• Bella Dean Joyner

Audio Book Updates, Marketing, and Book Reviews

Hello Dear Readers! I hope this post finds all of you well and healthy. Things have been going well on The Still home front. Yesterday, I received an update from Spencer Dillehay, the narrator working on recording the audio book . He is in the process of going through the book, prepping it for his recording sessions that will start this coming week. In his email, he told me that he had let his vocal coach hear an exert of his performance of the novel and had received glowing praise for both the quality of his delivery and the suspense built up in the novel. I'm very excited for this partnership and look forward to what the next month will bring fans of The Still.

As many of you know, I have begun work on my second novel which was originally going to be titled The Chair in the Empty Field after its inspiration. However, after a discussion with my cover art designer and some self reflection on the book, the name has been changed to Whispering. Please make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter for my June 15th reveal of the cover art for Whispering. I will be posting it no where else until launch! On a more personal note while I am sharing, even though my world has been consumed with all things writing, marketing, and research, I have not allowed my studies to fall to the wayside. For the January-May semester, I finished with a 4.0 grade point average (gpa) and made the President's List!


I'm starting to loathe the word. It may not actually be marketing that I hate, but the fact that I am constantly playing catch up because I did none of these steps ahead of time. And that is okay! I have a lifetime and countless other books to be better and do better with. Hopefully this blog helps keep some of you from making the same mistakes.

However, I don't want to single out my readers who are fans of my novels and come here for the content that doesn't necessarily pertain to marketing. Since reviews, getting your name out there, are such a huge part of the self-publishing writer's world, I have decided to use this space to also honestly review the works of new horror genre authors that I come across. Be looking for the first post at the end of this coming week when I review Drowning Demons by Ben Wydeven.

For my own book, I'm getting some really great feedback, yet those comments are not converting to book reviews. I have consistent page reads on Kindle Unlimited and ebook purchases, but you would never know it by the amount of reviews I have on Amazon and even fewer on Goodreads. I suppose it's true what they say, that only 1% of your readers convert to reviews. So what as a writer can we do to remedy that? I'm currently doing a few different things. I started to look through books similar to mine within my targeted genre and reached out to people who gave quality reviews. I favored the ones whose reviews were honest and detailed. I was able to reach out to a few who agreed to read and review my work and now I'm patiently waiting while they get to my book on their "to read" list. There are also multiple bloggers who review books for new self-publishing authors upon request. This is an avenue that I am currently exploring myself, but preliminary research within the horror genre has over 20 current bloggers with well established platforms who are currently accepting new novels for review. They accept multiple mediums (mobi, epub, paperback, etc) and post reviews of your work to various sites such as Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, as well as their own blog readers. After I follow through with a few of the leads I have uncovered, I'll let you guys know how this avenue works for me and my review numbers/quality. In my last blog I mentioned BargainBooksy where I paid $25 for my book to be sent out to a list of approximately 64,000 horror genre readers. My ad was sent out this past Monday.

While I can't really judge whether my Kindle Unlimited reads have had any significant downloads from it, I do know that I did not receive any additional ebook or paperback sales. This very well may be due to me still having a low number of reviews on my novel, but there is no way to know for sure at this point. I would have to agree with others who posted that they received very minimal return from BargainBooksy. I do look at it as just a way for me to have gotten my name out to a few other readers and that is a plus, but if you already have an established reader base, BargainBooksy may not be the best choice for you. I may try it again later once my novel has picked up a bit more traction. I do plan on trying out FreeBooksy around the time of my second book launch and will update you guys on how that works out for me. Bookfunnel is quickly becoming a favorite tool of mine. I have participated in three promotions so far each with over 40 other titles. It is a combined effort of newsletter and social media sharing across other writers within the same genre. I have built my newsletter email list up from 0 to well over 100 readers in less than a month from these promotions alone. There is some cost involved. Because I went into these promotions with no newsletter to share the links with, I decided to create posts on my author page on Facebook and then promote those posts. Each of my promotions has a daily spend limit of $2 currently and I run it for the entire length of the promotion. In total, each promotion runs me about $20-$30. The Facebook ad team does notify me when someone outside of my followers likes one of the promotion posts so I am then able to invite them to like my author page. I definitely see Bookfunnel as a fantastic way for you to increase your social media presence, establish a newsletter list, and build your reader base. Don't think I have forgotten the list of marketing books I said that I would be reviewing! I have been slower than I previously anticipated with it because I had to go with the ebb and flow of my own marketing efforts. However, I have made time for them this week to ease the strain on my own "to read" list.

The first for the week is Market to Millions: The Ultimate Directory to Free ebook Promotion by David Ogren, available on Kindle Unlimited. I went into this book thinking it would be like the others, a list of marketing strategies that might not pertain very much to fiction writing. However, I was pleasantly surprised. This book is simply a database of over 150 free promotional sites for your ebook. Listed alphabetically, Ogren has also included details such as the sites marketing niche, their average visits per month, and how to submit your book to them. These sites average in traffic from 200 visitors per month to powerhouses of half a million visitors a month. As a horror genre writer, I did not feel excluded by this database like I have with other works I've read that seemed very centered on nonfiction. This week I will be submitting my novel to as many of these resources as I can and will see what sort of feedback I receive.

The second I was able to go through this week was Successful Self-Publishing: How to Self-Publish and Market Your Book by Joanna Penn. I found Penn to be well-spoken and her writing to be more approachable and warm than the other books on self-publishing and marketing that I have read. This book is a highlight of her process and the resources that she has gathered along the way. Again, like others before it, it seems to work best as an ebook versus an actual paperback copy because of the links involved when resources are mentioned.

Penn very seriously suggests that each writer use an editor. I side with your collective groan. Oh the sticker shock I experienced when I looked on her website and the list of suggested editors! I'm not entirely sure how an author just starting out would be able to afford $2000+ for editing services. I'm sure that the quality of the novel you produce would then make up for the amount spent if you have built a substantial reader base, but it was definitely a punch in the stomach for someone like myself who has not made it that far in the process. I am committed to this process though and will definitely be looking through her suggestions and putting some feelers out. There was one service that she mentioned when she discussed editing, Reedsy, that reminded me a little of Fiverr. However, the credentials listed for each of these editors seemed to average between 10-20 years in the field with experience at one to multiple major publishing houses. I chose three of the editors who specialize in the horror genre and submitted a request for a quote alone with the first chapter of my book. We will see what they return with and I will update you guys on one of my next blog posts. Other than those services, the rest of the book was very much an echoing of material that you can find on any of the self-publishing Facebook groups. Write multiple novels because you won't actually establish a reader fan base until you are 3+ books in. Series are easier to write and publish quickly because you don't have to recreate the world and the characters. She even mentioned a few of the marketing sites I have already used and reviewed for you. Overall, it was a pleasant read but not one that I would necessarily recommend as a "must have" for the self-published author trying to market their works. As always, thank you for taking the time to read this! I appreciate each of you that keeps me company on this self-publishing journey. In time, I can't wait to hear what all of you thought about The Still and look forward to the launch of my 2nd novel, Whispering!

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