Today author Holly Evans stops by to tell us about the various ways to promote your book! Book promotion and marketing is a huge part of the indie author’s (or indeed any author’s) routine, so I’m particularly thrilled that she agreed to talk about it here!
Holly Evans is the author of the Infernal Ties series – which I strongly recommend if you love urban fantasy! – and already stopped by last month, when I interviewed her about her books. She also blogs over here.
She is an urban fantasy author with an unhealthy fascination with blades, a deep love of hellhounds, and would love one day to wake up as a fae. When she isn’t wrangling rogue characters and trying to tame her muse, she’s researching shiny new ninja moves. During her spare time she fights crime and rights wrongs on the streets of Prague.
Sarina was kind enough to invite me here today to talk about book promotion options. Marketing is one of those things that can be a bit overwhelming, there’s advice flying in every which way and you end up like a deer in the headlights. Hopefully I can ease that feeling for you.
Before we dive into the actual promotion options, I just want to say that for promotion to work you really need a professionally designed genre-appropriate cover, an enticing blurb, and a well-edited sample (Sarina’s book is a fantastic example of all three!).
It’s also worth noting that it’s very, very, difficult to successfully promote a full-priced book. You really need to drop it down to 99c or free. I understand that a lot of people hate the concept of making their book free, but I launched my paranormal romance pen name thanks to a free promotion. I’ve also tripled my daily income thanks to a free promotion on my Urban Fantasy. It really does work. I’ll add that I strongly recommend you wait until you have three connected books out to start promotions too. The majority of the income comes from sell-through on the later books. If you only have one book out, you don’t get that sell-through.
Book promotion options can be split into two groups, free, and paid. Generally speaking you’re more likely to get better results with paid promotion. That being said, not all promotion sites and options are made equal, and there are some really good free opportunities out there.
Free Book Promotion Methods
One. The first one that pops into everyone’s head here is social media. A lot of authors regularly put up ads for their books on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, etc. Sorry to say it guys, but it really doesn’t work. Sure you might get a few sales if you’ve already built up a fanbase, but it’s never going to be enough to make a career from. You’re also risking losing your followers if you consistently post ads and not much else. If you have a sale on, then posting about said sale on social media can be great, but it really needs to be backed up with other things.
Two. Free promotional websites. If you google a phrase like that then a lot of free promotional websites will pop up, things such as ReadFreely. These websites are very hit and miss. There are some larger websites that offer a very select few people free slots on their websites that bring in good results. Generally speaking though these free sites aren’t really good enough to stand on their own. Their newsletters are too small for them to have any real impact on your sales.
Three. Multi-author promotions. These are becoming quite fashionable and they’re fantastic. These are where a group of authors get together, drop the price on one of their books down to 99c or free on a set date, and promote the entire collection of books. There’s usually a website page with all of the books on where readers can browse and pick which ones appeal to them. The idea is that everyone promotes the entire collection, so everyone benefits from the combined reach of the group. The promotion is usually done via social media and author newsletters. Those who can afford to will also run Facebook ads (which fall under the paid category).
The key to these multi-author promotions is finding one made up of authors who write similar things to you – I was part of an Urban Fantasy one, and a SFF (Sci-Fi and Fantasy) one. It would be no good me joining one for clean romance or some such. These come down to who you know. I recommend wandering around writing forums and facebook groups to find these opportunities.
Paid book promotion opportunities
One. I mentioned Facebook ads just a moment ago. I haven’t tried them myself as I don’t have that sort of budget. That being said, a lot of authors swear by them. They do have a bit of a learning curve but there are courses out there to help you figure everything out and get the most from them. The most notable Facebook ad course being Mark Dawson’s.
Two. Amazon sponsored ads. If you’re in KDP Select then you should see an option to put a paid ad on Amazon under the advertising button. These are the ads that show up below the blurb on books. I haven’t heard great things about the ROI (Return On Investment) for these ads, but you can set your limit to as little as $5 so they could be worth playing with.
Three. Paid promotional sites such as Bookbub. These really are your bread and butter as far as book promotion goes. There’s a wide range of sites out there from the holy grail Bookbub, to the small awesomegang. You need to do your research with these sites before you send them your money. Some are fantastic for particular genres, others have a horrible ROI. I have a blog post on choosing ebook promotional websites that are worth your money.
Four. Blog tours. Personally, I’d be very cautious when it comes to using a blogtour. Their ROI tends to be very low and their reviews are against Amazon TOS (terms of service). Amazon hates paid reviews, and blog tours that guarantee reviews (usually positive reviews at that) are breaking Amazon’s rules. They can be useful if you’re doing a cover reveal as you’re making new people aware of your book without risking the review side of thing. Still, I’d be cautious.
Five. Goodreads ads and giveaways. Goodreads ads have a horrible ROI, you’re likely to lose money from there. I’ve heard of a few people doing ok with them, but generally speaking I don’t believe it’s worth the risk. Giveaways are notorious for attracting people who like giveaways and have no interest in buying future books from you.
While it’s tempting to consistently advertise on social media, it won’t bring in enough ads to justify irking your followers. There are some fantastic free promotional opportunities out there, my daily income from my Urban Fantasy series has tripled since I did a free weekend with a multi-author promotion. Generally speaking though, the vast majority of book promotion is done through paid sites such as Bookbub. They really can and do make a huge difference if you choose the right site and have the whole package (cover, blurb, sample).
Thanks to Sarina for having me, I hope this post helped a few people!
Thank you, Holly, for stopping by!
If you have any questions, ask away – Holly will be around for a while to answer your questions, and of course I’ll be around, too!
What is your experience with book promotions? What has worked well for you, and what left you feeling disappointed? Get yourself a cookie, and let’s chat! 🙂
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