Monday, October 10, 2022

Marketing Advice for Authors

That dreaded word - Marketing...

Advertising is a big part of life. Ads can be pushy and annoying. But they are necessary evils for people who want to sell their products. And Authors trying to sell books are no exception. The key is to promote your book and reach your target audience, to hook them without alienating them... Self-promotion is personal, uncomfortable, and tricky. And hard to figure out!

Here are some great thoughts and pieces of advice on MARKETING BOOKS from our FIRST LOVE Authors.

from Kim Elliott
I should start by saying that I’m not terribly skilled at marketing. I haven’t spent a dime on online ads, and I don’t intend to until I have a few books available. I currently maintain a website, Facebook page, Goodreads page, Amazon author page, and Wattpad account. I find that Goodreads is my favorite because it gives me insight into who my readers are and what they want. 

Aside from the anthology, I always self-publish on Amazon and enroll my books in KDP Select. That allows me to offer my books on the subscription service, Kindle Unlimited (KU). Most of my profits come from KU. Every few months, KDP Select lets me offer my ebooks for $.99 for up to a week, while still earning full royalties. During the sale, I promote on several of the free sites recommended by Dave Chesson (aka the Kindlepreneur). I’ve gained a few readers this way. Overall, my marketing strategy is to try all the free methods I can find, see what works, and try paid methods later. 

from Denise Covey
Who likes marketing? No writer, I'm sure. We'd rather be writing!
I use the FB group, 20Booksto50k as my marketing guru. Following their guidelines, I 'rapid released' my first 5 books - boom, boom, boom, and made good sales. I then used those complicated Amazon Ads to promote the first book in each series. Great exposure, not many sales, but I'm still learning. I also used the Amazon giveaway feature for 3 free days here and there which was ho-hum. My most successful marketing strategy is Bookfunnel, where I join promotions to gather newsletter subscribers (very successful) and sales promos to sell books (not so successful) but I need more books! My biggest problem is finding reviewers. Seeing so few reviews of the anthology, I'm not the only one.

One of my marketing strategies for the anthology has been to photograph '...Doughnuts' in different settings with different people. Here's one of my daughters holding it which has been well received on Facebook. It was 'doughnut day' at her cafe, so I styled a few images like this one.

from out publisher,

L. Diane Wolfe

Senior Editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
As a publisher, I can tell you the most important marketing strategy for selling books is book reviews. A book HAS to garner reviews before its release date. Those reviews are needed for marketing materials (such as bookmarks and sell sheets) and back of cover blurbs (print) / interior blurbs (eBook.) They are vital on bookseller sites and Goodreads. (Who buys a book with next to no reviews?) They are excellent word-of-mouth on blogs and websites. We always send out review copies 6-9 months before a book is released to get these reviews. Not sending them out several months in advance (or sending any at all) almost guarantees a book will gain no traction.

A second strategy I’d like to mention is live events. As an author myself, I always loved live events. (There were times when I’d do 40+ a year.) But in particular now are comic/sci-fi/geek cons and the success we’ve enjoyed at them. We do have a good catalogue of speculative fiction, but it would surprise you what sells at these events, so we take all titles. When we can pitch a title and the reader can hold the book, look it over, we have a far better chance of gaining a new fan for that author. (And not to mention these cons are a lot of fun!)

from Melissa Maygrove
The dreaded job of marketing... Most writers would prefer to only write, but even traditionally published authors are expected to do their share. I'm indie, so I do it all. 

I'd love to go to in-person events, but I work full-time, so fitting those in is difficult. I do occasional giveaways and run ebook ads (e.g. Digital Book Today) to promote sales and new releases, and I usually see a little spike. But, in the end, I'm lucky to break even on cost. 

My two best tools are Amazon ads and BookFunnel. I began dabbling in both this year. I offer a free subscriber-exclusive novella (a.k.a 'reader magnet') that readers can get when they sign up for my author newsletter. BookFunnel makes it easy to deliver. I can also take part in multi-author promotions there. BookFunnel has already helped me quadruple the number of subscribers I had when I signed up. 

Between the BookFunnel boost and the Amazon ads, my royalties this month are projected to be twenty times what I made all of last year. Now I just have to write more books.

I don't know about you, but I found some great new things to try! We can take the scariness out of marketing by getting advice from others who have already tested sites and avenues and know what works. We still have to figure out what we are willing to do and what will work for us, but we are not alone!

I hope you found something you can put to use. And this is only half of our authors. They had so much to say, we'll have more advice next month. Be sure to stop by again in November!

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there!