Navigating the Book Promotion Jungle

Sendak_Wild_rumpusI never really appreciated the book review, until I “impulsively published” my novel, Remember the Moon last week. I had no idea how difficult the elusive book review was to acquire. They are like the Holy Grail of the book world. I followed all the proper steps, that as a Writer.ly co-founder I have now heard and had drilled into my small brain over and over:

  1. I have a pretty good platform:
    • √ Author website with both my books prominently on display and for sale
    • √ Twitter account (3600+ followers)
    • √ Author Facebook page
    • √ Pinterest, Google+ pages
    • √ Mailing list (250+)
    • √ Author pages on Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, and Amazon
    • √ A member of the Amazon Affiliate program
    • √ Incorporated an “end of book request” where I listed all my links and contact info about my other book. Here’s a list of things to include at the back of your book.
  2. I asked for beta readers. 34 people signed up and got the beta version of the book. 17 actually provided me with feedback that was incredibly valuable and I put their names into the acknowledgements of the final version.
  3. I paid for two professional developmental edits, one copyedit, two blurb writers and a cover design.
  4. I formatted and reformatted the book myself (I used to do this sort of thing in a past life) until it was perfect.
  5. OK. I got a little impulsive and just popped it up there using Amazon KDP.
  6. I sent free versions to all my Beta readers and all the others on my mailing list, asking everyone to post amazon reviews.

I figured I was in good shape. Not that Oprah would be calling me the next day or anything, but I felt fairly confident that since the beta readers had already read the book, there would be little to hold them back from posting a review on Amazon the moment they got the email from me announcing my new arrival.

Guess what? Nothing happened. Oh sure, I got lots of congrats from friends and family on Facebook, but then, the dreaded… chirp! Nothing.

I asked for reviews on Facebook and I got one posted on Amazon. I was so grateful, I gushed my thanks on Facebook. “Sure!” she said. “I can’t wait to read it!”

A week and a stomach flu later, I posted another “gentle” (I hope) plea on Facebook for a review. I got one beta reader who obliged and I was oh, so happy.

Not all is lost though. I have sold 27 copies. 27! I’m not sure what I was expecting, but hey 27 actual people plunking down money is pretty sweet.

And now, here is what I have done since:

  1. Signed up for KDP Select so I could set up to 5 days of my book for free. I set a free date (I will leave that as a surprise and will announce it here on the day, so stay tuned).
  2. Connected my LibraryThing account with my author status and set up a free ebook giveaway (view my giveaway here by scrolling down the page). Learn how here.
  3. Posted to a group on Goodreads asking for a review. Two people accepted and I sent them free versions. (No reviews so far).
  4. Signed up for a blog tour (relatively inexpensive at $80.00). Will begin in April.
  5. Contacted all of the original bloggers on my tour for Alchemy and sent them free versions of the new book (one response).
  6. Tweeted a few of my statistics so far, both lamenting and happy. Amazing how that got retweeted. There is sympathy out there!
  7. Signed up for K-Boards author page
  8. Signed up to be a KB Featured book.
  9. Bought a Fiverr Twitter campaign for $5.
  10. Followed tips from this awesome site.
  11. Joined (free version) of Author Marketing Club (Be careful, they will push hard for you to buy a Premium membership) and used their free eBook Submission Tool to submit my KDP Free day to a dozen different sites who will hopefully post it on the special day.
  12. Signed up for StoryCartel.com and set up a promotion to give away three $10 Amazon gift cards to people who review the book. I already have 23 people’s emails which I was able to download into Excel.
  13. Because AWP is next week, I had printed 100 Enthrill eBook Cards that I can sell or give away. They have a scratch code on the back that gives people a code for them to download the book in whatever format they like.

And then a whole new range of things open up for me once I reach 10 reviews on Amazon, all of which have much greater reach than any of the above.

  1. Sign up for BookBlast
  2. BooklistOnline
  3. Getting listed on BookBub
  4. And on eReaderNewsToday.com

Good lord, and that is just the start!

I may throw my hat into the ring and sign up for the CreateSpace 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Ya, know they only get like 10,000 entries or so. Should be as easy as promoting a book!

For those interested, here are my actual costs on the book (so far)

1st Dev edit $500.00
2nd Dev edit $750.00
Cover design $300.00
Copyedit $650.00
Blurbs (x2) $50.00
b2b marketing $20.00
K-boards marketing $15.00
Promotion cards $200.00
Fivrr twitter promo $5.00
Blog Tour $80.00
Total

$2,570.00

And profit so far… drum roll… $75.41!

Yup, only $2,494.59 to go till I break even.

Good luck in the jungle!