Promotion is such a strange game. From now through Sunday (August 14th), I am actually paying to give my book away.
I’ve done quite a bit to promote Goodnight Sunshine. Not a lot by modern marketing standards, but I’ve done what I can with the time and resources I have. Now I’m trying something strange: paying to advertise that I’m giving away my e-book on Amazon. And the best part … I had to convince a reputable advertiser to take my money to tell people about the giveaway!
This was my third attempt to tap into a list of subscribers who look for e-book giveaways — my first two attempts, with Bookbub.com, were turned down for reasons unknown. Based on their advertising criteria, I assume it had to do with either my lack of reviews or the fact that the Goodnight Sunshine e-book is only available for Kindle.
So, let’s see … I put my e-book on Kindle Select — which means it must be exclusively available on Kindle for 90 days — so that I could give it away for up to 5 of those 90 days (you can’t just make your Kindle e-book free anytime you want to). I am trying to give away the book to get more readers, in the hope that some of them will review it. I am advertising to make sure people know it’s available, but the best e-book advertisers (those who have a loyal following of subscribers) require that you have plenty of reviews, and some want you to be selling e-books on multiple sites. But Amazon/Kindle is the dominant player in e-book sales, at least in the United States, and they set strict rules about exclusivity and giveaways.
I feel like I’ve been chasing my tail for weeks. But here I am … poised to give away as many e-books as I can. I can only hope that a small portion of the 120,000 people who will see Goodnight Sunshine as their “Free book of the day” (this Sunday on Booksells.com) will download it; that a small percentage of those downloaders will read it; and that a small percentage of that small percentage of a small percentage will post a review for it. Then, with all those reviews I get, I might be able to qualify to pay even more money to give away my books to more people!
I’m not really that pessimistic. I see value in getting my book into as many readers’ hands as possible, and I trust that the platform I am building now will serve me well in the future. But this whole promotional game is kind of silly, and I can’t help feeling a bit trapped by the machine that Amazon has created. I would far rather be dealing with smaller players — independent booksellers and distributors — but that comes with its own set of challenges. For now, I am learning how the machine works … and paying for my education.
Oh yeah, about that Kindle giveaway … if you’re looking for a free e-book, you can download my novel by clicking on one of the following links or searching for “Goodnight Sunshine” on almost any Amazon site:
* Image courtesy of: Nick Youngson – http://nyphotographic.com/