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  • Lessons Learned: How Five Online Book Promotion Strategies Worked for Me
Lessons Learned: How Five Online Book Promotion Strategies Worked for Me
Contributor
Written by
Maria Ross
May 2012
Contributor
Written by
Maria Ross
May 2012

There’s a zillion online marketing activities you can invest in to promote your book. As a branding and marketing consultant by trade and author of two books, I’ve tried many of them but know I’ve not even scratched the service yet! In my last two posts, I shared five marketing tips to help promote your book and five marketing truths you must embrace in order to promote your book effectively.

 

Today, I’m going to share five online promotion strategies I have tried with my current heartwarming and humorous memoir, Rebooting My Brain: How a Freak Aneurysm Reframed My Life, which I’m thrilled to share just launched in print on May 1! My first book was published with a small press who did not know that much about online marketing at the time. In addition, it didn't seem smart to me to pay for things myself and then not have visibility to the immediate results. With a self-published book, investing in advertising and tactics is much more measurable for evaluation.

 

So with that, here’s some learnings from which I hope you can draw goodness!

Online Marketing Tactic #1: The Virtual Launch

Since I’m not in bookstores and only available online in digital or print format, I decided to create an online buzz about the print launch to drive sales. I created a “digital swag bag” of bonus content and goodies for anyone who purchases the book (in any format) between May 1 and May 8. I’m also donating 10% of May’s net sales to a charitable cause linked to the book. I posted the details and rules on my book website and promoted the heck out of the offer in the weeks leading up to May 1 via Facebook, Twitter, my blog and my email newsletter. I also asked those who donated to the swag bag to promote the launch.

RESULTS: Worth it. This required little cost except my time and effort (Reaching out to ask for donations to the Swag Bag, formatting bonus content, creating tweets/FB posts/blog posts and posting info on the Wordpress web page myself, etc.). The effort built buzz and excitement, gave me something to promote to press and bloggers and resulted in a huge surge in sales for the last week of April and this week. Bonus: People shared and retweeted my posts to their own communities.

Online Marketing Tactic #2: Kindle Nation Daily

This email publication and website offers promotional opportunities to market your book if it’s in Kindle form (obviously). In February, when my eBook launched, I bought a Triple Play Sponsorship that consisted of a “post on the Kindle Nation Daily website (173,000 page views a month) late on the afternoon of the first sponsorship date which goes out to over 4,000 paid subscribers’ Kindles, and is “amplified” via Facebook posts on Kindle Nation’s Facebook page (36,000+ fans) for three consecutive days beginning that same day, and is summarized and linked in our nightly Kindle Nation Daily Digest, which goes out to over 19,000 opt-in email subscribers, for those three days”

RESULTS: Worth it. I saw an immediate bump in sales that week but more importantly got the buzz going in advance of the print launch on May 1. Also got a few Amazon reviews as a result of those readers

Online Marketing Tactic #3: Book Rooster

This service offer your eBook, for a small fee of $67, to thousands of reviewers in their database. They make the book available to people who have expressed interest in reviewing books in your genre. They are not necessarily professional reviewers but everyday folks interested in books. It is up to each reviewer to decide if they want to review the book or not. The goal here is to build up your Amazon reviews online. They do not guarantee a certain number of review or even good reviews, so your work needs to be up to snuff if you take this risk. 

RESULTS: Mixed. I got one, maybe two or three  reviews from this investment. They were good reviews and this didn’t cost a lot of money at all, but I was expecting more like six or seven reviews at least. Perhaps it depends on your genre: maybe you can get more reviews for something like  fiction or romance versus a medical and inspirational memoir.

Online Marketing Tactic #4: eReaderDailyNews.com

I admit I got this confused with a more successful (and larger reaching) community that an author friend recommended called eReader News Today. The one I mistakenly bought only has about 400+ Facebook fans, not the thousands that ENT has. I bought a sponsorship on their site that also included Facebook posts.

RESULTS: Nada. Nothing. Not even a blip in sales from this one. This was like tossing money down the drain. I’m trying to get in on eReader News Today, but the wait list for sponsorships is long and they are currently not accepting new ones.

Online Markting Tactic #5: KDP Select

This is Amazon’s special promotional platform. You sign up and agree to offer your eBook EXCLUSIVELY through Amazon for a 90 day period (you can offer your print book wherever you like). During that period, Amazon can promote you through their emails and you can pick 5 different days to offer your eBook for free. Offering your book for free for a short time  gets the book in more hands, creating more buzz, bumping up your rankings and boosting  residual sales when the price returned. You can also notify Pixel of Ink and eReader News Today about your free book day, and they will promote it via their newsletters and communities. 

RESULTS: Well worth it - get on this! I took my eBook off of Nook, iTunes, etc. and offered the eBook for free the Wednesday  prior to my print launch to build buzz and increase my standings in the Amazon ranks (thus giving the book even more exposure because Amazon’s algorithms promote it more as it climbs higher). I was amazed: I had 11,000+ downloads – that’s 11,000 people who now know about my book and can recommend it (of course, not all will read it right away). When the price went back to normal, I saw huge increases in paid sales due to the increase in exposure due to the rankings. For the free day, I was #1 and #2 in my categories, including beating out the best seller “My Stroke of Insight” on one list. I can now claim Amazon Kindle Best Seller status! I plan to offer other free days within my 90 day period to give me sales and rankings a boost as needed, and will experiment with which day works the best.

 

Hope my experience has been helpful. Which online marketing tactics have you tried with your book and what did you think? Please share in the Comments below!

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Comments
  • Christian Gumbo

    Thx Maria! When I decided that I absolutely want to pursue my passion, I also decided that I wanted to write under a name that was memorable and descriptive of who I was. I'm a Christian first, and a Gumbo of everything after that. Mommy, volunteer, community activist, tree hugger, Twitter junkie, writer, tech enthusiast, festival junkie, parade queen, and most importantly, I am New Orleans! Christian Williams, typical name, nothing special, easy to forget. Christian Gumbo, however, always makes people smile when I introduce myself. And I love making people smile. So that's the inspiration behind the name. The Twitter handle was available too, so I jumped on it :-) But I appreciate the kudos from a marketing professional. That validates for me that I'm on the right track :-)

  • Maria Ross

    Thanks Christian. While my first book was done through a small press (and I was very anti-self publishing at the time) I've since seen amazing avenues and opps that really met those goals I had for this 2nd book. But if Random House would like to cut me a 6-figure deal, I'm still game for that, too! Best of luck on your upcoming launch! PS, you have one of the best names for a writer ever! Memorable, punchy and fun (that's the marketer in me coming out again...)

  • Christian Gumbo

    wow, thank you so much for sharing this! As a freelance writer getting ready to self-publish my first book through amazon, this opened up avenues for getting my work exposed that I did not even know existed.

  • Maria Ross

    You're welcome Fiona! And I'm experimenting with another free day - on Mother's Day. Many moms will get Kindles as a gift and if they download my book for free that day as they are setting it up and like the book, they may suggest it to their book club or others they know. Will let you know how it goes!

  • Satya Robyn

    Thanks Maria - helpful post! KDP Select was also helpful for me. It's a whole new world... interesting to experiment with what works best!

  • Maria Ross

    Thanks Terri, but not all of this is specific to eBooks. Yes, some sponsorships like kindle nation daily are indeed exclusive to the eBook form of your book (mine is both print and eBook) but I'm also talking about promoting your book online, even if it's a physical nook. For example, the virtual launch is about promoting that your book exists by using the web- social media, your book website, etc. Even if you book.is a print book only, I assume its available through amazon, and therefore you can promote it in the digital world as well as the physical one. In fact, you'll reach more people that way!