This Self Promotion Business Isn’t As Easy As It Sounds!

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So I’ve got my book on Amazon. Now what do I do? As idiotic as that may sound, that’s exactly how I felt when I eventually published my book online. Being totally ignorant of the workings of online retailing, I thought that was that, and just let the book sit there, stagnating for a few months.

Sales?  Perhaps one step higher than the one labelled ZILCH.

Only to be expected when the book is buried beneath thousands of others!  I know that now. I didn’t, then. It never entered my head that I had to actually do things to make my book more visible. I can hear you saying, ‘Which planet has this woman been living on for the past ten years?’ I‘ve since learned of multiple strategies adopted by authors to get their book(s) visible to potential readers – both before and after publication.

I have no intention of talking about them all. I simply want to highlight a few of the ways in which I failed miserably in the art of self-publishing.shutterstock_165912134

Firstly, I failed to get the word out that my book would soon be published on Amazon (preferably several weeks prior to the date).  No one outside my close family was aware of my intentions, not even people I knew or formerly worked with. I didn’t see the need. I just imagined that once the book was on Amazon it would be seen, and hopefully sell.

Wrong!

Then I proceeded to make a great bodge of everything else.

I hadn’t tried any kind of advertising for my book. As with everything else, I hadn’t given it a thought. Now I see that there are many places/websites that feature adverts to promote books, both free and paid ones.

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Many are designed to advertise particular promotions by the author, including the 5 free days’ promotion with Amazon KDP Select.

But I hadn’t heard of Amazon Select until someone mentioned it to me -by which time my book had been published for almost three months.

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So far, I’ve only tried the five free days once, and have mixed feelings about it.  My book had plenty of downloads – well, over a thousand between Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.  (That sounded a lot to me, but perhaps it wasn’t, comparatively.)

I waited for reviews to start coming in, but none arrived, other than the few I’d specifically requested from known Amazon reviewers or bloggers who offered reviews. I didn’t realise that most readers, no matter how much they enjoyed a book, rarely reviewed. Ah, well . . .

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So next time I’m trying the Amazon Countdown Deal to see how that works. I’ve got one booked for the end of November.

I also now know that I should have sent out lots of review requests, not just a few. I suppose I’m just not the pushy type. I haven’t even ‘spread the word’ amongst people I know. More fool you, you would say – and you’d be right. Perhaps I just have too much of the famous ‘British reserve’.  But I do realise that I have to buck my ideas up, somehow!

And this is where I am today.  I’ve had some excellent reviews from the few reviewers I approached and several on Amazon.co.uk from general readers. Naturally I’m heartened by their favourable ratings and comments.

All I have to do now is find a way of getting more of them.

I’ve recently joined Goodreads, an invaluable site for authors, and I’m enjoying that immensely – except for the fact that it just tempts me to read more books instead of getting on with my own!

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I’ve also spent time writing book reviews on Goodreads, which, although enjoyable, is also time consuming – as is writing this blog, which I’m still trying to decide how best to use. As a new blogger, it’s all very much a matter of trial and error, and a lot of patience, I know.  Unless a blogger is already a well-known personality, I realise it can take a long time to build up a good following.

In conclusion, I’ve now had advice from a number of sources and read a lot about ebook promotion and advertising. At least I’m a little better informed nowadays. All I have to do now is put some of this new-found knowledge into practice!

I’ll finish with a few interesting quotes about self-publishing:

“The good news about self-publishing is you get to do everything yourself. The bad news about self publishing is you get to do everything yourself.”   Lori Lesko

“Anyone who says it’s easy to self-publish a book is either lying or doing a shitty job.”   Nan McCarthy

“The best self promotion is your next book. And the book after that and after that …”  Bella Andre

I’m working hard on the last quote! This will be the cover of Book 2 of my Sons of Kings trilogy.

Pit of Vipers Final (Small)

About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
This entry was posted in Book Promotion, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to This Self Promotion Business Isn’t As Easy As It Sounds!

  1. samulraney says:

    Reviews beget reviews. It seems like no one wants to be that first, second or third review, but once you get a few (and some sales to go along with it), the reviews will come. So, definitely go out and try to get some reviews. If you have a series, giving the first book away for free can also lead to sales and reviews. Good luck!

  2. Elsa Holland says:

    Great post Millie! I am planning on publishing early next year so I’m focused on getting a heads up and as much as info as possible at the moment. Love the cover of book 2!!

    • milliethom says:

      Hi Elsa. You’ve really made my week! Thank you so much for the like, the follow, and the amazing reblogging of my post. I reallly wish you every luck with your writing and the publishing when you get around to it. Just make sure you do it a little more positively than I did! I’ll enjoy following your blog, too.

  3. talesbytink says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and ineptitudes… as someone much like yourself (and as yet only shorter works written) the whole self publishing thing (and the technology thing) is a bit mind boggling! I personally HATE networking with a passion… but I will have to bite the bullet at some stage. Good luck with your sales and congratulations on your book!

  4. Very frank and useful information. Thank you for sharing them. I hope your book sells well. I look forward to reading it.

  5. Oh and I love the cover of Book 2.

  6. Great post, Millie. Although I am going through the whole query process now I have every expectation that I will end up self publishing sometime next year. The complexities of the publishing world are considerable and, contrary to my expectations, have proven to be much more challenging, or at least less fun, than the writing. Getting sound advise from those further along in their writing careers is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing.
    Jim
    P.S. Love the cover for Pit of Vipers.

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, James. As far as I’m concerned, any useful advice is something to be treasured. We all need plenty of it on the rocky road to publication. I wish you every success on the traditional route. Finding an agent isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
      Thank you for liking my new cover, by the way. I’m presently having a similarly styled one done for my first book, and the same designer will also do one for Book 3. Happy writing.

  7. I of July says:

    cover looks great… book 3 already?… working hard Mme Millie… will hopefully be one day a collector of your works… you’re such a beautiful mind 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Hello again, Heath. Thank you for the wonderful comment It gives me a lot to live up to! And regarding beautiful minds, I think yours would take a great deal of beating. Your passion and deep thinking about life just ooze from the lovely poems you write.

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  10. ChristineR says:

    There is the school of thought that good books will sell themselves. You needn’t worry too much about full throttle promotion until you nearly have book three out there. ( I’ll do the review for Pit of Vipers this week. )

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you so much for all the encouragement, Christine. That you’re about to review Book 2 is just wonderful. I suppose ‘full throttle promotion’ will have to come, eventually. I’m not sure about good books selling themselves. If no one can see them, no one’s going to even consider reading them. It’s how to get m books noticed that I need to get my head round.

  11. Very interesting post! I’ve never read anything like this before, I like it that you’re so open about the challenges. It reminds me of entrepreneurship (which one of your quotes suggests, too). I tried working as a freelance translator earlier this year, a dream of mine for a long time, and unfortunately didn’t have it in me to go all the way. I managed to get jobs but EVERYTHING else was just so overbearing. The computer programs/tools, the risks/insurances need, taxes and other government bureaucracy, not to mention self-promotion and learning a new agency’s ways of working etc…. And beginning to blog has been another learning process! I’m very inspired by what you’ve done. I think the entrepreneurial aspect also gives you a lot of control, which can be nice, once you learn to use it. Well, this post is 6 months old so by now you’re probably much further along as a self-publisher! Good luck! 🙂 I hope I can figure out that Amazon country thing, so I can buy your 2nd book when I’m finished reading the first one!

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you for liking that post, and for sharing some of your own experiences. Being a freelance translator sound ideal for you – but there are always hidden sides to every job. The list of things involved you’ve given sounds ominous, so I can see how it would get you down!
      Self publishing is very hard work, especially for someone like me (or as old as me) who hardly knew my way round a computer when I started writing. I never considered self publishing, so I didn’t do the preparatory things I should have done before I finished Book 1. Things are falling more into place now, and since Book 2 was published, sales have picked up. I now also realise that if you are writing a trilogy, it’s best not to publish until all three are done (or you’re a really fast writer, which I’m not because of lack of time). I’d never heard of blogging until last year, and although I’ve signed up with Twitter and LinkedIn, I haven’t time to look into what to do with them! Idiotic, I know. Thank you for liking my book. Book 2 is different in many ways. Some people like Book 1 best, others prefer Book 2 (which has more about Alfred in it than Eadwulf). But that’s how it goes, isn’t it – personal taste. Talk again soon …

  12. I can imagine there’s some much to consider and look into, in self publishing. Talk to you later!

  13. So exciting to see your name there! Wonderful! I love the cover very exciting! Wish you all the best!

  14. swritings says:

    Gosh, exactly what I’m going through! I’ve published on Amazon and then…nothing..! So still no success, but like you said, I need to keep at it! Very informative, thanks! 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you for reading my post! I wrote that one over a year ago now, and can say that things have got gradually better regarding the sale of my books since then. Nothing wonderful, as yet 😀 but they aren’t sitting on the bottom row now, particularly on the UK site. I’m still pretty hopeless at self-promotion, though, and know that’s a big disadvantage. I hope things work out for you. It’s so hard to get ‘noticed’ on Amazon and I wish I knew the strategy to use to get more reviews and be more visible on the site.

      • swritings says:

        Thank you so much for your response! Yes, that’s so true! I got all excited when I finally published my short story as an ebook, but didn’t realize that it was only now, that the real task has begun! I’m mostly using Twitter to get it noticed but need to expand into other mediums! Thanks once again and good luck to you too! 🙂

      • milliethom says:

        I’m impressed thet you do so much on Twitter. I confess to having ‘signed up’ with Twitter ages ago, but have done nothing about it. I’ve heard it’s an effective promotion tool. I ought to get round to using it, I suppose. 🙂

      • swritings says:

        Well not as much as others do! (it always feels as if what one does is never enough and others are way ahead!) 🙂 Sure! do give it a go!

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