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Marketing Your Books, or How to Hope You Know What You’re Doing

A guest post by Leah Petersen.

physicsoffallingI jest, because there are a lot of people who have paved the way ahead of you and they’ve got some good advice. I’m probably not one of them, but just in case, I’m going to talk about contests.

Is this a good way to market your book?

I’ve run contests on my blog, on Facebook, and on Goodreads. I promote all of them on Twitter. So, I’ve done this a bit.

Contests can be a great way to build buzz for your book. When I ran the Goodreads contest for Fighting Gravity I had hundreds of people enter within only a few days. Before it was over, nine hundred people had entered the contest and several hundred of them put my book on their Goodreads shelves. When I ran it again, in advance of the release of Cascade Effect, almost eight hundred people entered.

When I ran the contest for Cascade Effect, the numbers weren’t so impressive. Just shy of four hundred people entered that one, but, also, it’s a second book in a trilogy. So unless you’ve read or are planning on purchasing the first, there’s much less incentive to enter a contest to win the second.

The blog contests and Facebook promotions of contests had smaller audiences and got less notice. The Goodreads contests were much more visible and, I think, successful. They were also very easy to set up and administrate. Marketing your book is a lot of work and you’ll be spending a lot of time on it, so ANYTHING that’s easy is very welcome.

Now, did I sell more books from this? Well, I’m not self-published so I can’t see my numbers in real time to say whether or not purchasing peaked after a contest or not. I do know that a lot of people heard about my book that may not have otherwise.

Long-term success as a writer is at least as much about getting people to hear about and TALK about your books as it is about selling any one book.

So, yes, I’m very glad I ran contests, and I’d invest in them again. (The contests themselves were free, but I had to provide the books and the shipping.) It’s a great way to get your book out there and in front of readers.

Best of luck to you!

Guest Writer Bio:
LP-bald-headshot-237x300I’m a sci-fi and fantasy author, the first two novels in The Physics of Falling trilogy, Fighting Gravity and Cascade Effect are available now! I pride myself on being able to hold a book with my feet so I can knit while reading. I live in North Carolina. I do the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else. You can also find me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeahPetersen