Recently I tested the waters of paid book promotion, not knowing what to expect or what sort of results I would receive. What I discovered was that putting all my hopes in a single promotional basket was probably not the way to go, especially if I want to receive optimum results. More on that in a moment. But, I also discovered that the small promotion that I ran, got me in front of customers I wouldn’t have reached otherwise, and provided some surprising and, as it turns out, long-lasting results.
The promotion I ran was through Bargain Booksy, and they were amazing to work with! They reminded me when the promotion was going out and also sent me a follow-up email asking how it went. At the point they sent me that email I had some sales, more than I had been able to do on my own digitally, and was happy overall with the results of my test.
While I didn’t recoup my investment during the run, here is what did happen:
- My book ranking increased – through both Amazon and Barnes and Noble, both of which had sales. The biggest increase in ranking was through Amazon (which also had the most sales) which reflected my book in the top 300 in my category. As the days went on and there were no more sales, the rankings slowly dropped, but it took a good week to level out to the original ranking. What this tells me is that daily sales would bring me up to a level that would provide more visibility and reach more customers. I decided that it isn’t too far out of reach for me, and now I don’t feel so overwhelmed about my marketing plan.
- I sold books – For the first time in forever, which was pretty exciting even though I still haven’t recouped my initial investment. What was even more exciting was that the promotion was run on Book 1 in the series, but I also sold copies of Book 2 and 3 as well! That tells me that once someone connects with your work, there is a high probability they will buy from your backlist. It also tells me I really need to prioritize my writing and get some more books in print! I can’t generate income if I don’t have any books for folks to buy.
- Reviews – I got a few! And they rated not only the book that was advertised, but also the 2nd book in the series! I was walking on air for a week knowing that I had connected with a reader that liked my work enough to give it a 5-star rating for the first two books in my series!
What I learned:
- Promotions work – They not only provide you with sales, but they also get your product out in front of readers you might not have been otherwise able to reach. Getting fresh eyes on your book is always a good thing, and with promotions, you can be sure that your message is getting in front of a reader who likes the kinds of books you are writing. Companies like Book Bub, Goodreads and Bargain Booksy, just to name a few, have readers voluntarily sign up to receive deals or updates because they love to read. Let these companies do the work for you! They can hook you up with the readers most likely to connect with what you write. It is well worth the amount you’ll pay to use their service in my opinion.
- Promotions don’t have to be expensive – The promotion I purchased was a one time push through Social Media, email and website, and was less than $80. Next time, I would be sure to have more social media posts lined up to promote it and may even consider doing promotions back to back for each of the books. Blog Tours are something I want to look into as well.
- Promotions should be layered – Meaning, you shouldn’t expect one promotion to do all the heavy lifting. While one promotion is going out, perhaps you boost a Facebook post at the same time or run an add through Goodreads. At the very least you should have posts about your special pricing going out on every social media channel you are connected to, and you should be asking for retweets, likes, and shares. Be careful not to overdo though, you run the risk of folks tuning you out if all of your posts are promotional. And be sure to thank anyone who takes the time to support you as well. It only takes a few seconds! Paying it forward every once and a while is a good thing to do as well, so be sure to retweet, like and share your fellow author posts. You never know where a connection you have made will lead.
- Sucess isn’t always measured in sales – This is the best thing you can keep in mind for yourself moving forward, especially if you are like me and you are just starting out. This is not a race to the finish, it is more like a marathon, and you have to put things in place that will allow you to make it through the long haul. If you reach just one more person that didn’t know of you before that connects with your work, then everything you have done is completely worth it. Maybe they will mention the great book they read the next time they are having lunch with a friend, or suggest it as a read for a monthly book club. They might even ask their local library to start carrying it. You never know where that one reader that connected with you can take you, so remember the small victories are victories none the less. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Book promotions are definitely something I will be looking into once my series is complete and I have an entire book bundle I can market. Trying them out now and seeing how they work has been a valuable exercise, and I am excited to try a few more things before I am ready to use them as part of my regular marketing plan. When the time comes, I will be ready to jump into the promotion pool with both feet!
What kinds of things are you finding helpful for self-promotion? Share your thoughts below!