NOTE: This post was originally featured on Susan Gourley’s blog. You can find out about this wonderful fantasy, romance, and science fiction author who also writes as Susan Kelley HERE.
During November 2014, I decided to go gung-ho and promote my two time travel books. So I prepared a plan and outlined it HERE. This is gist of my book promo strategy:
1. I created a Goodreads Giveaway for The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and the prequel to the series, Legend of the Timekeepers. I offered only one signed paperback book, and included signed trading cards. I made these giveaways international, hoping to reach a lot of readers worldwide, and ran it for the first three weeks in November.
2. I signed up for a month-long Holiday Giveaway with Mother Daughter Book Reviews. The prize was a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet, perfect for the upcoming holiday season. I was hoping to reach my target audience with this giveaway, since Mother Daughter focuses on reviewing children and middle grade books. The price of being part of the giveaway was $10, so it seemed a no-brainer to me.
3. Along with doing the Holiday Giveaway with Mother Daughter Book Reviews, an offer was given to authors to support Daughter by purchasing a $30 coupon book for her school’s fundraising campaign. And the offer? A promotion package which included advertising my book cover on the site’s sidebar for 30 days (which gets about 50,000 views monthly), plus a book review, and a two week Mini Social Media Blitz. Normally this promotion would have cost me over $70, so it seemed like a win-win to me! Plus the coupon book has already paid for itself! LOL!
4. As I mentioned in the outline, I’m part of this fantastic tween author group called Emblazon. We planned a HUGE Rafflecopter giveaway for a new Kindle preloaded with over 50 of the Emblazoners middle grade books which ran for the first 2 weeks of November. In addition, a Facebook party was set up for three days where readers could interact with authors and win great prizes. This was all to advertise the release our 2014-2015 Winter catalogue in time for the holiday season.
5. I participated at the Windsor-Essex Book Expo on Sunday, November 23rd to build my brand, connect with local authors, and meet readers. Along with my paperbacks, I brought a huge jar of Twizzlers® to hand out to the kids and adults, signed trading cards, and postcards.
And the results…drum roll please:
Goodreads Giveaways: What a surprise here folks! I couldn’t believe the entries I received. For The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, I had 2100 entries—a new record! And for Legend of the Timekeepers, I garnered 1502 readers wanting to win—another record! One book ended up going to Turkey for a cost of $11.65, and the second book surprisingly went to Quebec, Canada for $4.10. Not bad if you include the price of the books ($10 each). I was more after exposure here, which I got big-time. Plus I connected with one of the winners, who said he’d write a review for me.
Mother Daughter Book Reviews Holiday Giveaway: There were 34,002 entries for the Kindle Fire Kid’s Edition. Not bad in my books! Congrats to winner Joelle D. Again, exposure was the name of the game here. I wanted to get my book out in front of my target audience, and generate interest in my author brand.
Promotion Package with Mother Daughter Book Reviews: This finished December 8th, and I have to say I got some pretty good buzz with this promo plus a wonderful book review. I reached new Twitter followers, and received some more likes on Facebook. The shocker came on December 8th when my Amazon Bestseller Rank skyrocketed from 700,000 to 97,000. Um…huh? I didn’t see that coming, especially since my rank in November kept going down. Must have done something right!
Emblazon Preloaded Kindle Giveaway: I was mildly disappointed with the Facebook party, but we held strong and got a few readers stopping by to comment during my allotted time. In fact, I believe the winner of my ebook was a book reviewer, so you never know! We did manage to get more likes on our Emblazon Facebook page, so I feel we did okay. As for generating interest in our 2014-2015 Winter Catalog, the stats are in: 222 new subscribers for a total of 338 subscribers for our catalog! We’ve only been doing this for 2 years, and we’re all very HAPPY with these results! The Emblazoners even purchased another Kindle during the Black Friday sales for the next promotion. So stay tuned…
Windsor-Essex Book Expo: This event has all to do with location, location, location. And it wasn’t the best location for walk-in traffic. That said, I did sell seven books, so after factoring in the cost of renting a table ($35) and buying the candy ($10), I come away with about $25 in my pocket. Um…considering this event ran from 10 am to 5 pm, I made about $3.57 an hour. Again, this was about networking with other authors and meeting perspective readers—which I did. Plus the licorice was a BIG hit, and was a great ice breaker! I also made a few author connections too. Would I do this event again? Sure, and hopefully next year’s venue will be in a high traffic area.
Bottom line: With all the promotion and marketing I did during November 2014, my Amazon author rank and sales dropped drastically until AFTER December 8th, when my rank took a surprising turn for the better. Not sure why it took so long, but so happy it did! This whole author/promoter/marketer business is one crazy roller coaster ride to begin with. What did happen during the month that surprised me was that a 19-year-old reader from the Netherlands connected with me through Goodreads, and we struck up a relationship. She loves my books, and even reread the prequel and sent me a detailed email asking questions about the book. She even asked if she could review my writing in the future, so I think I’ve found my dream beta reader. Now that’s a super fan! And truthfully, this is what authors are after in the long run—cultivating relationships with readers that will last a lifetime.
Only time will tell whether these promotion strategies will translate into long term sales, but since I’m in for the long haul, I feel most were good investments.
Plans for 2015: I want to finish up the second book in my time travel series by spring to submit to my publisher this year, plus I'm going to have anniversary book blasts in May and August for my existing MG/YA books. There will also be at least four Goodreads Giveaways during 2015, so stay tuned for those contests. I’m within chapters of finishing revising and editing my first book—a paranormal romance with a Beauty and the Beast twist—my agent has requested, and hope to have the MS in her hands in February. I wanted to get The Last Timekeepers and Arch of Atlantis and Legend of the Timekeepers out on audio books, but have found that this Amazon service is only available to residents of the US and UK. Bummer. I'm hoping that Amazon's audio book service (ACX) will open up to the Canadian authors in the near future.