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How do you promote your books?
When authors publish a new book or trying to promote non-selling books, they want to see an immediate result from any type of promotion. It is understandable. They work hard and they spend months and even years to write one book, so when it's published, they want to get feedback right away.
When the manuscript is finished, it is but the first step before the book can hit the store shelves. Next comes editing, book cover design, book interior design and formatting as well as ISBN registration and publishing. And, this is the easy part!
Promotion and marketing are the hardest part. The big publishing sites are pushing out thousands of books a day. Therefore, it's very hard to promote new books with a few or no ratings, less than 100 reviews, and less than a few thousand sales.
But in order to get high rates and reviews, the book has to sell as many copies as possible. But how can it be done when readers are not aware of the book? The only solution is to promote the book every way possible.
Let's look at different types of book promotion:
It sounds great when a promoter tells you that they send out your book to 15,000 readers, doesn't it?
Reputable, effective, long-standing newsletter services such as BookBub are very choosy, and they will only accept books that have many positive reviews and 4 or higher rating. Their service is pricey; it can easily cost $600 for one book promotion, which very few authors can afford, but those who can afford it report success.
We tried on a smaller scale:
We had over 3,000 subscribers to our newsletter, but this promo idea proved to be ineffective. After a few newsletters to readers about free and bargain books, the authors reported lots of free book downloads. But when we started promoting mostly regular price books, the newsletter opening rate drastically dropped because readers expected to see only free books. After the fifth newsletter to over 3000 readers, only about 14% opened the mail, most of the readers unsubscribed, and only 1-2% clicked on a few links.
Well established book marketing services are effective. Their team of experts work tirelessly on promoting books to readers, book stores, and they use effective methods. They help the authors to write catchy blurbs and teasers, they create professional book trailers, they promote the books in newsletters, newspapers and so on.
We did some research and the sad truth is that very few authors can afford this kind of service. Some sites charge $2,000 a month, others charge even more. The majority of the great, yet undiscovered authors don't even make that much money a month with their regular, full time jobs, and the money they make goes to support their families. They write in their free time because they're talented and passionate about writing. Therefore, this effective book marketing option is open only to a fe authors who can afford it.
MORE AFFORDABLE PROMO SERVICES
Most promo services that charge less, usually advertise their services on flashy websites and promise great results. But, the experience of many authors prove that these promo services only give you the false security that your book is well promoted. The promoters are posting books in 600 Facebook groups and tweet ten times a day about your book. Looks good, doesn't it? Wow, your book is seen by tens of thousands of readers, and your links shared and retweeted by many.
Usually, these promoters have a group of people who set up automatic retweets for the posts, so when you see that the tweet about your book is shared and retweeted by a bunch of people, you feel satisfied.
The sad truth:
Their proudly displayed 5-10,000 followers are mostly fake profiles, hundreds of them are popping up every day and the fake profiles are only used to follow the people on the list they get from the promoters who pay them. Thousands of followers could be bought with a few dollars and those are just numbers. The so-called followers are mostly from India and China. They're paid a few cents to follow authors and they will never look at your book posts.
AUTHOR SELF-PROMO ON SOCIAL SITES
You might feel satisfied when you post your book in hundreds of Facebook groups with thousands of group members. You think that out of 10,000 group members your book post will be seen by at least 10% and that will generate lots of sales.
You're lucky if 1 or 2 people see the post in the groups where the majority of members are authors who preach to the choir. Your tweets are retweeted automatically by the same people over and over, and over, but the majority of retweeters are authors who want to sell books just like you.
By our observations and poll answers by readers show that readers who join groups don't really make buyers. They join the groups to take advantage of free giveaways and contests where they can win free books. Although they download the free books, if the story doesn't grab their interest by reading 3-4 pages, they delete it from their reading device and go to the next free book they downloaded.
More sad truth:
The authors who give away books for free are hoping that the readers will post reviews after they finish reading. Statistics show that only 1% of the readers will take time to write a review if they get the book for free.
More truth for author Erika M Szabo:
"I created universal links for my books about two weeks ago because it’s a lot easier to post only one link that people can click on and see every online store where the book is published. Since then I only used the universal links when I posted about my books on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. I posted about my books quite often the past two weeks because I wanted to see how many people actually click on the links to view or buy my books. My posts had hundreds of likes and shares, so it seemed like everything was going okay. Well, I was stunned when I looked at my universal link stats this morning. After all those likes, shares, and retweets, the stats showed only 9 link clicks. (Yes, it is correct, NINE clicks)
Moreover, I joined a Facebook event where over 100 authors are promoting their books. It is a fantastic idea and the event organizers work very hard to make this event a success. I had high hopes that my books will be seen by many readers. It was my turn yesterday, and sadly, only about 30 people looked at my book posts from close to 800 people who are attending the event. Maybe more people who were offline when my half an hour presentation time was scheduled will scroll down later and find my books, let's hope."
More truth from author Lucinda E. Clarke:
"It's a nightmare for an author knowing the difference between spamming news about their books and keeping quiet. If you only mention a new release a couple of times, unless you boost a post very few of your friends and followers will ever see it. If you post in every Facebook group under the sun, firstly your post disappears down the page within a couple of minutes and I expect, like me, you don't even scroll down to see what other books are on the page. These days I don't even visit all these promo pages as there is no one there to talk to and even if you pose a question or even drop in to say hello, no one answers you. Possibly the truth is, no one knows how to promote books to be assured of success."
THE QUIET, long term PROMOTION that is effective
Book promotion on well-established websites and blog pages that are promoted with well-placed keywords and page descriptions. Readers who like specific genres tend to navigate to blogs and websites where the books are displayed clearly on organized pages where readers can browse and click on links if they decide to purchase the books.
We publish monthly magazines with different genre books and our subscribers look forward to reading the beautifully arranged pages.
Since we published our first magazine, we only had 2 unsubscribers and the stats show lots of link clicks in the magazine. We receive a lot of positive feedback from authors who advertised their books in our magazine, and from readers who love the setup of the pages.
More truth from author Erika M Szabo:
"When my books are featured in the Golden Box Books Publishing’s monthly magazines, my book sales jump and I get steady sales for weeks, most likely from new subscribers. My author magazine proved to be effective as well. I had a spike in sales when the magazine was first published and there are steady sales ever since because my magazine is available to read at any time and new readers subscribe every day.
Although I share my magazine link, website pages, and blog posts on social sites from time to time, I try not to bore my followers half to death by shoving books into their faces ten times a day. The "Boy who cried wolf" fact applies to book promotion well. The louder you scream about a book, the less people will pay attention after a while."
It is not an easy task to find the perfect book promotion method. It depends on the book genre and on the author's budget as well.
We offer a few, affordable promo options that works for some authors well, but doesn't work that well for others. We cannot promise and guarantee results. The only advice we can give authors that they might want to give it a try.
Take a look at our published magazines HERE
Promote your books with us HERE
Take a look at our publishing services HERE
Fantasy adventure for middle-grade children
Spooky and funny, a heroic fantasy adventure for middle-grade children. Nikki and her impish cousin, Jack, find a mysterious black pumpkin in the forest on Halloween. A wise talking skeleton, Wishbone, tells them that the ghosts of the Trinity of Wishmothers are trapped inside the pumpkin and can’t be freed without their wands. The children offer their help, so the skeleton takes them on a journey to the world of Creepy Hollow to retrieve the three wands he hid long ago in Red Crow Forest, the Tower of Shadows, and the Cave of Spooks. Ghoulina, the beautiful vegetarian ghoul, and Catman, who was once a man, join them on their quest. They must face danger and conquer evil every step of the way as they search for the Wands before the wicked Hobgoblin and his henchman, a Tasmanian Devil, can get their hands on them. This is a fun, humorous and touching story for kids, with plenty of character interaction woven into a backdrop of scary danger, heroic action and lessons to be learned.
Poems by Joe and illustrations by Erika
Teaser from the book
“What’s Celestria, Mister Wishbone?” Jack wanted to know.
“Celestria is the Realm of Spirits, where I live now. It’s a cemetery in Creepy Hollow.” Wishbone cleared his throat with a metallic-sounding cough. “You see, in Creepy Hollow the spirits of the dead can live side-by-side with the living.”
“Awesome!” cried Jack.
“Wicked!” said Nikki, clapping her hands. “Okay, but now you’re a wind chime. So how did that happen?”
“Well, let me tell you, and I’ll try to make it as short a story as I can,” said Wishbone. “It all begins with a Goblin named Hobart. Hobart was just another cute, little goblin who had fallen on hard times. He lost his job and his home, and had no luck at all. So one day he went to visit The Trinity of Wishmothers and begged them for help. Taking pity upon him, the Wishmothers gave him a test in the form of three wishes. He was supposed to use the three wishes to help others, which in turn would help him and bring him good luck. But Hobart was greedy and he used the three wishes for selfish reasons. He wished for wealth and power and fame, so he failed the test. As punishment for wrongly using his three wishes, the Wishmothers transformed him into the mean and ugly Hobgoblin. But they couldn’t take away the wealth, power and fame he had wished for.”
“That’s a nasty thing to have happened to the poor guy,” said Jack.
“Not as nasty as what later happened to me,” Wishbone told him.
“Hobart had it coming to him, Jack. He was selfish and used the Wishmothers’ gifts for his own benefits” said Nikki. “What happened next, Wishbone?”
“First, Hobgoblin used his wealth and power to build a great castle, which he calls Crag Heap, and he used his fame to attract a large band of followers. Then he and his minions took over Goblin Acres and locked the mayor in Deep Dark Dungeon.”
“That Hobgoblin sure is one bad dude,” said Jack.
“He certainly is,” Wishbone agreed. “But wait, there’s more.”
Hobgoblin wasn’t satisfied with all that he had accomplished. He wanted more wealth and more fame, but most of all, he wanted more power. . . magical power. So he summoned one of his favorite minions, the Tasmanian Devil, who helped him murder the three Wishmothers and steal their magic Wands.”
“Did Hobgoblin use the Wands?” Jack asked Wishbone.
“Indeed he did. He knew just enough magic to turn the power of the Wands against the ghosts of the three Wishmothers.”
“What did he do to them?” Nikki asked.
Wishbone sighed; he sounded exactly like a wind chime swaying in the breeze. “He imprisoned them inside a black pumpkin.”
Jack suddenly grew very nervous. He looked at the black pumpkin and asked, “You don’t mean this pumpkin, do you?”
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We featured some of the books in our Special Edition Magazine
Because I'm in charge of posting the nominated books on the
GOLDEN BOOK AWARD CONTEST page, I've been copying and posting a lot of book links.
I noticed that a majority of authors are posting and sharing their long Amazon book's links on social sites that tells tremendous amount of information to the algorithm they use for monitoring.
When most authors search for their own book’s link to post it on social sites, usually they go to Amazon, type in the title of their book, click on the book, and copy that page’s URL.
Posting and sharing the long URL of your book is a big mistake.
The long URL contains a time stamp and a marking when you search for your books. This number tells amazon that at this particular time, your book was searched from your IP address.
Don't post this type of book link
Delete the red part
Post the short link on social sites and share with fans
Search for your book by typing your book title in Amazon search and copy the long URL. The URL will contain ten numbers which will change when you click off from the site, sign back in and repeat the search by typing your book tile in search. The ten numbers in the URL will be different every time you repeat the search.
Using a long URL on a search will leave a trail that goes back to you because it contains your IP address.
I can't say that it means that everyone who clicks on the long link, buys the book and leaves a review is going to have their review removed because I can't prove it, but I strongly believe that it could greatly increase the chance of having those reviews removed.
Therefore, the link that you would want to send or post to your fans so as to ensure that there are no identifiable markings, or tags, that will connect you to the link, just use the shortened link that includes the title/subtitle URL and the ASIN such as this link to my book:
It's very hard to promote new books with a few ratings, less than 100 reviews, and less than a few thousand sales.
We promote new authors, and we accept books without reviews or rating.
Let's look at the most used types of book promotion:
It sounds great when a promoter tells you that they send out your book to 15,000 readers, doesn't it?
Reputable, effective, long-standing newsletter services such as BookBub are very choosy, and they will only accept books that have at least 30 reviews and 4 or higher rating. Their service is costly, it can go to $300 for one promo, which very few authors can afford.
We tried, we promoted authors for a very small fee:
After a few newsletters to readers about free and bargain books, when we promoted mostly regular price books, the opening rate dropped drastically because readers expected to see only free books. After the fifth newsletter to over 3000 readers, only about 18% opened the mail and 1-2% clicked on a few links.
THE LOUD, flashy PROMOTION
Most promo services give you the false security that your book is well promoted. The promoters are posting books in 600 Facebook groups and tweet 4 times a day about your book. Looks good, doesn't it? Wow, your book is seen by thousands of readers.
These promoters set up automatic tweets and automatic Facebook group posts. Usually, they have a group of people who set up automatic retweets for the posts, so when you see that the tweet about your book is shared and retweeted by a bunch of people, you feel satisfied. The sad truth is that the proudly displayed 5000 followers could be bought with a few dollars. Those are just numbers, the so-called followers will never look at your book posts. The tweet is retweeted automatically by the same people over and over, and over. The book is posted in groups where you're lucky if 1 or 2 people see the post.
THE QUIET, long term PROMOTION
This is the promotion method we prefer and use. Book promotion on well-established websites and blog pages that are promoted with well-placed keywords and page descriptions. We add author bios & books with links to our permanent blog and website pages where returning visitors and those who search books with keywords can see them any time.
Authors like to see immediate results that their books are promoted, and they get the result with the loud, flashy promotion methods. However, this gives them only false security and a false picture that their books are promoted.
Our method doesn't give immediate results. Although we share the pages and blog posts on social sites from time to time, we don’t bore our followers half to death by shoving books into their faces ten times a day. The "Boy who cried wolf" fact applies to book promotion well. The louder and more you scream about a book, the less will pay attention after a while.
We focus on promoting the author and book pages to search engines. Every author page and blog post about books are submitted to about 40 search engines with keywords and page description, depending on the genre of the book.
This website is relatively new, however, it is connected to my seasoned author website. There are blog posts and pages that I created years ago and submitted to search engines that still have a few hundred visitors a day. When I look at the website stats I’m amazed at how many people are still reading my blog posts and pages that I even forgot that I wrote.
We cannot promise a high number of sales and immediate proof of our promotion methods, we focus on branding author names and books and ensure that your author page and blog post will be visible to readers for years to come.
~Erika M Szabo
Take a look at our:
I’ve been writing and publishing the past few years.
Writing is my passion, but as I learn more and more about the dishonest practices involving book publishing, the more disgusted I feel every day. Book pirates who steal books and offer it for free in order to increase their website rating and lure you in to steal your credit card info. Or “wannabe” authors who copy published books, change some names and scenes and published the book under their names. Also the freeloaders who take advantage of authors who are trying to promote their books. Disgusting!
Those who take advantage of authors:
I see a lot of posts on social sites from authors who are looking for beta readers. The author offers a PDF copy of the unpublished book. Some of the posts have 20 or even more comments requesting it and the author is happy to email it to them hoping for honest opinions and critique. I asked a few authors why they are giving their yet unpublished books to strangers.
Their answers were:
I can’t afford to pay for professional manuscript critique and editor
I get free editing, and the beta readers help to find inconsistencies in the story
I give the “read-only” PDF copies; they can’t steal the book
Is your PDF file secure?
Do you think the read-only PDF files are secure just because you click (Read Only), and it is written out in the file name? Because these files have no permissions from the authors to modify the document or copy the document, it doesn’t mean it cannot be done. They simply download a PDF to Word converter program and convert the PDF file to editable Word file. Give your book only to trusted professionals and to people yo trust.
There are a few websites that sell programs that protect PDF eBooks. They guarantee safety from copying and selling the eBook, for around $600/month. Yeah, perhaps big publishers can afford it, but small ones and self-published author could most likely not.
Those who want to copy the book or “wannabe” authors who change names and a few scenes and then publish the book under their names can very easily steal your work, change a few things and publish it. Some of them get caught because a reader who knows the writing style of the original author notices the similarities and alerts the author, but nobody knows how many are out there collecting royalty payment from publishing a book they stole.
There are a lot of secret readers’ groups on social sites. The members attend every possible event where the authors offer complimentary copies. They specifically ask for PDF copies saying that they don’t have Kindle or phone with app, and they can only read PDF files on their computers. Watch out for those “poor me” readers unless you know them personally and trust them that they really can't afford buying an eBook and they have an old computer that doesn't support reading apps. Your book might end up posted as a PDF file in groups, and hundreds of members will read it for free.
Any "DRM protected" file could be converted and edited by installing the DRM removal program. This is an ongoing problem for authors, and until the eBook selling sites come up with a solution, it will remain a problem. But, at least, when your book is published and you own the copyright, you can set up Google alert, track down suspected book thieves and demand that they take your book off their website where they are offering it for free and report the websites.
Honestly? I can’t feel sorry for those who download free PDF books from pirate sites. They trust their credit card info to people who live in who knows which part of the world, hide their IP address with routers, so they can’t be tracked down without a thorough investigation. They promise 30-day free trial, but when you find out the lousy copies with the narrow selection they offer and try to cancel the membership, they give you the runaround and charge you anyway. Even if they don’t charge you right away, perhaps six months from now you’ll see $2-3 charge on your card statement that you don’t even know who is making. By the time you get your statement and call the listed 800 number, it’s disconnected. These scammers charge only minute amounts that could easily slip, but when they charge thousands of credit cards, it adds up to a pretty nice amount. Moreover, when the freeloaders are downloading the “free” PDF file, they might end up having malicious cookies that in best scenario track their browsing history, but… everyone keeps passwords, credit card, bank and personal info on their PC. Is it safe from the downloaded malware?
Keep writing, enjoy it and be careful who you trust your unpublished book with.
Nothing is FREE in life. If you want to read, respect the authors' hard work who provide you with entertainment and purchase their books at legitimate selling sites.
Ask for a free copy only if you truly can't afford to pay for books that mostly cost less than a cup of coffee.
If you enjoyed the story, please write a few words review. You will not only make the authors very happy with your feedback, but your review will help other readers to decide if the book is for them, or perhaps not.
Also, the selling sites promote the books according to the number of reviews posted. Books without reviews are sitting at the bottom of the shelf collecting virtual dust.
Happy writing and reading,
Author Erika M Szabo
There are several blog posts and social site posts are going around regarding the new Amazon method of screening badly formatted and edited eBooks.
This is what goodreader.com and thedigitalereader.com posted
According to their posts, Amazon will add a warning to the eBooks that they find badly edited or formatted:
"Starting February 3, 2016 Amazon will begin showing customers a warning message on the Kindle store detail pages of books that contain several validated quality issues. The warning message will be removed as soon as Amazon received an updated file from self-published authors or publishing companies.
I checked several Kindle and Amazon customer forum posts and my understanding about this issue is:
When Amazon receives complaint, they will investigate. If the reported problem is confirmed, Amazon will temporarily make the book unavailable and notify the publisher about the reported problem(s). The publisher must then respond, and if the problems have to do with significant formatting errors, the only response that will get the book re-listed is for the publisher to provide a corrected (updated) version of the book.
Found this supposed reply from KDP to an Amazon customer at The Digital Reader site
"Starting February 3, 2016 we will begin showing customers a warning message on the Amazon.com Kindle store detail pages of books that contain several validated quality issues. We will remove this message for a book as soon as we receive the fixed file from you and verify the corrections -- typically within 2 business days.
Customers could easily abuse this new reporting policy, please don't! Report legitimate problems.
Every book you could find at bookstores has a few minor issues with formatting and at least a few typographical errors. Reporting a few minor problems will result in having a book made unavailable for sale for days or weeks at a time can seriously hurt a publisher and author.
In my opinion, readers should complain if the problems are so serious that they truly interfere with their ability to read, enjoy or understand the book such as:
Readers have seven days to ask for a refund on any Kindle book they’ve purchased. If you report a book, you can’t be certain if Amazon will agree with your complaint. Even if they do agree and place the warning on the book, it is uncertain whether or not the publisher will release an updated version. If a Kindle book you’ve bought is simply unreadable your best bet is probably to return it for a full refund.
As an author and avid reader, I agree with this screening that aims to result in publishing high quality eBooks.
Sadly, I come across books, that although an editor is listed on the copyright page, are very badly edited. For an author, it is very hard to find a professional editor because there are so many wannabe editors flood the internet and social sites. Not every author is a genius with grammar (including me). The truth is, I should even use a good editor when I write blog posts.
Many authors and small publishers try to save money by formatting their books. Unfortunately, because the formatting rules are very complicated, they're not always successful producing aesthetically pleasing books. The manuscript might look good in MS word, but when it's converted to Mobi file, the bad formatting, no embedding and badly or not linked TOC problems come to surface.
Yes, having a book professionally formatted could be expensive. I found sites that charge up to $400 to format an eBook, a price which most authors cannot afford. If you need your book formatted or edited, my best advice is to shop around. Find the company that fits your price range, check out some books they formatted, or ask other authors to recommend someone.
My publishing company, Golden Box Books, offers very affordable prices and quality work.
~Erika M Szabo, YA fantasy and children's book author, Publishing Coach
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