Indie book review site Self-Publishing Review (SPR) has partnered with CreativIndie to offer self-published and indie press authors the opportunity to reach #1 in their category on Amazon on the launch day of their e-books. The Self-Publishing Review and CreativIndie are so confident their newly launched Bestseller Book Launch Package will work, they have offered a money-back guarantee on the service. It’s a bold claim to make and one that will instil enthusiasm and suspicion in equal measure among authors.
The package combines building an author’s platform with what SPR describe as ‘solid, provable marketing techniques we are so sure about we will give you your money back if you do not reach the number 1 spot the day you launch your ebook on Amazon.’
I spoke to SPR’s founder Henry Baum on Thursday following the announcement of the new service.
[It] seems like a big claim, but Derek [Murphy of CreativIndie] has a track record with this and we’re happy to promise it or your money back. We believe we’ve really hit on a formula that is going to be worth a shot for serious authors who want a professional marketing package and not just a platform for their work. Given it’s a money-back guarantee, you’ll see that there’s only ten places a month and there’s an application process. So we are going to be offering this quite exclusively so that we can be certain of our claim – there’s a prerequisite to the program.
SPR will evaluate applicants on an individual basis for the package and consider the quality of the book; including whether the book has been professionally edited, has a suitable and appealing cover, that the content of the book is marketable, and SPR and CreativIndie can deliver on their claim of a #1 spot for the book on launch day. Applicants will get a free mini evaluation of their book’s viability to market regardless of whether the book is accepted or not.
Derek Murphy of CreativIndie believes that many book marketing packages sold by companies in the self-publishing arena simply don’t work. In a recent post on his website he expanded on why he believes this is the case.
I see a lot of small publishing companies and book publicity “experts” offering book marketing packages that look something like this:
- Standard Author website
- Fan e-mail list for your website
- Social media accounts with weekly updates (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+)
- Search engine optimization
- Book listing on Goodreads, Shelfari, and other book listing sites
- Amazon book promotion and management
- News release service – 1 blast
- 100 business cards
- 100 bookmarks
- Weekly reports
Murphy believes most of these services focus on platform rather than actual book marketing.
Those are bare minimum things that yes, you should probably do. However, all that gives you is equal shelf space, shared with thousands of other authors. With those elements you’re “in business.” You can hand out business cards. You can write articles on your blog. You can show up in search engines (but probably only if someone is searching for your name or the name of your book – and nobody is going to do that if they don’t know who you are). Book lists on book sites won’t do hardly anything, because there are tens of thousands of books.
And he makes some highly acute points on how press releases and social media are used.
Press Releases won’t do shit for you unless you have a powerful story (publishing a book is not a story). Social media is a good idea, but what are they posting? Are they creating content or curating content that your target readers would enjoy?
Murphy has strong views on the often chanted ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy of marketing.
Although yes, you kind of need all of those things AFTER your book is successful and people are searching for you, you don’t really need any of those things before. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a bunch of stuff that’s not going to sell your book at all, focus on driving people straight to Amazon with targeted Facebook advertisements, advertising on relevant blogs or sites that attract readers who enjoy your niche or genre.
He also has concerns about companies selling blog tours, particularly if the author knows nothing about the real traffic of a blog and its ability to engage readers of books.
My educated guess, however, is that blog tours don’t work. People don’t hang out on websites that post banal crap about any book that pays them. People want curated content, not advertisements. People who take your money to organize blog tours probably don’t know anything about internet marketing or what it really takes to sell books. […] Some blog tours may be well worth the money, but again… I doubt it, because blogs that have an engaged readership can’t be bought.
Only time will tell if this new marketing service by SPR and CreativIndie will work and prove its value at $899. The program is outlined below:
- Guaranteed to attract at least 10 reviews naturally (genuine, unsolicited, unpaid reviews) on Amazon.
- Best ten keywords and 5 categories suggestion report, along with analysis of sales figures and rankings in those categories.
- Guaranteed #1 in your category on Amazon on launch day
- Publicizing your launch on dozens of high traffic sites during launch week
- A highly targeted Facebook Ad campaign to help the right readers discover you
- A blogging plan (Word doc) including 25 SEO optimized article titles you can use to keep traffic coming to your site long term
- 3 guest posts placed on high traffic sites during launch week that will keep sending traffic for months to come, for example, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, or more genre-specific sites.
- Lead Story Review Package the week of the launch guaranteed 4 or 5 star review (because we only accept 4 or 5 star quality books to this program) shared on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Linkedin groups and AllTop reaching thousands of book fans
- 20 tweets the week of launch on SPR’s Twitter
- 10% off all future orders with SPR
You can apply for the Bestseller Book Launch Package at this link.