Do this before you promote your next book

Friday, January 03, 2020

By the editors at JustKindleBooks

As an author you’re most likely spending some amount of time and money trying to increase your book sales. While there’s no sure-fire way to catapult a book to the bestseller list, many authors try their hand at various types of book promotions. These range from Goodreads giveaways and Amazon book ads to blog tours and running paid promotions on sites like BookBub. For some, authors promotions pay off, leading to lots of sales and new reviews all while breaking even on the spend. But for many authors the book promotion process leads to a small, temporary bump in sales, a few additional reviews and typically, a negative return on investment.

So, what separates success from poor results when it comes to book promotions? It all comes down to how well your book resonates with the audience you target it to. Some books just resonate better than others. But why and what factors influence how well a book resonates? Typically, it has do with the book packaging.

Fortunately, there are some relatively simple ways to amplify how your book resonates with potential readers.

Before you spend money on marketing or book promotions, make sure your book is “packaged” in a way that maximizes sales and resonates with your prospective readers. Your book packaging includes your cover, description, price, back matter and book reviews. If these are off in any way, your marketing and promotion efforts will not deliver the results you hope for.

Here are 5 tips to prepare your book for a promotion:

1. Question your book cover 

Take a hard look at your book cover and compare it to the covers of bestselling novels within your genre. Take note of aspects of the bestsellers’ covers, such as imagery, font, color schemes, mood and overall look/design. The covers of the bestselling books in your genre typify the “look” of your genre. Take a look at your cover, then ask yourself two questions: 1) “Does my book cover scream my genre?” 2) “Does my cover look similar to the covers of the bestsellers in my genre?”

Readers should be able to instantly identify the genre of your book with a quick glance at your cover, and they should associate your cover with the bestsellers by the look and design of it.

Advice: Make your cover look similar to the covers of bestselling books in your genre.

2. Rewrite your book description

Amazon typically shows about 4-6 lines of text for the average Kindle book description before inserting a “Read More” link that expands the rest of the description. It’s crucial for authors to capture the reader’s attention and curiosity within these first few sentences. Use these first few sentences to: 1) convey your book’s genre (typically you can do this indirectly) and 2) seduce the reader into wanting to know more. If you need inspiration, read the book descriptions of bestsellers within your genre. Also, be sure to avoid potentially offensive words that could trigger Amazon to flag your book as “adult” or worse get it blacklisted from automated merchandising. Any profanity, explicit sexual terms, pejorative slurs, and derogatory terms should be eliminated from your book description. For more information on book covers and book descriptions see this article.

Advice: Convey your genre and hook your reader in the first two sentences of your description.

3. Use your back matter to drive actions

The last few pages of your book are known as your “back matter.” This is where you traditionally find acknowledgements and an “about the author” section. This is prime space to promote other books and your brand. Avoid using this space for traditional purposes and instead use it to drive book sales, reviews, and even new followers on social media channels. Here are four things you should be doing with your ebook back matter:

  • Request a review from readers. Many readers are more than willing to write book reviews, but they need you to give them the idea and a link.
  • Links to your other books. If your book is part of a series, make it easy for readers to find out what happens next by offering order links to your other books.
  • Newsletter. Ask readers to sign up for your newsletter so they can get updates on your next books.
  • Links to social media. Grow your social media by providing readers with the links to your Facebook page, Twitter, Amazon author page, or your blog.

Advice: Use your back matter to drive reviews and sales.

4. Price your book low

Many authors think in terms of setting their book price to earn them the most amount of money based on a price elasticity model. For example, the Kindle royalty rate is 70% at price of $2.99 and only 35% at a price of $0.99. So selling 5 books a day at $2.99 earns you a lot more than selling 10 books a day at $0.99. With a price elasticity model you are trying to maximize your earnings based on daily or weekly sales volume.

You may earn more money pricing your book at $2.99, but you may miss out on the benefits of a lower price point. For example, the more books you sell at the lower price, the more reviews you will get. Strong reviews help your Amazon detail page covert visitors into purchasers. Also, if you are selling more books, you’ll be higher in the rankings, and books in the top 10 in any sub-genre surface organically in Amazon’s “popular” and “best-seller” widgets.

Advice: Try pricing your book at $0.99 for a while and a $2.99 for a while and then compare your number or reviews, sales, and sales of other books during each period. KDP also has a pricing tool that will help you pick the best price for your book. The tool is in beta, and has been for sometime. We think Amazon has forgotten about it or given up on it. It’s a great idea but not executed well, still it’s worth seeing what it has to say about your book’s price.

Should you price your book at free?

Many author’s new to book promotion question the viability of setting a book price to free and then spending money to promote it at that price. There are two questions to ask when considering a free book promotion. 1) Does it make sense to price your particular book for free? 2) What are the benefits of pricing your book for free?

Here’s the quick answer to these questions.

It makes sense to give away your book when it’s the first book in a series, a prequel, or genre fiction and you have published plenty of other titles in the same genre. In each of these cases the reader who got your book for free is likely to go on to purchase another book by you if they enjoyed the free book. It can also make sense to give away a book at, or soon after, launch if you don’t have reviews for the book and you need some reviews to help sales.

In terms of the benefits…giving your book away can lead to:

  • Increased sales or other titles
  • More reviews
  • New Amazon followers
  • Kindle Unlimited page reads
  • New fans
  • Audiobook sales (if your book is available in this format)

To learn more about the benefits of free promotions and the different ways to set your book price to free see Six Benefits of Setting Your Book Price to Free.

5. Get more book reviews

After looking at your cover and book description potential readers look next to your reviews to help them make the purchase decision. Both the quantity and quality of your reviews matter.

So how can you get more reviews? Oftentimes, readers would be happy to leave reviews for their favorite authors, but the thought simply doesn’t occur to them. Using your back matter to ask for reviews is one technique, reaching out to your fans on social media is another. For more ideas see 7 Strategies for Gaining Book Reviews.

Advice: Don’t be shy about asking for reviews in the right places.

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We hope these tips help you to package your book for optimal sales. And remember, the long-term best sellers in your genre can often teach you plenty. Take notice of how they package their books and consider doing what they are doing well. Adjusting your cover, description and back matter can be a lot of work, but if you plan to spend money promoting and marketing your book it will pay off.


3 comments:

Margo Dill said...

This is a great article. Everything you are saying here is what I've been hearing many successful indie authors (six to seven figure income authors) saying on podcasts! I like having all these resources in one place with this article. Thank you!

Sioux Roslawski said...

I agree with Margo. It's nice to have all these suggestions and links in one place. Someday (sigh), I will have need for this article. ;)

Angela said...

What a helpful article! I especially appreciate the pricing advice, and I always recommend an author price her book low while doing a blog tour; and if she has a series, consider pricing the first book as free. I also appreciate the links in this article to more info. Thanks for the post!

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