Trying New Things for More Visibility

By Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

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The business side of writing seems to take more and more time.

If I knock out my writing goal first, though, I don’t have that uncomfortable sense of being conflicted. And I remind myself that whatever time I spend putting my content “out there” should be repaid later on by sales. Hopefully.

AmazonCrossing.  Although I think there is still a huge untapped English-speaking or ESL audience out there in the digital reading market, I’ll admit to an interest in translation. After all, if I want to relax with a good book, I sure as heck want to read it in English.  Reading it in French (my high school and college foreign language) would be a struggle and certainly not as relaxing.

AmazonCrossing is the arm of the retailer that’s working on projects for translation.  I pitched them a book and am waiting on a reply.  We’ll see. I have a feeling it’s tricky to get in.

Fiberead. More translation opportunities. This one is for Chinese language translation. The process appears to be a long one here, but I’ve got a project manager for one book that I’m hoping to get translated and uploaded to Chinese retailers.

YouTube. Recently, I’ve definitely been courting the young people.  I’m on Wattpad (see below) and even had a guest post for a millennial book blogger (Richard Denney) with a YouTube channel to try to stir up interest in cozy mysteries for younger readers. It’s just a matter of putting our content or ourselves where they are. They tend to enjoy video, photography on sites like Instagram and Snapchat, and mobile apps like Wattpad.

Wattpad.  I’ve talked a lot about this reading app, so I’ll just link here to what I’ve written: here, here, and here.  Basically, it’s my go-to for reaching out to younger readers and to an international audience.

BookBub.  This is one of those things I’ve heard about (well, ad nauseum, actually).  Although it is a large investment, everyone that I’ve spoken with said that it paid back with dividends. However! It’s apparently very difficult to get a BookBub ad right now, possibly because of the success rate of the ads and the site’s popularity. I’ll admit to being very cynical about this…really? If I offer a business $1,000 to run an ad for me, they’re going to turn me down?  Seriously?  What kind of business owner does this?

But yes! They did turn me down. :)  And now, in typical hardheaded fashion, I’ll probably try again next month. Because, as anyone who’s traditionally published knows, rejection just makes writers more stubborn. This is one of those ventures where it’s worth a try, anyway.  And, if I eventually get a BookBub ad, I’m certainly going to write that sucker off on my taxes.

Self-E.  I’m a fan of libraries. To me, having my book available in a library is a discovery tool the way that a perma-free book is on Amazon.  Self-e is one option for self-published authors to get their books into libraries.  More on the site here. You can explore other options with this post by Andrew Lowe: “Ebook Library Services For Authors: An Alliance of Independent Authors Report.”

Newsletters. This is the most boring but completely effective outreach program I’ve tried so far. If you don’t have many subscribers on your own list, consider linking to your list on your social media, email signature, in your books, and on your Amazon Central page. More on newsletters on Monday, when I guest post on the IWSG site.

What have you tried to put your books in front of a new audience?  How is it working?

7 ideas for ways to get more visibility for our books: Click To Tweet

Image: MorgueFile: mcconnors

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26 thoughts on “Trying New Things for More Visibility

  1. Hi Elizabeth – what a fascinating post … lots of info in here and great advice. Your BookBub journey will be good to hear about. Most of these sites I hadn’t heard of … and good luck with those translations … cheers Hilary

  2. Good list of ways to get noticed!
    My publisher was turned down by BookBub when they tried to run an ad for one of my books. (They’d run an ad for another one not fifteen months earlier.)
    One of my books is being translated into Turkish and I’m eager to see it when it happens.

    1. Alex–It’s gotten very tricky to get in, I hear. And my frugality didn’t allow me to try for one when it *wasn’t* as tricky (it pains me to spend money on advertising. Luckily, for now, I won’t have to, ha!)

  3. Thanks for this nice post. A friendly tone AND good information. At the Frankfurt Book Fair, I learned about another way or two to reach Chinese readers (read.douban.com) and international readers (publishdrive.com) based in Budapest. When is your guest post coming out? November 9th?

  4. Thanks, Elizabeth, for these great ideas. Some of them (like Amazon Crossing) I’ve heard of, but haven’t tried yet. I really ought to, though! And I agree completely with you about Wattpad. I use it myself, and I’m very, very glad I do. It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s not over-cluttered with ads and so on. Recommended, folks!

  5. As always, you have a brilliant and forward thinking post. You’ve encouraged me to move some of these ideas from the rumination phase to the action phase.

    Don’t worry about BookBub, they turn everyone down. And they always create a positive ROI. But, if you go back and read their rejection letter, they might have been signaling that they want you to reduce the price. I loathe giving books away because nothing connects you to the reader. But BB freebies will generate 25,000+ free downloads and you’ll see 2-500 sales of your other books (which is how the ads pay for themselves).

    I appreciate your terrific website! Thank you for all the time and effort you put into it.

    Peace, Seeley

  6. I think I will check out Amazon Crossing. What do you think of Bublish? I think that is how you spell it. It looks like it would be fun to do. But formatting my books for paperback is taking all my spare funds. Being an author can sometimes be discouraging. Thanks for such a warm, informative post. :-)

    1. Roland–I’ve not heard anything negative about Bublish–it seems like a sound company and definitely an option for authors who need help with social media and promo.

      Not sure who you’re using for formatting, but my guy is super inexpensive (and does print and digital formats): http://rikhall.com/ if you want to get an estimate.

  7. Great list Elizabeth. I’ve tried a number of different marketing ideas over the past year but have pulled back to focus more on writing for awhile. I have thought of applying to Bookbub but I think having more to offer new readers would increase the chance for payoff with an investment like that. I’ve heard the ad itself will likely pay for itself, but better to get readers to buy into a series, I would think. Any thought?

    1. Silas–From everything I’ve heard, the ads *do* pay for themselves. But the way it’s set up is tricky. So you pay less for the ad if you place your book for free. But…you’re still paying a significant amount of money (if you’re in a popular genre like mystery). So to recoup that money (which you won’t from direct sales, obviously, if the book is free), you’d want to use it as a funnel to the other books in the series. Would be better if there were at least 3 or 4 books in order to have a chance to benefit from the sales angle.

      But if we sell our book for .99 or more, we do have to pay more for the ad.

      Long way of saying…for my frugal nature, I’d rather get an ad, have the advertised book run for free, and then hope that spurs interest in the rest of my series (which would go better if we had more books).

      1. Thank you for your thoughtful reply Elizabeth. I value your input. I think I’m going to finish a couple books I’ve been working on and then revisit the marketing. At least the expensive marketing.

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