My new book, Bloodlust: Red Glory is out as of last Wednesday, so I am knee-deep in self-promotion. Today I started three seperate Facebook campaigns, one linking to the new book, one linking to Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s tale, and one linking to my author central page, which is looking rather snazzy, actually.
These follow a small series of ad I have placed with various sites that specialize in promoting eBooks, mostly lower budget stuff. I can’t quite justify the cost of Bookbub yet.
The basic goal is, as always, to get my books out into as many hands as possible, hopefully running up the lists in Amazon.
My big failure thus far is not getting Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s Tale perma-free on amazon. This is apparently quite effective according to several of the authors that I talk to who have transitioned to writing full time in the last year or two. The loss lead on the first book in a series is made up for by a very large boost to sales in subsequent books. Apparently there are quite a few websites catering to eBook enthusiasts that automatically search out and link perma-free books, which act as an advertising catalyst of sorts. In my case, getting Amazon to drop the price down has been met with silence, thus far. Sadly KDP only gives me 5 free days out of 90, which does not seem to do it. Mind you I miss out on even those five days, by being off KDP to try to get Amazon to price match. Charybdis and Scylla 😛
Of my other efforts the Facebook adds already look promising.
- Pricing is reasonable. You can set the price for your ad to as little as 1$/day and still get a decent theoretical reach.
- You target the adds based on what people like. For Bloodlust I am trying the conjunction of people who “like” Fantasy Literature, Gladiators, and a few other key terms. I could have targeted base on similar authors, or even activities that people engage in. With each modification I add it shows me an estimate of the reach, making it easy to estimate the crossover appeal of various “likes”. If it isn’t just smoke and mirrors, then it is a lovely system.
- The metrics tracking is very good. It shows the number of licks, and breaks down how much you are paying per engagement. Previously people have complained about fake engagements, with artificial clicks, but in my case I can easily compare the clicks to sales on my page to gauge the effectiveness of the add.
- Facebook saves each campaign, the terms, and the audience you were targeting, making it very easy to iterate on effective campaigns. If these ads pay off for me, It will be very easy for me to recreate that success and ramp it up. It is a flexible, intuitive system, and if it actually works I will gladly put more money into it.
Of course, this is the first time I have released a book at this time of year. Do people buy books on Valentine’s day weekend? I have no way of measuring that against previous successes and failures until the data is in.
Self-promotion is the bogeyman of self-published authors. Some are brilliant at it. Most of us would rather just be writing though. Traditional publishers could easily make the case that they offer a much better promotional machine that can free up an author’s time, but all of the Fantasy authors that I follow who are traditionally published engage in a heck of a lot of of self-promotion. Patrick Rothfuss, Brian McLellan, Mark Lawrence, and Micheal J Sullivan seem to put a lot of effort into getting the word out there. The cynical side of me wonders if their publishers are riding their efforts ( and those of their fans), while the rational side of me puts forth that they would not stay with the publishers if they did not feel they were getting their money’s worth.
I don’t like blowing my own horn. But the reality of self-publishing is that I have to, at least until I have a legion of fans to help out with that. In that regard perhaps the best advertisements that I tried this time round were free books to a few new beta readers, and to a fan who asked me for a copy since Red Glory was hard to get at a reasonable price in his country. Only time will tell I suppose.