If we’ve done our job properly, then hopefully we’ve given you a lot of food for thought as part of our Book Discovery series. Individually, authors have used all seven of the strategies we’ve discussed to find success. None of them are 100 percent successful for all authors, but without a doubt, you’ll get more out of these methods than simply writing books and hoping for the best.
Here’s a quick recap of the seven book discovery strategies:
1. Two Free Books
Also known as the Reader Magnets strategy, this method requires that you make two of your books free. The first book serves as a traffic generator to a mailing list squeeze page. The second is an incentive for readers to join your list. The strategy works well as a complement to the Securing Email Advertisers strategy and the Paid Advertising strategy.
2. Securing Email Advertisers
Securing Email Advertisers is all about getting the attention of BookBub and the other marketing companies through the improvement of your book’s sales page. When your book ranks in the middle of or higher than other books BookBub has featured when it comes to reviews, description, and cover, you’ll have a better chance of being accepted. A feature on BookBub and other retailers could inform over 100,000 readers about your work.
When you’re promoting a free book using this strategy, the Two Free Books strategy works well in conjunction to get more email subscribers.
3. Pitch Yourself to Podcasts
By setting up interviews with popular podcasts, you’ll make a deeper connection with potential readers than you ever could have done with a guest blog post. The strategy works best when you’re promoting an audiobook, since podcast listeners are already attuned to the audio medium.
4. Joining a Box Set
Work together with other authors to put your books into a box set. By pricing the set low, you can get your series starter into the hands of plenty of new readers. The strategy has also been used to get featured on the USA Today and New York Times Bestseller lists.
5. Social Media Events
When multiple authors agree to promote the same social media event, you’ll see a lot of cross-pollination between fan bases. As the person running the event, you can collect new email subscribers or create a Lookalike Audience using Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences pixel to get an added benefit.
6. Meeting Merchandizers
Merchandizers control which books get placed in prominent locations on the non-Amazon platforms. Meet with them face-to-face at conferences to improve your chances of getting featured. The strategy is a must for authors who aren’t on KDP Select.
7. Paid Advertising
Experiment with ads on Facebook to get a positive ROI on direct sales and/or mailing list ads. This strategy has the highest learning curve, but it can also get you the best return if you have money to spend on advertising your higher-priced box sets.
The Book Discovery Buffet
Most successful authors have used a variety of strategies to get where they are today. You don’t just have to choose one to get ahead.
Let’s say you’re just starting out and you want to use all of the strategies to build up your brand. Once you’ve written three books, you can start using the Two Free Books strategy to grow your mailing list. You may want to supplement your list growth with some Paid Advertising to pitch your free book deal. As you keep growing your list, you can reach out to other authors in your genre to be part of a Social Media Event.
The event goes well and acquaints you with even more authors in your genre. You collaborate with these authors to Join a Box Set that includes the permafree first book in your series. With your free books continuing to grow your mailing list, you’ve built up enough of a following to justify creating an audiobook version of your first three books. This gives you incentive to Get Featured on Podcasts as part of a tour.
You’ve built up a little money as a result of your growing fan base and continuing to write books in your series, but you’re not getting as much traction on the non-Amazon platforms as you’d like. You save up some of your earnings and go to three conferences in your area to meet with reps from Nook Press, Kobo, and iBooks. After following up with those contacts, you start to earn a few hundred dollars a month from these other platforms.
Now with even more money saved up, you go all-in on Paid Advertising with some direct sales ads of your own series box set. After writing five books in your series, you box up books 1-3 and sell them at $6.99 through the paid ads. You have to spend nearly $400 to get the targeting right, but once you’ve got it, it only takes a month to earn back what you’ve spent. Over time, you slowly increase your spend, and your sales start to go through the roof.
With great sales and a growing list, you make a push to get more reviews on your books. Once you’ve gotten into the middle of the pack of books in your genre that’ve been featured on BookBub, you submit your application. It takes three tries, but finally you get in. Every few months, you alternate submitting your box set or your permafree first book to BookBub. Each feature brings you even more subscribers and a nice boost to your income.
Your Results May Vary
The above hypothetical use of all seven strategies would be a pretty ideal situation for most authors. It likely won’t go quite as well as described, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. You’re bound to fail a little bit along the way, but failure is a necessary step toward success. Your patience, your time, and your money spent will be well worth it if you continue to persevere through your attempts to increase discoverability.