Poor Writer's Guide to advertising - Part One

One of the age old sayings goes, ‘you have to spend money to make money’, and who would think that was the case for writers. But it is. Aside from the obvious, computer, paper or whatever means you use to write, You have to get the word out. Internet access … costs money.

In our golden dreams we sit back and absorb the fruits of out labor.  But realistically, that isn’t the case. I decided in November to try an advertising experiment. Traditionally, November for me, has always  been a slower month. About the same as October, so it was a good month to do the challenge. And I share with you the results. What worked for me, may not work for you. What didn’t work for me, may crush for you. It’s a gamble … a game. One you have to take if you want to sell.

Books don’t just sell themselves. Okay … sometimes they do. Remember, I’m on a budget, so every source I recommend is affordable.

There are three great head start methods.

You could be one of the lucky ones who catches the big ‘word of mouth’ train and ride forever.  In that case, put your wallet away, you don’t need to do any more. That is rare.

Often you catch the ‘word of mouth’ trolley. That grabs you and only takes you so far. Or the ‘Word of mouth’ friendship circle, where a large dedicated group of family and friends buys your book and starts you with a great sales rank.

The Trolley and Friends can give you a great boost,  but they die out and if you fail to follow and keep going, your book will go from a great rank of 5k on Amazon to 500k in a month.  Advertising, social media. Keep it alive. But say it dies … what now?

Hence my experiments. All done on books that either never sold well or had their day on the trolley at one point and one then new release.

Let’s talk ‘free’ advertising first.
Free forms of advertising and Free days.

Free Days.
I put two of my books on free days. Two years ago, Free days on Amazon boosted sale beyond belief, but with the huge flux of new books, not so much anymore. So it had been a good nine months since I did a free promo.  Two books, one I advertised, the other I didn’t. The unadvertised book had almost as many as the ‘ad’ one … but the one I advertised, kept selling after the free promotion.

Free advertising for Free Days

I used FREEEBOOKSDAILY they were free and they went above and beyond to promote. If you can get them to take your book, do so, they work hard to get the word out. The results were great.

Kindle Daily Countdown – you can use this is your book under Kindle Select. I did three books. One newer, one established, and one that never sold. The results … the one that never sold. STILL didn’t sell. The only movement I saw was for the older, established book and that was only 6 copies. To me, this is still too new and not many people are buying books under the option.

This Site ... of Course – I have never in my life seen someone so diligent as The Bookie Monster, I hear the song Rockin Robin because they tweet, tweet, tweet. And you see an increase in sales. Sign up for a review, you can’t ask for a better, free, way to get the word out.

Read Cheaply – A free site to get the word out. They are still fairly new and in exchange for them helping you, you help them by recommending their page. A small price to pay. Problem is, you do the requirements (‘Like’ their page, recommend) And it isn’t a guarantee they’ll advertise your book. But if they do, it really is a decent deal. It’s free, and my book, which was about 185k on the Amazon rank, sold enough to drop it to 8k. I was very pleased. I saw my best numbers here.

Awesome Gang – By far this is the best FREE service. They have a paid service (Which I’ll cover in part 2), but they are more than a place to get free advertising. You get sales, not a ton, but enough o get you noticed and they provide you with resources. More so the invaluable newsletter they send out with tips and advice is worth its weight in gold.

Those are the free advertising I tried in my month experiment. Part two of this blog talks about the paid services (There’s a lot I used) and how well  or badly they worked.

You also won’t want to miss my wrap up on the economics of my experiment tomorrow.

About the Reviewer:

Jacqueline Druga is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa and a fulltime author. She has written and published numerous novels in various genres, along with two full length feature films currently available on DVD. More than anything, she prides herself on being a kickbutt grandmother. To read more about Jackie’s work, read The Bookie Monster's review of The Forgottten.