I’m overwhelmed and honored that over the last two months, my first Broken book, Broken Pieces, has not budged from the #1 spot on Amazon’s Women’s Poetry list. It’s also #1 on Women Authors, and somewhere in the top 50 (as I write this, it’s #24) in Memoirs (overall ranking alternates between 1,100 and 2,000). In ALL of Amazon. And, for the first time ever, I have an ‘official’ Amazon overall author rank under 100 (I’m around #55 right now), which shocks me.
My second Broken book, Broken Places, is on the same lists, not quite as high: #4, #7, and #97, respectively (overall ranking between 4,500 and 7,000).
How is my book marketing different these past two months than over the last two years, since I’ve released my first Broken book?I have a backlist now: Pieces and Places are my third and fourth books, and they’re also available in a collection, titled The Broken Collection (which makes a fifth title). I’m also featured in two major anthologies, released just before Christmas, all which helps with visibility. Finally, I’ve invested focused money in my marketing. Not thousands, but not pennies.
The marketing money didn’t appear on the money tree I used to imagine would grow outside my house when I was, you know, five. I worked my ass off. I scrimped and saved, I haven’t gone on vacation, I don’t drink my coffee at Starbuck’s, and I rarely if ever buy new clothes or shoes (except for my kids because well, kids). In fact, this year has been particularly rough as a single mom with divorce and tax lawyers to pay for — so not only did I have to pay them, I still had to find a way to creatively market on a tight budget.
Marketing is not a choice, so I created a ‘promotional marketing fund.’ This is how I spent it. Note: some of these tactics are free.
For all of you who are constantly tweeting and sharing, “Buy my book!” links, this will probably be pretty eye-opening. I rarely, if ever, share a ‘hey, go buy my book!’ tweet. Go, look at my author Twitter stream and you’ll see. I’ll wait.
Okay, you’re back. Instead, I’m doing this:
When I guessed at these Facebook ads myself, the results were dismal. The ROI isn’t 1 to 1, but they don’t promise that. I see it as a growth experiment, and I’m not locked in — I can quit at any time. If you choose to only utilize their free services, you will still be happy.
***UPDATE: AuthorRise is history, gone belly-up. Sorry, guys. I really liked their service. 🙁 *****
If I have a few free days, I will pay for a FreeBooksy instead, which goes out to 68,800 readers and costs $80.
There are many, many more promotional sites I use and recommend because they go directly to your readers, people you may never be able to reach on your own. You can find all of them here on this post with details and links.
I decided to keep the lower price throughout December, and I can definitely tell you that has helped my sales and ranking immensely. When the price returns to normal in January, will my sales tank? Who knows? The Amazon Machine is fickle.
I’m currently submitting to more sites also — a few of them even pay! You need to decide for yourself if you will only write for sites that pay — that’s your call. Regardless, the exposure helps your visibility and SEO.
Same goes for podcasts and interviews. Podcasts are popular and here to stay. Join groups with authors and bloggers who write what you write, and invite them to write for you (if you’re not a podcaster) in exchange for an interview. As always, be polite and use your inside voice. AC Fuller has a popular author podcast — here’s my latest guest spot with lots of author tips!
What can you offer to others?
Awards don’t fall out of the sky to be bestowed upon you by magical awards fairies. You must find appropriate awards and apply for them, often for a fee. Some authors refuse to pay any fees for a book award because they feel they shouldn’t have to pay for an award — that it’s somehow ‘gaming’ the system. I disagree.
The organizations that run these awards employ people who will process your entry, distribute your work to reviewers or panels who will review and discuss your work; some even analyze it and offer critique. Why should their time be free? Your application fee covers their time.
I’ve won several awards for both my books and I can tell you, being an award-winning author helps sales immensely. Here’s a fairly complete list of award opportunities (some free, some paid), from The Book Designer site.
Is your book just not selling at all? Here’s an excellent article by Joanna Penn that covers many reasons why that may be happening. Perfecting your book marketing doesn’t happen overnight. Take your time, create a plan, and work your plan!
Do you need customized consulting? Hire me! Take a look at my fees and services here.
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All content © 2016 by BadRedhead Media aka Rachel Thompson, author, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released 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. Rachel is published by Shadow Teams NYC and represented by Lisa Hagan Books. 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.