“I’ve spent hours organizing huge giveaways and it was a lot of fun, but I don’t know that the end result was the book sales I hoped for. Sometimes I think those looking for the freebie are always looking for it and rarely convert into a paying customer (sorry, that sounded cynical),” Cami Checketts.
MAKE YOUR PROMOS COUNT
There’s a lesson in this: when you do freebies and giveaways, make sure there are more books to buy (unless you’re just trying to get your name out there). Prepare your book to go through a mass of hands. At the end of your last chapter—just two spaces down, ask your readers to post a review if they like your book (and if they don’t, to please put the pen down and walk away slowly). Put sample chapters of your other books at the end of these promo books. And learn from me; target your books to the right audience through your book blurb, cover, etc.
When you do blog tours—find ways to keep the audience you found by having a contest on rafflecopter where entrants get points if they:
1-Sign up for newsletters
2-Follow you on twitter
3-Like your author page on Facebook, etc.
If you don’t do this, you’ll lose all the people you’ve reached during your promo, and you might not find them again.
A FEW PROMO IDEAS
When you can’t beat ‘em . . .
Ask a fellow author who writes close to your same genre to do an anthology with you. Granted, not every author will be up for this—but some might be looking for new ways to reach their target audience, too. Every bit counts, and let’s face it—you can share fans! Love is like a magic penny and all that! The good thing about books is that people are always looking for more! You (and your competitors) can only write so many books to keep your fans happy and so you’re not really taking away from yourself (or vice versa). You can do interviews on each other’s blogs, you can do free giveaways, promos, sales, contests, events, blogs, blog tours together. You can write anthologies together or swap chapters to put at the end of each other’s books or writing samples on each other’s blogs, start a website together, review each other’s books, whatever.
Do their laundry…okay, THAT was a joke.
Though seriously, don’t underestimate the power of many.
This has worked well for Rachael Anderson. She said: “I’ve also participated in some cross-promotional things, like teaming up with other authors in my genre and publishing a couple anthologies. Or by exchanging a first chapter to post at the end of my book with another author in my genre (i.e. I’ll add their first chapter to the end of my book, and they add mine to theirs).”
Other promo ideas:
• Enter writing contests, cover contests, blurb contests, short story contests, one sentence story contests, you name it!
• Write a novella and offer it for free (especially do this when you have other books for sale). Give the first ebook of a series away for free (alternate it between .99 and free—you can only do this if it’s not on KDP Select,).
• Think up ways to get your target audience to participate with you on your blogs and websites.
• Put on a contest that will interest your target audience. If you are writing a book about faeries, give away faery wings—okay, not that, but something that will excite your readers AND don’t do expensive! Help your readers to be interested in your writing by requiring them to read blurbs or lines from your book to participate. See the possibilities?
• Libraries: If your audience is at a certain school or college, give that school and college signed copies of your book. Put your books in libraries—start small and put it your own libraries and schools first. Have your friends ask their local libraries to request your book.
• Ask local newspapers for the communities you’re targeting if you can write an article on a topic that would interest them (and then sign it your name, author of…). Write online articles and sign them the same way.
• Work on your online presence. If anyone asks to interview you for their blog or newspaper, say yes and answer their questions ASAP—they’re the ones doing you a favor.
• Ask bloggers who review books to review yours (make sure they appreciate your genre before asking or it could backfire).
• Try putting your books into different mediums (illustrations, audio, book trailers)—see if you can get your readers involved (either in the making of, or to give you suggestions).
• Go onto forums, goodreads, etc. where your target audience hangs out and become an online presence there–make sure your handle mentions your book. Then as you get better known, ask for someone who’s a bigger online presence there to review your book or ask the moderator if you can do a contest on this site for others to win a free book!
• Get more and more books out there!
DON’T OVERWHELM YOURSELF!
Obviously, you’d have no time for writing if you spent all your time marketing. So prioritize!
1–Do the essentials first (metatags, categories, cover, back blurb).
2–Then pick and choose ways on how to build your online presence: Blogging, Websites, Social Networking, and Tweets. Once you set these up, they can be pretty easy to maintain and they are very informative when you look at your STATS.
3–Finally you NEED time to write, so whenever you get a good promotional idea (on the creative side); make a “To-Do list” and set a timeframe to do them in (not all at once). Building your online presence takes time, so check yourself.
ALSO don’t spend money if you don’t need to. Always do free advertising first; if that doesn’t work, go to blog tours and five day promos on KDP Select. If that doesn’t work, get creative with contests, audience participation blogs, etc.!
And above all, leave time for writing!!!
WRITE, WRITE, WRITE
This is by far the biggest secret to your future success with ebooks. You need something for readers to read or what’s the point?
You write because you love it, but it’s also your business too. So, look at your books that are doing the best and figure out why. Can you do that with your next book? Look at your reviews—are there recurring complaints? Figure out a way to answer those in your next books. And most importantly, don’t ignore your target audience—listen to them the most. Whatever they love about your writing, try to deliver the next time around.
Here’s some final advice from our Indie Authors:
“Just make sure you’re putting the best product out there that you can, and be patient once you do. It takes some time to build a readership and to see that pay off in sales, but just persist and don’t give up,” Cindy Bennett.
“Write a lot of books, put sample chapters and links in the back. Focus on Amazon because that’s where the money is. Or figure out how to promote on other sites,” Rachel Nunes.
“I also think publishing at least a couple books a year is effective. I had a three year span between The Sister Pact and Dead Running and it took a while to get my readers back. Then I put out three books the next year and by my third release readers seemed to know who I was,” Cami Checketts.
“And write what you love because if you’re not enjoying it, your reader will know. The best marketing is having lots of great books out there to draw readers into your web,” Heather Justesen.
Awesome ideas Stephanie! Thanks!
No problem. Glad to do it!
Connie L. Smith said:
I can’t say how much I love this! I’m self-published, and I’ve done some Google searches for marketing ideas. This is one of the most helpful things I’ve found, if not THE most helpful. Thanks so much for posting!
I’m glad you like it. I have a few things that I’d like to add to it concerning boxed sets, etc., but this definitely is a good start–the authors I’ve interviewed on here had some great ideas. Thanks again!