Where Do I Go From Here?

I’ve got a confession to make. It’s rather embarrassing and I’ve been in two minds whether to just keep silent and pretend everything is wonderful or come clean and ask for help.

The thing is, I launched a promotion for my novel The Vault last Thursday and – so far – I haven’t sold a single book!

I'm in a whirl...

I’m in a whirl…

There, I’ve admitted it. Obviously, I’m still hoping the big zero is down to a problem with Amazon’s sales reporting but that seems a bit unlikely. So now I’m asking, where am I going wrong and what should I do now?

The Vault had been priced at $4.85 on Amazon.com (with a 3.9* rating from nine reviews) and £3.99 on Amazon UK with the same rating and number of reviews. On Thursday, I dropped the price to $1.99 and £1.99.

I didn’t want to spend a huge amount on advertising – particularly with sites that won’t give you concrete figures on how many people they have on their subscriber lists. (Can’t help feeling a bit suspicious there.)

However, I did pay for the following:

  • a ‘bargain book sponsorship’ listing on Bargain EBook Hunter, which included a listing on Pixelscroll on Thursday
  • a ‘hot deal and tweet package’ with the Kindle Book Review starting Friday
  • a 14-day ‘Kindle Daily Deal’ slot on Digital Book Today – this was due to start this Thursday but Anthony Wessel has generously made my listing live from today

Not a lot, I know, but I wasn’t sure where else it was worth advertising and I can’t afford to just throw money around.

I’ve also organised my own mini ‘blog tour’ with author interviews, book features etc on a number of other blogger’s sites. Two of these have gone live already with several more to come but – based on performance so far – I’m not feeling that optimistic.

Now obviously my book isn’t going to appeal to everyone. But it has had a number of 4* reviews and a couple of 5*s (plus those 2 and 3* ones). Lisa Hall has just reviewed the book on her Read & Rated blog giving it 4*s and commenting:

“I had no idea what to expect from The Vault but soon found myself greatly enjoying this multi stranded tale which brings you into the life of school boy Adam Strong and very real feeling account of being at school and dealing with friends, bullies and girls!”

During previous free promotions, I’ve given away about 4,500 copies and I have sold a trickle of copies over the past year.

I also appreciate these things take time. Building a name isn’t going to happen overnight – plus the Digital Book Today listing has only just gone live and some bits of my ‘blog tour’ haven’t happened yet.

But no sales at all?

I think one problem is with the cover. I went through a bit of a redesign several months ago when I released the print edition. (The book was also re-edited to iron out a few typos etc mentioned by previous reviewers). Although I think the print edition cover is fine, it doesn’t work as a thumbnail size ebook image.

I did put a different cover on the Kindle version which looks completely clean on my computer whatever the size but for some reason isn’t coming up well on Amazon and looks slightly blotchy.

I do want to commission a new, professional cover but I can’t quite believe that’s the only problem.

So – dear readers and fellow bloggers – I’m asking for help!

Obviously you can make me happy by going ahead and downloading a copy but what I also want is advice.

Where am I going wrong? How do I get my book noticed? What sites will profile my book to real customers for a sensible amount of money? All answers on a postcard please… or just use the comments box below. Thank you.

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8 responses to “Where Do I Go From Here?”

  1. puppytd says :

    I really shouldn’t comment since I have no answers and am in the same boat myself. It sounds to me like you’re doing everything possible and that you have an interesting book. I’m assuming it’s being promoted as young adult fiction. All I can say is “Best of luck” and I’ll be watching and hoping for your success.

    • Huw Thomas says :

      Thank you! Moral support is also much appreciated.
      I’m not marketing ‘The Vault’ as YA but general fiction. Although the main protagonist is a schoolboy, I see it as an adult novel that would also be suitable for YAs. Is that an issue?

  2. Juliette says :

    Send press releases out to reviewers and book magazines and web sites and local media.

    Get bloggers you follow to post your articles about your books. I’ll give you a post on both of my blogs. Send me an email and let me know what you want me to post. I love supporting authors with good stories. Winter reading season is coming up…they might as well get cozy with The Vault.

  3. Eva Acharya says :

    I agree with Juliette. Press releases are great idea. Also, I think if you haven’t already, contacting local radio and newspapers etc also helps. I’ve only just recently published my own work and know how hard it is to promote on a shoe-string budget. These two avenues have helped me a bit.

    Good luck.

    • Huw Thomas says :

      Ooops. You and Juliette are both right. Which is also a little embarrassing as I’m an ex-newspaper journalist, ex-PR person…
      I’m probably thinking too much about reaching out to the wider world and forgetting there’s also a market on my doorstep. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. readandrated says :

    I genuinely enjoyed your book so I’d be happy to help ‘pimp it’ a little via twitter, but that will be a tiny gesture (a trickle as you put it). In your shoes I think I’d go with the charity angle, tweet it on #CharityTuesday and ask Shelter Box to do the same!

    Have you tried contacting your local radio to see if they’ll have you on to talk about it (focussing heavily on the charity angle)?

    Is it a real wood? Or based on a real wood? If so you’ve got a ‘local’ angle that you can exploit somewhere too.

    Best of luck with it all x

    • Huw Thomas says :

      Very glad you enjoyed it – and appreciate the advice. I’ve been trying to use Twitter for a while but I’m still not sure I really understand how it works!
      Particularly all the #tags. Didn’t know about #CharityTuesday… and it’s now Wednesday! (Anything special for other days of the week?)
      Sadly, although loosely based on places I know, Hobthrush Wood and the town of Compton Fosse are figments of my imagination so not much mileage to be gained there.
      Thanks again.

  5. belindawilliamsbooks says :

    Hi Huw, love your honesty! I think what you’re experiencing is quite common to self-pubbed authors. I did a paid blog tour back in August for Radiant and sold a handful of copies, but that was it. I was really more interested in gaining reviews, which the blog tour was fantastic for. I’ve not yet done a price promotion. I’ve read a lot about how price promotions tend to work better when you have a series of books and you give the first away free, or for 99c. I don’t really see the point in giving my debut novel away free because even if they love it, there’s nothing else for them to buy just yet! Good luck.

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