I just finished a three-day free Amazon promotion of my second book, The Mancode: Exposed. How did it go?
It’s still going! Here are some numbers:
I’m kinda amazed given that the book has been out now for ten months. This is kind of my last hurrah, if you will, before releasing my next book Broken Pieces in November. Many kind folks are asking me why my books do so well on free days. I’ll tell you now: there is no magic bullet. Nothing is easy. A lot went into the planning of this free promotion.
1) Co-Promotion: I combined forces with the fabulous R.S.Guthrie and Frederick Lee Brooke to promote each other during our free days. We all had one book go free. We also offered incentives (see specifics below). We shared the promo across all our blogs and all social media channels and R.S. even created a landing page for the promo on his site.
2) Contest/Giveaway: we split the cost of a new Kindle Fire HD (retail: $199) so about $66 each. The criteria to enter: no downloads necessary. Just share our free event across Twitter (one entry), Twitter and Facebook (two entries), Twitter, Facebook, and well, wherever else (three entries). R.S. was kind enough to enter all the entries into a spreadsheet, and we’ll use a random generator to figure out the winner.
3) Free Book Sites: I found a list of free book sites (just googled it), and listed my book on as many as I could. All were free.
4) Blog Tour: I planned a seven-day virtual book tour via the fabulous Pandora of Orangeberry Book Tours. She’s a brilliant marketer, author, and hard worker. The entire cost was about $30 for seven blog visits, a few #TwitterViews and a #TweetChat. More than worth the investment. In addition, schedule any guest posts or interviews during your free time period.
5) Twitter: While I’m not a fan of spamming our followers with ‘Hey, my book is free!’ updates and no other content, I believe it’s okay to update people with rankings or downloads. Refer them to your bio where you’ve placed a customized, trackable book link. People are inherently interested to see how these promos do (which is why you’re here reading this post). Right? This does a few things:
I do feel it’s also important to continue writing content (no link) tweets as well as providing news stories or other relevant content. Twitter isn’t all about you.
6) Facebook: I’ve become more of a Facebook fan recently with all the new changes and options they’ve incorporated. You can add a few days’ ad, for example, which I’ve found is a nice option for little investment. There’s also something to be said for interacting with your support base who want to help you succeed.
7) Newsletter: Many authors I know don’t want to hassle with newsletters and I get it. I resisted for a long time. But the fact remains that email marketing is still THE MOST EFFECTIVE way to generate sales (Hubspot, 2012). Setting up free MailChimp is not that difficult, and you can add the widget for sign-ups virtually everywhere: your site, blog, even Facebook page. This is a terrific way to let people know what’s going on with you.
8) Google+: not to be discounted, this social media channel has grown exponentially this past year, and most importantly, is given more weight than even Twitter or Facebook when it comes to your SEO.
9) Hootsuite: Long a proponent, I like that I can manage all these accounts listed above from one application (I love the desktop interface; mobile kinda sucks). I’m a fan of scheduling posts as well as live tweeting. I don’t think it should be either/or. What I like about scheduling is there’s no ‘Twitter Blast’ effect, with all of your “Hey, I’m free!” messages dumped onto people’s timelines all at once. You can write one message and spread it across several channels and they now even have an ‘autoschedule’ function (and Chrome extension) which is uberconvenient.
10) LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram: We’re naturally drawn to the social media channels that light us up. If you prefer a visual medium, post your books and blogs to Pinterest. Read a few lines on YouTube. Take a shot of your cover for Instagram. You get it, right? Not everyone can be everywhere, including you, but you can check in occasionally. Tip: Join some groups on LinkedIn.
11) Networking: I’m honored to be part of a few Facebook and LinkedIn groups that are all about supporting each other. When I went free, many regularly shared my info without me even asking and of course, I do the same for them.
12) Support: You know which writers support you and which don’t. But…so what? My dad taught me to ‘kill em with kindness,’ and while difficult at times, making enemies doesn’t help you (though it may feel awesome at the time). Be the kind of author your dad would be proud of.
Bottom line: there’s no one approach that will help your free promotion be successful. If you’re not willing or able to put in the work, don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t go as well as you would have hoped. Do the work, reap the benefits.
Please let me know if I missed anything that you have found helpful! And please share your specific experiences or questions down below.
Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs, #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.