So, every so often I realise that I am novice at this self-publishing malarky, and am regularly befuddled by the workings of this world. Forget finding an agent and publisher to make me rich and famous, I really just would love someone who can do all of the boring techie bits that I have no idea how to do. But I decided to try a free promotion this weekend (1-3 December, so you can get it if you’re quick) for my shory story, A Vampire Walks Into a Bar, to see if I could stir some interest and also, if I’m honest, just to have a go and see how the whole thing works. While it’s too early to see any long-term impact on sales or profile, I did learn some handy things for next time…
- Bloggers are your friends – but give them notice! I sent a rather random mailshot to a few friendly bloggers, more in the hope that they’d download the book than in anticipation of any publicity, and actually got a lovely and positive response, with several offering to host posts. However, I actually ended up having to turn down several since, as I am currently up to my eyeballs in legal directories stuff, I simply didn’t have time to create the content they needed. Lesson learned: next time, contact them well in advance of the promotion, and have a few pieces prepped, including Q&As (some bloggers are more than happy to have you write your own questions!)
- Check out other authors for advice: There’s actually a lot out there if you look. Jade Kerrion was kind enough to direct me to her post, here.
- Twitter and hashtags spread the word: You could use a tweeting service like Tweet Your Books (again you need to arrange this in advance) but also tweet your offer from your own account, and remember to use hashtags so that others can pick it up (#free #freereads #freekindlebook are just a selection). This will help you get retweets or picked up by newsfeeds that promote free books.
- Goodreads is a great outlet: if you’re an indie author you should be on Goodreads anyway, but many groups will have discussion feeds where you can promote your free books. It’s important to follow the posting rules – and these change from group to group so be careful – but this can help you get more readers.
I will be doing this again – probably next year before the sequel comes out – as so far the reaction has been great, but I’ll definitely be more organised and use a bit more advance planning next time.