Stars and Bones has 7 Five-Star Reviews! (Also, I talk about marketing.)

SB Screenshot Goodreads

As the screenshot above and the title of the post suggest, the first book in my YA Fantasy series has seven five-start reviews. squee

Sure, it’s only seven, and other books have THOUSANDS, but it still feels really good to see the slow and steady progress. Thief in the Castle came out last September, and it has taken six months to reach seven reviews. I have been marketing like I’ve never marketed before, and it appears to be paying off, even a little.

I don’t have the same access to marketing with Stars and Bones that I have with my self-published books. For those, I could give away copies free through Amazon and do Goodreads Ebook giveaways (for a low-low price of only $60, but that’s another post). I could also manage Amazon ads.

For the Stars and Bone series and Hard as Stone, I am not the publisher. Authors 4 Authors is the publisher. Because of that, I can’t throw free ebooks at any poor book reviewer that happens to make eye contact with me. (I can however contact my publisher and they will gladly give away review copies.)

I’ve had to find new ways to market.

1 – Bookbub. 

I’ve gotten much more active on Bookbub. For those of you unfamiliar, Bookbub is a site for people who read. Similar to Goodreads, but not the same. Authors can make pages and share recommendations, and Bookbub will send deals on ebooks in genres you choose.

They also have marketing. I have an ad campaign going for Thief in the Castle and Hard as Stone. It works the same way Amazon ads do, where I can set it up to pay only when someone clicks on the ad. They offer another way – the one where every time your ad appears, you pay. I did that one the first time, and while my ads appeared far more frequently, I was paying considerably more.

I prefer the “pay when someone clicks the ad” because it shows that people are interested in the ad.

2 – Author Events 

Well, this one isn’t happening right now due to the whole pandemic. I had two author events prior to the pandemic. I sold a few copies of my books. I was getting publicity. Turns out, public libraries are very willing to host author signings and accept free copies of your book.

Not kidding – I compiled a list of libraries in my area, and the DAY I was going to call them and set up events for this summer, Trump declared a nation emergency over the virus. The same day.

3 – Hunting Book Reviewers 

I kind of did this before Authors 4 Authors, but I got way more into it with Thief in the Castle. Hunting for book reviews is tedious, time consuming, and exhausting. It might not pay off. Out of fifty reviewers I queried for Thief in the Castle, three responded.

I heard – years ago – an author talking about getting reviews when you’re not well-known. He basically said “get ready to throw free books at people.” He was right.

4 – Twitter Community 

I’ve gotten a lot more active on Twitter (BBMorgan_W). There is a writing community there of readers and writers (#writingcommunity). It’s just a fun way to get out there and meet other authors in your genre and readers who fangirl over the same tropes.

Marketing is not easy. Marketing in a publishing world bursting at the seams with ads, ebooks deals, and more books than one could read in a hundred lifetimes, is VERY HARD. It can be discouraging. It can feel like you’re screaming at a death metal concert.

It takes money to stand out, unfortunately, but it also takes determination, grit, and balls of steel. Or ovaries, whatever.

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