Author Topic: Good forums to promote my novel?  (Read 4498 times)  

Offline Almyrigan Hero

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Good forums to promote my novel?
« on: November 20, 2020, 09:48:25 pm »
Just published my first book a couple weeks ago; sales were climbing (very) slowly but (kind of) steadily for the first week, but now it's completely flatlined at a mere 5 books sold. To preemptively answer your question, yes, I have strove - if largely in vain - to build up some kind of following prior to release. While I'm considering what sort of publishing deals and ad campaigns I want to get myself into, though, I'd just assume have a more hands-on approach in the mean time. I'm talking less in terms of book promotion services, for the time being, and more in terms of message boards and similar communities where I can simply spread my word a bit farther, and perhaps make a few friends.


Qualities I'm looking for in sites:

* Reasonably friendly to newcomers.

* Good source of balanced negative and positive feedback.

* A large focus on fantasy, sci-fi, and stories which blur the line in imaginative ways.

* Actively browsed, but not absolutely swamped with constant new threads. More of a readers forum than a writers forum, but one where self-promotion is allowed.

* A userbase which somewhat overlaps with DeviantART; simply because that's my most active/'hub' site, of sorts, where I share concept art and worldbuilding notes.


Obviously I don't need all of those bases covered, but the more the merrier.

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    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #1 on: November 20, 2020, 10:40:01 pm »
    Sorry to break this to you, but I think you'll find most reader forums have been swamped with authors trying to self-promote over the years, and it does not go down well.

    I would recommend looking into paid advertising instead, either via AMS/FB/Bookbub, or with the deal sites where you can offer a 99c special to generate sales and interest.

    You'll find a big list of promo sites here: https://davidgaughran.com/best-promo-sites-books/

    Hope that helps.
     

    Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

    Online alhawke

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #2 on: November 20, 2020, 11:36:58 pm »
    You'll find a big list of promo sites here: https://davidgaughran.com/best-promo-sites-books/
    Nice up to date promo resource. Thanks for posting, Simon!


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    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #3 on: November 21, 2020, 12:09:00 am »
    David's a really useful guy to follow. (Mailing list and youtube especially.)
     

    Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #4 on: November 21, 2020, 05:32:53 am »
    What you're looking for probably doesn't exist, and if it did, it will be full of other authors looking to promote their books and therefore useless. You're just going to have to learn to do paid ads.

    And yes, David's site is full of good stuff, though you'll find disagreement about him. He used to post here a lot.

    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #5 on: November 21, 2020, 07:25:20 am »
    I echo others' sentiments. I don't know about forums, but there are Facebook book groups where authors are allowed one day in a week to promote their book. You need to strictly adhere to the no self-promotion policy or you'll get kicked out.

    In general, your time is better spent looking at paid promos + writing your next book, instead of spending many many hours trying to cultivate forum audiences.

    Offline Trioxin 245

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #6 on: November 21, 2020, 07:56:24 am »
    What you are looking for is virgin territory. That is hungry readers who have not already been pitched to or very rarely. The truth is you are about ten years to late for that. Like others have said, I would focus on paid promos for the time being.




    Offline Carol (was Dara)

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #7 on: November 21, 2020, 10:34:29 am »
    I'm afraid I have to agree with all the above. Free promotion routes have been mostly worn out over the years. Nowadays, paid ads and new releases are the way to get visibility. For lower cost options, you might also work on building your mailing list by joining group giveaways with other authors.

    Offline ImaWriter

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #8 on: November 21, 2020, 11:30:38 am »
    I've been involved with some pretty big forums over the years and helped mod some.

    I can tell you that most forums are not interested in people who join just to spread the word about their product. However, some forums, even this one, do have a section for exactly that. The problem is that no one is typically interested in that section, other than to hawk their own wares. So, it's pretty much a giant dead end.

    You're only option these days is pretty much paid advertising. And depending on your product and packaging, that could be equal to throwing your cash in a fire.

    Offline jaxonreed

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #9 on: November 21, 2020, 11:34:57 am »
    My advice (bear in mind it's probably worth what you're paying for it):

    1. Begin now writing your second book. Do not wait. Get it out asap, then write the next one. Rinse, repeat.

    2. Lower your price to 99 cents and leave it there. Nobody will buy it at 6.99. You're looking to establish a beachhead in people's Kindles at the moment. There will be no profit on this first book so don't expect to make any.

    3. I would commit no more than $50/month to ads. Stick with the known sites that will accept without reviews. Use the free five days in KU if you haven't already and pay for newsletter ads while it's free. Again, you're trying to distribute as wide as possible right now because making any money is not viable for the moment.

    3. Join Booksprout.co and put it out there for reviews. You'll get a few. Booksprout promos are free too, but they're going away soon, apparently. Take advantage while it's there.

    4. Join Librarything.com and distribute review copies that way, too.
     
    5. Join storyoriginapp.com. Jump on newsletters and get your book out there that way. Look at other things the site has to offer. Worth the time and it's free.

    6. Return to Step 1 and focus on that more than anything.

    Offline Almyrigan Hero

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #10 on: November 21, 2020, 02:07:08 pm »
    My advice (bear in mind it's probably worth what you're paying for it):

    1. Begin now writing your second book. Do not wait. Get it out asap, then write the next one. Rinse, repeat.

    2. Lower your price to 99 cents and leave it there. Nobody will buy it at 6.99. You're looking to establish a beachhead in people's Kindles at the moment. There will be no profit on this first book so don't expect to make any.

    3. I would commit no more than $50/month to ads. Stick with the known sites that will accept without reviews. Use the free five days in KU if you haven't already and pay for newsletter ads while it's free. Again, you're trying to distribute as wide as possible right now because making any money is not viable for the moment.

    3. Join Booksprout.co and put it out there for reviews. You'll get a few. Booksprout promos are free too, but they're going away soon, apparently. Take advantage while it's there.

    4. Join Librarything.com and distribute review copies that way, too.
     
    5. Join storyoriginapp.com. Jump on newsletters and get your book out there that way. Look at other things the site has to offer. Worth the time and it's free.

    6. Return to Step 1 and focus on that more than anything.

    Now this is the kind of extensive advice I've been looking for (and dreading, when it comes to the pricing, haha,) although that does leave me with a bit of a question; if I'm going to mark it down by that much, might it honestly just be better to make the kindle edition 100% free, and remove the roadblock entirely? Also, since you didn't really mention the paperback price, does that mean what I've already got is okay, or is paperback pricing just near-irrelevant at this stage regardless? (Either way, my family is strongly recommending I at least wait a few weeks before I tank the price. I understand the principle behind what you're saying, so don't take this as me trying to buck a more experienced author's advice, but I think I'll at least indulge them in their hopes for a proverbial Christmas miracle.)


    As for jumping on the second book, I'm already well into that. Heck, I'm already playing in my head with early concepts for a second fantasy trilogy; granted newbie enthusiasm probably accounts for some of that, and my resolve is bound to peak and wane based on time and circumstances, but the point is I don't intend to get lazy.
    « Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 02:17:35 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

    Offline ImaWriter

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #11 on: November 21, 2020, 03:10:45 pm »
    Around this time of year paperbacks often sell as christmas presents. Having said that, a lot of us are seeing increases in our print sales. But for many authors, their print sales are hardly worth mentioning. That may or may not be genre specific.

    Do not price your Kindle version to zero. Not until you have a whole series and it's a loss leader. And even then, it's something many will never do. But look at the books in your genre that are about the same length and price yours accordingly. Don't look at the bestsellers with the highest prices because that won't help. You are an unknown--I'm guessing--and readers have been conditioned to have no trust in unknowns. That's why we often go with the keep writing advice. Your book has to be priced fairly, in the reader's opinion, and low enough to encourage them to give you a chance. Or else it just wont sell.

    And you need to fix your look inside for Kindle. Or provide one. I checked a while ago and it seems you only have a print look inside, which is not helping you at all. It will actually hinder you quite a bit. The less your packaging and presentation looks professional, the lower your chances of encouraging people to buy your book.

    Offline nightwork

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #12 on: November 21, 2020, 04:33:43 pm »
    when i checked, book has no rank for Kindle and is in the 7 figures for paperback

    makes it look like a book that no one bought except the author to check how it looked in print or his immediate family so your friends on Deviant Art aren't such good friends as you think

    pricing at $0.99 won't save this book, it will be the last nail in the coffin that limits your options

    99cents is for when the next book comes out, and you want to do a bookbub or another discount campaign on the first-- but you won't be accepted if your regular price is 99 cents anyway

    if you believe in this book, get reviews, get a cover that isn't doesn't look like its from the 1930s, price the book at something reasonable like $4.99, and learn how to advertise

    personally if you're confident it's well-written (have had alpha/beta readers from the industry give it a looksee) i wouldn't be in a hurry to just slam out another book without learning how to set up a proper launch & promotions

    if you're not confident & that's why you want to go the free route... figure out where your weak areas are & fix that before putting out a new book

    i have a friend who sold 4 copies of her first book, after changing not a thing except putting her head down and writing more... she sold 4 copies of her second book

    don't be like my friend


    Offline jaxonreed

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #13 on: November 21, 2020, 05:13:33 pm »
    Now this is the kind of extensive advice I've been looking for (and dreading, when it comes to the pricing, haha,) although that does leave me with a bit of a question; if I'm going to mark it down by that much, might it honestly just be better to make the kindle edition 100% free, and remove the roadblock entirely? Also, since you didn't really mention the paperback price, does that mean what I've already got is okay, or is paperback pricing just near-irrelevant at this stage regardless? (Either way, my family is strongly recommending I at least wait a few weeks before I tank the price. I understand the principle behind what you're saying, so don't take this as me trying to buck a more experienced author's advice, but I think I'll at least indulge them in their hopes for a proverbial Christmas miracle.)


    As for jumping on the second book, I'm already well into that. Heck, I'm already playing in my head with early concepts for a second fantasy trilogy; granted newbie enthusiasm probably accounts for some of that, and my resolve is bound to peak and wane based on time and circumstances, but the point is I don't intend to get lazy.

    Again, my opinions follow. Others may vary, yours may too and that's okay.

    The reason for dropping it to 99 cents is to get it into the hands of people. It's not going to sell much anyway, but it surely won't at $6.99. People are willing to take a chance on a new author for under a buck, many times. I agree it's no point trying to go permafree right now. Besides, you can't until your term with KU is up. You are locked in for now to Amazon only, and they won't price match it to permafree because you can't put it up for sale elsewhere as a freebie or otherwise.

    You can use your Kindle Unlimited free days. Amazon gives you 5 days you can run it free during the length of your commitment to KU. Use them and advertise then. You'll get some downloads. Then, when you put out book 2, many times Amazon will email those who got your book 1 and let them know you have another one out.

    Some people still prefer paper, and you can leave that price alone. All this advice is geared toward the Kindle version.

    Offline Almyrigan Hero

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #14 on: November 21, 2020, 06:53:00 pm »
    when i checked, book has no rank for Kindle and is in the 7 figures for paperback

    makes it look like a book that no one bought except the author to check how it looked in print or his immediate family so your friends on Deviant Art aren't such good friends as you think

    pricing at $0.99 won't save this book, it will be the last nail in the coffin that limits your options

    99cents is for when the next book comes out, and you want to do a bookbub or another discount campaign on the first-- but you won't be accepted if your regular price is 99 cents anyway

    if you believe in this book, get reviews, get a cover that isn't doesn't look like its from the 1930s, price the book at something reasonable like $4.99, and learn how to advertise

    personally if you're confident it's well-written (have had alpha/beta readers from the industry give it a looksee) i wouldn't be in a hurry to just slam out another book without learning how to set up a proper launch & promotions

    if you're not confident & that's why you want to go the free route... figure out where your weak areas are & fix that before putting out a new book

    i have a friend who sold 4 copies of her first book, after changing not a thing except putting her head down and writing more... she sold 4 copies of her second book

    don't be like my friend

    I mean, you're kind of preaching to the choir with that first part. If I thought my book were selling well or that my internet 'friends' had my back, I wouldn't have made this thread.

    Cover design...I'll grant you a big fat "yeah, good point" on that one. I'm aware that modern books tend to have more minimalistic or abstract (or at least single-subject) covers. I suppose there's a thin line between trying to stand out, and completely throwing out the stylistic appeal which makes design trends into trends in the first place; and I suppose I overstepped that line by a good margin. A better-studied, tighter-planned, less-cluttered, all around better-drawn cover would probably do me well, especially given how cramped my current one can look in the tiny thumbnails most people will first see it as.

    'Get reviews' definitely seems to be the overall takeaway from all of these, so I'll definitely be pushing for those. I'll probably be working on my second book in the meantime anyway; both because that's what more people recommended, and for my own amusement if nothing else. That said, I'll probably at least await some reviews and general feedback before I second-draft it.


    As for ImaWriter, and your comment on the Look Inside feature not working...yeah I'm not entirely sure how to fix that, but I'll be looking into it (no pun intended.) Would that be something to contact Amazon about, though, or Kindle?
    « Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 08:54:34 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #15 on: November 21, 2020, 07:02:08 pm »
    Re the look inside, did you upload an epub or a mobi file, or something else? Amazon recently 'discouraged' support for the mobi format.

     

    Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).

    Offline Almyrigan Hero

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #16 on: November 21, 2020, 08:47:21 pm »
    3. Join Booksprout.co and put it out there for reviews. You'll get a few. Booksprout promos are free too, but they're going away soon, apparently. Take advantage while it's there.
    Actually...am I even allowed to provide direct review copies on sites like that, while the KDP Select program is active? I mean, they're not technically competing storefronts, and I wouldn't be selling them, but that would still be me distributing my digital manuscript through a platform outside of Amazon.

    I might be able to use my 5 free days in conjunction with a blurb on a site like that, without providing an advanced review copy, but that'd be running what I can only assume is a relatively long process through a very short window of opportunity. I'm guessing a 5-day ad blitz in conjunction with free days would probably be a wiser investment, for the time being?


    Re the look inside, did you upload an epub or a mobi file, or something else? Amazon recently 'discouraged' support for the mobi format.
    I wrote my draft in Wordpad, then ported it manually into Kindle Create for formatting and publishing. A tool and filetype designed specifically for a platform should be the literal last thing said system ought to have trouble processing, but computers will be computers I suppose, and I'm no software engineer.
    « Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 08:49:32 pm by Almyrigan Hero »

    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #17 on: November 21, 2020, 08:59:57 pm »
    It depends how old the version of Kindle Create is. But if you can export from that to epub it might work better.

    Wordpad... brave!
     

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    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #18 on: November 22, 2020, 12:24:11 am »
    Now this is the kind of extensive advice I've been looking for (and dreading, when it comes to the pricing, haha,) although that does leave me with a bit of a question; if I'm going to mark it down by that much, might it honestly just be better to make the kindle edition 100% free, and remove the roadblock entirely? Also, since you didn't really mention the paperback price, does that mean what I've already got is okay, or is paperback pricing just near-irrelevant at this stage regardless? (Either way, my family is strongly recommending I at least wait a few weeks before I tank the price. I understand the principle behind what you're saying, so don't take this as me trying to buck a more experienced author's advice, but I think I'll at least indulge them in their hopes for a proverbial Christmas miracle.)

    The only thing you're going to do by leaving the price as it is will be to miss out on the last 9 days of being a new release before your book drops off the 30-day cliff. The chances of a first-time author being able to sell many copies at all are low, but with the book priced at $7.00 those chances are even lower. Most indie authors, even ones who've been around a while and have a following, don't sell at $7.00.



    Cover design...I'll grant you a big fat "yeah, good point" on that one. I'm aware that modern books tend to have more minimalistic or abstract (or at least single-subject) covers. I suppose there's a thin line between trying to stand out, and completely throwing out the stylistic appeal which makes design trends into trends in the first place; and I suppose I overstepped that line by a good margin. A better-studied, tighter-planned, less-cluttered, all around better-drawn cover would probably do me well, especially given how cramped my current one can look in the tiny thumbnails most people will first see it as.

    A better drawn cover would definitely help. One that fits the style expected of an epic fantasy cover would help more. You want it to be contrasty and eye-catching, while making the genre clear. So, basically, you want to stand out among your competition while also fitting into your genre. Also, you want it to actually look like a novel, dimension wise, so that people will know by looking that it's a novel rather than a weirdly shaped audio cover or a picture book. I believe Amazon covers are optimized for a ratio of 2:3. I usually do any covers I make at 2400px x 3600px, so they'll be big enough for iBooks, should the author want to go wide at some point.
             

    Offline Almyrigan Hero

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #19 on: November 22, 2020, 08:46:29 am »
    The only thing you're going to do by leaving the price as it is will be to miss out on the last 9 days of being a new release before your book drops off the 30-day cliff. The chances of a first-time author being able to sell many copies at all are low, but with the book priced at $7.00 those chances are even lower. Most indie authors, even ones who've been around a while and have a following, don't sell at $7.00.

    A better drawn cover would definitely help. One that fits the style expected of an epic fantasy cover would help more. You want it to be contrasty and eye-catching, while making the genre clear. So, basically, you want to stand out among your competition while also fitting into your genre. Also, you want it to actually look like a novel, dimension wise, so that people will know by looking that it's a novel rather than a weirdly shaped audio cover or a picture book. I believe Amazon covers are optimized for a ratio of 2:3. I usually do any covers I make at 2400px x 3600px, so they'll be big enough for iBooks, should the author want to go wide at some point.

    $4.99 and $3.99 seem to be popular choices when I browse Amazon by date, so while everyone's debating whether I should sell it cheap or sell it for practically free, I'll go with one of those. Maybe $4.50, just to really lay the mindgames on thick. 8)  Thanks for the cover advice too, I've already had mixed success fiddling with things like dimensions as-is, so a specific pixel measurement is very helpful.

    Also, the LookInside feature does seem to be working now. No idea what I actually did, but...yay me?

    Online alhawke

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #20 on: November 22, 2020, 10:22:54 am »
    $4.99 and $3.99 seem to be popular choices when I browse Amazon by date, so while everyone's debating whether I should sell it cheap or sell it for practically free, I'll go with one of those.

    $2.99-4.99 for most Indies is what I see. Over $2.99 to get the better royalty. But you can sell it any price you want. I wouldn't give out free or 99c unless you have another book to piggyback on. Also consider pricing higher enables you to sell with promotions. But, you know, I don't think anyone's necessarily wrong with recommendations here on pricing because it depends individually on the book and your unique situation.

    The .99 part of the sales price is that psychological thing that one cent does to the price. It still does it for me. I still look at 2.99 as $2 and 3.99 as $3. So weird.


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    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #21 on: November 22, 2020, 11:08:26 am »
    $4.99 and $3.99 seem to be popular choices when I browse Amazon by date, so while everyone's debating whether I should sell it cheap or sell it for practically free, I'll go with one of those. Maybe $4.50, just to really lay the mindgames on thick. 8)  Thanks for the cover advice too, I've already had mixed success fiddling with things like dimensions as-is, so a specific pixel measurement is very helpful.

    Also, the LookInside feature does seem to be working now. No idea what I actually did, but...yay me?

    From what I've seen, those seem to be good prices ($3.99, $4.99). They leave plenty of room to discount for promos, and they give a perception of value for one's money without appearing cheap. I don't believe in racing to the bottom, so I'd be one of the last ones to tell you that you should devalue your work. I have my 17k-word novelette priced at $2.99, because I believe that giving away one's work trains readers to expect the work to be given away. But I'm also very aware of the fact that I won't sell many at that price, and that's okay because I only have the one book with that character. Once I have more, I'll drop the price on the first one so that people can give it a try at a low price, in the hopes that they'll like it enough to pick up the rest at full price.

    From a marketing standpoint, you'd probably do better to stick with $X.99, because that's what people are used to seeing. And also, as alhawke said, it's a psychological thing.

    I'm glad the cover info was helpful. If you have cover questions, feel free to ask. I try to pop by the Cafe here at least once a day or two, and if I see cover questions I do my best to help.

    Regarding your Look Inside, sometimes it just takes a while for it to kick in. I've heard it can take about a week. Ish.



             

    Offline ImaWriter

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #22 on: November 22, 2020, 11:56:10 am »
    You can also do some testing with your price. Put it at $4.99 and see what happens, then drop it down to $3.99 if need be.

    I'm with Shayne on not devaluing your work, but there is a fine balance there. Pricing your work at a point where no one will buy it isn't helping you, even if you feel that's what it's worth. Then we get into are you writing for the sake of art of making a living. You need to find a price point where you don't feel like you're selling your soul and what the market deems fair.

    And remember that market has a lot to choose from. There are millions of books in the store and thousands, if not tens of thousands added every day. You have 3 seconds to make an impression on a perspective buyer. Don't lose them in the 1st because of your price... or your cover.

    Offline M.Omer

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #23 on: November 22, 2020, 12:13:21 pm »
    Great topic with important information for all new authors. promote a book is really a challenge. Is not easy to set a price that satisfied both sides.
    These points you discussed will help a lot to take a good step forward.
    Thank you guys.

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    Offline nightwork

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    Re: Good forums to promote my novel?
    « Reply #24 on: November 22, 2020, 04:06:52 pm »
    $4.99 and $3.99 seem to be popular choices when I browse Amazon by date, so while everyone's debating whether I should sell it cheap or sell it for practically free, I'll go with one of those. Maybe $4.50, just to really lay the mindgames on thick. 8)  Thanks for the cover advice too, I've already had mixed success fiddling with things like dimensions as-is, so a specific pixel measurement is very helpful.

    Also, the LookInside feature does seem to be working now. No idea what I actually did, but...yay me?

    stick w/ $4.99 or, since you're in KU, sticking with $6.99 would even be OK because people could borrow the book if they didn't want to buy

    i've been full-time for a while now, & i've got zero evidence that $3.99 sells more books than $4.99... the $4.99 books do far better, it isn't even close

    free/99 cent is for when the pen name has multiple books to push & you're ready to do a promo push

    if you leave it at 99 cents, you'll have trouble booking promo or paying for ad costs, perma free is a little easier to promo but you can't be permafree since you're in KU

    99 cents is just plain bad advice for your situation

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