According to some sources there are 9,000 new books being published each month, thus making advertising for the Self-Published author a key requirement. Most of these are new books from self-publish authors like me. Sometimes we get called indi’ authors as in independent, but whatever the tag line we all face a huge challenge in getting out masterpiece noticed. Lots of other companies vie for our trade to take our promotions further. From blog sites like WordPress offering named domains to Publishing companies offering to promote the new tome for a fee.
For this blog I wanted to review my own experiences of several of these services in relation to my different books. Like all reviews it’s my own opinion.
My first book received no publicity at all on launch as frankly I didn’t know how. I did create a Facebook page and set up my website, but there were no Ads. It was enrolled in KDP Select and had over 3,000 downloads on its free days. It even got to number one in its genre in the USA for a couple of days. After it was no longer free it disappeared from the rankings, currently number 272,000 in the rankings on Amazon.com. More recently it did share advertising space via Project Wonderful.
Result – No publicity worked, no change in sales with Project Wonderful – I put this down to beginners luck and a popular genre. I am now looking to re-edit professionally, if I can justify the fee.
When my second book launched I was on Goodreads and I joined Bookdaily. The book has sold steadily. It has featured on the Project Wonderful Ads and I even did a You Tube Trailer. Sales have been steady, currently ranked #12,935 the UK Kindle Store and #43 in it’s genre. It has never been in KDP Select although it did launch at the 99c price point. The only formal push through advertising was Bookdaily, although it was featured with accompanying articles on two blog sites, which prompted the creation of this site.
Result – Despite a more realistic price and no further advertising, the book continues to sell. I am now looking to re-edit professionally, if I can justify the fee.
For my third book I have tried, Project Wonderful, Ask David (Twitter), and it has even featured on Goodreads. It is in KDP Select but sales have been exceptionally disappointing, even with free days on KDP. Given the amount of publicity I hoped to at least get several hundred free downloads, but no less than 100 worldwide. It’s now at 99c on KDP. I have joined Twitter, blogged and talked about it. If I had done nothing there would be no change. It has one 4-star review, not from anyone I know, and that’s it.
Result – Unclear, it may be the genre that makes it a difficult pick up, perhaps the cover, who knows.
KDP and KDP Select –
The jury is out, yes I had a lot of downloads with An Agent’s Demise but virtually nothing with The Persuasive Man despite the publicity. In the end what is the point of free downloads if it doesn’t generate future non-free sales or lead to reviews.
Budget set and controlled by me – 232,000 views of my ads, 81,000 unique, 51 clicks – no attributable sales
Fixed price per month – Featured book in emails, two months of cover to 23,000 emails. 1,500 allegedly read my exert – no attributable sales
Cheapest method – 10 tweets to 19,000 followers each Tweet, – no attributable sales
Most expensive per day – 56,000 views of ads, 20 clicks, no increase on to-read lists, no more reviews – no attributable sales
I have looked at vanity publishing houses, paid reviews, author exchanges and most look like scams with no solid results. Lot’s of blog review sites all fighting for the same audience.
For one of my new books, I am trying a different approach with a story background blog already in place. Just got to get some people to look at it let alone buy the book when it comes out.
It appears that advertising is a waste of money with these services. Your advert cannot compete with the expensive adverts from the publishing houses on Goodreads let alone Amazon. The list of services for Self Pub authors is expanding but getting a reader of a web site to actually purchase is not something any of the advertisers want to talk about. For the Author it’s very much buyer beware. The services mesmerise you with statistics on followers, viewers, page impressions, but don’t tell you the results. The only information needed is how many people buy the book as a result of the advert. On my evidence it’s virtually none. Save your money.