After book sales stalled for Stop Putting Out Fires, I decided I to resume my book marketing efforts. Work has been so busy that I’ve had little time for anything other than monitoring my Amazon ads to make sure they’re still getting results. I knew that if I wanted to sell more books (and I do) that I would have to do some marketing.

Podcast interviews are good, but I don’t presently have time to reach out to podcasters, get everything scheduled, then do the interview. I’ve given Facebook ads a few tries but haven’t seen any results. Then there’s the fact that I wanted to try something new.

A New Approach to Book Marketing with Instagram

I have had some success with having friends on Twitter with larger followings than mine to help me promote my books to their audiences. While I don’t have the same relationships with any such folks on Instagram, I am aware of several anonymous accounts who have largish followings.

I sent direct messages to six anonymous lawyer accounts asking if they’d be interested in sharing Stop Putting Out Fires with their followers if I sent them a free copy of the book. My DM looked something like this:

I published my second book in May, Stop Putting Out Fires. I think of it as a devotional for lawyers with ideas about becoming more efficient and profitable. If you’d be interested in doing a review for your IG followers, I’d be glad to send you a copy in whatever format you like. More about the book here:

Two of the recipients responded. The first said that for $25.00, he’d post to his Stories about the book. I haven’t done any paid reviews before, so I told him I’d have to think about it. So I slept on the idea. I became really curious what would be the effect of a post about that book that was visible to his 34,000 followers. A couple of days later, I sent him a copy of the e-book and asked how he wanted me to issue payment.

That night he posted to his Instagram Stories about Stop Putting Out Fires, as agreed. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was hoping for more of an endorsement, something suggesting some familiarity with the book, and maybe (I know this is getting a little picky here) no typos.

Regardless, my first experience book marketing with Instagram was live and starting to get clicks. Since Instagram Stories only last 24 hours, I knew my experiment would yield its results within a finite period.

Results from My First Instagram Book Marketing Efforts

I sent the Instagrammer one of my Amazon affiliate links for two reasons: (1) it allowed me to track the number of clicks and purchases, and (2) it enabled me to make a few cents of whatever purchases were made via the link – this netted me an extra $1.30.

The campaign launched on the night of August 7. Over the next 24 hours, there were 146 clicks and 3 book purchases through the link.

Honestly, it’s fewer purchases than I’d hoped for. With earning about $6.00 per purchase on KDP, plus my affiliate earnings, I made about $20.00 in sales. In the short term, I came out $5.00 in the red. But if just one of those three readers goes on to buy another book from me in the future, I’ll have broken even.

If not, this still netted more results than any of the Facebook ad campaigns I’ve run. As best I can tell, none of them ever resulted in a purchase. Overall, I am pleased with this first Instagram book marketing experience. I’ll definitely consider doing it again and will have a better idea of how I want to set it up going forward.

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