Marketing and Promoting
Alright, so media, websites, and I’m good, right? Now, readers will just seek me out. Not quite, grasshopper, not quite. Still much to do. Now that you are set up online and ready to reach the masses, the question still remains, how? How do you reach beyond your internet reach, and out into the world? This is where the real marketing and promoting begin. You have the platforms. Now what to put in it and how to drive readers to it?
There are many sites for authors to use for the sole purpose of promoting your books to readers. Story origin, Book Funnel, Bookbub, BookSweeps are a few that come to mind. These websites allow the author a wide variety of features like email collection to build mailing lists, group promotions, ARC delivery for reviewers and newsletter swaps.
Story Origin just recently switched to a paid platform, at $10 a month or $100 a year, in order to use all the features. Book Funnel has three plans to choose from, starting with $20 a year for very new beginners, a $100 plan that allows email collection, 2 pen names and up to 5000 downloads and a $250 dollar plan that includes all the features and priority support.
Now, in conjunction with Story Origin and Book Funnel, you will want to integrate an email service such as Mailchimp, in order to collect reader email addresses as they click on your book, during your promotions. This is how you build your newsletter list and begin to reach a more targeted audience that is interested in your genre and your book. These are your more standard marketing sites, and both have author pages, author dashboards, helpful tools, and tutorials to help you get up and running. I have found Story Origin to be very simple to use and I use Mailchimp as my email service and newsletter builder.
For promotion, Bookbub runs a targeted reader email that authors can purchase a daily deal promotion and their book will be featured on the day of the promotion to readers in your genre. BookSweeps, Freebooksy, Bargain Booksy, and the Fussy Librarian all operate on the same idea. They have thousands of readers that sign up to receive a targeted email based on their genre preference of free or discounted books. These emails go out daily and new books are featured each day.
The authors typically see an increase in sales and download the day of their ad, and sometimes for the next 2-3 days. Prices vary, as do their guidelines. Make sure you spend some time researching each one and decide on the best one for your needs. Several of these sites have both a free book newsletter and a bargain book newsletter that goes out each day. It is up to the author if they want to offer a free book or a discounted book.
Each of these platforms offers author profile pages, featured deal of the day, or series features and some other tools. Performance does vary with each of these, depending on your genre, how your book is presented and a bit of luck. There can be an overwhelming amount of these sites and it can take some time to get the hang of each one, to see good results and to figure out which site or sites you want to go with for the long-term.
I strongly suggest keeping a password notebook on your desk somewhere if you decide to go gung-ho and join them all. It will become a chore to remember all of those sites, logins and passwords. Personally, I am doing two at a time and watching results before dropping the least lucrative one and trying a new one. Trial and error style.
Reader Magnets and File Formatting
What’s a reader magnet? Can’t I just offer my book synopsis? Well, your book synopsis is there to pull readers in from Amazon or other distribution platforms as they decide to purchase it or not. Your back cover synopsis or famous author quotes & blurbs all serve to draw a reader in and entice them into making a purchase. However, for ease of the marketing sites that we discussed in the above section, Story Origin and Book funnel, they both use what is known as a reader magnet.
It’s pretty simple to create one and often, it is just the first chapter or two of your novel that you will be offering for free as part of your group promotion on those websites. If you are in KU on Amazon, make sure you are not offering more than 10% of your novel as your free sample or reader magnet. If you offer more than that, it violates their rules. If you are not participating in KU, then you are free to offer as much of a free sample as you want.
In order to avoid any issues with KU guidelines, many authors will give away a short story, or a collection of short stories as a reader magnet. They will also create a prequel story for their debut novel in order to draw a reader in, so they will buy the novel or the series. I have found the easiest way to create a reader magnet is by using Calibre.
It is free to download and is a very nice e-reader program for your computer or laptop, can house a library of eBooks, and it also will format your Word.doc into a Mobi or ePub file for ease of uploading to Amazon, Ingram Spark, Lulu or whatever platform you are using. Not only that, but you can also create your reader magnet, and your upload ready book files, in a matter of minutes.
As always, please check the current pricing plans and guidelines for any of the mentioned sites as they do change from time to time.
Come back next week for more tips and tools!
You can learn more about Story Origin at the link below: