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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

book promotion, or how not to do it

Promoting your own book is a difficult task. That is not to say there are not lots of options out there, in fact there are a ridiculous amount of them out there if you look. From companies that advertise, 'We will promote your book for you.' at an exorbitant cost.
To more streamlined ways of promoting your book, such as +Facebook, +Twiter and +Goodreads  among others.
There are also those who will promote your book for a small cost that you can on sites like +Fiverr.  
Then there are promotion options with +Amazon.com and +Kindle Ebooks Daily If your willing  and have the money to put some investment in up front.
Finally there is also doing your own promotion as much as you can. While you try and avoid driving away your friends with endless 'buy my book, posts and requests to share.

When I published Cider lane a few months back I made a decision that while I wanted it to be successful by my own criteria, which were basically I wanted to get a few copies sold and hopefully get a good reception from friends and family, I wanted it to reach a wider audience as well. However I was under no great illusions that selling beyond my own circle would be easy. So I made a deal with myself that any money I made from the book I would set aside to put into further promotion of my novel. Which then leaves me with the question of what i do with that money.

To look at the options,
Social media is the life blood of self-promotion, but realistically there are only so many people you can reach through your own network of friends. You can, and I have rather too much I suspect, ask friends who have bought a copy to share links to the book and say nice things, and as they are friends they will do so to an extent. But once you get beyond your own circle the number of people who will take a chance on a new book from an author they have never heard of is limited.

The companies offering to promote your book at an exorbitant cost, well less said the better.

The amazon and kindle promotion options are equally limited for a new author, they are relatively expensive though not exorbitantly so, but the results are open to question.

The option of doing a kindle sale deal is one that is worth pursuing if your willing to discount your book or give it away for free. But after  three years hard work went into my novel giving it away for free seemed to be a depressing concept. That said free copies will sell better than paid copies and if you have several books out there then putting one up for free is a way to build an audience. I don't as yet so I settled for a one-week kindle countdown deal that reduced the cost of the kindle version of my book considerably. I then made a concerted effort to promote the fact and in fairness it did pay off a little , a few more books were sold on the kindle, but only a very few. I was a little nieve which may have come into play here, I should have put that promotion out there in other ways as well to try and hook in readers.

There are deals which can be done on good reads and ways to promote your book including giveaway , but I have not yet taken that route. It is however a good way to get people to list the book as 'want to read' which may in time help to get people interested in buying the book .

Finally, and what I should have done before the kindle sale, I looked at Fiverr. Where for $5 you can pay people to do 'gigs' promotion wise for your book. Most of which are social media concerns. The lesson learned here is to combine a kindle sale with a marketing campaign to try and maximize your results.

I did however get a check from +CreateSpace for selling the printed versions of my book recently so I put some of the money into Fiverr promotions. The ones I went for claimed to reach 100,000+ people with facebook and twitter accounts on various pages. Which seemed worth a try. So I paid out the princely sum of about £12 between two different promoters and let them get on with promotion my book for me. As I say this was some of the money iI had made on Cider lane, only a small portion but I wanted to see how effective they might be before i expanded this approach further.

There are a myriad of other services out there on Fiverr including people who will give amazon reviews and stars without ever reading the book ( which just seems like cheating to me ).  Paid reviews are what they are, you can follow that route if you wish, but I prefer all reviews to be from readers.

So as I say as an experiment I tried promotion through third parties on social media. It was inexpensive and I only put a small portion of my budget into it. So little in fact that half a dozen sales or more would earn me the money back again. As an experiment it was a failure, Indeed I did not sell a single book on the back of it, at least as of today. The kindle sale was far more effective, and I suspect combining the two would be more effective still, but as a stand alone it was a waste of money. (Luckily not a great deal of money).

So this puts me back at square one. I have a small budget from royalties that have come in. But nowhere to spend that budget. Tempting as more promotion via Fiverr may be it seems low cost is not the same as effective.

When i next do some promotion work I will put an update here. in the hopes my experiences will be of help to others

mark