Where to start? Diving right in, I suppose.
First, allow me to share some exciting news. Elemental Linx got to hang out in the No. 4 spot in a category which Rick Riordan (You know? Percy Jackson!) dominates. I know the Amazon rankings change quite often, especially for those of us Self-Published authors, but, I savored the moment while it lasted.
Now onto marketing. I’d love to say Elemental Linx made it there on its own. But, that isn’t true. Between a fellow author friend, my husband, and my eldest son, we spent a lot of time reviewing my marketing options. (I need the additional help because, as you all know, I can’t see very well. The added eyes are a must.) I’ve been very fortunate to have found a very small group of fellow writers who are willing to help an amateur out with marketing ideas. However, truth be told, nothing about book marketing is cheap. Some authors swear by certain book promo sites, while others steer free and clear of these. I wish I could sit here and tell you which ones work best, but I can’t. Because I have relatively no good results from the various sites I’ve tried to promote Elemental Linx on. The ROI (return on investment) has been ZILCH!
At one point, I’d almost given up. Here I was with a new release, and with the exception of a few sales early on it seemed the momentum had fizzled away. What’s a gal to do?
Thankfully, I was desperate enough to use my lifelines, ALL OF THEM! 50/50, Phone A Friend, and Ask The Audience. I also dug deep into researching online, but everything I read came up with older information. As with technology, book marketing is ever changing. What once would launch a Self-Published author into success two years ago, no longer holds true today. And those who are currently sitting on success, however, little or much, guard their trade secrets like no other. Understandably so.
Then there’s the promo site, the Holy Grail of promo sites, BookBub. Oh to get a BookBub is almost like winning the lottery for Self-Published authors First, allow me to say, depending on the genre it can cost a pretty penny, but, it is one of the only known promo sites where you at minimum make your money back, for the most part, as there are exceptions, but these are rare. Getting approved for a BookBub promo is the key as it is not easy. I’ve heard of authors submitting and being rejected over 60 times! Say what? Yep, you heard me right. So why continue trying? Because it’s also the promo that has landed authors on bestseller lists like that of USA Today. The BookBub gatekeepers have done an excellent job in making their site beneficial to all. In other words, they’ve created a win-win scenario.
Have I tried to get a BookBub promo? Yes, yes I did. My promo request was rejected. I’m not going to lie, it did hurt. But, I expected it. I submitted for a BookBub within the first week that Elemental Linx released. Although they have accepted new releases, these are typically from proven authors with BookBub followings. I think I might have had three Amazon reviews for my book, and BookBub likes to see a few more so they can get a better view of how readers have responded to the book.
Remember, this is why writing reviews to books you’ve read are so important! We need your awesome reviews!
So then what? Well, like I mentioned before, I was desperate. I was reading the comments to a post within a writers group on Facebook. One of the writers made a comment that I’m not sure most caught onto, or if they did they didn’t pursue it. But I did. I asked the person if I may private message them to which they said “yes.” Before I knew it, I was asked how serious I was in dedicating time every day to marketing. Seemed like a fairly easy question, but, I had to think about it. Like I said, I require help, so I needed to make sure I could give it a go with the proper help. Once I established this I agreed to give it a try.
Marketing Is Not Easy. Period.
I was invited into a special test group for book marketing. The information available to each member is astonishing, but for someone like me, it is overwhelming. I’m not a numbers person, and there are a lot of numbers involved. I also have a hard time wrapping my brain around complex information, partly because of my chronic illnesses, and partly because I guess I’m just not that smart. Thankfully my support, in other words, my husband, is great at numbers! He’s been patient in explaining why the spreadsheet works the way it does when capturing data. I understand 3/4 of what he’s saying and forget it as soon as he’s said it. Retention is just not there. But, we keep at it as often as we can. Eventually, via repetition, I might learn something.
What I have learned is that unless you have a huge budget that allows you to hire industry experts, this book marketing is a daily task. So far, what’s been working for me is understanding my books categories and how to push through these via keywords. It’s not easy, it takes time to build, and yes, a little money as well.
Only time will tell if my new approach to marketing is sustainable. In the meantime, we’ve got to continue thinking out of the box.