I’m going to talk about book marketing without paid ads. I’ll be showing that it both is and isn’t the paradise you imagined.
People are surprised to hear that I haven’t paid for ads for years.
They have heard that is a pay to play market, and in certain sections of the market that is indeed so, but as I have already said in this post, you don’t need to be part of that section of the market.
How is this devilry possible?
Let’s consider the three p’s of publishing: product, persistence, and promotion.
Promotion is only a third of the equation, and only a small part of promotion is paid ads of the type that you might see on Amazon or Facebook. It is an option, but by far not the only one.
However, without getting the other two p’s product and persistence right, you do not really have much chance in promotion.
So first of all, you need to make sure that your product is great. I have already described that in another post.
In the second place, you need to have a level of persistence. Very very few people succeed with their first book, and persistence means not just publishing more books, but it also means to finish series, and building a coherent brand.
When you have a great product, and you have a pipeline of a series that readers can make their way through, any promotion you do becomes easier. So what am I talking about when I say that I don’t do any paid promotion?
I must do some sort of promotion, right?
Yes, I definitely do. This is something that people need to understand: you need to do something. That something need not be running pay per click ads on Amazon or Facebook. In fact, there are many better things to do that will give you more consistent results. But you have to do *something*.
What is this “something”?
It requires a mindset.
Start simple. Really basic stuff.
Add a link to your books to social media profiles. I often register on social media sites just to stake out my username, but I always put a link in the bio so that people who search me on that venue can find my books.
Put a link in your email signature, and in your newsletter, in the books themselves and in places where you talk about your books like forums.
This is once-only, set-and-forget passive marketing. You will see people come through these links if you use a link tracker.
The number of clicks go up the more you use the vehicle with the links embedded. If you get interaction on your social media posts, people will check you out. If you build a large email list, people will click the links in the emails.
One step further.
Do author cross-promotions. I use Bookfunnel, and other options are StoryOrigin, and MyBookCave.
Bookfunnel is the biggest and it does a lot of other things as well, so is worth investing in.
Once you’ve uploaded your books and made pages for them, submit those books to promotions organised by other people, usually around genre or a theme. Promotions can be for free or paid books and can be for newsletter signups or sales.
Bookfunnel creates a page and all the authors in this promotion will advertise this page to their newsletters and in their social media circles.
You can also do straight author newsletter swaps, but do make sure that you select an author in the same genre, and one who is roughly on the same level as you.
You can also simply post about your books on social media. This doesn’t mean making buy my book posts everywhere all the time, but you should probably do them sometimes, especially when you have a new release out or you haven’t done it for awhile.
You could just talk about your latest book and talk about writing it. You will get people involved by posting little snippets of your book on your blog or on your Facebook page. You mix these with the normal things that you post there. For example photos from Instagram get syndicated to my Facebook page, and I very often get a lot of comments. When I have high engagement, I will make the next post about my books.
In this way, you make people aware of what you write, and when the time comes for them to pick something to read, they may think about you.
Also make sure they can sign up for your newsletter. Give them a free book to sign up. Let the book do the work: they should want more after reading it.
Offer book 1 of your series for free. Make it free on the retailers. If the book does its job (see “p” for product) you will get people buying the rest of the series.
Now I know that a lot of this sounds like wishful thinking, but if you pay for ads, you are doing the same thing: chucking out info in the hope some people are interested. People have become wary about advertising, for one there is too much of it, and are no more likely to click on these ads than they are on your regular post about your book.
The only thing that you’re doing with pay ads is to reach a larger audience, but you can hack this by increasing your engagement with things that people like to see, like funny anecdotes, beautiful photos or artwork, and of course cat pictures.
When posting about your books on social media, get you a feeling for which of your books is likely to be respond best to advertising. This is when you are ready dive into paid ads.