Back to Basics on Book Promotion – A Review of Book Candy Studios


How many of you have been tempted to or already paid for “Blog Tours”?  Did it increase your book sales? Expensive book trailer? Fun but more book sales?  When it comes to book sales, the old adage is still true: the best form of advertising is “word of mouth”. The only question is, how do you generate word of mouth without spending a lot of money?  Approximately 5,000 new books are released every month and the average author sells only 250 (mostly to family and friends).

I have probably made the same mistakes many of you may be considering making (or have already made.)   I threw away my good hard-earned money ($500) on a print advertisement that yielded no book sale results whatsoever.  My marketing rep told me that another of her authors spent a lot of money to advertise on the Drudge Report website that gets millions of hits per day.  Do you know how many book sales it rendered? Zip-zero-nada.

Here’s what I’ve come to learn by my real-world experiences of trial and error in book promotion on what really works.  Focus your time and money on getting to know real PEOPLE (i.e., your readers, bloggers, etc.), and avoid the lure of the quick fix gimmick who promise: “we’ll make you a bestseller, buy my secrets to getting on Oprah” promotional teases.

If you don’t know a lot of people and aren’t famous, how do you tell a lot of people about your book and more importantly, how do you make them want to get it? This is where social networking and viral marketing programs come in.   You see, regardless of which social networking site you prefer (i.e., , FaceBook, Gather, Goodreads, MySpace, Ning, Shelfari, Twitter, etc.,) here’s what they all have in common: real living breathing people most of whom are interesting, polite, and supportive.

But here’s the key, you don’t mass market to them. You don’t pitch them on your book. Rather you get to know them. Best of all, unlike traditional advertising which runs and then expires, these communication platforms build over time (i.e., 5 friends, 25, 150, 600, 3000, and on and on) month after month and year after year as long as you tend to them (like a garden).

When my book (The Victor) was released last spring, I was looking for a book promo company that had access to a large database of people I could reach out to and contact personally but I didn’t even know how to Google search for them.  Fortunately they (Book Candy Studios) found me and not by spamming me, but by a simple personal hello.

They do things very differently.  The company was started by the loving husband (and former marketing executive from the world of hi-tech start-ups) of a published author.  When he observed the level of competition and “marketing noise” facing authors and the never ending cycle of spend, hope, and spend again, he designed a program around the growing adoption of social networking to help authors build for the long run and get back to basics.

Yes, they do book trailers (great ones) and numerous other things to add sizzle around one’s book, but the most important thing they do is give the author the attention, tools and training to reach out and touch an ever-increasing audience base on an on-going and indefinite basis.

My friends on Facebook increased exponentially from a meager 100 to over 500 in the space of a few months as a result of their work and I have made numerous new “friends” who are not only interested in my book but include a gentleman who wants to adapt it into a screenplay and another who has made it his current project to contact several hundred people on his own to tell them about it as a result of the friendship we have formed.  As a result of all the networking I have done on behalf of my book, I can honestly say I have made over 40 new good, close friends all over the U.S.  through these social media sites who have not only read my book but are rooting for its success and spreading the word because we have developed a relationship.

But what really promoted me to write this piece and share my experience with you is not how many new friends I’ve acquired, but rather this company’s humble personality.  You see they don’t claim to be “experts” that know more than me. In fact they admit anyone can do what they do for social networking, they simply provide an extra-pair of hands to help an author offload some of the work so they can focus on their book. Oh and to those who (like me) say “hey social networking sites are free,” I laughed when the owner said “So is sand on the beach, but can you make a sand castle? And if you don’t know how, we’ll tell you how to make one yourself.”

We’ve all heard the saying “give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach a man to fish and he eats for life,” I think that best describes my experience. I was even stunned when they took my call on a Saturday night at 11:30PM to discuss some ideas.

No one can guarantee increased book sales (and if they do they are snake oil salesmen) but word of mouth has been a tried and true method for many years; it’s just that now word of mouth is through social media and that is where this company Book Candy Studios can really help. They must know something since I’m sharing my “word of mouth” with you!

If you would like to talk to Book Candy Studios about your book and what they can do to help you promote it, you can contact Sandy Rea at Book Candy Studios (a.k.a. Book candy Sandy) and tell her that Marlayne Giron referred you;  she is great and will treat you really well.   Email: sandy@bookcandystudios.com. Their website is: www.bookcandystudios.com

  • lindareedgardner@yahoo.com

    This sounds wonderful and all, but I am mystified as usual, as to how most people find the time to work a full & part-time job, sleep, run the house and kids everywhere, keep in touch with elderly family members who need help, friends who are lonely, yada, yada, and still get involved in posting on all these web sites.
    I’ve done some of this, and it takes forever to respond and post in a coherent and involved way. Is this just me? Being female? Being responsible for all the things men are not expected to do? Because the women do them? Because other people are really angry when women say no? Sign me grateful for the tip but overwhelmed with stuff to do already.Sounds like being on Authonomy. Fine idea, way too labor-intensive.

    • It is overwhelming but it is also my passion. I waited so long for my book to be published that I am in it for the long haul and actually enjoy all the marketing stuff. Fortunately I only work part-time (I’m underemployed) and I’m not on all the sites a lot of the time. I do a little each day and have met wonderful friends online who actually help me!

  • I’ll check them out. I’ve used another book promotion service I pay $39 a month after $140 set up. They gave lots of promo all over every social networking site, but I can’t say that sales increased. Even had two large book release days and blogging opportunities. Of course, I’m only selling prostitutes and masked men, not vampires. That’s probably why. 😉

    I’ve also paid for ads elsewhere too on front pages that get millions of hits – zip, nada, zilch!



  • lindareedgardner@yahoo.com

    All right. This seems like a good time to bring up the name of Karen McMaster, a lovely person from my own state (Wisconsin) and the wonderful success she has had with her SP books. JA Konrath & the Wall St. Journal, among others, have written about her success on the internet with her sp books. She says that she also invests time on various Amazon and Kindle sites. Clearly she has written books that interest readers. Not books about vampires. Is there life after Justin Cronin’s trilogy about vampires? Will it ever end? Shall we all simply resign ourselves to writing nothing but vampire books?
    There must be some answers here somewhere. The determining factor always seems to be…write something that readers want to purchase. So simple. So difficult.