What’s New On Your Marketing List?

by Molly Greene, @mollygreene

Self-published authors are constantly on the lookout for effective ways to market their books and increase sales, and I’m no exception. Sadly, though, my 2016 marketing plan went off the rails and I fell short of my goals. But with the start of a new year, I’m determined to create additional ways, both in and outside the tried-and-true, to get the word out about my work.

Something I’d hoped for but will now, finally, kickoff for the first time, is cross-promo collaboration. I was invited to join a boxset with a group of mystery/thriller authors, and was thrilled to be part of the team.

And, as we head into spring, in future posts I’ll share about our experiences promoting and selling this multi-author set. For now, meet some of my partners in this project, and learn what new marketing tasks – aside from the boxset – they’ve taken on for 2017.

Ian Sutherland

Last year, Amazon opened up its advertising platform to all authors, not just those who are exclusive within KDP Select. Since I had mixed success with Facebook advertising in 2016, I’m giving Amazon ads a more focused go this year. Unlike Facebook, the only image you can use in your advert is your book cover. So, success is all down to an enticing cover, targeting and the small amount of copy you can add to the ad. There are two types of ads you can run, Sponsored Products or Product Display. Intuitively, I thought Product Display would fare better but, for me, early testing tells me that Sponsored Products typically gives a better ROI. To learn more for yourself, press the ‘Promote and Advertise’ button to the right of your book in the KDP Dashboard bookshelf and give it a go.

Joe McNally

A year ago I moved to a small island off the Scottish west coast (53 people per square km). This year, I’m going to offer local creative writing lessons, free to all. This will be a community contribution but maybe I’ll get some word of mouth promotion from students.

Helen Hanson

Like most writers diving into 2017, I want to hit water when I land. Everywhere, I hear the same question asked: what’s that next big thing to springboard my work? For me as a human, life the last couple of years has been crappy hectic, so I’m like the [insert athletic team here] and in a rebuilding season. Along with advertising, I’m doubling-down on collaborative marketing efforts with other writers. I plan to produce more novels, short works, and audio editions of my existing books. With a new release coming, I’m updating my release procedures. What worked before? What made me what to drink scotch for breakfast? With every process, I’ll analyze, assess, and adapt. Whatever it takes to reach more readers because only readers matter.

D.F. Bailey

Like Ian, my 2017 marketing goal is to become a master of Amazon ebook ads. Since most of the people scanning Amazon’s Kindle pages are looking at ebooks, it’s an ideal place to advertise.

So on January 1st I stuck a toe into the water by advertising one book. So far I’m breaking even — which somehow feels like a victory. Next month I’ll dive in and post ads for all seven of my novels. From that experiment I hope to learn what works, what doesn’t, and then scale-up the winners. In March I’ll publish a boxset of my first four novels and apply the advertising lessons I’ve learned to my boxset.

That’s the plan. But as the proverb says, “Man plans, God laughs.” Wish me luck.

Mark McKay

I’m a suspense thriller writer with five books to date. Four of those are part of a series. After several attempts, I’ve just been accepted for my first Bookbub promotion. For me that’s pretty exciting, especially if what I hear about the effectiveness of Bookbub is true.

I’m offering the first book in my series, A Terminal Agenda, for free. The object is to drive people to the following titles to increase sales and gain more visibility. The whole discoverability issue is the number one nightmare for Indie authors who are starting out, in my opinion.

Perhaps that’s about to change for me. Apparently I can expect 40K-50K downloads for the book, which is pretty amazing, really. I’ll be delighted if that happens. That’s more than I get for the Freebie on Amazon in a year, in one day. Wish me luck!

Catherine Lee

I’ve been writing for a while, but I’m new to marketing. Last year I dabbled, but it’s time to get serious. My big focus this year is to actually plan out my marketing attempts, and spread them through the year, rather than just haphazardly having a go at various things. So I’ve set myself a monthly budget, and set out what I plan to use it on each month for the whole of 2017. It’s a mix of promos for my permafree first in series, launches for the next two plus a box set of the first three. I’ll be tracking the results, so I’ll be better able to assess what works and what doesn’t.

John W. Mefford

Marketing is like a trendy restaurant. Even ones with the biggest splash opening may not last very long. So, instead of jumping into every latest marketing trend, I aim to find a knowledgeable book marketing SME (or at least someone willing to learn) so they can focus on the details and provide me the data so that I can make decisions at a more strategic level. Ideally, I hope to spend more time writing.

Kerry J Donovan

For the first time this year, I plan to submit my latest novel to the Kindle Scout Program and promote it though the usual routes, Newsletters, Facebook, and Twitter. Apart from that, I’ll write and self-publish one more book and pray to the God of All Authors that someone buys the blasted things.

Oh, and like Ian, I’ve dipped a toe in the water of Amazon ads. So far, it’s looking good. I’ve set a Sponsored Products ad and so far, have netted Average Costs of Sales of 22%, which isn’t bad.

Note from Molly: Check out my novels on Amazon, join my Reader’s Club for freebies and book news, and follow me on Twitter. This original content is copyright protected. Thank you so much. Mwah!

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