Parts One and Two Recap
My book Take the Body and Run, a “goofy thriller” with a crime-solving cat, was selected almost a year ago.
Here’s the link to the Kindle Scout winner:
I’ve been happy as a Kindle Press (imprint of Amazon) author, but I probably have the lowest expectations. I don’t want to quit my job, I didn’t write a book to finance my retirement someday, and I don’t want fame or wealth. I’ve heard some self-published authors wish for all of those things. My KP book does much better than my self-published books, which ranged in sales ranking from 500K to >1M. Yeah, that’s M = Million, so I’ve been deliriously happy with KP.
I haven’t set the world on fire with my winning book, but I paid back my advance about two months from the September 2016 publication. The program guidelines (check for updates) say that the selected book may be eligible for promotions every ninety days. I had a December 2016 99 cents promo, the KS anniversary sale promo that all winners had the last part of March 2017, and my book was included in the 150 books for $1.50 promo that ended April 30, 2017.
New Campaign: The Freak Show Below
I started a new campaign that went live on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. The book is mystery/romance, but no crime-solving cat like last year’s winner or a supernatural creature like my paranormal romance/mystery series–which kinda bit me in the butt when a reviewer wrote about Take the Body and Run: “The cat doesn’t talk!”
Here’s the link:
I don’t expect to win another contract. While I’m very happy with the winning book’s performance, it can’t compete with other winners who have said they paid back their advance the first week and are earning tons of money. My plan is to use the publicity as a springboard to a successful launch, as so many of the non-selected authors have done. See what I did there? “Non-selected” authors not “Rejected” authors.
In Part One, I discussed several promotion options. Free things you can do: Read mine and other blog posts (I have links in my new blog post), HeadTalker, send a (as in one) personal message to each of your Facebook friends (you can spread out over the weeks), post about your campaign on Facebook (I limit to once per week and will post a fifth time at the final couple of days to avoid wearing out my welcome), change your author profiles on Amazon and GoodReads to include an appeal and link to your campaign (I did get several views), and you could post in Facebook groups that allow promotion – you might want to use a trackable link to see if you get traffic.
I also discussed what you should do before submitting your book for a Kindle Scout campaign. Hopefully, you completed all of those steps first.
In Part Two, I discussed the results of my HeadTalker campaign. Spoiler alert: I didn’t have good results.
I also asked the question: Should you spend money on promotion? I asked Bill Hiatt, accomplished author who used his Kindle Scout campaign as a springboard to his successful book launch, if I could quote his great advice to another Kboarder. He suggested that while it may not be prudent to spend a lot of money promoting the Kindle Scout campaign, it is money spent toward your launch.
I also asked how we can leverage our campaign (especially if not selected) for a successful launch. Lincoln Cole, popular author and Kindle Scout winner, weighed in on how to do it.
Week Three Highlight: The HeadTalker Help Desk
Steve Vernon is a Kindle Scout winning author. Last year, his fantastic book Kelpie Dreams was chosen for Kindle Press publication.
His excellent story is about “Lady Macbeth–a high school librarian, ex-assassin, and part-time kelpie, whose mother wanted to name her Hemorrhoid at birth.”
Kelpie Dreams is on sale for 99 cents for the entire month of May OR you can read it for free anytime on Kindle Unlimited.
Here’s what Steve says about himself. You can tell he’s an extraordinary storyteller.
“Everybody always wants a peek at the man behind the curtain. They all want to see just exactly what makes an author tick.
“Which ticks me off just a little bit – but what good is a lifetime if you can’t ride out the peeve and ill-feeling and grin through it all. Hi! I am Steve Vernon and I’d love to scare you. Along the way I’ll entertain you. I guarantee a giggle as well.
“If you want to picture me just think of that old dude at the campfire spinning out ghost stories and weird adventures and the grand epic saga of how Thud the Second stepped out of his cave with nothing more than a rock in his fist and slew the sabertooth.
“If I listed all of the books I’ve written I’d bore you – and I am allergic to boring so I will not bore you any further. Go and read some of my books. I promise I sound a whole lot better in print than in real life. Heck, I’ll even brush my teeth and comb my hair if you think that will help any.”
For more up-to-date info, you can follow Steve’s blog at:
http://stevevernonstoryteller.wordpress.com and follow him at Twitter: @StephenVernon
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Steve keeps a running list of active campaigns on the Kboards thread: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,213112.17925.html
Here’s some great advice from Steve regarding Headtalker. He posted this on Kboards (see above link to the thread):
“Try posting your Headtalker campaign on this thread for a bit of extra HeadTalker support.
“You might also want to try posting it over on Facebook. There are a couple of groups that I would recommend.
“I’ve had some really good luck at THUNDERCLAP CAMPAIGNS. The folks there support Headtalker campaigns as well. You just have to ask to join.
“I’ve had a bit of action at HEADTALKER & THUNDERCLAP SUPPORTERS, although not as much as at THUNDERCLAP CAMPAIGNS.
“Hope that helps out. In fact, any of you folks looking to run a HeadTalker or a Thunderclap campaign ought to try them out.”
Free Promotions Efforts
Contacting Facebook Friends by Private Message
Over the course of the campaign, I contacted my friends on Facebook via private message. As you read in the first post, I did gear each message toward that person, including both their name and information about the friendship.
On a daily basis, I tracked the number of message that I sent. The cumulative total percentages are as follows:
At the end of the first week, I’d reached out to 29% of my Facebook friends, putting me ahead of my target for the week. By the end of the second week, I’d contacted 45%, landing me behind my target. At the end of the third week, I’d only contacted 54%, leaving me 21% behind my Week Three goal of 75%.
What happened? I didn’t have the time to dedicate to those private messages. I think that’s why, despite the great response to the boosted Facebook post, my overall Facebook percentage in the Sources statistic decreased (see below). Of course, promotion activities kicked in during the third week. I promised the vendor to not discuss that promotion until after the campaign is over, but I can say that it resulted in sharp upward spikes. I’ll be posting about that initiative later.
Posting in Facebook Groups
Make sure that the Facebook group allows promotion by reading the description. Some Facebook groups allow any promotion related to books, which are great for Kindle Scout promotions. If the description says “Kindle Unlimited Only” or “Free or 99 Cents Books Only” or related restrictions, skip them. They may be great for book promotions that fit the parameters, but not your Kindle Scout campaign. You don’t want to get booted for a failure to follow directions.
I took the total number of Facebook groups to which I belong, and targeted posting in one-fourth of the groups each week. I was closer to on track with the group postings than I was with the Facebook private messages.
If you want to promote more aggressively, you can post in all of your groups once per week. Given my number of groups, it worked out better with my available time to divide the number into fourths.
Paid Promotions Results
As you read in the Week One and Week Two posts, I did try paid promotions. Here are the results. The results that follow are just those as of the end of Week Three. I started some new promotions in addition to those shown below, but won’t be able to evaluate those until later in campaign. I’ll post those results at the end of Week Four, when I have the results.
The Author Shout promotion is good for the entire thirty days of your campaign, provided you started it as soon as you got your link for your campaign.
I still believe that the best paid promotion as defined by steady impact on views is Author Shout. They also sent me the graphics that they made, which was a nice touch. They continue to promote over the 30-day period for that initial cost. If you get selected, they’ll also give you a bonus promotion.
Use the link to go to their page.
A good promotion for steady results is the Facebook boost. Be sure and set your targeted audience based on your book. For The Freak Show Below, I set my targeted audience as shown below.
Age: 35 years to 65+ years
Interests: Books, Mystery, Romance
Why did I set my target location as Kentucky? I’ve lived in Kentucky all of my life. My book is set in Kentucky. Here’s my post:
I x’ed out the link preview. I attached my book cover. As an alternative, you could attach the Author Shout graphic (they give it to you for your personal use) or your website banner.
The post had the best results of any boosted post ever, including my first campaign for Kindle Scout and my self-published books.
Will you get the same results? I can’t guarantee it. If you do boost a post, you should check in on your results regularly to ensure you’re still getting bang for your bucks. You can stop the post at any time.
MelRock on Fiverr
I had heard about MelRock on Kboards. She agreed to promote my campaign with a blog post plus 15 days of tweets to 170,000+ twitter followers for $30. I approached it as a good way to get exposure not only for my Kindle Scout campaign, but also as an author.
Twitter hasn’t been a strong area in the sources. However, I think that MelRock offers a good deal. She’s also a nice person with whom to work. Here’s the link on Fiverr:
End of Week Three Summary of Statistics
Yes, that’s right, I’m not posting my exact numbers. Why? I’m afraid of jinxing my campaign. Superstitious or cautious? You decide.
* Summary of Top Sources
Kindle Scout gives us the daily list of the top 50 external pages driving traffic to our campaign. These statistics can help you determine which campaign efforts are the most effective.
Here’s a summary of the top sources by percentages. I didn’t include the smallest percentages, so it doesn’t add up to 100%.
* Internal to External Traffic
The ratio gives you the cumulative mix of where your campaign page traffic is coming from. Internal is the first percentage, while external is the second percentage.
Beginning of Week One: 55% and 45%
End of Week One: 50% and 50%
End of Week Two: 45% and 55%
End of Week Three: 45% and 55%
That means that at the beginning of my campaign and before I had a chance to implement any promotions or asks for nominations, most of the views came from Kindle Scout. As my efforts kicked in, the most number of views came from outside Kindle Scout by the end of the first week. By the end of the second week, I saw even more progress with my promotion efforts, with even more of my sources outside of Kindle Scout. At the end of the third week, the ratio held steady.
The numbers also tell me that while posting on Facebook and individually asking friends for nominations is still working, Direct Traffic did pass up Facebook, and became an even larger percentage by the end of the third week. You may recall that when I tried to run any boosted posts in Week One, I received messages from Facebook Ads that there was too much text. For Week Two, I did post with the link, the preview x’ed out, and attached the cover of the book. It’s not perfect, but it did run as a boosted post. I still got traffic from Facebook, but not as much as Direct Traffic.
WEEK THREE Review of Action Items
WEEK THREE CHECK IN –
Did you do everything for the third week?
Contributed to discussions on KBoards; you should be on the rolling list.
Ran your subsequent HeadTalker campaign, if you chose.
Post on Facebook, once on personal page and once on author page for the third week.
Contacted the third set of one-fourth of your Facebook (and/or other social media) friends, sending a personalized appeal via message.
Send one tweet via Twitter for this third week.
Posted in Facebook groups that allow promotion (just once in each group this week).
Set up paid promotion(s) if desired (Readper and Author Shout were already highly recommended; think about giving MelRock a try).
Check your statistics to gauge results of your promotional efforts.
If you’ve been using my previous blog posts and this one to help you in your campaign, yay! I want people to benefit from my experiences.
Now, may I ask a favor in return? Will you please check out my campaign? There’s an excerpt posted for you to read and make your decision. If it’s chosen, then you get it for free. If it’s not to your taste, think about nominating other books to help those authors. Once you click the link below, you can log into Amazon at the top right. Below my blurb and categories, you’ll see a blue button Nominate Me. Just click the button. After clicking to nominate, you’ll see a feedback screen. If you want to fill it out, thank you! If you don’t have time, just scroll down the feedback screen and click Skip to nominate without giving feedback. Here’s the link:
I’d also love it if you could like my author page.
Here’s the link: