Marketing tools I have tried…and how successful they have been

It has been a crazy week and I have been behind in writing posts for my blog. So today I thought I would review some marketing strategies that I have written about in the past and how successful they have been for me. The first few sentences of each prior blog is listed below along with a link to that article in case you want to go back and read my original thoughts.

Book Trailer

I created a book trailer for my novel, Summoned, last spring. I have it on my website, my Independent Author’s page and my Amazon author’s page. And while it was fun to create (and I did it myself for only $25), I am not sure it has actually sold me any books.

A book trailer is used to whet your audience’s appetite. Now I don’t know if it is the best marketing tool to help sell your book but I decided to put one together for Summoned, the first book in my trilogy. Read more…

Book Tour

Last summer I did a virtual book tour for Summoned. It was a 20-stop tour put together by Goddess Fish Promotions. They were well organized and put together a pretty good tour at a reasonable price. It was a lot of work and I did receive a lot of exposure but I did not see any increase in sales that I could directly tie to my tour.

A popular way to promote your book is to do a book tour. But with limited time and money, many authors opt to forgo touring to physical locations and choose a virtual tour. Read more…

Starting a Blog

I started my blog in August of 2012. I really enjoy writing posts for it. I cover parenting issues on Mondays, publishing/marketing issues on Tuesday and writing tips on Thursday. I have a quote of the week every Wednesday and end the week with my Friday Featured Author spot. I definitely think I have reached more potential readers with my blog though again, it is hard to say if any books have been sold solely because of this blog. Either way, I would highly recommend a blog.

One of the keys to selling your novel is to get your name before the masses. The more you participate on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter the more people will begin to know you and in turn know about your books. Rather than tweeting out about your book, you can use your blog as a way to gain an online presence and build your audience. Read more…

facebook-logoFacebook Page

I think every author should have a Facebook page though this is again, one marketing tool that I am unsure how effective it is. But is a great way to keep up to date with your current readers and of course could provide interesting information for any potential readers who find your page.

Facebook is a great way to keep readers up to date with your author news. So if you don’t have a Facebook page to promote yourself and your books you should definitely set one up. Read more…

Twitter

I’ve been using Twitter ever since I became a self-published author. I think you have to experiment with what works on Twitter and what you are comfortable with tweeting. I know many authors don’t do self-promotional tweets but I have sold books – or given them away – based on tweets I do send out each week so I think this is definitely a viable marketing technique.

Twitter can be a good marketing tool, and I have wanted to write about it for some time. But there are already countless websites that explain the basics and just as many from other authors explaining the dos and don’ts of using Twitter to promote your book.

And it is here that I falter. So many authors, myself included, are doing exactly what these authors say not to do. So let’s address some of these issues. Read more…

Joining Author Groups

The first group I joined as a self-published author was the Independent Author’s Network. This group has been amazing in tweeting about my author page and my books. I later joined another group where I receive advice and thoughts about self-promotion and the indie market. Both groups have been wonderful and I would advise any author – new or established – to join such groups, not as a marketing technique necessarily but just for the support.

Becoming a self-published author doesn’t mean you have to navigate the self-publishing world alone. One of the best things I have found is all the wonderful support from other indie authors. Read more…

Free Book

FreeI left this one for last because in the self-publishing world this seems to be an issue that divides authors. Some see this as a viable marketing tool while others have no clue while authors would want to give their hard work away for free. I have offered both my novel, Summoned (the first in my trilogy) and my short story, The Search, for free. While some of my free promotions have not resulted in many downloads, I did have a favorable time with The Search using KDP Select and did see quite a few sales of my other novels as a result. So I think if done right, a free book offer can improve your sales. In fact, I now have The Search offered free at all times. (Still trying to get Amazon to match the price of the other e-book retailers so it is still listed at 99 cents there.)

You don’t have to look far to find books offered for free on the internet. But should you offer your novel that you worked so hard to produce for nothing?

Well, that depends…Read more…  (and as a follow-up I wrote about offering my book for free through KDP Select).

That concludes all of the book marketing techniques that I have already blogged about. As you can see, some have been more successful than others. So what have you found works best?

7 thoughts on “Marketing tools I have tried…and how successful they have been

  1. Paula Cappa says:

    Your comments are very helpful. You have certainly tested the waters out there and I give you lots of credit. I’ve not marketed my book as extensively as you have, but so far my results are flat. I did free promotions of my novel, Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural on KDP (launched in October 2012) and got lots of downloads (1300), but it didn’t spark any sales. I was hoping I’d get lots of customer reviews but so far, that’s been weak too. I’ve promoted the book on my facebook (small following) and tweeted (500 followers) but no sales. I tweet lots of different things, not just my novel. I don’t see any sales when I tweet my novel so I tweet it less and less now. I write a weekly fiction blog about reading short stories, Tuesdays’s Tale of Terror and feature an introduction about the story and a link to the full text. But I only feature short stories by dead authors like Lovecraft, MR James, Hawthorne, Dickens, Poe, etc.–kind of a dead authors society.That’s getting more and more attention but I don’t see that sparking any sales either. My novel is now offered on B&N and Smashwords but the sales there are practically zero.

    If we take a cue from the professional publishers and authors, they advertise their books in newspapers, book trade publications, book clubs, and on web sites that reach hundreds of thousands of readers. It seems to me that if we want to sell our books, we have to advertise in the right places. All this social media and blogs and web sites are really more of a sideline or support action. But I wouldn’t know where to begin to advertise and don’t have the funds that a real campaign requires. So, right now I’m looking at banner ads … but where’s the best place to reach readers that is reasonably priced?
    Paula

  2. Paula, I agree that it is hard to decide where to put what little marketing money you have. The only reason I think my free book worked is that it is a short story that I wrote using one of the characters from my trilogy. It happens right before the trilogy takes place and I included the first chapter of the first book so I think that helps. If you are looking at banner ads, you might consider Goodreads as a place to advertise. Kindle Nation is supposedly big too and I don’t think their prices are too high.

    • Paula Cappa says:

      Thanks, I’ll look into both. Actually I have a similar thing going with a short story (flash fiction) that is a prelude to my novel. The short is scheduled to be published by Insomnia Press by end of month. They are a new ezine with a small readership. I don’t know if it’ll spark any interest in my book though. Where was your short story published and how did you link it to your book?

  3. I self published my fantasy short story, The Search, which is about 12,000 words. (Did KDP Select for 3 months before publishing it elsewhere.) It about Tosh, a telepathic cat who is one of the main characters from my trilogy and what happened to him right before he met up with one of the other main characters from the trilogy. It provides extra background information on him and hopeful sparks some interest in his quest. To find out more, I kind of left it hanging so that people would need to read the trilogy for the rest of the story.

  4. Great post! Funny thing, I just wrote some similar lessons I’ve learned in the past year of self-publishing my books. And I’d like to point out that if you are putting money forth (vs just time or energy), put your ad dollars into BookBub or high-end reviews (like RT or Kirkus) or Ereader News Today. In other words, stick with groups that email AVID readers. Otherwise, do the free promo via sites that list your for free or a very small fee. Banner ads, book videos don’t work for creating sales. They work for creating imprints–i.e. getting brand recognition. But when you are a newbie, sales matter. So be clear with your objectives when spending $$.
    Thanks again!

  5. G. B. Miller says:

    About the only marketing avenues that I’ve tried so far have been Facebook (2nd time around) and blogging. Blogging I’ve been doing hardcore for almost 5 years, and I’ve done a lot of word of mouth about my blog, which hopefully has led to people being curious about my writing.

    About the only contest that I had run that generated quite a few comments (and hopefully potential book sales) was when I was writing the final scene in my debut. I needed a couple of meals for a restaurant, so I asked for suggestions on both my blog and FB page, with the winner being written into the final scene as a throwaway character. Two people won and one took me up on the offer.

    As for current marketing attempts, I think the fact that I’ve been banned in two places (one on Facebook and one real world) from pimping my book might start generating some curiousity about me and my book.

  6. Erica Pike says:

    Being involved with Goodreads groups has helped me greatly. Of course, you’ll have to find the right group (M/M Romance Group, for me). Thing is, though, that I’m there as a reader and take part in discussions and reading challenges as one (I’m just always careful about what I say). I still get some interest in my books through it.

    I believe in free books – that is, giveaways. It’s also good to have at least one work (short story, for example) for free to give a taste of your work. It’s hard for me to see what marketing technique works on sales because I’m not self-published and can’t track such things, but I myself have been impressed by a free story on many occasions and ended up reading the authors’ whole backlists.

    Facebook I use mostly to keep in touch with fellow authors. It’s fun and my forte. I love facebook. I do connect my blog posts to the page (also connect my blog to my Goodreads page), so there’s some level of promo.

    I go to my niche yahoo groups on LGBTQ days to post excerpts and that seems to get some interest (at least they seem to be interested in the comments they leave).

    I’m doing a blog hop every Saturday with some of my fellow gay romance authors where we post around 200 words from our existing novels. This has already gotten me two new readers and I’ve only taken part once. I have the next Saturdays lined up with more excerpts.

    I’m not too keen on Twitter, mostly because it took me forever to figure it out, so I mostly use it for Triberr.

    Triberr has increased traffic to my site like mad! Even though some hate Triberr feeds on their Twitter and may unfriend me as a result, this is one marketing took I can say for sure has increased awareness of my name and presence.

    Er…there are probably more, but I need to run out and pick up my kids now ^.^

    Thanks for the post. I think I’ll continue skipping book trailers and maybe organize a book tour myself. I’m thinking that a book tour probably doesn’t pay off much, except to try to establish your name (which is very important and I’ve been actively branding my name since before I was first published).

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