Stumbling and Missteps

As you know, if you have been reading my posts, I have been learning about how to promote Into the Fire (or, books in general). I have done some efforts  with amazon giveaways, which are pretty neat, but I have not paid attention to setting up my “experiments” correctly.

In case you don’t know, you can promote books by giveaways on amazon. The price is not too bad from my point of view. But.

How do you do the promotions? Amazon can push them for you (there is a little checkbox for allowing or not allowing other amazon visitors to discover your giveaway). Facebook is also used for pushing items (including books) and there are various ways of doing it there. You can post your link to the giveaway on your personal page, you can post it on your author page (or whatever equivalent), you can promote the post on the author page, and you can do the promote for specific geographic areas (great for local stores, or if you want to raise awareness or test the waters in a specific place), or by age, or by gender.

Where I didn’t think things through sufficiently is determining how I know where a sale (ok, a giveaway) came from. If you advertise in more than one place, how do you know which channels are producing which results? Short answer: you don’t.

So, my new policy will be to try one channel at a time, see how fast people are reached, how fast the giveaway ends, and whether any reviews are generated from that (which is important for helping the people thinking about buying). I think by carefully picking an arena to advertise in, and determining exactly what comes from that (or, as exactly as I can), I will be able to better pick how I spend my money.

Amazon also has limits on how many of your item (book or whatever) you can do per period of time. So, think through what you want to do, what you expect to learn, and so forth before doing your giveaway. Unlike the path I followed.

As a note, I suspect 100% of the items “given away” (to date, 30 copies of Into the Fire) probably went due to the push that amazon gave them. As noted, I cannot be completely sure, because my test is flawed, but that seems to be the case. There is also a rythm to it. A giveaway will be open for awhile with no response, and then, very swiftly, all prizes are claimed and the giveaway is closed. I am not sure what drives that, but either when/how amazon does the ads, or the timing of when people are looking around on amazon would be my top guesses.

One other nicety: the giveaway items are actual purchases (by me), so they seem to get credited to my royalties. That is what makes the price attractive. Amazon also gives you a listing of the screen names of the folks who “won”, so you might be able to tell a little about sales channels from that (like, if you recognize the names of all your facebook friends).

Anyway, just my two-bits on my experiences, but thought someone else might find it useful.

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