So, you’re a self-published author hoping to get out of the I-only-sell-a-few-books-a-month rut. You’ve set a marketing budget, no matter how small, maybe even just $5 a month. There’s just one problem: Now that you look at your shiny new budget, you feel like it’s really, really small.
Don’t worry! There are all sorts of promotions you can do for free! Let’s look at five of them.
KDP Select Free Book Promotion
I’m covering this one first because it’s one of the best known. You add your book to Amazon’s KDP Select program, giving you access to the Free Book Promotion tools. This is a great way to get your book a lot of downloads and potential reviewers. Here are some tips for making your Free Book Promotion a success:
- Use all five of your promotion days for maximum exposure. You’ll be able to take advantage of increased buzz if your book is free longer. If you had trouble setting aside money to make a marketing budget, it may be hard for you to use all your free days at once, since you might feel like you want to ration them. Trust me. All five at once is the way to go. Many authors agree that downloads tend to increase on the third or fourth day of the promotion, so if you only run a two-day freebie, you could be missing out.
- Tell your friends. Make sure you post about your sale anywhere you have a social media profile. Don’t spam, and don’t be the broken record that proclaims the sale every hour, but do get the word out. Ask friends to share your freebie if they enjoyed the book.
- Spread the word on Kindle deal websites. Make sure you do this a couple weeks ahead of time, since most of these sites ask that you submit at least a few days in advance. (A couple of weeks is better.) You’ll also need to check the requirements for each site. Some want you to have a certain number of reviews or at least a certain star rating. Others have no requirements at all. Here’s a list of some sites to get you started:
- Take screenshots of your Amazon rank. You’ll want to remember where your book got to on the charts during your promotion.
KDP Select Countdown Promotion
In this promo, your book goes on sale for a limited time. Amazon even puts a countdown next to the book so people can see just how long the special price will last. As with the Free Promotion, you do have to be enrolled in KDP Select.
The tips for the KDP Free Promotion apply here as well. The biggest difference is that you need to submit to deal sites instead of free sites. Here are a few to get you started:
NoiseTrade Books is somewhat new to the neighborhood, but it’s already a big player, considering top-notch traditionally published books have been posted there. How does it work? Basically, you make your book available on NoiseTrade for free. People can leave a tip if they like, but it’s not required. So why would you do this instead of the Amazon KDP Select Free Promotion? Here are four good reasons:
- NoiseTrade lets you do some really nice categorization and “I’m like this other author” stuff, which promotes discovery. Rather than hoping for people to stumble over your book on Amazon by category alone, you can add some additional metadata that will improve your chances of getting noticed.
- You’re allowed to post links back to your website and, more importantly, to your Amazon author page. This works great if you have more than one book. Put the first book in a series on NoiseTrade, then link to Amazon where the rest of your books are available.
- You get your readers’ e-mail addresses. As part of downloading your book on NoiseTrade, the reader agrees to give you his or her e-mail address to add to your mailing list. This is huge! You can build up your mailing list and send your new fans updates when you release books. For a nice touch, I’d recommend sending your NoiseTrade subscribers a welcome note explaining how you got their address.
- Tips! KDP Free Promotion doesn’t allow tipping, but NoiseTrade does. You may end up making a little money out of the deal, in addition to some increased exposure.
Don’t forget to tell you friends and post on your social media accounts about your NoiseTrade promotion!
Send E-books to Blog Reviewers
This one requires some additional legwork on your part, but remember that positive reviews and buzz are extremely helpful in getting yourself noticed. And the beauty of sending e-books is that you don’t have to spend any money to get reviewed!
The complete process of approaching a reviewer is beyond the scope of this post. For now, I’ll just give you a couple of places to look for reviewers who want to read your genre:
And then I’ll leave you with this hint: Make sure you check the reviewer’s guidelines to ensure that they will accept e-books before you contact them.
Once again, this idea is bigger than this blog post. The basics are that you make appearances on other blogs to promote your book. It’s most often done with a new release, so if you have a new book coming out, you might keep it in mind. A few tips when doing a blog tour:
- Schedule a large number of “stops” on your tour. Ten blogs hosting you is fantastic, but twenty is even better.
- Remember that if only your friends host you on the tour, you’re limiting your reach to your existing network. Chances are that your friends already follow each others’ blogs, and your friends already know about your new book. Look for some blogs outside your usual network for better exposure. Start by checking which blogs your friends link to for any that you don’t currently follow, then check those blogs’ links, and so on. You might also see if a reviewer or two would be interested in joining the tour.
- Have a variety of posts. See if you can do some guest posts, ask some blogs to do a review of your book, and try an interview with one of your characters.
And there you have five things you can do to market your book without spending any money. Next time, we’ll take a look at some marketing ideas that’ll only run you $5.