Unlike most of my posts lately that have been for everyone (or at least everyone who is interested in my books), this one is especially for the writers out there. But even if you’re not a writer, if you’ve been curious about some of the “behind the scenes” stuff of being an indie author, you might enjoy this little peek.
Recently I jumped feet first into running my own Book Funnel promotion and thought I’d let you all know how it went, how and why I did it, and some takeaway tips for any writers out there thinking of attempting such a thing.
What is Book Funnel, just in case you’ve never heard of it.
Book Funnel is a service that, at its most basic level, allows you to deliver your ebooks to readers. Book Funnel not only provides the format your readers need, but will also provide customer service in case your readers aren’t sure how to get an ebook onto their device. And they do this for an AMAZINGLY cheap price per year.
If you pay just a bit more per year, you can unlock a gob of features such as having as many books as you like in the system (the cheap plan only allows five) and being able to collect readers’ emails when they want your book.
And then there’s the Promotions
Book Funnel Promotions are set up and run by authors, often around a theme or genre. The promos allow you (if you are a writer with an active Book Funnel account) to give away your books, or in some cases, to give away sample chapters.
Since there’s usually dozens of other authors in the promo and they are all sharing the promo (or should be), you can easily get a ton of exposure and a chance to reach out to new readers.
You can use promos simply to give away your book or you can use them to build your mailing list.
Now, let’s get one thing straight. You can take part in promotions if you have the cheapie plan, but with this plan you can only give your book away. You cannot collect email addresses to build up your mailing list. You need the next level plan to do that and from here on out I’m going to assume you’re on that next level plan. Okay? Okay.
Why I ran my own Book Funnel Promotion
Um, in a word…desperation. I had recently moved from the cheapie plan to the next level plan and was eager to try out a promo to build up my very anemic mailing list. Unfortunately, all the promos that fit my genre required a mailing list with ten times the number of people I had at the time.
So, I shrugged my shoulders, put on my Can-Do attitude and set up my own promotion with the theme of fantasy fiction based on Ancient Worlds, Gods, and Mythology (the book I used was The Trials of Hercules).
How to set up and run a Book Funnel Promotion
It can’t get any easier to set these things up (of course, you can make it complicated, if you like with Google forms and pay-to-play requirements, but I’m assuming you want to go the easy route for now):
- Log into your Book Funnel account
- Click on Promotions
- Click on Post a New Promo
- Fill in the form with a catchy promo name, the dates the promo will run, the submission deadline, the requirements, the link to your own book you’re putting in the promo, and a few other basic bits of info.
- Click Post Promo and wait for submissions (Book Funnel posts the promo on the Promotions page and sends out an email about the promo to people who have opted to receive such information).
You can be as hands on or hands off with your submissions as you like, but here’s what I did…
I responded to each and every submission letting them know if they were approved or not (and if not, why…some people cannot read rules, let me tell you).
This sounds incredibly time consuming, but it really wasn’t (having a form response ready to cut and paste helped) and for anyone who has submitted something and sat wondering wondering wondering if it’s been accepted or rejected, you can appreciate why I took the time to do this.
I also made a few promo graphics (examples below), put them in a shared Google folder, and gave my fellow promo peeps the link a few days before the promo started. This seemed to be very much appreciated and only took about a half hour using Canva and some stock photos from Pixabay.
About half way through the promo period, I sent out a quick reminder encouraging everyone to keep sharing and to be sure to check out the other books in the promo to help support one another.
So, how did it go?
Because I have a complete lack of faith in humanity, I expected some harsh words from the people I rejected, but everyone was amazingly professional and took the few rejections I handed out well.
Although seven people didn’t make any effort to share the promo link, the promo was seen 4100 times and over 3700 books found new readers. The average was about 125 giveaways per writer, and I ended up adding about 175 people to my mailing list (which boosted me enough to take part in other promos).
For me, for having no big expectations, I’m going to call it a success.
Tips and Takeaways for your own Book Funnel Promotion
Having now been in a few other promos (not run by me), I’m going to just say, if you are going to run a promo you should communicate with your people, but don’t badger them. I’ve been in one promo this month where the organizer has sent at least four emails demanding (harassing?) people to share the promo and issuing threats if we don’t. Crikey!
Then there’s the other promo I’m in this month where the organizer hasn’t sent a single bit of communication. Not even to remind us the promo had begun. Nothing.
It doesn’t take long to tell someone whether they’ve been accepted to the promo or to send a quick reminder that the promo has started with a little word of encouragement, and it doesn’t take ten weeks of etiquette lessons to check in and see how everyone’s getting along and remind them to share the promo in a positive, non-bombastic manner.
My other tip is to be sure you have plan in place to get your sign-ups into your mailing list system (if you have the super fancy Book Funnel plan, this is done for you automatically).
If you don’t have the super fancy plan, Book Funnel keeps your sign ups in a CSV file so you can download it and copy and paste everyone over to your mailing list.
I’m going to say right now DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE END OF THE PROMO TO EXPORT THIS. First, your sign ups may have forgotten about you by then, and second, dumping a bunch of emails all at once can send up spam flags that will ruin the deliverability of your newsletters.
Luckily, Book Funnel has a very handy feature that allows you to download only new subscribers. Every couple days, I can go in and pull the new subscribers, then add them to my mailing list and get them jogging down my little on-boarding sequence.
This makes the imports quite manageable, less shocking to the email servers, and allows my new sign ups to “meet” me soon after they’ve collected their book. Again, this sounds time consuming, but it literally takes three minutes at most.
Okay, I have rambled on about this long enough and I could keep going about how much I love and appreciate everything Book Funnel has to offer (and seriously, the prices for what they offer are amazing).
Promotions are just the very surface of what you can do with Book Funnel and I’m eager to explore more features…and I’m sure I’ll share them with you when I do! And no, Book Funnel is not paying me for this (I wish!).
What about you? Have you run or participated in a Book Funnel Promotion? How did it go? What did you like or didn’t like? If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to make up an answer!
See you next week when I’ll be going crazy with delight over the release of Domna, Part Two: The Solon’s Son!
And speaking of Book Funnel Promos…here’s one I’m currently in if you want to check it out.