With the covers for the Tassamara series complete, I decided it was time to tackle promotion.
My first move was to join a NetGalley co-op. NetGalley is a site that distributes digital galleys of books to influential readers–librarians, booksellers, bloggers, and reviewers. People join (for free) and submit requests for books and publishers decide whether or not to approve the requests based on their info. NetGalley handles the book distribution.
It’s not an inexpensive service. For an independent publisher, a single book posted for six months costs $500, I believe. With the co-op, however, I get one slot in a bookshelf for 12 months and can rotate books in and out at will. It’s still not cheap: at $270, it’s the biggest investment I’ve made in marketing.
A Gift of Ghosts was available through NetGalley for one month. During that time, it received 1175 impressions, with 237 clicks to read. End result, 21 reviews on the site, with 8 five-stars, 3 four-stars, 7 three-stars, and 3 two-stars. For Ghosts, those numbers are basically irrelevant. The book has plenty of reviews already. But if it had been a new release, I would have been pleased. I’m hoping to post an ARC of A Lonely Magic on the site, in order to get reviews before the book releases, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that works.
(Currently, A Gift of Time is on the shelf. It’s received 82 requests, of which I’ve declined 4, but no feedback as of yet.)
Next step: advertising.
I started by applying for a BookBub spot. I’d been turned down twice when applying to the Fantasy list, so I started watching the books they selected and realized that their Fantasy list leaned toward epic and serious. I decided Ghosts fit better on the paranormal romance list, applied for that list, and was selected for a May 19th run. Cost: $130. Results: Way beyond my expectations. Something like 35,000 downloads across multiple sites (including Amazon, B&N, Apple, and Google Play), followed by selling more than 1000 units of the other books. Ten days later, Ghosts is still in the top twenty of the Fantasy free list and although sales are slowing, they remain higher than usual.
Around the same time, I paid $30 to Digital Book Today for a featured spot on their list. It wound up running well in advance of the BookBub ad. Downloads increased for a day or two, from about 20 a day to 180 the first day, 55 the next, but with no change in sales for the other books. That said, it may have had longer-tail results that got lost in the BookBub sales. Still, at best it was break-even, if downloads to sales followed my typical conversion rates.
I also submitted Ghosts to E-Reader News Today, and they chose to post-it several days before the BookBub ad ran. Results: Solid. Because it’s a free book, it cost nothing to submit and the book was downloaded about 1000 times followed by a slight but noticeable uptick in sales. I’d been averaging 2-3 books sold every day and the day after the ENT mention, sold 17 followed by 9 the next day.
Finally, I submitted to Freebooksy. Although they ran their mention in the middle of the Bookbub swing, it looks as if I may have gotten an additional 800 or so downloads from that, but with no way of measuring sales.
I’ve been taking promotion slowly, trying to put a few hours into discovery every week, and using Ghosts as the experimental product, but I’m definitely satisfied with my results so far.