SFFMP 34: Facebook Marketing, BookBub, and Tips from Book Expo America

We talked among ourselves tonight, discussing a lot of the news and tips Jo brought back from Book Expo America. He went to panels on Facebook marketing/reader engagement and talked to the Bookbub people about what it takes to get listed and about some of the best practices. He also picked up some links to cool resources that you may want to check out.

Here’s a run-down of his notes:

Using Facebook to the best effect:

·       Facebook will always do its best to decrease the impact of non-paid advertising.

·       If you want to get the most bang for your buck, use whatever Facebook’s pet toy is. They will reward you with greater reach for free. Until they don’t.

·       Currently their toy is video. A 15-30 second video will get a much bigger push than post with any other media, or no media at all. (Don’t try to link to a video on another platform; you need to upload the video directly to Facebook to get their loving.)

·       A site you can use to create videos without a lot of tech savviness is Animoto

·       You can put a link at the end of the video, to actually get some use out of it.

·       Also, ask questions, because engagement amplifies reach.

·       And if you’re going to pursue something pursue shares. They expand your reach by the most.

Book Bub:

·       I talked to BookBub and asked for advice on how to make your book more likely to be chosen.

·       As expected, there’s a strong emphasis on a good cover and strong reviews.

·       The role that price point (and how much of a discount you offer) plays

·       Whether being in KDP Select puts you at a disadvantage to books available on a wide variety of platforms.

·       The reviews are by are the most important. A book with a great cover and a dozen decent reviews will probably lose to a book with a mediocre cover and fifty great reviews.

·       However, even if your book is flawless, with a perfect cover and hundreds of reviews, you might not get picked.

·       This is either because they were fully booked for the available period, or because your book is in a genre that has historically gotten poor click through.

·       In neither case are you doomed, they CAN still promo your book, but you’ll have to be persistent. New openings occur every day, and there’s always the chance your non-favored genre book will have no suitable competition for a given period.

·       They also gave advice on how best to promote your books depending on your goals.

        Shooting for a Best Seller:

        *  Discount the most popular book (if you’ve got one with over 100 reviews, use that).

        * Discount to lowest price possible. (99 cents, since free won’t count)

       Marketing a Series

       * Discount first book.

       * Free if possible.

       * Discount for three or more days.

       * Link to series in back matter.

Products that caught Jo’s interest:

·       Note: We aren’t being paid to mention these folks; Jo just thought they were interesting and potentially useful.

      * PiracyTrace: https://piracytrace.com/

      * Service that proactively searches the web for plagiarism of your work.

      * BookMarq: http://bookmarq.io/

      * An iOS App that is looking to be a slicker, dedicated mobile alternative to goodreads.

      * Slicebooks (https://slicebooks.com/en) and YaBeam (http://yabeam.com/)

        Slicebooks is a service that lets you chop your book into chapters for distribution purposes. More useful for nonfiction, because users can create mix and match derivative books by taking an assortment of chapters from different books and share the result.

       YaBeam is a service that uses the iBeacon feature of iOS to advertise to people by causing a notification when they walk by a YaBeam beacon. IE stick one at the door of a book store where you are doing a signing to offer passers by a heads-up that you’re in there and a free chapter to entice them.

      * Lithomobilus: http://lithomobilus.com/

       Think of this as choose your own adventure, or DVD extras for books. It uses the epub 3 enhancements to allow you to link to alternate scenes, fan art, etc that tie in to the current portion of a text. And of course, you can SELL this additional content.

      * Vellum: (https://180g.co/vellum/)

        This is an ebook formatting software for Mac that creates BEAUTIFUL template based ebooks in epub 2, epub 3, and mobi. Super user friendly, built in previews, etc. Like Scrivener if it was focused on publishing a book rather than writing it. (Though you can write in it too.)

      $30 for single use, $200 for unlimited.

     * Dropcards (http://www.dropcards.com/home/)

     * Enchanted world of Boxes: http://enchantedboxes.com/wholesale/catalog.htm?line=19

       They sell these neato book boxes, which lots of people resell through Etsy.

     * Poetic Earth Designs Handmade Journals (https://www.poeticearthjournals.com/)

       Gorgeous leather bags and hand made journals, also resold on Etsy.


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SFFMP 23: Marketing Dark Fantasy, Writing in a Series, and Selling Novellas

Tonight we had dark fantasy author Becca Andre on the show. She’s a relatively new author with three novels and two novellas out so far in her Final Formula series (the first ebook is free at Amazon, Smashwords, and other retailers if you want to check it out), but she’s gotten off to a great start.

Here’s some of what we talked about with her:

  • Writing and publishing while working a full time job and being a mom
  • The usefulness of writing workshops when you’re getting started
  • Branding the covers in a series and choosing an Amazon category (and even cover design) based on what’s less competitive (assuming a couple of options would work)
  • Novellas related to one’s main series and whether they’re worth doing or if readers are mainly interested in novels in the SF/F genre
  • Pricing for novellas versus novels
  • Effective ways of marketing a series, such as whether to focus on advertising the first book all the time or whether to spend money on plugging new releases too
  • Writing to a “key demographic” versus just writing what you want
  • Launching your very first novel at 99 cents so there’s less of a barrier to entry for potential readers
  • What to do as an author on Twitter and Facebook (i.e. posting snippets, updates, book news, etc.)
  • Using a Goodreads Giveaway (of a physical paperback) to get people to add the book and leave reviews there
  • Trying giveaways at times other than during a book launch, such as between books to generate interest and keep your name out there
  • Giving away a free “alternate PoV scene” to entice people to sign up for your newsletter


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SFFMP 18: Buying Advertising, Twitter, Conventions, Book Signings, and Swag

Tonight, after Lindsay coughed her way through the introduction, we chatted amongst ourselves on a number of topics related to online marketing and offline marketing.

  • How do you measure your return on investment when it comes to online marketing? When is it time to pull the plug on a method? (We discussed social media, Wattpad, and guest posts/interviews.)
  • Does it ever make sense to abandon a series, if the sales/reviews/interest isn’t there?
  • What’s an online marketing tactic that you tried, didn’t expect much from, then were pleasantly surprised about because it was helpful?
  • What’s something everyone does and everyone recommends doing but just seems like a waste of time to you?
  • Do giveaways actually help sell books?
  • Twitter — what’s the point, guys?
  • When is it worth buying sponsored spots on book blogs/mailing lists for your books?
  • Have you done anything in your own hometown to try and sell books locally?
  • Is there any value in going to conventions or doing book signings? Investing in some author swag to give away?

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