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eBook Promotions

__—— eBook Promotions:  Promoting eBooks to achieve sales results is a messy, complicated business, so this page lists the steps I have been forced to take.

__—— July 2017  Marketing implications:  One thing I have learned during the exercise to promote the first book of the Homo Magnetica tetralogy is that promotion costs – essential for marketing an eBook – are exactly the same for stand-alone novels as for a whole series.  By promoting the first book of a series, readers who enjoyed that first one will later go back and buy the rest of the books in that series at the ‘normal’ price, because that price is less than US$3.00 each...  it’s an inexpensive, ‘might as well’ impulse decision.
So promoting stand-alone novels is much more expensive than books in a series, as well as being less effective.  It’s probably the main reason why many authors shun writing stand-alone novels, and instead concentrate on writing trilogies, tetralogies, pentalogies or even longer series (  are these long series just sagas? ).  Knowing that, I am now looking at possible sequels to some existing stand-alone stories...  I would need to temporarily ‘un-publish’ those books and massage the endings to provide a raison-d’être for a continuation in a sequel, but that’s not too hard to do.  A little more demanding for those stories that currently end abruptly with the death of the main protagonist, of course.  For those books, just a few more radical twists and turns in the plot.  Probably, sparing their lives but leaving them battered, bruised and bitter, determined to exact a form of revenge or start a crusade against whatever social or political injustice led to their near-death experience.  Turning a stand-alone novel into a duology by adding a sequel actually makes it easier and cheaper to promote.

__—— June 2017  eBook promotion – Take #2:  I recently bought a 2-week promotion of the first book in the Homo Magnetica tetralogy but only a handful of sales resulted.  The promotion firm pointed to 3 major reasons:
•  First, and most important, I was listed in the wrong category or genre.  All my books have a ‘what-if’ plot basis, so are Speculative Fiction...  but that’s regarded as an ‘umbrella’ genre only, because all fiction is essentially speculative, all fiction has some what-if factor.  So I re-classified all my books as General Fiction to address that problem.
•  Second, none of my books had reviews, which are very important.  Only reviews by customers who have bought a book show as ‘Verified’, so Amazon allows authors to suspend a book’s price for a short-period – readers can download it free but it will still register as a ‘sale’.  I bought a review package, and the promotion firm uses this 1-week suspension period to canvass readers prepared to post an online review.  Many opportunistic readers will grab the free book but not post a review, of course, but that’s human nature, I’m afraid.
•  Third, I’m an unknown author – but I will definitely not venture into self-promotion.  That problem will have to stay unsolved.
With one trilogy and one tetralogy, it makes sense to concentrate on promoting just the first books of those series.  In that way, two promotion campaigns will cover 7 titles; satisfied readers will probably buy the remaining books in those series anyway.  My 5 stand-alone novels will have to be promoted individually, so they will be left until later, when I am more confident about marketing methods.  To get readers to even notice my 12 books among the hundreds of thousands of other titles, they need to be promoted, so having 12 titles makes promotion an extremely expensive ongoing exercise!
So, when I get some online reviews for the same target book, I will run another promotion campaign for it, but this time the promotional distribution lists for General Fiction ( not Fantasy or Science Fiction ) should reach the right potential readers.

__—— May 2017  eBook Promotions:  As an eBook author, I don’t have a Publisher in the traditional sense – I self-publish through Amazon, because they have 80% of the eBook market, which is a global market, not just a national one.  Traditional Publishers carry the cost of printing, distribution, crediting returns, but all of these are irrelevant for eBooks.  They also promote the book – usually in magazines and newspapers, sometimes point-of-sale displays.  Only runaway success books ever get sold internationally, via cross-promotion deals between Publishers.  All eBooks are sold internationally, and promotion for them HAS to be online only – a self-published author has to wear the cost of doing that.
I have just dipped my toe into the eBook promotion waters, taking out a 2-week promotional campaign for the first book of the Homo Magnetica tetralogy, offering it at a discounted price for those 2 weeks, after which it reverts to its normal price.  The promotion is via mass emails, Twitter, Instagram, FaceBook and other social media platforms.  The theory is that avid readers will grab the book at a bargain price, then later go back to buy the others in the series at the normal price.  The theory sounds convincing, but I am a bit skeptical of all book advertising, so will just have to wait and see what results.  The cost of the campaign is such that it will have to result in a LOT of sales to make it worthwhile...