Book Promotion – what I got up to in 2015

Book Promotion – what I got up to in 2015

So, here’s the book promo chart which I linked to in my earlier post So does the marketing work? – my efforts to make my book visible over the last ten months, and the chequered results. Read and enjoy, and if you’ve got any better suggestions please drop me a comment below.

ps The link was there last time because I hadn’t worked out how to insert a table into a WordPress post (without a plugin). Well I have now, sort of, but if anyone knows a tidier way of doing this I would love to hear from you!)

and a pps to The Sister – so yes, everything is possible if you try hard enough! Not perfect, but possible 🙂

Promotion Cost Time consumed Enjoyment/ bad taste in the mouth Result Profit
Start a blog £0ish (I got led astray with domain names and pretty backgrounds but it doesn’t have to cost) Quite a lot Great fun! I’m a writer, of course I want to write.

WordPress & HTML sometimes do my head in

Met lots of nice people in the blogosphere. Learnt new skills and generally enjoyed myself. Had some lovely feedback from readers


No idea. Probably not, but I have sold a couple of books to people who were able to contact me through the website
Twitter £0 no ifs, no buts Ate up my life in the early days but I’ve got a grip on it now Some laugh out loud moments.

Bad taste in the mouth? Depends who you follow!

Met a lot of nice people in the twittersphere. Even made friends – yes really. A lot of generous sharing going on out there.

Recommended (if it’s your thing)

Would have to be, because it didn’t cost me a penny and I have sold books to twitter pals.
Facebook Page £0 to £Any limit you set (if you pay FB for ads or boosted posts) As much as you want to give it, but you will disappear if you don’t keep at it Meh. I don’t spend enough time on the page – no real interaction with followers Boosts and ads can be directed to people who are likely to read your books, but you are paying for it No idea, but somehow I doubt it
Feature in Good Housekeeping Magazine £0 + A lot of luck 1 Day Bloody brilliant. Best day out ever (read all about it in This Weeks Shenanigans) A trip to Londinium, a make-over, posh clothes to try on and a free lunch. What’s not to like?

Recommended 🙂

Definitely sold a number of books, and it cost me nothing
Visit the local bookshops £0 Roughly half a day begging, ongoing sucking up Great once I’d talked them round. Lovely people.

Sticking the neck out was uncomfortable. Bookshops hate Amazon

Sold lots of real, paperback books. Great buzz seeing my book on the shelf. Became the ‘local bestseller’ (briefly!) Absolutely. Or it will do when they pay me for the books…
Feature in the local press £0 Roughly half a day finding photos, talking to reporters and writing a press release Mild embarrassment when the headline read ‘Saucy Farmer’s Wife’ (or something like that) People stopping me in the street. A run on the local bookshop (which of course I mentioned in the feature. Yes. Bookshop and Amazon sales
Kindle Free Promotions £0 15 minutes to fill in the form Fun watching the download graph rocket.

Not so fun that you’re giving the book away.

Hundreds of downloads, gets the book seen by readers. Yes and no (the download is free) but it cost me nothing and I’m hoping the same readers will buy the next book. More pages read on Unlimited, which I do get paid for.
Goodreads Giveaway £0 for promo, cost of books + postage to mail the books to winners 15 minutes to fill in the form, a trip to the post office Another chart to follow! A few reviews of the book Not sure/not really BUT reviews grow interest in the book. Postage costs can be high if you run worldwide (you don’t have to)
Public speaking £0 (some authors charge, but I’m not there yet) 3 days stressing + however long the event is More fun than you would think (or more fun than I thought it would be) once you get over the nerves. People are nice. A good laugh, and usually good sales. Yes – best sales day ever of the paperback was after my talk to the WI!
Paid email subscriber lists (I’ve done BookBub and Fussy Librarian) ££ depends which countries you target. USA is spendy, I went UK – less than £100 An hour or so submitting (with a good chance you will not be accepted)

A fair bit of time faffing with time zones and price drops

Watching the money roll in…

… oh wait, I’m giving the book away again.

Lots of lovely downloads Yes when I price dropped to £0.99, no when I priced at £0.00. But there’s always that second book that their tongues are hanging out for…
Start a newsletter/ email sign up £0 so far I reckon quite a lot, but it’s early days for me with this. People really need more crap in their inboxes…

… luckily for them my Newsletter rate is scarce/non-existent

I’m told the potential is huge…but how the hell do you persuade people to sign up?

Ps – do please sign up for my Newsletter here 🙂

Watch this space. The idea being that every faithful fan who has read your book will be running for the shops the minute you tell them a new one is out.



A Bed of Barley Straw Cover MEDIUM WEB

A Bed of Barley Straw by Sam Russell
The inspiration for A Bed of Barley Straw was multi-layered, but there were three things in particular which stirred my creative juices and got me writing.
The characters were my initial motivation. I saw Hettie, my heroine, as strong-willed and captivating, but far from perfect. Someone who hadn’t always got it right and still makes mistakes. I knew that Hettie would be no shrinking violet and that her history with men would be chequered. Complicated to the point that she had abandoned romance, Hettie would find it easier to love the quirky dogs and horses that she shares her life with.
My hero, Alexander Melton, is more darkly flawed. I enjoy a challenging character, but there had to be morality at the core. Finding the damaged decency buried in his heart was the crux for Alexander, a test of character development. To take a man with too much pride but create him worthy of love. Events which occur through the story were intended to shake both Alexander’s and the readers’ preconceptions. Leading him through his journey of discovery was deliciously infuriating.
The clash came next. I love a glorious mismatch. A freefall into lust with absolutely the wrong person; the gritty struggle which ensues between chemistry and reason. My idea was to delve into the minds of two people who are struggling against formidable attraction, and to find out if the wrong person can ever become the right one.
I had a lot of fun exploring that dilemma. The sparring, the spats, the stand-offs and the battles of will. The moments of physical and emotional connection. The stimulation to write became boundless!
And finally to the setting. My passion for the countryside and my background in horses and farming dropped the tale in rural England. I could clearly envisage the picturesque Cotswold village and the grandeur of Draymere Hall. Villages can be a wonderful stimulus, spurning a wealth of colourful characters, intrigue and gossip. Add to that the joys of a cosy local pub in which to play out the antics and my scene was ready to tempt the characters in.

Running at the wall. Early marketing efforts

Running at the wall. Early marketing efforts

Firstly an apology for my hastily posted previous blog, which was nothing more than a shameless ad for my Goodreads Giveaway. My intention that day was actually to link the ‘Goodreads Giveaway’ widget to the book page on my website. Three hours later (dehydrated, in need of sustenance and losing the will to live) I worked out that I can’t do that on my freely hosted site. On the plus side I did learn something about Java script, HTML and plug-ins (there must be a rap there somewhere). On the minus, all you lot got was an alert that RussellRomance had posted a blog, only to view a hurriedly pasted clip of the view of my Giveaway which you would have got, if I could have linked you to it. Technical frustration dogs every stage of this process.

Anyway I digress. My marketing efforts so far (all work-in-progress):

  • Beg mates to buy the book. Positives: Hugely successful – 99% hit rate. Generous, gushing reviews resulting in warm glowy feeling. Negatives: Something of a short term policy. Few mates left (less than I started with?)
  • Social media pedalling. Positives: Make new mates (to replace the ones you lost banging on and on about your book). Success rate – not a clue but hopefully aids awareness that your book exists. Additional warm glow (so many nice people out there who are happy to help you along). Negatives: Time and life consuming. Distraction levels at an all-time high. Original thought used up trying to invent interesting posts/tweets.
  • Feature in a magazine. Positives: Great day out! Whole new experience to bang on to the friends about. Book brought to the attention of thousands of potential readers. Negatives: I haven’t seen the photograph that will feature. (Oh, weak vanity). There may be others…I will let you know.
  • Plead for reviews from strangers and book review bloggers. Positives: I don’t know yet, my pleas have not been answered. One potential blogger lined up – I have all my fingers crossed. The reviews will be honest (this could be listed under negatives too, but I’m quietly optimistic). Negatives: See previous sentence (safest to hedge your bets).
  • Run a Goodreads Giveaway of your book. Positives: Raises awareness of book among confirmed bibliophiles. Potential for reviews on respected site. Negatives: Yet another statistic to obsess over – ‘number of people requested’ (I bounce between Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, CreateSpace, Facebook, Twitter and WordPress in a never-ending quest for approval. Sad, but strangely addictive.)
  • KDP (Kindle) Select. I’m still considering this option, but haven’t signed up yet. Positives: Book has potential to reach thousands of readers for free. Negatives: Royalties per read considerably reduced (not such a problem if your readers quadruple in number). Your ebook becomes exclusive to the Kindle store (I currently publish on Smashwords too). I would be really interested to hear your comments and views if you are either an author signed up to KDP Select or a reader who subscribes to Kindle Unlimited (you may be both of course!)

Other ideas still bubbling in the pipeline: Local press, bookish coffee mornings, appearance on Richard and Judy (yes, I jest. But I have been asked why I can’t just go on there. What a wonderful world to live in.)

Wishing you all a happy, fruitful week. You’ll find me running at that wall, lobbing copies of my book over the top.