Top 10 Horror Book Promotion Sites

This is part of the WriteZero Top 10 Book Promotion Sites Guide for Authors & Publishers

This Top 10 List covers the best book promotion sites for promoting Horror books

The Top 10 – The Top 10 Horror Book Promotion Sites

  1. Bookbub
    1. The largest and most effective horror book promotion site
      1. Their ‘Featured Deal’ package is what works super well
      2. They have 990,000 readers for Horror
      3. Across all book categories they have 10 to 15 million readers
    2. Strong for nearly all Horror sub categories
    3. Accepts only 10% to 20% of books submitted, and doesn’t accept short stories
      1. If you don’t get accepted, improve the fit and finish of your book and submit again
  2. Books Butterfly
    1. The 2nd largest book promotion site with 4 million readers
      1. Books Butterfly has approximately 400,000 readers for Horror
    2. Strong in most Horror sub categories
      1. Very Strong – Zombie Horror, Post Apocalyptic Horror, Survival Horror, Horror Thrillers, Dark Fantasy & Horror
      2. Strong – Alien Horror, Vampire Horror, Werewolf Horror, Ghost Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Psychological Horror, and most Horror sub categories
      3. Decently Strong – SciFi Horror, Techno Horror, Weird Fiction
      4. Not Strong – Erotic Horror, Horror Comedy
    3. Books Butterfly only takes Horror books over 150 pages in length
    4. Disclosure: Books Butterfly is our Sister Company which has successfully run over $1.9 million of book promotion packages
  3. eReader News Today
    1. A very large and trusted site that has been helping authors and readers since 2010
      1. eReader News Today has over half a million readers
    2. Strong for Horror
    3. Very reasonably priced
  4. Robin Reads
    1. A large and fast growing book promotion site that gets good results for nearly every book it promotes
    2. Strong in Horror
    3. Very Selective and only accepts 10% of books submitted
      1. The most selective horror book promotion site so please make sure you submit after polishing your book
  5. Free Booksy & Bargain Booksy
    1. Free Booksy and Bargain Booksy are sister sites which together reach between 500,000 and 1 million readers
    2. Free Booksy promotes free books and is a Top 5 book promotion site for promoting free Horror Novels
    3. Bargain Booksy promotes discounted books and is a Top 10 book promotion site for promoting paid Horror Novels
    4. Have been helping authors since 2011
  6. Book Sends
    1. A large and trusted site that has been helping authors and readers since 2012
    2. Over 210,000 email subscribers
    3. Strong results for Horror
  7. Fussy Librarian
    1. A good book promotion site that is very reasonably priced and does well for most books
    2. Has specific Horror genres
    3. As it is very, very reasonably priced it is easy to see whether it works for your Horror book
  8. To Be Finalized
    1. We are evaluating various book promotion sites that promote Horror books and will update the #8, #9, and #10 spots in the future
  9. To Be Finalized
  10. To Be Finalized

These 7 book promotion sites are all strongly recommended

  1. An author with a very well polished book should do well in all/nearly all of these horror book promotion sites
  2. An author with a good book and a decent amount of polish should do well in 60% to 70% of these book promotion sites

Please note that results for a particular book can vary from site to site because each book promotion site gathers readers in different ways and they basically have different sets of readers

Honorable Mentions – Horror Book Promotion Sites that just missed the Top 10

  1. Genre Pulse 
    1. Has a mix of email subscribers and Android App readers
    2. This is a very reasonably priced book promotion site
  2. Free Kindle Books & Tips (FKBT)
    1. A good site that gets good results for nearly all authors that promote with it
  3. One Hundred Free Books (OHFB)
  4. Book Gorilla 
  5. Kindle Nation Daily
    1. The oldest and ‘the original’ book promotion site
    2. Their ‘Free Book of the Day’ is one package that works very well
    3. They have been helping authors and readers since 2009

As Horror is a medium sized genre, and not a massive book category like Romance, Mystery, Fantasy, and Thriller, the book promotion sites do not focus on Horror as much as they could. Over time we expect Horror to grow in size and also more book promotion sites to focus on Horror

Detailed Insights on the Top 10 Horror Book Promotion Sites

To Be Added Later – We will, later on, add special insights for each of the Top 10 book promotion sites

Increasing Your Chances of Getting Accepted at the Top Horror Book Promotion Sites

Firstly, most of the top Horror book promotion sites won’t accept Short Stories or Compilations of Short Stories because they do not sell well at all. For short stories, your only option is Facebook Ads

To be quite frank, the best thing you can do if you want to sell in Horror, is write full length Horror Novels

For full length books, these are the main 8 factors that the top Horror book promotion sites will look for

  1.  The book has a very good book cover, which is apt for the Horror Genre
    1. Readers do judge a book by its cover
    2. The Horror Genre has a lot of Horrific covers
      1. Therefore, a very good book cover stands out even more
    3. Authors who have spent a lot of time and effort into getting a very good book cover made by a professional book cover designer, also tend to be the ones that have put a lot of effort into creating a well polished book
    4. Please Note: Please do not make a cover dark/gloomy/hard to see/black & white to convey it is a horror novel. The cover must be full color and bright and HD and must entice the reader to buy the book. The Horror and Darkness must be INSIDE THE BOOK, not on the book cover
  2.  The Book is a Horror Novel
    1. This is sort-of a hard requirement
  3.  A high review rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars or higher, and a good number of well written reviews
    1. The review rating must be 4 stars out of 5 stars
      1. Books with a rating below 4 stars do not sell well
      2. To the point that you are probably better off, taking it down, making the fixes required to avoid bad reviews in the future, and re-publishing it
    2. There must be a good number of reviews
      1. If you have an exceptional cover or exceptional writing even a few reviews will do
      2. However, in general you want to have 5 to 10 reviews, or more
    3. Fake reviews and poorly written reviews are both sales killers
      1. If you have any fake looking reviews, or any reviews in broken English, your book will get rejected
  4. Very well polished Book
    1. The book must be professionally edited by a professional book editor
    2. The book must be professionally proof read by a professional proof reader
  5. Very well written book
    1. The better the writing, the higher the chance the book gets accepted
    2. Ideally, you have rewritten it 2 to 5 times to ensure the story reads well and the storytelling flow is smooth
  6.  Book Genres and Sub Genres are set correctly
    1. This is absolutely critical
    2. Firstly, you must know EXACTLY who the book is written for, what similar authors are, what similar books are
    3. Secondly, you must have placed your Horror Novel in the right categories and sub categories
  7. Book is a good fit for that particular book promotion site’s readers
    1. Every book promotion site has a different set of readers
    2. Each has types of Horror Novels that do well with them, and types that do not
    3. They are much more likely to take your book if your book is a good fit for their readers
  8. The Book is long enough to be an enjoyable read
    1. Short stories do not work
    2. Novellas do not work 99% of the time
    3. Full length books are what work
      1. That is why most of the Top 10 Horror Book Promotion Sites only take books over 150 pages in length
    4. Readers do not want to weed through 50 horror books to find a good one, and then have it end in 15 to 30 minutes
    5. You have to have a full length book if you want to sell

These are all things worth incorporating into your product (your book) because they also help your book sell more

These are 7 additional factors that most of the top Horror Book promotion sides will give weight to –

  1.  The Author is a Bestselling Author
    1. If you are a New York Times Bestselling Author, an USA Today Bestselling Author, or a Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, then you have a markedly higher chance of getting approved
  2.  Exceptionally good writing
    1. If you write very, very well then your chances go up
    2. Please Note: Without good editing and proofreading this has zero value
  3. The Author has won a BIG Award
    1. Please Note: It must be a big, nationally recognized award such as Shamus, Golden Quill, RITA, Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, Booker, Man Booker, etc
  4. Very Strong Reviews OR A Lot of Reviews
    1. If the reviews are very well written and have good points in favor of the book
    2. OR
    3. If there are a lot of reviews
    4. That increases the chances of your book getting accepted
  5. Beautiful Book Cover
    1. If you have an exceptional book cover, then you will almost certainly get accepted
  6. Attention to Detail
    1. Attention to Detail in the writing or the Book Cover increases your chances of getting accepted
  7. Very good fit for Horror OR Very Good Fit for that promotion site’s readers
    1. If your book is out and out Horror
    2. OR
    3. If your book is very similar to books which have done very well with a particular book promotion site
    4. Then your chances of getting accepted go up

Primarily the sites are looking for books which will do well with their readers. This makes readers happy (the end customers) and also makes the authors happy (the business customers)

If they are not taking your book it’s because they think it won’t sell. So, in that case, focus on making your book more ‘sellable’ and more ‘attractive’ to horror book readers

Horror Book Promotion Sites – Biggest Mistakes to Avoid

By far the single biggest mistake you can make as a Horror Novel is live in the times of Poe and write short stories and novelettes and novellas and try to sell them

Short Stories do not sell

You have to write FULL LENGTH NOVELS to sell in Horror in the current day world. You can scream to the heavens about how unfair it is and how authors like Edgar Allan Poe would never make it in today’s market. It still won’t get your short stories to sell

There are some other top mistakes you should avoid at all costs

  1. Writing books that are not really scary
    1. Horror readers will respond best to books that genuinely scare them
    2. If you do deliver genuine fear and horror, they will buy more of your books, leave you good reviews, and tell other readers about you
    3. Above everything else, please make sure to deliver what Horror readers are most looking for
  2. Picking the Wrong Book Genres and Sub Genres for your book
    1. Horror is a very well defined genre
    2. Horror sub genres are also relatively well defined
    3. You have to make sure you are placing your Horror Novel in the right categories and sub categories for it
    4. You also have to make sure you really have a Horror Novel
      1. Thrillers, including Survival Thrillers, are a different category
      2. Post Apocalyptic Novels are a separate category now
      3. Fantasy and Dark Fantasy are definitely separate from Horror
  3. Getting a Book Cover that is not made by a professional book cover designer
    1. Readers are going to judge your book by the quality of its cover and by how well it matches Horror conventions
    2. After giving 1 to 5 years of your life to writing a brilliant horror novel, the last thing you want to do is sink it by getting a low quality cover or by doing a cover yourself
    3. You MUST get a professional book cover designer
    4. You MUST let him do his job and not interfere
    5. You MUST remember that the book cover’s main purpose is to get readers to CLICK ON THE BOOK COVER and not to make you happy
  4. Thinking a Horror Novel cover has to be black and white or dark and dreary
    1. This is such a common mistake that it bears highlighting
    2. The HORROR and DARKNESS should be in the words
    3. The Book Cover should not scare away the reader
    4. The book cover has the opposite goal. It has to be bright and beautiful and High Definition
      1. It has to catch the eye among a sea of book covers
      2. It has to get the reader to click
    5. Most authors think that only their own book cover exists, that readers will look beyond a poorly designed book cover
      1. That the reader will spend 3 hours reading the book and then say – Oh, this is such a good book. The book cover was a trap designed to see whether readers are serious or dilettantes
      2. In Reality, readers will decide in 3 to 15 seconds, based ENTIRELY on the Book Cover, whether or not to click on the book and go to the book page
      3. If your book cover is not very high quality, no one will even go to your book page
  5. Skipping on professional editing and proof reading
    1. Your Book is not your baby. It’s not your child. It is A PRODUCT
    2. Professional editing by an experienced professional editor makes the product polished and congruent and coherent
    3. Professional proofreading by an experienced proof reader removes mistakes and typos and makes it flow very smoothly
    4. These are both necessary
    5. People are not paying you for ‘your story’ or ‘your idea’
      1. They are paying you for taking that story and writing a very well written book about it and then polishing it into a high quality product
  6. Writing a Book for a Market that does not exist
    1. Please do market research BEFORE you start writing a book
    2. Figure out what is selling well in Horror
    3. Figure out what Horror genres and sub genres are growing rapidly, which are new emerging genres and sub genres, and which are underserved geners
    4. Write a book for a Market that exists
    5. Write a book where readers are already dying to buy books and there is not enough supply
  7. Writing the Wrong Book for a Market that does exist
    1. After finding The Right Market, many authors stumble because they then start writing ‘the book they always wanted to write’
      1. Your job is to write the book that readers have always wanted to read
      2. NOT the book that you wanted to write
      3. In a few rare cases, market research will lead you to a market where both are the same
        1. In most cases, what readers want to read is not what you are dying to write
    2. You have to do more market research and see what is selling in this Right Market
    3. You have to confirm that you are writing what is selling and what will sell
  8. Expecting your first book to be a Big Hit and getting disheartened or upset if that doesn’t happen
    1. Your first book is basically an experiment in you seeing whether or not you can write anything readable
      1. Regardless of how successful you are in your day job
      2. Regardless of whether or not you write in your day job
      3. Regardless of how powerful your story is
      4. Your first book is your first experience of learning a BRAND NEW SKILL i.e. writing books that people want to buy and read
      5. Your first attempt is usually going to be your worst
    2. People get attached to their first book as if it were their first born child
    3. It is more similar to the first wooden table you made if you tried being a carpenter
    4. Ideally, you should spend less than 10% of your money and 0% of your emotional attachment on your first book
    5. No matter what, you should not spend more than 30% of your marketing budget on your first book
      1. It is almost certainly the most unfinished and unpolished product you will make
  9. Spending all your money at the beginning of your Career as a Horror Author
    1. At the beginning you have a few things working against you
      1. Your first book is far from your best work
      2. Your first book is far from how polished your books are going to be
      3. You don’t know what works and what doesn’t work
      4. You don’t have a good idea of what you really want from Books & Publishing
      5. You don’t have an idea of what every product in the market is worth
    2. Spending all of your money in these circumstances is a very bad decision
    3. Spending even a significant portion of your money at the beginning is a bad decision
  10. Breaking Genre and Sub Genre conventions
    1. Every Horror Genre and almost every Horror sub genre has very specific genre conventions
    2. You must find out what these are, and you must follow them to the extent possible
  11. Not Listening to what the Market is telling you
    1. The market will tell you exactly what you need to know to do well
    2. How well your book does, how many reviews you get, what the readers are saying in reviews – this is The Market talking to you and telling you what you need to change
    3. Measure as much as you can. Analyze the data that you gather. Figure out what the market wants you to write. Put aside your hopes and dreams and write EXACTLY WHAT THE MARKET IS ASKING YOU TO WRITE
  12. Trying to give readers LESS value than they pay for, instead of MORE value than they pay for
    1. One Horror Author tries to sell a short story for $2.99 and then gets mad when no one wants to buy
      1. He writes endless diatribes on ‘the value of writing’ and keeps finding justifications to waste even more time and money on his upside down theory that Horror readers will pay $2.99 for 37 pages of Horror
    2. Another Horror Author writes a full length novel, sells it for $2.99, and smartly uses discounted periods of $0.99
      1. That author makes sure he has a very well polished book that is worth $10, and it is a steal for the reader at $2.99
      2. He is still making $2 per ebook sale
    3. The latter author will not only outsell the former, he will outsell the former author by 10 to 100 times
    4. Readers have the power to decide what they buy
      1. If you give them $10 worth of high quality reading for $2.99 or $0.99, they will flock to you
      2. If you try to extract $2.99 or $10 for a short story or novella worth $0 (because that is what readers value short stories at) you will just be hitting your head against the Wall of Reality
    5. Finally, it is not a captive audience. They see hundreds of thousands of books in the book store
      1. They know when an author is trying to charge too much
      2. They also know when they are getting a good deal
      3. At the beginning, your focus should entirely be on giving much higher value than readers pay and establishing yourself as a top Horror Author
        1. Once readers know you are a top notch writer, they will be willing to pay slightly more

The fastest way to improve your success as an Author is to learn from the Authors who came before you. Firstly, you have to see what worked for Authors who did well, and replicate that to the extent possible. The other side of the coin is to learn from the biggest mistakes Authors made and avoid those at all costs

If you do insist on ‘reinventing the wheel’ and ‘doing it your way’, you will end up making one or more of the mistakes on the list above. Each of these mistakes are whirlpools that can eat up 1 to 4 years of your Author Career

Horror Book Promotion Sites – Improving the Results of Your Horror Book Promotion with the Top 10 Horror Book Promotion Sites

These are the 12 things you can and should do to improve the results of your book promotion with the Top 10 Horror Book Promotion Sites

  1. [Joint Most Important] Pick the Right Market to write for
    1. This is absolutely critical
    2. The only way to massively improve results is to find A Great Market where there is lots of demand from readers and low supply from Authors
    3. Do the Due Diligence to find promising emerging markets that are growing fast and are under-served
  2. [Joint Most Important] Write The Right Book for The Right Market
    1. After finding The Right Market, you have to do more research
    2. Write the book for which there is demand
    3. Please don’t write what YOU think will sell
    4. Write what people in this great market are ACTUALLY BUYING
    5. Assumptions are the cause of all mess ups
      1. You’ve done the hard work to find a great market
      2. Now don’t ‘assume’ or ‘wish’ what book to write
      3. Write EXACTLY what is selling
  3. Make sure your book is promoted to the Right Readers
    1. You would think that after doing all the research to find a good market
    2. After doing more research to figure out what the right product (the right book) is for this market
    3. You could now rest easy
    4. Unfortunately not. You now have to make sure you use marketing and promotion methods that reach The Right Readers
      1. The readers in this market
      2. The readers who will buy This Right Book for This Right Market
  4. [Perhaps 2nd Most Important] Spend a lot of time confirming your book is in the right Horror genres and sub genres
    1. All the market research you have done
    2. Should match what genre and sub genre you put your book into
    3. The most important aspect of marketing is knowing what works and what doesn’t work
    4. If you get your book genres and sub genres wrong, it will not sell because it is placed in the wrong part of the book shop. Your target readers never go there and so no one is going to buy it
    5. How will you be able to tell what marketing methods work and what don’t?
      1. How will you be able to get feedback from readers on your book?
      2. You won’t know what aspects of your book and what aspects of your marketing need improvement
  5. Polish, Polish, Polish
    1. PROVIDED you have found The Right Market
    2. PROVIDED you have figured out The Right Product for This Right Market
    3. PROVIDED you have ways to reach the Readers in This Right Market
    4. Your level of success will be directly proportional to how good your book is packaged and how polished it is
    5. The higher the quality (the more polished it is) the more you will sell, the more good reviews you will get, and the larger and more loyal the reader base you will build
  6. Get the Best Book Cover you can afford
    1. Your Book Cover is
      1. The single most important sales tool before reader has come to your book page
        1. They decide whether to click and visit your book page ENTIRELY based on the quality of the cover and its fit with the Horror book genre
      2. The joint most important sales tool after reader has come to your book page
        1. Readers look at reviews and quality and attention to detail in the book cover as the two key drivers of whether or not to buy the book
    2. Now, you tell us whether it makes sense to do crazy things such as
      1. Design your book cover yourself, based on your experience of ZERO years of successfully designing book covers that sell books
      2. Asking some ‘designer/artistic friend’ who has never designed a book cover to make a cover for you
      3. Finding the cheapest outsourced book cover designer you can because you want to ‘reduce costs’
    3. Authors will spend $10,000 on marketing after buying a cover for $10
      1. They might as well burn that $10,000
      2. The right thing to do is to get a world class book cover designer. You can get them at every price point
        1. $30 premades at
        2. To
        3. $135 to $500 custom book covers from,, and Deranged Doctor Designs
        4. To
        5. $500 to $1,000 custom book covers from
      3. Make sure you are not spending a lot of money to promote a product whose packaging (book cover) screams to readers – Low Quality & Author doesn’t Care
  7. Don’t give power to External Sources
    1. It will take you a few years to figure out the market
    2. There will be lots of speed bumps and some dead ends
    3. If you give power to things outside your control, you will end up going nowhere
    4. Take 100% responsibility for your success
    5. If something is not working, find an alternative
      1. If something is working, double down on it
  8. Ask for Reviews
    1. Perhaps the easiest and most powerful thing you can do to improve your success as an author is – Learn how to Increase the Number of Reviews you get
    2. The most important aspect of that is – Ask Readers for Reviews
    3. Reviews increase sales, they give you feedback on where you can improve, and they get readers more invested in your work
      1. All you have to do is ASK FOR REVIEWS
  9. Measure Everything + Gather Data + Analyze what worked and what didn’t
    1. Peter Drucker wrote – What Gets Measured Gets Managed
      1. There is a reason that almost every management guide, business success guide, personal health training guide revolves around MEASURING and OPTIMIZING
      2. Measure calories. Measure Key Performance Indicators. Measure Revenue. Measure Sales
    2. What you measure gets managed
      1. If you know what is working, then you can double down on that
      2. If you know what is not working, then you can stop investing money in that
    3. The critical mistake most authors make is that they never measure and never get data on what is working and what is not working
      1. That data is actually even more important than how your first few books do
      2. That date will tell you how to allocate your resources
      3. It will also tell you what to write
    4. The Market is CONSTANTLY telling you WHAT TO WRITE
    5. If you measure and look at the data, you will understand what books you need to write to do well as an Author
  10. Gather Reader Emails and Build Direct Channels to Readers and a Reader Base
    1. The stores and other marketing channels have zero interest in your success
      1. The ideal for them is infinite competition and people with no ability to ever bypass the stores
      2. They want to commoditize reading and treat it like selling onions
      3. 1 page of a badly written book the exact same value as 1 page of a masterpiece
    2. You have to build DIRECT CHANNELS TO READERS to avert this scenario
    3. One very good way of doing this is gathering email addresses from your readers
  11. Eliminate Friction for Readers
    1. There should be ZERO FRICTION for a reader to
      1. Visit your Book Page
        1. Solution: World Class Book Cover that catches the eye and compels the reader to click
      2. Confirm Book Genres on your Book Page
        1. Book Genres should be clear in book cover, book title, genres listed on the page, author profile, and book description
          1. In ALL 5 places
      3. Confirm Book is good
        1. High Quality Cover
        2. Good Reviews
        3. Lots of REviews
        4. Well Edited Book Sample
        5. Good Writing in Book Sample
      4. Confirm Book Price is reasonable
        1. A price that MAKES SENSE for reader
        2. No wishful thinking that a reader will pay $5 or $10 or $15 for an unknown author
      5. Buy the Book
        1. Some easy, trusted way of purchasing
          1. Amazon, Apple, B&N
        2. Hosting your own store and trying to convince readers to buy straight from the authors is madness
      6. Buy your other books
        1. Your book should get them on your email list
        2. Your book should link to your other books
        3. Your email list should share when your other books are launched, are discounted, etc
  12. Get Reviews BEFORE you start your marketing push
    1. Readers trust Other Readers more than they trust anyone else
    2. A Review is a reader vouching for your book
    3. You need that IN PLACE before you start your marketing push

These are all very powerful things if you take them to heart and implement them. Please remember that your time and your money can never come back. So please implement as many of these as possible BEFORE you start putting your time, energy, and money into promoting your Horror novel

Becoming a Bestseller – Leveraging the Top Horror Book Promotion Sites to Become a Bestseller

Horror is a medium sized category and is moderately competitive. As you go into Horror genres and sub genres the categories become pretty small and it becomes pretty easy to become a bestseller

The Single Biggest Thing that will Help you Become a Bestseller

Having a book that is well written enough and polished enough to be a bestseller

5 Key Truths that will help you Become a Bestselling Author

  1.  The Game is Won or Lost in the Selection of Categories
    1. Horror has a lot of categories and sub categories. Choosing the right Horror categories to put your book in is super critical
    2. You must start off by focusing on the medium sized and smaller categories and trying to become a bestseller in one of those
    3. Please don’t try for the main Horror category until you have a very, very polished book
    4. If you select well it is very possible and even straightforward to become a bestseller in a few small Horror categories and 1 or 2 medium sized Horror Categories
    5. After you’ve worked more on your book, you can go for Bestseller Status in all of Horror
    6. You should ALWAYS have your book in a mix of small, medium, and large Horror categories
  2.  It is almost impossible to become a bestseller if you don’t have a polished book
    1. A Bestseller must sell well
    2. The biggest thing that leads to selling well (after being put in the right book categories; after writing the right book for the right market) is a very polished and well packaged book
    3. Your expectations should be directly proportional to how much time and effort you have put into polishing your book
      1. If you have not polished your book much, then best to not try for Bestseller Status
  3. Reviews and a good Review Rating are very important – A book with good reviews will sell 5 to 10 times more than a book with bad reviews
    1. In a small category you can brute force your way to becoming a bestseller even before you have reviews
    2. In all medium sized and large Horror categories you first must get reviews for your book
    3. A review rating over 4 stars out of 5 stars is also very important
  4. Sales tend to come in lower or considerably lower than your plans
    1. In our dream worlds as authors, everything goes right
    2. In the real world we have to live in, Murphy’s law holds sway
      1. Your Bestseller Marketing Push must always assume things will go wrong
      2. Because they will
    3. If you need 200 sales to become a bestseller in a medium category, you must set things up to get 400 to 600 sales
      1. That way, even if some marketing methods don’t work out, you will still come in comfortably above your 200 sales target
  5. $1,000 spent on a very polished book with a top notch book cover will go much further than $5,000 spent on an unpolished book with a decent cover
    1. Authors tend to think of polishing a book and packaging a book as luxuries
      1. They are, in fact, necessities
    2. Readers do not have the ability to reach into an author’s mind and see how good a book is or how much hard work has been put into it
      1. Readers can only see whether or not the book is polished
      2. Readers can only see whether or not the book has a beautiful cover
    3. If you have a polished book that is well packaged, sales from every marketing method will be considerably higher than if you have an unpolished book
    4. This is actually such a big difference that we strongly recommend not spending a single dollar until you have a very well polished book
    5. $1,000 spent on a very polished, very well packaged book will go much further than $5,000 to $10,000 spent on an unpolished book
      1. There is also the risk that you mis-interpret the results from an unpolished book and start thinking one or both of the book and the marketing methods don’t work

Please be mindful of these 5 things

Becoming a Category Bestseller

Firstly, you can add up to 10 book categories to your book in the Amazon Kindle store

  1. Be sure to do your market research and find 10 good categories and sub categories to put your book in
  2. Email KDP support and have them add those 10 categories to your book
  3. Only start your marketing push AFTER your book is showing up in these right categories

Secondly, you want to categorize your book into a mix of Large, Medium, and Small Horror Categories

  1. 3 Large Horror Categories
    1. Large categories are important as most Horror readers check these categories
      1. Even being at #78 in a big horror category bestseller list will drive some organic sales and will aid your marketing push
    2.  You also want to hope for the ‘best case scenario’ that your book becomes a Top 10 or Top 20 bestseller in a large category
  2.  4 Medium Sized Horror Categories
    1. These are the categories where you have a good chance of becoming a #1 or Top 10 Bestseller
    2. These Categories’ Bestseller Lists do get a decent amount of traffic
    3. These Categories are sometimes the ‘Perfect Fit’ categories for your book
  3. 3 Small Horror Categories
    1. These are the ‘will definitely become #1 Bestseller’ categories for your book
      1. Basically, you guarantee that you become a bestseller by picking at least a few small or very small categories that are a good fit for your book
    2. Becoming a Top 10 Bestseller even in small Horror Categories will get you some visibility and some organic traffic

This is a proven method (using a mix of small, medium, and large categories) and we strongly recommend sticking with this

Number of Sales Required to Become a Category Bestseller

Please Note: You must aim to get double the number of sales listed below. Things always fall apart and you will be glad you set your target higher

This is a roughly the number of sales required to Become a Category Bestseller

  1. Large Horror Category – 300 to 1,100 sales over a week
  2. Medium Horror Category – 100 to 300 sales over a week
  3. Small Horror Category – 30 to 100 sales over a week
  4. Very Small Horror Category – 10 to 30 sales over a week

Please Note: These figures are for Horror Categories. If you start going into Fantasy or Science Fiction or Thriller categories instead of Horror, those are very, very competitive and the number of sales required is considerably higher

Becoming an Amazon Top 100 Bestseller

To become an Amazon Top 100 Bestseller you need 2,000 to 3,000 sales in a week, or 1,000 to 2,000 sales in a single day

For Horror, it’s necessary to get a Bookbub Featured Deal to get that many sales. You should also get as many of the remaining Top 10 Horror Book Promotion Sites as possible, especially eReader News Today, Books Butterfly, and Robin Reads

One possible way to go about things is to set up the following structure

  1. Day 1 – Facebook Ads and a Top 10 book promotion site
    1. Facebook Ads should continue until at least Day 5, and ideally for all 7 days
  2. Day 2 – A few of the smaller horror book promotion sites to keep momentum going
  3. Day 3 – Start Books Butterfly (Books Butterfly Horror Promotions are usually 5 to 7 days in duration)
  4. Day 4 – One of the top Horror Book Promotion Sites
  5. Day 5 – Bookbub
    1. One or both of – eReader News Today, Robin Reads
    2. As many of the remaining Top 10 book promotion sites as you can line up
  6. Day 6 – 1 of the Top 10 book promotion sites or 1 or 2 of the Honorable Mentions
  7. Day 7 – Facebook Ads (should be running all 7 days)

This structure works and provided you get Bookbub and at least some of the remaining Top 10 Horror Book promotion sites, this structure has a good chance of getting you Top 100 Bestseller Status in the entire Amazon Kindle store

Becoming a New York Times or USA Today Bestselling Author

Becoming a New York Times or USA Today Bestselling Author is very difficult

  1. You need to get 3,000 to 8,000 sales within a one week period
  2. At least 500 of these sales must be from outside the Kindle Store (and outside
    1. That means you need to get 500 sales from Apple iBooks, B&N Nook, and physical bookstores
    2. Bookbub is priceless as it can sometimes generate these sales by itself
    3. Books Butterfly is also important as it has a lot of Apple and B&N readers, including 100,000+ email subscribers for Apple iBooks

Of course, the benefits if you succeed are immense

  1. Every book you ever write will see 2 to 3 times the sales
    1. Adding ‘New York Times Bestselling Author’ and/or ‘USA Today Bestselling Author’ to any book increases sales by 2 to 3 times
    2. You just have to become a bestseller once
    3. Every book you ever write will benefit from it
  2. Readers instantly trust you
    1. It doesn’t matter if they know you or not
    2. They know any author who became a New York Times or USA Today Bestselling Author must be at least pretty good
    3. The whole ‘how to get readers to trust this new author’ issue is instantly resolved in your favor
  3. You get credibility and respect for the rest of your life
    1. Whether it is Publishers or Authors or Service Providers, everyone instantly gives you credit and respect
    2. Everything becomes easier

If you are going for one of the big lists (New York Times Bestsellers List, USA Today Bestsellers List) you have to bring your A Game

  1. Your book must be very, very polished
    1. There is absolutely no room for complacency or laziness
    2. You need a professionally edited and professionally proof read book
    3. You must have rewritten the book 3 to 6 times to make it flow better and to make it easier to read
    4. It must be without errors of any type
  2. You need a large marketing budget
    1. You will need between $8,000 and $40,000 to do a proper marketing push
    2. This won’t work with a $1,000 to $5,000 budget. Much better to wait and save until you have a much larger budget
    3. It’s a very ‘Hit and Get a Big Reward, or Miss and Get Nothing’ type of situation
      1. You cannot ‘cut corners’ or ‘save money’ on your marketing push
  3. You must have absolutely excellent packaging
    1. A very well done book cover which is made by a professional book cover designer with strong experience in designing Horror book covers which sell well
    2. Your book page and author profile and book description and title must all be polished and flawless
  4. You need a good number of reviews and a high review rating
    1. Well written reviews that give good information on the book
    2. Absolutely no fake reviews
    3. Absolutely no reviews written by people who can’t speak English
    4. A review rating over 4 stars out of 5 stars
      1. Ideally over 4.5 stars
    5. No effusive reviews
      1. A review that makes claims like ‘next Stephen King’ will hurt sales, not help
  5. You need a very well planned out, and very well structured book promotion
    1. You need a very large number of sales within a short, one week period
    2. Therefore, you need everything to work very well
    3. Everything should be set up 2 or 3 months in advance
      1. Additionally, you also need to monitor things during the promotion weed

You cannot take a shot at the big Bestseller Lists until and unless you bring your very best effort and planning

Finally, there are three powerful things you can do to increase your chances of becoming a bestseller on one of the big lists

  1. Promote a $0.99 book
    1. $0.99 books sell 3 to 5 times more than $4.99 and $9.99 books
      1. Please leave your ‘books must have value’ and ‘my writing is worth more than 99 cents’ mindsets for another day
      2. To become a bestseller you need a lot of sales
      3. To get a lot of sales, $0.99 is a magical price point
  2. Promote a $0.99 Box Set
    1. Box Sets sell 2 to 4 times more than standalone books
    2. A $0.99 Box Set will sell 2 to 4 times more copies than a standalone $0.99 book
    3. As sales are so critical during your Bestseller Push, leveraging a Box Set is an excellent method
    4. Please don’t over think things and don’t self sabotage yourself. It should be a Box Set of 3 or more FULL LENGTH BOOKS
      1. It cannot be short stories
    5. The Box Set magic only comes into play if you are giving readers $10 worth of books (3 or more full length books) for $1
  3. Promote a $0.99 Multi Author Box Set
    1. You can join up with other authors in your book category and create a 5 Book or 10 Book Box Set
    2. You can pool up your money, greatly increasing your marketing budget
    3. You can share the Box Set with all authors’ reader bases
      1. This, when done right, creates a massive amount of sales
    4. When going with this approach it is important to have everyone on the same page
      1. Avoid problem participants at all costs
      2. We will say this again because a lot of multi author box sets run into problems
        1. You should never work with people who are problematic
        2. Additionally, everything should be legally bullet proof so that one bad apple can’t start suing the other authors
    5. When going with this approach, do not get greedy over ‘how much money you could make at $2.99’ or ‘how much money each author is making’ etc
      1. Focus only on becoming a bestseller
      2. The long term financial impact of becoming a bestseller will be much more than ‘who is making what’ during the marketing push

This is all very, very valuable information. Use this wisely. Remember, the biggest determinants of success are your book cover, choosing the right book categories, and having a very polished book

These are all factors authors massively underestimate, or even downright ignore. By focusing on these REAL superstar factors you can succeed

How to Increase the Number of Reviews you get after promoting your Horror Novel

Getting Reviews is an Art and a Science. It is a skill you can learn and once you learn it, getting reviews will go from seemingly impossible to straightforward

We will first discuss the 3 most important things you MUST do if you want to get more reviews

  1. Ask Your Readers for Reviews
    1. In Books we have this unique negative synergy
      1. Authors are reluctant to ask for reviews
      2. Readers have no ideas that reviews help an Author
    2. Break out of that negative cloud and ASK FOR REVIEWS
    3. Ask your readers politely to leave a review if they like a book
      1. Let them know you would appreciate a book
      2. [Optional] Let them know that them leaving a review for a book they like leads to more book sales and increases the chances you have the time and enthusiasm to write more books they will like
  2. Sell More Books
    1. Review rates vary from
      1. Zero to 3 reviews per 1,000 book sales for a ‘decent’ book
      2. To
      3. 5 to 15 reviews per 1,000 book sales for a very, very good book
    2. To increase the number of reviews you get, you can
      1. Ask for reviews
      2. You can improve your book
    3. Perhaps the most straightforward method is to simply sell more books
  3. Place your Book in the Perfect Fit Categories for your Book
    1. If you place your book in the EXACT categories and sub categories it fits into
    2. Those readers are the ones most likely to buy your book
    3. They are also the ones most likely to love your book
    4. Which makes them the ones most likely to leave good reviews

These 3 are extremely powerful and please tap into all three of these

Next, we will discuss some methods and strategies to get even more reviews, and to get better reviews

  1. Improve the Quality of Your Writing
    1. Totally under your control
    2. Difficult to do and, at the same time, if you do it, it really pays off
    3. Learn to write better
    4. Rewrite your book so that the story flows better and is more enjoyable to read
  2. Improve the Level of Polish of Your Book
    1. Hire a professional book editor and make sure the book is very polished
    2. Hire a professional proof reader and make sure the book is free of errors
    3. A well edited, well proof read book will sometimes get a positive reviews just because it is polished in a sea of half baked books full of typos and spelling mistakes
  3. Improve the Book Cover and Packaging of Your Book
    1. First Impressions Last
    2. A reader seeing a beautiful, well designed book cover is put into a positive mindset about your book
    3. Then give them a good to great story
    4. Make sure the book has great fit and finish
    5. The reader is very likely to leave a good review
      1. Of course, you have to ask them to review it
    6. Read reviews and you will see readers value the book cover, even though we authors tend to think readers should only care about the writing in the book
      1. That the cover pulled them in
      2. The cover was beautiful so they knew the book would be good
      3. The book cover compelled them to click on the book
    7. What does that mean?
      1. Readers judge a book by its cover
      2. Have a great cover and they become inclined towards leaving a good review
  4. Ask Readers AT THE RIGHT TIME to Review Your Book
    1. This is vital
    2. Ask readers who like your book enough to finish it
    3. Ask readers at the point they finish it
  5. Gather your most loyal readers on your email list and blog and ASK THEM FIRST for reviews
    1. Your most loyal readers are NATURALLY the most likely to leave a good review
    2. So ask them FIRST
    3. Not only does this get you good reviews, it also SEEDS your book page
      1. People seeing lots of good reviews are likely to be more effusive in their positive reviews, and less harsh in their negative reviews
      2. Readers HATE to go against fellow readers
  6. Improve the Quality of Your Writing Even More
    1. No matter how good you think you are, you have lots of room for improvement
    2. You are only a good writer at the point that you realize there is so much left to improve on, you will never achieve perfection
    3. Keep improving
      1. If you think your writing can’t be improved, it means you just aren’t a good enough writer yet to realize the truth that your writing is not close to perfection
      2. There are always ways to improve

This seems to be a lot of work, just to get more reviews

However, it will be well worth it

These Reviews, as well as the act of Improving Your Book to get more Reviews, will lead to a lot more sales

Reviews don’t just increase sales themselves. The very act of improving your book to get reviews leads to more sales and also more sales from repeat customers

Critical Importance of Picking the Right Horror Genres & Sub Genres

The Game is Won or Lost in the Selection of Genres and Sub Genres

It’s very important to pick the Perfect genres and sub genres for your Horror Novel because

  1. Readers in those genres are most likely to buy it
    1. Please think about this – who are the readers most likely to buy your book?
    2. Does it not make sense to put it where THESE EXACT READERS check for new books?
  2. Readers in those genres are most likely to like it
    1. Which means they leave good reviews, tell their friends, and help create word of mouth marketing
    2. Which means they are most likely to buy your other books
    3. Which means they are most likely to become your loyal readers for life
  3. Once the book starts selling, it will start showing up in Bestseller Lists
    1. If you have put your book in the PERFECT Genres and Sub Genres for your book
      1. All the readers seeing it in the bestseller lists will be The Right Readers for your book
  4. If you don’t put it in the right genres
    1. Sales will be lower, as it is not the right book for those genres
    2. Readers, if they buy it by mistake, thinking you have it in the right genres, will be unhappy and might leave bad reviews and sink your book
    3. Even the readers who do buy your book, will realize it’s not right for them
      1. No good reviews
      2. No sales of your other books
      3. No growth in your reader base
  5. Your time and money are FINITE
    1. You don’t have the luxury of putting your Horror Novel into 20 wrong categories, then realize it doesn’t work, and then re-do everything with the right genres
    2. You MUST get the genres and sub genres right the first time

Visualize yourself walking into a book store. You like Horror Books. You are not going to browse through Romance and Mystery and Thriller and Fantasy and Science Fiction and check books and say – Oh, is this perchance a Horror Novel. I want to reward the enterprising authors who plant their horror novels into the wrong categories

No, you will go to the Horror Books section and browse through the Books there

Yet, in online ebook stores authors delight in putting their books into categories their actual readers never ever go to

Put the book in the EXACT genres and sub genres

This also applies to Sub Genres and Genres within Horror

People who want to read Zombie Novels are not going to see your Ghost Story and be delighted. They are not going to suddenly stop reading Zombie Novels and buy your Ghost Story

You are just wasting the opportunity to have your book where people who read Ghost Stories go and check for new books – in the Horror > Ghost Stories book sub category

Horror Novel Vs Horror Short Story – Which should you write if you want your books to sell?

Short Answer: If you want to sell then you MUST write full length horror novels. Short stories do not sell. Neither do compilations of short stories

Long Answer: Horror Authors are hampered because the historical precedent in Horror is to write short stories and compilations of short stories

This worked great because books were often serialized in newspapers. Those were also times when the short story was a greatly appreciated art form

HOWEVER, short stories do not work AT ALL in the modern world

Why? Because readers have to sift through the ‘slushpile’ of millions of books without knowing When/If they will find a diamond. They will usually go through 19 poorly written books to find one good one

When they finally find that good Horror Novel they do not want a 20 minutes or 45 minutes good read, they want 3 to 5 hours of great reading

A Short Story -> 15 minutes and it’s over. Would you want to get through NINETEEN book and finally, on the TWENTIETH try, find a Horror Story that is worth your time and then find that in 15 minutes it’s finished?

It’s like handing a person who just finished a marathon a single finger of a Kit Kat

At least with a full length novel readers feel the search was worth it. They have something that is WORTH the hard search

This is true for every single book genre. Full length novels sell 3 to 10 times that of short stories

EVERYONE except for people who write short stories realizes that writing short stories is the absolute worst thing you can do for your career as an author

NO ONE buys short stories. Even people who write short stories don’t buy short stories. You think we are exaggerating? Find a short story author and ask them the last 5 short stories they bought in a book store or in an online ebook store. They won’t be able to name you 5

Horror Book Promotion Site Insights – Make Sure You Know & Follow the Conventions of Your Horror Book Genres & Sub Genres

While true of almost every book category, it is especially true of Horror that every sub category within Horror has its own unique and un-breakable genre conventions

There are lots of different Horror sub genres, including and not limited to

  1. Horror
  2. Psychological Horror
  3. Weird Fiction
  4. Survival Horror
  5. Post Apocalyptic Horror
  6. Alien Horror
  7. Werewolf Horror
  8. Ghost Stories
  9. Vampire Horror
  10. Zombie Horror
  11. Dark Fantasy & Horror
  12. Horror Thrillers
  13. Southern Gothic
  14. Gothic Fiction
  15. Erotic Horror
  16. SciFi Horror
  17. Horror Comedy
  18. Japanese Horror
  19. Penny Dreadful
  20. Splatterpunk
  21. Techno Horror

Thanks to Wikipedia for having dedicated pages for Horror Genres

As you might imagine, Alien Horror is completely different from a Ghost Story, which is completely different from a Zombie Horror Novel

Each Horror sub category has very specific genre conventions. It is important to follow these

Once you become a masterful writer, you can break conventions and intermix categories. Until then, we strongly recommend sticking to the genre and sub genre conventions of the particular Horror genre you are writing in

Horror Book Promotion Sites Vs Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are quite marvelous if you are an author. You can target pretty much any set of readers and put your book in front of them, and you can do it for a reasonable price (up to a point)

Facebook Ads have five big advantages

  1. Immense reach of 2 billion people
    1. Even if we assume only 10% to 20% are readers, that is still 200 million to 400 million readers
  2. Ability to target to very specific sets of readers
    1. You can target people who like Horror Novels
    2. You can target people who like Horror Movies
    3. You can even target people who like one particular Horror Movie/Novel in one particular town of one particular US state
  3. Work for books at all prices
    1. The top Horror book promotion sites are optimized for $0, $0.99, and $2.99 ebooks
    2. Facebook Ads can be used for books at any prices
    3. Facebook Ads can also be used for Paperbacks and Hardcovers
  4. If you can get them to work, they give you good Return on Investment
    1. Well, for 50% of authors Facebook Ads are not going to work. That’s unfortunate and that’s reality
    2. For roughly 25% of authors Facebook Ads are going to work, and at the same time they will not give you Return on Investment
      1. You might very well decide that getting sales and visibility is important, and you don’t mind that you don’t get positive Return on Investment
    3. For the remaining 25% of authors, Facebook Ads are going to give good to great Return on Investment
      1. If you can get into this segment of authors, you have yourself a powerful marketing method that also makes you money
  5. Facebook Ads out perform other Ad Networks like Amazon Marketing Services and Google Ads
    1. Amazon Marketing Services is much smaller, way too complicated, and will only work for 15% of authors
    2. Google Ads is over saturated and way too expensive for authors
    3. Many of the newer social networks such as Snapchat and Twitter and Tik Tok don’t really have their marketing networks stable enough to work for authors

Facebook Ads also have some weaknesses

  1.  Facebook Ads are a skillset, and you have to master this skillset
    1. That makes it a pretty big time investment
  2.  Facebook Ads cannot create a spike of sales
    1. They are best suited to creating a slow, steady stream of sales
  3.  Facebook Ads are a bidding based system and they keep becoming more competitive
  4.  Facebook Ads don’t work for roughly 50% of authors
  5. The opportunity cost of learning Facebook Ads is high
    1. That is time you could give to researching markets and finding good markets to write for
    2. It’s time you could devote to writing books
    3. As Facebook Ads are necessary, we recommend either making the time or hiring a Facebook Ads marketing expert

What is very interesting is that Facebook Ads work very well with the Top 10 Horror Book Promotion Sites

  1. Book Promotion Sites are good for creating Spikes while Facebook Ads are good for creating a slow and steady stream of sales
  2. Book Promotion Sites are dead simple to use so there is no time investment involved (there is, however, a monetary investment required)
  3. Book Promotion Sites generally aim for 70% to 90% success rate so they will only take your book if they feel they can get you a decent amount of sales
    1. This is easier to handle than Facebook Ads where you have to figure out what kind of Facebook Ads lead to sales and what readers you should target
  4. Book Promotion Sites already have a list of Horror book readers
    1. So the ‘reader selection’ is already done for you
  5. Book Promotion Sites have a fixed price, so you don’t have to worry about a bidding system where prices might spike up and cost you more than your marketing budget

In general, for most Horror authors, Facebook Ads and the Horror Book Promotion Sites will be their Top 2 marketing methods

Horror Book Promotion – Facebook Ads vs Amazon Marketing Services

Facebook Ads is the clearly better option

Amazon Marketing Services is a bit too complex, and has a much smaller number of people than Facebook Ads

However, Amazon Marketing Services does have several strengths

  1. For the roughly 20% of authors for whom Amazon Marketing Services Ads work, it will become a strong third marketing method (after book promotion sites and Facebook Ads)
    1. Please do note that Amazon Marketing Services Ads won’t work for 80% of authors
    2. So if you have a hard time getting it to work, it might be better to switch to other marketing methods
  2. Amazon Marketing Services Ads let you target the top Horror book pages, and top Horror authors’ book pages
    1. This is a great way to reach precisely the kind of readers you want to reach
  3. Amazon Marketing Services can be a valuable way to add more sales at times when you really need additional sales
    1. During a book launch
    2. When making a bestseller push

Amazon Marketing Services is worth it if you really need a third marketing channel, or if you can’t get one or both of Facebook Ads and the top Horror Book Promotion Sites to work

The 3 Core Skills for Authors

These are the three most important skills Authors must learn and master

  1. Knowing What to Write
    1. This is the skill of figuring out what market to write for, and what book to write for that market
    2. This is the skill of finding hungry readers that are not being given the books they want to read
    3. It is the skill of finding DEMAND that is not getting SUPPLY
      1. Supply which you will provide
  2. Writing Very Well
    1. This is the skill of writing a very good book which satisfies and delights readers
    2. This is the skill most authors think is the key to success
      1. Unfortunately, this is only one out of THREE critical skills which authors must master
  3. Marketing Very Well
    1. This is the skill of reaching the right readers, getting your book in front of them and closing the sale
    2. This is both Marketing & Sales

If you can become very good at all 3 skills, then you will do very well as an author

If you can become very good at all 3 skills, while also becoming world class in 1 out of the 3, then you will do super, super, super well as an author

Please also read this post on Levels of Mastery of The 3 Core Skills to better understand the 3 Core Skills for Authors

How the 3 Core Skills apply to Horror Book Promotion

Here are a few of the ways in which the 3 Core Skills apply to Horror

  1. Knowing What to Write
    1. Horror is a medium sized genre
      1. It does, however, have a very high number of opportunities
      2. With the proper market research you can figure out what genres to write in
      3. There are lots of new emerging genres such as Post Apocalyptic Horror and Creature Feature Horror
      4. There are eternal areas like Zombie Horror and Vampire Horror and Werewolf Horror
      5. There are waves which sometimes coincide with big TV and Movie hits
        1. Alien Horror
        2. Victorian Horror
    2. There are lots of emerging genres that are at the intersection of Horror and other genres like Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, and Mystery
      1. This is going to create some very big authors in the next 10 to 20 years
    3. Overall, Horror is one of the best genres to write in because of
      1. Slightly low competition relative to other genres
      2. Lots of opportunities
        1. Firstly, in certain emerging Horror sub genres
        2. Secondly, in certain Horror-hybrid genres that overlap between Horror and other genres like Fantasy and Thriller
      3. Large demand from TV Studios and Film Studios for good horror novels that can be made into TV Shows and Movies
        1. Please Note: This is very, very tough. You should hope for this, and also not plan on this happening
  2. Writing Very Well
    1. Horror has an amazing opportunity for people who can write very well and are willing to write full length books
    2. The majority of Horror Authors miss out on one or more of
      1. Writing Full Length Novels
        1. The preference for most horror authors is to write short stories and short story compilations. Those don’t sell well as readers prefer full length Horror books
      2. Writing Horror Very Well
        1. It is a skill and an art. It’s like Stand Up Comedy. In theory it seems like anyone can write Horror. In reality, it takes a lot of skill to scare people half to death
      3. Writing very imaginatively
    3. If you can be the author who gets all 3 of these right, you instantly get a big edge over almost everyone else
  3. Marketing Very Well
    1. This is a challenge and an opportunity
    2. As Horror is a medium sized genre and split up into many sub genres, it is hard to find lots of Horror readers for your specific Horror Novel
    3. Facebook Ads can help. However, where do you get the budget from and how do you compress the 6 month learning curve of making Facebook Ads work into a shorter duration, while still writing your book and researching the market
    4. The Top Horror Book Promotion Sites can help. However, they can only help temporarily
    5. You have to figure out a way to reach your Perfect Fit Horror Readers and unlike large genres (Romance, Mystery, Thriller) it is a lot of work

The 3 Core Skills are your passport to a strong and long career as a Horror Author

Please focus as much of your energy on these 3 Core Skills as you can. As an Author/Creator, it is especially difficult to focus on mundane/analytical skills like Market Research and on people centric skills like Marketing & Sales

However, these are even more important than writing a beautiful book. You have to write a beautiful book for a market where the book will be desired and appreciated (Product Market Fit) and you have to have the ability to get the book into the right readers’ hands (Marketing) and convince them to buy it (Sales)

The 11 Golden Rules of Horror Book Promotion

These are the Golden Rules of promoting and marketing Horror books. These rules should not be broken under any circumstances. The higher your resistance/aversion to one or more of these Rules, the more likely it is that you need to follow the Rules

  1. Listen to the Market and give the Market EXACTLY What Is Is Asking For
    1. Readers decide what to buy and what not to buy
      1. 90% of the pain that us authors go through is because of our inability to embrace this simple fact – Readers decide what to buy
      2. If you try to sell them something other than what they are already dying to buy, they will not buy it
    2. Step 1: Listen to the Market and what it is asking you for
      1. Readers will tell you in subtle and not-so-subtle ways what you need to write, what you need to change, what you are doing wrong, and what you are doing right
    3. Step 2: Create that EXACT Product
      1. It should be 100% what the market is telling you and 0% what you think should sell or what you think readers ought to buy
  2. The Game is Won or Lost in the Selection of Genres & Sub Genres
    1. If you pick the right genres to write in
      1. Everything else becomes easy
    2. If you pick the wrong genres to write in
      1. Success is almost permanently out of reach
    3. Deciding what to write (i.e. Picking what genres you will write in) is the single most important decision of your Author Career
  3. Product Market Fit is more important than everything else combined
    1. Product Market Fit = Writing The Right Book for The Right Market
    2. Please note that BOTH aspects are critical
    3. You have to Find The Right Market
    4. You have to Figure out The Right Book for this Right Market
    5. This (Product Market Fit) is more important than marketing, more important than how big your marketing budget is, more important than how much time you have, more important than how well you write, more important than how many books you write
    6. In fact, Product Market Fit is more important than ALL of those things combined
  4. You have to 100% let go of your desire to write short stories
    1. Only full length books sell in Horror (and in every other book category, for that matter)
    2. After you’re successful with full length books
    3. Then you can write as many short stories as you like
    4. Then you can try and sell them and go through the 9 levels of Hell of readers laughing at your attempts to sell them short stories
    5. However, to become successful as a Horror author, forsake the desire within your heart to sell 37 page short stories for $2.99 and just write full length Horror Novels
  5. The more books you write and publish in high quality, the higher your chances of success
    1. Please Note: Only books that are created and published in high quality count. Sending out 50 low quality books will not increase your chances of success
    2. Practice makes Perfect
    3. You write your first book. You do your best. You publish it. You do your best
    4. By the time you are writing and publishing your third book, you will barely be able to look at your first book
      1. All your mistakes will torment you
      2. Unless you worked with a very good Publisher and they forced you to create something very high quality, your first book will be a testament to how much room for improvement every first time author has
    5.  As you write more and more books, you will get better at writing and polishing and creating a great product
    6. As you publish more and more books, you will become better at polishing your product and packaging it beautifully
    7. As you market more and more books, you will understand what works and what doesn’t for your books. You will also being to learn the skill of Marketing and Sales
  6. Avoid self-sabotaging your Author Career
    1. If you ask authors what is their biggest roadblock, they will point to things such as – not enough money for marketing, too much competition, too much power with the stores, readers not giving them a chance
    2. In reality, the top 3 stumbling blocks are all problems that authors create for themselves
    3. First: Writing without first doing Market Research on what is selling and where the opportunities are
      1. If you write where there is a big market, which is hungry for books
        1. Everything becomes straightforward
      2. If you write based on an uneducated guess, 99% of the time it will turn out that your guess was wrong
        1. Of course, most authors then proceed to spend another 5 to 10 years trying to prove their guess was not wrong
        2. Turning 3 wasted years writing a book no one wants to buy into 8 to 13 wasted years writing and marketing a book that still no one wants to buy
    4. Second: Assuming that they already know everything
      1. Typical New Author Mindset: In my day job I have 30 years experience, so in my author career I don’t need any experience
      2. They are completely unaware that being an author is a complete profession and requires a completely new skill set
      3. These authors also seem to think that their 30 years experience in a completely different profession has 50 times more weight than the 30 years of experience people in Books & Publishing have
        1. The freedom for anyone to publish is, unfortunately, the freedom for anyone to shoot themselves in the foot by thinking that because they can publish it means they don’t need any other skills or experience or knowledge
    5. Third: Strongly Desiring to ‘Do Things My Way’
      1. The less said about this the better
      2. If you’re a ‘My Way or The Highway’ kind of person you are going to make a lot of people miserable during your journey through Books & Publishing. Most of all, yourself
      3. If you want to make things extremely difficult for yourself, then embrace ‘I Will Only Do Things My Way’
        1. It is an albatross around your neck that will curse and haunt your entire Author Career
  7. AFTER Finding a Great Market, and Writing the Right Book for it, you will have to do Excellent Marketing & Sales
    1. After achieving Product Market Fit, you then have to do very good marketing and sales
    2. Marketing – reaching the right readers and conveying clearly to them that your product (your book) will meet your needs
    3. Sales – closing the deal and getting readers to buy the book
    4. Marketing & Sales is a skillset that some authors are afraid of, some authors think is beneath them, and some authors think is just an item to check off
      1. In Reality, marketing and sales is an absolutely critical skill set
    5.  It is almost impossible to succeed as an author without becoming good at marketing and sales
      1. Yes, there is the 1% chance you will land a book deal with a very large Publishing House or a very large technology company and they will do all the marketing for you
      2. That still leaves the 99% chance you will be responsible for all of your marketing and sales and will have to learn it
  8. Have lots of Respect for Marketers and Salesmen
    1. What is the biggest factor that determines whether or not you can learn marketing and sales?
      1. Whether or not your have respects for the twin professions of Marketers and Salesmen
    2. You can only learn Marketing and Sales by studying marketers and salesmen
      1. If you don’t have respect for them, your innate bias of ‘I write books so I am better than someone doing sales’ will get in the way and destroy your chances of actually learning marketing and sales
    3. Salesmen have the toughest job and one of the most critical jobs
      1. Without sales, the rest of the company doesn’t have a salary
      2. Yet, the rest of the company never gives salesmen proper respect
    4. If you want to be successful as an author you have to embrace the twin realities that
      1. Firstly, you are now a salesmen and a marketer
      2. Secondly, you have to learn from marketers and salesmen who are good at what they do
        1. Because you don’t have 50 years to ‘learn it all yourself’
    5. At the point that you start selling well, you will suddenly find that you now respect every single person who does sales
      1. Because you finally understand just how difficult sales and marketing are
  9. It is only after Product Market Fit, and after Marketing & Sales, that quality of product matters
    1. If you don’t get Product Market Fit right, no one will be interested in buying your product
    2. If you don’t get Marketing & Sales right, no one will actually buy your product
    3. After you get those two things right, only then does the Quality of Your Book Matter
    4. It is so crazy that being a very good author and writing magnificently well has very little meaning, until and unless
      1. You learn how to do market research and find a good market and figure out what book to write for it
      2. You learn marketing and sales and learn how to get your book into the right readers’ hands
    5. Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you can ‘write very well’, everything else will be handed to you on a golden platter
  10. Reviews are inordinately important because Readers trust Readers more than anyone else
    1. A Review is basically a reader vouching for your book
    2. Reviews are the most important and most effective marketing and sales tool
      1. Well, joint most important along with your book cover
    3. Your entire strategy should be built around getting good reviews, getting reviews regularly, and getting as many reviews from your most loyal readers as possible
  11. Know Your Target Audience Very Well and Satisfy Their Needs & Desires
    1. Whatever Horror Genres and Sub Genres you pick
      1. You should know EXACTLY what the readers of those Genres and Sub Genres are like
      2. Go to a book store if you have to. Observe them
      3. Go to online forums where readers meet. Study and analyze them
    2. You have to meet Genre Conventions and give these readers EXACTLY what they expect
      1. Only after you have mastered giving them what they want, should you start making adjustments and trying to expand the genre, or introduce new things
      2. First, focus solely on what the genre conventions dictate

In general, Self Publishing is such a ‘do whatever you want’ sort of field that you can make mistakes and it’s fine. However, these Golden Rules are not ones you should mess with. They can take away 5 years of your author career in the blink of an eye

Fall 2010  and you think marketing doesn’t matter because you are such a good writer. Almost no competition so even without marketing you can sell decently. Spring 2016 and you see writers who can’t even write, outselling you 10 to 1 because they mastered marketing and sales

Please follow these Golden Rules to the largest extent possible. They will accelerate your author career

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