Results, and Recommendations Regarding Promoting Books

I promoted my novella Hands on EBook Soda; results, not much. On the other hand, the cost was low ($10) and my other books took a jump; even my short story, Ants, sold a copy. In fact, at least one copy of all my books has now sold in the US market this month.
I didn’t expect much from Hands. It’s a novella, essentially a half-novel, and they don’t sell as well as novels, even at a third of the price for a novel. Also, the book is written in a version of Elizabethan English, with things like “I trow…” and “Forsooth”, tossed in. Not popular.
But I’ve written them about promoting my other, much more popular, books. The problem is that 8-review minimum. Darwin’s World only has 7 reviews (average 4.5), while Combat Wizard has 5 (also 4.5 stars). So I’ll see what they have to say. So far, the best price/results have come from promoting Darwin’s World via Ereader News Today.
I’ve compiled a list of promotions I’ve tried and what the results have been, plus an investigation into other promotion options that might come into play next year.
One caveat: most promotions require high-quality manuscripts, no typos, grammar errors, etc. For most, that means professional editing, which can cost several hundred dollars.
Conclusion: if you’re starting out, you’ll need to pay if you intend to be a professional writer and make a living from writing. Expenses include professional book covers, editing, and marketing; payoff, not guaranteed.
Or you can avoid the expenses, invest only your time, and see little income. For a few, the lightning strikes; for most of us, it strikes someone else.
These are promotions I’ve tried and that I’m considering for next year:
Via Facebook: useless. About $50 spent, no return.
**Via Ereader News Today: good results. $20 spent, more than a hundred sales, some ancillary sales.
Via Choosy Bookworm: The Read and Review program is too expensive, no guarantee of quality of the reviews ($200). The Featured and Premium listing is acceptable ($8 and $20), but requires a minimum of 8 reviews. I’ll try this one in 2015.
*Via Kindle Freebies and Kindle Countdown Deals:  Some results initially, few or no results later. I’m removing my books from the Select program as they come off the 3-month listing, publishing instead through other outlets such as Apple’s iBooks and Kindle’s Nook. There are others too. I may give Smashwords a try. I’ve avoided it because the Meatgrinder is notoriously fickle regarding your submitted manuscripts, but others like SW, so I don’t think I’ve got a lot to lose.
Via Kindle Book Review: no results yet; promotion scheduled for January. ($40).
Via eBook Daily: they appear to feature only free books. The flood of free books means that books-for-sale are at a huge disadvantage. Better for readers, worse for writers.
Via BookBub: Very expensive; for $1 Action Adventure, $380. For Sci-Fi, $350. Advantage, statistics are immediately visible. According to one report, you’re likely to gain exposure, gain readership, add to name recognition, not likely to make the investment back.
Via BookGorilla: price is acceptable, sold out until April 2015. Books priced at $1, cost is probably $75-100.
Fussy Librarian, error-free manuscripts, 10 reviews, 4.0 minimum. Price reportedly is free.
EBookSoda; one listing for Hands, $10, some return. Try CW? DW? IF low returns, abandon this site until they acquire more readers.
Via Goodreads: some slight effect, difficult to quantize. I’m expanding my ‘friends’ list, which may help. Price is free.
So there you have it, my experiences and recommendations.

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