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Misadventures in Marketing

Capturing the Moment has been on sales for just over two months now (three if you count the Totally Bound early downloads). Here are some of the promotional tools I’ve used and how they have/n’t worked. Opinions are purely based on my experiences, your mileage my vary.

 

capturingthemoment_bookmark

Bookmarks

Totally Bound provided me with the jpegs to make bookmarks and postcards. I thought (and still think) that the bookmark is the better promotional tool. It fits into my wallet, and I can hand it out like a business card. That said, ordering 500 was absurdly optimistic on my part.

Given that I live in Singapore, there aren’t romance conventions where I can pass them out as swag. I assume over time I’ll eventually pass them out, but I think next time I’d keep it to 100 bookmarks at most. Specific to Singapore as well is the problem that it is a conservative, uptight culture. People generally are uncomfortable/don’t know what to do with the idea of erotic romance.

Virtual Book Tour

Eight different friends/bloggers were kind enough to let me guest post about my book before health problems made me pause the tour. I think that touring can be very effective to connect with a new audience, and it presents the opportunity to give out some of the free copies that Totally Bound provides to its authors.

It can be difficult to come up with topics, so here are some of the ones I used

  • How my experiences in Siem Reap inspired my setting
  • What music influenced me when writing Capturing the Moment
  • I interviewed my main characters, one at a time
  • I talked about how my main characters resembled myself and my spouse
  • I talked about writing persons of color as a white author
  • I was interviewed by two friends

giveaway

Amazon Giveaways

I gave away fifteen copies of Capturing the Moment. There were several lessons I learned about giveaways

  • Pick a reasonable number of books to give away (I suggest five to ten)
  • If you’re picking a ratio 1:5 finished the giveaway in less than an hour. 1:50 meant that I only gave away a few over two weeks.   My suggestions is to give away at a rate of 1:15 or 1:20.
  • I thought that I was asking people to follow my author page, but it actually had them following my personal reviews. In the end I think it’s easier to give the books away without any condition.

I then tried the experiment of giving away 10 books, but with a 1:50 win rate. Over two weeks just under two hundred people had entered and only three books had been given away. I did a first-come, first-serve giveaway for the seven books that were left over.

I have not gotten even one review, positive or negative from these giveaways. I don’t have figures from Amazon that tell me how many people who didn’t win still bought my book.

 

fb

Facebook Ads

I tried no less than ten different times to buy a facebook ad. My ads were rejected because RJ’s chest violated nudity standards, that my amazon book page was for “adult” material, and that my blog was also objectionable. I’m told that some people have been able to get FB ads through, but that FB rejects ads from everywhere at a high rate. (A friend is an editor for a diabetes magazine and they’ve had roughly half of their ads rejected for reasons that include “needles are icky.”) I am of the opinion that after you get three or five rejections, just move on.

Self Promotion

  • I have brought up my book with links at the end of a lot of my blog posts
  • I have advertised it on my twitter feed (which friends then retweeted)
  • I have advertised it on my own posts on Facebook (which friends have reposted)

 

How successful was I? I don’t know yet, because I haven’t seen my first round of royalties. It’s also impossible for me to know how effective each tool was.

I hope that my suggestions are helpful if you’re new to the game (as I still am).

Experienced authors–what promotional tools have you used and found valuable?

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