There are about 2.679 million ways to promote your book, online and off. Some are free, some paid; some are winners, and others are flops.
I’ve started off mainly with free or very cheap promotions. I’m about to branch into paid promotions, because while I’ve had a good amount of success with selling physical copies, I have yet to crack the e-book market. And without a thousand-follower blog or a million-friend Facebook page, my best bet is using third-party sources, many paid.
Here’s a breakdown of each promotion strategy I’ve tried, and the relative successes and failures I’ve seen from each.
- Book launch party–although this was not the overwhelming success I had hoped for, I still sold 20 copies of the book, and most to people who would not have bought it otherwise. I’m still so new to the marketing game that I consider it a triumph every time a stranger buys my book/reviews my book/likes my author page, so it was a big deal to tap into that greater market. I also learned that random people who have no intention of buying a book tend to do so when free wine is involved!
- Goodreads giveaway–this just started yesterday, and already 99 people have added my book to their “to-read” list. While those people may never buy it, they will recognize it in the future, and their friends on Goodreads will see that they entered the giveaway. After reading up on maximizing giveaway gains, I discovered that books are most valuable when they’re first added and when the giveaway is about to expire. It doesn’t make a difference if you offer 1 copy or 100 copies, so it’s a good idea to stay small and quick with the giveaways. TIP: use HTML formatting to give yourself a large display image, rather than the small book-cover icon most giveaways use. It makes your title way more eye-catching!
- Author talks at schools–this has been my biggest success yet. Though it will be months before I see any results in terms of sales, when bookstores have to re-order The Natural Order, I sold a copy to each school’s library, and had 500 kids engaged and excited to enter the “Extreme Reading” competition.
- Extreme Reading competition–again, the results will take months to materialize, but everyone I’ve spoken to has been interested in entering the competition, and one unexpected benefit is that the competition, combined with author talks, guarantees you’ll be taken on by bookstores.
- Submitting to bloggers for review–after hours of work, I got about 15 bloggers willing to read and review The Natural Order. I won’t see most of these reviews up until next year, but when the first one came in, it was a well-thought-out and very positive critique. Since I’m currently at 4 reviews on Amazon, any additional reviews count as a major plus at this point.
- Crocheted animals for reviewers–I’ve advertised this on my blog and on Facebook, but no one seems to be paying attention. It’s a total flop. I would have loved to get more reviews, but at least it will save me from crocheting a mountain of animals!
- Facebook posts–these only go so far. No one goes on Facebook to look at ads, so you can’t just promote your book constantly. Unfortunately, the only people who paid attention to my posts were close friends, who have now bought the book and cannot be called upon for additional help. If I can start bringing in additional “likes” for my author page, it might become a more useful marketing tool. That’s part of the goal of the “Extreme Reading” competition.
- Blogging–this blog has become more of a personal reflection on the marketing process than any sort of promotional tool. I have all of 15 followers right now, and most posts get between 3 and 20 views (total). While blogging your way to fame sounds like a tempting strategy, it’s hard to be seen in the noise of the over-saturated blogosphere.
Since I’ve mostly concentrated my efforts on selling the physical book up till now, it’s time to move into the untapped world of marketing my Kindle e-book. Here are a few of the online strategies I’m going to try soon.
- KDP Select free promotion–this has just gone live today, so no feedback yet. I haven’t advertised the free promotion at all, so it will be interesting to see the results of this compared to a well-publicized free promotion a few months later.
- ENT (Ereader News Today) promotion–I just submitted my book to ENT, so hopefully it will be approved. For this, I’ll be paying $35 for a wide-ranging series of promotions based on a Kindle deal where I’ve lowered the price of my book to $1.99.
- Facebook paid promotion–it sounds as though success has generally been lackluster as far as paid Facebook promotions are concerned, but I might try one specifically advertising my “Extreme Reading” competition. The nice thing about Facebook ads are that you can select which type of users you want the ad to appear to, and you only pay per click. You can also put a cap on the amount you’ll pay, so you can keep costs low while observing clicking versus buying trends.
- Ebookbooster–this is another paid service that (for just $25) advertises your book across many different sites. You have to be doing a 99-cent or free giveaway at the time, so I’ll have to schedule this for after the ENT promotion ends.
If you have any questions or suggestions for further marketing ideas, let me know in the comments!