You Need to Promote Your Book(s)
If you don’t do it yourself, you have to hire someone — or maybe persuade a friend or family member — to do it instead.
Traditional publishers might offer some publicity, but they’re unlikely to invest much money unless you’re a best-selling author like Diana Gabaldon or John Grisham.
Mistakes like the ones in this post could alienate readers and shrink your sales.
Although the following screen captures, edited to provide anonymity, are from Facebook, the same mistakes show up on Twitter.
Promo Blunder #1:
Ugly Facebook URL
On the right, we see a link copy-and-paste from a post elsewhere on Facebook. The writer (probably) provides more information on the original post, but here, readers will have to guess about the book based solely on the cover.
The book title might be misleading. For instance, would Hot States be a political satire? a nonfiction book about firefighting? a romantic comedy? a travelogue?
Prospective buyers are unlikely to click on the link — unless the book cover is phenomenal or they know the writer’s work.
Promo Blunder #2:
Free on Kindle Unlimited
Sorry, folks: Books are not free on Kindle Unlimited. Subscribers have to pay for the service. If a subscriber reads ten books a month, the cost per book will be about $1. Cheap, yes, but not free. If that same subscriber likes to reread books a couple of years later, the read will cost $1 — again — unless the writer has removed it from Kindle Unlimited. In that case, the reader will be forced to pay full retail, and the book ends up costing more than its original price.
Many readers scroll by anything that claims to be free on Kindle Unlimited, opting instead for those that are available.
It may not sound like a big thing, but every little thing adds up, and you should give your books the best opportunities for sales.
Promo Blunder #3:
No Blurb or Genre
Similar to the first example in this post, prospective readers will have to guess about the book featured here. Why would they waste time clicking on links that might be interesting, when they can scroll down on the page and select clearly identified books?
If a writer is too lazy to create an enticing promo, will the same laziness be reflected in the book itself? Readers might be enticed to buy after they check out the first few paragraphs via “Look inside” or the equivalent online preview, but you have to lure them to the book page first.
Promo Blunder #4:
No Link — Version #1
Let’s eavesdrop on the thoughts of someone browsing through the posts in their favorite book group. They see the promo on the right, and they smile.
Ah, fantastic blurb. Superb cover. Wait. What? Where’s the link? Does this [censored] writer expect me to search for the book? No way. I see too many others that look just as interesting.
Sorry, dear writer, you just lost a sale.
Promo Blunder #5:
No Link — Version #2
Here’s another promo similar to the previous example. The writer even tells readers how to search for the book. And better yet, it’s FREE.
Everyone should be interested in a free book, right?
So why aren’t people clicking?
Promo Blunder #6:
Poorly Formatted Link
Poorly formatted links such as this are ugly and can negatively impact your book reviews and income.
The best way to create Amazon links is to begin with the main Amazon URL followed by dp and then add the book’s ASIN or ISBN-10:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/[ASIN or ISBN-10, no spaces or square brackets]
Change .com to the Amazon you wish to target: Amazon.ca (Canada), Amazon.co.uk (UK), Amazon.com.au (Australia), Amazon.in (India), etc.
When constructing links for Apple Books, Kobo Books, Google Play, etc., invest the time to discover the most concise format for each retailer.
Promo Blunder #7:
Bare Chest on Cover
If you browse through the romance novels in book groups, you’ll notice that a huge percentage of covers portray a male with a bared or partially bared chest. Many depict the man looking down at his six-pack, or they zoom in and omit his head.
The cover on the right shows me a self-absorbed character, and it doesn’t stand out among the overabundance of similar covers.
I’m more likely to purchase a book that depicts a sultry protagonist interacting with his love interest, or gazing from the cover into my eyes.
Promo Blunder #8:
This Is an Empty Post
I tried to reproduce this, but was unable to. Perhaps it was a Facebook glitch. However, it illustrates the necessity for double-checking whatever you post on social media. Everything you do and say is a reflection of your professional image.
Promo Blunder #9:
“Find These Books on My Author Page”
Scrutinize the following promotion blurb. Similar posts appear on both Facebook and Twitter.
Author Page at: www.amazon.com/author/fake-author-name
Contemporary, Crime Drama, Suspense, Mystery, Police Procedural
Based on true events.
A woman suspects she is being followed and calls 911. Before she completes the call, her cellphone goes dead. The 911 operator notifies the police, who categorize the woman as a crank caller.
But bodies begin to pile up, and all the murders are committed within minutes of similar calls. Detective Irwin tries to find the serial killer.
Fake Author Name invites potential readers to navigate to said writer’s author page and find the book — not so bad if it’s the only book on the page. But if the writer has written several books, this could be a daunting task.
Will readers take the time to try? Probably not.
Promo Blunder #10:
Where’s the Link?
Blunder #10 is a distraction rather than an outright blunder, but every distraction reduces the likelihood of sales, shares, and retweets.
FIRST IN THE SERIES: Book Title, Series. How many times can Brell jump before time travel completely scrambles his brain?
#scifi #books #scifibooks https://amazon.com/dp/ASIN #timetravel #future #amwriting #writerslife #writingcommunity #sciencefiction
FREE on Kindle Unlimited
This promo repeats the dastardly Free on Kindle Unlimited boo-boo and introduces another problem: Readers are forced to find the link in a mishmash of hashtags.
FIRST IN THE SERIES: Book Title, Series
How many times can Brell jump before time travel completely scrambles his brain? Every jump might be his last.
But would anyone miss him?
#SciFi #TimeTravel #ScienceFiction #Books
Available on Kindle Unlimited
Note the reduction in the number of hashtags. A few strategic tags are superior to a glut. Capitalization is leveraged to provide better understandability, which is especially important for visually impaired individuals who might rely on screen readers.
The reduction in tags increases room for the blurb, and strategic paragraphing results in a more appealing visual.
“But,” you might argue, “why would anyone need the link to be so visible? Facebook and Twitter will pull a graphic and display the cover.”
Answer: Readers might want to copy your link. It’s a lot easier to do so if it’s easily accessible. Additionally, the changes improve the impact of the hashtags.
I Could Mention More Book Promotion Blunders But …
It’s time to hear from you. Can you add another blunder? Or two? If it’s a mistake you’ve made, you can always [ahem] blame it on someone else. 😉
This content was originally published here.