Writing books is easier than promoting books!
In June, I Amazon published two books. Operation Hopper and Other Tales: Nature, Magic, and the Oakland Acres’ Kids and a companion discussion activity guide Operation Hopper and Other Tales: Nature, Magic, and the Oakland Acres’ Kids Discussion and Activity Guide. The first a collection of short stories for children ages seven through eleven (give or take) and the second a teacher/parent discussion and activity guide for the short story collection (ten questions and three activities for each story).
I thought formatting the manuscript for Kindle Direct Publishing a Herculean feat. I slogged through a bazillion YouTube videos for directions, read dozens of articles for hints, and questioned a few authors for practical advice. I finally succeeded in beginning each story on the right-hand side page, learned about drop letters, and floundered through uploading original illustrations. Throughout my research, comments about the EASE of using KDP templates mocked me. Either the commenters were brilliant techies or under 50 years old.
Having successfully written and published my books, I waited for the general public to recognize my genius and buy them. It was a long wait. I’m not sure of my June Amazon book ranking, but my September Amazon ranking for the discussion guide is 1,252,256 and for the story collections is 1,252,633 in “Best Seller Rank” in the “Books” category. My rankings improve with narrower categories, but it’s still huge stack of books to be under!
To rise in the ranks and sell books, I needed to introduce them to the world to promote them. So I do what I always do when life confounds me I Google searched because if you read it on the Internet it HAS to be true! I entered “Promoting Your KDP Books” (or something like that). “Fifty Ways to Promote Your Books” (or something like that) popped up. I’m working my way (more like stumbling my way) through the list.
Here are a few I considered.
The suggestions Talk at local schools, sell at craft fairs, and present at meetings fell victim to the virus. I’m in the “keel over and die” age category should I contract the Corona so I eliminated those before they eliminated me.
Write a press release to send to your local newspaper sounded doable except it entailed learning how to write a press release. Since I was “YouTubed out” that one went to the end of the promotion idea line.
The Images with books for Pinterest idea I didn’t even understand. What does that mean? So, I filed that one behind “Write press release.”
Then I read Link your sites to your email signature. THAT was within my tech skill set. I had my “A Few Choice Words By Anita” blog site and an Amazon Author Page. amazon.com/author/anitaborgo
I added a small photo with those two links, and I felt like an official author. I figured it couldn’t hurt. Maybe it would even edge me into the 1,252,632 position.
The ask for reviews suggestion proved to be sensible. When I look my books up on Amazon, a 0 reviews appeared. (I rarely buy anything online that has zero reviews so why should anyone else?) I remedied the situation by purchasing a dozen of my own books (at a reduced author’s rate). I asked friends and colleagues to review them and post their comments. I’m up to 18 reviews for the short story collection and 8 for the discussion guide! A few of the reviewers purchased books for themselves and others. A $20.65 royalty credited my account. (I only needed a few more of those to break even!)
The Write a press release idea nagged me. If I wrote one, who did I send it to? I thought about this question then decided instead of just THINKING it I would ASK it to everyone I met. About the twentieth person I asked knew someone who knew someone who wrote reviews for the local paper. I contacted the reporter and within the week, she interviewed me and published an article about my books. Shortly afterwards sales spiked. I sold 10 books on one day!
At times I find book promotion frustrating, but it’s always interesting. After the review in the local newspaper, the mom of students I taught decades ago contacted me. She had purchased my books for her son’s family. More importantly she remembered me fondly as I remembered her and her family.
Maybe writing is easier than promoting because I’ve been writing for decades and only promoting for days.
I DID act on one more suggestion. Post on a blog about your book is on the list. Now I can check that one off!
Connect with my books and author pages! Share the links with anyone who you think might be interested