Building the Ultimate Promotion
Simple Strategies Mean Big Gains
Advertising can be a massive mess of confusion, especially for indie authors who lack the wealth of supporting data behind the corporate decisions made by big publishers. With all of the different tips and tricks being thrown about online, it’s hard sometimes to even know where to start. But never fear! The team at bookSCREAM has your back. We run in-depth analytics on all of our newsletters and author promotions. Over time, we’ve whittled away the fluff and sass and found a handful of basics that can make or break your ads.
Get the goods after the jump!
Featured Author Freebies
By far, the best promotions allow for the most information in a pleasant and attractive package. For bookSCREAM newsletters, nothing beats the Featured Author Freebie promotion. This promotion is our most expensive, but it’s also the most effective. Be seen by everyone, regardless of genre preference, and advertise up to six books for one low price. Sound great? Well, before you go jumping into this or any other multi-part ad, you should pay attention to a few key areas.
First, do what you can to have multiple free books. The Featured Author Freebie promotion only requires a single free book, but statistics show that promotions with more than a single free book actually generate up to 30% more clicks on paid books included in the listing.
For your paid books, consider stair-stepping the prices. For instance, if you have five books to list and two of them are free, price the remaining three at $0.99, $1.99, and $2.99. This helps draw subscriber focus and eases the shock of a $2.99 book next to a $0.99 book.
When it comes to figuring out those sale prices, do your best to discount all books an average of at least 50%. It also helps to have a sale price for each book. Regularly priced books rarely show strong performance and sometimes hurt the performance of the rest of the ad. If you absolutely can’t put one of your books on sale, that’s fine. Just make sure you aren’t trying to cram more than a single regularly priced book into your ad. Subscribers will scoff!
Also, your books need to sparkle. This means the cover art needs to work. Many authors (and advertising agencies) think that attractive cover art is the way to go, and they’ll reject your book if they think you didn’t pay a professional artist to polish up your cover. But we’ve found that the most important aspect of a book cover is that it clearly conveys the genre and tone of the book. This is easy to do with a romance novel, but a bit trickier for an action thriller or a young-adult fantasy. The next most important thing? It shouldn’t look like all of the others. If you have a romance novel, plastering the cover with skin might be enough to communicate the genre and tone, but it might not do the trick of making the book stand out. So get creative!
Finally, you’ve got to make the covers agree with one another. Many authors use covers that have a lot of similarities. And that’s great for promoting a kind of brand recognition. It’s also good to have books in the same series look comfortably similar to one another. But when placing all of these books into a Featured Author Freebie promotion, covers that all look the same come across as boring. Remember, subscribers are scrolling through their email. If all of your covers look the same, they’re going to think they’ve seen everything you have to offer without even realizing that that’s what they’re thinking. Break away from the monotony by keeping the selection fresh and vibrant.
There is no excuse for not running a free ad. Seriously. It costs you nothing, and it puts your name on the bookSCREAM website, which only helps search engine rankings for any other promotions you might be running. The more places you can plaster your name, the higher the likelihood that you’ll see a return. It takes time, but it’s worth it in the long run.
If your book will be free, consider capitalizing even further. By boosting your ad into a Tier One slot, you’ll be able to include a 300-character description and get a spot at the top of the genre. Just make sure you write a strong description, not an advertisement. Entice people to buy your book, don’t solicit them.
On top of a powerful description, be sure to include keywords that work together lyrically. For instance, instead of “fascinating, adventure, fun,” try using “fun, fascinating, adventure.” See the difference?
Finally, don’t forget that standard sales rules also apply for a free ad. Your book will need to be priced at $2.99 or below after a 50% or greater discount.
Whatever You Do
No matter how you decide to promote, don’t shoot for immediate results. You’ll wind up frustrated 75% of the time. You’ll either have a funky promotion that has little return, or you’ll get great return that feels awesome but puffs out in a couple of days. Slow and steady wins the race.
Remember, bookSCREAM is free. That’s right, FREE. So advertise often. Work at building recognition, not temporary sales boosts. Keep your advertised content fresh, too. Don’t just continually slash prices on the same book over and over. Readers will lose interest.
Be sure you price your book and write its ad so that it stands out above the others. Remember that independent authors are in competition with one another…and competition is stiff in sales newsletters. Win your readers by having the best deals possible, and warn them ahead of time that they’ll find your book in an upcoming promotion. This might seem counter-intuitive, but reader loyalty is an important piece of the larger financial pie.
Finally, get out there and socialize. At bookSCREAM, we’re floored by how many authors aren’t plugged into social media. So take a moment, get a Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ account, and push yourself to post a status update every day. But don’t just share about sales and upcoming releases. Make friends with your readers. Show a photo of your darned cat. Post a picture of your dinner, Grandma’s famous recipe. Share what song you’re listening to as you wait for your next flight. Give readers little glimpses into your world, and they’ll be hooked and fiercely loyal and supportive. (And the boost in morale will do wonders for your writer’s block!)
And that’s it. It’s really not any harder than that. With a little work and a lot of perseverance, you’ll be an advertising pro in no time!