On Self-Publishing

Harper’s Harpings: Marketing an eBook, Part One

SNY Promo V4

  I’m at the stage where I want to start to market my books. Once Breaking Jane, the third and final book in my current Geary Brothers Series is finished, I’ll have more time to spend in this area. I am a ‘dummy run’ type of person, I thought I would try the marketing options with Stranded at New Year. This is what I did and how it turned out: Social Media Platform tested: Facebook Type of book: 12k word, seasonal romance novella, standalone.

Preparation Designed, using Photoshop, promo pictures, using reviews, blurb and the dates of the promotion. (first picture) Arranged to remove the book from all other sites apart from Amazon Joined KDP Select on Amazon Scheduled the five days of FREE promo for 1st to 5th June.

Day One: Monday 1st June I didn’t know what time the book would switch to FREE, a quick search on Amazon’s help pages and it would go live as FREE at midnight Pacific Central Time. A google search told me the equivalent would be 9am UK time. Don’t trust googling once, do it twice. It didn’t go live until 10am. The first google search didn’t allow for British Summer Time. I repeatedly refreshed Amazon until I saw the string of zeros and let the first promotions in social media go out. I posted on Facebook, tsu, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and Pinterest. I also posted a WordPress blog. Each one went out approximately two hours apart. I posted to three groups that I am a member of on Facebook. I had decent reaction and comments. Comments from readers adding their love of the book (thank you). More interaction occurred than usual for my sites. My obsession with refreshing Amazon’s reporting system became my only focus. At work we are free to use the internet, I had the screen page in the background and refreshed while I could. Hour after hour it climbed, in the first 24 hours, I had 110 downloads. My ranking start at 1.3million and ended on 1,384. Not too bad. In the evening, I planned to work on my Facebook advert or post boost. I paid my money and waited for approval. I was denied seven times due to the amount of writing on my advert. I removed all writing and left the book cover and would you know it? Too much writing, I became incensed with the whole Facebook rule book. Much swearing occurred and I applied for a refund. Facebook denied this request, the money I paid for an advert is non-refundable. I can tell you I, well, I could have put a sailor to shame with my language. On the basis I didn’t want to waste the money, I set up sponsoring my website, namely this one.

Day Two: Tuesday 2nd June Set up a promo on all social media and posted on another two groups on Facebook that I am a member of. I look through all the Amazon sites to check all is ok. I find that the US site has reverted the value back to $1.09. I write a hasty, sort it out email and within half an hour it is sorted. Sales are slower today than yesterday.

Day Three: Wednesday 3rd June I didn’t have any time during the day to promote my FREE book, all day meetings in work. The first time I could get near a computer was at 8pm that night. Posted to another two groups I am a member of on Facebook. Thursday and Friday followed the same routine as Wednesday. So, what were the results? My website: I can see that I had 292 views with 165 new visitors, I didn’t gain any new followers. A typical week for my site would be 30 views, 15 new visitors, and one follower. I post a blog once a fortnight. Facebook page: Had 6105 views, normally a typical week for my page would be about 300 views. I would usually post once a week. I gained 5 new likes and that is an average weekly figure.

Book Downloads: 330 in five days, these were predominantly in USA, but UK, Germany, India, Japan, Canada, and Australia joined the party. I started off at 1,423,456 ranking in the USA and no ranking at all in the rest of the world. And this is what happened when you ‘sell’ 330 copies: Ranked 1333 in the USA; Ranked 1009 in the UK; Ranked 23 in Japan; Ranked 26 in Australia; Ranked 100 in Germany; Ranked 68 in India; Ranked 56 in Canada. Nobody in France, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Italy and The Netherlands, downloaded a copy.

Those rankings are not too shabby at all, but the kicker is………..once the free download down expired, those rankings disappeared. I’m 1,436,540 in the USA, Germany 547,507, UK 50,192, Canada 571,565, France 399,872, Australia 9,045. Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, India, unranked. The higher the ranking you are the more visibility you get. The good thing is, my book cover will appear in that person’s recently bought slideshow at the bottom, so I haven’t completely lost visibility.

So, what did this exercise tell me? Well, nothing concrete to be fair. I did learn, however, that if I am going to do a week’s promotion then I need to make sure I can tell people about it. My day job got in the way and from day 3 onwards I had very little time to tell people that the offer was there. I learned that Facebook have ridiculous rules and that pissed me off no end. I discovered very few people shared my posts on Facebook, in fact only five people did, thank you, Amelia, Zoey, Paige, Laura, and Sabine. I had more shares on tsu than Facebook and twitter combined. Perhaps that is the place I should concentrate my efforts.

The benefit from doing this kind of promotion will take a while to see if it works. It came back to my other blog a while ago, do I want my books bought or read. Should I chalk it up to a PR exercise and concede that 330 new people now have my words on their Kindle. These are questions that cannot be answered, time will answer them. I am now stuck with Amazon for 90 days until the agreement expires to be exclusive.

I still believe that it is word of mouth that will bring people to read my books.

Thanks for reading




Harper’s Motto: You will not be everybody’s favourite flavour, but that’s ok, because they will not always be your favourite flavour.   Be who you want to be and you will attract the people who will support you no matter what. XX

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