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I decided to start a new thread on advertising/marketing a self-published novel

FibonacciEddie

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I recognise this is subject that has been covered before ... but times change and the industry evolves ... so perhaps a reboot of the discussion will be useful ...

My current approach is as follows:

  1. Agree with yourself (you holding all the roles ... as writer, manager, commission editor, and tea-lady/tea-boy) a publish date
  2. A few months before publish date trawl the world for Book Reviewers who read and review your genre
  3. Send out 100 - 200 begging emails (I did this in Feb)
  4. Get 10 responses and send them and ARC Mobi or ePub or PDF or ... if you really like them a paperback)
  5. Wait
  6. Publish book on Amazon (Kindle and KDP) ... getting all the basics right: cover, blurb, metadata ... whilst also setting up proofs for IngramSpark - cause you never know! (joining ALLi gets freebie with Ingram and I have found pretty good/informative) - I self-pubbed 28th Feb ('Immortal')
  7. Nag people for reviews without offering any service/compensation (** this is the point I am currently at ... I have two reviews on Amazon.com from genuine independent reviewers)
  8. Set up 'small' advertising thingies on Amazon (AMS) and Facebook ... each for a pound or two a day ... the goal is to get 10-15 reviews on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk --- I have started this on Facebook just as a trial but not on Amazon yet ... waiting for reviews
  9. Wait
  10. Wait
  11. Run email advertising with the usual suspects that offer an email splurge for $40 a pop --- plan a month in advance and try to get 5 in a row (within a day of each other) --- I plan to use Bargain Booksy; Book Barbarian; Book Sends; Books and Tips; Many Books; Robin Reads; The Books Machine ... and maybe (but probably not as they are expensive) Ereader News Today and Kindle Nation Daily
  12. Wait

...
Anyone got any thoughts on this ... particularly interested to hear from people who have self-published in the last month
@Toby Frost
@Teresa Edgerton

regards
Nick
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Well, the books I have just self-published are actually reprints, which have been published by two different publishers over the years, plus me, which puts me in a poor position for begging for reviews, since all the people I know who I think might like the books have already read them years ago (and many did review them, or provided blurbs at the time, but if they didn't review them before, I feel it would be nagging them to ask them to do it now). But they have been very supportive giving their opinions of the books on Facebook and elsewhere. So I'm not in the same place as someone publishing brand new books. (Though in the future I hope to be, and will watch this thread with interest in the meantime.)

Now when I was working as an editor for a small publisher, I was much more shameless about approaching people I knew for reviews for the books I edited. I seem to remember that of those I approached, only about a fifth of those agreed to read ARCs and provide reviews. I'd be interested to know what your return was on the 100-200 emails you sent out.

I've been told that Facebook ads for books don't bring a good return for the money spent. Again, I'd be interested to hear about your experience when more time has passed and you have a better idea of the results.
 

Toby Frost

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Well, I'm wary of saying much about this because I don't know much! I am at a similar stage (about stage 10), and am doing much the same thing. I do wonder if I have the numerical equivalent of dyslexia, because much of the stats-related stuff is just baffling to me. A lot of it is trial and error so far.
 

Brian G Turner

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I'd suggest a more radical approach:

  1. Put up first 1,500 words up here in Critiques, repeatedly, until the version you put up gets the least criticism.
  2. Ask on chrons if anyone would like an arc. Try and engage specifically with members who have already shown an interest, or otherwise read similar, and offer them arcs.
  3. Publish book, set and forget.
  4. Write and publish more books, doing the same
  5. Don't even consider paid marketing until you have a number of books out - the more the better - as otherwise the marketing costs will outweigh the gains until you have enough books for upsell, ie, the readers you persuaded to buy one book buying other books by you.
  6. Keep putting books out in the hope that you'll get past a critical threshold in visibility
  7. Don't stop.
 

Toby Frost

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In a way, that's what I'm doing at present. I'm editing the sequel to Up To The Throne, and trying to write a third part. It's a lot to do - not just in terms of writing, but in organising, too. My hope is to have them all out by the end of the year.
 

FibonacciEddie

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@Teresa Edgerton
Actual numbers as follows:
240 requests - 20 said "yes, send me the Mobi" - so far I have 2 reviews (but it is early days) ... I will report back
(summary answer ... it may not be worth while but unfortunately for British authors it is really hard to get US reviews and yet that is where much of the sales opportunity is)

@Jo Zebedee
I hear you ... chasing sales is soul destroying ... I guess my (current) approach is predicated on, 'if you want to win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket', of course, after you've spent all your money on tickets then ... ... ...

@Toby Frost
You're not alone ... I think it is all trial-and-error.

@Brian G Turner
Well ... I have three stand-alone novels out there now ... which in the olden days was considered to be critical mass ... what I'm hearing now is that it is all about "Series"

Ah well ... I also echo Jo and Brian ... keep writing ... write for fun ... don't stop!

thanks guys and feel free to DM me if you want any more details
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Chasing sales unless Amazon are behind you is soul destroying.
I received an advance for writing Goblin Moon and The Gnome's Engine (aka Hobgoblin Night) back in the early nineties, when I sold them to Ace/Berkley. It was not a huge amount of money, but it was enough to make a big difference in my life at the time. So money is not a large part of why I've reprinted them now (not to say that I can't use any money that comes my way, because I certainly can). My major reason (and I am sure you know this, Jo, but I'm saying it for anyone following this thread who doesn't know) is because I'd like to see all my books in print, and stay in print—which they can easily do these days if self-published, but the longevity of a book was very much dependent on the original publisher back when I wrote them. Most books had a lamentably short life back then—there were no ebooks at the time, no print on demand, and publishers were stingy with their warehouse space for printed books. And though my publishers did sell the sub-rights to some of my books to foreign publishers, none of them had the kind of international distribution I can get now simply by publishing my books through KDP. With all these opportunities available now, why not use them and see what happens?

Also, a whole new generation of readers has been born and grown to adulthood since those books were published, readers who might well enjoy them if they only knew about them—readers who might like a change from the big, dark, pseudo-medieval epics that dominated the shelves for a while. I know that there is at present an openness among readers to books that don't fit that mold, and I want to take advantage of that while it still applies, these things tending to go in cycles. (Also, I had a tremendous amount of fun writing this particular series, and I hope readers will get a chance to enjoy it, too.) So I'm making a little push to bring Goblin Moon and Hobgoblin Night to people's attention, just at first, but I'm not interested in wearing myself out chasing sales over any long period. Because very soon I'll be turning my attention to my long term goal, which is getting the rest of my backlist back in print. Then we will see what happens when I have eleven books, and some short fiction, all in print at the same time. Who knows what that will be like? But even if it does not lead to any great success, it will fulfill a goal I've had for some time, of making those books once more available. I think anyone who has poured time and love and effort into a book can understand the appeal of that.
 
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I don't have much experience in this (only the one book out right now), but I'm with @Jo Zebedee on this right now. I did absolutely no pre-release promotion/marketing before sending my book out into the world. 1) I knew absolutely nothing about all the pre-release promotion, marketing, etc. that I've seen a lot of others recommending to give your book a good 'launch,' and 2) I was dealing with a work situation I was desperate to escape from and didn't want to wait any longer than necessary to publish my book in the off chance it might help. I write for the enjoyment of writing and the stress relief it can give me. Yes, I'd love for them to sell well, but I think it's too early for me to really expend a lot of time/money on promoting until I have more books finished. I do a little bit here and there with posts on FB, Instagram, Twitter, and my Goodreads/website blogs and by word-of-mouth. Now-and-then, I've also put my book on sale and paid for a BargainBooksy ad just to boost sales a little, but I'm not going to start really pushing my book(s) until I finish the series I'm currently writing. I think having a completed series out there will likely go a long way towards helping sales when I start advertising than doing so with only one or two books.
 

tinkerdan

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This is a good thread: Especially so if we find someone who did something that worked and if they care to share and if they have the numbers to back up their advice.

There is way too much advice about writing and too little of value about marketing.
It's too easy to waste time and money and other resources trying things that have been suggested with no clear evidence of success.

The first clue to this is that it can cost thousands of dollars to hire someone, who should know about marketing, to market your book; and their contract always reads 'we can in no way guarantee the success of our efforts...' followed by 'results often can be no better than the work itself...'

This translates to...' we're going to just throw some advertisement out to our usual channels and the work will either sell itself or it won't...but, you will reach a larger number of people this way.'

They key is; exposure plus a work that is done well enough to sell itself.

So the question might be; where is the best place to expose the work? And that goes back to those pros who will take your money with no guarantee; though one would hope they know the best places to advertise. (I confess to throwing a thousand dollars in that direction--and that was the inexpensive end of things. [Won't do that again--at least not soon.])

I'm open to anyone who has demonstrable results and wants to share.
 
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