- Victoria M. Patton
Ways To Get Your Book Seen in a Sea of Book
Before you even consider advertising your book, there are a few steps you should consider first.
1. Know your genre.
Learn your genre and categories. If you don't do the research and list your thriller in contemporary romance because it has romantic elements, you -
Run the risk of alienating reader because of genre expectations
You are marketing to the wrong readers and this is goin to be a costly mistake. It's like advertising to a black hole.
SIDE NOTE: Once your book is complete, a good book cover will convey the genre at first glance and a well-written blurb will hook your reader. Check out Derek Murphy's Creativindie and Bryan Cohen's Sizzling Synopsis for help in both these areas.
2. Author Branding/Platform.
Consider creating a recognizable brand that your readers can latch onto. My website is Whiskey and Writing. I drink whiskey and I write. I have Victoria M. Patton as a domain name and Dark Force Press (which is my imprint) both link to the main domain of Whiskey and Writing.
All my books have the same font for my author's name. I write in multiple genres, all under the thriller/suspense/crime heading. I have only one pen name. Everything links back to my website. Back to me and my brand.
Once you determine your genre and categories, look up other authors in the same genre and see how they format their websites. Get ideas and slowly build it to suit you.
I didn't want to lock myself into a genre for my website design so I chose something that would allow me to grow and still show off my books.
Tips for an author website: Buy the domain name even if you don’t have the website yet. (Usually, you need a premium plan on any host site, like WIX in order to use your domain name.)
3. Bare minimum you should consider putting on your site:
List a book page for each book. Here you will have a blurb and where the book is available.
About page. Introduce yourself.
Newsletter sign up. This is a must. Build your newsletter signup. Usually, people give something away. A short story, or maybe recipes, especially if your book centers around a cook who investigates murders. Anything that you might think readers would like. Character sheets. Prequels. I use Email Octopus. It is a sliding scale depending on how many subscribers you have. It is cheaper than all the others and it is easy to use. There are tons out there. You can research and see which one will work for you.
WHEN SETTING UP YOUR WEBSITE, REMEMBER TO OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE VIEWING. More than 65% of visitors will use a mobile device to look at your website.
4. Book Pricing
There is a sweet spot for pricing, depending on the genre. But for the most part 3.99 -6.99 is a good price point. (Sci-Fi and Fantasy books may be higher due to their length. They can be as high as 7.99 or 9.99) However, a first book and only book, you might consider starting it at 2.99 (not for Sci-Fi/Fantasy those can start out at a higher price due to length.) This is a good price point to make money and get readers to a first book.
REMEMBER when pricing, it is not what you think your book is worth, it is what readers are willing to pay for your book. Those hinge on the market, genre, length, along with market trends. You must set aside your emotional connection to your book when pricing. You don't want to overprice your book for the market.
Consider using the price of 1.99 for specials only. It’s an odd price and doesn’t tend to translate well when it comes to sales. Remember, anything under 2.99 on Amazon gets only 35% royalty.
5. WHEN TO ADVERTISE: When you have 3 books or more published, your advertising dollar will go further.
Advertising one book will eat up your advertising budget with little return. Here’s why: Most promo sites want a discounted price. Usually, 0.00 to .99 cents. Some will allow books priced at 2.99 (even 1.99). If you only have one book, you may not make back what you spend on advertising. You could do this in short bursts to gain readers and possible reviews. Usually, the higher the price of the book, the higher the ad will cost.
6. Other Options For Advertising One Book:
Consider using BookFunnel or Story Origin and get in newsletters swaps with other authors. These don’t cost you anything. (Except the cost of the BF or SO membership). You still have to have your book discounted for the duration of the promo. This will get readers to your book. And hopefully some reviews.
Research the best way to get ARC Readers (Advanced Reader Copies). This is where you give them a book and then they leave a review. You can do this before the book comes out this way you can have reviews go up right after it is published. (BookFunnel is a great way to provide the book to readers providing you are giving ebooks to readers and not print.)
Share on social media. Use Canva or Book Brush or MockupShots to create eye-catching media posts.
Find some low-cost newsletter promos that you can run once or twice a month in which you discount your book for a short period. (Such as Robin Reads or Book Doggy)
**My Biggest Suggestions:**
If you are writing in a series, consider not publishing until book one, until book 2 is done and you are almost finished with book 3.
Consider listing book 2 as a pre-order and link to it in the back of book 1. (Do the same for book 3.)
Writing and releasing books on a consistent schedule will train your readers to know your schedule: 2 books a year, 3 books or more a year. This will help build your fan base.
If you plan on publishing stand-alone books, get another book up as soon as possible. You can make a living with standalone vs books in a series, but you will have to work a little harder to connect readers to your next book. Make sure to link to other books in the back of each standalone book.
Social media in itself doesn’t sell books. It does build a relationship with your readers. Ideally, you would hope to convert those on social media to follow you on your newsletter. Then, hopefully they will become fans and will support you with buying your book.
STRATEGIES THAT MAY WORK FOR YOU:
First in Series Free. You make your book permafree and use that entry book in advertising to drive sales to the other books in your series. This works with several books published. I suggest 4 or more. May not work for you, but it is something to consider.
Bundling first in series books. If you have several series out, take book 1 from each series and bundle them together. You can offer at discounted prices at various times to drive sales to all the books in each series.
Using the bundling first in series strategy with other authors. Getting other authors in your same genre and making a bundle of first books. A lot of authors make best selling lists doing this. It will require work and advertising dollars to make it a success. Each author participates and puts in money for advertising or advertises the book bundle.
7. WHERE TO ADVERTISE:
This is a great way to advertise whether you are wide or in KU. But you must learn the platform or you will throw money away.
Bryan Cohen’s free Amazon ads group on Facebook: The 5-Day Author Ad Profit Challenge is a great place to start. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2230194167089012/
There are several books on this subject. Bryan Cohen has a new one SELF PUBLISHING WITH AMAZON ADS.
Learn this before doing. There are a lot of books on this. Find one that fits you, read it and learn it before you start running ads.
This is where having a website landing page for each book comes in handy. FB doesn’t play well with other sites, especially Amazon. Having your own website and book page to send traffic to will result in better ad performance.
Book Bub CPC ads.
This is different from the Book Bub Feature deal. These are pay for click ads, just like Amazon or Facebook ads. There are a lot of places you can learn about this type of ad. It can be tricky, but if you can master it (just like FB ads or Amazon ads) you can really improve your sales. David Guaghran has a book on Book Bub Ads.
Book Bub Feature deal.
When you have several books out in a series, this is a great thing to apply for. They are pricey, but most authors make their money back within the first day or two. I wouldn’t apply for one until you had at least 4 or more books in a series. These promos can cost anywhere from $500 to $1800, depending on the price point and genre of the book.
Your book is sent out to their email list. Usually, most lists consist of 200k plus readers.
For this promo, you will get more return on a book discounted to either zero or 99 cents. If you do not have other books out you may not make back your cost for advertising. They do allow for higher priced books, but they don’t convert very well and they are more expensive.
This is a platform that delivers your books to readers. The 100 dollars a year membership will work for most authors.
They have newsletter swaps with other authors. Those are free. This will also get your book in front of new readers. You can also run your own promo.
They have different pricing levels depending on what you need.
I use Book Funnel to deliver my ebooks to customers who buy my book directly from my website, to my beta readers, and when I want to give a free book to someone. I will also use it to sell audio books from my site. I recommend making this a part of your author platform.
Story Origin is basically the same thing. The big difference is the ease with which BookFunnel helps you deliver your books to readers. Especially if in the future you want to sell from your website or offer a readers magnet.
Research both and see which one will work for you.
Book fairs or library events in your area.
My local libraries are always having these kinds of events. I have done several. Sometimes I sell a bunch, sometimes I don’t. I have done the Enid Comicon and sold all my books. I have done other events and didn’t sell hardly anything. Find these kinds of events in your area. Also check out Author Events around the US group on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/authoreventsaroundtheus.
Newsletter Promo sites.
I have collected several sites that send out newsletters to their readers. Some of these may cost nothing up to 150 or more. This is something that will be a trial-and-error thing. This list includes the Book Bub Feature deal and others like Fussy Librarian, Robin Reads, and a lot of others.
LINK FOR GOOGLE DOCS NEWSLETTER PROMO SITES: This list consists of several different newsletter promo sites. You will need to do the research to see what will work for your book and genre.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ueEhcHzRs7D36SnDm6pqr-trxDoPwHvDjxZJK-bTUvE/edit?usp=sharing or https://tinyurl.com/NewsletterPromos
OTHER FACEBOOK GROUPS THAT WILL HELP YOU WITH PUBLISHING AND MARKETING:
Wide for the Win: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wideforthewin/
Selling for Authors: https://www.facebook.com/groups/509197505915958/
Authors Selling Direct: https://www.facebook.com/groups/authorssellingdirect/
Self-Publishing Writing and Marketing: https://www.facebook.com/groups/weekendpublisher/
Selling Books From Our Own Site: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sellingbooksfromourownsite/
Alessandra Torres Inkers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/torreink
PEOPLE TO FOLLOW FOR MORE INFORMATION:
David Gaughran, Bryan Cohen, Reedsy (Ricardo Fayet), Mark Dawson, Derek Murphy, Alessandra Torres
Distinction between wide and KU:
Going wide: Your book is available on multiple sales platforms. Publish directly with Google Play, Kobo, Amazon. I suggest going directly with Barnes and Noble for promotion access, but it can be time consuming. USE Draft2Digtital for Apple and possibly Barnes and Noble. Apple is very hard to go directly with. It is worth it to pay the 10% to D2D. IMHO.
KU (Kindle Unlimited): KU is a 90-day commitment. You can’t put your book on any other site for sale, including your own website. Romance books do very well in KU. Other genres can be hit or miss. Some say KU is their money maker. For me, my thrillers didn’t do well in KU. Learn the platform and if it is right for you.
**This is a personal choice. Whatever works for you and your author platform. My only suggestion is to not jump from one to the other every few months. Each of these will require a different marketing approach. If you go into KU, then go Wide, then back to KU, you will eventually anger readers on both sides. Pick one and stick with it for at least a year, maybe more, before switching. Either of these approaches will take time to build your reader/fan base.**
Remember, these are just suggestions/tips to help you set yourself up to make your advertising dollar go the furthest and give you the best return.
Find what works for you and your author journey.
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