Sunday, February 10, 2019

After the Book is Finished Comes the Hard Part (For Me)

I admit that my greatest weakness as an author is marketing and promotion.

It's not that I'm passive about it; I think it's because I'm not aggressive enough. I guess I'm a bit on the shy side when it comes to promoting myself. And most authors I know are the same way. Promoting others is much easier than self-promotion.

I promote and market on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and my personal website as well as emails, postcards, bookmarks, and other marketing plans. I occasionally go to book fairs, libraries, and bookstores to sign books and meet readers. I do some public speaking. Some strategies work better than others, some hardly work, and some don't work at all.

It's a struggle. recently finished reading Alinka Rutkowska's How I Sold 80,000 Books: Book Marketing for Authors (a free download on Amazon), and while it contains many recommendations that you see in similar books (compiling email lists, asking others for reviews, professional editing, and slick book covers, etc.) what stood out is that it takes a lot of work to promote a book. 

Much like writing a book.

While the book targets indie and self-published authors, I've heard stories from writers with the traditional publishing houses (those behemoths in New York) that they're expected to promote their books as well.

Alinka provides free advice and links to relevant websites but stresses it's the author who has to do the work. And even then, there's no guarantee that you'll sell 8, 80, 800, 8,000, or 80,000 books.

And we know you're not going to sell a single book (unless to mom) if you simply sit on your hands and do nothing. 

Alinka's book is one I recommend (you can't beat free!). She writes in a lively and light style that 's easy to read and takes perhaps an hour or so to finish. I particularly liked the bonus section at the end which includes interviews with six authors about how they achieved their various degrees of success.

So between now and the May 1 release of my next novel, New Horizons, I'll be busy promoting and marketing it to the world.

Do you have any suggestions?


Rhobin Lee Courtright said...

I agree, marketing is very hard, and what finding out works for you is time consuming and frustrating.

John Lynch said...

I have had great success with BookBub ads.

I also became an Amazon Associate, so I get a cut on purchases on Amazon after people click on my ad. Not just purchasing my book, but anything else. It doesn't cover the cost of ads, but it does offset the cost by up to half. For instance, today I spent 40 bucks on ads and so far have received about 20 bucks in Amazon fees. Since Wings publishes on Amazon, this is a no-brainer. I don't get fees for Kindle Unlimited downloads, but that's what royalties are for.

With royalties, this almost pays for itself. I'm not making money at writing yet, but I didn't get into this for money :)

My New Persia book peaked at sales rank 3200, and Endemic at 13500. Both are now around 25-40k. When they get down to about 100k I spend 20 bucks and they go back up.

I've done a few other things, but BookBub and Amazon Associates have made the biggest difference.

Hope that helps.

John Lynch

John Lynch said...


Buy ads on BookBub, and use your ID from your Amazon Associate account to link to your book on Amazon. You get a cut on ALL Amazon purchases after someone uses your link. This greatly offsets the cost of the ads.

Since Wings publishes on Amazon, this is a no-brainer. You get extra money for promoting your book. Even if a customer buys someone else's book, you still get a cut.

There is no way to promo books for free. Ads are essential. I keep my sales rank above 100k, and sometimes my books break 10k. I'm not making money at this, but with the Amazon Associate link to offset the cost of ad buys, and my royalties, I'm close to breaking even.

Hope that helps. Marketing isn't free, don't pretend it is, and if you are going to spend a lot of time writing and editing you may as well spend the money to make it worthwhile.

John Lynch said...