marketing

How You-all Market Your Books

Marketing is always a challenge with book launches. Word-of-mouth is good but to reach the bigger sales numbers that offset the costs of publishing takes more. I’ve tried free advertising, more outlets (beyond Amazon, B&N, TpT), in-person presentations, fee programs, and focused social media. I’ve tried lots of ideas people suggest and hoped they worked (some did; most didn’t–I blame myself for not following through well enough). Before I spend money, I dig into the suggested option, see who liked it, find out if a trusted efriend has found success with it. I’ve spent a lot of money on advertising my books and sadly it rarely works (I’ll take that blame, too; I’m sure it’s either my marketing pieces or my follow-through).

If you remember, back before the virtual launch of my latest book, Against All Odds, I asked how you market your books. I included these ideas:

  • a blog
  • Facebook
  • a Facebook group
  • Twitter or Parler
  • Bookbub
  • Paid advertising
  • Book Funnel

I also offered a spot where readers could add their own, which they did:

  • Draft2Digital (D2D)
  • Direct Messaging
  • Bublish
  • Wattpad
  • Amazon ads
  • Author Uproar
  • Conference presentations
  • Paid newsletters

Here’s what I got:

…with lots of excellent comments:

  • Kindle Nation (Grace Allison Blair says it generates more bang for the buck than any other promotion she’s tried)
  • The blogging community is a great way to get that first batch of essential reviews. I tend to advertise give-aways on Freebooksy and get about 2-3k downloads and then quite a few follow-up purchases. I need to give Bookbub a go again. 🙂
  • I believe blogs are one of the best ways to showcase your writing.
  • Shamefully I haven’t attempted to figure out where most of my sales come from, but I think it is my blog. That’s where I put most of my energy and I don’t pay for ads.

 

  • Bookbub is the best. They have a huge following and most authors see huge results from their book deals, but they’re extremely hard to get a spot with. Facebook book groups and your own FB page are good for keeping your book front and center in reader’s minds. Same for Twitter. For paid advertising I like Book Gorilla, Ereader Today, and rbook Discovery, but there are many others to choose from.
  • I have tried a number of things from book clubs to paid advertising, but what works best for me is definitely the blogging community and my FB community. All Author has also worked reasonably well for me.
  • I haven’t used Bookbub, but I have heard good things from others. So far my blog has worked well for my first book and I seem to still sell a few a month! I expect to use these when I’m ready to market No Excuses Fitness, and partially why I’m waiting for our move up north to finalize the book and begin marketing.
  • For less than $100/year I can have all my books on one platform. Each week Bublish sends out my books bubbles to over 800,000 people. Watch your email for more details and a link to my Bublish platform to see the features and benefits.

 

  • Although BookBub is expensive, the 1st book in my Casey Holland series was downloaded a great deal in that one day that it was featured. Over January, over 150 sales of the other four books in the series appeared, and that carried over into Feb, then March and April. Each month had fewer sales, but I usually have only a handful of ebook sales during that period, and I ended up earning a $900 profit. I also checked D2D because after that event, D2D provided me with at least 3 opportunities to take part in promotions that have also resulted in sales.
  • …I’m not sure about Twitter
  • I rely on my blog, but have been fortunate enough to have my publisher pay for ads on Bookbub, and they ALWAYS bring excellent results. Unfortunately, BB is much too pricey if I’m paying out of pocket. I’ve also used the Fussy Librarian with good results.
  • I like Wattpad specially because they look at how many people read your book and move it up in their search results. The more reads the more ppl will see your work
  • Just started with BookBub

 

  • I’ve tried several paid online marketing ads including Facebook and Amazon with little results. I’m certainly not doing something right. SEO is way beyond my grasp!
  • I use a mix of free and paid ads, I find having a promo using paid ads 2 or 3 times a year gives the books a visibility boost on Amazon which then trickles on for a while after, and as I write in series, tends of sell the follow up books as well. I use Amazon ads for and ongoing trickle of sales per month, though for launches my Facebook page is my best tool.
  • I like a combination of options, but what that means is I have a difficult time keeping track of which is most effective. I used to have a systematic approach, and then I wrote more books and became scattered. As to the paid ads on Amazon, they were effective to expand my readership, but I can’t say I profited from them–I’m thinking they might pay off in the long run. And the truth about these ads is that they take a lot of time to manage.
  • I usually advertise on pd newsletters when I run a promo which is usually one a week.

I asked for specific websites that readers have been successful with. One was http://www.bookgorilla.com/advertise. Haven’t tried that one but will look into it! And Grace mentioned Bublish which I’ve heard good things about from others. She shared her account so you can see how that site works: https://bublish.com/author/graceblair

A few of you just started a new advertising campaign. I’d love to hear how its going, this first month. Share with us so we know if we should try it, too!

My conclusions:online presence

  • More of us depend upon our blogs than any other marketing outlet. That may be because I posted this through my blog so my anecdotal observation could be flawed.
  • Most of us try social media. It’s free. Why not?
  • We are open to new outlets that are intuitive, easy setup, and not too techie.
  • We don’t mind spending money if it’s for something that will work.
  • We aren’t looking to sell enough books to be famous, just sell books!

What did you see that I didn’t?

Thanks so much to everyone that participated. On a personal level, you’ve given me a lot more good ideas to try for my next book launch.

More on marketing

29+ Ways to Market Your Book

Book Review: Marketing for Writers Who Hate Marketing

12 Surprises I Found Marketing My Debut Novel, To Hunt a Sub

Two Valuable Books on Marketing Your Newly-published Book

4 Reasons You Want a PLN and 13 Ways to Build One

Why I Love Goodreads

Top Ten Marketing Tips for Your Ebook


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Fall 2021.

90 thoughts on “How You-all Market Your Books

  1. Thanks for sharing this info Jacqui. I get dizzy when it comes to advertising. And Bookbub and Gorilla are too rich for my blood. Blog, FB, Twitter are my best places for advertising. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Jacqui for your book marketing survey and critique. As technology and how stories are written change I find the book publishing and marketing changes about every six months.Having a well written, edited story with a professional cover goes a long way to books sales. Your commitment to daily blogging and reaching out to readers over the years is an investment of time we all could learn from. Best of luck with your latest historical adventure. I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such interesting information, Jacqui! I have so much to learn about marketing. You are lightyears ahead of me! This is a wild idea that just hopped into my head. Do you have any natural history museums nearby? They often have gift stores, and who knows, they might be interested in a prehistoric novel. When things open up more, you might even be able to give a talk at a natural history museum. Your books are so well-researched, so people interested in the earlier history of humankind might be curious about how you researched and wrote your stories. Wishing you the best of luck with your latest book.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Jacqui – that could be a great idea … especially if you created packs based on your references, quizzes etc … and for schools, if not during term time – a summer-time project … spin-offs could certainly help. You’ve a great book … but as I keep promising I’ll be in touch very shortly. Good luck and stay safe – Hilary

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Jacqui, your blog works for you because you have a loyal following. I’ve tried, but blogging just didn’t work for me. I know many other self-publishing authors who don’t blog but get their books out there through other social media. I think connecting with a group of authors who write in the same genre has worked for many people. Romance Writers of America, and She Writes boost writer skills and help promote marketing. Definitely the area I need to figure out. Thanks for all your suggestions.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for this post, Jacqui. Others have given me a couple of ideas that I hadn’t heard of. I’m trying my first Fussy Librarian promo event in mid-Sept. and am curious to see how it goes. I keep a lot of stats on results regarding the book promotion sites and other events I take part in. Still haven’t tried Amazon paid ads, but for the rest of this year, I’m going to try different book promotion sites.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jacqui, a superb collation from your survey and I’m not surprised blogging comes out tops! You seem to have covered all the angles in your recent launch but show us there is yet and always something new to learn! I’m bookmarking your post for future reference .. .many thanks for your hard work on this article about book marketing and for sharing it with us all here.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for compiling the info from your survey and display the summary and findings here, Jacqui. I don’t reblog often but this is an important post for indie authors. I updated my Bookbub on my books and reviews and followed a few more authors. I signed up for Bublish but it will take some effort to make it work.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Jacqui, thanks for sharing your findings. I find that my blogs work best for me. I like blogging too which makes it much easier to for me to put the energy and effort into blogging. FB has banned by Robbie’s Inspiration link for some unknown reason. I have removed the link to FB from my site. I don’t get enough benefit from FB to battle trying to work out why my site was reported and for what. For goodness sake, I post cakes and recipes on that site! The connections we make with other authors on WP is very helpful.

    Liked by 3 people

    • FB is out of control, as far as I can see. I know so many people who have had posts banned, likes removed–I am trying to get away from that platform. The question is, where to go? I did start a Parler account which is wonderful but it’s not as busy as my others.

      Like

  9. I have had several friends do virtual launches with particular bookstores. One (about Teddy Roosevelt and Western parks) had the owner of the King’s English in Salt Lake City, the author in NC, and a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator somewhere else. it was effective.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Hi Jacqui! I hope your book tour went and is still going well! Thank you so much for putting this poll together (and thanks to all the participants as well) and gathering all the data here. We can all learn so much through the experience of other authors. I’ll refer back to this post soon, when I have to start thinking about promotion. At the moment, I’m reading a free ebook about self-publishing and all the important tidbits it requires. The book is called “Let’s Get Digital”, by David Gaughran and also has a marketing section.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. There’s definitely no one-size-fits-all with book promotion; it’s definitely give most things a try to see what works for your own books. For me, paid advertising works best after my blog and facebook page, although returns are less each year as the market changes.
    I’m interested in what’s been said about Bublish – I remember attending a webchat with them when they first started, when I asked about how to use their book bubbles. At the time they told me it was up to me to find places to put them in front of readers, because that wasn’t their job. If they now have a huge number of people they send them out to, that’s changed a lot from the early days and is clearly worth a re-visit. Thanks for highlighting it.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This is a great post full of useful information. I stopped spending money on advertising and found better results with blogging and social media. Thanks for doing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Good luck with your book sales, Jacqui. Not only do authors need writing skills, they need marketing skills too. And good fortune plays a part too: I suppose that if an unanticipated connection/event takes place, sales will rise above expectations.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I hear good things about bookbub and bubblish. My publisher use the bookbub features too. A lot of the authors I know use All Author – they have a lot of competitions there, and they say it helps. I should try it too.
    Thanks for sharing this Jacqui, I’m sure authors will appreciate it as much as I did.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Very interesting breakdown and findings Jacqui. Seems a lot of your commenters also had decent experiences with Bookbub. I think once I get my whole series published I’ll give that avenue a try. Until then, I’m happy to stick with the ol blog 🤗

    Liked by 3 people

  16. It seems one can never do enough 😦 Thank you for sharing a summary of the inputs you received. As always, so openly. Several platforms there that I had never heard of. And I am sure new ones coming up every minute.

    Liked by 3 people

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