How not to market your Indie Book

I self-published my e-book on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing about a month ago. The publishing process was ridiculously easy. The marketing was not.

My book was set adrift among the sea of self-published books available on Amazon, thousands of them. Amazingly, I sold eleven copies in the first few days. So far, so good. Probably, these were to people who knew me. I took advantage of the KDP Select Program’s ability to have free days for your book. I made it free for five days. I did spectacularly well in this and got to no 2 free in the Romance section in the US. Brilliant. However, after the free promo days were over I got no continuation of sales. Since the free promo I have only sold two copies. So some people may have read my book but there is no effect on actual paid sales.

I paid for a promo tweet on Facebook. Lots of people saw it. Some people even clicked the link to my book. Nobody bought it. No effect on sales. Lots of people in Turkey like my Facebook page but none of them have bought my book.

I paid for an ad on Goodreads. So far a few hundred have seen it and NOBODY has clicked the link. It had absolutely no effect.

I paid for a boosted tweet on Twitter. I got three new followers and a hundred people clicked the link. Nobody bought the book.

I joined the i-Author platform and created an ad for free. I have three followers and no sales. At least it was free.

I have advertised the book on this blog. I have a few followers, some lovely comments, a pitiful number of visitors each day and virtually no sales.

It appears the market is saturated. Everyone is selling. Nobody is buying.

It may be that my book is no good (possible).

It may be that I am no good at marketing (probable).

It may be that there are too many kindle books on sale (very probable).

I have faffed about with the Amazon categories several times and I have changed the book blurb countless times. I have a few five star reviews which are lovely but do not appear to be generating sales.

It seems to me that advertising doesn’t really work. The only way is to build up a groundswell of word of mouth. This is going to take a lot of time and a lot of work. I have learned quite a lot about marketing. In some ways it has been quite fun. Financially, it has been a disaster. I have little money so I am giving up on the whole marketing thing and my book can languish in the Slough of Despond in the Amazon low rankings.

I am working on my new book and hoping to get a publishing deal with it. If not, I shall have to embark on the self-publishing whirligig yet again. At least next time I know what I will not be doing.

Lynn Matheson

Author of Pearlcasting

Making those mistakes so you don’t have to!



6 thoughts on “How not to market your Indie Book

  1. Great, honest post. I think a lot of people shy away from advertising now adays. Word of mouth and honest reviews seem to be the best way. I think self-publishing is definately a long-term thing 😀

  2. I hear ya! I did the same thing with facebook for my first novel…I paid to advertise a free give away hoping it would generate reviews and sales. I had almost 80 downloads, ended up only getting reviews from people I knew.(4)..non from facebook generated downloads. When I promoted it at a discounted rate…ziltch! I’ve done the author page thing and all that too. With my second novel, I’ve just done a freebie, but have actually requested that if they download it, please be so kind as to leave a review…we’ll see. I haven’t spent a penny this time.

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