Five months after self-publishing THE BEND, I'm still learning so much. If I'm going to repeat this process again next year, I wanted to learn as much as I can with my first.
To date, I've earned more royalties with this book than with the traditional publisher and my first book. But those earnings come with a price--marketing costs. I committed to using as many marketing opportunities as I could to get my book out there. Every day, a zillion books come onto Amazon. How will someone know about mine if I don't advertise it? At least until word-of-mouth kicks in and that may never happen. I scoured the Internet for promo sites and of course, BookBub is #1--but cost-prohibitive for this writer. So I started smaller. Bargain Booksy, Ebook-Soda, My Book Place, Book Reader Magazine, Book Man, Bargain E-Hunters and Amazon ads. I tracked those that worked (sold my book) and those that didn't. I did not reduce the cost of my book for any but I plan to do a 99 cent sale in the coming weeks using the site that produced the best marketing for THE BEND.
Overall, the Amazon ads have given my book the most exposure but I'm breaking even on cost to sales. But since my book is still new, I prefer to have my cover in front of readers using this method. It's hard to count the pages read KENP but those have continually increased over the months so I feel there is residual effect and that is money earned.
Along with monthly promotions, I've connected with a producer to create an audio version of my book through ACX. I've read where many readers prefer to listen to a book on their phones or IPad so going that route might be worthwhile. It costs nothing and again, Amazon does most of the work for you through their program. My timeline for delivery is early fall in time to promote for Christmas shopping.
Finally, my biggest challenge has been garnishing reviews. I added a request to the back of the book hoping that would help. I've found more readers leave reviews on GoodReads than Amazon and trying to bridge that gap frustrates me. More reviews on Amazon help sell the book.
I also tweaked my book cover to add words that are used in search engines when a reader is looking for a particular genre --like psychological thriller, heart-pounding, etc. In my Amazon ads, I added search words that come up when I typed in thrillers. I also studied the top sellers in my category and used words from there that worked for my book.
Overall, the marketing of a book takes more work than writing the book. There have been days when I wanted to stop and let it go but then I remembered how long it took me to write THE BEND. It deserves a good shot. Plus, think about this--ads are run for famous writers' books long after they first come out--a year or more. Why should I settle for less for my book?