Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Finding your voice in a sea of ebooks

I feel that when you publish your first book online (once you've finished writing, editing, designing, formatting, proof reading, organising a cover for your ebook and finally re-read it enough times to be satisfied with your efforts) there should be a little pop up that appears once you hit the 'publish' button that reads:

Congratulations on your first book...now welcome to the grind.

Because in the three weeks since I found myself in that position, it's been a bit a big of a slog learning the ins and outs of ebook promotion. Still, I've stumbled across a few things so come see what I've found..

You have a book out?

Yes, the first of a few actually. It's the natural progression of my lunatic stories from this page, revisited, expanded and so many more amazing and occasionally deranged journeys along the way. If you haven't read the post from a couple of weeks ago you can click right here and if you don't want to read that but would prefer to rush out and buy a copy of my first book instead, allow me to show you the way right here.

Thanks to my amazingly talented brother, the cover is an absolute stand out:

Incredible work by Guy Shield of Guyshield.com

And the 2nd one won't be too far away either. Nor the third. The thrill of writing, creating and then work-shopping it to the point where I'm proud to put it out to the world to see has been a great one and I've really relished the opportunity to get back to writing. Now I just have to crack the promotions code and learn what really works...

What inspired you to create your first book?

My Dad had quite a few books out before he passed away and my brother has a fantastic amount of his artwork out for the world to enjoy so the desire to do the same has been a big one for some time. The learning and turning point came from reading a very informative self publishing thread over on the forums at Somethingawful.com that was full of practical advice and I figured it couldn't be that hard. So I started, stopped for various reasons and earlier this year revisited the project and finally got it out there.
It's not the key to becoming a millionaire (ha ha) more a satisfying creation that I've been thoroughly enjoying but also a good lesson in the art of creation and promotion.

So when the book hit the e-stands, what was the first thing you did?

Celebrated with a beer (I think it was this one) before announcing it to the world on Facebook. A few close friends knew I was working on one but it came as a nice surprise to a lot of people.

And then the money came flooding in?

Well if you mean enough for a tin of tuna, sure. But from earlier reading and research I knew it wasn't just a case of 'release it to the world and watch the Ferrari collection build up', you'd have to get to the word out. And this is what I've been working on for the last few weeks:

     So here's what I've tried so far with varying results:

Facebook: (Free)

A great place to start provided you haven't written your book under a pseudonym or are happy to let your friends and family know about your latest creation (Amazingly some authors of hot steamy shape shifting werewolf sex don't seem to be that keen to use their real name.) Since my book is non-fiction, quite a few friends wanted to know if they featured in it which was amusing (I did have to change a couple of names to prevent some former colleagues from suing me but they're not friends with me on Facebook so it's doubtful they'll ever read about their own misadventures when I worked with them).
Some bought it first day, some a week or two later. Roughly 1-2% of my maximum friends list which was a fairly okay start.  

Twitter: (Free)

Plenty of tweets for very little return. The problem here is that every other ebook and Amazon author is doing exactly the same. When I decided to focus on the fact that you can read my book for free through #kindleselect any tweet I created using that hashtag would be buried under an army of tweet with the same tag before it had a chance to be discovered.
However it's a great chance to meet new authors (and be followed by plenty of ebook promotion services) and so recently I decided to contact a couple of them directly to pick their brains in terms of promotion - it's early days so but but I'll update this post later with any interesting tidbits I discover. 

@The_Book_Raven - A follower and tweeter of books. I included the hashtag #bkrvn in one of my posts and they retweeted it for some extra promotion. Thanks Book Raven!

Discount Book Man: (Free and paid options) 

Submitted my book for free and very happy to see that it still sits on top of the pile on the humour section. 

Bookbongo: (Free and paid options)

Submitted my book with the free option but it hasn't made the site. Would consider the paid option but I only see one other Humour book there so I wouldn't be confident that the readers there would be keen on the humour side of things.

Awesomegang: (Free and paid options)

Took them up on the Free option and ended up in an email to their subscribers and on their site itself. In terms of having my work in another corner of the internet it's a great start. 

Fiverr: (Paid) 

Giving Fiverr the benefit of the doubt after the failure to spark last time, I spent around 8 dollars to get my book promoted through Daily-book.club  where it got included on the site, tweeted about and written up on Facebook.
The result? No shift in sales. Zero. 
Unless the seller on Fiverr has a audience that craves your particular niche (and can show evidence of this) paying money for them to hopefully hit the right people in their listed audience figures is true shot in the dark. 
Well points for trying I guess.

Reddit: (Free)

A fantastic resource to learn from is /selfpublish as there's plenty of people asking questions and plenty in return offering useful suggestions. You can also list your book at /Buymybook and hope someone untightens their purse strings.

Sites you own: (Free) 

If you run a blog, promote your book. If it's on another blog you own, promote it there too. Since it's a mission to make noise in order for the world to see your work, put it in as many places as humanly possible without spamming people of course. Your own blogs are a great place and regular readers are more than used to your writing style.

iAuthor: (Free)

I discovered this through one of my Twitter followers. A few minutes work and my profile is up and running. I'm enjoying the fact that you can vote if you like the front cover and the blurb and if you'd reccomend the book to others. Will definitely be keeping an eye out on this one.

Author Marketing Club: (Plenty of options)

As a resource Author Marketing Club is an absolute ripper as through this link you'll find an absolute stack load of places to submit your book with free and paid options. Some have certain conditions (number of ratings, type of book, must be permanently free etc) but working through them all I managed to be able to submit to the following: 

Free Booksy
Bargain Booksy
It's Write Now
Indie Book of the Day
Ignite your book
Book Preview Club
One Hundred Free Books
Author Marketing Club
Premier Press Publish

Of course because I used the free options with all of the above it's up them them if they want include and promote my book on their site but hey, even in just 2-3 decide to run with it, that's 2-3 more places for it to be seen. 

And I'm still looking...

...searching, learning, experimenting, discovering. If you've got any tips you'd like to add here feel free to drop me a line with a comment - I'd love to know what's worked and hasn't worked for you and what'd you do better if you had your chance to work all over again. Also if you're in the same boat and you've just published your first book I'd love to know about it and how you've been finding the journey so far.

Till next time

(Did you know I have a book out? You can find it RIGHT HERE!)


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