Tips & Tools for Promoting eBook Deals

I’m a curious creature who loves to experiment. So while I’ve only been a published author since March 2014, I like to think I’ve accumulated a bit of knowledge on this topic. In the past three years I’ve self-published through Smashwords, Draft2Digital, and KDP. My eBooks have been exclusive through KU and also offered more broadly. And I’m a hybrid author so I’ve seen marketing from both sides of the fence. The one thing I can say with certainty is that no one cares more about how well your book sells than YOU.

Advertising your ebook deals isn’t always cheap, but it can be if you put a lot of sweat into looking for websites that will promote for free or a minimal charge. What I’m about to share is geared toward self-published books, but I’ve done many of the same things when my publishers offered my books at a special price.

Before I landed my first BookBub advertisement, I toyed with various methods to increase my *FREE* and *$0.99* offerings. My best ranking was #18 in the Amazon overall list when I offered FAIR GAME for free. Yes, you read that right – the overall top 100 – not in my subcategory. That equated to 14,000 downloads. Of my book. Yippee! Those are results most authors would be happy to achieve with BookBub (and have to pay $250 for that privilege). Believe it or not, I only paid $10. Three more of my books hit the top 100 as well. My book offer for $0.99 hit #207 for approximately 600 downloads. While I can’t promise you’ll achieve the same results, I’ll gladly share what I’ve tried in the past few years so you might try it as well. 

(1) Set a date for your promotion (Free or $0.99 – but I highly recommend Free) that is at least one month in the future. It’s best to offer your book free for at least two or three days in a row. 

(2) Contact promotional websites early and request that they feature your eBook on the dates you selected in (1) above. There are a lot of websites that don’t charge a single penny. BUT THIS TAKES A LOT OF TIME. When I hit #18 for FAIR GAME, it was promoted on 15 different websites but I reached out to a total of 34. Some will select your book, others will not. Don’t take it personally. Most sites require at least one week notice. Many sites fill up a month in advance. Some are free. Others charge a fee. Some require a minimum number of reviews. Others don’t. Below are some tools to help you with this task:

  (a) This website has a fantastic list of promotional websites you can start with: http://freediscountedbooks.com/free-book-promotion-sites/

  (b) KDROI software can be purchased for a one time fee. The program is easy to use and essentially fills out the form for these ‘promotional sites’. It takes 5 minutes of your time, and a push of the button. There are approximately 30 sites linked through the software right now, but the developer keeps adding more as time goes by. This is a huge time saver. If you plan to promote often, then it is worth the one time cost. 

  (c) Sharon Karaa created a list of promotional sites and offers great data / food for thought. She updates the list periodically. You can get a copy here: http://www.sharonkaraa.co.uk/#!for-authors/tst10

(3) Join as many FaceBook groups that promote Free or Discounted books. There are a ton of them out there. Search ‘free eBooks’, ‘free Kindle’, ‘free Nook’, etc. On the day of your promotion write a post about your offer and include a link. Post to your own FaceBook page. You can even consider ‘boosting’ your post for a nominal fee. 

(4) Tweet about your promotion on that day. Don’t forget to use appropriate hastags like #FREE, #ebooks, #rt, #romance, #IARTG (indie author retweet group), #EARTG (erotic author retweet group), #promotethisbook, etc. Be sure to research the best time of day to tweet. If you have a group of author friends, ask them to retweet for you. Consider paying a nominal fee for a tweeting service like BookTweeter. This was the only fee I paid during my promotion of FAIR GAME.

(5) If you’re signed up on Reader’s Gazette, don’t forget to go to their website at least a few days before your promotion and log in the days of your promotion so they’ll tweet for you.

(6) Blog about it on your Goodreads Author’s profile. Not on Goodreads? Well, you should be. And if you belong to any groups on Goodread, look to see if they have a place to post ‘book deals / promotions’. 

(7) Consider a headline ad on www.theromancereviews.com. If you put their banner on your website, they’ll give you one free headline ad per month. Make sure you put in your request one or two days before your promotion runs because it takes a day or two for the ad to be approved.

(8) Send out an author’s newsletter to your followers on the day of the deal.

That’s it!  

The best advertising for a book is word of mouth from the readers. But you first have to get your books into the hands of readers for them to spread the great word. That’s why I strongly suggest offering the book for free so readers are willing to take a chance on you. I’m sure only a fraction of the people who downloaded my book actually read it, still, I’m willing to bet it was at least 5%. That’s still a lot of reads. Yes, they’re getting your book for free, but they’re investing their time. My time is more precious than even my money. I saw a significant increase in sales of my other books for several weeks after the free promotion so it was well worth my time and effort.

Another interesting tidbit – FAIR GAME is book #2 in my Wish Come True series. Many sources suggest that you only promote the first book in a series for free, but my experience has been that any book in the series performs well if the book can be read as a stand alone story. This was part of my ‘experimentation’ phase. I’m such a rebel. And I had fantastic results. So forget what the best sources say and experiment a bit on your own to see what works best for you.

Another note of interest – promoting erotic romance is tough! Many of the promotional sites will not accept erotic romance, especially if the cover is overtly sexy. But there are some sites / tweeters out there who promote erotic romance. 

Don’t get me wrong. This is a LOT of work and a big time investment. However, if you really want your free promotion to be worthwhile, then put in the effort. Readers won’t know your book is offered for free unless you tell them! And we can’t all be on BookBub when less than 20% of their applicants are chosen for an advertisement. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve excellent results.

Thumbs up and good luck!

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Eight Days in the Sun by MK Schiller

5 STARS

Eight Days in the Sun is a story of healing and acceptance. And it will make you cry. Around halfway through the story, when I could finally see the direction where the story was headed, I knew MK Schiller was going to make me cry by the end. Oh, the ending.

I loved both Mason and Kiran, each unique personalities so perfect for each other. Fans of insta-love stories will gobble this one up. Are eight days in the sun really enough to build a foundation for a lifelong relationship? I say, YES! We’re with these characters day-in-day-out for eight glorious days and we get to experience the falling in love phase with them. My heart was breaking along with them when they went their separate ways … and when they reunited.

When the story begins, Kiran and Mason are both 22 years old. I’m usually wary of new adult aged protagonists in my stories because of the drama associated with that phase of life. But these two characters were required to grow up fast for different reasons. No cringe worthy drama in this story! So, if you’re like me, don’t shy away from reading this because of their young ages.

I don’t want to give away any more of the plot than the book blurb already does. But suffice it to say that taking the journey with these characters is worth the ride. You’ll laugh, and cry. Be happy, and angry. But most of all, you’ll walk away completely satisfied and believing in love at first sight.

 

Publisher: Lyrical Shine 

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Multicultural Romance

Sensuality Level: 3 out of 5 

 

Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America: March Speaker

Are you a romance writer in the greater Detroit area? Come join GDRWA and gain access to monthly speakers covering a wide range of topics over craft and business. This month we’re excited to welcome Matrice Hussey on Wednesday, March 21, 2017, for a riveting discussion about editing. In order to join GDRWA, you must be a member of Romance Writers of America in good-standing. Follow us on Twitter @DetroitRWA and learn about future events or check us out at www.GDRWA.org

Where: Royal Oak Senior Center [3500 Marais Road, Royal Oak, MI 48073

When: 7:30 – 10:00 p.m

Who: Matrice Hussey

Bio: After twenty-five years at Harlequin, Mary-Theresa Hussey (aka Matrice) opened up her editorial consultant business as Good Stories Well Told. She’s taken her editorial expertise working on NYT bestsellers, USA TODAY bestsellers, and just plain wonderful stories to the wider publishing world, and has been working with debut authors, self-published authors and publishing houses on everything from query letters to multi-stage complete edits. She’s still living in NYC but loves the mobility of her new job as well. She blogs occasionally (GoodStoriesWellTold.com), tweets every so often (@matrice), and reads frequently.

What an Editor

Program Description: Beyond a well-written book and perfect author, there are a few things that will make a working relationship with an editor easier. In this discussion, Mary-Theresa Hussey will share the hard-earned wisdom of twenty-five years in traditional publishing and two in freelance editorial consulting.

Writer's Block: A Creative Approach

Every once in a while I suffer from writer’s block. Crazy, huh? You can ask 100 authors what they do to fight writer’s block and I’m sure you would receive 100 different responses. Even I wouldn’t answer the question the same each time it’s asked. But my responses would be something like:

  • Take a break and watch a movie or television.
  • Plow through it – you might write crap – but you can’t edit an empty page.
  • Try something like ‘500 Writing Prompts’ to get the juices flowing again.
  • Or my personal favorite, write a ridiculous short story.

Yep. You read that right. When I get into a real funk, I conjure one of the most ridiculous stories I can at the moment and write, write, write. They’re usually only 1,500 to 15,000 words. But the premise is so silly that I don’t care about the end result and it gives me the freedom to just write carefree. Sometimes the end product is terrifying. Sometimes it’s mediocre. And every once in a while the story is downright entertaining. I even give myself the freedom to be utterly and politically incorrect, and perhaps even offensive. This is no-bars-hold writing, people. And it works. Don’t believe me – give it a try. My two favorite stories using this method are “Take Me” and “Resisting the Yeti”.

Take Me is a 5,000 word story about Ben Dover. While on a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains, he is jacking off at the edge of a waterfall and discovers several nuns hiding behind a copse of bushes while leering at him. He lures them out by diving down the waterfall into the pond below. Of course they rescue him, and he has a very unique way of saying thank you. This is an erotic short romance. I’m sure you can guess how Ben chooses to show his gratitude. Inappropriate? Oh, hell yes! Offensive? Check! Wrong in more ways that I can count. You bet! But I wrote that short story in record time and laughed the entire time. 

Resisting the Yeti is a 13,000 word short story about a married woman in Tibet. Diki is in a polyamory marriage with brothers Yeshi and Tashi. You’d think her love life was amazing. She thought it would be, too. Trouble is that both of her husbands have small penises. Three inches – and that’s fully erect. Poor girl. So imagine her surprise when she wanders into the Himalayan Mountains to find an herb that will make their dicks grow longer, only to discover a Yeti with a twelve inch cock. Curious? She was a little more than curious … and had to make some pretty big decisions about her life after that experience. Inappropriate? For sure. Offensive? Well, it is beastiality, so probably. Wrong? Oh, hell yes. Diki is married and having sex with a Yeti. But, again, I wrote that short story in record time and cried tears of laughter while writing it. I actually love that story. It is beyond ridiculous, but also so much fun.

So the next time you’re grappling with writer’s block, let go of every single inhibition and rule that you’ve ever learned and write the most ridiculous short story you can think of. You might be pleasantly surprised!