For those of you who may have wondered why I’ve been so quiet for the last year, it’s because I decided to put the writing of my second novel on hold in order to design and build a truly unique international book promotion website for readers, authors and publishers, called Readers in the Know. The rest of this post explains why.
When I published Connected back in June 2012, I knew nothing about book marketing but decided to try Amazon’s KDP Select programme and offer my brand new book free for its first 5 days. It took a couple of days to get started, but then, as luck would have it, in spite of having done nothing to promote it but email friends and colleagues, it took off. By the end of day 5, it was on 4500 Kindles (90% of which were in the UK), was No.1 in Amazon UK bestselling free titles for both Thrillers and Science Fiction and in the 3 weeks that followed, sold about 1500 copies at full price.
I then tried a bunch of other marketing tactics including Facebook and Goodreads advertising, in the process blowing a good chunk of the profit I had just made, before returning to free and discount promos.
Soon I discovered about a hundred websites (mostly US focused) with the sole purpose of promoting such book promos. Some were paid and some were free, although most of the apparent free ones only tended to guarantee your listing if you paid some nominal fee each time.
I subsequently found that by submitting the details of my promos to thirty or so of the largest of these sites, I could increase my free download count by a factor of 3 or 4, and in so doing, start to get the tens of thousands of downloads needed for a decent Amazon review count.
But as I went through this tedious and repetitive process of promo submission every six to eight weeks, some questions began to emerge and tug at my consciousness:
- What if there was a website where I only had to enter my book and author details once, after which they would be permanently stored in a database?
- What if, rather than assuming everyone in the world lived in the US, it showed the correct pricing, currency and links for each reader’s local country?
- What if readers could then find me and my books even when there was no promo running?
- What if readers could be “In the Know” about upcoming promos as well as current ones?
- What if they could add my book to some kind of personal watch list and then get an automatic notification on the first day of its next promo?
- What if I could then sign in and schedule new promos with just a few clicks?
- What if I could schedule giveaway as well as free and discount promos?
- What if I could also schedule author events and have readers who follow me receive updates about these?
- What if I could also use this site to keep a permanent yet private record of all the promos I run, what results I get, and even have these results automatically charted for me.
- What if I also had some insight into the demographics of all those who had shown an interest in my book?
And since no such book promo site existed, I decided to create one. The result is Readers in the Know which was launched to a select group of authors and publishers on the evening of May 31st 2014 and which is now open to all and completely free to join as a reader.
What’s more, there’s a 60-day free trial for authors and publishers so take a look, join up, add your books and let me know what you think.