My marketing advice comes from my own experience of selling books under multiple pen names, but it is only anecdotal and what works for me might not work for you.
The best advice comes from the organizations that work with multiple authors and have thousands of books going through their platform a month, collecting data points along the way.
For book marketing through email blasts, BookBub is still the heavy-hitter, but I also recommend FreeBooksy, BargainBooksy, Red Feather Romance, and NewInBooks. They have options for wherever you are on your author journey, it's more affordable than BookBub and you are more likely to be accepted.
In today's article, Ricci Wolman from Written Word Media, the company behind Freebooksy, BargainBooksy and more, shares the main reasons why your book promotion might be struggling. You can listen to an interview with Ricci on book marketing tips for fiction and non-fiction here.
1. You recently promoted the same title to the same audience.
The first time you run a promotion with a book promotion service, your book is seen by thousands of readers for the first time. The majority of those readers who are interested in your book will download or purchase your book.
This means that the first time that you promote a book with a book promotion service will likely be your most successful promotion with that service. If you plan on promoting on the same service multiple times, it makes sense to wait at least 30 days, if not longer, between promotions.
This gives the book promotion service time to acquire new readers, who have not already seen or downloaded your book, which will increase your odds of having a successful promotion. You may want to as the book promotion services how many new subscribers it adds to its list every month to get a sense of how long it takes the service to replenish their pool of readers.
2. Your cover looks unprofessional
Humans are visual beings. Our eyes are drawn to images before they are drawn to text. This means that your cover (not your title or book description) is what will initially prompt readers to click on your book.
Effective book promotion services reach most of their readers through email. Readers scroll down an email filled with books and will make a decision on whether or not to click on your book based almost entirely on your cover. Make sure your cover is simple, engaging, and legible for best results.
3. Your back matter is missing critical calls to action
The benefits of running a book promotion are four-fold:
- getting downloads of the promoted title;
- spurring sales of other titles in your catalog (halo sales);
- growing the audience you “own” by adding them to your email list; and,
- educating the retail’s algorithms on who is most likely to read your book.
The best way to garner benefits 2 and 3 is to ASK readers to take those actions in the back matter of your book. This will increase your returns during every book promotion.
Readers who reach the end of your book are the readers who are most likely to want to stay involved with you and your work. Be sure to include links to your other titles in order to spur halo sales and include a signup link for your mailing list in order to build your following.
4. Your price is too high
Most readers subscribed to book promotion services expect a deal. If you’re looking to get your book into the hands of the highest volume of readers, then make your book at Free or price it at $0.99.
Generally, any price point under $2.99 is considered a deal but the lower you go, the more downloads you will receive. Pricing your book above $2.99 will likely result in disappointing results.
5. You don’t have any reviews
We know it’s hard to get reviews, and some book promotion services (like ours) will promote books with no reviews. However, your results will be better if you have reviews.
Reviews act as a baseline mark of quality for readers, and books that have reviews will see better results from their book promotion.
6. You are promoting to the wrong type of reader
Many readers have specific genres that they are interested in reading. If you are promoting your book to a reader audience that isn’t interested in your type of story, then you won’t see many sales from the promotion.
Many books are written in such a way that they fall solidly within one genre (a pure, international thriller, for example) but often authors write across genres in order to be able to include different story elements. In these cases, it pays off to test targeting multiple types of readers in order to see which audience responds the most enthusiastically to your book.
If you are unsure we recommend emailing the book promotion service with a link to your book and asking them which genre is most fitting for your book.
7. You rely on a single book promotion to drive sales
Running a book promotion with a service is a great way to kick-start sales and start building your audience. However, a book promotion tends to have a short shelf-life. You’ll see a spike in sales within the first 24 – 48 hours, followed by a tail of sales in the weeks following.
The best way to amplify a book promotion is to stack promotions with various services AND to engage your audience at the same time that the promotion is running.
When running a promotion, you should always email your email list and post to social media. Sales from multiple sources add up and can help you climb the charts faster. Putting concerted effort behind your promotion will make the difference between average and above-average results from your book promotion.
Will these tips help you avoid making a mistake with your next book promotion? Please leave your thoughts below and join the conversation.
Ricci Wolman is founder of Written Word Media, the parent company of book promotion sites Freebooksy, Bargain Booksy, Red Feather Romance and NewInBooks.
You can listen to an interview with Ricci on book marketing tips for fiction and non-fiction here.
Karen Sargent says
I looked into Bargain Booksy yesterday to promote my book, which is an Amazon monthly Kindle deal for July. I just wasn’t sure about signing up. I read this article and decided to give it a go! I’m now signed up and look forward to reaching some new readers. This is my first try, so I’m not expecting “great” things, just hoping for a few more sales, some visibility with potential readers I can’t reach on my own, and to get familiar with how Bargain Booksy works. Thanks!
Avery K. Tingle says
So when it comes to point 3, should we be asking our readers to buy the title? I always felt like that was pandering…
Robbie Cheadle says
A useful and informative post. Thank you.
Jesse Frankel says
It’s a good post, but there are some things to consider. One, if you’re self-published, you can set the price, so doing freebies/giveaways or cutting the price to, say, a dollar or two, is easily done. If, OTOH, you are published through a company (as I am) then you have no control over the price.
The second thing to consider is that not all book promo services are worth the money. Some do what they say they do, but them tweeting to potential readers simply gives them the name of the novel. No guarantee readers will buy it. I’ve heard too many stories from other self-pubbed writers who tried the services of the sites you mentioned. Some said those promo services did exactly what they promised; others said they got nowhere.
It goes without saying that you have to write a good book that resonates with readers. This is a given. Yet, having a good book does not always guarantee sales or even recognition. A lot of it is luck–even doing things right promotion-wise.
Overall, though, this is a very informative article and a good read.
J.S. Frankel, author of the Catnip series, the Titans of Ardana trilogy, and Star Maps, among other novels
Richard L Erickson says
It seems all these promotion deals are for romance and fiction . What about how to books.