Book Promotion

If you’re at all interested — and if you happen to self-publish, then I bet you are — here are recent results of various promotion services:

Tuyo free one day via Freebooksy, January: Slightly over 2000 downloads

Tuyo free one day via NewFreeKindleBooks, Awesome Gang, Book Angel, Ask David, and Armadillo books — all free services — February: 74 downloads total. So you see there is a HUGE difference between free promotion services and Freebooksy. Not a surprise. But, wow.

Tuyo free one day via Freebooksy, April 30: Slightly over 1000 downloads. So you can see that there is, or can be, a big drop off if you run the same type of promotion with the same service with just a three-month break. I did wonder.

Tuyo free one day via Booksends, May 1: about 500 downloads

Tuyo free one day via Book Runes, May 2, slightly over 800 downloads — a very good result for a not-very-expensive service.

Tuyo free one day via Book Rebel, May 3, 250 downloads

Tuyo free one day via Fussy Librarian, May 4, a very disappointing 100 downloads. Last year, they did much better than that for me.

These results were enough to bump Tuyo to the #1 spot in Epic Fantasy Ebooks, Fantasy Adventure Ebooks, and Military Fantasy Ebooks. Also #2 for Teen and YA Coming of Age Fantasy Ebooks, Sword and Sorcery Ebooks, and Action and Adventure Fantasy Ebooks.

Tuyo sat at the #1 or #2 spot for most of these categories for at least three days. It didn’t take long to drop! It’s lower again as of this morning. I’m not sure what effect going up the rankings has. There’s been a decent uptick in sales for Nikoles and Tarashana. I’m expecting to see a substantial increase in KU pages read that should hopefully last for some time — we’ll see how it goes!

Promotions for Black Dog last year and this year have ranged from nearly 4000 downloads from Freebooksy with, if I recall correcty, Fussy Librarian and EReaderNews stacked on top, to an absolutely pathetic 170 downloads via (the quite expensive) Books Butterfly this spring. I’ve used up my five free-book days for this enrollment period and won’t be able to set Black Dog free again and use a different promotion service for another several months. On the other hand, I might put that off till October anyway, do it right before releasing the 4th collection.

So … I get that results vary by author and by promotion. But thumbs up for Freebooksy, Booksends, and Book Runes and thumbs emphatically down for the amazingly overpriced Books Butterfly. For Fussy Librarian, Magic Eightball says: Cannot Predict Now.

Working with the free promotion services can add just a touch more oomph, but I’m frankly not sure it’s worth the trouble. I’m glad I ran those promotions separately so I can see how little they would add to the paid services.

I haven’t run a lot of 99c promotions on anything. I may try more later. I need to apply for a Bookbub ad — I want to do that with Tuyo shortly. It’s tough to get those ads, so I’ll probably plan to keep applying until I get one. It ought to help tremendously to have more than 80 reviews and an average rating of 4.7 stars. It will not help to have the book limited to Amazon. If I don’t get a Bookbub ad pretty promptly, I will probably take the whole series out of KU at the end of the current enrollment period, put the books out everywhere, and try again.

Other stuff I’ve learned about promotion, which you may know, but I sure didn’t, so in case you find it helpful:

a) For heaven’s sake, write short book descriptions that are 500 characters, 400 characters, and 250 characters long before you go to promotion service websites. Save those in a specific file. It’s absolutely a pain in the neck to have to write those on the fly. Having to do it twice because you didn’t save your descriptions the first time will make you feel particularly stupid.

Also copy little editorial quotes attributed to whomever, like SLAM THIS INTO MY EYEBALLS — bestselling fantasy author Rosamund Hodge (she really did say that about Tuyo, on her Goodreads review. Her review made me laugh.) Anyway, particularly if the book description is limited to very few characters, it may be better to throw in something like this plus, like, a five-word teaser for the book. Write that kind of description ahead of time too.

I’m still learning how to write good, extremely short book descriptions. There are lots of articles about how to do it best. The best advice so far: save every book description you use and add a note about how well it worked. I didn’t do that at first, and I wish I had.

b) Get all your urls for Twitter and Facebook and whatever and save those in the same file as all the versions of the book descriptions so you can cut and paste them quickly into the required fields as necessary.

c) Copy and paste all your books ASIN numbers into the same file so they’re handy when you want to drop them into the required field.

Doing those three things will make setting up promotions via promotion services far less annoying.

Yet more stuff I’ve learned:

a) You can choose just two categories for your book when you self-publish through KDP. But you can add eight more categories later. You go to the Amazon Author Central contact us page, here. Then you select “Amazon Book Page” and then “Update Amazon Categories.”

Of course you need to know what categories exist and exactly what string to use for each category. So —

b) Open up Amazon. Find any book sort of in the same basic subgenre as yours. Copy its ASIN or ISBN. Then open up BKLINK. Put the ASIN or ISBN into BKLINK. It will show you all that book’s categories, in strings like this:

Books » Books » Literature & Fiction » Action & Adventure Fiction » Fantasy Action & Adventure


Kindle Store » Kindle Store » Kindle eBooks » Literature & Fiction » Action & Adventure Fiction » Action & Adventure Romance Fiction

or whatever.

c) Copy whatever strings seem most appropriate into the Update Amazon Categories box at the KDP site, BUT, remove the repeated “Books” or “Kindle Store” at the front and turn all the double carots >> into singles >

Then the requested categories will be added to your title.


d) The ordinary Amazon page will never show you more than three categories for your book, which makes it look like those categories did not get added. They probably did, but maybe not, so to make sure, get your book’s ASIN and drop that into BKLINK, which will show you all your book’s current categories.

So, how about that? It was Anthea Sharp who told me how to do that, after Sharon Shinn suggested I ask her about book promotion. She was very helpful.

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2 thoughts on “Book Promotion”

  1. I’m glad you found it helpful, Sarah!

    I would NEVER have known about adding Amazon categories if Anthea hadn’t told me that you can do it and how to do it — and I’ve certainly found it VERY helpful to know which book promotion services have worked best for other people.

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