Marketing/Ads, Self-Publishing, Speaking from Experience

The woes of self-promotion

I thought I’d share my experience thus far as it pertains to marketing my book and trying to gain readers/followers. I’m sure if I were already established or a “known” author with many titles under my belt, this would be a different discussion. As it is, I am none of those………. yet.

Did I expect overnight success? Not at all. It takes time to build a following, to gain readers and it also takes money to pay for promoting, ads, marketing and getting your name out there. How much have I spent so far? More than I’d like to admit, but I hope that every dollar spent will come back as a sold book or a reader that is looking forward to my next series.

If I had to guess an amount, I’d have to say somewhere between $400-$500 CAD. Which makes me think that I should stop investing any more until I start seeing results. You do have to spend money to make money, but you have to know when to cut your loses and be smart about it. Where have I spent money advertising? Twitter so far has been a great way to gain exposure and followers.

Facebook I thought was great as it allows for low budget ads, but those didn’t create the buzz I was hoping for. Facebook is very particular with what they approve and they don’t give a specific reason why they decline your ad, just a generic response that directs you to their Rules/ Terms. I had the chance to appeal their decision, which I quickly received another cut/paste response, so quickly that they didn’t have time to read my comments. RUDE.

I submitted a Featured Deal promotion with Bookbub, to be declined and receiving their generic copy/paste response that basically suggests that… Wait I’ll copy/paste it for you.

While this book hasn’t been selected for a Featured Deal, here are some tips to make future submissions as competitive as possible:

– Submit your book for a Featured Deal at a lower price point
– Submit other books from your backlist
– Re-submit your book in a few months, when it might be a better fit for our readers
– Review more tips here: https://www.bookbub.com/partners/submission-tips

Please wait at least four weeks before resubmitting this book for consideration.

Allow me to comment on each of their suggestions. Submit my book at a lower price point…. On Amazon, the e-book sells for $4.95 USD and the price point I suggested for the featured deal was FREE. I can’t go any lower than FREE, short of paying readers to take a FREE copy.

Submit another book….. I only have 1 book, next. Re-submit my book when it might be a better fit for their readers…. Are they suggesting that I have a crystal ball and I can predict when their readers will be interested in a non-fiction/memoir?

From what I understand, getting a Featured Deal with Bookbub rarely happens on the first attempt. It takes authors several attempts before Bookbub finally agrees to feature their book. Those that have been successful claim that their sales have increased tremendously and that is how many authors gain their readers. I suppose it helps to have a series ready to promote. Offer the first one FREE or .99 cents and if the reader enjoys the first book they will be more apt to buy the next in line.

I did look further into what Bookbub has to offer and I decided to try their ad service. It’s user friendly which is a bonus for me. The hardest part was trying to come up with something catchy and under 60 characters as the Ad copy/sales pitch for the book. I have that ad set to run from today until noon August 1st. So we’ll see how well that does.

I’ve stumbled across a follwer on Twitter that offers a low budget promotional service for $7 that covers 21 days of showcasing your book as the “featured random read” on their Twitter and Facebook pages. That sounded like a great deal and so far the customer service has been great. For those inquiring minds, Digital Book Girl is who I’m working with.

I also paid into a promotional service that offered to read my book and enter it into their yearly Indie Author Award program. They have several categories based on genre and they decide which new books make the cut and win. I thought that sounded like a good deal, should I win (which I’m not banking on); I would have bragging rights as an award winning Indie Author that would set me apart, earn a little credibility. I won’t know until November when their list of winners is revealed.

I guess my long winded point is, If you are like me, set your marketing budget and allocate your funds wisely. I haven’t reached a point where my investment has returned or doubled, not even close. So far, I still only have 2 ebooks, 2 paperbacks sold and 3 Kindle Unlimited readers…. that’s it.

That’s the news for now, I’ll be sure to keep you updated with how the ad from Bookbub works out.

To be continued. ~ Hannah

Buy your copy of Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: My Journey from Victim to Survivor here.

2 thoughts on “The woes of self-promotion”

  1. Thank you for your great suggestions/tips. I will admit to not being super tech savvy, so I’ll have to recruit my husband to add a link for my book on my blog… As for the image I used for the ads, it’s the book cover which is pleasing to the eye (in my opinion). As for the slow sales, my book has only been available for 1 month and it’s nonfiction which I know doesn’t appeal to everybody. I’ve noticed that the Romance novels get a lot of attention, but it’s just not my thing. While the story itself was easy to write, I find it difficult to write about myself and create a buzz. I feel like a broken record, sharing the same information over and over again. But that’s just me. Honestly the book was a means of self healing and put out there to raise awareness, not as a means of gaining fame/fortune. If my story inspires just 1 person, then I’m happy. Thanks again for the tips, I will consider making changes.

    Like

  2. One easy and completely free thing you could do: place a link to your book on your blog. After randomly finding this post, I was interested enough that I would have clicked such a link. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find one, and I wasn’t interested enough to actually go to Amazon and search.

    Other than that:

    1. Have you discovered kboards yet? Great place to learn tips.
    2. An author I respect recommends that you not even bother with Facebook ads until you’re ready to spend some absurdly high amount. I think it was $500/day. Apparently, small spends on FB aren’t all that effective, and it requires a huge learning curve to figure out split testing and all kinds of stuff. Changing a single work in your copy text or picking the wrong image can completely sink your ad.
    3. There are other promo sites beside BB. Again, spend some time reading threads at kboards. Be cautious, though. Some promo sites use gray hat/black hat techniques. Use only those that have a good rep.
    4. The number one thing you can do to increase your chances of success is to keep writing. How’s your next book coming?
    5. Try to figure out why your book didn’t sell. Typical reasons are either a) Book wasn’t written in a good genre, ie one that has a lot of readers but that isn’t oversaturated. or b) Book’s cover, title, and/or blurb didn’t signal the book’s genre to the reader.

    Best of luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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