What’s New On Your Marketing List?

by Molly Greene, @mollygreene

Self-published authors are constantly on the lookout for effective ways to market their books and increase sales, and I’m no exception. Sadly, though, my 2016 marketing plan went off the rails and I fell short of my goals. But with the start of a new year, I’ve returned with a vengeance. I’m determined to create additional ways, both in and outside the tried-and-true, to get the word out about my work.

Something I’d hoped for but will now, finally, kickoff for the first time, is cross-promo collaboration. I was invited (thanks guys!) to join a boxset with a group of mystery/thriller authors, and I’m thrilled to be part of this seasoned team. Death, Lies, and Duct Tape went live in May.

And, as we head into spring, in future posts I’ll share about our experiences promoting and selling this multi-author set. For now, meet some of my partners in this project, and learn what new marketing tasks – aside from the boxset – they’ve taken on for 2017.

Ian Sutherland

Last year, Amazon opened up its advertising platform to all authors, not just those who are exclusive within KDP Select. Since I had mixed success with Facebook advertising in 2016, I’m giving Amazon ads a more focused go this year. Unlike Facebook, the only image you can use in your advert is your book cover. So, success is all down to an enticing cover, targeting and the small amount of copy you can add to the ad. There are two types of ads you can run, Sponsored Products or Product Display. Intuitively, I thought Product Display would fare better but, for me, early testing tells me that Sponsored Products typically gives a better ROI. To learn more for yourself, press the ‘Promote and Advertise’ button to the right of your book in the KDP Dashboard bookshelf and give it a go.

Joe McNally

A year ago I moved to a small island off the Scottish west coast (53 people per square km). This year, I’m going to offer local creative writing lessons, free to all. This will be a community contribution but maybe I’ll get some word of mouth promotion from students.

Helen Hanson

Like most writers diving into 2017, I want to hit water when I land. Everywhere, I hear the same question asked: what’s that next big thing to springboard my work? For me as a human, life the last couple of years has been crappy hectic, so I’m like the [insert athletic team here] and in a rebuilding season. Along with advertising, I’m doubling-down on collaborative marketing efforts with other writers. I plan to produce more novels, short works, and audio editions of my existing books. With a new release coming, I’m updating my release procedures. What worked before? What made me what to drink scotch for breakfast? With every process, I’ll analyze, assess, and adapt. Whatever it takes to reach more readers because only readers matter.

D.F. Bailey

Like Ian, my 2017 marketing goal is to become a master of Amazon ebook ads. Since most of the people scanning Amazon’s Kindle pages are looking at ebooks, it’s an ideal place to advertise.

So on January 1st I stuck a toe into the water by advertising one book. So far I’m breaking even — which somehow feels like a victory. Next month I’ll dive in and post ads for all seven of my novels. From that experiment I hope to learn what works, what doesn’t, and then scale-up the winners. In March I’ll publish a boxset of my first four novels and apply the advertising lessons I’ve learned to my boxset.

That’s the plan. But as the proverb says, “Man plans, God laughs.” Wish me luck.

Mark McKay

I’m a suspense thriller writer with five books to date. Four of those are part of a series. After several attempts, I’ve just been accepted for my first Bookbub promotion. For me that’s pretty exciting, especially if what I hear about the effectiveness of Bookbub is true.

I’m offering the first book in my series, A Terminal Agenda, for free. The object is to drive people to the following titles to increase sales and gain more visibility. The whole discoverability issue is the number one nightmare for Indie authors who are starting out, in my opinion.

Perhaps that’s about to change for me. Apparently I can expect 40K-50K downloads for the book, which is pretty amazing, really. I’ll be delighted if that happens. That’s more than I get for the Freebie on Amazon in a year, in one day. Wish me luck!

Catherine Lee

I’ve been writing for a while, but I’m new to marketing. Last year I dabbled, but it’s time to get serious. My big focus this year is to actually plan out my marketing attempts, and spread them through the year, rather than just haphazardly having a go at various things. So I’ve set myself a monthly budget, and set out what I plan to use it on each month for the whole of 2017. It’s a mix of promos for my permafree first in series, launches for the next two plus a box set of the first three. I’ll be tracking the results, so I’ll be better able to assess what works and what doesn’t.

John W. Mefford

Marketing is like a trendy restaurant. Even ones with the biggest splash opening may not last very long. So, instead of jumping into every latest marketing trend, I aim to find a knowledgeable book marketing SME (or at least someone willing to learn) so they can focus on the details and provide me the data so that I can make decisions at a more strategic level. Ideally, I hope to spend more time writing.

Kerry J Donovan

For the first time this year, I plan to submit my latest novel to the Kindle Scout Program and promote it though the usual routes, Newsletters, Facebook, and Twitter. Apart from that, I’ll write and self-publish one more book and pray to the God of All Authors that someone buys the blasted things.

Oh, and like Ian, I’ve dipped a toe in the water of Amazon ads. So far, it’s looking good. I’ve set a Sponsored Products ad and so far, have netted Average Costs of Sales of 22%, which isn’t bad.

Authors, what book marketing methods are you adding to your playlist? Readers, where do you go to find new authors? Leave a comment and share!

Note from Molly: If you haven’t already, check out my Amazon Author Page, friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe and you won’t miss a post. By the way, all original content by Molly Greene and guests is copyright protected. Mwah! Thank you so much.

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18 Responses to What’s New On Your Marketing List?

  1. Helen Hanson February 6, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    Thanks for the post, Molly 🙂 Here’s to 2017!

  2. Jennifer Jennings February 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

    Great post! Since I have 21 books in a series, I run free promos at least once a month. I don’t do a lot of social media (I don’t even have a twitter account) but I just launched an author website. I also got my books reviewed on Kirkus and BestThrillers.com, which has gotten me some exposure. Bookbub features are hard to come by these days, but I’ve had luck with Freebooksy and Robin Reads for the free giveaways.

    I’ve tried Amazon advertising, but haven’t had much luck.
    Good luck to everyone giving it a try!!

    • Molly Greene February 6, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

      Thanks Jennifer – and yes, BookBubs are hard to come by – so hard, in fact, that I stopped trying. Loading up on the smaller, less expensive sites is on my to-do list for spring. An I’ll check out BestThrillers.com, thanks so much!

      • Kerry J Donovan February 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

        I had a BB in May 2016. Great success, and plenty of RoU, but I was rejected 17 months on the trot before the acceptance. Most disheartening.

        • Molly Greene February 6, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

          Yikes, Kerry – Yes, definitely must have perseverance when it comes to BB, and it looks as if you’ve got it. I’ll try again, just in a confidence recovery period phase right now. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Kimbery Wenzler February 6, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    Great post, as usual. Thanks Molly!

    I’m pushing off a marketing plan until book #3 is out. But I always learn so much from your posts.

    Good luck in 2017!

    • Molly Greene February 6, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

      … and I hope you’re ready to guest post about everything you DO try once you begin to market! *Hugs* Thanks, Kim. Best of luck on your WIP!

  4. Kerry J Donovan February 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    Excellent blog post, Molly. Thanks for this

  5. Maureen Grenier February 6, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    Thank you all for such helpful info. I guess the main message is just to keep writing and working at the marketing side. Perhaps I’ll try Amazon ads next.

    • Molly Greene February 6, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

      Yes indeed, Maureen. Keep writing, establish a few standard marketing methods, add to them and try new things as you have time and budget – that’s my philosophy.

  6. MM Jaye February 7, 2017 at 4:50 am #

    Here’s to great success in 2017! Can’t wait to read the box set stories!

    • Molly Greene February 7, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

      Thanks, Maria – MWAH!

  7. Derek Smith February 11, 2017 at 5:01 am #

    Thanks for this, Molly, and your contributing authors. Useful stuff. I’ve had five books out in my Jack of All Trades series. I’ve had seven rejections so far with Bookbub on the first in the series. Impossible to know what their criteria are. I shall try again in a few weeks. FB hasn’t worked for me at all. Give aways on KDP Select have. I am considering trying for an Amazon Advertising promotion. I’d like to do an Instafreebie promotion for the first in the series but it needs to be off KDP Select to do it. So it will be later in the year.

    It feels a bit three steps forward and three steps back. But I am learning, at least I hope I am.

    Best of luck for 2017.


    • Molly Greene February 11, 2017 at 10:17 am #

      Thanks for sharing Derek … we’re all in the same boat. Best of luck to you!

    • Matt Cowper February 25, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

      I haven’t had success with Facebook ads either. I’m sure someone knows a surefire method to get clicks, but that requires research, and who wants to do that? 🙂

      • Molly Greene February 26, 2017 at 10:16 am #

        Matt, thanks for sharing and best of luck with your book marketing!

  8. Matt Cowper February 25, 2017 at 4:29 pm #

    I ran my first 99 cent promo recently, and placed an ad in Bargain Booksy.

    I sold an acceptable number of books (acceptable for me; veterans would chuckle at the number), but the strange part was watching my Amazon rankings fluctuate. Who knew I’d crack the top 10,000? I’m sure people do it all the time, but to me, it was astonishing.

    Of course, with only one book to my name, I can only do so much marketing. I need to churn out some novels before I devise any Epic Strategies to get eyeballs on my work.