How do you promote your books?
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.