I’ve been trying all kinds of marketing things to see what works and what doesn’t… but I have so much going on, I’m kind of worried I might forget something. 😂 Below is a list of current giveaways, promotions, and events that I’m running!
Hey everyone! I’ve scheduled about two weeks of ads, and thought I’d share the results with you as they come in. The promo book is a permafree first in series—rockstar romance Diving Into Him (South of Forever, Book 1), if you’re interested. My goal is to create sellthrough for the other two books in the series and build my email list in prep for the fourth and final book.
Thursday, September 1st: My Book Cave
I didn’t advertise over Labor Day weekend, because I’ve learned from past attempts that holiday weekends are no bueno.
Tuesday, September 6th: Awesome Gang
I also did an interview with these guys.
Wednesday, September 7: BookRaid
Thursday, September 8: Bookscream
Friday, September 9th: Kindle Book Promos
I chose not to advertise over this weekend, either, since I had a limited budget and wanted to focus on weekdays; the weather is still good and I think a lot of people are still going outdoors on weekends.
Monday, September 12th: Read Free.ly
Tuesday, September 13th: Booktastik
Thursday, September 15th: Sweet Free Books
Friday, September 16th: Book Basset
September 26th-October 2nd: Kobo Free Spotlight (Romance)
I’ll be updating this tally as the month continues, so check back!
I’ll also be adding sellthrough totals for the other books in the series.
Thanks for reading!
*These sites were free but didn’t have dates to choose from; they’re on a first come, first served basis. Fingers crossed!
The release party on the 19th went extremely well. I had a full lineup of author takeovers, plus lots of door prizes. Here are the attendance numbers:
Not my best attendance rate, reader participation was the highest I’ve ever had.
What Happens On Tour was on pre-order for $0.99 for a week before release; I left it at the sale price over the weekend after launch. This resulted in 20 sales across Amazon, iBooks, etc (and there’s still another week left in the month). I also made the first book in the series permafree, which has so far resulted in over 130 downloads across the board. I have several promotions advertising the free first book coming up in September, so I’m optimistic for next month’s sales too.
Post-party, my social media numbers are as follows:
Newsletter: 251 subscribers
Twitter: 1,370 followers
Facebook: 503 likes
VIP Facebook reader group: 93 members
Romance Readers Anonymous: 123 members
Wattpad: 155 followers
Speaking of Wattpad, each of the books I have available there are doing well, too:
So far, all reader feedback has been excellent (with the exception of one message from a reader asking why my books aren’t all free).
My plan was to submit Diving Into Him to be featured once it was complete, but unfortunately Wattpad has closed their featured submissions for the time being due to overwhelm. I’m hoping there will be enough crossover from Sandpaper Fidelity to get the SOF series going.
Today I sent an announcement to all followers letting them know that I’d like to give them free copies in exchange for their honest review on Amazon.
Speaking of reviews, my Amazon reviews are growing too!
CIT1—Crazy Comes in Threes: 0
CIT1.5—”The Santa Pact”: 0
Becoming Natalie: 2 (4.0 average)
Sandpaper Fidelity: 0
Playing for You: 0
The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos: 45 (3.6 average)
SOF1—Diving Into Him: 8 (4.2 average)
SOF2—Savannah’s Song: 1 (5.0 average)
SOF3—What Happens On Tour: 3 (5.0 average)
Sade on the Wall (writing as Kaylene Campbell): 10 (4.5 average)
I had Playing for You in KU for 90 days to no avail; its last day is today and it only got a handful of readthroughs. Tomorrow it’s going wide again and eventually I will be rebranding it as the prequel to the South of Forever series (possibly with a better title).
I have a campaign beginning in September to increase reviews. A reader recently messaged me and posted to my VIP group asking why my books don’t have more reviews, saying she loves them and they should have more. I went so long being too shy to ask and, though I’ve asked my reader group a couple of times, I didn’t get much response. The only thing that’s worked well for me in the past was offering incentives; that and NetGalley was how The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos got to 45 reviews since its re-release in January (previously it had like 10).
Going forward, I plan to keep doing what I’ve been: leveraging my free tools and advertising when I can. When the South of Forever series is complete and I’ve begun my next series, I may pop SOF into KU to see if it does better. (From what I’ve gathered, standalones don’t tend to get much traction in KU.) I’ve been thinking of putting my duology in KU from the get-go, but I’m not sure yet.
Speaking of my duology, the first book, Just One More Minute, comes out sometime in November. (I’m aiming for the 18th but it’s not set in stone just yet.) Then, in January or February, I’ll release the fourth and final book in the SOF series.
As soon as I can afford it, I plan to start listing all of the SOF books on NetGalley, too. Reviews and releases are my main focus right now.
That’s all for now! I’ll try to update here more regularly in the coming months.
For the release of What Happens on Tour (South of Forever, Book 3), I wanted to go hard with Wattpad. Not only have I been posting chapters from Diving Into Him (SOF1) twice a week, but I also have several other works available.
Wattpad has an incredibly large audience that loves to read. And the readers there are dedicated. They will gladly comment on and vote on stories they love. I think Wattpad is a fantastic way to test a concept or to beta a novel. It’s also a great way to bring new readers to a series—whether it’s already selling well or mostly unknown.
Check out author Lindsay Buroker’s posts on leveraging Wattpad:
I’m a little bummed that I didn’t record stats from all of my Wattpad books when I posted my launch plan for SOF3. Things are going really well, though, so I figured I’d do so now, that way I can compare in July, August, and onward.
Right now I have six books on Wattpad. Most of them are excerpts, but Sandpaper Fidelity is available in its entirety. Diving Into Him will be, too.
I’ve had my Wattpad account for a while, but haven’t done much with it before. As of today, I have 85 followers. However, none of my books include a call to action (CTA) to follow me. I’ve rectified that.
Here are the numbers (and some notes) for each book.
Sandpaper Fidelity Length: Complete Currently featured in ChickLit Reads: 17K Votes: 606 Comments: 15
The feedback so far is very good. People really like this book, even though it’s super hard to market because it doesn’t really fit into any particular genre. This was my soap opera-esque serial that I published in bite size pieces back in 2012.
The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos Length: Excerpt (5 chapters) Reads: 4.5K Votes: 80 Comments: 4
Because it’s not the full novel, it likely won’t get featured, so I didn’t even bother submitting. Still, it does pretty well organically—similar to the complete book’s sales across Kindle, iBooks, etc.
Diving Into Him (South of Forever, Book 1) Length: In progress Reads: 75 Votes: 0 Comments: 0
I’m posting a new chapter every Tuesday and Thursday, until the entire book is on Wattpad. Then I’ll submit it to be featured in the Romance category.
Savannah’s Song (South of Forever, Book 2) Length: Excerpt (5 chapters) Reads: 70 Votes: 0 Comments: 0
I don’t have any plans to post the whole book, so it probably won’t get much attention until Diving Into Him is complete.
Playing for You Length: Excerpt (5 chapters) Reads: 34 Votes: 0 Comments: 0
This one is floundering, but it’s an older book. It’s sort of a sequel to the South of Forever series; originally it was a series of six novelettes, but I combined them all into one book to market more easily. It’s not really a romance in the traditional sense, though it is a love story. It’s kind of hard to market and I’m thinking of eventually just branding it as an SOF sequel. Currently the full book is free for Kindle Unlimited readers.
This is another one that initially was a series of shorter books. It was a trilogy of novellas. To make things easier on myself, I combined the three into one standalone. Honestly, I’ve been wondering if this was really a smart move. My concern is, if I go back to separate books, it might confuse people. So it’s basically been relegated to a dark corner of my backlist. It’s ChickLit and pairs really well with a day on the beach. Eventually I may do something with it, to get it more eyeballs in general. Right now, the excerpt on Wattpad is the seven chapters from the first novella.
By far, Sandpaper Fidelity is my most successful. It’s on the dark and gritty side, so I’m surprised that it’s doing so well in ChickLit. But I have no complaints! People really seem to like it, and I’m leveraging it to grow my readership.
I’m sure I’m not using Wattpad to its maximum potential, but I think I’m doing all right!
Do you use Wattpad? Comment and tell me what you’re doing!
Now that I’m settled post-publisher—all of my books with the small press are back on the digital market, with paperbacks coming soon*—I’ve turned my focus to preparing for my next release.
Since two of the books that were reverted to me were published right before the close, they got zero marketing attention. My book manager and I had a pretty solid plan, but the publisher announced they wouldn’t be offering any of their usual support in their last month of business. Book 1 was a re-release and Book 2 was a brand new release. Book 1 was originally published last summer, with a pared down version of the marketing plan below. Book 2 kind of just slid into the world with no fanfare (except for a release party I went through with on Facebook, in spite of the bad news).
I decided to focus my time and budget on re-releasing all four books, which is why Book 2 of my series got pretty much no marketing attention. I’ve been doing my usual weekly teasers, and have samples available on Wattpad (with samples trickling to my author blog starting next week). I also did a promo where, through June 1st, if anyone purchased Book 1 or 2 and sent me their receipt, I sent them the standalone that spun off the series.
My dashboard with the publisher’s sales reports was down all May, so aside from the three emailed receipts I received, I have no idea how well the book did. It’s back on the market now, but I’ve got crickets as far as sales go.
Smashwords, personally, is my least favorite retailer/dashboard, for various reasons—so I thought I’d do a little walkthrough, podcast-style, for my peeps at The Book Lounge!
Once again, this is another of those “I’ll come back in later and type out instructions” (gotta save my wrists where I can, which are aching pretty badly tonight and I still need to do some actual writing). Thanks for putting up with my ultra-tired, overworked babbling. 😉
This tutorial walks you through:
step-by-step instructions to publish an ebook on Smashwords
how to assign a free ISBN to your Smashwords ebook
how to opt in or out of “channels” (AKA retailers)
Here’s another tutorial for my friends in The Book Lounge. I decided at the last minute to publish direct to Kobo (rather than distributing through Lulu, Smashwords, or Draft2Digital), because they have a lot of promotional opportunities for indie authors and I didn’t want to miss out. Plus, their monthly statements give breakdowns of income by book, so it wouldn’t be hard at all for my math-challenged brain to calculate percentages for my creative team. 😉
I love Kobo. Before I got accepted to the small press I was with from 2015-2016, I was an indie author and Kobo was my most productive “honeypot”—my moneymaker. So I was pretty bummed when I found out that my publisher didn’t distribute to Kobo. Now that I’ll be back in the indie world, I’m excited to have those books available on Kobo again.
Once you’re logged in and have submitted any required account, payment, and tax information, it’s time to get your books rolling.
Go to the eBOOKS tab in your dashboard. Your books will be organized by pen name, if you have any. Click on the green “Create New eBook” button.
Step 1: Describe Your eBook
This will take you to the first of four steps toward publishing your ebook. This is pretty self-explanatory; Kobo has the slickest dashboard, publishing process, and user interface of all the ebook retailers. I can’t sing their praises enough.
The first screen is all of your book’s information: title, cover, series name (if applicable), blurb or description, etc. There are two sections you’ll need to pay close attention to.
Is this the first time you’re publishing your book? You’ll want to choose the yes radio button and select the original publication date—only if you’re re-publishing, of course. If you’re publishing a new book, you can leave the default no selected.
Edit categories. This is where you’ll choose your book’s genre(s). Kobo allows you to select up to three. This is important because later, when you’re submitting to promotions, you’ll want to make sure your book’s categories match the promotion you’re submitting to.
Step 2: Add eBook Content
Now it’s time to upload your actual ebook file. Kobo is pretty flexible and accepts a wide variety of formats. Personally, I prefer ePub ebooks, formatted using Vellum. That’s a whole other post, though. You can even upload a properly formatted .doc or .docx, if you’re more comfortable with using something like MS Word.
After you’ve selected your file, hit the green Upload button. Kobo will validate your file for you, making sure it will work properly with the Kobo e-reader or app.
If you don’t have any issues, go on to Step 3. If there are issues, read the information that Kobo provides carefully. Usually it’s a quick fix on your end, but you can also contact them and sometimes they can help, depending on the issue.
Step 3: Choose Content Rights
You are given the option of enabling DRM, which basically locks down your ebook; readers won’t be able to transfer it between devices. Some people use DRM because they are concerned about pirating. Personally, I don’t think DRM stops pirates. It does, however, hinder genuine readers, so I don’t enable DRM. You can do a Google search to research the pros and cons.
You can also choose where to distribute your book. Kobo has an extremely enthusiastic worldwide customer base. I’m usually selling books in countries all around the world, like South Africa and Canada, which is incredibly exciting. Kobo does really well globally, whereas I’ve noticed Amazon (KDP) is hit or miss.
Step 4: Set the Price
This part can get a bit tricky. It can be a huge pain in the butt to convert currencies. I don’t like to use the automatic conversion, because currencies change very rapidly and your book could end up listed under a weird price point, like 407 yen. That’s not an attractive price to customers. 399 or an even 400, for example, would be better.
The method I use is pretty simple. I enter my book’s price in US dollars, leaving the override price switch off. Then I go down the line, taking each automatically converted price into account. I switch override on and get as close as I can to the converted amount, but at a more retail-friendly price.
For example, if my book is $4.99 USD and converts to $6.54 in Australian dollars, I override it to $6.99 AUD. (In a recent podcast, Kobo’s Mark Lefebvre [AKA Mark Leslie] explained that Australian customers are used to paying higher price points, so it’s best to round up rather than down. My initial instinct might be to round down to $5.99 AUD, but I’ll test using Mark’s advice; I can always change it later if I’m noticing the book isn’t moving.)
(Note: In the Kindle dashboard, I would round down for a book being sold in India, as Indian customers are used to paying less in rupees for ebooks.)
Finally, choose the date you’d like your book to go live. You can also allow pre-orders (if your book is being published on a future date). For example, you can set the calendar to June 1st. Your book will appear in the Kobo store but won’t actually be available until that date. In the meantime, you can collect pre-orders and, once it’s been approved, you can set a promo price.
A Word on Kobo Promotion
A correction: Kobo’s promotions are currently in beta, and actually aren’t available to all indie authors. I apologize!
You can still run sales by lowering your book’s price as you would in KDP (Amazon), then advertising it everywhere. I strongly recommend doing a $0.99 or free promotion across all retailers, then advertising with places like BookBub.
You can do a week-long promotion, advertising with a different place every day. Do a Google search for places you can advertise with, or stay tuned for my list!
When I first started out on Kobo, a select group of indie authors were on an exclusive promo opportunity list. Eventually, Kobo rolled this out to all indie authors. You can now access and submit to upcoming promos under the PROMOTIONS tab.
Every month, Kobo’s merchandising team lists upcoming promotions you can submit to. Some of these are site-wide and open to all indie authors; you just submit your book and Kobo takes care of the rest. Others are more selective and have specific criteria you must adhere to. Read each promotion’s information carefully before submitting to save yourself time.
There is no longer an email alert with upcoming promotions, so it’s up to you to check this tab regularly.
You can also organize your own sale. Once it’s live, there’s a big gray “set promo price” button under your book’s Set the Price section. You can choose your book’s sale price in all currencies and how long the promo lasts.
You can also access the promotions tab under the Promote Your eBook section after your book is live.
I hope this tutorial was helpful to you. Please comment below and let me know if you have any questions. If you’d like to leave me a little tip for my time (it took me about two hours to put this post together), feel free to buy me a coffee or buy one of my books. If you’re strapped for cash but would still like to thank me, a heartfelt comment is plenty! 😊 Feel free to share this post, too.
Same deal as with the business/marketing plan post; I plan on coming back to write up a text, step-by-step guide, but to save my wrists and get people going, I’ve done another late-night, Liz-babbling podcast!
This is for everyone at The Book Lounge. I’m super strapped for time, trying to get my books formatted and ready to go come June 1st, but I also really wanted to get something up to help my fellow authors get going. I recorded this as a podcast thingy just to get it done (and save my poor wrists, yay arthritis), but will come back and actually write out a step by step guide when I have the chance.
Around the 38 minute mark, there’s a sort of long pause; my husband came home from work and I paused to make him something to eat. (Poor guy has a nasty migraine. We’re just one big medical experiment in this house.) I apologize for the background noise and my rambling and occasional backtracking, etc. It’s late and I’m tired.
Business Plan Table of Contents
Monthly Sales Goals
Marketing Plan, by Book
Please note that the numbers shown in these screenshots are for demonstration purposes only and do not necessarily reflect my personal finances. I started to reset everything back to zero or plug in example numbers, then just got tired and screenshot as it was. I’m doing this on a very thin shoestring of a budget, and do plan on sharing numbers eventually, but not tonight! 😉
Things I mentioned:
NetGalley co-ops—There are several out there but I think I’m going with Patchwork Press’s co-op. They’re a bit more expensive but it seems like they check out readers before they approve, and they handle everything. There’s also Pikko’s co-op, which is cheaper but it seems like they’re not quite as selective. Do your research and talk to others who have used any co-op before you commit. Big thanks to Chelsea for teaching me about NetGalley!
Promo sites to advertise your books—There are many, many of these. Someone on Kboards was kind enough to put together a list. I’m not sure how up-to-date it is, so make sure you check things out before you buy any ads. Bookbub is the holy grail, but it’s also not your only option. I’ve had great results from some of the cheaper, smaller ones. Always plan your promos in advance and over several days. And for the love of books, don’t sale price at $1.99. That is a dead zone. Discount to $0.99 or free.
Some ideas for a book launch—The Writers’ Cafe on Kboards in general is awesome for advice, how tos, etc, but I’ve read that one, this one, this one, this one, and several others, and implemented elements into my own plan. I highly recommend you sign up for Kboards and lurk the Writers’ Cafe regularly.
Finally, there are a lot of “how to” guides for business plans out there. I like to keep things simple and organized without too much fuss. I spend about an hour writing my plan for the year up and then readjust as necessary, usually every quarter. This should at least get you started. Feel free to tweak as needed!
I think that’s everything I wanted to mention. Leave a comment or email me if you have any questions!
The first two books in the South of Forever series are on sale for $0.99 each for a limited time. Grab them now!
Set in Boston, the South of Forever series is a contemporary New Adult romance that follows Jett and her ragtag band of musicians as they build their band from the ground up.
Diving Into Him (Book 1)
Sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll—that was Jett Costa’s old life. After her wildly popular band falls apart, she’s determined to remain sober and rebuild her career. There’s just one problem. The only person who still has any faith in her is her ex-boyfriend Koty, and Jett isn’t sure that she can keep her hands off him.
Maybe living together wasn’t such a great idea after all.
She may have been sober when she made that decision, but she definitely wasn’t when she agreed to play a show on behalf of a band that no longer exists at one of the biggest bars in Boston. Now she has less than three weeks to get her new band together. Can she ignore the sizzling sparks that fly between her and Koty every time they play?
Diving Into Him is the first book in the South of Forever series, a steamy contemporary New Adult romance that follows a fledgling rock band on its way to the top.
Ever since artist Savannah Santos started taking care of her boyfriend’s daughter, she’s had less time to paint. At first, it seemed as if Max and Chloe were the family she always wanted. But as Max grows more distant, Savannah starts to think encouraging him to join South of Forever was a huge mistake.
Especially when he’s less than supportive of Savannah’s burgeoning art career.
Something is definitely going on with Max. He’s completely indifferent toward his daughter and Savannah, who is determined to find out the truth. When the secret she discovers is so much worse than anything she ever imagined, it tears her heart to pieces. Can Savannah rescue her family from destruction, or will she lose Max and Chloe forever?
Savannah’s Song is the second book in the South of Forever series, a steamy contemporary New Adult romance that follows a fledgling rock band on its way to the top.