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Self-Publishing Marketing Ideas I Wouldn’t Hurry to Repeat

But you might find more success with them than I did

By Malky McEwanPublished 7 months ago 4 min read
Self-Publishing Marketing Ideas I Wouldn’t Hurry to Repeat
Photo by Cristofer Maximilian on Unsplash

An ex-colleague invited me to join his writer’s group. Meetings are once a fortnight via Zoom. About 40 people are on the invite link but only about 8 to 10 people tune in.

They had all been in my line of work and all had work in progress. Some had already published books. I dialled in on the day their top author was giving a talk about his marketing strategy.

I was keen to learn his secrets.

He talked for a good half-hour about self-publishing and he shared everything he did to promote his books, which turned out to be one thing.

His marketing strategy comprised getting a T-shirt printed with a picture of his latest book on the front, wearing it wherever he went and getting ‘in- your-face’ with everyone he met.

“Look what’s on my T-shirt. Now go buy it."

Yeah, I’m not going to recommend that.

He has independently published nine books, one less than the number of reviews he has received. Five of his books have had no reviews at all.

Why Self-Publish

Getting your book traditionally published is not the holy grail that many authors think it is. Very few authors make decent money.

Half of all traditionally published books sell fewer than 12 copies.

Finding a publisher is hard work. They say hard work killed no one, but why take the chance?

My ex-colleague wrote a book. His publishing deal earns him 8% of royalties to be paid on every £1,000 earned. They published his book in 2018 and he has yet to see a penny.

A Magazine Feature

I was invited to write a review of one of my books for a magazine. The magazine only had a circulation of three thousand, but I expected the one-page feature would boost my sales.

I worked on my copy and forwarded it along with a handsome photo of me standing on a rugged rock in the Scottish Highlands holding my №1 travel guide to Scotland.

Don’t get overly excited, I didn’t notice any spike in sales.

You might have better success than me. You might find it leads to some traction. Here’s a full breakdown of UK print and digital magazines and their circulation.

Getting featured in a magazine is, in my experience, a boost to your ego but not your sales. It’s easy for readers to flick past your article. Even if they read it and are impressed, two days later, the magazine is in the recycling bin and your book will have gone from their mind.

A Radio Interview

I called in a favour.

A friend worked in the press office at my old place of work. As an ex-journalist, she had connections, and she wangled me a spot on a BBC Radio Scotland lunchtime show.

It is a news, comment, and discussion programme. I did a telephone interview, which was scheduled to last five minutes.

The two presenters were briefed to interview me about my latest book. It started fine. Then one got distracted and asked an off-topic question. By the time I steered it back to my book, my time was up.

Half a dozen friends got in touch to say they’d heard my interview, but it didn’t make any discernible difference in my book sales.

Amazon Price Promotions

After publishing on Amazon Kindle, you can schedule a time-based promotional discount for your ebook. Customers see the discount and the time remaining at that price level.

“Create excitement by running limited-time discounts.” — They tell you.

There are stipulations.

You can only add Kindle Countdown Deals (KCD) for Kindle eBook listings on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk marketplaces.

The title must be enrolled in KDP Select for at least 30 days.

The digital list price has to be $2.99 — $24.99 (Amazon.com) or £1.99 — £15.99 (Amazon.co.uk) and have a minimum decrease of $1 or £1, respectively.

The digital list price must remain unchanged for 30 days before and 14 days after your Kindle Countdown Deal runs.

The maximum duration of a Kindle Countdown Deal is 7 days.

The Kindle eBook format of your title must be exclusive to Amazon during the entire enrollment period.

There is also an option for running a free Kindle book promotion. For full details, please refer to your Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard.

It has been several years since I tried using these book promotions. I feel my books offer good value at £2.99 and $3.99. There has to be a balance between the number of sales and profits.

At 99p I’d have to sell at least three times as many books to earn the same and I think if your ebook is priced too low it also lowers its value in the eyes of the reader.

If you are not making sales, price promotions can help you determine the best price to maximise profits. Monitor your dashboard and analyse the results.

Amazon Ad Campaigns

Amazon advertising is a little tricky to get your head around. There is help available as boot camps you can enrol in on the learning console.

Basically, you set yourself a daily advertising budget to pay for sponsored ads that target shopping queries. You are paying for your book to occupy high-visibility placements on Amazon.

Amazon provides detailed feedback on your sales in your dashboard and you can assess whether the ads make a difference to your bottom line.

They did not convince me it was worthwhile. It’s another way for Amazon to make more money. You have to keep an eye on what you spend to make sure you aren’t throwing away all your profits.

My sales have been steady. Should they drop off, I might consider testing a price promotion or ad campaign to see if they make a difference.

I found more success with other ideas, which I’ll be writing about soon.


About the Creator

Malky McEwan

Curious mind. Author of three funny memoirs. Top writer on Quora and Medium x 9. Writing to entertain, and inform. Goal: become the oldest person in the world (breaking my record every day).

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  • Test7 months ago

    Looking forward to reading more about your successes and further insights! 📚✨

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