Topic: Marketing tips

I would like to hear the top three marketing tips for a new novel. I hear a lot about reviews, etc. and advertising but there has to be some tried and true things that new authors use. Help!

Re: Marketing tips

1. Sell
2. On
3. Amazon

Sorry, couldn't resist. :-)

Re: Marketing tips

1. Social media.  Show folks who you are and what you write. Tweet a lot and get followers. Avoid the constant "Buy my book" tweets, but get your name out there in other ways by retweeting others and tweeting on non-book-related topics. Get an author page on Amazon, then post a link to it and your website on your Facebook page.
2. Reviews. Solicit book bloggers to review your book. Some bloggers do interviews and offer guest posts in addition to reviews. There are websites that will solicit reviewers for you for a fee, like Choosy Bookworm and Net Galley. Review swaps are tricky, now that Amazon is looking hard at reviews between writers with a professional relationship or know each other personally, but possible if done right.
3. Creativity in tagging your book on Amazon. If you can make the genre of yoor book narrow enough, wherein there aren't thousands of books competing with it, you would have a shot of being in the top 100 of books sold on Amazon in that category. And that would make you an "Amazon Bestseller" which you can use to promote it. Amazon has recently changed its book classification descriptions, making it easier to carve out subgenres. Say you have written a historical novel. Is there crime, adventure, or romance in it? Does it take place in an exotic location? Adding these tags can help your book stand out. Take a look at some books for sale on Amazon, and you'll see what I mean. 

I'm certainly not an expert in marketing, but the above are things I've done and am doing for promotion. Good luck!

Re: Marketing tips

Most important thing I have heard is writing a book that people want to read. Hopefully, this site helps with that. Assuming that is the case:

1. Provide advance copies of the book to Bloggers and reviewers in the relevant genre.
2. Publish only to Amazon and get a bunch of favorable, legit reviews on Amazon (this will happen if the book is good). Allow 3-4 months for the reviews to come in organically.
3. Make the book available via Amazon Kindle Countdown Deals. Once you have done that, publish the book to other vendors such as Smashwords and B&N.

This is what I have seen work well.

5 (edited by penang 2015-07-10 23:49:51)

Re: Marketing tips

1. Find a company that will send your advanced copies to interested readers. I typically pay about $30 for this service and it is much easier than tracking down bloggers who might be willing to accept your book and then may post a review.

2. Skip the blog tour. They are time consuming, a giant hassel, and you won't make sales. I've hosted blog tours before, I've paid for a blog tour, and I've organized them for others. Skip it.

3. Price it at 99cents for the first few days, then up the price. If it's the second or third in a series, then lower the price of the others as well. 99cents will get you a number of sales and a boost in rankings. When your price goes up it'll be higher in the rankings and then the increased cost means a bigger boost to ranking when you make a sale.

So you asked for 3 but here is a 4th. smile
4. Find someone who knows what they are doing who organizes book launches. Don't rely on recommendations from people whose books are in the 100,000's. Find someone who's books are in the below 50,000 range and ask them which companies they would reccomend. 

Okay 5th big_smile
5. Go on Facebook and find some indie authors who are having success in your genre. See what they are doing. I have learned so much by see what other authors are doing. Even just those from tNBW like Apryl Baker and DelSheree Gladden (both of whom have become marketing genuises).

Re: Marketing tips

Thanks for all the valuable input - and I thought writing, editing(x10), cover design etc was the hard part - the hard part is marketing. Thanks again.

Re: Marketing tips

You paid for a blog tour, Penang? What, paid somebody to arrange it for you? That would save you time but that money would be better spent on other promotional venues, in my view. And who knows how a blogger on a blog tour will affect sales down the road. The purpose is getting your name out there; the more subscribers a blogger has, the greater the exposure.

Steep discounts game the ranking system while contributing to the growing expectation among consumers of books (and music) that the author's creation should be available for next to nothing and, therefore, not worth much, human nature being what it is. Sure, your name will get out there with all the cheapies and freebies, but the danger is that the name will then be associated with a second-class product. You don't see established authors doing this, and a comparison with these intro discounts and let's say a Proctor & Gamble offering coupons for a new product isn't valid, in my view. I'm concerned about the trend that is working against the potential livelihoods of indie authors and musicians.

Re: Marketing tips

I did pay for a blog tour once. As I said it's not worth it in terms of producing sales unless you are willing to shell out a bunch of money. As for spending you time and efforts on a tour, it's a waste. You have to write a bunch of guest posts, offer giveaways (which includes the money invested in the prize, and the time to track down winners), and if you are trying to organize on your own there is the time to contact bloggers and wait for responses. As a blogger, I don't take any unsolicited books for review. I tried, but was inundated with requests from people who couldn't even bother to read my name from my blog or the fact that I was a YA blogger. It is hard to get the big bloggers to review, particularly on your schedule.

As for pricing, well my goal is having a low introductory price is to gather immediate interest and to give my loyal readers a feeling that they are getting a deal. Pricing at 99cents for the first couple of weeks works. When released book 2 in A Touched Trilogy, I priced it at $2.99 and had book 1 at the same price because I felt my work was worth more than 99cents. I sold some, but it was overall disappointing. When I did a pre-release of Watch Me, I had it on for 99cents and ended up with a ton of presales. Two days before I released it, I lowered the price for the first 2 books in the series. I had a huge jump in sales for all three books. That jump helped to increase visibility for when I increased the price to $5.99. After a few months I settled on $4.99 for the price of each book. This isn't gaming the system. It's called good marketing. Watch an infomercial. "Special introductory price!" "Buy one get one free!" It's how they get you willing to invest in an untried product. If you think it's bad for the value of your work, fine, but it is marketing. Even the big names do it. Go to Walmart and you see 20% off, or 2 for $10.

Re: Marketing tips

I just finished a blog tour - that cost me nothing except time spent in interviews and blog posts. No giveaways were involved, though some of the bloggers ran contests in conjunction that had nothing to do with me or my book.

The deals Wal-Mart makes are not author-driven. Publishers have had to bow to the giant retailers like Wal-Mart- still another reason the BIG Five are loath to take a chance with unestablished writers, since their bottom lines have been hurt seriously in recent years. I have yet to see a current bestseller offered with deep discounts, but maybe they exist. Anyway, my publisher sets the price without my input, anyway, so even if I wanted to boost sales - and thus ranking - by offering deep discounts, I couldn't. I did do a Riffle promotion after getting permission from my previous publisher, and this did result in a big sales uptick, so there's no question it works. But I still think it's gaming the system.  Not as blatant as getting PACs to buy thousands of copies of a politician's book to get on the NYT bestseller list, but it does use the system that's in place to manipulate ranking. Gaming, manipulating, marketing, what's in a name? smile  Anyway, a self-published author can do more to "market" in this way, and I've got no objection, other than my above concern that the practice will tend to devalue the output of indie authors. If you can find me an example of a new Coben, Child, DeMille, Connelly, Sandford et al e-book being offered for 99 cents, please let me know, and I'll download forthwith!

Indie musicians are seeing their work offered for free or almost so all the time, and this new streaming venture by Apple will likely make this worse. Michael Smerconish had a guest on his Sirius radio show last week (I can't recall his name) who was touted as being an expert of the iTunes world. Smerconish said, "That sounds great. But how do the musicians get paid?" He asked this question at least three times and never did get a satisfctory answer.

Bottom line, if it works for what you want to get out of the bookselling business, by all means do it. But if landing a top literary agent and then a contract with HarperCollins is one's goal, giving away and selling for 99 cents thousands of books is not likely to accomplish it, Amazon ranking notwithstanding.

10 (edited by penang 2015-07-12 03:02:36)

Re: Marketing tips

I'm assuming when you say bestseller you are speaking of traditionally published books because there have been a number of books to hit the bestseller lists (USA Today and NY Times) that are self-published.
Here are a couple of articles about 99cent NYTimes bestsellers. … ller-list/ … 3350815824

USA today is easier to get on because they divide the categories up such as print & ebook, ebook, non-fiction, etc. USA Today has had many self-published 99 cent books on there (such as myself, Susan, Apryl and Sheree).

From the USA Today ebook bestseller list this week here are a couple traditionally published low price books (I didn't go through the entire list just a couple pages):
#82 - The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney ($1.99)
#85 (listed for 83 weeks) The Maze Runner by James Dashner ($1.99) Which I actually purchased on a FREE day

If selling books to as many readers possible while making money is the goal then yes, discounting is a powerful marketing tool. If getting a top agent and contract with a big publisher is your goal then I wish you luck because your chances are pretty slim no matter how great a writer you are. The days of needing a big publisher to get on the bestseller list or to make money are gone. There are a number of stories out there about authors leaving their big publishers to self-pub such as Belle Andre.

Are Books Too Cheap by Melissa Foster (USA Today and NYTimes bestselling author) … 60383.html
**I agree with her about using 99cents as a promotional tool not as a permanent price.

Re: Marketing tips

I picked up Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings on a free promotion a while back. So yeah, even publishers are doing it with their big names.

Re: Marketing tips

Nicholas Andrews wrote:

I picked up Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings on a free promotion a while back. So yeah, even publishers are doing it with their big names.

I think the Big publishers are starting to realize that the ebook market is completely changing the game and are desperately trying to figure out how they can catch up to the self-publishers. Check out the changes in the ebook market on Amazon between January 2015 and May 2015: … gs-report/

13 (edited by Susan Stec 2015-08-27 01:00:14)

Re: Marketing tips

Ang, you are spot on in everything you said. I know this because I live it. 

The only thing you didn't mention was going exclusive Amazon with KU, and how those $.99 books work for you then. Book one in my series is always $.99.

I also did several free promos this year, gave away 1000s of first in the series books, then not only did I sell books 2&3  for a nice price (this means the readers enjoyed those free book) but sales,started bleeding over into my other books... And they started reading.... Reading those pages and pages and pages, and pages are money in my pocket... That's KU. And I love it.  But bottom line will ALWAYS be, the story behind the marketing. The writing, the story, hitting your market area, that's what sells books ONLY IF THE READERS KNOW THEY ARE THERE. That's why you sell a book for .99 or do FREE days Jack.

Re: Marketing tips

This is helpful Susan. Thanks. I have a pretty long book that I am finishing (130K words). I wonder if I break it up into two or three books and give the first one away free and then charge for the second and third. Any thoughts? What is the minimum word length to sell on Kindle and make readers feel like they are getting their moneys worth? 80,000?

- C

Re: Marketing tips

I think the minimum is 10 pages. Although many of those are up there because they were scamming the old KU system of having a reader reach the 10% point to get the pay out. With the new system authors are rewarded for keeping readers turning the pages. So quality pays in KU. As for what people are willing to spend it depends on the reader. Personally I have never spent any money knowingly on a short story. I struggle to even justify paying 99 cents for a novella. Novels, well the last kindle book I bought was just over $8. However the novella category is thriving with KU, even with the payout changes.

I'd only recommend splitting up a book if it needs to be split up and if you have a point in the book where a break makes sense. Unless it's a serial, readers are going to expect a complete story in each book. If they don't get it, they'll get frustrated and stop reading.

Re: Marketing tips

I will pay up to $5 for a full-length indie ebook (60-80k). I don't purchase much  (under 30k), an novellas (30-45) for over .99 unless they are really an author I NEED to read--can't stand not reading, or an author I want to support. My Dark and Deadly series (under 40k each) does not sell well--thinking of combining them.

KU pays by the page read, so even if they purchase it, if it doesn't hold their attention you will lose with KU. You will lose if your work is not attractive to the reader first (cover, blurb, size, genre) and then  of course if it isn't what they thought it would be, and last if it's not edited well. However, KU  is a really good program for volume readers, and they've chosen to a great way to pay the authors because it rewards writers who readers like to read. And it doesn't pay small volume novels the same as authors with full-lengths. It pays by phases read only. Period.

Re: Marketing tips

How is everyone doing with book marketing? I thought I would revisit this thread as my book gets closer to launch. Is Amazon still the only game? What about Smashwords?

Re: Marketing tips

penang wrote:

1. Find a company that will send your advanced copies to interested readers. I typically pay about $30 for this service and it is much easier than tracking down bloggers who might be willing to accept your book and then may post a review..

Does anybody in TNBW knows any of these companies that send copies to interested readers?



Re: Marketing tips

I just released book 2 in my series on Friday and thought I would chime in on some of the things I have been doing. 

1. I ran a free promo on Kindle for book 1 in my series.  I also submitted my book to My Book Cave who also promoted it for free for the same period.  This got my ranking up to number 2 in the Free Fantasy category.  My page reads peaked at just over 1200 on
Saturday.  I have also run a couple of smaller promos this week with BKNights for 5 bucks a pop. 

2.  My first book is now back to .99 cents on Amazon but free elsewhere so I am hoping Amazon will price match and make it permafree.  I bought a Bargain Booksy promo for December 2 so I will be interested to see how that pays out.  It cost me $40 for the promo.  Even though I probably won't make my money back it doesn't matter, I am trying to find a readership to get my name out there for future releases in my series.

3.  This is the single most important thing I've done.  I started a Mailchimp account and tied it to my website to get people to sign up for my newsletter.  Then I did an Instafreebie promotion giving away my first book in exchange for signing up for my newsletter.  In the past 5 days I have signed up 15 new subscribers to my newsletter and sold 3 books from people who got my first for free. 

4. In conjunction with step 3 I have signed up on Instafreebie for 2 huge cross promo opportunities to market to other authors with much larger lists.  This is how you go from dozens on your subscriber list to hundreds and then thousands.  An email list is the single most important money making tool for an author.  You literally can't have too large of a list.  Many indie authors can move into the top 100 with a book by simply announcing its release to their lists.  If you don't have a list start one.  Give away your first in a series or a short story or novelette if they will sign up.  Trust me it is worth it. 

5. The holy grail of book promotion tools is Bookbub.  They are expensive and reject you dozens of times and are very particular about what they will market but they are worth every last penny.  Authors come on to the kindle boards just to celebrate getting accepted for a Bookbub promo.  If you can at all afford it Bookbub is worth its weight in gold.

I hope this is helpful.  I am still learning and adding to what I do but so far what I'm doing is working.  PS: Keep writing!  Nothing sells your books better than more books and the nice thing is that the more you write, the better you'll get.  PSS: Make sure to get a professional cover.  Nothing kills your marketing efforts like a crappy cover.  PSSS: Pay someone to edit your book.  If you have easy mistakes in your work people won't buy the rest of your library which is where authors actually make their cash.