Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 18 October 2015

Get Your Novel Noticed by Mary Smith


I’m right in the middle of a Kindle Countdown promotion for my novel No More Mulberries and have just taken my finger off the Tweet and FB buttons for a few minutes. I thought I’d share the results so far, although there are a couple of days still to go before the book returns to full price on the 21st October.

Sales had hit a depressing, all-time low last month. This was entirely my fault as I hadn’t done anything to promote the title since May when I was lucky enough to be accepted by the holy grail of book promoters BookBub. No More Mulberries went FREE, 30,000 copies were downloaded and the number of copies borrowed (this was in the days before ‘pages read’) more than paid for the cost of the ad. It also gained some very nice reviews (and some not so nice ones but, hey, the one and two stars are a necessary rite of passage for an author).

The knock-on effect of this, which included increased sales of Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni, carried over for several weeks. Amazon allows titles on Kindle Unlimited to be on Countdown or go FREE every 90 days so I should have organised another for August but I let it slip. Big mistake. There’s no room for complacency in this business – take your eye off the promotional ball at your peril.

I booked my Countdown dates and started contacting promotion sites. I realise trad-published authors are probably told by their publishers when their titles are going to be discounted (if they do that) and may not have a say in the matter. Even so, once you know the dates, you can still approach promoters – that should make your publishers happy.

I went with twenty promotion sites. Some sites promote your book for free, asking that you promote their site in return (a pretty fair deal) while others charge for advertising. I went for a mixture. The group, eNovelAuthorsatWork, of which I’m a member, has some wonderful resources for writers on its site including lists of promoter sites and a series of blog posts on which ones work well. Do check it out.

How has it gone? So far not too shabbily. It has a best seller sticker on one of its categories on Amazon UK.

I only need a few more downloads to get me a best seller sticker in the US (hint, hint). 

Before the start of the promotion my rankings on Amazon UK and US respectively were 17,741 and 201,258. I had not sold a single copy of No More Mulberries in the US in October. Three days later the rankings are:

UK •  Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,771 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
• #1 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Asian
• #10 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > Classics > Women's
• #48 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Romance

US •  Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,514 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
• #2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Asian
• #3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Classics > Women's
• #84 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Romance

In the three days of the promotion I’ve sold around 90 copies, over half in the US. I’ve covered my costs, moved up the rankings and there are still a few promos to come before the sale ends. 
I’ve tweeted far and wide and I’ve had some tremendous support from the eNovelAuthors group who’ve tweeted and retweeted as have the team at BeeZee Books  

Of course, it’s not enough to pay your money and sit back. It is important to share the promo information on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and all other social media platforms. Let the world know your book is on sale – and take a moment to thank the people who run these promotion sites.

I’d be interested in hearing what others do to promote sales and climb the rankings – and when will it ever be safe to stop?

Right, back to the Tweet button.

Click here for Mary’s Amazon Author page

23 comments:

  1. Let's see if we can increase these numbers in the US!

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    1. Thanks, April, that would be so good :) I can see it sold more overnight both in the US and the UK but it's gone down in the US rankings, and up in the UK. It's very odd!

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  2. Well done Mary, just reading about the things you have done makes me realise how much I still have to learn - and do. Thanks for sharing this info.

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    1. I'm still learning, Gill and each time I do a promotion I learn something more which is useful for the next time. Good luck next time you do a promotion for Music and Lies.

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  3. Oh my goodness - I am impressed. It all sound such hard work but very interesting that there were knock-on effect sales. And here's to many more!

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  4. Thanks, Linda. It is quite hard work and time consuming but I think No More Mulberries is worth it. I love knowing over 100 people have bought it to read over the last four days.

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  5. Well done Mary. I've been finding crossing back to trad publishing a little frustrating sometimes, because I haven't had enough notice of promos, so have not been able to put it up for any sites. People We Love was chosen by Kindle for their autumn promo for a month at 99p, but other than tweeting it, I've done very little because we're on holiday. I'm sure I could have pushed it a lot more - but it does mean doing a lot of homework and spending time applying to get on all those sites, then following up on social media. There will be a few days left when we get back, so I'll do what I can then.

    Well done you!

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. Yes, it is time consuming! It must be frustrating not to have any control over when your promos are scheduled. I suppose when a publisher has so many authors on its books things can't be quite so personalised.
      Enjoy your holiday before you return to re-enter the fray!

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  6. Congrats Mary!! Great to know the sales and ranking are going up.
    My new release, Tempting Desire (released on Sept 24th 2015) is enjoying great sales so far. It sold 61 copies within 6 days of release. And to date, it has sold over 230 copies. Thank God. What did I do? I posted on multiple Facebook pages daily, thanked people who clicked Like - a fab way to engage with readers/authors, and tweeted often. I have not paid for any ad and I have not done a blog tour because I was too tired after release. I plan a Facebook Release Party in Nov.

    For a self-published author of 11 novels, this has been my biggest success. Everyday, I go on my knees to praise God for this supernatural success. Time to promote is key after doing everything else right (writing, cover design etc.).

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    1. Thanks, Stella. And congratulations to you, too, on your new release. You make a very good point about thanking people who click like on FB pages and engaging with them. Many authors just jump in, post the info about their book and move on to the next FB group to do the same without checking back and saying thank you. That's what the social stands for in social media!
      Do let us know when you have your release party.

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    2. Thank you, Mary. The release party is on Sat. 14th Nov. 2015. 6pm - 10pm UK Time. Everyone is invited. I'm doing a joint release party with a dear Author friend, Dariel Raye. Here is the link; https://m.facebook.com/events/426608280859583

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    3. Thanks, Stella. I've posted my acceptance - looking forward to it.

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    4. Huge thanks, Mary. I saw your post. I'm so looking forward to the party as well.šŸ’œ

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  7. All excellent feedback, Mary - thanks for sharing this! I've done a countdown for a short time but have never used anywhere to promote it so that's something to think about!

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    1. Thanks, Rosemary. No More Mulberries reached 2,800 in the rankings - is still best seller in Asian literature category (Murakami #3) and in the US it reached #2 in the category. I sold 79 copies in the US in four days - plus a big spike in UK sales. It all slows down after the promotion but nice while it's happening. Do think about it next time you are having a countdown.

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  8. Hi Mary - promotion is the thing that terrifies me most about self-publishing (and even those with a publisher still have to do some). Thanks for the hints and tips and good luck with it!

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    1. I no longer find it scary, Jennifer, though it's time-consuming. But, then so is writing a book and writing one few people are going to find on Amazon seems even more a waste of time. I want people to read my books and will work my socks off trying to achieve that.

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  9. Thanks for sharing this, Mary. Have you noticed Dawn French everywhere this week (Graham Norton, The One Show, Woman's Weekly to name 3!) promoting her latest book. If she has to do it with her huge fan base what hope for the rest of us!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by and commenting Frank. I love Dawn French but it is a bit galling when she can corner the publicity market with a new book and the rest of us struggle with our tweets and blogs and FB. Wonder why Graham Norton hasn't invited me on his show to talk about my book :) I had a quick look on Amazon at Dawn's latest book and her review rating is lower than mine!

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    2. PS She does have 639 reviews compared to my paltry 77.

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  10. Well done, Mary - I have tried BookBub once and been rejected - I tried with Kings and Queens which has 63 reviews, all 4 and 5* apart from one... still not good enough, alas! But I know it depends alot on what else they've got on at that time. A couple of people have told me they've tried about 4 times before being accepted, so I'll keep going! Now, if I could just get it up to 70 reviews...!!

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  11. Hi Terry, thanks for dropping by. I was totally gob-smacked when BookBub accepted my submission. I know of people who've tried many times and been rejected and others who have been accepted once but never again. I don't think it's based on the number of reviews but more on how many similar books they have at the same time. Who knows? It's a lottery. Keep trying and good luck.

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