When I wrote Sweet Irish Kiss, I had no idea I had a bestseller on my hands. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I was taking a gamble at adding rich Irish brogues and cockney accents to help readers grasp the feel for the characters, their heritage, and the setting of the stories in Bell's Irish Pub. I loved the sound of the new 1NS Decadent Publishing series which was brand new when I wrote Sweet Irish Kiss, and I wanted to contribute a very Irish story (you can blame Colin Farrell for that, I do..all the time!). Now, the series is well established and enjoying great success.
I believed in my story, and my 'smooth as Irish cream' hero and owner of Bell's Irish Pub in Soho, London, and enlisted the help of Sizzling Book Tours to help me get the word out with a blog tour.
I enjoyed better sales than my first two books, and hit a few genre bestselller lists on All Romance and Bookstrand. Exciting as that was, it didn't equate to a WOW royalty check.
But reviewers and readers were LOVING it. The story garnered some fantastic review blurbs. Panty buncher was, and I think always will be, a favorite! But word was in. Super hot and loved the Irish brogue. YEAY! This was a major author milestone for me.
I had to pick up those sales. I knew I had a wonderful story, and it just saddened me that people who might enjoy it just weren't finding it in the sea of ebooks. St Patrick's Day was coming, and I presented an idea to my publisher. A free promotion for the holiday. I'm uber lucky to be with a publisher who listens when their authors have 'out of the box' ideas. Not only did they listen to me, but they agreed.
And so it happened. My publisher and I would take a loss while we ran a free promotional period. I know. This is a tool many authors use all the time to boost their sales. But as a new author, I couldn't really count on that being the case for me as well. At the very least, though, it would help get my name out there for future books, right?
I couldn't count on the Amazon buzz alone. Which 'newbie author with a smaller publisher' can?
So..what did I do that may or may not have had an affect on the huge jump in sales? That may or may not work for everyone.
Here's the EASY TO DO list broken down in easy to read format and quick reference.
1. Paid advertising at All Romance. Their WildFire newsletter gets exposure and it's just $25 for each book cover. Search for other 'cheap but widespread' advertising options. Many book blogs have great promotional tools for you.
2. Hire (yes HIRE) someone to run a book blog blitz for you. By hiring someone else, not only are you freeing up your own time to write more (they say the best way to push up sales is to release more books!) but you also tap into a fresh set of blogs and readers rather than using your own and perhaps over used resources.
3. Utilize Romance Reviews FREE promo service. Save up those headline credits you get by placing their banner on your blog and shoot one out every couple of days to promote your discount, freebie, or holiday related book.
4. Facebook reader groups -- not just to pimp but to chatter with readers. Talk...a lot! Be misses (or mister) jibber-jabber with those readers. Get to know them. Let them get to know you.
5. Talking of Facebook, when you are pimping you need more than links! PICTURES are more likely to be shared with more of your friends/followers. So make up some bright posters promoting your book/promotion. Flashing words are even better. They don't need to be all fancy-schamncy. Plain is better. Bright big wording and colorful clipart. You'll be surprised at how easy yet effective that promo tip can be. TIP: Photobucket has a wicked photo editor so no software is required to get an eye-catching online poster.
6. Got a book trailer or bookish videos? If the answer is no, then you've just left out thousands of book vloggers and readers. YouTube has a huge book community. Go get some book videos of your own and comment on other peoples bookish videos..often. Not engaging in YouTube land when you have book videos of your own is like having a twitter account and not using it in my opinion.
7. Twitter. Don't just spout promo shout-outs. Let your followers get to know you. But when you are doing shout-outs, include hashtags such as booktrailer bookworm freebiekindle cheapkindlebook, tagitdaily, or your book genre like paranormalromance or pararom etc... Then go read other posts hashtaged book related. Get chatting with fellow bookworms. That may not get you direct sales, but it will grow your twitter follower number and perhaps result in sales down the road.
8. Yahoo reader groups. They are hounded with promo posts. It gets super crazy in those email loops. But if you rustle up a SHARP and QUICK signature for the book you are pushing or a backlisteer, and add a direct link to your Amazon buy page, you'll be surprised what just responding to some of those millions of promo posts can do for your own sales.
9. 'People who bought this also bought' section; go buy your book and grab some of the books showing up on your book page as others folks have bought as well as yours. Build the connections and watch your book being recommended on other book pages more and more often.
10. Amazon tags matter. Choose them wisely and get your bookish, reader, and author friends to tag your books. The more ticks a tag has, the more it helps your book show up in book searches. For example; IRISH ROMANCE. Sweet Irish Kiss was number 30 last I looked. That means I'm on the second page when someone searches for an Irish Romance. It wouldn't be there if not for all the awesome people who helped put it there. You need your book showing up in those book 'term' searches also. And that is a highly effective way to push your book up to the top of those searches.
11. HUGE blog hops. I took part in a few. Romance at Random do some from time to time, which always bring in great traffic to my contribution to it. And the Blog Hop Spot is great, too.
FREE is a powerful word. If you've got a free promotion, you can promote it to the max with little effort. For those pushing a new release with no price reduction, that one liner is your only chance at sounding enticing. SELL THAT BABY!!! Your baby.
My latest promo discovery is Author Newsletters. It's a direct way to reach readers directly interested in hearing about YOUR book release news. Tiny Letter and MailChimp are FREE newsletter services and are super easy to use.
And my biggest most important tip is...
Using Facebook or Goodreads event feature for a book release date and sending it to everyone on your follower/friend list is a HUGE thumbs down and will get you unfriended, blocked, and added to don't-read lists everywhere. Why? Because it's spamming. People hate that. Just like they hate being added to author's newsletters without their permission.
After those simple steps...SWEET IRISH KISS hit several bestseller lists at All Romance, BookStrand, and Amazon...and stayed there long after the free period was over.
I've since read several 'how to reach amazon bestseller status' ebooks and learned nothing new that isn't already in my to-do promo list. And word of advice, I haven't read one of those yet that aren't pages and pages of self-promo for the author. That alone is the only promo tip you can get from those books -- write your own promo tip book! If you find a free one I suggest you click download and read it, because they are great way to boost your 'get up and go' and 'it's possible' attitude. But I doubt you'll learn anything new. That's just my opinion.
But... enough promo talk from me. I'm only new and I haven't been around to learn any hidden tricks of the trade. All I know is to attack it from every angle you know off. Don't leave any corner unturned! How can you fail if you do that? And of course, keep writing.
Talking of which....
Irish Kisses BOOK TWO, SHAMROCKED, released July 2012. Yup. A story simply meant as a stand alone had so much response from readers that it got it's own sub-series. And at the request of Sweet Irish Kiss fans, they're getting more of Devlin and his toybox antics.
Book three and four are also underway as we speak.
What's your favorite promo tip?
Devlin Kinney is focused on his Irish Rock band, Shamrocked. Between that and tending bar at Bell’s Irish Pub, he’s rushed off his feet. Still, he’s envious of Shaun who found his perfect woman through Madame Eve’s exclusive agency, 1Night Stand. Pushed for time, he follows his friend’s lead and hopes to be matched with a woman ballsy enough to share in his fetish for things that go buzzzz. At the event of the year for soap stars, Elizabeth Grant meets Devlin and mistakes him for her soon-to-be The EastEnd co-star. Before she has a chance to confess she’s not his 1Night Stand as he seems to think, the silver-tongued smooth dancer proves irresistible. He seems perfect…for one night of pleasure. She’s ready to play the role of her life!
Will his Irish charm and toys be enough to hold onto his leading lady, or will his heart be shamrocked into next week?
About the Author:
She now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two kids and two puddy cats. When they aren't demanding her attention, or jumping on her head, she strums away on the keys of her little laptop, creating worlds and adventures she could only ever dream of. Come across the pond and faraway....with Joanne Kenrick! JoanneKenrick.com.