How to Market Your Book, Part 2
Last week I shared nine ideas from my marketing plan for my latest book—Wake Up to Toaster Cakes: Easy & Healthy Hot from the Toaster. (Take a look inside the book here.) Now, let’s keep going with nine more steps I plan to take for marketing this book.
10. Decide about KDP Select vs. additional online sites I’ve decided to go with KDP Select for my first 90 days, rather than being on other online sites such as Barnes & Noble, Kobe, etc. The benefits include Kindle Countdown Deals and Kindle Unlimited; I can also boost my exposure through Kindle Unlimited (KU) and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). There are some cons to KDP Select exclusivity; read more about that here.
11. Pay for ads I’ve never bought ads for any of my books, though my colleagues have tried this. DR Martin (writing as Richard Audry) reports that Amazon ads have generated sales for his delightful King Harald series. (Look inside that series here). And my friend and colleague Virginia McCullough (www.virginiamccullough.com) told me about some ad opportunities that are quite affordable, including Booktastic. Places like BookBub seem out of reach. For me, they’re too expensive and exclusive. But check them out to see how they may work for you and your books.
12. Offer book giveaways I enjoyed the Goodreads Giveaway I offered for my first mystery novel, A Life for a Life. Goodreads claims the following: “…when a reader enters your giveaway, a post appears in all of their Goodreads friends’ and followers’ newsfeeds, which in turn, creates more entries, more people adding your book to their Want To Read shelves, and more awareness.“
For Wake Up to Toaster Cakes, I had planned to do the Goodreads Kindle E-book Giveaway. You can give away as many as 100 books for the fee of $119. No mailing, no fussing with the delivery— Goodreads handles all that. But come to find out, that's only for traditional publishers, at least for now. (Just one more obstacle for indie publishers.) So I'm back to doing the more costly (per book given away) print-book approach. And that way, unlike the e-book version, I'll have the names of everyone who won. (Of course, according to Goodreads' rules, I'm never supposed to contact them again—or send them any kind of personal note—even though I gave them a free book! Do you ever feel like you're doing business in a straightjacket?)
13. Take a virtual book tour I hired small companies to create virtual book tours for some of my nonfiction and fiction books. But when I tracked sales, I can’t say I saw much influence from this sizeable investment. (A good tour can run as high as $500+, depending on its length.) That said, if you hit the right bloggers and publications, you might hit paydirt. These tours are a fair amount of work—answering Q&As, submitting profiles and articles, and making comments once the posts are live. This time around, I plan to directly contact bloggers and publications.
14. Enter contests The jury is still out on contests. Sure, they’re great for the ego. My first writing book Words at Work won Best Book Award in Writing from USA Book News. But when you don’t win, well, it feels bad, at least for a while—and you wish you had your $70+ back! When I considered Best Books again—like a Vegas gambler, I was feeling lucky—a friend asked if I sold more books because of the award. I think the award added to my chops as a writing coach, which probably helped me secure more clients, but I don’t believe it sold a single extra book. For Wake Up to Toaster Cakes, I’ve decided instead to spend that $70+ on ads.
But there are some free and low-entry-fee contests. Thanks to ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) for their comprehensive list of awards/contests and ratings. Check it out here.
15. Discount book prices As I mentioned earlier, I plan to stick with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for the required 90 days before publishing on other online sources. That gives me plenty of leeway to promote $.99 sales while keeping the 70% royalties. (So many ins and outs to this book marketing!)
The hard-working writer in me just can’t go the free-book route, though some people have had success with this approach. For example, when a first book is free, it generates sales for a second one (or vice versa). If you want to try free promotions, here’s a good way to go.
16. Focus on reviews It goes without saying that reviews are extremely important. I’ve paid for reviews from Reader Deals, and I’ve scoured Amazon for reviewers who like to review books in whatever genre I’m promoting. I’ve also been fortunate in garnering reader reviews. This free PDF expanded my understanding of how to get them.
17. Record for You Tube I’m planning to create a video of me making toaster cakes. I’ll be able to show the ideal consistency of the batter, for example, and how flexible the recipe is. Think about how you can bring your story or message to life through video.
Which reminds me—I don’t plan to make a book trailer. Again, no evidence that these increase sales, and they can be quite costly and time-consuming.
18. Write a good book This, of course, should be your first order of business. Writing a good book is the most important thing you can do to ensure successful book marketing. Once you’ve pored over all the words until you’re sick of them, hire an editor and cover designer. Make your book beautiful inside and out. Your book will be so much easier to market that way.
Best of luck with all your book projects. As I mentioned, this is my take on the Wild West of book marketing. You may have had different experiences with some of the avenues I’ve explored here, and I’d love to hear about them. Just go to: www.lyndamcdanielbooks.com/contact While there, you can also: 1) ask questions about writing. I promise to respond, 2) grab a free 30-minute chat about writing and marketing your book—just share some good dates and times, and 3) get a free copy of my first mystery short story. I thought I’d lost it, but I uncovered it during a recent move.