The indie author and how to promote a book. There’s a lot to the phrase, promote a book. I did a previous post, Indie Authors – Promoting Your Book, where I discussed a few things that you indie authors need to keep in mind when promoting your book (or books :)). But there are so many strategies that I could keep creating posts on book promotion. So in this post I asked my friend and fellow bestselling indie author, Jeff Bennington, to share some of his thoughts and ideas about how to promote a book.
What was the first thing you did to promote your very first book and how successful was it?
The very first thing I did to promote my book was build a website. Since that time I have found it to be an ineffective use of my time and money. My blog is by far my greatest weapon in my marketing arsenal. Anyway, the next thing I did was schedule a 45-day blog tour. The tour was a lot of work and probably not worth the effort and time in terms of immediate sales, but it did get my name out there and gave me 20 reviews in the first 30 days of the tour. Until the blog tour, no one had ever heard of Jeff Bennington, the author who writes fascinating supernatural thrillers with mind-blowing twists. Now, that has all changed. Since that time, almost 40,000 readers have been introduced to my books. I have also added two more bestselling works to my catalog.
Excluding KDP Select, what has been the most effective thing for book promotion?
(The following is taken from my book, The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe)
I’m not sure KDP is the most effective tool for book promotion, although it has proven to be immediately effective. I believe that a combined effort can really rev up sales. My success with KDP was a result of nine months of daily marketing, tweeting, blogging, ads and word of mouth. I got lucky with KDP because I ran a free promo just before Christmas and struck gold. Did I say, I was lucky? There were very few authors with well-traveled books at that time who had actually jumped right into the Select program. Blake Crouch, Joe Konrath, John J. Kaufman, Carolyn McCray, Amber Scott, a few others and myself took the bull by the horns, and we reaped the benefits of that perfect timing. Also, Reunion had been in a Twelve Days of Christmas promotion prior to my inclusion into the KDP program.
Outside of KDP, I run ads on occasion with DigitalBookToday.com, Indiereader.com, Kindlenation.com and the 99¢ Network. I seek reviews, I blog frequently in my raw writing style, I utilize The Kindle Book Review (a big part of my platform), I tweet, I host giveaways on Goodreads, and I use Triberr, among other options. It never ends. Marketing is not about a secret weapon. Marketing books is about constant movement and continuous change. What works today will not work tomorrow. You cannot count on any single marketing tool or ad to blast your book into outer space. You can however, expect sales to grow (at varying degrees) if you are adding new titles, publishing excellent stories and constantly putting those books into the public eye.
Do you have a budget for book promotion and how did you determine that amount?
No. I try to use free whenever possible. The Kindle Book Review is starting to create a consistent stream of income, so I am just beginning to use some of those funds to throw back into my marketing. Over the course of the last year, I’d estimate that I haven’t spent more than $500 in marketing.
How did you come up with the idea of The Writing Bomb (your blog)? What is its reach? What kinds of things are people saying about the site?
I have no idea where I came up with The Writing Bomb. I threw a few names around and that just sounded the best. I tried a lot of different blogging strategies, but I have found that the most effective strategy is to simply write interesting and helpful content in a captivating voice. I truly didn’t intend on writing about my writing experience and lessons. That just happened. I thought my blog would be more about author interviews and cross promotion, hoping to bring other readers into my court. That was a major fail. What I discovered was, if I wrote helpful and interesting content, I’d get hundreds of hits. Conversely, my numbers and comments plummeted when I did an author interview or guest post. I have since dropped all guest posts and interviews.
Your best piece of advice for new indie authors?
The best advice I can give is two-fold:
- Write as many incredibly awesome stories as you can and get them professionally edited.
- Always be willing to change… repair mistakes, change your cover, change your blurb, change your marketing, and change your idea of what it means to be an indie author. We are living in a malleable time.
I appreciate Jeff stopping by and giving us a glimpse of what worked for him. I really appreciate his saying that we live in a malleable time. To be successful, the indie author has to adapt to the ever-changing world of book publishing.
Don’t forget to use #IAHB (Indie Author Handbook) for your tweets that have valuable content for the indie author. It makes searching for this information much easier :). For an explanation, read Indie Authors And A New Twitter Hashtag.
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