New marketing plans, a magic hashtag, and a free giveaway

I’ve been  trying diligently to get the first draft of Indiot finished, which has been at the expense of blogging. I won’t lie, there have been long morning walks on the beach with the dog, a few massages, and more than few renovation shows in the mix. Maybe even an occasional Real Housewives of Whatever, but I consider that research – in the third instalment, which is currently under plotment, Isa gets into more filthy rich drama than she could ever imagine.

I’ve also done a presentation on self-publishing basics to my writer’s group – it was so successful, I’ve been asked to do it again in a couple of weeks. I was incredibly nervous, so much so that I forgot to tape it! Such a bummer, too, because I was on fire, with the show turning into a bit of stand up. People were laughing AND taking notes, what more could I ask for? I will be more composed and better prepared next time and hope to post a decent video on YouTube.

As a result of all this sidetracking, sales are down. Boo! I mean, boo-hoo, poor me:

Sales on 7 april

Of course, I’ve learned something from this experience, the most important lesson being is that you can’t go into a house flip without a proper plan and budget, or expecting to do all the work yourself when you don’t even know how to hold a hammer. Secondly, you can never stop marketing your book, because the snowball effect doesn’t happen unless you keep pushing it along. Thirdly, you can get a massage for cheap at you local massage school, and yes, two massages a week are okay – after all, you’re helping students learn. Good on you.

There’s another small but pretty amazing discovery I’ve made last week, which I’m happy to share with you. Have a look at the above graph – do you notice anything? Specifically in the blue “Normalised Pages Read” part? Over the last four weeks both graphs were pretty much dead, with just a few sales and pages read thanks to my regular tweets of quotes with links. It was especially slow over the last two weeks, when I became so destructed, I forgot to top my Buffer account on most days. Then, a few days ago, I made one small change which resulted in a big spike on the blue graph.

Hands up – who wants to know what it is?

Believe it or not, I just changed a Twitter hashtag. Instead of a useless #humor and #kindle and fairly useless #amwriting and #IndieBooksBeSeen, I now make sure each tweet is accompanied by this little beauty:


That’s it. Honestly, I have no idea why I have not targeted subscribers to Kindle Unlimited before – Shizzle, Inc (Isa Maxwell escapades Book 1) is as good as free to them, but I get about $2 each time someone reads the whole thing, as compared to the $0.35 royalty I get with each $0.99 sale. I’m so excited about this discovery! I’d love to figure out how to target and find more Kindle Unlimited customers – if anyone has experience or ideas, I’d love to hear them.

So back to the lack of marketing action. Not only did it result in lack of sales, but the old enemy doubt has started creeping in and whispering various ugly thoughts. I know they are not true and that Isa will one day hit the big screen, but it’s demotivating. So it’s time I kill them dead with the next big marketing effort.

For this new experiment, I chose to do a solid 5-day free giveaway of Shizzle on Kindle. It will be on 11-15 April, inclusive and I have the following promos planned, some with companies I have not tested before. I will update the list below as confirmations come in, and, as usual, I will update the Super Duper List with the actual numbers, once the promos are completed.

11 April: Reading Deals – $15.

12 April: Kindle Nation Daily – $99.

13 April: eBookasaurus – free; Manybooks – $25; AskDavid – free.

14 April: AskDavid – free (they tweet multiple times).

15 April: none.

Submitted, awaiting confirmation:

  • AskDavid
  • eBooks Habit
  • eReader News – sold out.
  • Free Kindle Books and Tips
  • Ignite your book – not sure if my submission was successful
  • Readcheaply
  • Zwoodle books

Fingers crossed – I hope to get to #1 in Free Bestseller List in one of the categories. Will let you know what happens!



Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

67 responses to “New marketing plans, a magic hashtag, and a free giveaway

  1. Thanks for sharing, I really appreciate your blog so much.

    I’ve had a totally different experience. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get pages read more than sales. For about 3 weeks I was doing the #KindleUnlimited tag, along with #Dystopian or #Fantasy or whatever seemed to fit the quote. Sometimes by itself. 3 times a day.

    I got a couple retweets from Kindle Unlimited tweeters, but no pages read, so I stopped. Instead on Thursdays I’ve been doing #Thurds the last few weeks. I’ve gotten a few sales from that.

    Kindle Unlimited is my big question mark, since I’ve had almost 0 borrows. I have 500 pages read on November 27th (yes, one day,) then nothing until March 29 I had one page read and then April 1st 49 pages read and now nothing for days. I know if people turn off their internet it doesn’t count pages until they reconnect, but most of the time Kindle Unlimited feels useless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing – can I ask what you tweet with the hashtag? The hashtag by itself would not get people to click on the link – I would suggest tweeting interesting quotes from your book. Also, research shows that too many hashtags in one tweet actually turn people off – try just one at the time. Have a look at my Twitter (@spokeana) for examples of quotes I tweet with #KU. I think the quote or the “hook” is the key – the hashtag is only to put it in front of the right people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I was doing a quote from the book, the link and then it was different depending on the quote length. Either it was #KindleUnlimited, or if I could fit it either #Fantasy or #Dystopian (but never both at the same time.)

        I actually got the idea from you and your blog and tweets. Maybe I gave up too soon. It was hard to find quotes that fit.

        Do you use quotes directly from the book or make them up to fit?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Some directly, but most I have to shorten. Do your quotes have drama or a hook of some sort? Maybe blog a few and ask people to comment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I tried to pick ones that felt exciting or interesting, something to make people wonder what it’s about. Blogging on it would be a good idea. You’re so helpful and I really appreciate it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so very glad to hear that the presentation was a success. Your preliminary work that you shared was solid though so I didn’t really ever doubt it would.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great find with that #! I’ll be sharing this my indie author friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always appreciate these posts so much! I love hearing how your writing journey is going. Sounds like there’s been some ups and downs! So glad your presentation was a success 🙂 I hope your hashtag and promos will get those sales going up and not down!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love following your writing journey! Always informative and entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that you’re in the trenches and reminding me to think bigger with my writing, and not just in the daily practice. I so look forward to your posts — thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: New marketing plans, a magic hashtag, and a free giveaway – Bikurgurl

  8. The little things you find out are interesting. I’d have never thought such a small change could lead to such a big change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the thing with marketing – you want to target a certain group. That’s why broad advertising on Amazon did not work for me – thousands of impressions, hundreds of clicks, just a few sales. But it appears that among people who don’t have to pay anything extra, it’s a success…


  9. Helpful as ever. I like your clarity. Thanks, Ana.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You really share such vital information. Best wishes dear.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for the #KindleUnlimited tip! That’s brilliant! Going to go try it right this minute!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. olivia barrington

    Glad to hear things are moving along for you. Maybe on the other sites like Goodreads if possible to highlight the Kindle Unlimited that might help. Maybe here in your blog on the right side put up a notice that it’s available on Kindle Unlimited for free.Even if someone has read it it would make them remind a friend to get it on there. We have a massage school around here but apparently they have a waiting list… wonder why… That’s something I could use. Wish you the best with the writing, hope the ideas just keep coming. How close are you to the beach? Is it Bondi? Lucky you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Olivia – I’m so close to finishing Indiot! Bondi is in Sydney, unfortunately – I’m in Melbourne, about 900m away from St Kilda beach. No Bondi, but not bad, either 🙂


    • olivia barrington

      Any beach is beautiful in Australia. Thought you might like to know one of your followers on Twitter @AnaEliseMeyer has a blog that reviews books and right now she is reviewing kindle books for free. It’s a very nice blog. You can get to her blog thru her Twitter account. The info is in her Pinned tweet. Every little bit of exposure counts! Glad to hear your almost done with Indiot. I’m sure your ready to start the 3rd installment. Bet your brain is in overdrive. Hope you are enjoying the time off. How much is left? Not enough, right? Good luck with everything!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Olivia – I will check her out!

        I’m just at 60k words now, it’s painfully slow because I’m editing and rewriting. Comedy is very hard to write, as you have to polish sentences and scenes for the impact, otherwise it may fall flat. I’m hoping to pre-release it in about two weeks, so very excited 🙂


      • Still have 3.5 months left, unbelievable 🙂


  13. Good stuff, Ana! Finish that sequel! Way more important than advertising is getting a big body of work on the shelves. After a few books are out you can do more advertising without risk of treading the same marketing waters with the same material too often. Also – don’t forget to keep trying Bookbub!

    Good luck! And thanks for the #KindleUnlimited tip!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂 Ugh, I did try BookBub, but got rejected for the second time. I emailed them nicely asking why, but just got a reply encouraging me to continue submitting. I might need to give them a longer notice next time, but it’s hard to do, since they make you wait…one day…


  14. Wow congratulations on all the progress! It’s great to see that even in the face of something kind of depressing, like the low reads level, you saw that as a signal to revamp, not give up! Hopefully you hear from the people you are waiting on, and I look forward to inviting my friends to see your movie at the theater!



    Liked by 1 person

  15. Inspiring as always. Please film your presentation next time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you, Ana. Lots of useful information here.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I have been wondering about what you have going on. I know you are busy and I am glad to see this post. You are an imspiration out there on the front line making it happen. It shines a light ahead so people like me can find the way easier. Someone always has to make the first move.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad I can help – and I’m too indebted to others who’d written about this. So glad I’m doing this instead of waiting for the publisher…


  18. Looking forward to that YouTube video! Are your books exclusively on Amazon, or are you just using the hashtag as thought they were? I gotta follow you on Twitter! haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I will definitely post it! Yes, I’m only in Amazon, so you can get it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited. Click on the floating banner on the right – they offer a free 30 day trial.


  19. Victoria McDonagh

    Hi Ana,

    enjoying reading your blog and your self learnt marketing/writing tips!

    Have you thought of making your books available to more than one country, such as the UK? I am a big fan of Kindle Unlimited (as a consumer) but it is also good to hear that you get $2 each time it’s read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Victoria! It is available in UK – please search for Shizzle, Inc on your Amazon website. Basically, it is on all Amazon websites.

      Thank you very much for letting me know that the blog helps you 🙂 I’m about to go through the experience of properly launching the sequel, so hope to share even more helpful info.


  20. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a wonderful insight. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I’ve just tried the KindleUnlimited hashtag thing with my novel, but so far no extra takers. Will persevere, while getting on with the next novel. It’s very frustrating the whole marketing thing. I’m coming more and more to the conclusion that it’s down to how many sales and reviews you can get in the first month after publication that determines a novel’s success. I like your attitude, going for the #1 slot with Indiot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry to hear that the hashtag did not work – what was the “hook” you tweeted with it? The hashtag just gets you in front of the right audience, you still need to entice them somehow.

      I’m in my second day of the free giveaway with Shizzle, Inc – 1,500 given away so far! Top of the charts and everything – need to finish Indiot ASAP.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow! Congratulations with that free giveaway. Hope you get lots of fab reviews as a result.
        I haven’t tried a free giveaway yet — only a countdown deal. Perhaps I should. I’ve tried some hooks with my hashtags, but they’re obviously not enticing enough! My novel is very niche and perhaps Twitter isn’t where its potential audience hangs out. Also, my humour is very quirky and British , so it’s possibly falling flat with US readers.


  23. Pingback: Sizzle, Inc. (Isabella Maxwell Escapades #1) | Tim Learn

  24. Hi there, awesome post! I love how you use data to track these minute details of your business. I am currently working on an article for a marketing firm that I have as a client, and I wanted to know if it would be okay if I link to your post in the article? I want to give an example of a specific industry where marketing is incredibly important. I hope that you are having a wonderful day, and I am looking forward to hearing from you.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s