FREE eBook and The Year of Marketing (Help for Self-published Authors)

Lessons in Self-publishingI’ve reached many milestones in the past twenty years in my writing career, but there are still things I want to accomplish and things I need to learn.

One of the things I’m working to improve is my marketing abilities. I’ve done minor things to promote my books, but that’s not enough. In 2015, I attended farmers’ and craft markets to increase my exposure and, well, sell a few books. Obviously one-on-one sales increased; that was a no-brainer.

However, I saw an increase in online sales too. I can only assume it was due to meeting people, giving them my business card and introducing them to my books.

Marketing seems to be the hurdle for many authors, regardless if they are traditionally or non-traditionally published. Selling books is a tough business.

So I’ve dedicated 2016 to The Year of Marketing.

My goal is to explore different avenues I haven’t tried before. I’m also studying what others do to see if I can pick up a few pointers.

Buying Exposure

ExistWith limited financial means, I have not invested money in ads online or in print. However, I’m learning this can’t continue if I want to spread the word about my books.

After all, that’s what these ads do: tell the world your book exists. If no one knows you wrote a book, how can they buy it? Each ad may attract only a few thousand sets of eyes, but the compounded exposure is where I expect to see the pay off.

I can’t afford a $680 BookBub ad, but I can afford Betty Book Freaks. New releases (within the past 90 days) are included in the mailing list for $12.00.

Today my Christmas romance novel Twistmas – The Season for Love will be distributed through Betty’s network. This includes 15.3K Twitter followers and 2,576 Facebook followers. I can’t find a total for the number of people who follow her website or who subscribe to the mailing list.

You’ve probably seen the ad I’m using to promote the campaign. I placed it in the margins of this website and my McGyver author page.

Feb 12 2015 Twistmas

My goal with this campaign is to generate reviews. At the moment, Twistmas is enrolled in Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDP Select). While I’m enrolled in KDP Select, I can’t sell the eBook anywhere on the web except at Amazon. This gives me the ability to offer the book for free for five days every ninety-day cycle. You don’t have to use all five days at once. You can spread it around, one day here, one day there. My personal experience is you generate more downloads and climb higher in the ranks if you run the freebie for two or more days.

By the fall, I hope to have several reviews for Twistmas. At that time, I’ll remove it from KDP Select and publish it everywhere just in time for Christmas.

Gauging Effectiveness

To gauge the effectiveness of the Betty Book Freak ad, I’m not going to run any other advertising. My contributions to promoting the two-day free book will be:

  • Add this post to my blog
  • Tweet about this post
  • Note the giveaway on my Facebook page
  • Share Betty Book Freak tweets
  • Share any mention of my book on Betty Book Freak’s Facebook page

Twistmas will be offered for free on Friday February 12th and Saturday February 13th. The Betty Book Freak ad is for one day only: February 12th. I’m assuming a percentage of readers won’t open the email until Saturday, so they’ll still find the book free.

On Sunday, I’ll provide an overview of how the campaign went. The review is to help me compare it to other campaigns I’ll run in the coming months as we approach LAUCH DAY for Scattered StonesMay 6th—the second book in the Castle Keepers series.

To pick up your FREE copy of Twistmas go to Amazon.ca or Amazon.com

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15 thoughts on “FREE eBook and The Year of Marketing (Help for Self-published Authors)

  1. Thanks for sharing the marketing plan Di. I used Betty Book Freak for my last promo, which I couldn’t quite gauge because I used a few others as well. I’ll be interested in your results. )

    • I thought about using another service at the same time, but as you say, you can’t judge one service when you have a few on the go. This year I’m going to do less markets and put my money towards these online services to gauge how effective they are. I’m going to do another Betty Book Freak soon with “Shadows in the Stone” for 99 cents to see how that goes. From my data, I see that paid also sold. More on that later today when I get the post written.

      Results though are tricky to judge. I offered a Christmas book–completely out of season. I’m hoping to get a few reviews for the fall sales. Another book may have done better. Yet I could run the same promotion next week and ‘sell’ a ton more. I know the market is finicky like that.

      Once I gauge a dozen services, when I’m ready to promote a new book, I”ll know the best to choose, and the promotion should–should if all the stars light up–do well.

  2. An interesting experiment! I’m interested in your upcoming launch of Scattered Stones, and I’ll be watching to see how that goes. You give some very good details about marketing here – very helpful to those just getting in to self-publishing!

    • Marketing is a mystery for me. I think for a lot of others too. The truth is, we just want to write. I will certainly be sharing my experiences here on my blog. Through these shares and discussions, I will also learn. Eventually I’ll create a tip sheet to post, but that won’t be until January 2017. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

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