Marketing Q&A with Author D.F. Bailey

Looking to improve your marketing and publicity efforts? Check out our Book Publicity Tips series where we ask real authors to share their experiences, thoughts, and advice to assist both new and established authors. 

How do you recommend leveraging your website’s e-newsletter to meet your marketing and sales objectives?

It took me almost two years to recognize the importance of creating a story-telling environment in my newsletter, Digital Words.

For example, a few weeks ago Digital Words published a new contest, “Name the Lady Villain.” The idea was to invite readers to suggest names for the antagonist in my next novel, Death’s Shadow. It was a fun, frivolous bit of nonsense that generated over 100 evil and villainous names. Among other places, the contest landed in the inbox at DigiWriting Book Marketing Agency. The fact that I’m writing this blog demonstrates the reach that an author’s newsletter can generate.

How have you utilized a giveaway to increase your book’s exposure, reviews, or sales? Would you go back and run the giveaway differently?

I launched a giveaway campaign with the release of my new crime trilogy in December. The first book in the trilogy, Bone Maker, is perma-free (in most countries). In other words, readers can download the e-book from Amazon, Kobo, Nook, etc. for free. I’m betting that those who like what they read will want to purchase the next two books, Stone Eater and Lone Hunter. It’s too soon to tell how well this will work. If you believe the research, a novel series that begins with a freebee can earn eight times the income of those that begin with a full-price book.

Which social media channel has yielded the best results? Why?

This will sound like high treason to some readers, but I consider Amazon to be a social media channel. Authors can collect readers’ email addresses and then interact with them personally and collaboratively.

How? At the end of my books I offer readers a free “bonus.” In order to get the bonus, readers send me their email address and I send them the gift. Download a copy of Bone Maker. At the end of the book — even if you don’t want to read it — you’ll see how I’ve set up the reward. Believe me, this system works!

How do you recommend using book reviews to market your titles?

There’s no magic here. Book reviews help in at least two ways.

One, the number of reviews provide social proof that people are reading your books. Anything over 1000 reviews (good and bad) suggests that the book is a center of gravity.

Two, the star ranking system is also helpful in suggesting that your book provides a quality experience. Anything over four stars should catch potential readers’ eyes — even if you haven’t sold many books.

Put these factors together and you can then advertise that your book has over 1000, 4-star reviews.

Briefly describe a marketing “faux pas” you have made. How did you learn from your mistake?

I spent six months and about $150 learning how to use Twitter. I have over 14,000 followers, most of whom are actual people, not robots. Nonetheless, in that time I’ve added only 18 new subscribers to Digital Words from Twitter. I learned a lot, but generally it was a waste of time and money for me.

Instead, I wish I’d used that time exploring Goodreads, Facebook reader groups, or some other reading community that might be open to who I am and the books I write. Really, it’s a no-brainer: authors should go where readers congregate.

Author Bio

D.F. Bailey’s first novel, Fire Eyes, was a finalist for the W.H. Smith First Novel Award. A second novel, Healing the Dead, was translated into German as Todliche Ahnungen. This was followed by The Good Lie, another psychological thriller, now recorded as a talking book. A fourth novel, Exit from America, made its debut as an e-book in 2013. D.F. Bailey is currently working on a series of novels narrated from the point-of-view of a crime reporter in San Francisco.

For more information about D.F. Bailey’s books and his free newsletter, Digital Words, visit: www.dfbailey.com

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