Many self-published authors use BookFunnel as a means to deliver their advance reader copies, but did you know you can use it for marketing as well?
That's right! BookFunnel also offers group book promotions, and facilitates swaps with other authors to share each other's books.
I'm not going to spend time explaining how to set these up or the technical aspects. Why? Because the good folks over at BookFunnel already have! They've created extensive help guides and how to videos for how to set up and utilize both of these features.
This post will not focus on the how. It's going to focus on:
- Why you would want to use either of these features
- Specific examples and strategies of how to utilize these features for marketing
Author Swap How To's: https://authors.bookfunnel.com/categories/swaps/
Group Promo How To's: https://authors.bookfunnel.com/categories/promotions/
Alright, now let's get into it!
BookFunnel Author Swaps
These are one-for-one swaps with a fellow author. You will each share each other's book (using the trackable BookFunnel link) on either social media, in your newsletter, or elsewhere.
Why Use Swaps
The purpose of author swaps are to get your book shared to a new (but hopefully similar) audience of readers.
Many authors include a section of their newsletter dedicated to swapping promotion with other authors. It's not required, but it's a good way to network with other authors in your genre and reach a broader audience.
To get the most out of these swaps, it's important to find authors that are similar to you. You want THEIR readers to want to read YOUR book, and they likely won't even click on your book if it's not similar to what they are interested in reading.
For example, I write romantic fantasy with mythology elements. Ideally, I'd want to swap with other romantic fantasy authors. I would not want to seek out swaps with romcom authors, because their readers likely wouldn't be interested in my book.
Sure, a lot of readers now will read across genres, but you'll be much better served focusing on targeting similar authors instead.
How to Use Swaps
Once you've got some swaps set up, then what do you do? This section is less how to "use" them, and more how to leverage them. Most swaps assume that you are going to share the swapped book to your newsletter audience. However, that's not the only option.
BookFunnel adjust your "swap reputation" based on how many clicks you send to the swapped book (tracked for 7 days after the swap date). So really, anything that you can do to boost those clicks will be good for your reputation.
Here's just a few ideas of where to share your swaps:
- Share the book in your newsletter
- I usually share the book cover, the title & author, price, where it's available, and a tagline or short blurb to give my subscribers an idea of if they'd like to click
- I add the swap link to the cover and the title so they can click on either
- Share the book on your social media
- Make a post, video, or story about the book with the swap link included
- If you're making a post on a site that doesn't hyperlink (cough: Instagram), add the swap link to your bio link for a short time, or direct people to your story and put the link in the story!
- Share the book on your blog
- If you write a blog, do a featured post about the book you're swapping! This can be a review if oyu've read it, or just a feature abotu the book and the author. Just be sure to include the swap link so you can get clicks!
- Anywhere else you can think of!
Don't stress too much about your reputation and how many clicks you get. It's just another data metric, and while some authors will use it to determine if they will accept or decline, you can still get swaps with a low reputation.
Focus on swapping with quality books that you think will appeal to your subscribers and readers. Unless you know you have subscribers that loveeeee a vast variety of genres, stick to books that are similar to yours in genre. That will get you the most benefit and keep your reader expectations consistent.
These are group activities. A bunch of books are included (typically fitting a certain theme and genre), and then every author in the group will share their unique trackable link to the promo page.
Why Use Group Promos
Readers who click the link can then browse all of the books included in the promo. Each promo has different requirements. Some may require a discount, but many don't.
BookFunnel's group promos are interesting in that they have two types of promotions: sales and newsletters. The sales promos are exactly what they sound like: the goal is to boost sales of the books involved in the promo.
Newsletter promos are intended to boost newsletter subscribers by offering a free book (typically) in exchange for the reader subscribing to each author's newsletter.
Both are valuable promos, but which one to do depends largely on your goals and where you're at as an author.
Newsletter and sales promos both typically have themes for the books included. One of the ones I commonly participate in is a Mythology Book Fair, which means all the books included in the promo have to feature mythology in some way.
Abiding by the theme of the promo is super important to getting the most value out of it. Readers who click on the promo WANT a specific type of book advertised by the theme, so if your book doesn't fit that theme, you're not going to get a sale.
When signing up for promos, be sure to read the requirements and look at the other books involved to be sure your book fits with them.
Worry not, there's hundreds and hundreds of promos available to sign up for, so you can definitely find something your book will fit into.
And if you don't... Well, you can just make your own! We'll talk about that at the end.
How to Use Group Promos
Like with swaps, getting into a promo is the easy part! Now, you have to actually participate. Promos tend to be more mindful of your reputation than swaps are. Additionally, each promo can have its own set of requirements and expectations.
It's important to read and understand what your specific promo is requiring. That said, here's some general ways to share the promo to get the most clicks:
- Share the promo in your newsletter
- I will share the header image from the promo page and my specific promo link, along with a short tagline of what the promo will feature
- Share the promo on your social media
- Most promos have 25+ books included, so there's plenty of material here ot share! Throughout the promo period, I'll share to my stories most often, choosing 8-9 titles and putting their covers on a story with the link to browse the rest of the collection
- You can also make a static post doing the same, or just a graphic advertising the promo without any specific covers included
- I highly recommend adding the promo link to your link in bio so it's easy to get to
- Share the promo on your blog
- If you have a blog, promos are the PERFECT material to create a post from. Promos typically have themes, so they're just begging for a post like "50+ books to read if you love mythology retellings"
Personalized captions accompanying your promo shares will also make readers feel more inclined to click. So where you have text, include something like "I've partnered with XX other authors to bring you a collection of XX mythology centered books!"
As with swaps, the more clicks you get, the better "reputation" you have. Unlike swaps, however, promoters are going to look at your promo reputation more closely. Promos only work if everyone involved shares, and while no clicks doesn't mean you didn't share, it's hard to be able to know that from the metrics available.
For that reason, promoters tend to focus on that, especially for selective promos. That said, don't let it discourage you. If you're new to promos, mention that in the comments when you submit, and outline your plan for how and where you will share the promo.
And again, be sure the link you're sharing is your BookFunnel promo link. This is how the clicks will be counted.
A last piece of advice, it can be tempting to join as many as possible to boost your sales as best as you can. Don't do that. Readers don't mind periodic promo like this, but if you join 5-10 group promos a month, that's a lot of advertising and sharing and it can get boring for your audience.
Especially starting out, stick to 1, maybe 2, promos a month. Build your reputation up and build relationships, then increase from there as you see that your audience responds well to them.
Bonus: Creating & Running Your Own Promo
A bonus section just for group promos, let's talk about DIY!
Okay, so you get into the list of promos, but none of the available promos fit your book. What now? Well, you can make your own promo. That's how all promos get created, after all!
Here's how to set it up and run it logistically: https://authors.bookfunnel.com/help/post-a-new-promo/
Running promos is generally pretty easy and similar to just participating in them, but there are a few things I want to call out.
The "Promo Description" box is the space for you to detail any theme requirements or other requirements that aren't already covered, as well as requests for how or how often to share, and anything else important to know.
I recommend browsing other promos before creating your own to get an idea of what kind of information to include. These will be different for general versus themed promos, so be sure to search out those that you want to model yours after.
I recommend using Canva or some other design software to create your header image, as this is what a lot of authors share when they share the promo. Ensure it includes the promo name and the dates it will be running.
The most successful promos that I've participated in have had other pre-made graphics available for the participating authors to share. Graphics with the promo name, dates, theme, and in all formats (square, story, video, banner, etc.) are welcomed!
Once the promo begins, other than answering any questions from the authors involved, you would treat it just like a regular promo that you are only a participant in. At the end of the promo, you'll be able to see stats and metrics for the promo as a whole, rather than just your individual shares.
Running your own promo can be fun, especially if you're in a more niche genre, or theres a lull in promos your book would fit into. Take it slow here too, and don't try to run a million promos at once.
All in all, BookFunnel is an amazing tool, and it can be used for so much more than just sharing ARCs! All of BookFunnels plans allow you to participate in promos, so be sure to utilize them!
If there's any questions, please feel free to email me as always!