Tag Archives: blog tours

Paid book promotions and other ideas to sell your book. The feedback.

Hi all:

As you’ll remember a few weeks ago I shared a post I’d originally posted on my personal blog asking other authors and readers their opinions and suggestion about paid promos and what might or might not work. I also promised to collate the replies and bring them back.

So, here it is. Sorry to those of you who might have already read it in my blog. I leave you the link too as the replies might be of interest. And  I intend to keep updating if I get any further replies. Ah, and don’t miss the links to other people’s posts on the subject.

Thanks!

Here is the link:

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/paid-ads-and-promos-for-books-the-feedback-thanks/

And the post:
Hi all:

As you’ll remember, a few weeks ago I asked for your thoughts and feedback on paid ads and other kinds of promotions to try and sell your books. I promised to come back with a post trying to summarise the comments. As I shared the post in other places, I also got comments in Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks all for the comments, and although, of course, the numbers and the differences between people’s circumstances and books mean this is in no way scientific, I thought I’d collect common themes and mention some of the points that seemed to come through for me.

By the way, just in case you don’t remember or want to read the original post again, it is here.

Woman's shoe

Promoting your giveaways, special promos:

As I had read before, most people seem to think that Bookbub is a good option, although difficult to get in, expensive and not everybody seemed to make the money back (remember it’s for giveaways or promos, so it might be that sales follow as a result of it at a later date but…). Now it seems that big publishing companies are using it, so it might get more competitive. You need a good number of positive reviews, and the prices vary according to genre (more for more popular genres).

Here is a comment by a writer (thanks Carol Balawyder) about content in Bookbub:

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.

 

Quite a few people mentioned Ereader News Today that is more economical. For some it seemed to work better than for others.

Exploring new sites that are appearing all the time was also suggested. Of course the reach of those might be limited but a combination of many (if you have the time) might be worth considering. I’ve had good comments about The Fussy Librarian.

If you are offering free downloads, check as there are many places that suggest places that list those for free. I have tried a few but I don’t do free giveaways any more, and as I tried many, it’s impossible to know what worked and what not. In any case, some sites have very specific requirements and you need to submit plenty in advance for a chance, so planning is a must.

Word of mouth:

Big cheers for word of mouth. Personal contact, book clubs, etc… If you’re completely unknown and don’t have a lot of following, getting to that stage where you’re in the mouth of people can be quite difficult I guess, but yes, this is the best. And it costs nothing (or possibly some free books if you offer them for review). Of course, getting to the point where enough people have read and recommended is the crux of the matter.

Some people get postcards with information about their books printed; try local venues (libraries, book fairs, markets, local press, radio, independent bookshops if you’re that lucky). And of course, use your friends and connections…

Blog tours:

This got quite interesting replies. I had comments about specific blog tour companies (both good and bad, but as they aren’t my personal experience I won’t mention those), people talking about things not going according to plan (people not posting, things being missed), others who organise their own.

Alina, who has worked in PR for many years and writes herself (she also organises blog tours, but despite her personal involvement in the topic, I thought her reply deserved to be quoted, as it covers many aspects other people brought up) told me this:

Blog tours are not advertising. They are closer to PR actually. Do they help? They do get your name out there. They get a bulk of promo posts and reviews for your book soon after it’s published. They also bring it back into people’s mind later on when you are promoting a second book, for example. And yes, if your book is promoted by some really well known book bloggers, that has an impact. So much so that some authors do exclusive cover reveals for example, where they go with only one blog.

Tours can be a bit hit and miss though, and sometimes it has to do with more than who organizes it and what contacts they have. Some genres are more eye catching than others, for example. All in all, I’ve never heard of an author (and I don’t mean just those I’ve worked with) say they reaped no benefits from tours.

As a reader, I have actually read quite a few books because they got great reviews from book bloggers I knew. I know who has similar tastes and whenever they recommend a book, I tend to check it out.

On the other hand I have read some comments from authors who did not feel a blog tour had done anything for them.

Amazon ads:

I’ve been reading recently quite a few posts about this. So far the conclusions as to the new PPC (pay per click) ads aren’t that encouraging. You need to pay a lot per click to make sure enough people see them to buy (as we all know the conversion rate is quite low, although depending on how you choose your add it might not be quite as low) and then it does not seem to be recouped. Of course, with regards to the effect on branding… It’s probably too early to call and it requires much more experimentation, but like most things, the more people get into them and use them, the more difficult it will be to make an impact. (Check out Nicholas Rossis’s blog as he’s been sharing a few posts on the subject).

Chris McMullen has also shared quite a few posts on the mechanics and how to assess your campaign with Amazon. I share one of them here, but check the whole series if you’re seriously considering it. Ah, don’t forget that to use this your books have to be in KDP Select, so if you’re thinking of publishing elsewhere, this won’t be an option.

https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/how-to-assess-your-ad-campaign-at-kindle-direct-publishing/

Of course, Amazon advertises many other things and there are other ways to go about getting an ad campaign there, but I think most of our budgets would not reach there…

Ads in other sites (Facebook, Goodreads,…)

I haven’t come across much positive feedback on ads in Facebook. Early on they seemed to be difficult to target. Now some people think it might work for the brand but it does not seem to translate on sales (it might be worthwhile if you’re organising something that requires a certain number of likes, etc…).

Some authors have done fairly well accruing reviews through Goodreads either advertising or giveaways, although number of previous books and a strong following/readership seems to be imperative.

Reviews

Everybody thinks reviews are important, but nobody seems to know exactly how. Some people have got good results from offering ARC (advance reading copies) of their books in groups in Goodreads or to bloggers, others say the bigger blogs with many readers are saturated and it might be months before they get round to your book, if at all. Approaching people directly seems to take time and not everybody thinks the results justify the time spent. (All resources are equally important though. It might be that we don’t have the money to pay for advertising, but of course, time we spend trying to advertise our books, with more or less success also has a value, and we need to weigh that up too. We know life is short but we don’t know how short it might be. Sorry for the philosophising.)

No, no, no paid advertisements

There were quite a few people who said there are far too many other options (social media, friends, other authors, developing relationships, words of mouth…) and publishing can already be quite an expensive business, so no, they haven’t tried and wouldn’t. And there are also those who have tried and consider it a waste of money.

And the readers?

Some said that they have bought books based on Amazon recommendations or ads, also on ads seen in periodicals or magazines.

People still look at covers but some are checking out blogs and discovering new books and authors through them.

 

Suggestions for further reading:

Sorry, I could not help the title of this section. I’ve mentioned some bloggers to visit if you want to check further, but also one of the bloggers who visited my original post suggested two interviews she’d published that dealt with some of these issues and I thought I’d share:

https://roughseasinthemed.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/confessions-from-an-american-in-london/

https://roughseasinthemed.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/views-and-reviews/

I’m sure there will be more feedback to come and I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime:

Thanks all for the comments, for reading, and you know, like, share, comment, and CLICK!

Writers, what do you think and what is your experience of paid promotions for your books? Readers, what do you think of book advertising?

Hi all:

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.)

 

Hi all:

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).

Angel in Montjuic cemetery, Barcelona
Angel in Montjuic cemetery, Barcelona

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?).

Another angel in Montjuic
Another angel in Montjuic

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.

He's lost his wings. I wonder...
She’s lost her wings. I wonder…

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.

 

This one is a beauty
This one is a beauty

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!

Not an angel but she's so beautiful
Not an angel but she’s so beautiful

Thanks to all the readers in Lit World Interviews and if you’ve already contributed to the original post, many thanks!