Florida novelist offers strategy to promote ebooks
June 17, 2014 | 2:25 pm
By Dan Bloom
Florida novelist Stephan Malone knows a thing or two about book promotion, and his tips below might be of interest to writers looking for ways to get PR for their ebooks. Malone recently told me how how he started the ball rolling for his new ebook titled Raiders
I am not a novelist at all, so this is not for me, but I’d love to know if any of this stuff works to promote ebooks. Comments welcome below.
In a recent email, Malone told me: “I went ahead and did a little DIY guerrilla marketing with my new book via Amazon. In 22 hours I hit the top 25 list for two subgenres on Amazon. I think I did pretty good considering I am not known and also that my kind of novel part of a very minor genre in the retail market space. Still, I soldiered on.”
Here’s how Malone says he did it:
“I used a two pronged approach both engaging in manual submissions and contacts, and also with a semi-automated Book Marketing Tool that cost me a whopping $15. The Tool saved me about 2 hours of submitting and as well pointed me to blogs, domains and other ”free stuff” spaces (some amateur, but others more polished), so in the end I think it was worth it.”
”By the end of my PR campaign I had loaded the gun and what that means is to have everything lined up for a successful campaign to promote my book. First, I made sure I had a really decent cover art because this is an impulse business and people really do judge books by their covers when it comes to ebooks. I did the title work and medallion myself in Paint Shop Pro. The 3D character renders were done by a friend in Texas. It took her about six hours to make the raw image render.”
”Next, I made sure I had at least two reviews on Amazon in place. What’s important here is that reviews are important, but five stars are not as super-critical as you may think. For Amazon, four stars is fine (and also more believable). Most people already know about planting fake reviews and Amazon often will pull these or remove them from their system. So, two or three (or more) reviews will help a lot because that shows other Amazon warriors that someone rolled the dice on your book. This is critical for launching a new ebook.”
”The other critical thing is that the reviews cannot sound generic, ‘canned’, phony or reviews written by your wife or boyfriend or mom. People have a BS detector and those kinds of reviews may do more harm than good. In other words, it is better to have two or three real four star reviews than one single phony five star.”
”Also, if you give your book or gift it to family, there is one thing that I recommend that you do and it is this. Absolutely, positively suggest to them do not write anything with the following phrases in them.”
“Page turner!” No.
“Couldn’t put it down!” No, no, no.
“It was amazing/mind blowing/super cool/any other generic descriptive!”
“What you do need is to have them write in their review specific things about the story that they liked or even what they didn’t. This will give your Amazon or B&N title a more authentic marketable presence before your giveaway,” he told me.
“Finally, don’t space out the time between your giveaway submission and the actual day of giveaway. I intentionally timed it (A) on a long holiday weekend when people may kick back after their BBQs or what have you and (B) the day before the event.”
In summary, he suggests:
“Make sure you do not have generic stock looking cover art. I can’t stress how important the title work is. Make sure it’s relatively easy to read via a small thumbnail, or at least catches your eye.”
”Have at least two or three authentic reviews in place before loading the gun. Make sure you book is actually live and not in the KDP hopper before loading. And plan to set about 2-4 hours aside on submitting your book URL.”
And have the following ready to go, Malone suggests.
- Your books ASIN and ISBN if you have one before you get out there and submit
- Your books URL (USA AND UK Amazon Markets both!)
- Your author email
- Your address (real mail)
- Your phone # where you can be reached (about 10% of submitters ask for this)
- Your Twitter URL
- Your Facebook URL (optional but at least shows you are not a total isolate from the world)
- Your Promotion start time
- Your Promotion end time
- A brief description of your book (can copy paste your descriptor from the Amazon book page)
- The regular retail price for your book
- Your Goodreads Author Page URL
- Your picture (I didn’t submit any pics because I hate how I look in photos, but still it’s not a bad idea)
- No selfies or pics of you and your dog in your bathrobe. Many authors are going ”in the middle” and what I mean by that is they seem to be avoiding the “Strip Mall Glamour Shots” with falsely-posed “look how SRS I am!” Face pics but showing them doing regular things in the real world like biking and hiking and such.
In conclusion, he says that his ebook that he DIY promoted did okay. ”Top 25 in 2 categories in 24 hours,” he told me, adding: “I still don’t know if this will help my book sales but it sure was exciting to watch the countdown,”
One final note that Malone says is important: ”Amazon’s servers run on Pacific Time so if you set your free giveaway to start three days from now and you live, say, in New York City (where Pace Picante is not made, evidently) the time your promotion starts will be 03:00 your time or Midnight Pacific.’