Thursday, March 30, 2017

Did all that marketing work?

Well,,, maybe 'all that' marketing isn't really correct. But I did do some marketing for my latest book, The Stuff of Legend. You'll find the details in my previous post, The Joy of Marketing. But in summary:
  • I enrolled the book in NetGalley for all of March
  • I posted a headline ad at the Romance Reviews
  • I bought a book blitz tour through Book Unleashed which took place on 27th March
The purpose of all this was to try to increase sales, and to obtain additional reviews. At the beginning of the month I had three reviews on Amazon. Since it seems to be the only place I sell much, it's the only place I check.

It's early days, I know. March is not quite finished, and the book blitz ended a few days ago. I'm told that the book blitz entry appeared on forty-two sites, with a reach of at least 250,000 (without retweets and so on). 3,190 people ended the $10 Amazon gift card giveaway.

So how has this activity affected sales, and reviews?

  • I have no new Amazon reviews
  • There has not been a sales spike (huh) for TSoL but I have noted a tiny uptick in sales for previous books in the series
  • I have had a handful of friend requests on FB and follows on Twitter
Do I feel I received a reasonable return on investment? At this stage, no. I think I can reasonably assume that I would have made as many sales if I'd done nothing at all.

Would I do another blog tour/blitz? No. This is not at all a reflection on Book Unleashed. The event was conducted in a professional manner, and forty-two sites is good coverage. I did not pay extra for guaranteed reviews, or other options offered by the company. But then, my books are not aimed squarely at the romance market. Years ago I signed up for a blog tour, and the organiser refunded my money because she couldn't get enough tour hosts to sign up (Science Fiction, you see).

Would I put a book on NetGalley again? No.

What would I do instead? <Shrugs> Spend more time taking photographs.


  1. Last year I sold $15 of books each month whether I promoted or not. So basically none of the promoting gave a ROI in time or money, so I figured 'why bother?!'. I don't have the money for promotion any more and I can spend the time more to my own personal profit - writing more, doing my cosplay, spending time with the family, job hunting...well, that last isn't proving fun or profitable and just as disheartening as trying to sell books but might turn out to pay better at *some* point. NetGalley can take months to pay out in reviews and they're generally a mixed bag - having done it twice for my first book and once for the second in my series, I wouldn't bother again. I also let my BroadUniverse membership lapse because the only benefit I got from that was lower price for NG.

  2. It's frustrating, I agree, Greta. You see all kinds of advice all over for what you should do to push your books, and a lot of it is contradictory or expensive or time-consuming or just plain BS. The reality of it is that competition for those coveted eyeballs and clicks is FIERCE. And there's no predicting what will make a book catch fire with readers. All I can say is that I'm bull-headed and not ready to quit yet. As long as I have a book in me and my wonderful agent/publisher is willing, I'll keep trying. Never give up, never surrender!

  3. I've done it all, too. Promo events, guest blogs, group marketing, and nothing really seemed to work plus I invested more time in trying to get my books out there than I did writing more.

    Then I got a huge (and very unexpected) boost in sales from my StarDog story in Pets in Space, which seemed to intrigue a ton of readers into buying the companion novel, Inherit the Stars, and related novelette, Farewell Andromeda.

    It was an absolute endorsement of what I've been told over and over again, the best way to build my readership is by writing more stories. Based on that experience, I've decided to focus on getting more books published and a lot less time on trying to promote them.

    Once I have at least ten titles out, I'll take another look at the marketing side.

  4. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Greta. It's helpful to hear what other authors are saying. Recently the only time I notice an uptick in sales are the days when one of my books is featured in someone else's newsletter. Frustrating. I'm inclined to embrace Laurie's idea of reevaluating after I have ten books under my belt.

  5. Thank you for sharing your experience. I only ever got results from being on some blast email like Book Barbarian, and I never made back the cost because I had to price the book at $0.99. I'm so glad to hear that writers with much more of a career than me also have their doubts about marketing. Love the advice to write more. And Net Galley? What an unholy rip off!

  6. THanks, Greta, for sharing your experience. I tried Free Kindle Books & Tips for a $.99 book. Cost: $30. To recoup my money I had to sell 75 books (I think. Math is not my thing.) I saw a big uptick (not 75 books, though) plus an increase in sales for the next 2 books in the series. I'd try that again on a different series. But I usually don't see much of an increase after blog tours (my own or with a company) or extra tweets. If I'm going to market my books, I have to do it smarter...and keep track of the results. But then that takes away from my writing time.

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience, Greta. The more stories like this I read, the less I am focusing on promo, especially promo that is not free. I have to keep reminding myself not to bother with boosted FB posts - I keep getting tempted into it and it is worthless (at least in my experience). I am going to do a Bargain Booksy paid promo for Deal of the Day on Ghost Planet, because it's reasonably priced and am interested to see if any effect. That one requires at least twenty 4-5 star reviews. I'll report back if you guys are interested. I am really trying to refocus my efforts on writing after a distracting 3-4 months. Patty Jansen has a book coming out about how to start earning real money in 3 yrs without spending a bunch of time on promo. I'm interested to see what she has to say! (I think it has a lot to do with writing more books. BUT THAT'S SO HARD! ;) )


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