Authors Answer 43 – Promoting the Book

It’s time to panic. It’s the indie author’s worst nightmare. It’s that horrific stage of publishing known as marketing and book promotion. This is probably the one thing that most authors dread having to do if they don’t have a traditional publishing contract. This time around, we have a reader question, from tlclark.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 43: I would love to hear anything anyone has to say about book promotions and what route work best for them.

S. R. Carrillo

So far, the best promotional value I’ve found is in my social media presence and giveaways. Particularly, giveaways.

D. T. Nova

So would I, since I lack the experience to say much about them myself.

Linda G. Hill

Promoting my novel, when it’s published that is, is not something I’m looking forward to. It sounds like a lot of work no matter how it’s done. I did have one idea of my own however; there’s a book drive for the Alzheimer’s Society in my town twice a year. I thought about donating to them and perhaps volunteering to sign some books when they’re sold, with all the money from the sales going to the cause.

Allen Tiffany

This is a tough one because it is so big and the ways to be successful can be very diverse. The question is kind of like ‘how to be successful in life?’ That said, there are some things that you can do to help improve your odds. I claim no expertise in this field, but I have recently published a novella on Amazon, and I’m averaging about 3.5 sales a day over the last month or so, and sales are ramping. So all those are good things. But 3.5 books a day does not mean I have it all figured out. I don’t.. For what it is worth, I’ll share a few points:

First, it all starts with the basics: Great story, well told, and well edited. Also must have a great cover and an engaging blurb. You need to maximize your “SEO” features on Amazon as well as on all your Social Media platforms.

The one thing I do think I have done well is get mostly 5-star reviews from Amazon’s top reviewers. It was a time-consuming task, but I carefully hunted them down and engaged them personally, asking them to review my novel. About 15% have, and I now have 10 such reviews from top reviewers, to include Amazon’s #2 reviewer.

I’ve actually written an exhaustive article on all the other things I’ve done, what has and has not worked, etc., on my own blog. You can see it here: WWW.AllenTiffany.COM.

Gregory S. Close

I’ve had little luck with book promotion through Twitter or Facebook.  Certainly not sufficient to make the investment worthwhile.  Amazon sales and giveaways have provided some temporary bumps along the way.

I’ve found that the best type of promotion has been mostly unintentional.  There is a really great community on reddit (no, seriously, on reddit) that I discovered at WorldCon in San Antonio a couple of years ago.  It’s a great place to discuss the fantasy genre, very accepting of different viewpoints, well-moderated, and very supportive of indie and self-published authors (at least the ones who engage the community for more than just self-promotion).  I’ve probably gotten the most “high-value readers” from that forum.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

In my personal opinion, book promotion is the worst part of being a writer. Give me the self-doubt, the revision hell, and the rejection letters any day; trying to promote your book is both physically and emotionally painful.

I’ve gone a couple of different routes. The first promotion I ever did was a free e-book day; I made “Nowhere to Hide” free for 24 hours on Halloween. It was successful in the sense that a ton of people downloaded the book, but it was a failure in the sense that not one of those people rated or reviewed the book, which was what I was hoping for. Later I did a couple of Kindle Countdown sale days, each of which only saw a tiny handful of sales. After that I joined the Self-Publisher’s Showcase, which got me a couple of sales in the beginning but then died off completely. Eventually I did a Goodreads giveaway and had some modicum of success; I gave away five books and got four 4-star-or-higher reviews in return.

I have also, of course, talked about the book on multiple forms of social media and encouraged people to read the first chapter for free on Amazon. In general I have found that no method really worked in any significant way. The most sales I ever got were right after publication (when all my family and friends were buying it) and sales have been pretty abysmal ever since.

I hate to sound like such a downer, but I’m just telling the truth!

Jean Davis

So would I. Beyond the usual blog tour, local signings, twitter and facebook posts, and online giveaways, I’m all ears for additional ideas.

Eric Wood

I have no experience here.

Caren Rich

I don’t have any experience with book promotions.

Paul B. Spence

I’ve run limited-time offers of the first book for free in digital format. I’ve also run Goodreads giveaways for signed copies. What seems to be working best at this point is giving away free short stories to get people hooked.

H. Anthe Davis

I’m a big chicken when it comes to promotion, so I’m just going to listen to the rest of the crew here and resist the urge to hide under my bed.

Jay Dee Archer

I have no experience promoting books, but I have had experience promoting blog posts. While not the same kind of thing, considering books are much longer than blog posts, I think some of the principles do apply for both. A good social media presence can help, and does get me some exposure, but it’s not the best way. I’ve found that the best way is through word of mouth, sharing by readers, and making things interesting and engaging.

You see, I tend to have busy days when my blog posts are promoted by others. Applying this to books, you could give away some promotional book in exchange for reviews. Make sure they’re on Amazon, though Goodreads can help, too (at least from what I’ve heard). Another thing is to have interesting content that will keep people coming back. I have a very good group of loyal readers here, and the same logic can be applied to books. Give them little bits that hook them, like short stories or little snippets of your writing on your blog/website for free. If they like it, they’ll be more likely to buy your book, and if they like that, they’ll want to see more. Write your books well, and you’ll have loyal fans who can’t wait to see your next book. And those are the best people to have, because they’ll rave about your books and convince others to check them out.

Yes, there’s a lot of work to get your name and writing out there, but definitely take advantage of your readers ability to promote for you, and encourage them to write reviews.

How about you?

Are you a published author? How do you handle book promotion and marketing? Let us know in the comments below.

Blog Spotlight – The War of Memory Project

The next blog I want to talk about is another big commenter on here. She’s been in the top commenters many times, and she has quite the blog, too. She does lot of worldbuilding, which is something I love.  So, this week, it’s H. Anthe Davis’ The War of Memory Project.

warofmemoryThe first thing you see is that it’s colourful. A nicely done banner image, as well as an attractive background. I like how it looks. Very easy to navigate, too. The menu is straightforward, and you can tell that this blog is all about her fantasy series.

The menu includes About, Glossary, The Characters, The Maps, The Stories, and The World. Taking a quick look at the About page, it talks about the project, some contact information, legal information, and some resources she uses.

The Glossary goes through a lot of terms that you would be unfamiliar with, hence the need for a glossary. It’s all about various things that are in her books. Useful resource if you ever forget something. A lot of fantasy authors do this in their books. This one is available online.

If you click on The Characters, it takes you to the main characters of the books. There are also menu options for Minor Characters and The Gods and Spirits. What I love about this is that the main characters are actually illustrated! And there are useful charts for the Gods and Spirits, as well.

The Maps takes you to a series of maps that are used for the settings in the books. You can also see The Ancient World from the menu, as well as Utility Maps.  I find all of these fascinating, but the Utility Maps show things like climate zones, languages, and so on. It’s a great look into worldbuilding. There are a lot of maps, if you love that kind of thing.

Under The Stories, you can see pages for each of the three currently published books, along with cover art and links to purchase the eBook or print book. Her most recently published book is The Living Throne. But of course, you’d want to start out with the first book,  The Light of Kerrindryr. The final page gives you a very detailed Series Timeline, which is another useful resource.

The World is for those of you who love worldbuilding. It gives an overview of the world, as well as Magic, The Histories, and The Races. There’s a lot to read here. It’s great to read if you want to know how she developed her world.

There’s a lot to see here, and since I’m a big worldbuilding geek, I enjoy going through it and taking it all in. And of course, I love the maps!

Personal message to H. Anthe Davis

Thank you always for being a great supporter of mine, and for your work in Authors Answer. You always have something interesting to say. I feel that with both of us doing worldbuilding, we could have a lot to talk about. More worldbuilding to come from me, of course!