Self-Publishing and Marketing--What's Been Working and What Hasn't

As many self-published authors know, trying to figure out how to market your book is almost more time consuming (and often less enjoyable) than writing the book itself. Since I have no marketing experience and a very limited budget, I'm flying blind. If you have a wad of cash saved, that might be a great investment into a professional ad campaign, but if you don't, then it's just up to you.

In the interest of helping other self-published authors, I'm creating a list of what's working, what isn't and what is hit or miss. Keep in mind that my book is a historical YA, so what works for that genre may be different from another. This is just my experience.


Everyone loves something for nothing, so I suggest you make up a budget for giveaways of your paperback (people prefer to get paperbacks to eBooks in giveaways as well). Giveaways can be done on your blog, Facebook or via Goodreads. The latter, I believe, is the most successful as the website will list your book and those looking for new writers or new books can find it and enter themselves in the giveaway whilst also increasing brand awareness. I had over 1000 people sign up for my first giveaway, which was very impressive.

Goodreads in General
Definitely get a Goodreads page and set up your author profile. Take time to interact with other people who are writing in your genre or readers of your genre. Targeting them really, really helps as they are the ones who are looking for just your type of book.

Get Personal
Emailing specific readers, thanking people for their reviews, etc., is not only polite, but helps you engage with your audience.

Contacting Local Papers
If you live in a big city, this one isn't really going to work. For those of you in a town, this is a great opportunity. Most smaller cities or towns love the idea of an author living there, so you will likely get a chance to get immediate press by contacting the arts and leisure section.

Targeting Your Audience
Find out who it is that will be interested in your book and start shooting emails and making calls. As my book is about the Holocaust, I've contacted some museums, groups for second and third generation survivors and Jewish organizations. Most people have been very receptive and happy for me to post either in their Facebook groups or have added me to their website.


Goodreads Ads
I find this to be a very hit or miss enterprise. These ads, which function like Facebook ads, target your audience by displaying to people who have listed their interest in your book's genre. While it is a way to get people to notice your book, I haven't noticed a lot of clicks. The issue is that it is on the side with several other books, so it is easy to overlook them if you're in a hurry or focused on a task.

Reddit is very hit or miss. It's worth a try because the audience is so large, but depending on where you post, people are either very amenable to your promotion or very hostile toward it. People will either thank you for the book link and go to it immediately, or they will tell you off for even daring to think you can promote yourself. Target specific subreddits and develop a thick skin before diving in.


Author Ad Network
 I'm still a bit angry at myself for this one. After reading a few reviews that this ad campaign helped increase readership by 600% to several authors, I shelled out $85 for their marketing service thinking I was in capable hands. They pretty much just spammed by book on their websites which are already overrun with ads for books making it very difficult for mine to stand out. I didn't earn even one sale from that $85 investment, although the people I was working with to do the reviews were lovely. It may work for some, but it was a complete miss for me.


Independent Author Network

At $25 to join and promote up to six books, this one is significantly cheaper. It seems to be one of those that gives as much as you put in, so you really have to hustle. They have retweeted many of my tweets about my book and I've been able to connect with other authors, but I haven't noticed a sales increase. 

30 Day Shred Complete

I've finished the 30-day Shred and suffice to say, whilst I noticed results, they're not as dramatic as I'd hoped for. Still, they are good and I'm sticking with Jillian for 6-week abs and then Ripped in 30. Part of the not so amazing progress is likely attributed to my eating habits and a scale that told me I weighed half a stone less than I actually do, making me think I was making much more significant progress than I was. I'm going to knock out another 200 calories a day and stop carrying calories over to the next day, a bad habit I got into. Instead, I'll be strict and then have a Sunday rest day that's a bit more of a cheat day (maybe 1500 calories a day? Thoughts?).

Without further ado, let's go back to my results:

2 Litres of Water a Day Challenge

When I visited the United States over the Christmas holidays, my doctor there suggested I fill up a 2 litre bottle of Coke with water and challenge myself to drink it everyday. At first I totally pishaw'd the idea--after all, I don't really like the taste of plain water. I much prefer my liquid in the form of fizzy, bubbly Diet Coke. However, that wasn't helping in the kidney infection department.

So here I am, four days into the challenge. I've read about others doing this as well and people have reported losing 2-3lbs a week doing it, getting massively oily skin and seeing a big difference in their faces. Overall, I haven't noticed much, other than having to pee a lot more (which was a lot to begin with). But I'm going to keep going with it. I think it's worth it and I'll update on how it goes.

What goes in me everyday!

Taking a Break from Your WIP

As promised, some of this blog is dedicated to the art of writing. And when you're writing professionally, sometimes it seems like all of that can be weighed down with the business aspects. I know when I was trying to please others with my writing, my writing often came across as lazy and too quick--I wanted to get it done for the sake of getting it done. Now, I understand the importance of quality vs. quantity.

I've been working on my current WIP for at least four years. I haven't been writing this particular draft for that long, but I have had this seed of an idea. And frankly, I think it's a good one with some serious potential. So, despite the interest there is in it, I know the last WIP just didn't work, so it's time to write with actual intention.

Earlier this week, I found myself starting to get stressed about deadlines, so I began to simply write my 2,000 word a day quota. As a consequence, the writing was stilted and lazy. It wasn't a complete and utter mess, but it definitely wasn't something to keep going with. So I decided to take a break from writing for the week, clear my head, and see where I turned up later. 30,000 into this rewrite, I think this is a great plan as it makes the writing process much more organic and less about "GET THIS DONE NOW."

What are your thoughts?

30 Day Shred Level 3

While the rest of the world is watching the Olympics (and Britain is celebrating that one bronze...I love it!) I'm here eating a donut (which I'm sure she would disapprove of, but bite me) and writing about Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred and her Level 3 work out. I am officially converted to the Church of Jillian Michaels and worship at her altar. She is a beast.

But the issue I'm having with Level 3 (apart from it kicking my ass, which is a good thing) is that it does a number on my knees, which I've stated before, are my most affected joints. Like, seriously, could you not do a motion where you jump and slam your knees into the ground as hard as possible. No bueno for me. That is going to be my biggest challenge here.

Like her rockstar jumps and when she asks you to do this...hello?:
During this part, in my head I'm all "Superman dat ho!"
What do you guys and gals with knee problems do with this level? I have a feeling my knees aren't going to be too happy with me by the end of this. I know you can "cheat" with the "modified version" (SHOUTOUT TO ANITA!) but that never feels like it's enough for me.

Also that handweight plank thing? WHAT THE HECK IS THAT? It hurts SO BADLY when I'm doing it the "Natalie/Advanced" way, but when I'm on the Anita level, it feels too easy. What do you do?

No happy medium.
But at any rate, Jillian, you have a new devotee. And a new person to give you their money. Let's roll!

I swear I'm going to post other things here than just my girl, Jillian. But right now I'm all into it.

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred--Day 20 Results

2/3 of the way there! Level 2 is definitely more intense than level 1 and because I have lupus and terrible arthritis in my knees, a lot of the jumping really hurt. I know she says not to pause, but I often needed to in order to keep my knees from hurting too badly. The double jump rope was also often very difficult for me as it really hurt my knees. I tried a single, but that still hurt, so I've decided to just substitute the high knees for it whenever she asks for a jump rope move.

Video pet peeve? I absolutely hate that she says "If Natalie can do it, you can do it." Like...Natalie is a fitness model and personal trainer. Of course this is easy as hell for her. She's a beast!

I haven't lost much weight in the past 10 or so days, maybe about a pound, which is always distressing when you're actually trying, working out and reducing your calories. But I have noticed increased endurance, more energy, sleeping better at night and a bit of a tighter body. I think I am sticking with Jillian and after this one I'll be doing her six pack abs in six weeks.

And now....onto our 20 day results check in!

Front Abs Day 1
Front Abs Day 10
Front Abs Day 20 

Side Abs Day 1
Side Abs Day 10
Side Abs Day 20

Nail Update and Shred Update

Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred has gone on a bit of hiatus these past few days because, as I predicted, I did have a kidney infection during the Shred. Never fear, I will be back shredding. Hopefully today. But I have to admit that the second work out is a killer. You definitely feel proud you've accomplished it.

As promised, we'll discuss the next pressing issue, which is the Sensationail update. My last manicure stayed on my nails for a grand total of two weeks. It could have lasted longer, but the growth annoys the crap out of me, so I decided to remove them. My housemate is now also a fan of my investment and has done her nails with the kit and is also a fan. It's a great girlie bonding exercise every two weeks.

The only thing we've noticed that isn't great about these gels is that you have to be precise with the polish, otherwise it'll start to grow weird and jagged at the bottom of the nail and get caught on your clothes as your nails grow out. This is one time in adult life where coloring in the lines really matters.

Each Sensationail kit comes with two colors, so I went ahead and painted with the other color: pink chiffon. I'm digging the pink/neutral tone. 

© Anna in Wonderland

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