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Blogging By the Sea
Saturday, January 20 2024

To start off 2024 on our Round Robin Blog Hop, we thought we’d share ideas on what kind of giveaways or sales have worked best for us as authors and what hasn’t worked. I am eagerly looking forward to checking out fellow blog hoppers experiences because I’m not sure I have a way to measure my successes or lack of. For outright advertising, I’ve tried Facebook promotions, where you can put out small amounts rather than figures in the $100s, but I've had no measurable results I could see. My publisher, however, with their clout, has invested in BookBub and other places that do have measurable results, but the costs for indy authors might be too steep. So, if outright advertising isn’t an option, do free books and giveaways work?


Years ago, before I was ever published, I began to attend conferences and writer’s meetings to learn from others how the craft itself was done. I hesitate to mention how long ago that was, but it was a lot of years. To this day, I have a small nail file/emery board on my desk, which I still use. Printed on one side is the name and website of the author who gave them away at my very first conference. Surely not every bit of swag stays around that long, but I wonder . . . I visited that author’s site and I purchased a few of her books. So, that particular file did equate to a sale. I wonder how many other sales came from those files? Even if, all that little piece of swag did was to get the person who picked it up to visit the website, that would seem to be a win as well. It’s the first step toward a purchase. Perhaps the visitor to the website signed up for the author’s newsletter and that might lead to a sale in the future. In today’s world, it’s all about driving traffic to your website where you presumably have your books on display with links to purchase.


On my website, in addition to a page with all my books and buy links, I have a page where I offer short stories. Free. If someone reads one or more of those stories and likes it, then perhaps they'll check out the book page to see if any of my novels appeal to their reading preferences. So, do free books work?


Last summer one of my faithful readers loaned a paper copy of the first book in my romance series to a friend of hers – a woman I have never met. Turned out that friend loved Falling for Zoe so much, she went online and bought the whole series – in print. That’s 8 more books. I know about that sale because that new reader found my website and then contacted me on Facebook. Which leads me to wonder how many other sales might I have made because someone found, won, or borrowed a book of mine and liked it enough to see what else I might have out?


I gave my son a copy of the first of my books to be published. He took it when he and his wife went camping in Acadia Maine, and was sad when he finished it for two reasons. One: he loved the story and didn’t want it to end, and two: because he didn’t have another book to read (before everyone had a half dozen ebooks on their phones.) I asked, surely a campground like Acadia had one of those book shelves where you could trade one book for another. He said no, of course not - I’d signed it for him. I shook my head, “Oh, Alex, I’d have given you a new copy in a heartbeat. You just never know who might have picked that book off the shelf and loved it as much as you did and I’d have gained another reader.”


Whenever I am asked to donate a book for a raffle or gift basket, I gladly hand one over. I’ve been known to leave copies of my books in waiting rooms and in lounges at the airport. Like the friend who loaned one of my books to another woman, or a book left at a campground or in a waiting room, it might put my book in the hands of someone who wouldn’t have purchased one or even known about me before they found that book.


And that leads me back to the swag. I have several things from pens, which everyone uses, to mini-flashlights and small notebooks. As long as those pens are sitting on someone’s desk there’s a chance they might check out the website listed on it. Same goes for the flashlight, or the notebook. All of the above options lead to name recognition and isn’t that what we are after?


Goodreads shouldn’t be overlooked either. Set up an account, find other books, review books you’ve read. It costs nothing and is another great way to get your book noticed. Goodreads is an American social cataloging website and a subsidiary of Amazon that allows individuals to search its database of books, annotations, quotes, and reviews. Users can sign up and register books to generate library catalogs and reading lists.


One option with a price tag that I do pony up for is ALL AUTHOR. Basic membership is free and includes listing in their author directory and up to four books on their site with a tweet scheduler. I have the Pro plan which is $59 for 6 months and includes the above as well as all my books listed in their book directory, my own author page, an author interview, access to the graphics creation platform for any of my books (I can add my own text to the graphics formats), regular tweets for all featured books, and weekly graphics for all featured books. Check out their X page to see what they do with your book tweets - You can list any free or 99¢ books on their Book Deals page. Pro membership includes one featured book for the 6 months and you can add additional featured books for just $24. Quite a lot of stuff for not a lot of money. The regular tweets, which they set up and you can retweet or copy and paste to other social media sites, as well as the graphics they send or you log in to create for yourself  are an easy way to keep your books out there where they can be seen. They also run a monthly book cover contest which is another free way to get your book out there to be seen by eyes that might not see it elsewhere. If you’re challenged about formatting tweets, they do it for you. Not only do they tweet your books with animated graphics, they also send you lists of suggested tweets for all your featured books. Does any of this lead to sales? Good question. But they do lead to putting my books out there to be seen and that’s an important first step in getting a sale.


Check out the give-away experiences of these other authors. Maybe they’ll have a few great ideas for you to start off your new year with.

Dr Bob Rich

Victoria Chatham

Connie Vines

Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 12:12 am   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
You have been busy out there, Skye. One of my sons once encountered a pen I had to advertise Daisy's Dilemma in a friend's kitchen - but no sign of the book. I need to make the links to my amazon titles more obvious. anne
Posted by anne stenhouse on 01/20/2024 - 04:50 AM
I found your comments on All Author, particularly interesting. I signed up with them last year and need to go back and investigate them more. I don't have a nail file, but I do still have a pocket comb and mirror set also from the first conference I attended. I can't remember the author now and her name has long since faded from the item.
Posted by Victoria Chatham on 01/20/2024 - 04:42 PM
Skye will must visit my Goodreads an All Author accounts more often. It good to know it’s an effective promo opportunity.
Posted by Connie Vines on 01/21/2024 - 02:48 AM

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