In my last blog, I promised to articulate what seemed to be the most helpful marketing tools in my next post. Here I am!
I researched extensively, and continue to do so, potential readers and reviewers for my novels Fling!, Curva Peligrosa, and Freefall: A Divine Comedy on sites like The Blogger List and Book Reviewer Yellow Pages. Reviews generate a buzz, especially if they’re posted on major sites like Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble. It’s essential, then, to gather as many as we can. They encourage potential readers to take a chance on our books based on other readers’ experience. And it’s more readers that we want, right? Often such reviewers are happy with a PDF of the final document, but it also doesn’t hurt to send out eBooks or even paperbacks.
Generating interviews on other writers’ blogs can also give writers good exposure. I’ve done this in multiple ways. First, my presses, Pen-L Publishing and Regal House Publishing, have authors who are willing to work with me, doing blog exchanges and even reviews. In addition, I’ve found blogs that seem to have good followings and suggested we exchange interviews or guest blog posts. This approach has generated some good connections.
Of course, I also have tried paid blog tours with mixed results. It was worth it to me to spend this money on marketing, though the “tours” weren’t as well managed as I’d hoped. I’m not sure that I connected with potential readers of my novel during the days involved. I was supposed to be available each day to respond to questions that could come from followers of these blogs. But, in reality, in most cases, I was the only one there, waiting for someone to ask me a question! Even the blogger was absent at times.
The reviews that bloggers posted on their websites were the best part of these tours. After some prodding, most were also posted on Amazon, etc. Would I do it again? Not likely. I could probably do as well on my own by contacting potential bloggers and reviewers, but for those who don’t want to spend their time in that way, professional blog tour operators might be the answer.
I have found Goodreads to be a valuable source in two ways. First, before Goodreads changed its giveaway policy and it was cost free to the author, I did two giveaways of a total of 20 print books. While it’s costly to mail the novels, especially if you don’t designate US only (as I didn’t on my first giveaway, opening it to Canada and the UK, thinking it would give me a bigger readership range), it was worth the expense and is a tax write off. A number of people listed the novel as one they wanted to read. And some of them will write a review. I hope!
And I’ve used Goodreads twice since they instituted the policy of charging $119 to give books awau. I used the Kindle option, which is free, so I could offer those who wanted to join the giveaway the possibility of winning from 100 eBooks that Goodreads would send out no charge to me or the recipient. No postage. No sweat. The exposure is definitely well worth the cost involved.
Goodreads’ ad campaign also has been productive. The book title and description reach many people over a long period. I’ve been running one since early July 2015. So far, I’ve only paid about $42.00 for my original $50 ad campaign, but I’ve reached innumerable potential readers. So, in terms of pay off, the Goodreads ads seem to be a good investment.
Asking bookstores to carry your books seems like a massive waste of time unless you have neighborhood stores where you’re known. In most cases, they are only worthwhile if you have a large following in an area and can generate traffic. Otherwise, the percentage bookstores want per book doesn’t make them a viable option and your books will get lost in the stacks. Also, several now charge authors for the honor of doing a reading in their facility.
The message here? Take the time to do your homework and find the many resources there actually are out there before you give away too much of your hard-earned money. It pays off in the end.