I recently received an promotional email (no personalized salutation) from an indie author saying she noticed I'd reviewed a book similar to one she had just written and if she sent me a free e-pub edition would I be interested in reviewing hers?
What interested me was how she went about selecting reviewers? It must be an onerous task to go through reviewers on Amazon, even after applying the appropriate filters in regards to genre, and extract their emails. And once you have them there is no guarantee they're going to review your book, or for that matter give you a good review.
So I agreed to review her book on the condition she tell me how she got my email address and any other tips she might have on marketing. To sweeten the deal I even purchased her book, very uncharacteristic for me.
She responded favorably and has been very forthcoming. Here's what she has undertaken so far in producing and marketing her novel.
She says she wrote this book, her second in a series, taking into consideration the requirements and preferences of traditional publishers because she thought she might approach agents and traditional publishers with it.
"In the end, after reading several articles and consulting with the other authors in my two writers' groups, I decided that self-publishing is actually the better option. If you're interested in my reasoning, let me know."
I am interested and will be asking her why she'd turn down a traditional publisher to become a self-publisher? Her previous book was also self-published so it's not like she switched.
So how did she come up with my name and email address and those of other reviewers?
The answer is she bought a Book Review Targeter app for $200 (lots are available on the internet).
It works like this - you choose as many books as you want that you feel are similar to yours and receive what's essentially an excel list of all the people who reviewed those books. The vast majority don't have an email address but there are plenty that do.
So what to do with those email addresses?
She down loaded an app called Group Mailer because it makes sending out group emails easy.
So how is she doing?
"In about three days I've had about forty-five people agree to read and review a free version of the book and an additional twenty who declined the free copy and purchased the book to review it."
Now that's impressive, not the forty-five who agreed to review it, but the twenty who declined a free review copy and bought one. Who are these people?
She says she has another three or four lists (from additional similar books) she has yet process.
She'll be running a 99¢ campaign for the e-book edition for two days on Amazon and one day free book promotions on Pretty-Hot Books and Discountbookman, spending ten dollars for a featured promotion on bookreadermagazine and running a giveaway on Goodreads.
She also has had no problem asking friends, colleagues and clients to buy her book and she anticipates reviews from about twenty percent of them.
She's asked the other writers in her writers' groups to share information about her book on their Facebook pages and has started looking for blogs to ask bloggers to mention it.
If that isn't enough, and it probably isn't, she's considering spending $720 to have BookBub promote her book. BookBub claims the campaign will sell 2700 books, and the members in her writers' groups unanimously support these stats saying they've received three times the return on their investment with such a promotion.
There's a caveat here - BookBub only accepts professionally produced, error free books. They seldom accept new releases, preferring you have a proven track record with reviews. If you qualify be prepared to cut your price to the bone. Even if you want to promote with BookBub you may not make the grade.
To produce her book she hired two beta readers at $50 each and got a book cover artist from her writers' group to design her cover for $65. No editor was needed as she just happens to be one herself.
So far her hard costs have been $375. Results are pending.
A lot of what she's doing I've done:
- I have an Advance Reading Team e-mail list of a little over 200 who receive my new books free to stimulate buzz and encourage reviews.
- I have run giveaway promotions on Goodreads, LibraryThing and BookLikes.
- I send a press release to local media offering them a book in return for a review
- I blog, and promote on Facebook and Twitter
- I have three beta readers who read my books free and are recognized on the book's Acknowledgement Page.
- I edit my own books and design my own covers
Some of what she's doing I'll never do.
I have never solicited family, friends, colleagues or clients to buy my books. In my opinion it's unprofessional. Besides I want my books to be bought because they're well written and entertaining, not out some misguided obligation or as as way for someone to ingratiate themselves to me.
My hard costs on my last book were zero.
And so have the results.
Of course, there's always the elephant in the room - the quality of the book.
I'm watching how this book launch does and hoping I can learn something. Maybe you will as well.
Speaking of book marketing...
CreatorCollabs Boosted Tweets
So out of the blue I get a promotional tweet about CreatorCollabs (CC) Boosted Tweets. Basically, post a tweet and share it on CC. Other CC users see your Tweet and share it with their online audiences. In-turn, you need to share content created by others to ensure your points stay high to continue to get access for your tweets.
There's a free and paid plan. Of course, I used the free one.
For a week I loaded Tweets about my plays, Harry's Truth and End of the Rope, available free on Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin until December 31, 2017. In return I retweeted content about the books of other authors.
They have a stats bar so you can check how many people you're apparently reaching. Here's the results of one of my tweets.
- The number of retweets my tweet received from my own twitter followers = 0.
- The number of retweets my tweet received through CreatorCollabs Community = 7
- Number of my followers my tweet reached = 50
- Number of followers my tweet reached through CreatorCollabs Community = 10,131
Increase in books sales in response to this enormous increase in reach = 0
Increase in activity on my website and book sales platforms = negligible.
Just another case of nobody being interested in anyone (or their books) but themselves - including me.
Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.
Web addresses associated with this article:
Book Reader Magazine http://bookreadermagazine.com/
Discount Book Man http://discountbookman.com/
Author Amazon Page