Marketing blog


Senior Member
Jan 2, 2008
Up the clum
From an industry professional (who is also trying to sell her services) on what works with books and what doesn't. Note that she isn't sff - didn't recognise the titles she has worked on but suspect they are "popular books for women"
has as fair bit about problems with Goodreads in here
Thanks for linking to this. These sound like good points. For a while I've wondered if a fair amount of promotion can end up as authors congratulating each other without reaching the public as much as they ought. But I know for certain that I am useless at technology and fundamentally don't get social media at all, so I am suspicious of agreeing with what she says about it!
Word of mouth - which can't be falsely generated - is the only thing that works reliably. Talk about books you love, and be passionate, and that spreads the love.
Also, don't rule out free or discounted sales and using the likes of bookbub - I have one planned for early Sept for Into A Blood-Red Sky on Book Barbarian and FreeBooksy, which hasn't cost the earth. But you really want a decent back catalogue to get payback on that.
Are you able to target Facebook ads at particular groups? As in local to the area if you are writing about that area? Or only on crime fiction discussion groups?
I tried Facebook advertising for my novel The Imposters. It must have gone to the right destination, as I got a lot of friends liking the advert. Unfortunately, most of them had already bought it. I also got a surprising amount of people telling me to f*ck off. It didn't have any discernable effect on sales.
That's a pretty good grounded piece that sounds like the triumph of realism vs hype.

I especially made a note of this point:
That has been my experience. I tried ads in a couple of Con (EasterCon and HorrorCon so far as I remember) programmes and saw zero return from that.
So I have a wee free promotion on Into A Blood-Red sky. This little one doesn’t have very many reviews (reviews are harder to get since Amazon changed their rules) but the ones I have are good, and they are detailed. Sales have been steady, helped by being on an academic syllabus

I haven’t had this on free promotion before and I chose it partially for that reason and also because my back catalogue (now 6 books) all have strong reviews ratings.

What I’ve done:

Started the 4 day free period yesterday to make sure it was in place with no snags, and done a very soft launch (2 social media posts, one post here, nothing much in it about the book) - 6 downloads which has taken me up the charts to the top 10 free in a couple of categories.

Today I’ve paid for a free promo in Book Barbarian, who I find good. That should shoot me further up the charts (I’ll report back but 50 would be a nice number).

Once up the charts I’ll promote more heavily with review quotes etc. Amazon like long and slow, but good, sales so extending the tail helps. With Inish Carraig I often get picked up and promoted in free book groups - but this doesn’t have the same review base or quirky elevator pitch.
What's worked wonders for me in terms of promoting books is advertising on social media platforms, specifically Instagram and Facebook. For instance, I ran a campaign for a recent book release, targeting a niche audience, and saw a conversion rate of about 7%. It was higher than I initially expected!

It's not the easiest thing to set up good ad campaigns, but for this, just look up at my competitors. I use the adspy library to see ad campaigns my competitors are running. With it, I can glean the best strategies from them and incorporate them into my campaigns.

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