I’ve been thinking a lot about promo lately, looking at what I’ve done, what others have done, and trying to gauge what the best bangs for your buck are. This is totally relevant to an indie because starting out, you don’t have many of those bucks to spend. So anyway I thought I’d talk about what I’ve done over the last year to promote my books and my platform. Your mileage may vary. I started to put this all in one post, but it was turning into a Post of Ridiculous Proportions, so I’m going to break it down into a series. We’ll start with Part 1.
Right out of the gate when I released Forsaken By Shadow, I did a month long blog tour for the month of May. This was somewhat about promoting the book, but really more about getting my name out there. Except for the small following I had already on my blog, mostly a group of other writers, nobody knew who Kait Nolan was. This was evidenced by the fact that the top search terms for my blog were “Gerry Butler”, “the crud” (seriously? Who needs to look up what the crud is?), and assorted terms that led to my post opining about the unfortunate moniker “tramp stamp” for lower back tattoos. Obviously I’m doing something right as currently “Gerry” is only beating “Kait Nolan” out for lifetime searches for my blog by a hundred or so now.
Anyway so I did a 31 day blog tour for the month of May. Some of my stops were the blogs of already traditionally published authors who were Twitter friends. Some were simply other wonderful writer friends who gave me a shot to talk to their blog audiences. Many also had small audiences, as I did, but that was fine. Baring the death of that blog, these posts will be out there for eternity in the Google world, and people still stumbled across them from time to time. We were helping each other. Mostly I didn’t post about the book unless the host asked me to. That was reserved for the little author bio/blurb at the end with discrete buy links. I talked about all kinds of stuff, trying to gear the post toward something that the host’s audience would find interesting. Some of that was about writing. Some was about books in general. My topics were all over the place and were, hopefully, interesting and non-repetitive to anyone actually FOLLOWING me on said tour.
Going back to track those initial sales for FBS, they doubled from April (went from 23 to 50). I was thrilled with that. I have no way of knowing how the tour really affected those sales. They could easily have been from the darlings on Twitter who RTed and told people to help get the word out. But it certainly didn’t hurt. And other than quite a chunk of time, it didn’t cost me a dime, which was exactly where I was on promo budget at the time because I was still earning back that initial $150 investment for copyright and cover costs.
A few words to the wise for doing your own blog tour:
- Be sure to gear your post toward THAT BLOG’S AUDIENCE. This shows that you’ve been a thoughtful reader and you’ve taken the time to check out what sort of posts that host makes themselves BEFORE approaching them.
- Be sure to provide your draft post to the host well in advance and politely make certain that said host knows that you CAN and also HOW TO schedule a post in advance so that it actually goes live on the proper day.
- Be sure to check out the potential host blog to make sure that they post on a regular schedule. One of my hosts, I discovered after the fact, hadn’t posted in 3 or 4 months prior to my guest post, so I suspect no one actually SAW that post.
- Be calculated about this. If you write in a particular genre, it would absolutely behoove you to pick some blogs by other authors in your genre because they probably have a higher chance of having fans who would also like your stuff because they already read in that genre.
- Above all, be polite and remember that the host is doing you a favor.
I’ll be back with Part 2 on Monday (tomorrow is my usual Sunday Summary and #ROW80 check-in).