To say that I’m not good at marketing would be like saying that there are clouds in the sky and rain falling from them. Here in Belgium, that’s true about 80% of the time. So too, do my marketing failures happen about 80% of the time I attempt to advertise my books.
I have made losing money in marketing into an art. Give me money to spend to promote a book and I can almost guarantee that you will not earn more than about a quarter of it back—and that would be an amazing return.
I have tried hiring people to market for me—which only succeeded in giving my money to different people with no return. I have tried just throwing up my hands and giving up—that at least didn’t cost me anything. I have tried Facebook ads, Amazon ads, Bookbub ads, promoting my books in all sorts of newsletters, doing swaps, guest blogging, taking over FB pages—you name it, I’ve tried it.
I have made sure my covers are all professionally done, and my book descriptions as good as I can make them (sometimes even hiring other people to write them for—another waste of money).
I have increased the number of people who “like” my author page on Facebook. I Instagram, Tweet, have boards on Pinterest, and post to Tumblr (sometimes). I have my email list to whom I send a newsletter every month.
In short, I have read all the advice there is and have followed it—and watched my bank account drop with very little to show for it.
So, what’s a struggling author to do? Call for help, of course!
I posted a such a cry to the marketing group on the Romance Writer’s of America site and got some really obvious advice (basically everything I’d already done), and then some great advice from one of the top Regency romance authors today, Erica Ridley (if you don’t know her books, you’ll love them!!!!).
She gave me two pieces of advice, one I already knew but hadn’t yet acted upon: I needed new covers for my Storm Series; and the other was to keep at it!
She was so wonderful and so supportive. She said that she advertises her books in all of the book newsletters cycling through them and through her many books. It doesn’t take too much time or cost too much money but it does keep her name visible and her books selling.
It’s such simple, excellent advice!
I immediately embarked on this and have since bought ads in five different newsletters (ebookhounds, KND, BookGoodies, among others) and I even went out on a limb and applied for (and got!) a Bookbub feature deal. Those aren’t cheap, but I’m hoping I’ll at least earn my money back on the sales of the other books in my new series (it’s the first book that will be promoted).
As we move into this buying season—Christmas is just around the corner!—I’m hoping that these ads don’t go the way of many of my previous ones where I hardly see any sort of return on them, but this time I’m determined not to give up too soon. I’m going to give this new marketing idea a good try for at least the new few months, buy ads and promoting my books.
I got all new covers for that one series and I’m really looking forward to unveiling them to the world (first I’m going to see how I can promote them, set that up, and also update the inside of the books to go with the beautiful new outsides).
Marketing is, without a doubt, the hardest part of being a self-published author. It takes time and some know-how, but I think most of all, it takes patience and tenacity to see if what you do actually works. Oh, and statistics! Yuck… statistics. Sorry.
So, tell me, people, what marketing have you done that’s actually worked and earned you some sales? Please share!!