Wuzza Wither Woozy Book Marketing?


How do you sell books?

Like, how do you spread the word? How do you let people know about the book without being an irritating mote of sand in the elastic of one’s underpants? How do you do it when a book is first out? How do you keep the energy going — stretching out that long tail you hear so much about? We know word-of-mouth works, but how do you orchestrate that?

What, anecdotally, have you done that you thought was successful?

Do you have data that tells you something you’ve done was definitely successful?

Anything you know doesn’t work — besides, of course, being a spam-crusted spam-bot from the spam-flung spampocalypse?

Noodle it. Let’s talk. Indie authors and trad-pub writers alike.

What works, what doesn’t, wuzza wooza who what when where how.

41 responses to “Wuzza Wither Woozy Book Marketing?”

  1. Serialization multiplied the size of my footprint, improved visibility through Amazon also-boughts and sold more books. I wrote the story (so far) in two Seasons of five episodes each as if it were a TV serial. Buying the whole Season was cheaper for readers than 99 cents at a time.

    The Law of Diminishing Returns has kicked in, so for the third and last season I’ll sell Season 3 as a separate book and the whole thing as The Complete This Plague of Days. I wrote a series on this for my blog but that’s the quick summary. No complaints about the plan from readers so far (though I’m sure there will be.)

    Bookbub also helped light the nitro. I’ve tried a lot of strategies, but this is the most solid stuff.

  2. The most successful thing I’ve done (with the aid of my publisher) was have a BookBub promotion (just last week, actually). You have to have your book marked down by at least 50%, or free, though. We set mine to free to coincide with the BookBub promo… and had nearly 25,000 downloads in one day. After a year of steady floundering, I’m suddenly finding a fan base (well, 9 new – positive – Amazon reviews and requests to join a mailing list for the next book, etc. all counts for me). This all within 3 days…

    I’m still at the start of my career, so discovery is still a big thing for me. Hopefully the ability to go full-time will come later… Since the promo, activity on my website has jumped up, same with my FB page.

    But that’s giving away, not selling, huh?

    We shall just have to wait and see with the next book, I guess…

    The main thing still seems to be the mythical word-of-mouth… I’ve had sales after someone has loaned my book out and then the new reader has liked it enough to want their own copy… but, that’s locally (and I’m from a small city in a small country) — they want the “soon-to-be-famous” author’s autograph in a first edition… hur hur. Slow and steady. Not sure that it wins any races.

  3. I’ll be watching this with interest.

    At this point in my career (if we can call it that), I’m kind of focusing on building my “true fan” base up first — getting a handful of people on board who will act as a street team and help spread the word for the future. So while I haven’t sold very many copies, I have at least connected the right books with the right readers in a few important instances, and made some good friends along the way.

    /bookmarks to learn from the masters.

  4. Easy! You become an ‘irritating mote of sand in the elastic of everyone’s underpants’ on the Goodreads site. (J/K, of course.)

    I’ve looked into Bookbub promo ads (like the author mentioned above) but I cannot do one because of the ‘nature’ of my ebooks. But I’ve heard lots of authors have excellent outcomes by purchasing Bookbub ads. It really seems to be the best way to get your name out there, aside from the word-of-mouth thing (which is really hard to accomplish–holy shit–and just because one reader loves your book, doesn’t mean her friends will like it too). Even if you initially get the word-of-mouth thing going, it’s hard to ‘keep it up’. But that’s just my experience. I try to ‘keep it up’ by consistently doing giveaways on goodreads, keeping a particular book visible to readers. When they see it, if they’re interested they’ll check out your backlist as well.

    Goodreads has helped me quite a bit. I usually ‘do’ paperback versions of my longer ebooks and then offer giveaways on Goodreads. That’s how I’ve gotten most of my readers. The more books you give away, the more your readership grows. But it takes time like anything else (too bad, eh?).

    You can gain new readers and reviews by offering your books on LibraryThing in their giveaways (you can offer ebooks on that particular site, unlike on Goodreads). Actually I learned this ‘trick’ on AbsoluteWrite. AW has tons of promo suggestions.

    If you have a series, you can offer the first book as free (though it seems to take Amazon weeks to price-match the book).

    Pay attention to times of the year when readers have the most time to read books, like right after Christmas/New Year’s, during the summer and maybe around October. I’ve noticed the slowest times are usually holidays, like the 4th of July. My first ebook sold well when I published it at the end of May/early June, and also did a free promo through KDP Select (though Select doesn’t seem to be working as well anymore). Certain genres do the best during summertime (erotica).

    As a newbie, I’ve only been charging 0.99 for all my ebooks (besides, that’s all the shorter ones are worth).

    It’s hard though. So hard to stand out and get noticed, especially when you’re new. Some authors try to outdo one another by publishing edgier, racier stuff and pushing the envelope further and further. Sometimes it works; sometimes not so much. Basically you just need to write what *you* want while also trying to please the readers you already have.

    In my experience, the more you enjoy writing what you write, the more popular your story becomes. If not initially, eventually it should. Hope that makes sense. I’ve noticed some of the stories I didn’t enjoy writing (as much) ended up not selling well. Weird how that works.

    On the other hand, the more popular your books get, sometimes the lower your average ratings sink. 😛

  5. The best way to ensure word-of-mouth is to write the very best, ass-kicking, holy-crap story you can. That’s primary.

  6. We were perhaps an oddity, in that 63 authors were involved in Stories for Homes in the UK, so we had a massive group of people working together; the fund-raising aspect also put a different spin on things.

    There was a virtual launch party on FB and Twitter when the digital version was released, followed by a Book Blast (as many of the authors/collaborators as possible blogging about SfH) on a specific day just prior to launching the paperback a few months later. We also trended on Twitter with #storiesforhomes on the same day. Everybody shared as many links as possible.

    Since the ‘official’ launch, there have been other smaller events round the country with the same approach to advertising. We also have a blog dedicated specifically to the SfH project and events.

    The anthology was fundraising for a homelessness charity, so we’ve often linked ourselves as a collaborative entity to both the charity and their campaigns. It also helped when we were nominated as ‘Shelter Heroes’…

    Aside from this project, I’m finding that building relationships seems key to getting folk interested in your product; I’m currently building up to publication of a collection of children’s stories, and by logging progress occasionally on my blog, there are already promises of purchases because the idea’s got people as excited as me. Whether I can keep that excitement (and therefore sales) up is another matter…

  7. Satisfying one reader at a time. Being friendly and grateful. Taking the time to return emails. Answering comments on social media sites. Believing it will happen – just not overnight. 🙂 Lurking on blogs like this. Soaking up information like a sponge. Thanks for sharing.

  8. NOTHING works better than Amazon’s “Customers who bought X also bought Y.” So write more books! That way, the algorithm can recommend your other books rather than Stephen King’s books.

    End every book of yours that’s published with a little reference to a promotional website–

    If you liked this book by Joe Author, check out Joe’s other books at joeauthor.wordpress.com

    — then set up a website to tout all your books.

  9. Eh, I’ve been rejected by BookBub 12 times.

    I just write new ones, publish, and start on the next one. Fans will come. If not, I guess I’ll write new ones, publish, and start on the next one.

  10. I was really moved by Kameron Hurley’s post here http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/22/on-persistence-and-the-long-con-of-being-a-successful-writer/

    If you didn’t read it, I would really suggest you do.

    I haven’t been willing to invest that sort of blood and sweat into my writing. Everytime my life gets tough the first thing I do is stop writing. I often wonder where I’d be today if I hadn’t put writing on the back burner when I moved house, when I left the country, when I had my kids and now again that my life has completely changed.

    Hits to my blog and any sort of readership my indy-self-pub novel had built up have now more or less disappeared. It is a long haul and the only way to get anywhere is persistence and constant work. I really admire those who make writing and marketing their first priority.

    So, I’ll be settled again in March and the first priority is to get my second novel done. It’s sitting there as a 60,000 word second draft. Then I’ll continue my marketing thing, starting from scratch. I want to query agents with the manuscript instead of going straight for an indy-e-book.

  11. Sale numbers that make me full of joy may make others cringe, but I have noticed a few things that helped. I have a couple freebie stories on amazon with the prologue of my novel attached, and also a piece of non-fiction I gave away for free on KDP. Once these stories were up, I noticed a difference in sales. The publisher having a 99 cent sale made a huge difference and gave one novel some sweet-azz rankings, and certain bloggers to niche audiences also has helped. (of course the biggest thing that helped was my completely fake, Chuck Wendig blurb: Mike Albee made me who I am today).

  12. I have tried (in no particular order):

    1. Free on KDP Select. Works great if you just want eyeballs on the book. I have not gotten that much of a “surge” on giveaways – a little the first time, not so much the second. I heard someone compare KDP giveaways to a sugar rush – exciting over the short-term, but not sustainable. (It does hook you into other books in the other-people-purchased-this algorithm, so there’s that.) I’ve gotten at least some reviews this way.

    2. Goodreads giveaways. Works great if you want to have a couple of hundred people add your book to their TBR pile. Go check some of those people out–they have a couple of thousand books on their TBR pile. Gotten a few great reviews on Goodreads that way, but not all that many compared to the books I’ve given away. (If you are budget-conscious, limit book giveaways to the US – foreign postage is considerably more and you have to futz with the customs forms.)

    3. Twitter spamming. It doesn’t work. It can help on KDP free days if you use the #free hashtag, maybe, but otherwise you get bupkis. (I have a special account that JUST does Twitter spam and it has more followers than my “real” account. Sad.) I even hired one outfit that had other authors twitter-spam for me and that didn’t work.

    4. LibraryThing. Huge waste of time. I sent out 75 copies and maybe got three reviews. LIbraryThing makes you e-mail everyone separately and every single person wants a different format and ay ay ay.

    5. I sent one book to one very high-profile blogger, and he linked to it on his blog, and it did nothing.

    6. Bookbub. Works like all hell, but I just barely made any money because I had to drop the price to 99 cents. I don’t know if there are diminishing returns–going to have to try to figure that out.

    7. Story Cartel. I had 25 people download the free copies I gave away there. Only one of them said they would do a review. This person lives in Zimbabwe. I don’t think I’m going to get a lot of word-of-mouth in Zimbabwe. I might, though.

    8. I do book reviews, and occasionally that leads to contacts with other authors, and I’ve gotten a review or two that way. It hasn’t helped sell any books, but it’s been very gratifying.

    9. I’ve paid for a review at one of the large indie-author sites, and got a good one, and I’ve used that in marketing and as far as I can tell it hasn’t helped. Signed up for that “B.R.A.G. medallion” thing but as far as I can tell that hasn’t helped.

    10. The real problem is that I don’t have access to the metrics I need to tell me what does help and what doesn’t help. I can’t get it from Amazon, and my own sites aren’t driving that much traffic so I can tell. It’s largely been trial-and-error, mostly error. Hopefully, the next book (whenever that comes out, and I can’t tell you about it at this point) will do better and will drive more sales.

  13. What Has Worked:
    Establishing a relationship with individuals. I can do this. This is what I’m good at. And it’s incredibly rewarding. The downside is that this takes a lot of time. But I wouldn’t trade it out for anything else.

    Goodreads giveaway. The one I did was incredibly effective, already generated some reviews. The con? It cost a significant sum of money to ship and print all those books.

    Contacting reviewers. The vast majority of reviewers simply say no, or more likely, never respond. But, once in a great while, one will say yes. And it my case, once I’ve gotten them into my work, they’ve wanted to stick with it. That makes it all incredibly worth it.

    What Has Not Worked:
    Bookbub. Never going there again.

    Banner advertisements. As far as I can tell, none I’ve done have had any impact on sales.

    Facebook. I have never even tried it, but all research I’ve done suggests that it’s a complete a waste of time. You can generate “likes” for your page, and this will have absolutely no bearing on sales whatsoever.

  14. My most successful tactic so far has simply been connecting with people on a personal level. Several of the first buyers of my book (I only have one out right now) were people that I had contact with through my blog, Tumblr, Twitter, etc. People I’d had actual conversations with. They’ve helped me tremendously by putting out some very thoughtful and honest reviews. I had one blogger who I partnered with for a giveaway when she reviewed my book, and that got a substantial number of people to add my book on GR.

    I’m in the middle of a Story Cartel promo right now, so I have no clue how that’s going to turn out. Once that finishes, I’ll be back to word of mouth because I don’t simply have the funds to throw out a ton of money for BookBub ads and what not.

    I’d rather concentrate on my next title anyway.

    For what hasn’t worked?

    Eh, I did a Library Thing giveaway and gave out about 50 ebook copies. I don’t think I’ve seen any return from that. I might do a smaller, physical copy giveaway on GR next time instead. At least that’ll get my book added to some to-read piles, where others might see it.

  15. Technically I’m not a publisher or a writer, but I;m jumping in anyway as my day job is marketing in the cultural sector (great content, no budgets, just like publishing) and I run the Arthur C. Clarke Award, so actually promoting books is pretty much the job description there too.

    This is something I mostly learned on Twitter, but its relevant lots of other places too – Talk positively about other people before you talk about yourself and always pay things forward.

    I buy loads and loads of stuff, especially books, through clicking random recommendation links from people I know and their own extended networks, and this is coming as someone who gets sent LOADS of free books every year. The thing is, very few of those clicks are from people touting their own stuff, so save yourself the karmic nightmare of thinking social media is for marketing at all and start talking about the stuff you like (I mean genuinely like btw, otherwise we’re back in spin territory). Also, to be clear, I’m emphasizing talking positively here, not jumping in on the latest flame war.

    Firstly this is more fun than marketing yourself, but you do start to build up the whuffie somewhere along the line too. To summarize, the Clarke Award gets a lot of love and retweets and chat when it makes announcements not just because people love SF awards, but also because we’re there doing the same thing for others all the rest of the year when we don’t have any news of our own. Imagine how dull a daily Twitter countdown of ‘Days to the next Clarke Award winner’ would be.

  16. What works? Magic fairy dust? Sacrifices to the gods? Dressing as a giant chicken in intersections?
    I wish I knew.
    Book tours, promo spots w/ ENT and BookBub have worked short term. Actually got down #90 on Amazon and #43 on B&N doing both of those at the same time (before book went w/ traditional publisher).
    Also boughts, etc – I guess they work…for everyone else. I’ve never had good luck with ‘Zons algorithms, indie or otherwise.
    Social Media – I guess this helps, but I have no metrics. I get most feedback from Twitter “I read your book”
    GR – I haven’t been there in a very long time.
    Blogs, newsletters – meh. Again, maybe they work. I just don’t have metrics.
    Momentum – I tried to do everything above, plus groups, signings, giveaways. But I think I need to just keep writing the best books I can. I was spending far too much time trying to keep that momentum and not writing.
    Somehow, I think it comes down to writing that one book (good or bad) that everyone talks about. I wonder if that has a lot to do with genre – what’s popular. Currently, that seems to be erotica, romance, and erotically charged New Adult. Sadly, I don’t write that.

    • Yeah, me neither. Tastes change and those who’ve stayed true to their path will flourish. It might take 50 years, of course.

  17. The blog has helped, particularly in getting readers who will write reviews. Author support has been tremendous. Ereader News Today was a nice shot in the arm to give me great sales over three days and has apparently had some rebound residual sales. The Goodreads Giveaway got attention and readers added but has not yet translated into sales. I am still waiting on BooKBub.

  18. My book, for whatever reason, did not do well on GoodKindles despite a banner add and a sidebar. Seems like it is all authors and no readers. More a promo site. They don’t do emails to reader subscribers. The Fussy Librarian moved a few books.

  19. The market is so glutted with books now that strong and consistent buzz is basically the only way to sell copies. Selling books has always relied primarily on reviews and word of mouth, but with a glut of titles coming out every week it’s a real challenge to get noticed.

    When DYING IS MY BUSINESS came out from St. Martin’s back in October, I had a good, driven, knowledgable PR person assigned to it. But even so, my book was so low on the priorities list that he just didn’t have time to think outside the box about ways to get my book noticed. Basically, all he could do was send out review copies and then move on to the next book on his plate. The reviews were mostly positive, thank goodness, but lots of novels get good reviews and still sink without a trace, I knew I had to do something to build buzz or my novel would share that same fate.

    So I hired a publicist: Beverly Bambury. She proved invaluable in promoting DYING IS MY BUSINESS. I’m convinced the novel never would have gotten the attention it did without her help. She got me onto popular, high-traffic websites and book blogs (like this one!) that I’d only ever dreamed about being on. Her services were worth every penny. She doesn’t charge a lot, but she ought to.

    Is hiring a publicist the way to go for everyone? I can’t say. But I know having one helped me a lot, so I would recommend at least looking into it.

    • I’ve heard this from several writer friends. Good to know there are some who specialize in genre fiction. Might be something I’ll do with the next release due to my publisher soon. But first, it’s back to the revisions.

  20. I have 3 novels and 3 collections out. I put them out in paperback through CreateSpace and through Smashwords to reach all of the eplatforms. I’ve even begun to do Large Print editions for those who don’t do ereaders. So far, nothing seems to make a difference. I tried the Smashwords July giveaway. I gave out 30 books, no reviews. There’s no way to determine if anyone who downloaded came back to buy any of my other books. I do Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Goodreads announcements when I release and very occasional reminders (don’t want to be a spammer!). That doesn’t seem to make a difference.

    I’m thinking all of the advice above, to build personal relationships to grow sales, is the only good way. All of my sales so far have been to friends and family and extended friend circles. There are a lot of writers in my area. I’m thinking of pulling us together to do a Book Sale sometime this year. All of us in a lot of different genre’s personally selling our books. Shrugs. Aside from making friends with the local writers, I’m not sure that will make any difference at all.

    Wondering if anyone has any other ideas?

  21. Goodreads giveaways help build buzz prior to release and are a great place to give away ARCs. But hands down the best thing you can do to sell books is get out there and meet folks. Go to conferences, go to festivals, make lasting and meaningful connections, find other books you love and recommend them, generally just be a decent human being. People remember that. It’s not a quick turnaround, but when you make meaningful social connections those people will be happy to help spread the word about your book. Why? Because they know you in a capacity beyond your 80,000 word opus on the rise of neon cockroaches in the inner city. When we connect with a person we are so much more likely to spread their happy news. But you have to give to get.

    Oh, and never sign people up for a newsletter without their permission. That is the publicity kiss of death.

  22. I have nothing to sell yet (I’m in my post-editor edits round) so I’m not doing any aggressive marketing, but I’ve got a blog, and I’m trying to fatten it up with short fiction and trying out different things to see what will get hits on my site in order to build a platform.

    On a related note, I’m starting to see that most visits are from fellow writers, so I’ve come up with a new section in my blog called “first impressions” where I give my first impression of a book cover, try to identify its target market, and then take a shot at writing its plot description based solely on the cover.

    Here’s how it works:


    And here’s the first post:


    So if you’ve got a book out there and are interested in participating check it out.

  23. I don’t normally all-caps in comment threads like a tween on Youtube, but: HIRE A PROFESSIONAL TO DO THINGS YOU CANNOT DO ON A PROFESSIONAL LEVEL.

    Yes, you can and should make every personal effort at your disposal to self-promote, but this becomes the old “signal vs. static” very quickly. People are MUCH more likely to respond to something recommended by a third party. “Pimp” is the world’s second-oldest profession.

    It’s your career. Invest in it. If you’d pay a professional to design your cover, I don’t know why you wouldn’t hire a professional to make sure people see that cover.

    I hire, when she’ll have me, The Unconquerable Beverly Bambury for publicity simply because she can do things that I can’t. Especially in self-publishing, when you’re truly in the trenches on your own, I think outsourced PR should be as integral to your campaign as editing and cover design.

    Footnote: In the not-too-distant-future (maybe Someday, A.D.?) could PR/Marketing freelancers become gatekeepers in indie publishing? Presumably they’ll only want to boost the signal of work that reflects well on them, and having your quality of work reflect on someone else has long been a missing component in the self-pub world.

  24. I’ve tried giveaways (via goodreads, my blog, review blogger, nerd book blast) but I think you need to just see those as fun, and a way to interact with your readers. I maintain a presence and try to post at least once a day on Twitter/Facebook but I really don’t believe it generates much sales. Same with my blog, though I’m starting to see more click throughs in 2014. So far I’ve gotten my biggest bump with my new release mailing list and two successful Bookbub 0.99c ads. At one point, with my latest BB ad, I was ranked #114 paid at amazon.com and held a spot in the top ten of my genre for over a week. Oh, and obviously a new release often boosts the sales of my other books as well.

  25. I tried promoting other people’s ebooks.
    Ebooks from authors I know, personally or through the web, ebooks that get listed in “also purchased” on the Amazon pages for my ebooks.
    I stopped talking about my own ebooks, and talked about theirs – giving small reading suggestions, stuff like “If you like conspiracy thrillers, try this” or even personal bits like “I know this guy and he’s a good friend and a fine writer”.
    Nothing fancy, just a simple post on Facebook once in a while (say, one in four or five hours), or a tweet – a few words and a link to Amazon.
    Some of those titles started selling – not much, but steadily.
    And my ebooks started selling.
    Not like wildfire, but a nice steady roll.
    Turned out I started selling one of my own for every two or three I sold by others.
    Who knows – maybe it’s good karma, maybe its the fact that readers are intrigued by somebody promoting other people’s work but not his own.
    The experiment lasted about a week – we did not make big numbers, but it was strange, and pleasant, in a very non-aggressive way.

      • Lack of free time – I am still in the amateur league.
        Also, as I am working within the Italian-language ebook market, that is still rather tiny, it is easy to overload the readers.
        So, I preferred to stop, study my data, and then design my future promotions more scientifically.

  26. Here are a few things I do that have worked like a charm. Rafflecopter giveaways! Give away a $25.00 GC to Amazon and see the traffic on your blog…but wait! You can actually make the fans do the marketing for you through Rafflecopter. Make them Tweet about the giveaway! Make them subscribe to your newsletter (you can do a free one through Mailchimp), have them like your fan page. Make them jump up and down and chant your name three times. It all works (the last may not have been successful). Bookbub is great…but expensive. Go to ereader.com and request them to run your book – I had about 20K dl’s of my book on sale… it didn’t cost much at all. The Fussy Librarian is $3.00 regardless of your genre. People get bored hearing you pimp your book – so pimp another author! At the end of my ebooks I showcase another author with their excerpt and buy links. Do you know how i know it works? Because in my People Who Bought this book bought – The person I showcased. I have a very popular author who always includes my books at the back of her books and now we have many of the same fans. Many times, they return the favor. I have several giveaways every week…. I usually give e-books, audio books, or bookmarks away – it always increases sales. Grasshopper, this one is one you can do at this very moment and it will cost -0- . Go to Amazon and change your categories…. Why? Because people search the same categories over and over… your book becomes invisible because they’ve seen it so often. On your new list you’re fresh and new. This always generates sales for me. Okay, last thing I’ll tell you that works… promote your post on Facebook. I didn’t want to pay them, but I did and it paid me back tenfold. I’ve only done it a couple of times and I’ve spent about $30.00 all together, but it pushed my status with my new book info. I was stunned how well it worked. It is now part of my budget for promotions. Oh, oh, oh… another thing that works… I do a press release to the media and they run an article about me. I go to the high schools and talk to students and I have several local book signings for my local fans. If you need help brainstorming, shoot me an email. I’m really done now… for real!

  27. I’m speaking for myself as an author and a reader. Please don’t attack me if you disagree, but bombarding everyone with notices of “buy my book” will only end in people avoiding you and that’s the best way to NOT sell any books. They may even unfriend or unfollow or just plain avoid anything that has you or your name attached to it.

    So, what I do is, I mention I have a published book in my profile on Facebook and Twitter. If I have a new release, I may discreetly, mention it with a post, but then on to other things. Social Media is ‘social’, that means making friends, interacting with others and if by some good timing and great luck my book goes viral, then that’s wonderful for me, but there is no secret spell that will do it for me. But one thing I’m sure won’t do it, is shoving my book down everyone’s throat.

    There were two authors in particular who I finally blocked from sending me anything because my email was filled several times a day with ads for buying their books. That’s not the way to sell your books.

    If people like you, they will visit your blog, website, friend you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. So mention it every once in awhile and If they read your profile, they will learn you have books for sale and they may even buy your book. If they like you and then like what they read. Then they may even recommend your books to their friends. It’s the only way to get sales, Word of Mouth. You can’t control it. All you can do is pray it goes viral.

    I’ll admit, I haven’t sold many books and maybe I never will but I won’t have people hate me because of them.

  28. I have a lot of advice for new authors and marketing books. I couldn’t even begin to scratch the surface so I’ll start with the “biggest bang for the buck”

    Goodreads Giveaways. I’ve done a number of them in past (in fact I have two running right now) and I see a significant uptake in my footprint on this amazing social site. An example?

    I did a giveaway of 2 copies of Hollow World (the novel I have coming out in April, 2,678 people entered fort the giveaway and my the numbers of shelves that Hollow World appeared on increased by 1,084 copies. I also have an “extended preview” available which gives away the first four chapters and I have more than 2,300 copies download in a very short period of time.

    Of course NOTHING beats a Kindle Daily Deal (as I’m sure Chuck will attest to) but this isn’t something you can beg, bribe, or steal to get. You just get picked and then you celebrate. I will say that I “think” that your chances of being picked go up substantially if you have (a) multiple books out (b) very good ratings and (c) sell reasonably well (i.e. not already a blockbuster but also not in the basement.

  29. Randomsauce: I have this idea and I’d like to know if you all think it’d work or if I’m barking up the wrong tree.

    So book signings, right? You go in and sit there and sometimes a bunch of people show up to get your autograph. You put a bunch of work into it, posters and blogging and whatnot, and then wait for people to show up. If you’re in a small town on a cold as polar whatever day, nobody shows. So much for all that work.

    My idea is, get a bunch of authors – like, at least ten – to collaborate and do a group book tour/signing. Split the costs, market it as an event, like an art fair for writing. Plan a route, do the whole business in spring and summer when everyone wants to get out of their houses. Fan swapping – “Oh, if you like my book, you should check out Chuck’s books, too! He inspired me with his words!” Poof, one fan becomes two.

    So, is this a crazy idea, or a one-in-a-million-but-it-just-might-work idea?

    • I’ve done that, we had 5 authors. We live about 4 hours apart so we bunk at the house that is closest. It was super fun to go to the high school and talk to the kids – we signed at the school and the kids finished their book and came to a signing we had at a coffee shop to get the next book.

  30. I’ve found marketing an uphill slog. It’s fucking excruciating, and every 10 ways/5 things/How To post that I see promising to show the way enrages me more. They are either vague as hell, or spout the same stuff that we’ve been told, ad nauseum. For me, Goodreads ads and giveaways haven’t worked. Facebook ads haven’t worked. I don’t have any subscribers to send out a spiffy big ‘buy my book you sexy people’ newsletter to, like so many marketing posts assume you have.

    I have no idea what the answer is, other than write more books and spend more money on editing. One thing I haven’t tried is KDP promos and Wattpad.

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