Book Promotion: Five Daily Tasks

These are the confessions of a book promotion junkie. What follows is a detailed account of Quantu Amaru’s addiction and how he feeds it. Qwantu Amaru says:

Hello world. My name is Qwantu Amaru and I am a book promotion junkie.

This is only my second blog confession since becoming a published author…not because I have had nothing to say, but because being a published author and an indie published author at that means that I am hustling…HARD!

I had the benefit of having done much of the pre-launch marketing work for 4 previous published novels, but the authors of those books never told me how “all-consuming” book promotion can be. At first I tried to organize myself with 5 daily tasks I would do to promote my book. I quickly realized I was leaving important things off my list so I came up with 5 other tasks and decided I would alternate between the two lists. Here are the tasks, naked and open for you to see:

Daily 5 Tasks:

  • Connect with 5 potential interviewers
  • Contact 5 potential reviewers
  • 2 Posts on FB fan page
  • 2 Tweets on Twitter
  • Comment on 2 Blogs/FB Group posts/Page of interest
  • Outreach to 1 Bookclub

Alternate Daily 5:

  • Outreach to 1 Media Outlet
  • Evaluate 1 Book Award or Contest for Entry
  • Outreach to 1 BlogTalkradio host
  • Develop 1 New Book Promo Idea
  • Friend top reviewers on Shelfari and Library Thing
  • Add Book to 5 Goodreads bookshelves

Pretty organized, right? And you would figure that I could blow through these lists in easily an hour or less and get back to my day, right? Wrong!

Authors beware of the time-sucking traps that are Facebook and Twitter. Early on I found that I could not pull myself from the gravitational pull of these moons. I would post and wait. Post, and check for mentions. Post, and respond. All. Damn. Day. (even now as I compose this confession, I have checked FB 3 times and twitter 4).

It was very hard to post and move on to other more important activities, like finding early reviewers, which is much more time consuming but ultimately more rewarding. Reviews, author friends, are the lifeblood of a newbie author. Newbie author, for your information, is defined as any author with less than 5 published books or less than 25,000 books sold. Reviews are how our beloved readers find the proverbial golden needles in the haystacks of dreck and drivel being published on a daily basis. Yes, I am aware of the Amazon reviews controversy, but people know the difference between planted reviews and real ones. I hope.

Anyway, just as the mantra of our esteemed president should have been Economy, Economy, Economy for the first (at least) two years of his presidency, my mantra (and yours) should be Reviews, Reviews, Reviews for the first 90 days post publishing. You see, as an indie author, unless you build advanced review time into your production cycle (and let’s face it, few of us do), you will launch with a goose-egg in the review column on Amazon.com. And believe me, Amazon is keeping score, as are the 90% of e-book readers flocking there in droves each day. Reviews are one of the key drivers of the mystical Amazon ranking algorithm that you must master in order to be found by prospective readers. This algorithm is a function of price point, reviews, customer tags, likes, and listmania. Price is the overall driver which is why so many .99 cent books get into the top 50 of many genre’s without a ton of reviews. But were that same .99 cent book to have over 50 reviews it would stick in the top 10.

So my current addiction is finding and connecting with prospective reviewers. I have given away thousands of copies of One Blood in this effort, and will continue to do so until I see One Blood top 100 reviews on Amazon.

Thankfully, the 23 I have received on Amazon make me very happy as well as the phenomenal review One Blood received from the Kirkus Book Review and the superb blurb and endorsement award-winning bestselling author Brandon Massey supplied me with by saying that, “ONE BLOOD is a richly detailed, intricately woven tale rendered in lush, evocative prose. This memorable debut heralds Qwantu Amaru as a talent well worth watching.” ~ Brandon Massey, award-winning author of DARK CORNER and COVENANT!

With that in mind, if you are interested in feeding my review addiction, e-mail me at qwantuamaru@gmail.com and we can work something out!

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Qwantu Amaru is the author of One Blood, available wherever books and ebooks are sold. Check out his website at http://www.qwantuamaru.com/index.html

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Authors Supporting Authors

These are the confessions of a book promotion junkie. What follows is a detailed account of Quantu Amaru’s addiction and how he feeds it. Qwantu Amaru says:

One of my favorite aspects of promoting my novel has been the new connections I’ve forged with other authors, indie and otherwise. It gives me great solace to know I’m not out here on this road on my own. There have been many trails blazed by the likes of JA Konrath and his motley assortment of authorrpreneur amigos; the inspiring story of John Locke (the first indie published author to sell a million ebooks); and the guidance of book marketing wizards like Dan Poynter and John Kremer.

There are several collectives and authors supporting authors sites popping up all over like the Indie Book Collective, my publisher The Pantheon Collective, and The World Literary Cafe.

I’m exceptionally grateful to reader communities and author friendly sites like Goodreads (shout out to Tana and the Authors Requesting reviews program); Library Thing (love the Early Reviewers Program), and Shelfari.

And there are the tons of authors I’ve met and interacted with via Facebook and Twitter, many of whom’s work I’ve begun featuring weekly on my site  It’s like there is a literary Voltron assembling itself out here. One comprised of equally strong individual parts that amasses to become something that can defeat all the writers block, naysayers, and other antagonists of prose we writers encounter on a daily basis.

I recently joined Klout and it was very cool to see the people who have influenced me as well as those who I am perceived to be “influencing”. Here’s a list of some of my favorite new author friends, I don’t know which lions are which lol, only time will tell:

If you are an author, reach out and make contact with these folks. And readers, these are the authors on the cutting edge of this independent publishing movement. We may be Voltron, but we still need your support!

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Qwantu Amaru is the author of One Blood, available wherever books and ebooks are sold. Check out his website at http://www.qwantuamaru.com/index.html

The Power of Free Books

These are the confessions of a book promotion junkie. What follows is a detailed account of Quantu Amaru’s addiction and how he feeds it. Qwantu Amaru says:

 I spent 12 years writing, editing, and preparing One Blood for the world. I have invested over $10,000 to date in my own success, not to mention the countless hours I spend promoting myself and the book. And for all that work, I can barely justify a $3.99 price point for a book that Kirkus Reviews called a novel of remarkable merit. Not complaining, just introducing you to my reality and the reality of thousands of indie authors entering this new realm of epublishing and pricing.

Tell me, what has the world come to when you can buy a book for the same price as a Taco Bell burrito?

Welcome authors to the wonderawful world of ebook pricing.

I can recall debating the .99 cent price point with my publishing business partner Author James W. Lewis of Sellout and A Hard Man is Good to Find fame, back in 2011, about 8 months after we had published SELLOUT. The book had moved around 700 units by this point but we had not successfully migrated from print books to ebooks which was one of our key strategic imperatives due to the cost and gross margin benefits of selling ebooks vs. printing and fulfilling print books. My perspective was that selling an ebook for .99 cents for a debut author made sense because the objective for any first time author should be to build an audience that can be leveraged for future books. James wasn’t convinced, but we agreed to conduct the experiment. We flipped the .99 cent switch in February 2011 and waited to see what would happen.

In February, Sellout sold 38 ebooks. March: 96. April: 577. May: 971!!

Cause for massive celebration, yes? Wait, not so fast, amigos.

The catch with the .99 cent price point is that Amazon takes 65% of each sale which means that the publishing company makes 35 cents and the author makes 9 cents per book (we pay a 25% royalty). So you have to sell a crapload of books at .99 cents to make any money. But that’s beside the point. James was building an audience. Nearly 6,000 reader discovered him in 2011 compared with 400 in 2010 – a 15X increase in 12 months. We raised the price of SELLOUT to $2.99 in October and watched sales regress back to around 50 copies a month as of this writing. So there is definitely something about that magic .99 cent pricepoint as far as kindle book readers go.

In October 2011 the publishing world was abuzz with the news of a new program Amazon was rolling out to continue their dominance of the ebook and epublishing world – The Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select program. Amazon was putting together a significant amount of funds to entice authors to give them exclusive distribution for up to 90 days in order to allow their books to be lend able for free to Amazon prime members. Under this program authors would also be able to give away their book for FREE to anyone for up to 5 days during the 90 day period.

Oh joy, so now instead of making at least 9 cents for my book, I’m giving it away? How is that good for the author?

Well, once again I reiterate that the goal of any new author is to build up a following. In that sense, KDP is an amazing program. And with hundreds of sites tweeting, posting, and sharing news on free books every day, it is one of the best brand awareness tactics available to the indie author, and…it’s FREE!

So don’t be dumb about the power of FREE books, give them away and watch your word of mouth spread. I’ve personally given away thousands of copies of One Blood to date and used 3 FREE KDP days so far and seen over 2,600 downloads! That’s 2,600 readers who know me now that may have never known Qwantu Amaru or One Blood existed. For a great and very detailed blog on his KDP experimenting, check out James W. Lewis excellent report from the KDP front lines here.

Now, if only there were a service to get thousands of reviews on Amazon!!!

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Qwantu Amaru is the author of One Blood, available wherever books and ebooks are sold. Check out his website at http://www.qwantuamaru.com/index.html