• Bella Dean Joyner

Marketing Updates for My Second Week as a Published Author

What a roller coaster of a week this has been since publishing The Still last Tuesday. First off, The Still is available in paperback as of this morning!!! Be sure to head on over to Amazon and purchase your copy. I have also entered into contract with a narrator to produce the audiobook which we should have completed by the end of June.

As for the rest, the learning curve for marketing and getting your name out there is unforgiving if you don't do the legwork ahead of time. I'm still going through my list of marketing books that I previewed a few days ago, but I wanted to take the time to let everyone know how I am applying the information from those resources and how successful, or not, it has been.

First, I tried AMS ads which are Amazon ads that can be for Kindle specifically or for the greater Amazon network. Because there are Amazon apps for readers on multiple platforms such as Windows and Apple, I chose to go with the Sponsored (greater Amazon network) Ads. Think about the last time you went to the Amazon page of a book you were contemplating purchasing. Hopefully it was my book, shameless plug! The books that you see in the "Products related to this item" section below the description are what Amazon calls Sponsored Ads.

There are four different categories of Sponsored Ads: close match, loose match, substitute, and compliment. You can set a different high bid for each of these sessions. Bid? Yes, bid. There are no set ad spaces or set amounts that you purchase. If you want that first ad spot during a prime time sell time and date for your genre, you have to have the highest bid among all of the other authors with similar keywords as yours throughout their description and set search terms. When I learned this, I felt immediately guilty for each time I had clicked one of those links out of curiosity with absolutely no intention of purchasing the book.

As for my own experience, having no idea what I was doing, I signed up to only spend $5 a day and signed up for the recommended (per Amazon's ad campaign helper) $.49 bid. I spent days without a single impression (what Amazon calls an ad). I spent no money, yet also completely failed at my advertising efforts. I did the only thing I knew to do. I raised my high bid to $1. The next day I had 8 impressions, 1 click, and 1 sale. That 1 sale cost me 19 cents. I completely do not understand this advertising logic. I won't even try to explain what sort of algorithm makes you have a $1 bid to even get a placement for a $.19 click for a sale. Since that sale, however, I have had no further impressions. I raised my bid to $2 on the off chance that every other horror genre author had the same inclination that day. It has been close to 24 hours and still no more impressions. I literally have no clue. As I do more research, I will share my findings!

Another resource that was given to me in the marketing material I have read through was a site called Fiverr. Never heard of it? Me either before all of this. However, the listing of services is quite extensive. You can literally hire anyone from around the world to actually write your ebook for you. I suppose this might explain why the market is inundated with horrible grammatical errors and books that make no logical sense. I have read multiple self-published works from the same author that have exactly the same plot...a historically tragic event in the area, a young woman just starting out on her own, the haunting that follows, girl leaves house...and once I learned there was a service like this, it really made me wonder! I won't name names just because I refuse to throw other authors under the bus, but that is a thing. The site does have very legitimate services though ranging from ebook covers to editing offered from people just starting out in the industry to pros with years of experience. I decided to give it a try!

I decided to enlist the services of a gentleman to design an ebook cover for me for my next book. The charge? $32. The phrase you get what you pay for comes to mind here, I know. But for experimental purposes, I did it. The process is simple. You choose a service and a collaborator that you would like to work with and the level of service that you want them to provide. I bought the premium plan which meant in this case that my designer would supply me with an ebook cover, a complete paperback cover with spine and back, and the PDF files. All I needed to do was tell him the description of my book, approximately how long it would be, and what I envisioned for the I did. How'd did it turn out? Well...let's just say that we're on our fourth revision. Would I use this service for an ebook cover again? Probably not. Was it worth saving money by spending $32 for this versus $400 with a professional? No. Would I recommend it to a new author just starting out who can't justify spending $400 on their first book? NO. You'd be better off creating something with Kindle's cover design software because this has been far more hassle than it should warrant.

I am a glutton for punishment though! I do plan on trying out their editing services with my second book. For a novel roughly 70,000 word count, it averages about $100-$200 on Fiverr with a guaranteed turn around time. This versus $1000+ for a freelance editor elsewhere isn't a hard choice for a new author barely starting out. Since I feel like I have a decent grasp on the English language, I'm comfortable using these services just as a second pair of eyes to help me with any minor adjustments I need to make. We'll see how it goes! Now for the last thing I have been trying...BookFunnel. I saw this website listed on a few of the self-publishing Facebook pages I am part of. In creeping these pages, I gathered that this website is mainly used for newsletter and name promotion, not necessarily sales. Since I did not build a newsletter email/potential reader list prior to launching my first book, I decided to give this a try. This is a paid service that you subscribe to monthly or yearly with different levels that have different capabilities. I chose the medium level which allowed me to submit promotions and build a newsletter list. From there, all was lost. I have no idea what I'm doing...seems to be an ongoing plot line for me this week.

Promotions are listed by other authors with their own email lists and books who set up holidays promos, free book promos, new release promos etc and try to gain more subscribers and more attention by collaborating. It's a really great idea. I, however, am still struggling to figure it out. I created my novel's page...I think...with the correct links...I think. I added myself to two different promotions, each which has its own requirements for participation, each which required me to create a different type of "sales page" within their system. I'm not at all sure what I created. Since I am exclusively with Amazon and Kindle Select right now but not all promoters on that site are, I was extremely cautious on what I did, making sure that each link I gave or each sample I gave was not breaking any Kindle rules.

I joined one promotion for Kindle Unlimited members of all genres and another for Thriller new releases. One promotion starts today, so I will be checking back and giving everyone an update on how that promotion goes. I hope you are doing well, dear reader. Stay safe!

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