For those of you avidly following this post to see if I’ve found any good promotion stuff, I’ll start with the nuggets gleaned so far and suggest you skip the rest.
Why give away a book? It is probably only really worth it if you are writing a series. If you can give away a thousand books, (and the well-known writers give away twenty five thousand or more), that’s potentially up to a thousand people who will read it, finish it, think ‘that wasn’t bad’ and maybe, let’s not get too carried away here, post a review and / or buy another in the series.
All the activity – and the more you can give away, the more activity there is – gets your sluggish book moving from the murky depths, to the heights where readers looking in your category will see your book in that ‘people who bought this book also bought’ strip. Your cover, bobbing around jauntily, demanding their attention. The rest, of course, is up to your blurb and sample but the more books you shifted, the longer it will take to fall back to the depths, and the more chance it has of actually selling (and therefore continuing to bob, and sell, and bob, etc)
Even giving books away takes work. You have to push push push on Twitter and Facebook and list it on lots of different websites (telling them in advance when your book is free) and Facebook pages (post it on the day) and hope like hell it’ll take.
Getting onto some of the websites almost guarantees attention, because they’re fussy about the books they take, but they’ll only accept books with an overall rating of 4.5 stars and at least ten proper (not puff) reviews. Ah, reviews. The chicken and the egg. No-one will look at the book if it doesn’t have reviews, and if no-one reads the book how will it ever get them? One in perhaps a hundred readers bothers to post one at all. So how to get onto respected sites like Pixel of Ink?
Frankly, the book may have few or no reviews because it stinks. At best, because most of your readers are also writers and Amazon is very beady-eyed about writers reviewing writers. (Personally I think Amazon should authorize those writers who do real reviews, because at least half the readers out there are writers themselves, but that’s an argument for another post and not why you’re patiently reading this and wondering when I’ll get to solving the problem.)
I have no idea whether I’ve solved it, but I have signed up to Kboard, who will promote the book for a day along with fifteen others, on their own page and their Twitter and Facebook links. All sixteen writers commit to retweeting and promoting the listing like crazy all day. Kboard themselves have sixty thousand followers, plus whatever the writers can collectively drum up, so the potential of being spotted is there. They feature new or overlooked books, so Three Four is being thrust forward to fly the flag. One Two may have its first murder in the first chapter, but Three Four is a more cheerful starter (and needs reviews, especially Amazon.com ones). (Fingers crossed)
So there we are, I’ll post in a few days to let you know whether Kboard is something to pencil into your own plans. You can move on now because the rest is quite gloomy.
I’m frankly a bit subdued on this promotion trail. I spent two days researching Facebook groups (there are lots) (LOTS and lots) for authors, promotions, reviewers, groups for everything you can imagine, and in all fairness all but two of the ones I thought looked the best have accepted my request to join. The other two haven’t said no, they’ve just not responded, but in theory I’ve now got an audience of over 100 000. However, I’ve come to realize two things.
Firstly, the readers have pretty much fled. The bulk of the posts are shouts of ‘read mine!’ ‘No, read mine!’ We’re all yelling at once and nobody is actually reading any of the posts – at most, a quick scan to see what the competition is up to, a sneer, and move on.
That’s not to say nothing posted is read. I put a post on a FB group which included reviews, saying I’d review any free books that I liked the look of enough to download, but that I did most of my reading on the train so nothing to make me blush, cry or puke in public. Gold stars, I said, to anything that made me smile and cheered me up.
I’m guessing I’m the first reviewer to put my head above that parapet for a while. My post had two comments within minutes, and the group administrator said sternly that all further comments had to be private. It had about twenty comments on it within half an hour. My Facebook ping has gone hoarse announcing more incoming private messages. Body parts, buckets of blood, entangled heaving bodies and dead babies for the most part – obviously my sensibilities are out of step, because if the authors don’t expect their readers to blush / cry / puke at that lot you have to wonder who they are writing for. Not one – not ONE – has so far met the general guidelines.
The second thing I realized is that I’m WAY off trend. My corpses should be hopping to their feet, elbowing aside the boring living people, ripping apart their killers and running amok. My living characters will have to wear black and grow fangs if they want a look-in. The way they’re written now, William’s the only one who would even know what to do at an orgy. (William would love me to write in an orgy.)
I’d say (primly) that I don’t know enough about orgies to write about them, but knowing little or nothing about a subject, including sex, hasn’t held back some of the authors who have pressed books on me. As a reviewer, I’m embarrassingly popular. As a writer, I’m one step off jumping into the fray and shouting READMINEREADMINEREADMINE ITS (sic) THE BEST.
I take that step next week since I’m signed up to that Kboard promotion and can’t cancel at this stage. And I’m still going to have a free book giveaway in late October, to welcome Five Six to the family, just because I’m now gripped by an unhealthy fascination to see if I can at least manage to give books away. But I’m not hopeful.