Category Archives: marketing

Self-Publishing And Promotions: 3 Vital Book Advertising Tips

Self-Publishing And Promotions: 3 Vital Book Advertising Tips

Book advertising is the latest hot trend in self-publishing, so let’s look at some tips which may help you to make money, or at least, prevent you from losing money.

Over the past few months I’ve been chatting with authors who use many different forms of advertising.

Here’s a good list of paid and free advertising venues from Reedsy. Results vary, as you might expect. There’s a reason that many authors just toss their books into KDP Select; it saves time, advertising-wise.

Of course “free” is authors’ most popular form of advertising.

Book advertising: does “free” still work?

“Free” will always work. But you need to be careful with it.

As I said in Book Marketing And Freebies: How To Escape The Tyranny:

If freebies aren’t working for you, for whatever reason, stop offering freebies. Simple.

We’ve got more on freebies below, in our second tip.

Let’s look at three tips which will help you to navigate the choppy waters of book advertising for self-publishers.

1. Know your ROI (Return On Investment): it may not be money

You need a reason for whatever you’re doing in advertising. If you’re marketing a book, you want to:

  • Sell copies; or
  • (If you’re using your free days in Select) Bump your book up in the rankings on Amazon so that you get greater visibility; or
  • Do a little branding; you want readers to become familiar with your name.

Here’s a step by step process to go through before you advertise

  1. Decide that you want, and set a goal, with a time limit;
  2. Decide how much money you want to invest;
  3. Have a way of tracking your ad spend and sales, so that you can see whether you’re making money, or are losing money.

As we suggested above, you may not be after direct sales. You may want to familiarize readers with your work. So, if you drop some money on Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) for a book and lose money, it will still hurt, but at least you’ve achieved your goal of becoming a little more visible.

2. Know what you’re doing with freebies: have a REASON for your freebie

I’ve spoken with several authors who were giving thousands of books away — with zero sales.

Unbelievable, right? I kid you not. My mantra for these authors, and for YOU if you’re taking this freebie thing way too literally is: “I SELL BOOKS”.

I know that online forums are packed with authors for whom freebies work, but think for a few moments about how free samples work in everyday life.

Let’s say you’re shopping at your local supermarket. It’s a Friday, a big shopping day. People from several food manufacturing companies are offering free samples. You can nosh on King Island Brie, plus a new sourdough bread; in addition, you can sample a new chocolate.

Think about what’s happening here. Does the King Island person offer you an enormous brie, the size of a dinner plate? Nope. You get a small teaspoon-sized wedge. What about the sourdough person? Does she hand you a sandwich? Nope. You get a tiny slice, the size of a spoon. The chocolate person offers you a square of chocolate, not a chocolate bar.

Sales people who offer free samples offer small samples, and the sample people are at a store for a day; or at most, a couple of days.

Sticking with our freebies in the shopping mall example. Go for a wander around the mall in your imagination. Here’s a bookshop. Excellent…

Look for the freebies in the bookshop. What’s that? There aren’t any? Well, fancy that. Ask the sales person what’s free today — she might give you a bookmark that a publishing company offers to promote its latest (they hope) hot seller.

You can stroll around the mall all afternoon. You won’t find full-sized anything for free, and while some stores have free samples, the samples are small, and they’re available only for a few hours.

3. Test and go slowly in book advertising: what works for others may or may not work for you

I adore advertising, because I’m a veteran copywriter. I read the ads in magazines as diligently as I read the content. I even read junk mail.

However, when it comes to spending money on advertising, I’m frugal, because you never know what will work for YOU. Yes, people can tell you that they made $5,000 last month on Facebook ads on a $500 ad spend.

That’s them. Your mileage will be different. You may be promoting a book in a different genre. Facebook may tinker with its algorithm, and offer your ad to people who’d never buy your book.

So, in book advertising, as in all advertising, go slowly, and test the waters. Try a small ad, for one book. Watch your numbers: how many sales did you make which are directly attributable to the ad?

Let’s say you use a Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising network. You make a ROI of 500% — you spent $100 and got $500 back. Magic — you decide to ramp up your advertising significantly. STOP. Please don’t do that. Increase your ad spend slowly, always slowly.

Here’s a rule of thumb for PPC. You don’t know what will work until you get at least 300 clicks. (Unless you’re paying $5 per click. In that case, kill the ad as soon as you become unprofitable.)

Book advertising works best when combined with other promotions

I know many authors who focus solely on advertising to promote their books. They have a mailing list, but only post when they release a new book. It works for them. For whatever reason — their book hits exactly the right tropes for a genre, or they already have a following — they sell.

In general however, paid and free book advertising works best when it’s combined with other marketing, such as blogging and social media, for example.

Good luck with your promotions, and please be wary of “free.” 🙂

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

eBook: $5.99
In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams. More info →
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Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

eBook: $5.99
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Series: Romance Writing, Book 1
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
Love makes the world go round, and of all the genres in fiction, romance, with its many sub-genres, is the most popular. More info →
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Book Marketing For Authors: Yes, Social Media Sells Books

Book Marketing For Authors: Yes, Social Media Sells Books

Many authors find book marketing — and marketing in general — a challenge. So let’s try to overcome your fears and doubts, so you can sell more books. Today, social media is the easiest way for you to sell if you’re pressed for cash to invest in marketing.

(By the way, by “books” I mean ebooks too, of course.)

Book marketing on social media: get comfortable with ONE network

You know that I’m a veteran blogger, and I recommend blogging for authors. I started blogging way back in the late 1990s, and my love for instant publishing hasn’t wavered. What can I say? I’m all about the instant gratification; I started out as a writer using golfball typewriters, and communicated with my publishers and literary agent via airmail letters, and telegrams. So blogging is always wonderful to me… Write, and PUBLISH. 🙂

Currently I’m reading The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change by Bharat Anand. It’s an excellent book; I highly recommended it to you. It gives you a lot to think about. He has a lot to say about connections.

Blogging, as well as social media, is all about the connections you make.

I strongly recommend that you create your author blog, but whether you do or not, choose ONE social network on which to get started. There’s a real danger, with social media, that you’ll spread yourself too thin, and won’t get results if you try to manage two or three networks when you’re starting out.

Which network? Choose the one which appeals to you: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+…

Book marketing on your network: give it three months

In my copywriting business, clients complain that “social media doesn’t work…” By which they mean, they posted to their social network of choice five times, and then gave up.

Think about the two words: social media for a moment.

Social: get known, engage, and be there. You can’t make friends and contacts unless you show up.

Media: publishing.

So in summary: be on social media. Get social, and publish there.

A word about publishing. Please, I beg you, don’t make a social media platform your major publishing platform. Use your own blog for that. Medium is in trouble, and it’s just the latest in a long line of social platforms which found it hard to stay in business.

The best tip I can give you for book marketing on social media is: be patient, and consistent. It takes time to get your first 100 followers. After that, it’s much easier. Be on your chosen social media platform daily, for at least ten minutes — for three months.

Consistency counts: show up, every day — engage, and publish

Social media is social, so you can’t spend all your time on your social media network pushing your own book, or books. Indeed, very little time should be spent on promoting your book.

Remember: social, and publishing.

There’s nothing in those two words to suggest promotion.

Promotion happens in your profile on the network. Link to your Author Page on Amazon, or to your blog, or even to your book’s product page on Amazon, if you don’t have a blog or an Author Page. (Get a blog, and Author Page.)

Think longterm. Your social media account will become more valuable over time. The more years you spend there, the more your presence will be felt — and the more books you’ll sell.

How to sell your books on social media: use Facebook’s pages

You sell your books on social media by engaging, and publishing.

You’ll sell books, if you do that, but please don’t expect results within your first three months on a platform.

Many authors find that Facebook’s Pages function is very useful. You can create a Page on Facebook for your self-publishing business, as well as for each book you write.

If you’re not sure what to publish on your Facebook Pages, read this article, Facebook Adds New Post Prompts for Pages:

Facebook’s added a new Page posting options listing to help guide Page admins on the various outreach tools and functions available, making it easier to try out new tools.

We haven’t scratched the surface of social media yet. Over the next few months, we’ll get into the nitty gritty of book marketing on social media.

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Easy And Fun Copywriting for Writers

Easy And Fun Copywriting for Writers

$4.99
Author:
Genre: Writing
Tag: copywriting
Are you making money as a freelance writer? Or do you aspire to? If so, you need the ability to SELL your writing, and any products, like ebooks and blogs, that you create. Simple, but powerful copywriting skills help you to do that. More info →
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Book Marketing Made Easy: 3 Secrets You Can Use Today

Book Marketing Made Easy: 3 Secrets You Can Use Today

Confused about book marketing? You’ve written a book, and tried to market it, without notable success. You’re blogging. You post to your social media accounts, and you’ve built up your Facebook author page, but sales are slow.

The biggest mistake I see both new authors and beginners make is this: they consider that building a mailing list is optional — they never see their mailing list as the essential marketing tool that it is.

Does this sound like you? If so, relax. You can change that today.

For powerful book marketing, your mailing list is ESSENTIAL

Many authors forgo mailing lists. Creating a list seems complicated, and your life is complicated enough. I know, I know… 🙂 However, consider that if you invest a small amount of time and energy now, it will impact your book sales forever.

Even a small list gives you guaranteed sales on publication day. These early sales mean that Amazon will promote your book too. Moreover, your list is a prime source for reviews. As your list grows, so will your book publishing business. You can go from one or two sales a day, to several hundred (or even thousand) sales a day, as your mailing list grows.

Here are three book marketing secrets.

1. Freebie subscribers are nice; buyers are better

Many of your mailing list subscribers will come from freebies you offer in exchange for an email address. That freebie is usually a free ebook. Unfortunately, some of the readers who get onto your list via a freebie never read the ebook. They’re rarely engaged enough to buy a book, or to leave a review.

Your best subscribers are always those who’ve paid for a book, even if it’s on special, for 99 cents. This means that you need to promote your mailing list subscriber page in every book. Make sure the link is in both the front matter and back matter of your books.

2. Develop a content and social media calendar, so you can promote each book well before you publish it

Marketing becomes a hassle when you need to think about it too much. If you don’t have a content and social media calendar, you’re always having to think about what you’ll post next. Inevitably, you’ll skip posting to your blog and social media accounts when you get busy.

I use CoSchedule on my blogs; it’s the best content calendar available. My content starts out in my (paper) planner, then once I’ve brainstormed campaigns and themes, I add the posts to CoSchedule. You may be thinking: “oh no — now I need to plan, too?” be assured that planning, then scheduling content, saves time — it builds your mailing list, and leads to book sales.

You’re never left wondering: “what did I post last week?” You won’t get into a panic either: “I’ve got no idea what to post this week!”

When you plan and schedule your content, you can match your promotions to ebooks/ books you’re publishing. You know that you’re publishing an ebook next month, so you can start planning and scheduling content for the release today.

3. Reward your loyal readers: offer Advance Reading Copies to kickstart your reviews

Loyal readers on your mailing list are your people. Reward them. Offer them glimpses into the life of an author. On the mailing list for one of my fiction pen names, I offer snippets of chapter drafts, character bios, research I’ve done, and images I use for inspiration.

I want my readers to be part of what I do, and I want them to feel special. When I have a new release, I offer printable notecards, and sticky notes. Yes, I pay a designer to create my printables, BUT the results are worth the effort. Not only do I get mailing list subscribers, my readers post reviews, and they share my posts.

Additionally, when I’m editing an upcoming release, I offer free Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) in PDF form to anyone on my list who asks. Reader feedback is wonderful. And sometimes shocking too. 🙂

Use these three secrets for book marketing; you’ll love the results

Book marketing needn’t be complicated. Start by creating a mailing list, and then build your list.

Building your mailing list takes time.

I always tell my students that your first ten subscribers take longest. Once you have ten, they become 100, and then 1,000.

Some years ago, a study revealed that you can make a nice living from just 400 engaged subscribers on a mailing list. I wish I could find the research study, because it shows that you don’t need thousands of subscribers. Please remember that each subscriber is a person. Be grateful to everyone who subscribes. You readers can take you from few sales, to hundreds of sales within months.

Your mailing list subscribers are important in another way too — they hold you accountable. On days you just don’t feel like writing, you’ll remember that you’ve promised your readers that you’re sending out ARCs next week, and you’ll sit down at your desk, and write. 🙂

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Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing
How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily. More info →
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