I have tried everything I can possible think of to enable people to find my books when they are searching in on-line book stores. Obviously I am not doing it right or not doing enough or whatever. I put all the tags in that I can and have my own website and have my books on line everywhere that I can, I do Facebook and Twitter but still I do not sell many books. Any advice from anyone would be appreciated.
Darksolus, you are in the maddening world of marketing. We have chosen a tough career. Specifically keep at it. Click those links. Google every question you have. Find Beta readers. Get reviews posted on those sites. Twitter like a crazed dog. Join every site ( try https://www.independentauthornetwork.com)(Good Reads)and sell yourself though interviews and reviewing other books. It is a 100% deployment of your energy. Writing comes second and marketing first.
Hope this helps...Oh stay true to your self and your partner.
Darksolus - welcome to the Dark Side of writing... marketing. It's the black hole, unfortunately. Qwayrod is right - reviews are going to drive your ranking in Amazon, so getting people to commit to a review is your best bet. Social Media is difficult and time consuming, and I've had little to no benefit from it. My best strategy has been aligning my book on blogs and websites that deal with my subject matter.
Here are my go-to sites:
www.goodreads.com - there are many groups that do beta reading or do a giveaway
www.radioguestlist.com - I do nonfiction, so finding podcasts and radio shows is a must
www.twitter.com - hashtag, hashtag, hashtag - doesn't work without the hashtag
www.copromote.com - great for sharing a tweet about your book
Blog tours haven't been so great for me, but I've found a simple book blast with the right focus and you can really get buzz going. I've had great experiences with them, hit me up and I'll be happy to share more with you and even help you get your message out
Reviews make all the difference. I'm still working towards the magical 25 reviews on Amazon which then will put your title into Amazon's internal cross-marketing feed. Your book can appear in the results as Also Purchased under any like-genre title listing once that happens. My friends who have achieved that say it is a big step up!
I would also suggest looking beyond Facebook and twitter. Talk with websites, blogs, and podcasts that interview authors. That can get your work in front of new eyes.
I appreciate your pain believe me. True marketing costs and cots big and no matter how much social media an unknown writer does I remain to be convinced.
I am convinced that the biggest initial leg up is a searchable title. I have written several novels set in the Napoleonic Wars but only the second one would ever be found by someone just cruising for such books.
I reluctantly tried Amazon’s Ad Campaign but was pleased with the result, and believe I received exposure I wouldn’t normally have. Shoestring budgets rule my options. I also agree with others that social media has worked to a limited extent. So, I am trying to re-target one book at a time to sites that mirror the plot of the book. For example, one of my plots uses E-waste in the storyline, so I am promoting it as eco-fiction.
Unless one is social media savvy, I find it mostly just screaming into the void. My Twitter feed is full of authors promoting their books, and do you know how many I've clicked on in the last three years? Zero. I scroll right past. There are just too many. Facebook ads are inexpensive and allow you to target very specific groups. Amazon reviews make a huge difference. There are milestones: 25, 50, 75 etc. The more you have, the more visibility Amazon will give you in their promo. How? Here's a link to an article that offers solid advice: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/how-to-get-endless-amazon-reviews-for-your-book-or-product/ I've done this, and have earned quite a few reviews. It has cost me a little in giveaways, but most people are content to receive my publisher's .pdf ARC in exchange for an honest review. HONEST being the key word here. This method can be time consuming, but I've (virtually) met some nice people, have gained fans, and have readers willing to do early reviews on my next book---again, in exchange for the ARC. I'm happy to do this. At this point in my career (2 books published, 1 about to be, and another being written) I'm not worried about making money. My goal is to build readership, and this works!
What I am finding advised is to develop a mailing list and send out an email newsletter.
I agree about the reviews... things that may help include:
- blog hops - guest post on other people's blogs (get them to review the book too if they want to - will cost you a free copy)
- There is a group on Goodreads called making connections who can help you get reviews. You tell them how many copies you are willing to give as free review copies and they recruit people willing to write those reviews and chase them up if they do not post one within a set time. May be worth a go.
- Look into the keywords for your website/blog and try to get the visibility of it up using the dark arts of SEO (search engine optimisation). This is an ever changing field because google are always changing their algorithms so keep up to date.
- produce interesting and engaging social media content to drive more people to your social media accounts and your blog... don't make your feed an endless run of adverts for your own stuff, talk about things that interest you.
- stick links to blogs and books on the signature file of your writing email account.
- put together a street team of loyal fans and friends. A street team are people who do promotion for you by retweeting and sharing your stuff with others.
It's odd isn't it, some folk ask a question and then disappear... it's as if they were seeking attention rather than an answer? I love how so many writers take the time to answer queries or offer advice... they are a breed apart.
All I can say is thank you to those who take the time to help... and what can I say about those who exploit this sort of kindness? Nothing, my mom said 'if you can't say something nice...'.
I've learned through operating this website that many people are guided by self-interest. Instead of participating in a forum to learn and share ideas with like-minded people, they say something to bring attention to themselves then disappear.
When this website began, that mentality was prominently on display, as people would attempt to use this website to get attention, but give nothing to the website. It is why, for instance, I made it a requirement that people respond to the "Welcome" thread before they can have their books listed in our catalog. Otherwise, few people would participate on this board.
Sometimes it is necessary to take advantage of the selfishness of others in order to build up yourself.
I struggle getting my books noticed also, I think the best way to get noticed is being active on discussion boards, getting involved in beta readers groups. I read in an article that a person needs to publish more than three books. You also need to keep promoting your books.
Many thanks for all the previous wise advices, which are all true. The problem is finding the time you need for that great marketing effort, which you lose to keep writing. But from what I've seen so far, and I'm very new, it looks like there is not a 100% success method, and what works for someones does not work for others. I guess you have to try different methods and see which is better for each one. I will keep on eye on next possible advices you post here!
I have written my first book, (non-fiction) and if anyone would have told me the EASY part was to actually write the book, I would have laughed. Publishing has been a HUGE education for me as I am sure it has been for many of the others on this list.
In my attempts to do some basic marketing on a shoestring budget, and extremely little time to do that marketing work, has proven to me that Time and money indeed make the marketing world go round.
Like many as well, I am learning through the generosity of others, and I do not really know enough to share ( read that nothing) in the way of instruction as I am still very green in learning this process.
All that said I am thankful for those who have been willing to share their knowledge and wisdom with others in our shoes, and can pray for a time to one day do the same for some other poor soul who is trying to navigate these waters..
So for myself, and those who might never have stuck around long enough, THANK YOU !
I am new to the group, and I want to thank all who have shared their marketing successes. It is true that writing the book is the easiest part, as I am finding out. I will aggressively try each of your suggestions and get back to you all in a few months with an update on my progress.
You have to do it all! Seriously. I have my own exclusive reader group on Facebook, which is doing very well. The members like to feel that they're involved in something special. I'm on my personal Facebook every day and I have an author page on there, too. I post in a lot of book promo groups on Facebook, use Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I post notes on my Facebook profile, in my group, and on my author page for each book. I'm also developing my Youtube Channel and I do live videos on Facebook, which really reach more people. I also keep collecting more email subscribers from my website. The first book in my Chance City series is free and in that book I offer the second book free if they sign up for my email list. This was advised by both Mark Dawson and Nick Stephenson, who are book marketing gurus and best-selling authors. I've gone from 457 email subsribers last year to about 1,600 now. That's not huge, but it's huge growth for me. Also find book groups on Facebook that deal with your genre and join them. Talk to the readers, offer free ebooks, and network with other authors. Find some authors in your genre who would go in on a boxed set with you. That'll give you more exposure, too. I know it sounds exhausting and some days it is, but it's all been worth while for me. Although I wish my growth was faster, it's steady and that's better than stagnant or losing ground. Hope this helps.
What everyone said above! Darksolus, marketing is the challenge of every self-published author. Paraphrasing the story of a tree, "If a book is published on Amazon, and no one knows about, will it make any noise/" The answer is no. It will set there and and languish in the sub-two million ranking after your circle of friends have all bought a copy.
There are a number of things you need to do, and hopefully, you have done the first: make sure your self-published book is attractive, well-put-together, and thoroughly edited. That means
1. a nice cover and title that attracts attention, as that is the first thing a potential reader will see.
2. a professional interior layout that will match any professionally published book, with no typos, accidental bad grammar, or awkward sentences... especially on the first few pages that potential readers will see when they select the "Look Inside" option. If I see something wrong there when I am looking at a book to buy, I very likely will pass that by.
3. your blurb should be inviting, arouse curiosity without retelling the story
These are the first three things a buyer will see, don't give them an excuse to walk away.
So then, the hard part of getting the book before the public. I have a website, www.lewis-mcintyre.com, and have found that promoting a website is the only thing more difficult than promoting a book. I will be using the tools on this site to perhaps improve my website's utility, but frankly, I haven't visited it myself for months. I have gotten one piece of advice that I intend to try. Give the website visitor the option to buy a signed copy of your paperback. Your order the book through your account, sign it and mail it to them.
My preferred way of publicity is facebook. I have an author page, https://www.facebook.com/LewisMcIntyreAuthor/ where I promote my events, with links to my two book pages, https://www.facebook.com/TheEagleAndTheDragon/ and https://www.facebook.com/ComeFollowMePilateAndJesus/, where I promote my books. I have a Historical Fiction Discussion group on my author's page, which I use like a blog, and allow others to post their books for adverts. I have found it easier to build a following on FB than on a website (going on 800 FB followers now) and you can pay to boost the page, or a post on the page, with a "shop now" button to your Amazon or BN purchase site, for as little or as much as you want to pay. I have found for my metric, you need to reach at least a thousand strangers to sell ONE book... and maybe more, depending on how good your book and pitch are. Don't just say "Buy my book!" Think of an ad you would respond to, and pitch your book accordingly. FB allows you to invite the people who liked your boosted ad to like/follow the page... which means they will see all your future posts (for free). You HAVE to get outside the set of people you already know to sell books.. you MUST reach the stranger. And if someone shares your boosted post, FB allows you to replay to their share with a "Thank You!"
Goodreads is a good place to accumulate a lot of reviews and potential readers for free.
At 70 i have considered marketeteers and salesmen to be somewhat more of an epithet than a point of praise, but now, so to speak, I are one, and I am finding it kind of fun.
This has been a long post, Darksolus, but I hope you find it helpful... and good luck!