have sold:

The best way to figure out sales and marketing is research. Saying your no good at marketing is old and cliché. If you can write a book and tell and effective story then you can sell it, The Google is also there for you and so am I. Check out my Resources section for plenty of pointers on all things book selling, marketing and wider social media. I’ve got a guide book coming soon which is what this post was inspired by.

I hope you enjoyed this rather in depth look at why our books aren’t selling and if you have any other methods not mentioned then please hit me up in the comments! If you just want to shout and vent about not selling books, that’s welcome also!

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…

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

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

Finding good marketing advice about the ins and outs of indie publishing can be quite a daunting task but Ricardo Fayet has achieved this near enough flawlessly with this easy to read guide that’ll I’ll be returning to for reference for some time.

The subject matter ranges widely over 51 chapters from the basic mindset of readers finding you to your writing niche all the way to the intricate details of advertising on different platforms and so much more. All of this works towards the message that indie authors can be successful and can make money – there are even basic formula’s that math-phobic types like me could easily understand, it’s motivational and informative at the same time. From the tactic of ‘going wide’ to staying Amazon exclusive the information is all there and it’s up to date for the modern story teller. Any budding author or even those already published will be able to take away a multitude of knowledge which is also backed up with links to the many resources that probably led to the creation of this book. While this might be perceived as one big advert for Reedsy you cannot fault it for the amount of information and the help it provides.

I particularly enjoyed the analysis of advertising books through Bookbub, Amazon and Facebook each with their strength’s and weaknesses laid out. While marketing appears to be the biggest challenge for authors this book will give you no reason to believe that anymore because it’s normally something way before that as said in the conclusion – perhaps the truest statement of the book and reality check many authors need.

Just what does it take to find success as an author in a crowded market? Reading this book for a start because to me it’s an essential tool.

5 Stars – this review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

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…

Announcing Book 7: ‘Consistent Creative Content’

The next book by Lee Hall is coming this May!

‘Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age’ will be my 7th release and this time we’re going non-fiction!

Some of you might already know that I’ve drafted an Authoring and Blogging Self-Help guide book and now this is the official announcement post.

Over the past nearly 3 years this blogging effort has been at the very forefront of my growth/success in the wider arena of social media and authoring. While I have you to thank, kind reader and follower or buyer of my books, the successes and learning opportunities of being a blogger and indie author has inspired me to lay down such experiences into a guide that aims to not only show you how I got here, but to hopefully inspire anyone looking to journey into the foray of blogging and authoring themselves.

So Just what credentials do I have to back all of this up?

As you can see from the above graphic, my blogging views over the past 3 year have skyrocketed and continually grown. This image will hopefully back up the theories and methods I used to get them within this guide. Of course it won’t all be blogging centric, there is also a huge portion of the book dedicated to authoring, from the basics of choosing which publishing path to take, the basic anatomy of a book all the way to book promotion methods. There are even some lesser known hints and tips I’ve kept to myself until now. I will even cover social media platforms in both basic and advanced detail. There’s even a whole section dedicated to book reviewing. Trust me this is a plethora of authoring and blogging. I have even included a brief memoir that I hope will inspire and influence along with a breakdown or roadmap of how I published 6 books in 5 years.

Simply put, this guide will hopefully inspire or help anyone looking to get into blogging or authoring at any level. Those who are like me and combine both will benefit the most.

You can expect to hear and see more soon!

How I landed another deal with Bookbub

The promoting of books is a struggle most of us writer folks know. Just where does one start with book marketing? Through many years of trial, error and the sheer will to figure things out I’ve managed to learn a lot about selling books. I will always do my best to pass that on to others so perhaps they can benefit from hopefully something I’ve learned. The self help guide book is coming this year but until then…

This is how I landed another featured deal with Bookbub…

In this post I’ll explore how I positioned myself for success plus the who’s and how’s of everything to do with Bookbub who gave me, a small time, underdog of an indie author the greenlight again…

Who are Bookbub?

Bookbub is book discovery service that boasts up to 15 million users online and they are considered a top shelf promotional site that connects readers with books. Many authors have boasted great returns from actual profits to long term sales, reviews and success – this includes me. Once upon a time back in 2019 I managed to secure a featured deal with them that resulted then in my best day of sales ever. For beginners a good way of marketing yourself online is to use book promotion sites – check out my resources section for more. Bookbub are basically the high end version of any other book promotion site out there. They are a paid service but I consider any promotional method that charges an investment much like books.

Top Tip: Authors can create a profile on Bookbub and list their works. Some might even be listed on there already. You can also review and rate other authors books too. I recommend doing that to build up a profile on the site.

What is a Bookbub Featured Deal

The site offers a range of advertising services but their Featured Deal is the holy grail of advertising. Authors who do get accepted are in essence paying for wider specific reach through targeted email lists. As you can read below they make it seem awfully hard to be accepted and it is trust me.

For me this time around Bookbub agreed to feature my super hero comedy ‘The Teleporter’ again but with a few differences. The US market was now included unlike last time and the book would be free as opposed to discounted. And now I have a backlist of 6 books – more about that further down.

Top tip: I’ve said before my best advice when it comes to book selling is to write another. Having more than one title available as an author will galvanise your brand and increase the likelihood of selling more while finding a readership.

How did I land a Featured Deal, again?

For some years I have been near enough constantly applying to have them feature one of my titles. Although Bookbub say they support indie authors – they only take on books of the highest quality and books that they know will sell. Yes there are indie books that fit this bill but they are strict with who they choose. Some authors have even boasted to have over 50 reviews and awards just to get accepted. Recently I’ve even seen Stephen King’s work featured with them so it’s kind of a big deal!

So you might be asking at this point what the hell am I doing getting chosen by them? Well friends, Bookbub obviously see something in my scrappy underdog of a book.

You can read my account of how I secured a deal with them last time but now things are far more improved and so I guess that’s why they said yes. There are several factors that led to them agreeing and so they are laid out below but timing and niche are probably big driving factors – The Teleporter is in the humour category – something more specialist compared to a crime thriller or another popular genre. Sometimes things just align but there are ways to position one’s self as an author to get noticed…

Top tip: Writing a book that has a specialist or niche genre may be difficult to market across a mainstream following but it also makes for an opportunity when big time advertisers need a particular gap to fill. Niche will make that writing of yours stand out…

Positioning Factors for Success – Why they chose me?

There probably isn’t just one reason why Bookbub said yes, luck might have played a part but here are some other factors that helped me position myself in their sights…

Apply: Okay this is a simple factor but applying for a featured deal sparked this whole thing to life. This probably led to Bookbub doing a little research on me.

Social Media Game: Over the past 6 months I have ramped up my social media game. What exactly do I mean by that? Well I’ve made every effort to create engaging content across my platforms and specifically twitter, look it’s a pandemic okay and I’m bored most of the time so I took that as an opportunity… Very recently my engagement rate has been through the damn roof on the tweet machine (look at the numbers on the tweets pictured below). Anyone who considers you in the publication and literary field will do their research and so recent tweets of mine have been getting a lot of attention and engagement. My following is on target for 6k followers, I only reached 5k back in December. That engagement has come mainly from the writing community so you could even say this opportunity was created by them!

Top advice too…

Shout about it: Although this is linked to my social media game, every recent success I’ve had, I shared via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Be proud of those reviews, sales, and anything else you achieve. It inspires others and shows you are the person to follow.

Recent Book Sales equals visibility: Quite recently something wonderful appears to be unfolding. In the month of January which is notoriously slow for sales, I’ve been selling books! This pushes those books up the charts in Amazon – something Bookbub will look at.

Recent Reviews for other works: Although it’s felt like forever since I received my last Amazon review very recently a few came in for both ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ and ‘Cemetery House’ thus proving people are reading my stuff.

I support the industry: You may have read from my recent posts about Changing the Culture when it comes to book reviews by authors. It is my opinion that authors don’t review enough books and so that’s what I do a lot of to support the industry – supporting the industry gets you noticed.

There’s a history: Somehow Bookbub said yes to featuring the Teleporter once before. Having that history is a rapport that basically kept my foot in the door.

There are also some more physical factors as to why The Teleporter was chosen…

Physical factors for success

Cover art and banner game: Undoubtedly the cover for ‘The Teleporter’ is an exceptional work of art. I have Design for Writers to thank for that and of course bolstered by a nice book banner makes the whole thing look professional and appealing. A pro book cover is worth the investment and something I consider part of the basic anatomy of a book…

A decent rating on Amazon and Goodreads: Bookbub will of course have done their research and ‘The Teleporter’ has a healthy amount of recent and older reviews/ratings spanning back to it’s publication in 2018.

On Amazon US the book currently has 21 reviews/rating with an overall 3.9 star average

On Amazon UK the book has 24 reviews/ratings with an overall 4.1 star average.

Over on Goodreads it’s my 2nd highest rated book with 36 ratings and an average rating of 4.03 stars.

A few ratings on Bookbub: Mainly through my various author social media connections, a few nice folks have left reviews for the Teleporter on Bookbub.

Leaving my own ratings on Bookbub: If I have reviewed your work and if it’s listed on Bookbub then there’s a high chance I have left a rating on there. This probably contributed in some way.

A consistently growing backlist: Since 2016 I have released 6 books. This shows consistency and dedication while any reader including those who use Bookbub are more likely to choose an author who has more works – this further makes my point on the best marketing advice I can give authors – have a backlist so if readers like one of your works they’ll invest in another.

Not giving up: Okay calling my sheer will to carry on a physical attribute might be a stretch but on this author road you have to keep going and keep trying no matter what. I have submitted to Bookbub several times over the years and only twice have they said yes. Keep going, you never know when things will align.

So I’ve laid out all the possible reasons as to why they chose my book but what about yours?

Factors to consider

Now this post has probably drummed up some hope and interest for authors and why not because if I can do this, then you certainly can. But here are some things to consider if you are an author thinking of submitting your work to Bookbub…

Does it stand out?: The Teleporter without me probably realising is a unique book and rather niche. Is yours something that sticks out in a good way? There are millions of crime thrillers out there but only a handful of boozy super hero comedy novellas – its specialist.

Does it have the basic anatomy: The basic anatomy of a book in my eyes is probably the most important selling factor. Does your book have a professional standard cover, an enticing blurb and a unique stand out title? Is the editing the best it can be? If your book has those things and nothing else, you my friend are on the right path. Someone will eventually like your work if it has the basic anatomy.

The price: It’s going to cost me north of $250 for this featured deal. Make sure you’ve got the cash.

Do you have a backlist: One of the biggest outcomes of a Bookbub featured deal is what happens afterwards. Normally the author being featured will shoot up the rankings on Amazon and be visible to newer eyes so it’s vital you take advantage of that and the best way to do so is having a backlist readily available. This time around all of my other titles will be discounted on the day and ready for maximum sales. If you don’t have a backlist to sell then this might not be worthwhile.

Top Tip: When running a promo for your book if you have others, discount them during the promo and it’ll drive some sales.

I say go for it: Trust me when I say you never know unless you try. So any author out there who has doubts about their work being good enough – that was me and still is. Somehow I managed to engineer lightning striking twice so go for it!

Final Thoughts

When I casually checked my emails on a weekday evening after dinner I was shocked to see Bookbub said yes to my application but also big time excited because a Featured Deal is a big deal and will hopefully lead to me climbing another level in the realms of authoring, we’ll see and above all I will be ready!

Anyone looking to apply for a Bookbub featured deal I say good luck and do check out my resources section for some top advice about book promotion and blogging.

The Results

Want to know how the featured deal went? Here is a detailed breakdown of the results!

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..