A few weeks ago I published a post in my blog asking for opinions and advice on paid promotions (everything, from blog tours, promos in well-known sites, to click per ads in social media sites, or places like Goodreads and now Amazon). I’m working on my next book (well, a series, but I explain more later) and I’ve never gone down the paid promotion route, but I wanted to give it a thought. Although I’ve read plenty about the subject, it’s not the same as having somebody you know or you have some connection with, sharing their first hand experience of giving you their opinion. I promised that if I got a sizeable amount of replies I’d collect them and produce another post sharing the comments and collective wisdom. The original post can be accessed here. It got quite a few comments, and it is one of the few posts where I got replies in other places I shared (Facebook, Twitter…). I was thinking about starting to compile the results soon and producing the promised post, and it occurred to me that sharing the post here, with so many authors from all walks of life, with completely different experiences, might add a fair amount of information that could be very useful. And, of course, I’d share the resulting post with all of you again.
And don’t worry, I fully understand what works for one person and one book doesn’t work for another, but we all have some “eureka” moments and some “Do’h” moments and they might be of use to somebody else.
Now I reproduce the original post (ah, the angel thing is because the series is called ‘Angelic Business’ and in pursuing ideas for covers I decided to take pictures of angels. So if you have any fantastic pictures on the subjects, or great ideas for covers, I’d be more than grateful. Oh, there are demons too, but not in the pictures, in the books.)
As all of you who read my blog every so often will know, I try to regularly write and publish books. I’ve also mentioned that my next W.I.P. is a series of NA novels Angelic Business. The three novels are now written and I’m in the process of translating them and revising (and let’s not forget the issues of finding covers, descriptions, blurbs…) them. By the way, if closer to the time when the project is ready people are interested in reading the first one of the novels ahead of publication, just let me know and I’ll happily send it to you in exchange for a comment (unless you hate it, then I might have to…not sure what. I’ll ask one of my friends who write horror novels for suggestions).
Those of you who are authors I’m sure have read tonnes of advice on having a marketing plan ahead of any publishing, the importance of having an author platform, building your presence in social media and all that blah, blah, blah. For what I see most of us try and follow that advice adapting it to our own abilities and personal style.
Although I’ve done quite a few of the things I’ve read about, there are some I have resisted to and I’m wondering about giving them a try (you know, so I can say I’ve tried it). I haven’t really tried paid advertising (I got my first book listed in a book club site and had an ad for a promo, both very low cost, with no results to speak of, and yes, now I know advertising your first book is unlikely to have much of an effect, but one lives and learns. Also tried a very low cost listing of my audio…not much to tell there either) or blog tours, and I was interested in knowing what you, my author friends who have tried them think of them. I’ve read about analytics and all that, so if you want to give me hard data, it will be welcome, but I’m more interested in personal experiences, gut feelings, and the ins and outs of things that only somebody who has tried can give. (I’m also fully aware that book genre, timing, style, and personal circumstances influence results, probably together with the phase of the moon, the energy of the pyramids and the leprechauns at work on that particular day). I have only participated in blog hops as a host, and I guess there will be differences between those the authors organise themselves, more or less informally, and those organised by a tried and tested company (or perhaps not…what is your experience?).
I know some sites like Bookbub are supposed to be the bees-knees, but I’m also aware of the difficulties in getting into it, the amount of reviews required, the price, and the fact that now big publishing companies are also using the service, so there are even fewer chances for the rest of us. But anything, anecdotal evidence, amazing discoveries, bitter disappointments, so-so results, will be welcome.
And I also would like to hear from readers who aren’t writers. How likely are you to buy books based on advertisements on book sites, blog tour posts or any other marketing strategies by authors not known to you? (And the offer about the book is also open to readers, of course).
If I get a “decent” amount of replies, I will collect them and do a follow-up post to share the collective “wisdom”. That’s a deal.
And I thought I’d leave you with a bit of the beginning of the third book in my trilogy (Pink, Angel or Demon?), where the main character, Pink, is wondering why everything that’s going on is happening to her:
All this is very well and good (not really, but you know what I mean), but nobody had bothered to answer why me. There was some kind of prophecy (or what passes for it in celestial and demonic circles) and I fitted in. One had to wonder where would prophecies come from in such spheres. (Or at least I did. I’ve been known to think far too much, and obeying De Bono, to think sideways. Look how far it’s got me!) I imagine somebody must fit in (and they were very insistent that I was the only one) but again, why me? No false modesty, but there isn’t anything that special about me. This is not one of these paranormal young adult books where the protagonist discovers that there’s a long history going back to the Middle-Ages of witches and special powers in her family. There’s no fay blood in my line, nobody I know regularly becomes a wolf or a dog or shifts shapes as far as I’m aware. And although the world is full of bloodsuckers, I’ve met no official vampires yet. I’ve never seen a ghost, and I don’t live in a haunted mansion. And although recently demons and angels wander around as if they were in season, to the best of my knowledge there’s no portal to the other world open in Hope Springs.
The draft of the first novel in the series Pink Matters is currently available in Wattpad, here. As mentioned in the body of the post, if you fancy getting the ready-to-publish version in a few weeks, just let me know and I’ll send it to you.
Thank you all for reading, and don’t forget to like, share, especially comment, and spread the word. And if you fancy clicking, don’t let me stop you!
I’ve carried on taking pictures of angels and other interesting things in cemeteries, so if you like any of them in particular, let me know. I’m after ideas for the covers!
Thanks to all the readers in Lit World Interviews and if you’ve already contributed to the original post, many thanks!
10 thoughts on “Writers, what do you think and what is your experience of paid promotions for your books? Readers, what do you think of book advertising?”
Good thinking to share this here to collect additional feedback. Once i get a second book launched i might *might* consider some kind of paid advertisement — so I will be particularly interested in your results, Olga. Great-big hug! 😀
Thanks Teagan. I suspect a lot of people already saw the original post but I thought it was worth a shot. Might is indeed the operative word for me too.
I’m not sure about paid promotions at this stage of my writing career. There is so much competition out there that my book can easily get lost in the crowd. I went on BookBub’s site and these are some of the writers I found: Jo Nesbo, John Irving, Sophie Kinsella, Dan Brown…I would be like a little league baseball player asking to go up to bat in the major leagues.
I really think that one of the best ways to go at this point for unknowns like me is through Amazon and Goodreads reviews. We’ve all heard a zillion times: write great content. So word of mouth might be better than paying for advertising. I also think that getting your book out on blog tours and promoting other writers is a good way to go. It’s a long process and patience,lots of it, is required.
Good luck, Olga, with your angelic series.
Thanks Carol. Unfortunately with the number of reviews I tend to get, even before I’d have a hard time making the cut for Bookbub and as you’ve noticed these days all the big names are there so…I’m seriously considering a blog tour and hope that it might help with reviews and if people like the first book…Thanks. I’ll need all the help I can get.
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Olga, go for the blog tour. Had I known I would have invited you on the one I just did. Blog tours not only help you but also other writers. It’s a win-win situation. 🙂
Thanks Carol. I’ve only ever taken part as a host in one of the stops of the tours and from that perspective I see the organisation varies enormously. But it’s not the same setting it all up. I’d like to think the books can spread their wings beyond my reach (especially as they’re about angels). Thanks! 🙂
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I also feel that way about my books…that after we’ve written them they spread their wings and hopefully will find good homes.
It’s about trusting and having faith in them and allowing them to following their own pathways.
And yes, especially yours that are about angels.
It’s more of a scared thing than cold marketing, isn’t it?
I haven’t paid for advertising as such, though I have had some postcards printed to share around. Online, I advertise on my blogand FaceBook page. I also post there about other people’s books and such.
Difficult to know where my sales come from, though now and then someone mentions where they first heard of one of my books.
I also have a group of readers who I know wait for my next book, so I agree that it gets easier the more books you have published.
I will be very interested in the results of your survey.
Thanks so much. Although I’ve published a number of books, I don’t write in one genre alone and that makes getting a devoted readership quite tricky. I know some of my sales come from the blog and as you comment every so often somebody might tell me they’re reading my book but…I’d thought about promotional material although I live in a fairly small place with no bookselling outlets but I’m trying to think of more inventive ways to go about it. So far, and as I expected, opinions are very varied. I was surprised at seeing so many people dead against any kind of paid promotion, not necessarily (it seems) due to financial concerns, but because of the principle of the matter.
I’ll keep everybody posted.
Reblogged this on Michaelphelps1's Blog and commented:
Considering professional marketing promgram . . . this is helpful advice.