Well, here I am again, and today, I want to talk about book promotion. I confess I'm terrible at promoting my own books. Sad for me because, as an Indie Author, I'm the only one who can promote my books. Yes, my fellow authors are always great about reposting my "commercials" on Facebook and Twitter, which is pretty much the extent of my social media presence. I really appreciate it when they do that and I love returning the favor. But the bottom line is I'm the one who has to figure out which promotional sites are worth spending my hard-earned money on, which book blogs I want to approach, how frequently I want to put up book information on social media, how often I want to blog about my books, and whom to target with my promotions.
We had a great discussion about marketing and promotion at our February Indiana Romance Writers of America meeting. Lots of great suggestions and discussion about what works and what doesn't, and of course what worked for one author didn't always work for others. The biggest issue for all of us was money. It's hard to justify spending several hundred dollars on a one-day promotion when your royalty checks don't come close to that in six months. But then there is the old, "you gotta spend money to make money" adage, which is also true. Ack!
As you all know, I write romance for Baby Boomers, which means my characters are older than the average romance novel characters. I spend a lot of time--probably more than I should--trying to figure out how to get my books in front of a larger audience of Baby Boomers. I'm not convinced blog tours are a way to go. I love blogging, but I'm not sure it sells books on any kind of a grand scale. I think Facebook is not a bad way to get your name out, but Twitter does not work for me. I'm there and I'm tweeting, but when I did an ad with a promotion company that tweeted your book for you, I didn't sell a single book. I just think Twitter goes by too fast, plus, I'm not great at Twitter, most likely because I don't spend enough time online.
I did a free book promotion on Amazon when the first two Women of Willow Bay books released and actually had over 14,000 downloads of ONCE MORE FROM THE TOP, so giving books away for free apparently works. I didn't notice a huge dramatic uptick in sales of the other book, however. And frankly, giving away my books for free doesn't feel like good business unless I have a bunch of different titles out there, which I don't at the moment.
BookBub, which is a company that sends out millions of emails notifying subscribers to their website about deep discounts on books. If you aren't a subscriber, I highly recommend that you become one. I've discovered so many new and wonderful authors there! My BookBub promotion went out to readers in Canada, the UK, and India. I sold more books in two weeks than I've sold in a year, so I can definitely recommend BookBub. Only problem is, it's very hard to get accepted there when you submit a book for promotion and they are kinda pricey. But that promotion was well worth the expense. It's something I'd like to do again in the U.S.
Even though it's hard for me, I do think promotion is important and to that end, I'm actually planning on doing two book signings this spring--one in my home town and one at the Spring Fling Conference in Chicago. But you know, I really believe that the best way to sell books is to write books. I'm not an author who can crank out five or six books a year, but I try to get one out every year to eighteen months, which is the most I can do and still maintain my editing business and the rest of my life. So, my best strategy is to just keep writing and build my little niche audience of Baby Boomers.
So talk to me, authors. How do you feel about doing promotion? What works for you? What doesn't?