Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Book promotion: is it working for you?

So how was it for you?  Promoting your last book? Marketing can be a bit of a mystery sometimes.  Especially when it comes to books.  As I may have mentioned before, one of my early titles outsells all the others several times over.  I've never promoted this book. If I knew why it sells more I could bottle the formula and use it again.  Unfortunately I've never figured it out, so I can't.

What works and what doesn't? Let's look at social media first.  Namely, Facebook. 

Likes and shares do not equal sales! 

Social Media is often hailed as a book selling tool, but it has its limitations.  One of my charity e-books, Coming Home, has lovely reviews, and every now and then, the Cats Protection, who I donate all my royalties to, give the book a shout on their Facebook page.  Each time they do, it always boosts sales and reviews, which is great, because that's more income for cats in need.  This month, their Facebook post about my book has so far garnered 1132 likes and 145 shares.  Fantastic!  Now, for anyone out there who thinks they can solely rely on Facebook to sell books, think again!  I've sold an extra 25 copies of Coming Home from this exposure.  Likes and shares do not equal sales!  Based on this example, there is roughly one sale per 6 shares, and around 2 sales per 100 likes.  It's worth doing the sums. 

"Old skool" techniques

In order to promote my other darlings, I've tried "old skool" (as I believe it may be called now - god, I'm getting old!) techniques, such as paid advertising space in an actual printed magazine.  Since I write books that are aimed at children and teens who love ponies, I chose the best selling UK magazine aimed at this market - PONY magazine.  It's perfect in so many ways, and in my excitement at trialling some promotion, I pre-booked not one, but 4 advertorials spanning from Easter 2014 to February 2015.  With such a targeted readership so closely aligned to my own target market, how could it fail?  

I've had 2 of my books featured so far.   I knew how many EXTRA books I would have to sell to cover the costs of the ad (a lot!)  So, how did it impact on sales? Disappointingly little.  Of course, the only way to be certain of the impact would be to know how many books would have sold without the ad and there's no way of doing this.  I can just go on what average sales were prior to the ad - although these can vary -  since at least with Amazon, you can track how effective any promo is on a daily basis, which is a really valuable tool.  I'm hoping the ads will be a long term investment to build my visibility with my target audience.  And that anyone who did buy the featured book as a result of the ad will then go on to buy my other titles.  But who knows.....?

Any one else out there using "old skool" methods?  And if so, how was it for you?
Oh, and if anyone has the magic formula for why some books sell better than others (or some foolproof marketing technique for authors), please share it with everyone!  Thanks. 

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  1. A "foolproof marketing technique" - I wish! Many thanks for sharing the sales per share and like data for Facebook. It will definitely help to work out whether its worth paying to promote a post.

  2. Really pleased to have found your blog. I'm gearing up to self-publish my first book and have been thinking lots about the promotional side. What you've said about Facebook makes sense, it's so easy to hit the share button but it clearly doesn't mean much!