Wednesday, June 29, 2016

3 Things I Learned by Giving My Book Away on Amazon

I started writing fiction when I was fourteen. That was 31 years ago, but I didn’t get serious about selling my fiction until recently although over the course of time I have helped other authors complete and market their works. Somehow, it took this long for me to begin believing enough in my own stories to  become their champion instead of expecting someone else to do it.

After finishing All JACKED  Up, I decided to publish it in three parts and then a compendium to include all three of the others to maximize the free giveaway promotion, keep the price low while still making some profit and get the conversation started without feeling like I was spamming the same book daily for months at a time. 

This is the first in a series, The Origin Dime Chronicles, which is a combination of several ideas I have worked on over the years and I have at least two other full novels planned, but it’s set in a Multiverse, so who knows what might be next? In the course of launching it, I’ve spent quite a bit of time promoting and giving away my stories and I’ve learned a few things that might come in useful to other writers. Here are three of them. 

People are A**holes sometimes

As horrendous as it sounds, there are actually people who will try to destroy your free book with a horrible review. In the business, they are often called Book Trolls. These people are typically authors of some sort themselves and often have high scoring Amazon review accounts. You can recognize a troll because they won’t just have the one star review they left on yours, there will be many with their name on them. So, here’s what you need to know. 

  • ·       Take a breath. Even if this is your first review, it won’t kill you. If you know your story is good, don’t worry, there will be good reviews soon enough.

  • ·       Don’t fall prey to the desire to destroy them. It won’t do any good. They live for that and the more angry they make you, the more they laugh. Plus, it’s considered bad form.

  • ·       Thank them for their review, yes, seriously! Thank them and if they had any valid points, mention those in your comment. Be the bigger person. Your audience is watching.

  • ·       Apply their advice if it fits. My troll pointed out some errors that got introduced by some formatting software, like misplaced apostrophes, yeah, that the best she could come up with.

Whether they are having a bad day, or they are genuinely mean, don’t worry. They won’t be back and if they are, have some fun by pointing out your work can’t be that bad, they came back for more. Trust me on this, if you wrote a good story, you’ll find your audience and you’ll get good reviews.

There are a lot of places that will list free books on Amazon

While it’s hard to get free publicity for your book at regular price, when it is on discount, or free, you can get it shared in literally hundreds of places. Here’s a link to one of the biggest lists I know of for free promo sites. Not all of them are equal, so do a little homework, but put your link wherever they will let you, it helps. A lot. 

  • ·       Pay attention to the rules and follow them. Many of these sites have too many authors to care much about you and will ban you if you don’t follow the rules.

  • ·       Optimize each profile and listing completely. The more you add, like your photo, book cover and description, the better. This is a free ad. Use it!

  • ·       Pay attention to the paid add ons. Some of them are great, but if you are paying to get tweeted to a following of 1900 when you already have 2400 followers, that seems counterproductive

  • ·       Check with other authors and get recommendations on paid services. It’s the only real way to know what has worked, but that is no guarantee it will sell your book. Trial and error is the best way to find out.

Every link you leave to your website, social media and book sales pages is off page SEO. This stuff is worth its weight in gold and authors that do it right are easy to find, just google their names. They’re everywhere.

It takes a lot of work to market a book for free

In my case, this is not a primary source of income and I don’t have a lot of extra cash to invest, so I don’t have many other options at the moment, but you can spend time, or money. Nothing comes for “free”. I have determined that I can better spend time, but in your case, the right paid promotions might make sense.

  • ·       It’s not a one time process. You’ll need to post and monitor your promotions daily during a give away.

  • ·       Make sure you alternate your messaging and talk about the book, with quotes, etc. Keep it fun, use images, tag others, mention others, start a conversation.

  • ·       Pay attention to the rules. On Facebook especially, breaking page and group posting etiquette can get your account locked down, which is frustrating in the middle of a give away.

  • ·       Don’t give up. If this is your first book, don’t expect a miracle. The working authors I know say 8 to 10 books in is where it starts to level out and build real momentum.

Be friendly, be engaging, remember you are building an audience with each post. Talk to them, not at them. Share, don’t sell and most importantly, no matter what anyone says, smile and don’t lose your sense of humor. After all, if this works out, you’ll be getting paid to make up stories and that’s pretty bad ass, right?

So, want to find out what all the fuss is about? Get my books!

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