Another stab at self-promotion.

I’ve finished with the revisions of my books. I’ve uploaded all of the new versions to Amazon. With most of them it was just a matter of updating the front and back matter and the blurb. With others there were some small errors readers had taken the time and trouble to point out to me (sincere thanks all). With the first three R&M Files I did some quite intensive editing. I’m quite happy to have done the job, and I’m very happy that it’s finished. I feel that I can move on. It’s all been hanging over me for too long.

Something else that I’ve also been meaning/needing to get more into is promotional work. It is something that I’d shied away from because of the way I felt about the first three R&Ms. They weren’t as good as they could be. They needed that work that I’ve done. Now that they are done to my satisfaction, I’m ready to do some promotion. My feelings for self-promotion have not helped. I still carry the mental scars from this episode: A Stab at Self-promotion.

I have submitted Rope Enough (R&M File #1) for consideration to Bookbub. Bookbub is a site that has a massive email list of readers. Authors pay money to Bookbub and Bookbub emails thousands of genre-specific readers with details of your book. As I understand it, one of the requirements is that the book in question must be offered at a reduced price. Rope Enough is free at the moment and has been for months. They accepted it anyway. It’s going to be live on their site today: Sunday 7th February.

It costs $50 for Bookbub to email UK readers. If you want them to email US readers as well it’s hundreds of dollars. I just went with the UK.

I’m really interested to see what sort of download figures this promotion generates and whether there is a knock-on for the other books in the series. That’s why I’m doing it, of course.

Recently, Rope Enough has been hovering around the #300 mark in the Amazon charts free books. Not good. No one sees it there. To be honest I could probably shift more copies if I started charging for it because it would be something new in a different chart.

A fellow writer also made me aware of a site called Bookhippo. They are similar to Bookbub, but they don’t charge for the service. I signed up Rope Enough with them a few days ago. They got back to me on Thursday with a message that my book was live on their site. I saw the message pretty quickly and was able to look up the current stats for the book so that I could have some figures to judge the promotional campaign against.

Rope Enough was #341 in Amazon free charts and #14 in free police procedural novels. Up until 2.30pm, which is when the message came through, I had given away 19 copies that day.


First thing in the morning the book had gone to #87 in the overall Kindle free charts. Signing up with Bookhippo had been worth it. Getting in the top 100 is an opportunity to get seen by other readers. The book had been downloaded over 200 times, which is about 150 more than it was downloaded the day before the promotion started.

Friday evening Rope Enough had fallen outside the top 100. It was at 104.

Saturday morning it was at number 133.

Sunday morning (now) it is a 226.

So the spike in downloads was effective but fleeting.

Let’s see what today’s Bookbub promotion does.

Sticking with promotion, because my books are in the Kindle Unlimited programme at the moment I have the opportunity to take advantage of Amazon’s promotional service. There is a choice of two options: give your book away or do a Kindle Countdown deal. I’ve listed Dirty Business as a countdown deal. I’ve never done a countdown deal before. This means that starting yesterday for a week Dirty Business will be 99p, the clock ticks down on the listing page and then it reverts back to it’s original price £1.99. I’m doing this because I think that Amazon probably highlight their countdown deals somewhere, so it’s an opportunity to get one of my covers seen, maybe some more downloads and some attention for the series.

When the Kindle countdown deal started, Dirty Business was at #15100 in the overall Kindle charts. One day in and it is at #3572. (I’ve only just this minute learned that and I have to say I swore, out loud.) That’s a big jump and I didn’t do anything other than reduce the price. I’ll be very interested to see if this is just a spike of if there is some mileage in the promotional tactic, maybe some knock-on for the series. That would be nice.


While following a Twitter thread last week I discovered that there is a crime fiction conference in Deal, which is just a couple of miles down the road from Dover where the R&M Files are set – about an hour’s drive from my home on Romney Marsh. I looked closer. It’s called Deal Noir. This year will be its second year. Last year they had some very well-known crime writers attend. Same for this year. It’s the kind of thing I should be attending, especially as it’s on the R&M Files doorstep. Maybe next year.

I can’t help feeling a little sad that the R&M Files aren’t at that party in an official capacity. Like I say, they are set in that area (Romney and Marsh do stray into Deal occasionally) and they have proven popular with a good number of readers. I suppose that it’s just another reality check for me – I joke about being a self-published nobody and the truth is that I am. (Tune up the string section.)


For anyone with Facebook who is interested in UK crime fiction there is a new FB group started up called UK Crime Book Club. It’s very supportive of writers like me: indie and self-published. It costs nothing to join (you need to be accepted) and they are a really friendly bunch. Please think about supporting it.

UK Crime Book Club


And finally: another reminder for me that you can’t please all the people all the time. This week I got a 1* (no comment from the reader) for Unhappy Families on Goodreads. The same reader had given me a 5* for Particular Stupidities (no reader comment). #justsharingmyincredulitythatanyonecouldfindUF4*worsethanPSWTF!

10 thoughts on “Another stab at self-promotion.

  1. Morning Oliver,
    Interesting reading, your blog this morning. Will be keen to find out how this will pan-out for you. I know you’ll keep us posted. I know only too well, you can’t please everyone all the time, but a 1* is a bit of a liberty. I don’t think I have ever given a 1* star to a book I’ve read. To write a book in the first instance takes time and effort, and as long as it’s not written with an overwhelming amount of typos, grammatical/spelling mistakes, it deserves a 2*. Reading other peoples’ work, to me, is like marking an essay, you give the positives first, then the negatives.
    And how’s the end of your sabbatical looking? Do you think you’ll be carrying on as a full-time writer?
    I wish you all the best in your quest so keep plugging away.

    • Hi. I write (mainly) crime fiction as Michael Kerr. I also love reading, but I don’t do it as though I’m writing an essay. I read to enjoy a story and be entertained. If it doesn’t hook me by the time I reach page 50, I give up on it. And I never leave a bad review. I don’t feel the need to. Life’s too short to be a critic 🙂

      • Hi Mike
        Very good to meet you, sir. I really enjoyed ‘A Reason To Kill’. Over 2000 reviews/comments on Amazon with a very healthy average, not to mention the rest of your output. Congratulations on your success.
        I class my books as light-entertainment. And I read to enjoy the experience. Like you, if I’m not keen after a good start then I move on. There are so many other books out there.
        Best wishes.

    • Hi Pat
      Glad you liked the blog. Maybe some things there for you the writer?
      What surprised me most over that 1* was that the reader in question gave PS 5*. The other way round i could understand. I agree 2* at least, just for effort.
      Sabbatical has been wonderful. Nine weeks left before all change. As for next year… the jury is still out.
      All the best.

  2. Thanks Oliver for the promotion. Great to see your delving into the advertising and promotional side of things. The forecast is that you will have a brilliant year.

  3. Hi again Oliver, I just joined the UK Crime Book Club per your suggestion. Any time I can learn of new authors, it is a plus for me. Odd that you should have mentioned Bookbub, too, as I subscribed to the US version a couple of months ago. I wondered how they make their money…. I have downloaded a vast number of books, finding authors I had never heard of. It has been terrific as prices, here anyway, go from “free” to $1.99. That’s worth trying a book! So many kindle selections by my favorite list of authors have gotten into the $11.99, $12.99 realm. I need to be pretty sure I want to read them for that price. The descriptions on Bookbub are well-written, and by clicking on the title, it takes you to Amazon for a fuller description and reader reviews. I get a daily email with about six selections, dependent upon the genre preferences I indicated when subscribing. The third thing you mentioned regarding a book fan/author gathering reminded me of Bouchercon, the world mystery convention held every year in various places. I attended in 2008 in Baltimore because it was dubbed “writers across the pond” and many of my British favorites were in attendance. You should come to one of these gatherings; hundreds and hundreds of fans!

    It’s always a pleasure to read your blog. Now please get busy with another Booker and Cash.


    • Hi Dianne 🙂
      I only found out about Bookbub recently and I’m very glad I did. (see today’s newsflash blog-post). It does seem like a good thing for both readers and writers.
      Like you I won’t pay a lot for what is essentially just an electronic file of a book. It’s my belief that traditional publishers who set these prices are only pricing themselves out of a very lucrative market. One day they’ll catch on and it will all be over for us little guys.
      I’d love to attend Bouchercon. It must be enormous fun.
      Glad you enjoy the blog. i enjoy writing it. 🙂
      Best wishes.

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