Book marketing. The mere thought of marketing my books wants me to run to my bed and hide under the covers. Maybe I’ll even take a nap while I’m there. Anything to get out of having to do the dreaded marketing. Unfortunately, pouting doesn’t help the situation and – let’s face it – marketing is part of the gig of being a self-published writer. I can say I don’t care if anyone buys my books – I don’t do it for the money after all – but that would be a lie. I put months and months of effort into a single book. Of course, I want someone (preferably several someones) to read it! Even better, I’d really, really like someone to enjoy reading it. Sigh. Wouldn’t that be the life?
With everyone from grandma to high schoolers self-publishing books, it’s nearly impossible to get noticed. There are as many different marketing ideas as there are self-published books. (Slight exaggeration) There are virtual book tours, release blitzes, social media buzzes, guest posts, interviews, Facebook advertising, book giveaways …. The list goes on and on. And while I’ve found that some of these marketing tools work well, the tool which seems to work the best for me is signing my book up for a reader newsletter.
The number of companies sending newsletters with lists of free or on sale books to readers is staggering. The most well-known of which is BookBub. But I’m not going to talk about BookBub – mostly because I have yet to figure out what magic I need to perform to get BookBub to accept one of my books. (Quick aside – anyone know where I can get some eye of newt?) Selling books using a newsletter service like BookBub isn’t as easy as buying a slot in a newsletter and then watching the sales roll in. (Although that would be awe-some!) Here are a few rules to help sell more books through reader newsletters:
- Choose the appropriate newsletter. There are tons of newsletters for readers to choose from. And there are tons of newsletters that are rip offs for writers. In order to have a successful marketing push, you need to find a newsletter with subscribers to whom your book appeals. How do you do that? By far one of the best tools I’ve found for figuring out just which newsletters to promote my book in is from Book Buddy. It’s not free but for $4.99 you get a list of over 200 websites with all kinds of useful information like cost, number of (fake) users, conversions, etc. Totally worth the money. So skip that non-fat skinny latte today and buy this guide instead.
- Book price. While most newsletters require a book to be on sale, several do accept books that are always priced at 99 cents. I have several books that are permanently on sale for 99 cents. Although I use newsletters for marketing pushes on these books, I notice that sales for these permanently on sale books is significantly less than my books which are actually reduced in price. I’ve decided to not lower the price of any more of my books to 99 cents permanently because of this. Well, not only because of this. It may also have something to do with wanting to actually make some money off of my blood, sweat and tears.
- Reviews. Some newsletters require a book to have at least 10 reviews with an average score of over 4.0, while other newsletters have no such requirement. I’ve been doing newsletter marketing pushes every month for the past eight months now and I’ve come to the conclusion that the more reviews the better. Oh sure, you can sign a book up for a newsletter the moment your book reaches that magical number of 10 reviews, but I advise you to wait. I’ve noticed that the more reviews a book has, the better the book sells during the newsletter ad. Don’t worry. I’m not saying you need to have 50 reviews. None of my books have 50 reviews! But having 20 reviews instead of 10 reviews makes a huge difference.
- Sign-up for several newsletters at once. Doing a marketing push isn’t cheap. Unfortunately, there is a direct correlation between the cost of the newsletter ad and the number of sales. Still, I recommend you bite the bullet and sign-up for several newsletters over a two or three-day period. Instead of seeing a one- or two-day spike in sales from a single newsletter ad, having your book in several ads over a two-day period will ensure book sales for several days after the newsletter ads have come and gone.
- Don’t immediately raise the price. Many readers will download a sample of your book before deciding whether or not to purchase. The purchase may therefore come a few days after the newsletter was delivered to readers. Also, not everyone immediately reads their email. There’s nothing worse for a reader than catching up on emails, seeing a book that looks like fun to read and then realizing that the price has already gone back up.
And now you’re wondering which newsletter services I use. My current go-to list includes ereader news, bargain booksy, manybooks and booksends. I have to admit, though, that there are several services I’d like to try but just find a bit too expensive at the moment. I’ll certainly let you know if I find any service that rocks my world. In the meantime, let me know if you have any tips or tricks for email newsletters that you don’t mind sharing.