Lately, I’ve been reading and writing a lot about book promotions. Most lines of evidence lead me to two conclusions: more books = more exposure; and free promotions = more exposure.
Several weeks ago I did a particularly disastrous promotion for my new eBook, The Mummies of Blogspace9. I could barely give away a few hundred copies, and I wasn’t sure why. Now I think I know why.
There appears to be a giant correlation between the number of good reviews and the number of people who will read your book. And it makes sense when you think about it. There have never been more books out there, and there have never been more free books out there.
I download free books regularly, as well as books I buy. But like most people, I have no interest in cluttering up my life or Kindle with titles I don’t intend to read. So I'm choosy. I don’t care whether I’m paying for the books or not - I have a limited amount of time to read, so I’m going to be looking for a great cover, a great blurb, and some great reviews.
And perhaps because of the relationship between reviews and readers, most of the free book sites won’t even touch your listing unless you have 18-20 great reviews. And I didn’t yet have that for The Mummies of Blogspace9 (which in fact, you can help remedy by reading and reviewing this fine tome).
But I did have 18 great reviews for my first novel - Grave Passage.
Grave Passage explores crime on the high seas, and introduces a valiant and original protagonist. Henry Grave is an investigator for the Association of Cruising Vessel Operators. A former P.O.W., Henry is as cunning as he is charming, and at 84 years of age, he fits right in with his fellow passengers.
When retired FBI profiler Robert Samson is murdered onboard the cruise liner Contessa Voyager, Henry Grave is sent to investigate. Samson was giving a series of lectures on cold case crimes he felt he could crack. But he got cracked first. Henry has just five days before Voyager reaches Miami. There, the FBI will question the passengers, but the case will have grown cold and the killer will walk free unless Henry can find him first. With the help of a television actress, a cosmonaut, and a Venezuelan general fighting extradition, Henry draws on skills honed in a Nazi prison camp to track down a couple of passengers who might have their own reasons for taking this particular cruise, reasons unrelated to the sumptuous meals, delightful shipboard activities, and exciting ports of call.
12 million people take a cruise each year.
Most have fun.
Henry Grave investigates.
So I decided to try another giveaway. I started planning two weeks in advance, and I planted listings on twenty-six free book sites and five Facebook sites. I didn’t pay a dime. My promo would run from June 7-9, offering a free download.
And I know what you’re thinking - it’s hard to make money when you’ve giving something away for free. Initially I hoped I would make up for that in volume, but I can see now that this was just folly. On the other hand, I have six titles on Kindle, eleven total on Amazon, and I have sold more copies for actual money in the last two days than I have in the last month.
I’m writing this on the morning of June 8, nearly a day and a half into my promo, and so far, I’ve given away over 9,000 copies of Grave Passage.
If even some of those lucky readers leave a review, and maybe pick up one of my other titles, I’ll figure this has been a great success. And even if they don’t, it has nonetheless been an interesting learning experience.