Saturday, September 3, 2011

Self-promotion is hard

As I was getting ready to start this post, I spotted something pretty darn exciting: someone gave Destined 5 stars over on GoodReads!  What’s even more exciting is, it’s not a friend or family member!  Unfortunately, most people that see I have one 5 star rating will assume it’s a friend and disregard it, which sucks, but what can you do? Hopefully more ratings and reviews will start coming in as people have time to finish reading. I wish there was a way to mark the rating with a “I don’t know this person, I swear!” notation. ;)

Anyway, great rating aside, things are going pretty slowly so far. I had a bunch of sales right after I announced to my friends that I had published, then the sales stopped. I haven’t had a single sale yet in September, and it’s starting to bum me out a little. I knew this was going to be hard, so I expected things would be slow at first, but expecting it and actually experiencing it aren’t the same. Frankly, it sucks.

My problem, however, is that I’m terrible at self-promotion. I shouldn’t be: I minored in marketing in college and worked for a few years in the promotion department of a record label. I know how promotion works. I just can’t seem to do it when I’m promoting myself  I think I’m too self-conscious. I guess what I need to do is get online and start researching ways to get my book out there.

So far, I’ve promoted it to my friends, told my family (and by extension, some of those friends and family have told their friends, which was incredibly nice of them), bought an ad on GoodReads, started a GoodReads giveaway, signed up for a bunch of sites like and Shelfari, and put up a post on Absolute Write in their promotion thread. But that’s not very much, and I know I need to do more.

I think of all of those, I’m getting the most mileage from the giveaway. I already have over 300 people requesting it and 83 users adding it to their shelves. The problem with that is none of them are going to buy the book until the giveaway is over, if they ever buy it at all. I’m not complaining: I’ll take whatever exposure I can get! But more sales sure would be nice.

I need more reviews. That’s going to help the most, I’m sure. But I can’t ask people to review the book without feeling like an obnoxious nag. It also might help is people tag it on Amazon (there’s a section on each book listing where users can select tags that apply to the book. In my case, I have it tagged with variations of paranormal romance, time travel, vampires, etc.) I’ve read that more tags can equal more visibility when people are searching for something to read. But again, I can’t seem to bring myself to ask my friends to go do that. What I probably should do is find bloggers who do reviews and see if any are interested in reviewing mine. I can gift them a copy of the ebook pretty easily, either through Amazon or by emailing it directly.

I don’t want to pay for a lot of advertising: I don’t think it works as well, and it’s expensive. I only did it on GoodReads because I know at least there, everyone that sees the ads already love to read. I wish I could afford one of the bigger ads they have (the flash ones on the main pages), because those are the ads I personally notice and sometimes click on. I never click the smaller ads, so it doesn’t surprise me much that mine hasn’t gotten many clicks yet. *sigh* So frustrating!

Anyone out there have tips on promotions methods that have worked for you?


  1. C'mon over to my blog and check out the list of review sites in the right-hand column.

    We start off because we like to tell stories and then learn completing one is hollow - unless people read it!

    In the "old days" we only had to deal with trying to convince a literary agent to take a look at it. Now, we have to do all the things agents and publishers do.
    And, to make matters worse, if we DO manage to find a publisher on our own, we might find ourselves facing the same darned work of self-publicizing!!!!

    I just discovered that mine doesn't seem to know how to prepare or submit press releases. In addition, their contract reads they will send out 4 copies for review - and I can't seem to find the person who's supposed to do it!
    Go to and you'll find just about every news agency in the world.

    So, give it a show. What can you lose?

  2. @LV Cabbie Thanks for the tips, and I'll definitely head over to your blog to check out those links. This is definitely the hard part of self-publishing!

    Sorry to hear your publisher isn't living up to expectations in the promotion department. Sometimes the mantra "if you want something done right, do it yourself" is all too accurate, isn't it?