Book marketing is at the heart of our business, so we were delighted to hear that Byte the Book member and independently published children’s author, Karen Inglis, has seen her time travel adventure for ages 8-11The Secret Lake hit Amazon UK’s children’s bestseller lists in recent weeks – at one stage ranking at 236 in the whole of the Amazon UK print store.
What’s especially interesting is that this isn’t a new book – in fact it was the first story that Karen self-published back in late 2011. We were naturally keen to find out more!
Karen says that before The Secret Lake started to rise through the Amazon ranks it had already sold over 7,000 copies – of which around half were at school events and 600 on Amazon in the USA. It had also sold several hundred copies in Waterstones around southwest London following signings she held there soon after it came out – her local branches were hugely supportive of it.
“All of these sales had been achieved by painstaking traditional marketing and PR efforts – contacting local schools and bookshops, researching bloggers, engaging with local press and having a social media presence. However, without the muscle of a national sales team I had struggled to make it more widely known in the UK,” she said.
So what changed?
Karen says that digital advertising has been the game changer. “Self-published authors can now compete on a level playing field with all publishers in the quest to find new readers and this can be especially effective on sites where book buyers already congregate, notably Amazon and BookBub. The author has full control of targeting and the means to stop, start and test to see what works.
“If your book has a strong cover and a proven track record then I think you have a good chance of doing well. Few readers know or care who published the books they buy. The Secret Lake had built over 40 good reviews on Amazon through organic sales over the years and I’m sure these helped it stand out once it became more visible through advertising. The hard work I put in through traditional marketing over the years – achieving close to 11,000 across all my titles by the turn of this year – has paid off in more ways than I had expected. And thanks to the halo effect I’ve seen a jump in overall online sales of all of my books.”
This is a story of old meets new in more ways than one. In The Secret Lake Stella (age 11) and Tom (age 8) discover a time tunnel and secret lake that take them to their home and the children living there 100 years in the past. The story was partly inspired by the communal gardens of Notting Hill and partly by Isabella Plantation, a beautiful woodland in London’s Richmond Park.
If you have an 8-11 year old in you life who’s in need of a summer read check out The Secret Lake on Amazon here – or you can order it from your local bookshop.
Karen is bringing out a comprehensive non-fiction book How to self-publish and market a children’s book in late June/early July– sign up here if you’d like to be notified when it’s released.