I'm brand-spankin' new here. Just got my first novel live for pre-orders yesterday. I was wondering if anyone had ever tried Booksgosocial for promotion? Also, any other tips on getting out the word would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance!
I've not used it, but would be interested to hear what other people say.
My personal experience is that paid advertisement is rarely worth the money. Certain genres are definitely worth it, if you can tap into the right market. (I think Highland romances do well on blog tours.) I've done blog tours, paid ads, and many other things... to get pretty much no return on it...
I'm a little leery of booksgosocial's claim to put the tweet in front of so many followers -- I've found that the followers of Twitter feeds like that are often other writers, not readers. (Yes, writers read, but you really want to get in front of non-writing readers, as they are often more likely to buy books.)
It's not necessarily that I was being scammed by any of these sites and companies -- because I really don't think I was -- I just think that the money put into these things rarely generates a sizeable return. So I won't name them since I think they are offering a valid service that may work for some people, but they certainly didn't for me.
I write gay erotica / gay erotic romance -- it's a fairly hot genre, but on the three or four book blog tours I did, my sales didn't spike at all. I've also done Google AdWords with no impact on sales (and it occurred to me that people probably search within a site like Amazon for a book, not on Google). I've done paid ads consisting of my cover image on a gay romance book website and social media blasts by gay romance websites, with no impact on sales. I've done a Goodreads giveaway, which created a HUGE spike in people listing my book as "to read," but, as far as I'm aware, few people following through and purchasing a copy.
However, I do think the success of these promos can sometimes be genre-specific. I know of a Highland romance author who has crazy sales when she does a blog tour. I would imagine sci-fi and fantasy might do well on advertising -- I read sci-fi, and so if I'm looking for a new author or book to read, I will sometimes check out blogs and stuff.
But as I mentioned above, the key is to get your ad (paid or free) in front of readers not writers. The best advertising I've ever done, and that I continue to do, is a paid ad in gay nudist magazine -- that ad specifically targets readers who are interested in my genre. Sales have jumped immensely since I started doing that.
But, depending on your genre, free promo strategies can be as good as paid promo. My WordPress and Tumblr seem to draw people to my website on a daily basis. (But Twitter doesn't, as I am largely followed by writers. Pinterest doesn't do anything for me either.)
Amy Van Horn wrote:
Thanks for the feedback! It seems like a lot of places want you to have reviews but then how do you get those without advertising? It's kinda circular!
Patience is how you do that. You get your book published, you write another, and another, etc and eventually the reviews will come. Then you can tell those fussy ad sites who want 50,000 reviews to go shove it where the sun don't shine! It doesn't happen overnight, you have to keep going and have patience.
I've long suspected that paid advertising sites are not worthwhile. I also will not be doing a Goodreads giveaway again. The one that I did do produced the same result as your own, plus one review in which the reviewer did not know the difference between a short story and a full-length novel, and, moreover, complained of "numerous" typos because she was obviously unaware that the book had been written in "English" English. Finally she gave away the twist in the plot in her review! The Goodreads one star review also seems to come up first in any Google search for the story. Never again, as far as I am concerned.
Thanks for responding, Cameron. All the information was interesting.
The reason I asked you about the companies was not to avoid them, because I believe they were scams. I just wanted to know what companies to avoid and or to consider. Basically, I just wanted to know your personal experience.
I don't have the slightest clue what a blog tour really is. They all require something different. I still don't get the cover reveal, stuff. What's the big deal?
Anyway, I go on one of those company sites, and they say this and that. One said the writer will have to give an interview, answer questions, and this, that, and the other over the period of the tour.
I'm like WTF. Can you give an example of what you will need from me, other than my money?
I think a Cover Reveal isn't useful unless you've got a fan base in the several thousands that are dying to buy your next book. I'm a huge Star Trek nerd, so I'm always checking the Memory Alpha website for covers of upcoming books and I have to admit I get excited when a new cover appears. So, cover reveals have a place, but they're certainly not for me as a writer, at least not yet.
A blog tour is essentially a schedule of appearances at a series of blogs. A company will arrange this for you and will ask you for things like a bio, the back cover blurb, cover, and excerpt. Most companies will also give you the option of doing interviews and receiving reviews. Once they have this information, they send it out to their blog network to see who's interested in hosting you for a day. The host blogs might put together a promo post (typically cover, blurb, and excerpt), an interview post (in which you'd be sent questions to answer), a review (in which case you'd have to send them a copy of your book), or some combination of all of the above. It was a useful way to gather reviews for a new release by a new author... but there's also the stigma that these are essentially paid reviews (even though they have the caveat that they are supposedly "honest" reviews).
If you can get on the right blogs, it can be a great thing. But what I've found is that everyone who wants to have a book blog can be a tour host -- so blogs that get maybe 100 visits a year are promoting your book on the tour... but no one really sees it. I could start up a book blog tomorrow and start signing up book tour stops to my blog that has zero followers.
It also gets a bit repetitive. When I was on these tours, I'd always mention them on my blog and Twitter, to point interested parties to today's tour stop... but if anyone would read every day's post, they'd see that it's basically the same information all over again.
What I've figured out is this:
There are a lot of very popular blogs out there that would love to host you... for free... I write in the gay erotica / gay erotic romance genre. There are very popular blogs or writers-with-blogs for this genre who would love to host you for a day if you just ask politely. That way, you're targeting where you appear, you're not wasting money, you're using your time effectively, and you get more bang for your metaphorical buck.
I host writers on my blog for interviews and promos, if they're in my genre. Some of them invite me to be interviewed on their site in return. I find this way more effective than a blog tour -- because these individuals form a relationship with me and then go on to occasionally retweet my stuff and essentially promote me to their fan base.
I know I'm rather late to the party on this thread, since it was posted almost a year ago, but I thought I'd chime in since I recently signed up with BooksGoSocial. I'll be honest, their marketing stuff sounded pretty compelling. Some of the author feedback posted on their site sounded darned awesome. I figured with their money back guarantee, I couldn't go wrong.
My promotion has been running since Friday, April 17. (Today is May 1) I expected, when this promotion started, that I'd see a spike on my KDP reports.
How many books have I sold?
Big, fat goose egg.
They've been tweeting the heck out of my book for the past couple of weeks and I've sold nothing. When I pointed out that my book wasn't moving, they sent me a copy of their click report, which supposedly showed an "above average" response. When I pointed out that my CONVERSION rate was zilch, they told me the title of my book was too long.
Hmm, The Wannabe Vampire. That's three words. Too long? Maybe. They also suggested that my cover wasn't good, even though I had a professional designer do it for me and it ties in really well with the theme of the book. When I asked for specific suggestions on how to update my art, they told me that mine wasn't "edgy" enough and referred me to a graphic designer buddy of theirs who wants €250 (about $280 USD) for a redesign. I don't know, but that seemed just a little too convenient.
My book is running on a Kindle Countdown deal this weekend. I'm going to let things ride until Sunday, and if I still don't see any sales, I'm going to ask for my money back.
To be honest, I haven't done a lot of paid advertising or promotion, mainly because I haven't found anything that didn't look like a scam, or that I thought was likely to work. So far, I've gotten the best results from targeted Facebook ads, but even those aren't generating as much in book royalties as they cost. During the month of March, I ran a couple of targeted Facebook ads, but for every dollar I earned in royalties, I spent about $4.60 in advertising. Clearly that's not a cost-effective strategy.
I've also tried advertising through Amazon Marketing Services, and that hasn't been much of a win for me either. I set an initial budget of $100, but I guess I haven't made a high enough per-click bid, because my ad has been displayed only 1,400 times since the middle of March and been clicked once. My conversion rate? Also zero. Of course I guess that doesn't matter a whole lot since I've only spent 13 cents so far.
I've done a Goodreads giveaway, which created a HUGE spike in people listing my book as "to read," but, as far as I'm aware, few people following through and purchasing a copy.
Don't you hate that? When I look at my Goodreads dashboard and see all the "to read," it makes me wonder if they clicked that so the GR bots will alert them if I do another giveaway on that book.
That said, I'm still fond of Goodreads and I look forward to doing a giveaway on my next new book. It's a bit of a gamble, but if you want to know what people think, it works.
The "add to TBR" setting is clicked by default, which is why so many people are adding your book. I've found that TBR adds mean nothing in the long run, unfortunately. Most of those readers (myself included) have so many books on their TBR list that we'll never live long enough to read them all.
The best thing I can say about GR giveaways is that it gets you two days of brief exposure (the first and last day of the giveaway) but I've seen zero impact on sales.
The "add to TBR" setting is clicked by default, which is why so many people are adding your book.
Oh... fooled me.
I believe I generated some buzz through GR, expensive though. But I don't mind spending money on Createspace books to the winners. Feels good knowing someone has my book in their hands. It's advertising, I write it off on my taxes and it feels like I got something for my money.
I'm certain that if I wrote something that had mass appeal, GR readers would pick up on it. They'd spread it like wildfire. I have not yet written that and I haven't a clue if it is in the stars for me. I'm at a point in my writing "career" where I am trying to please myself and the readers too. If they like it great, if not, I'll try something else. But that something has to be enjoyable to me. When I go to sleep at night, my writing is on my mind. When I wake up, I think about it. It must bring me joy. That is foremost. Sharing it on Goodreads gives me an idea if it brings pleasure to others. If it does they will spread the word.
I placed some ads on Goodreads and have seen zero interest. I write middle grade so to be honest my market is small and the parent is a gateway. One tool I find very useful is a book association aggregator. It shows me a much bigger picture of the customers-also-bought. This has told me which parent buys my books and what their interests are. I can look at the blurbs of all the other books and compare to mine, likewise the covers and ranking. I'm in bed right now but I will try and re member to add a link when I get back to editing later.