Okay, so I’ve been experimenting with other ways to promote my work rather than just using paid-promotion, as I’ve done in the past. While paid promotion is great and something I recommend all authors do regardless of budget, keep in mind there are free ways to increase book sales for your work – with a catch.
Free ways that take a little bit of time and a lot of patience, as well as some cold contacting.
A lot of cold contacting, and a lot of crickets – but often an author or two will take you up on the offer, and this is what happened to me toward the end of March. We scheduled our promotion for today, April 13th, 2020 and I can honestly tell you that this strategy works better than some paid promotion I’ve undergone over the last eight months when I started promoting my work.
The Results on Day One
And keep in mind, my mailing list is rather small and as of the time of this writing my readers have given the other author 28 clicks, which of course can transform into 28 more potential sales. And don’t forget – readers talk so these 28 sales can potentially turn into far more.
Which is great for the author I did the promo with.
On my end, I’ve seen 73 downloads on my Perma Free work, Northern Knights, as well as four paid sales – one for Raven’s Flock, one for Swords of Destiny, and one for my Books 1-3 Trilogy. All three works I’ve been selling at 99 cents apiece and I’m promising to do so for as long as the residents of my home states of Ohio and West Virginia are stuck indoors due to COVID-19 – because everyone needed something to do during dark times.
Now, I’ve seen more downloads because they’ve been doing this far longer than I have and they have a substantially larger mailing list – about 25-30% larger than my own.
Any New Subscribers?
As of right now, I’m stuck at 714 as of 10:00 pm, but since we exchanged Perma Free downloads, it’s likely that it’ll stay at 714 for a while, depending on how long it takes for their readers to get to my work. But, keep in mind that most readers don’t sign up for mailing lists of any type – about 3% of all readers will sign up – so say if I get 100 downloads by the end of the week for Northern Knights, I’m expecting 3 new signees.
But, here’s a way to look at this from a positive perspective, because three new readers doesn’t sound like much. Imagine if I was able to do a cross-promotion each week – and remember, I’ve gained 103 new subscribers in April alone and it’s only the 13th.
And if you reach enough authors, you can do this.
Say, on average, I gain 100 new subscribers per month – which gives me 1,200 new subscribers a year, or for the remainder of 2020 – 800 subscribers. And this is if I did nothing else to promote my work, like joint promos, giveaways, paid promotion Amazon Ads, etc.
Most authors you decide to cross-promote with will want a mailing list identical to the size of theirs – this author was cool with mine being the smaller of the two lists. So, I gain another 100 subscribers by May 31st – puts me at 814 subscribers – now I can cross-promote with authors who possess a larger mailing list – meaning more downloads for my Perma Free work and more exposure to my paid work.
I continue this trend until I’m sitting at 1,500 subscribers in December.
But, over the next nine months, I’m constantly exposing my work to someone else’s larger mailing list – meaning more downloads and more signups for my own list.
So, while I might only get 2-3 signups from this promotion, I might be able to eek out 5-6 in May. By June, sitting somewhere between 800 and 900 subscribers, I might get 10-12. 900 to 1,000 subscribers come July, 20-24.
Notice how this builds?
It can literally double since my list is growing via other methods – such as promoting in groups on the StoryOrigin App, among other strategies which have skyrocketed my signups since December.
And again, this is without any other type of promotion. No paid promos, joint promos, giveaways, etc. Just cross-promos – which I will be in reality doing more than just simple cross-promotions.
Yet, the reader list will continue to grow rapidly so long as I remain proactive in my approach – just as any other indie author should.
Cross-promotion will definitely give you a sales boost and increase your Amazon sales ranking substantially – currently in the Top 15 in two categories and at #93 in a second category – these rankings change every few hours, but for free exposure to another author’s mailing list who is willing to take a shot on a new author – not bad. And better yet, there’s also the chance that some of these readers will buy the backlist of Books II, III, and IV.
So, find an author whose audience size is similar to yours, reach out to them, and see if they’re up for a cross-promo. Sell the benefits as well. For some strange reason, most won’t take you up on it (not sure why they’d turn down free promotion), but you’ll find one or two will.
Choose ONE author and only ONE for each promotion – send the email on the date you set, and make sure their book is front and center – I didn’t even advertise my deep discounts that are going on until COVID-19 lets up.
Didn’t even cross my mind. So, make sure you sell their work with cover mockups, their book description, AND add a link to their Amazon page – which is more important than ever. Encourage your crowd to leave a review for the work – reviews are everything to the indie author community, and to sign up for that author’s mailing list – most will have a funnel in the front matter that a reader can click and it’ll allow them to sign up.
Then, choose ONE author for the next cross-promotion.
My next goal IS either joint-promotion or a giveaway – the latter will cost money but it’s also a great way to add thousands of new readers to your mailing list in as little as a month. So, if you have the money to fork out a giveaway, do it. I’ll let you know what my results are once I undergo each.