I am reporting on my marketing efforts in 2016 and will focus on the most successful for me and my books. I write science fiction fantasy adventures and romances. You can see a list of my published stories HERE. My books are not best sellers, however, I have returned a small profit each year.
My marketing goals are: 1) reach the largest number of potential readers, and 2) sell more books! As an Indie author, I prefer free or inexpensive options to maximize Return on Investment.
Take-home message: Cross-promotion is the clear winner!
Indie authors are inventive and many are generous in helping other authors. Cross-promotion with other authors outperforms most free or paid commercial sites.
Read to the end of the post for details.
Various Outreach, Cross-Promotion Efforts and Their Outcomes in 2016
My followers have grown slowly from 3000 to about 8000. I am selective about the people I follow. My tweets and RTs are partly automated thanks to valuable advice from Effrosyni Moschoudi at http://effrosyniwrites.com/2015/10/22/twitter-lists-and-roundteam-explained/
In 2016, I published an anthology of short stories with eight authors: Romancing the Stars. This anthology sold regularly with some promotions.
The Science Fiction Romance Brigade set up Portals: Volumes of beginning chapters of Science fiction romance novels. http://sfrportals.blogspot.com/ More than 60 authors have participated in producing seven volumes. My stories: Grand Master’s Pawn is in Volume Three and The Lady is Blue is in Volume six. This venture did not seem to do much for my books, possibly because the adventure drives the story more than the romance. It may be valuable in the long term.
BookBub: I participated in a giveaway with members of http://enovelauthorsatwork.com/ (cost $60) and gained >400 followers.
Advantage: BookBub will email my followers about new releases of full-length, previously unpublished novels. Note: You must submit the new book within 7 days of its release.
Amazon: I ran several Amazon book giveaways and gained >1000 followers at little cost (set your book to 99c).
Advantage: Amazon will email followers about your new releases.
Disadvantage: You cannot check how many followers you have. You have to sum up the new followers for each giveaway.
This year, I tried paid and free promotions to grow my subscribers from a few hundred to ~4000.
Advantage: My subscribers like free and 99c ebooks. I hope they will enjoy my books and read my series, although it may take time.
Disadvantage: I have to pay for newsletter service.
FreekindleGiveaways: I paid $50 for a multi-genre giveaway and gained ~1200 subscribers in June. Five months later, I culled the inactive emails and had ~400 active subscribers.
AuthorsXP: Cost $35, but I helped in beta runs. First: giveaway to gain subscribers netted 630 names, but only 500 new people. Second, tested asking a question of readers and gained ~360 names, many new.
Instafreebie giveaways: A successful option. Cost $20 per month to Instafreebie for required signup.
Advantages: Various cross-promotion groups connect with instafreebie to offer readers free books in return for their name and email address. You can integrate with MailChimp.
Disadvantage: You cannot add book in KDP Select. Also, the number of new people decreases over time and I have a limited number of books to give away.
My Top Picks for Cross-Promotion
Cross-promotion with other authors outperforms the majority of paid and free commercial sites for promotion. My conclusions are supported by Jackie Weger’s tests - http://enovelauthorsatwork.com/plotting-your-books-life-in-2017/
All cross-promotions expect participating authors to promote in their newsletters and social media.
Top Pick for Science Fiction & Fantasy: Patty Jansen’s monthly cross-promotion at www.pattyjansen.com/promo
A well-established monthly promotion with 100-150 participating authors. My free books can achieve 1000’s of downloads. Successful in generating sales and some reviews. Sales of books in my series can produce >$30 in 7-10 days.
Promotions at the following sites have sold 10-40 of my 99c ebooks each time. Caveat: some sites are relatively new and still gaining traction and readers. Others have begun to charge small fees.
Science Fiction Romance Cross-Promotion www.smschmitz.com/promo (SM Schmitz)
The Cross-Promotion Authors’ Collective rozmarshall.co.uk/romance (Rose Dewar) and https://www.facebook.com/groups/xpromocollective/
SFF Bonanza: http://sffbookbonanza.com/authors/ (Dean Wilson) and https://www.facebook.com/groups/sffpromos/