Book Marketing: A quick take away

*Take away being the British term for take out.

I ran across this post by Jane Friedman through a Blog on Tumblr. It’s called  Book Marketing Resources the best of 2016. And being someone who knows nothing about book marketing, seeing a list of links was one of those “Oh, yes!” So, I dove in and tried to make some sense of all the information. Which somehow led me to the funny but apt advice of Catherine Howard.

I’d thought I’d share briefly (at least for me) some of the things I learned.

The number of people who see your work matter.

Reviews are nice. They’re like a confirmation for the reader that someone else found your book to be a decent read. But what matters the most is getting your book to be viewed by as many eyes as possible. Whether it’s someone popular on Goodreads rating your book, hosting a giveaway through Goodreads or Instafreebie. The more eyes that see your book, the bigger chance someone will buy it. And it takes about 3 times of someone seeing your book for them to want to buy it. It doesn’t matter how few books you give away, as long as there are people who can see your giveaway.

Buy ads only where your “tribe” of genre lovers hang.

If you write crime novels or thrillers and have more than one. Then sure, buy ads on facebook. Crime and thrillers do well there! If you’re into young adult writing and romance, you’re more likely to be hanging out on Instagram. So, promote your books there. Because it’s not only the number of eyes that matter, it’s the type of eyes that matter. For goodness sake, very few people who are into mysteries are going to cross over to the science fiction and fantasy section to look for a book. (Even though the scifi/fantasy section is flooded and I do mean flooded with urban fantasy mysteries. Thank you, LKH, Kim Harrison and Jim Butcher.)

On that note, does anyone know on the internet where the scifi/fantasy people hang out? I can’t seem to find them. (It used to be LiveJournal.)

Become an accountant.

If you’re paying for ads, you should open a spreadsheet and start keeping tabs of the cost of ads going out versus the amount of revenue from book sales coming in. That way, you can tell if your ads are actually being monetarily successful. If the ads aren’t working or if you’re paying out too much for ads versus what is coming in, you can adjust accordingly.

Market where your book is sold.

If your book is only available (like mine) on the internet. Then market on the internet. Have book blogs review your book, do guests posts on blogs, take blog tours and do blog interviews and podcasts. If your book is available through bookstores everywhere, or at least in your local book shop, then market off the internet. Sure, you can send your available only on the internet book to your local newspaper and do interviews on the radio. Just, don’t expect a ton of sales from it.

Steady Sales and Reviews are Best.

Amazon is constantly changing their algorithms for who gets to the top of the bestseller lists. And we all know that to some extent that these algorithms are based on the number of books sold and the number and quality of reviews. If you have a lot of one star reviews, your book will be buried just as much as if your book has no reviews and no sales. What isn’t known quite as much anymore is that Amazon has change the algorithms about these sales and reviews. It used to be that you could push your book up the ranks by having a bunch of people buy and review it.

And sure, that probably still works for a short period of time, but in order to make the top 100 for the week or month. That doesn’t matter anymore because Amazon is now averaging the number of sales over the number of days in the period (as well as reviews.) So you can have a your book sell a lot on one day and you may make the list for that week or month of top sellers, but the next week or month you’ll drop right off the list again. It’s better to have a bunch of steady sales over time in order to keep your book higher in the rankings and on the charts/first pages.

Of course, take this whole Amazon stuff with a grain of salt, they could change everything next week. (And now you know why this makes indie authors hyperventilate when they do. Their livelihoods depend on those algorithms.)

Don’t Spam Your Social Media with Ads of your Book.

I know this seems contradictory to market where your books are sold. I mean, what else is your twitter, instagram, blog, website and so on if not to remind people that hey, you wrote a book and you can buy it at Amazon etc! Well, to be fair, yes, that’s part of social media when you’re a writer. But that can’t be all your social media is about. People don’t follow other people for ads. They follow for content. Now most of the articles talked about “quality” content without saying what “quality” content really meant.

My understanding turned into well, things like this blog post. Bits of advice, funny stories about your life, news about upcoming projects, videos, memes and interesting bits of news or causes that you’re passionate about. If you go to a convention or an event, blog about it, tweet, and post photos on your website or instagram. Book reviews or movie reviews and recommendations are quality content.

Constantly promoting your book is spam and soon people tune you out and stop following you. If you need to promote your book or a giveaway on your blog, then restrain yourself to once or twice a week at most. (Once a week is really the most recommended.) And space your advertisements with other types of posts.

Pace yourself. Breathe! I mean, we know you’re excited. But a constant barrage of excited advertising is tiring.

There was also advice about email lists and building a following of readers and reviewers. Which is nice but that actually takes marketing and finding your readers first.  Give Jane Friedman’s post a look through. Maybe you’ll find something I didn’t. (I didn’t look at bookbub for instance.)


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  1. #1 by Liz on April 2, 2017 - 5:52 pm

    There’s a very active group of sci-fi fantasy authors on Facebook and it’s called 20Booksto50K and ever since I joined 6 months or so ago, it’s grown from 2k members to 7K and many of the people who used to be active aren’t as active anymore, especially the founders. But the group is still very valuable for the ideas and how to market. It might be overwhelming when you first browse the post and I’ve had some authors who’ve left because they hit the overwhelm mode and/or think many of the successful authors are full of hot air. BUT they’re successful with their books so there’s that to consider. I only use the things I find useful and ignore the rest but they do have many ideas worth considering.

    The majority of the successful authors writing in all genres advertise. They just never talk about it. The latest and most inexpensive way to advertise is Amazon Marketing Services or AMS. Now that Facebook is awash with so many book ads, many authors have moved to AMS and even that’s getting very competitive but you can set your budget as low as $2/day and depending on your keywords to point towards your book, AMS may not even spend it. I budget $2-$5 a day and most days they won’t use up my budget at all. So if FB’s $5/day minimum is steep, then definitely consider AMS.

    Bookbub is the holy grail of book promotions and they’re not kidding. It’s tough to get in and some people have tried 12 or more times while some have been lucky with their first try, depending on the genre. Romance, of course, is competitive, but I just got my first Bookbub 2 weeks ago and they’re not kidding. A free book downloaded by 23K people got me my investment back three times over in preorder sales to the second book. I had applied for 99 cent promos before and had been rejected but when I figured, heck, I’ll try a free run, they accepted it and the “tail” of the promo is still going strong when it comes to the preorder sales though not so much in my other series or standalone books. But I also am getting 5 – 10 email sign ups per day because of it.

    Marketing is overwhelming but it’s a hat that authors these days have to wear and feel comfortable wearing if they want to get their books in front of people. Too many people give up.


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