Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Promotion 101 by Sharon Ledwith

Book promotion, the terrible, confusing, difficult part of being a writer. So many times we get and give advice but does it really work. Today, Sharon Ledwith shares exact details about what worked for her and the numbers to prove it. She's been so generous with letting us see the intimate details of her promotion experiences.

This past November, I decided to go gung-ho and promote my two time travel books. So I prepared a plan and outlined it HERE. This is gist of my book promo strategy:

1. I created a Goodreads Giveaway for The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and the prequel to the series, Legend of the Timekeepers. I offered only one signed paperback book, and included signed trading cards. I made these giveaways international, hoping to reach a lot of readers worldwide, and ran it for the first three weeks in November.

2. I signed up for a month-long Holiday Giveaway with Mother Daughter Book Reviews. The prize was a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet, perfect for the upcoming holiday season. I was hoping to reach my target audience with this giveaway, since Mother Daughter focuses on reviewing children and middle grade books. The price of being part of the giveaway was $10, so it seemed a no-brainer to me.

3. Along with doing the Holiday Giveaway with Mother Daughter Book Reviews, an offer was given to authors to support Daughter by purchasing a $30 coupon book for her school’s fundraising campaign. And the offer? A promotion package which included advertising my book cover on the site’s sidebar for 30 days (which gets about 50,000 views monthly), plus a book review, and a two week Mini Social Media Blitz. Normally this promotion would have cost me over $70, so it seemed like a win-win to me! Plus the coupon book has already paid for itself! LOL!

4. As I mentioned in the outline, I’m part of this fantastic tween author group called Emblazon. We planned a HUGE Rafflecopter giveaway for a new Kindle preloaded with over 50 of the Emblazoners middle grade books which ran for the first 2 weeks of November. In addition, a Facebook party was set up for three days where readers could interact with authors and win great prizes. This was all to advertise the release our 2014-2015 Winter catalogue in time for the holiday season.

5. I participated at the Windsor-Essex Book Expo on Sunday, November 23rd to build my brand, connect with local authors, and meet readers. Along with my paperbacks, I brought a huge jar of Twizzlers® to hand out to the kids and adults, signed trading cards, and postcards.

And the results…drum roll please:

Goodreads Giveaways: What a surprise here folks! I couldn’t believe the entries I received. For The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, I had 2100 entries—a new record! And for Legend of the Timekeepers, I garnered 1502 readers wanting to win—another record! One book ended up going to Turkey for a cost of $11.65, and the second book surprisingly went to Quebec, Canada for $4.10. Not bad if you include the price of the books ($10 each). I was more after exposure here, which I got big-time.  Plus I connected with one of the winners, who said he’d write a review for me.
Mother Daughter Book Reviews Holiday Giveaway: There were 34,002 entries for the Kindle Fire Kid’s Edition. Not bad in my books! Congrats to winner Joelle D. Again, exposure was the name of the game here. I wanted to get my book out in front of my target audience, and generate interest in my author brand.

Promotion Package with Mother Daughter Book Reviews: This finished December 8th, and I have to say I got some pretty good buzz with this promo plus a wonderful book review. I reached new Twitter followers, and received some more likes on Facebook. The shocker came on December 8th when my Amazon Bestseller Rank skyrocketed from 700,000 to 97,000. Um…huh? I didn’t see that coming, especially since my rank in November kept going down. Must have done something right!

Emblazon Preloaded Kindle Giveaway: I was mildly disappointed with the Facebook party, but we held strong and got a few readers stopping by to comment during my allotted time. In fact, I believe the winner of my ebook was a book reviewer, so you never know! We did manage to get more likes on our Emblazon Facebook page, so I feel we did okay. As for generating interest in our 2014-2015 Winter Catalog, the stats are in: 222 new subscribers for a total of 338 subscribers for our catalog! We’ve only been doing this for 2 years, and we’re all very HAPPY with these results! The Emblazoners even purchased another Kindle during the Black Friday sales for the next promotion. So stay tuned…

Windsor-Essex Book Expo: This event has all to do with location, location, location. And it wasn’t the best location for walk-in traffic. That said, I did sell seven books, so after factoring in the cost of renting a table ($35) and buying the candy ($10), I come away with about $25 in my pocket. Um…considering this event ran from 10 am to 5 pm, I made about $3.57 an hour. Again, this was about networking with other authors and meeting perspective readers—which I did. Plus the licorice was a BIG hit, and was a great ice breaker! I also made a few author connections too. Would I do this event again? Sure, and hopefully next year’s venue will be in a high traffic area.

Bottom line: With all the promotion and marketing I did during November 2014, my Amazon author rank and sales dropped drastically until AFTER December 8th, when my rank took a surprising turn for the better. Not sure why it took so long, but so happy it did! This whole author/promoter/marketer business is one crazy roller coaster ride to begin with. What did happen during the month that surprised me was that a 19-year-old reader from the Netherlands connected with me through Goodreads, and we struck up a relationship. She loves my books, and even reread the prequel and sent me a detailed email asking questions about the book. She even asked if she could review my writing in the future, so I think I’ve found my dream beta reader. Now that’s a super fan! And truthfully, this is what authors are after in the long run—cultivating relationships with readers that will last a lifetime.
Only time will tell whether these promotion strategies will translate into long term sales, but since I’m in for the long haul, I feel most were good investments. Authors—what promotional strategies have worked for you? What haven’t? Readers—what book promotions seem to hook your attention? Love to hear from you! Cheers and thank you for reading my post!

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

 Tagline & blurb for The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:
Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.
When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.
Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Tagline & blurb for Legend of the Timekeepers:
There is no moving forward without first going back.
Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.
Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis Buy Links:

Legend of the Timekeepers Buy Links:

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE.

Do you have some questions for Sharon? What do you think of those Goodreads numbers? Did you visit Sharon's blog yet? Have you had experiences similar to hers?


  1. That promotion package really made a difference. And congratulations on so many Goodreads entries for your book.

  2. That is a ton of good read entries. Yeah, we just never know what will work, I've tried a bunch and some of it seems to help in the long run, but a few right away.

  3. Thanks for visiting today, Sharon, and for sharing the promotional information.

  4. Hugs for hosting me on your blog today, Susan! Really appreciate your kindness and support! I hope this post helps other authors to plan and promote their books! Cheers and happy holidays!

  5. Thanks for stopping by to comment, Alex and Pat! You never know what promotional strategy will work for an author. I guess we must keep using what does work, and get rid of what doesn't! Cheers!

  6. Sounds to me like these were all good outcomes with a reasonable investment. I am so happy that this resulted in more readers (even a potential beta reader) and likely more reviews (and, of course, sales). Great stuff!

  7. Sounds like you've been very busy with an awful lot to keep up with lately. Looks like it's working in your favor though. Congratulations on all of your successes!

  8. That's so great to hear about your success and finding a wonderful fan like that.

  9. Thank you for all your input and kind words, Robin, M.J., and Lynda! The only problem was the promo cut into my writing time! LOL! Cheers!

  10. Congratulations! And thank you for sharing this with us. When I did an international Goodreads giveaway, I had a ton of entries. It was by far the biggest tool that gave me exposure.

  11. Mazel Tov! Thanks for the specifics and report.

    Best to you!


  12. Congratulations on your success! I'm still trying to figure out how to market myself to reach more than a handful of people every so often. I"m afraid almost no one would enter if I tried to have a giveaway or contest. I'm thinking of paying for one of the packages from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

  13. Thanks for sharing such specific info, Sharon! Best of success on your continuing journey.

  14. Thanks for the break down, Sharon. Very informative.

    Hi Sue! ::waves:: ;P

  15. You are incredibly generous. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  16. Yes, always torn between promotion and actually writing, but you've done so well, it was worth it!

  17. I try to share as many author experiences as possible, and I'm grateful for the chance for doing this guest post to reach more writers. Thanks again, Susan! And many thanks to Christine, Sally, Carrie-Anne, Helen and Lorri, Ava, Elliot, and Carole Anne Carr for your kind comments and support! Cheers, all!

  18. Lots of good tips here. Thanks for sharing Sharon and Susan. Promotion is so hard! Happy Holidays!

    P.S., Susan, did you know your capcha is on?

  19. You're more than welcome, Gwen! Happy holidays (and book promotion)!

  20. Wow, that sounds like a ton of work! Oh, and I especially love the cover of The last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis :)

  21. goodreads is definitely a great place to work the market and get sign ups. Thanks Sharon! ((hugs susan))

  22. Very generous with your stats. Thanks you.

  23. I'm so humbled with all your comments and kind words! Thanks, Rosanne, The Happy Whisk, Tammy, and mshatch! Hope these ideas help other authors to navigate those crazy promotional waters! Cheers!