Another Marketing Foray


The other week, I wrote a post about a free promotion I ran for a limited time on my first book, Oak and Mist. It was a pretty successful promotion, increasing my readership and leading to further sales, so I was happy with the result.

I decided to test out another marketing option by placing an ad on Goodreads. It’s a pay-per-click ad, where you set a price to pay each time someone clicks on your ad (I bid $0.60 per click, a little above the average of $0.50) . There were three things I liked about the set-up:

  1. Control. I wrote the ad, set the price-per-click and the maximum number of clicks I was willing to pay for each day.
  2. Budget. The ad is pre-paid, so will run until my maximum number of clicks is reached, and I won’t be charged any more. There is an option to automatically renew once your credit runs out, but I opted out of that.
  3. Flexibility. You can change the copy or appearance of your ad whenever you choose, or change the cost-per-click or maximum number of clicks per day. When you do this the ad needs to be approved again, but this happens fairly quickly.

So far, I’m going to be honest and say that it hasn’t set the world on fire. I’ve only had a few clicks so far, and garnered a lot more interest when I ran my Goodreads giveaway. However, it’s been a great opportunity to test different taglines for my book and see which ones gather the most attention. Goodreads sends me a daily report listing how often the ad was viewed, how many clicks for that day, whether any one added my book as a result of the ad, plus my remaining credit, so it’s easy to see patterns when you change any aspect of the campaign. This is invaluable information that will be very useful when putting together future campaigns, as I’m essentially testing my ideas on a huge live audience and getting immediate feedback.

When you self-publish, it’s important to choose your promotional avenues wisely, as they are all part of the brand you are building in order to sell your books. There’s also an enormous amount of learning on-the-job, and I’ve been extremely grateful to the many writers out there who share information about their experiences.

And how about you? Has anyone else out there had experience advertising on Goodreads? And how successful was it?



Breathing Out


I’ve been in a bit of a blog lull this week. This usually happens to me after I’ve finished a big writing project – it’s as though my mind needs a few days to rest before it can get back to the business of working with words again.

I think it’s entirely natural, really. You can’t keep producing work without taking time, every so often, to re-set everything. When you’re inhabiting a particular fictional world for a few weeks, you need to withdraw from it briefly before diving headfirst into the next instalment. You can’t breathe out without first breathing in.

I’ve had a few people ask me already when book three in my Ambeth Chronicles will be out. They’ve already read books one and two (wow!) and are keen for more. This thrills me immensely. 🙂

In answer to their question, book three is already written. It also has a title, Hills and Valleys, and I’m now starting on the structural edit. And before you think that I’m some sort of crazy writing machine, I had written four of my Ambeth books before I published the first one – it just worked out that way, the story pouring out of me over a two year period. I’ve also written the very last line in the sixth and final book, and know just how the story ends. Which is fun, as it means I can add clues into the earlier books that will lead to events in the later books.

A tangle of plotlines...

A tangle of plotlines…

I’ve stated before that I’m a Pantser when it comes to writing – it’s the method that works for me, despite efforts to plan things out. I’ve also likened writing to weaving, bringing threads of different storylines together to make a pattern. And now I can see where threads need to be pulled and rearranged, appearing earlier in the pattern than I had originally thought. Which is where the structural edit comes in.

Finally, a little update on my marketing experiment. Since I ran my free promotion, I’ve had six new ratings on Goodreads (all positive, thank goodness), plus my KENP count is continuing to rise. I’m hoping to see an uptake in sales over the next few weeks, but we’ll see. However, early figures seem to indicate that I’ve definitely increased my reading audience already, which was the aim of my promotion.

And that’s my Friday 🙂 Happy weekend, everyone! Hope it’s a good one.



A Marketing Experiment – Follow-up

Oak And Mist final cover

Last week, I wrote a post about a marketing experiment I was doing, the main objective being to increase my readership and, hopefully, generate some interest in my upcoming new release, No Quarter. I decided to offer Oak and Mist, the first book in the series, free on Amazon for a limited time, hoping to capitalise on some positive reviews.

Front Cover Image

I took advantage of the free five day promotion from Amazon, part of being enrolled in KDP Select. You get five days out of every ninety to list your book as free – you can either run the days all together, or break them into separate promotions. I chose to run the five days together, hoping to maximise my exposure. I also ran three paid advertisements during the promotion – one with Booksends, one with E Reader News Today, and one with Robin Reads.

So how did it go?

I ended up having 4415 people download Oak and Mist for free. Even if only twenty per cent of those people actually read the book, I’ve still substantially increased my readership, and potentially will be able to sell subsequent instalments in the series. I also noticed a large increase in my KENP pages, for which I get paid royalties, and sold several paperbacks as well. I received a new 5 star rating on GoodReads, and several more people on GoodReads marked Oak and Mist as ‘currently reading.’

Screen Grab #8 on Amazon

In terms of the paid advertising, I ran ads on the first, fourth and fifth day of the promotion, and on each of those days my downloads increased dramatically to over a thousand per day, propelling me into the top ten Amazon free books (I reached number 8). The days on which I did not advertise averaged at about three hundred downloads. I supported the promotion with a couple of tweets per day – most of which were picked up and retweeted. I was also fortunate to receive some wonderful support from fellow bloggers (you know who you are, and thank you once again!). Chris The Story Reading Ape was kind enough to post a promotion on his site, which was then reposted by several other bloggers.

In conclusion, this was a successful marketing exercise for me. I’ve increased the audience for my books and, hopefully generated some momentum for No Quarter, the second novel in my Ambeth series. The KENP and paperback royalties I received as a result of the increased exposure have already covered much of my advertising costs, and it was wonderful to get another five-star rating. I believe the complete results of this promotion are yet to be seen, and will be keeping an eye on reviews and reader stats over the coming weeks.


I write books because I want people to read them. I love Ambeth and the characters who live there, and it gives me great pleasure when other people enjoy the books. I had no problem in offering my work free for a limited time, and will definitely be employing a similar promotional strategy when I release Hills and Valleys, the third book in the series.

I’d love to hear about your own marketing experiences, and whether they were successful or not. I think our blogging community is such a great and generous resource for self-published authors – I know I’ve learnt so much already.

Thanks for reading 🙂


Goodreads Giveaway

Oak And Mist final cover

Hi everyone!

Just a very short post to let you know that I’m currently running a giveaway on Goodreads for five signed paperback copies of Oak and Mist, the first book in my Ambeth Chronicles series.

‘The end of everything? Great, no pressure then.’

Alma Bevan didn’t mean to go on a quest.
But when she disappears between two trees at her local park and reappears in Ambeth, she finds they’ve been expecting her.

And now she has to find a lost sword or the consequences for humanity will be dire. With no idea where to look, despite help from her new friend Caleb, things become even more complicated when a handsome prince of the Dark expresses an interest in her.

All this plus homework too?

Travelling between worlds is hard enough without having to manage a suspicious best friend, complicated love interests and concerned parents. Add in some time-twisting, a mysterious bracelet and a group of immortal beings all vying for control of a lost sword, and it’s enough to make any fifteen year old girl want to give up. But then she wouldn’t see Caleb any more. Or Deryck…’

Here’s what some lovely Amazon reviewers have had to say about Oak and Mist:

‘a fine example of the genre’

‘a page turner, I found it very difficult to put down’

‘had me hooked from the very beginning’

‘great YA Fantasy adventure novel’

The competition runs until Aug 15, so if you’re interested, please visit Goodreads and take a look. I’m also working on finalising the cover for book two, No Quarter, and hope to have something to share with you soon.

Hope everyone’s enjoying their Wednesday!

xx Helen