Tag Archives: promotion

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

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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
Author:
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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Self-Publishing: My Book Isn’t Selling, Should I Rewrite It?

Self-Publishing: My Book Isn’t Selling, Should I Rewrite It?

Here’s a commonly asked question. An author’s been self-publishing for a year or three, and his earlier books have stopped selling. He’s too involved in his recent releases to promote the older books effectively. He’s not even sure that it would be worthwhile.

In addition at this stage, the author’s reread his early efforts, and winced. He’s a much better writer now.

What to do?

Self-publishing choices: relaunching your back catalogue

Older books do drop off your radar.

If they’re still selling, you wonder whether they’d sell more, if you gave them a little love. On the other hand, a book that’s stopped selling may do better if you took a fresh look at it, because you’re more experienced now.

Self-publishing involves constant decision making.

Your options if you decide to relaunch a book

You’ve got several options.

  • Relaunch with a new cover and blurb, without touching the contents;
  • Rewrite the book, and then relaunch with a new cover and blurb;
  • Treat the book as a completely new title. Rewrite the book completely. Give it a new title.
    Add a sentence under your copyright info. Some thing like: “Previously published as Freddy And The Big Green Creature From Mars, revised and rewritten, with extra chapters.”

You need to take a little care if you’re self-publishing an already-published book as a new title.

Self-publishing a previously published book as a completely new title

Vital: do you have the copyright?

If the title was published by someone else — a traditional publisher, or an online publisher — have the publisher send you a letter stating that you have all rights back in that title.

Assuming that you have all rights in the title, please don’t forget to add the disclosure statement when you publish your “new” book. While it’s unlikely that readers will remember the first version, one or two might.

Most importantly, check where the first version of the book is selling online. If you’re “wide” with the first version — that is, you’re selling on multiple retailers — it’s not a good idea to choose KDP Select for the new title. Amazon requires an exclusive. Withdraw the older version from the other retailers, just to be safe, before you launch the new retitled, and revised version.

Will your republished book sell?

Revamping older titles isn’t a guarantee of more sales. However, I’ve heard enough stories from authors who have tarted up older books and got them selling that it’s worth considering, if you have a back catalogue in your self-publishing venture.

Of course, keep writing new titles too. 🙂

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99
Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters. More info →
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Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

eBook: $5.99
Author:
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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Short Fiction Secrets: Sell More Novels With Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: Sell More Novels With Short Stories

I’ve written about using short stories for marketing before, but since “can I really sell short stories?” is a question which keeps coming up, here are three more tips which will help. They may inspire you to make the most of short fiction; few authors do, so there’s a real opportunity here.

Something to keep in mind too — short stories help you to take advantage of the holidays to sell fiction. Christmas stories always sell. Consider that you can write a short story in a few hours, so short fiction is an excellent way to boost your sales.

In addition to Christmas, other holidays, like Halloween (spooky stories) and St. Valentine’s Day (romances) offer wonderful opportunities for you to sell more books.

Short stores are short: focus on the emotion

The big reason I love short stories is that you’ll learn things which you can apply to all your fiction. Such as:

  • Emotion is everything: deliver an experience;
  • Stop explaining, it weakens the story;
  • Tighten up: choose one word rather than ten.

“One word rather than ten” is a challenge for me. I tend to wordiness.

Here are the tips.

1. Use short stories to preview your current novel in progress

“I want to write faster…” There’s a trend at the moment with authors complaining about how slowly they write. The other side of the coin is authors bragging that they finished their novel in a week.

If you’re a slow writer, that’s perfectly fine. You write the way you write a particular novel. You may write your next novel in ten days, it doesn’t matter.

Short stories give you a simple and easy way to boost the sales of all your fiction. If you’re in the slow writer camp, consider writing a couple of stories to prequel your novel. Not only will that prime readers to expect your novel, they can pre-order it if you’re offering pre-orders.

2. Use short stories to test a new genre

I’m a ghostwriter. Occasionally someone will offer me money to write something in a genre that’s completely new to me. Unless I have an instinctive reaction like — no way, not with a gun to my head — I ask the client to give me a chance to test whether I can write in that genre.

If I find that I don’t like reading in the genre, and can’t come up with a mile of ideas after reading a couple of books, my investigation stops.

On the other hand, if I enjoy the genre, I try writing a short story of around 10,000 words. I can do that in a couple of days, and I’ll know whether I want to accept the ghostwriting commission.

3. Write short stories for collaboration marketing with other authors

Bundles of short stories sell well in various fiction genres, as well as in sub-genres of major  categories like romance.

Recently on Facebook, groups for author marketing collaborations with bundles have seen an uptick in members. I haven’t researched, but I imagine that if these groups are popular, there are assuredly others on Facebook, as well as on venues like forums and LinkedIn.

When you join a group, you’ll hear about bundles which are calling for submissions, and you can send off a story for inclusion.

Although I haven’t joined any of these groups yet, I’ve got it on my task list. Come October, I start writing Christmas short stories, for my pen names, as well as for clients.

Several authors I respect have told me that joining other authors in a bundle of short stories has worked well for them. They’ve gained subscribers, traffic, and sales.

How many ways could you use short stories in your self-publishing venture?

I hope I’ve inspired you to think of short stories as useful, and if you haven’t tried writing a story or two — write one today. 🙂

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

$5.99
Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that's excellent… Here's why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction. More info →
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