Book Promos – What Works?

NEWS: Rumored Romantics, an online critique group, is looking for another member. Freelance editor and romantic suspense author Lynnette Labelle, and Golden Heart finalist and award-winning women’s fiction and contemporary romance author Pamela Kopfler need an experienced writer and critiquer to fill the empty spot on their team. Must commit to critiquing 20 pages per member a week. That’s 40 pages to critique weekly. Our goal is to critique two novels a year per member. Are you up for the challenge? There’s a contest coming to help Rumored Romantics select the perfect fit for their team. Keep watching this blog. More details coming soon.

Today, I’m stepping aside to allow author Gemma Brocato to talk to you about promotions. I met this fabulous woman at RWA in July and wanted to share her and her knowledge with you. Take it away, Gemma!

Every author’s fondest desire, after publishing their baby, is to inherit some big bucks to pay for book promotion. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had deep pockets to advertise our books once they are born? Imagine what a difference it would make in sales if we could BookBub (I’d bet this isn’t really a verb) our releases. Or pay for advertising space on Goodreads or USA Today. Ah- dare to dream!

But contrary to some thinking, money doesn’t grow on trees. The old adage applies – If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. The sad truth is most of us don’t have a budget, especially when just starting out, to pay for advertising for our books. Fortunately there are some FREE and inexpensive ways to help readers find your novel.

Let’s start with FREE options.

In no particular order, we have:

Reader Newsletters
Such as Awesome Gang, BookGoodies or The Choosy Bookworm. You can list your book at no charge on these sites and reach a reasonably good-sized audience. There are a lot of other FREE listing sites; you just need to search for them. List your book on as many as you can and be sure to create an author page on any of them that allow. Then keep going back to resubmit on a few of them. You can do this usually once a month. It’s worth the time.

Looking into Author Marketing Club, a site that makes listing your book for FREE so easy. They have links to all the sites you could want, so you don’t have to search them out.

Facebook Reader Groups
These groups can be a gold mine. A friend of mine recently posted her book on 31 different groups. But they were groups that indicated an interest in her particular genre, so it made sense. I’ve posted in several groups when I’ve launched my books and each time I see a small bump in ranking. For no more than a couple of keystrokes and copying a link, it’s worth the effort. I’d recommend doing a Facebook search based on your genre and ask for admission to the group. A sample search for Romance Readers yielded 10+ groups I could request admission to. Be sure to follow the rules and guidelines of the group. It wouldn’t do to get on their bad side by spamming their page. No reader wants that.

And never underestimate the power of your own social media. Be sure to be active on whatever site you prefer. I’m on Facebook and have been growing my fan base slowly, but they’ll share and help promote my book. I tie my Facebook posts to Twitter too, but make a point of getting on Twitter to tweet about random things during the day.

And start an author newsletter. There are plenty of sites that make this easy to do. I use Mail Chimp (which is free, but requires a P.O. Box). A friend uses Constant Contact (this one is fee based). There’s also one called Mad Mimi that a friend uses and it looks marvelous. I use my newsletter for new releases and free and discount promotions. But as with the Facebook reader groups, spamming is bad.

Press Releases/Community Outreach
Never underestimate the power of the press. A well crafted press release and an eye-catching media kit can go a long way with garnering a mention in community newspapers (local author angles are always nice). Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development office for a media contact list, or just start trolling through your local papers and TV websites for the books editor contact details and requirements in a press kit.

How about some LOW-COST Options

The Fussy Librarian
Similar to BookBub, they currently have 13,000+ subscribers. Each person receives a daily e-mail with selections based on their preference. Joining is free and their subscriber numbers are growing. They have guidelines for reviews and ratings along with pricing and cover requirements and I love this about them. It’s in their best interest to make sure the books they are advertising or promoting are quality. And the price is certainly right – $6 per ad (less for certain genres). My first novel was featured there and I saw a definite jump in sales. I’m planning a campaign in the near future with them.

Awesome Gang
This site also has a paid option. For the low sum of $10, your book will be featured on daily newsletters, all of their social media outlets, and their website. According to their statistics, they reach in excess of 100,000 people and their numbers are growing. For my meager budget, this is a great choice. (On their Ad Network for $99 your book will be featured on up to nine sites – that’s a whole lotta reach!)

And don’t be afraid to pimp out your book with swag you can pass out. Business cards, magnets, post cards, book marks, pens, you name it. Anything you can put your book cover, title or author name on is very low cost advertising. For my latest release, Exposed To Passion I created a postcard with the other covers in the series on one side, and the blurb and book cover for Exposed on the opposite. Remember that the backside of the card is valuable real estate and it doesn’t cost that much more for two-sided printing.
And don’t ignore your branding. I created a fun freebie with a travel sewing kit based on my tag line, Weaving Adventure and Romance Together. Unique, creative and useful.

Vistaprint is a great source for low-cost swag. It’s the site I prefer, but there are plenty of others (Like Moo and iPrint). The nice thing is you do not have to be a graphic designer to achieve a high-quality look with your name. Their templates are easy to use and professional in appearance. Once you order your products, make a plan for where you want to leave them. Some good options are bulletin boards at grocery stores, libraries, and coffee shops. Talk to your local bookstores and find out what their policy is regarding leaving bookmarks. The options are endless and I have a lot of friends who swear by this.

There are a lot of places you can promote your book for very little or no money. You’ll have to work harder at developing them and working them. But you know you love your book, and it’s worth it. So chime in here – what is the best free or low-cost option you’ve tried?

Good luck with your promotions. I wish you all plenty of sales.

About the Author:

Gemma Brocato - Small
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit’, and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.

After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Social Media Links:

Also By Gemma Brocato:
Cooking Up Love
Hearts In Harmony

Exposed To Passion (Five Senses Series Book #3)
Gemma Brocato

ETP Cover

Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Kensington Books/Lyrical Press, Inc
Date of Publication: October 20, 2014
eISBN-13: 978-1-61650-616-2
eISBN-10: 1-61650-616-4
Number of pages: 329
Word Count: approx. 85,000
Cover Artist: Renee Rocco
Available in Digital and Print Formats

Book Description:

They walked through the shadows individually. Will they emerge into the light together?

Leading a vagabond life as a curator for a traveling photography exhibit translates to a lot of bad days for Rikki Salerno. But her trouble doubles when a careless high school student shoves her into a marsh. Being rescued by teacher Sam Kerrigan should have made things better, but Rikki’s inability to confess her true identity casts a shadow over their budding affair.

When Sam refuses an overly aggressive parent’s marriage proposal, she’s determined to ruin him. Not only does she doctor photos to make it look like Sam’s behaved inappropriately in front of students, she hacks the foundation website to reveal Rikki’s true identity. Faster than the blink of a shutter, Rikki’s focus changes from pursuing her full-color future to the black and white necessity of clearing Sam’s name.

Buy Links
Barnes & Noble

Thanks, Gemma! You gave us a lot to think about.

UPDATE: My next substantive or developmental editing slot is January 26, 2015. Check out my editorial website for rates and details: Or contact me at labelle@labelleseditorialservices dot com.

Next week, I’ll post more details about Rumored Romantics and their contest.

Lynnette Labelle

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2 Responses to Book Promos – What Works?

  1. Good afternoon, Lynette. Thanks for letting me hijack your blog today to talk about ways to promo without breaking the bank. I appreciate it.

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