I want to take this opportunity to reflect on the promotional material that I used over the last year and cost associated with each platform to increase brand awareness, interest, and downloads of my self-published novel — Out Of The Dark (Book 1 of The Revenge Series). It is an integrated effort.
I am exclusive to Amazon/KDP and take advantage of the Kindle Countdown Deals every three months. In my previous FREE 5-day book promotion, not the last one but the one before, because I was more focused, there were 700+ downloads compared to the more recent one of 80+ downloads. Therefore, I will use both examples to tell you about my integrated strategy across different platforms (Twitter, Website, 500px, Instagram, YouTube, Scriggler and Facebook) in the following article. I think the Countdown Deals are worthwhile because out with my normal sales, this at least keeps the book ticking over in terms of rankings. I will check the status just after one of my promotions (although this fares better on the FREE Kindle Download charts). Not bad considering there are over 6,000,000 titles on Amazon:
4.7 out of 5 Star 16 customer reviews
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,042 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#247 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > British & Irish > Scottish #860 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Crime Fiction > Murder #1205 in Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Crime
At the same time as a Countdown Deal on Amazon KDP, I also promote the FREE book on Twitter. On reviewing the figures, I know this does not have a serious impact on downloads but is still worthwhile in terms of brand building, brand awareness and establishing new and existing contacts. My favourite hashtags are: #Goodreads #Thriller #IndieAuthors #IndieBooksBeSeen #IARTG #ASMSG #Ian1 #amwriting #BookBoost #Bookplugs. I use Bitly links to my book on Amazon which shortens long URL’s. Therefore, I can also track downloads depending on the platform. In my last promotion (80+ downloads), I had the link on Twitter on the first day and only received twenty downloads but it’s better than nothing! In the previous 700+ promotion, there were over 100+ downloads.
This was my favourite platform to design using WIX for a small fee ($7/per month). I maintain this on a regular basis and have my own domain name. I post details about my books, poetry and Book Marketing for New Authors (Part 1-8). It is clear that I do not utilise this enough in terms of promotion/email list but I have all of my Amazon/social media links connected to this site. It is also better to view this on a laptop rather than a mobile phone although it should be mobile friendly. Therefore, it is better to set up your website using a less complicated format i.e. single page formats, and, utilise the site to its full potential. I will have this in place for the next book promotion in six months time once I finish my second novel – Into The Light (Book 2 of The Revenge Series).
I maintain my photography page on 500px and use the material as “Good morning Twitter” posts. I also recently set up an Instagram account and did my first book promotion on this platform with some help from Scriggler. At the moment, I only have sixty followers but will build this up as I continue to post more photographs. Because of the no links policy on Instagram, it is hard to track the impact and amount of downloads. However, I can work out the Facebook downloads minus Twitter and have a rough idea of the engagement on Instagram. Although minimal, I think it is still worthwhile.
I almost forgot you can now link your Instagram account to Facebook for a joint promotion. Remember the 30/70 rule and keep text to a minimum on the image. My last book promotion on Facebook was a disaster (80+ downloads) because I had too much text on the main photograph which made it impossible to read taking into consideration many people access Instagram/Facebook on mobile phones.
I promoted my book video for the first time using Google Adwords which is linked to my YouTube channel. You know, one of those pesky adverts, which you must view but can skip after a certain amount of time, when you want to watch something else. I put on £20 over one week just to test it out with my Amazon UK/US book links underneath the video. As a result, I received over 2,000 views which worked out at £0.01 per click. Not bad! However, this contributed to a small % of downloads but it is great for brand awareness.
I enjoyed working with Scriggler on my 700+ book promotion which was a coordinated and integrated effort, especially on Twitter. We updated my material with the edited version of my book in the First Chapter Club and Scriggler Author Interview, book links and launch dates. It just goes to show that planning is crucial. On my 80+ promotion, I was so disorganised it was unbelievable and showed in terms of poor planning, crap promotional design on my behalf (not Scriggler) as well as engagement and action. Lesson learned. Plan well in advance!
This is my favourite platform for book promotion when I have a FREE download and appears to have the most engagement. I will go and check the figures for the 700+ download which cost £50 for one week. Reach: 21,000 people. Engagements: 719. Post: 171 likes, loves, WOWS and one haha! Shares: 31. Comments: 10. Even although it is a 5-day promotion on Amazon KDP, I normally put together the Facebook post in advance and use one day to start it off, five days for the book promotion and one day to wind it down. I know it is running in the background and can concentrate my efforts on Twitter and other platforms.
What about Goodreads?
This is a good question. Amazon owns the Goodreads platform, and I thought it would be easy to set up. It probably is straight forward, but I was not in the right frame of mind (80+ download). I put a promotion in place on Goodreads albeit half way through the 5-day Amazon KDP. promotion. I set up a small budget to test it out ($10 each) for the UK/US market but the promotion got rejected for one reason or another and I never followed it up. Next time, six months from now, I will have it sorted and ready to go!
I hope this helps in some kind of way with your own book promotion decisions.