Monday 23 July 2012

Guest Post - Author Charmaine Clancy on Marketing ebooks.

Today we are thrilled to welcome Charmaine Clancy, author of the hilarious My Zombie Dog, and recent member of RFW, who tells us what she's learned about marketing ebooks. Whether you've published several ebooks, or are about to launch into the epub world, we're sure you'll find something here to help you. 

Over to you Charmaine:

Thank you Denise and Donna for having me on Romantic Friday Writers. It’s such a thrill, I feel all important now!

So…you’ve written a novel and decided to go the Indie/self-publishing route... now comes the hard part - how can you promote your ebook?

First, make sure you have a fantastic PROFESSIONAL cover that grabs attention, even at thumbnail size (this is how most people will see it first on Amazon). If you’re creating your own cover check out DIY Book CoversOr check out my latest blog post on Cover Fonts here. 

Amazon also provides ways for you to promote your ebook. The ‘Like’ button is a good place to start. There are places where you can swap likes with other authors or ‘tag’ each other’s books (check out World Literary Cafe or search Goodreads for Indie or self-publishing). Tags help your book get found in searches. Make your tags relevant to your novel’s content, theme or genre.

Reviews are a big draw card for potential customers. Don’t do your own review; it always looks a bit sad. But maybe your beta readers wouldn’t mind putting up a few words and rating your novel? While you’re at it, why not ask some of your blogging friends to feature your novel in a blog post? Blog tours are like digital book launches, and can attract attention to your ebook.

When you upload your ebook through Kindle Direct Publishing, consider taking part in the KDP Select program. KDP Select requires you to solely publish on Amazon for a minimum of three months. While you are in this program you can host ‘free’ days, where you offer your ebook for free. If you schedule and promote your free days well, your book will rise in the ranking (My Zombie Dog hit #1 in Children’s Spine-chilling Horror) and the more people that download it, the more book pages your novel will turn up on the ‘customers who bought this book also bought’ section. KDP Select also offers your book to Prime Members to loan. You get paid a royalty each time someone borrows your book. Once the three months is up, you can decide if you want to continue in the program. I found this program very helpful for promoting my book, but I’m now keen to make my book available on iBooks, Nook and Kobo.

When you upload your ebook, I recommend using the ‘Look inside this book’  function and having the first couple of chapters free (you’ll find this in Author Central). In this time of ebook markets being flooded by poor quality products, it allows the reader to check that your book is properly formatted and your writing is tight and clear.

You can also add a free sample of your ebook on Goodreads. At the very least, make sure your book is added to the Goodreads database. This is another place to get reviews. There is also Shelfari, I don’t find it as popular as Goodreads, but it does add content to Amazon.

Once your page is up, you’ll want to tell people and give them the link. You can do this on your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ page, just be wary of over-blasting your novel. People won’t want to connect with you if all you do is sell. Be interested in your followers and friends online, and be generous, offer them links to helpful articles or promote other people’s books that you think they might like. Then, and only then, you can also let them know about your book. A good rule of thumb is to leave it a couple of hours before linking to your book again.

Creating a book trailer for YouTube and providing a link to your Amazon page will also help. They’re very easy to create, but if you’re uncertain, check out How to Create a Book Trailer in 9 Easy Steps.

How often do you email people? You should set up a ‘signature’ that appears automatically at the bottom of your emails, it can include a thumbnail size picture of your book cover (big picture files are annoying in emails because they take time to download) and hyperlink it to your Amazon page. People are curious, they will want to know more about that book cover in the email you send.

One more thing, get some business cards or bookmarks printed up featuring your books. Share them when you attend writing festivals, libraries, or anywhere someone asks about your book or what you do for a living. Make sure it includes the information they need to find your book online.

Whether you take on all these suggestions, or just a few, the main point is you will need a marketing plan to promote your book and yourself as an author. If you still can’t decide where to start, check out this post on The Book Cover Cafe, print the chart Anthony provides - it’s very extensive!

Charmaine Clancy
WAGGING TALES - blog for writers

Thank you Charmaine. It's wonderful to have you posting about your personal experience with publishing and marketing My Zombie Dog. Thanks for all those links!

And don't forget to check out our Self Publishing Page above. There is a selection of excellent links to make self publishing easier.


  1. Thank you for all your advice and personal experience. There's so many links for us to check out. D

  2. Awesome! Thank you Charmaine for sharing your knowledge and experience with RFW. It is helpful to be well informed about the options and challenges in today's publishing world.


  3. Thank you Charmaine, although I am not ready (yet) these tips will be a great help in knowing what direction to go in when and if I am every ready.

  4. very informative, thanks Charmaine.

  5. This was excellent, Charmaine.

  6. You know your stuff, girl.

  7. Thanks for these tips, Charmaine. I plan to do a blog tour and providing the hosts with the book to read is one strategy I'm using. A trailer would have been cool, but I'm yet to master that art. :)

  8. I wish your tips had been around when I started out. Ouch! I had to learn them the hard way!! Great guest post, Roland

  9. Thank you Charmaine for the wonderful tips.

  10. Hi Charmaine, great post. You've got some really useful tips. Thanks for sharing. :)

  11. Charmaine, I wish there were an award for most helpful blogger. You'd win it for sure. Thank you for always providing such rich, valuable information.

    And for those who haven't read it, Charmaine's book is awesome.

  12. Thanks for all the awesome comments!

    JL - Providing books to giveaway is a great idea! As for the trailer, you just need to con a teenager into making it for you, they're very handy like that :)

    Roland - Me too! I made so many mistakes putting my first book out there, I think it's my sworn duty to try and help all other writers new to publishing avoid the same mistakes (after all, you guys are creative, you can come up with original mistakes). ;)

    Myrna - and you'd get the award for most supportive blogger - you're always so kind and generous with your words, no wonder you can weave them into such touching poetry!

  13. fabulous advice Charmaine. I am launching my eBook soon and this will really be useful. Some of the things I have already dsicovered others are certainly worth considering. Thank you.

  14. Thank you for this fab information. You compressed a lot of complicated stuff into what I could understand.


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