Blogaversary Day 9: My First Break-Out In Sales by Eva Pohler+Giveaway!

June 13, 2014 Blogaversary, Giveaway, Interviews/ Guest Posts 7

It’s Boricuan Bookworm’s first year, and as part of the celebration, different authors will by stopping be to talk about different first experiences.

We might be close to the end, but we still have coll authors and giveaways for you! Next up is Eva Pohler who’ll be sharing with us how she had her first break-out in sales of her published books:

My First Break-Out In Sales

After years of rejections from agents with notes such as,

“Dear Eva, You are a talented writer but…”

“Dear Eva, I love your voice, however…”

“Dear Eva, I’m on the fence on this one, but…”

I took the plunge to self-publish in August 2012. I read books about publishing, like The Smashwords Style Guide, by Mark Coker. I assembled a team, including a professional cover artist and editor. I chose which publishing platforms to use–Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing for digital and Createspace for print. Then I sat back and watched my sales dashboards.

And I waited…Snapshot_20130124

And I waited..

And nothing happened.

In June of 2013, I went to a writers’ conference called UtopYA Con, and everything changed!

My book sales increased!

Books Sold from Aug 2012 through May 2013


My Amazon author rank increased!

Author Rannk Aug 2012 Through May 2014


And now I’m a Fat Cat rolling in money!



Well, maybe not. But I HAVE doubled my monthly teaching salary, and I did it in less than a year. What did I do to achieve this success? I”ll tell you step by step.

oneI made the first book in my series free after I had three books out. I didn’t start selling until people bought books two and three after downloading the first one for free. I was very skeptical about going this route, but it was THE BEST marketing decision I have ever made!

twoAfter I had accumulated at least twenty reviews averaging a 4.0 or better, I bought a BookBub ad for the free book. This was the second best marketing decision I ever made, because BookBub exposed me to almost one hundred thousand new readers. Not all of them bought the second and third books, but a healthy percentage did, and I was able to make it on many top 100 lists.

threeI found an author in my genre who already had an established audience and I invited her to exchange back matter with me. I convinced her that I was up and coming and would bring her new readers. She (Alison Pensy) agreed. She put the first chapter of my book at the end of hers, and I put the first chapter of her book and the end of mine. We feature one another on each other’s websites. It has been a great strategy. She initially brought me a lot of readers, and now I am paying her back.

fourIn addition to my BookBub ad, I listed my free book on every free and cheap site available. If you do a search, you will find dozens of websites wanting to list your ad. Although you won’t get the enormous number of downloads as you will from the BookBub ad, you will see an increase, and every little bit helps.


fiveI developed my brand. This took me some time to figure out, but now I plaster my logo and sayings everywhere–on my website, bookmarks, t-shirt, pens–you name it.


Once I had my brand figured out, I developed a following using social media such as Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest, and my website blog. My website is connected to my other social outlets, including my Author Central Page on Amazon. I reached out to bloggers by booking blog tours. I joined groups for writers and attended more conferences. Recently, I developed a newsletter. I became an unstoppable force to be reckoned with! Hahaha. Okay. I tend to be a bit dramatic.

sevenI used a different tour company for each of my first three books, hoping to cast a wider net and meet a variety of bloggers. I developed relationships with the ones who plowed through all my books and raved about them in their reviews. I approached a dozen of them and invited them to join my street team, which they later dubbed, “Eva’s Divas.” The team has doubled in number, and the members have become my friends and an indispensable part of my marketing plan. I give them monthly missions and rewards through a secret Facebook group, and we have lived happily ever after.

eightI stepped up my publishing schedule to avoid Amazon’s “ninety-day cliff.” I learned that authors who publish or change prices once every ninety days get promoted by Amazon’s algorithms more often than those who publish less frequently. I also noticed that my sales spiked up with each release, but would begin to go down a month or two later. So I settled into publishing every three to four months.

nineI experimented with targeted advertising. I found it much more effective to use targeted advertising on Facebook than just about anywhere else, but it’s only useful if you go in and choose to target a specific demographic. I target people who are interested in reading young adult literature and who purchase books. It has served me well, especially since Kirkus Reviews compared part of my first book to The Hunger Games. I use that phrase in all my ads: “sure to thrill Hunger Games fans,” —Kirkus Reviews.

Header Ad for Facebook

tenIn addition to all the above steps, an important part of my success was creating a marketing plan. I found a template online and used it as my model. It helps me to stay focused and to divide my goals into immediate, future, and distant. It help me prioritize, and it helps me look back and analyze what works and what doesn’t. A big part of this plan is to have something special going on every month–whether a cover reveal, release party, or teaser–so that my growing readership has a reason to stay interested in me.

elevenI’m a big believer in lifting as you climb. UtopYA Con taught me that. I learned to be a collaborator rather than a competitor with fellow authors. And, to steal a line from Robert Frost, “That has made all the difference.”

If you’d like to connect with me, here are places you can find me:



And you can download the first book of The Gatekeeper’s Saga FREE HERE.

I hope to hear from you!

Eva Pohler
About Eva Pohler

I write fiction for teens and adults and teach writing and literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where I live with my husband, three kids, two dogs, and two rats (Katniss and Prim, of course). I’m also an avid reader and book reviewer. I’ve always said I never want to give up reading for writing or vice versa. I want to do both. My favorite authors are Tracy Chevalier, Ann Patchett, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Rick Riordan, and Stephanie Meyer. I have too many to name, but those are a handful of them. When I’m not spending time with the family, working, reading, or writing, I can be found watching The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, The Middle, and NCIS.

I love to interact with readers and have recently added features to my website at with this in mind. If you email me your art and/or stories based on The Gatekeeper’s Trilogy, or on Greek mythology in general, I will post them on my website for others to enjoy. I have also added a short video on the Olympians and a fun Jeopardy Game to test your knowledge. Please visit my website for more details.

Thanks for taking the time to read about me and my writing!


There will be 1 winner for this giveaway! Eva was very nice to us to donate a tote bag, pens, button, notepads, and a signed copy of The Gatekeeper’s Sons to one lucky winner! To enter the giveaway, click on the Rafflecopter  below.

    • Open to US ONLY
    • Duplicate Entries will be erased, with the exception of sharing the giveaway (See details in the rafflecopter).
    • LYING on an entry will result in the discualification of the participant.
    • Must be 13 or older to Participate

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thanks for Celebrating with us today! Come back tomorrow for more awesome Giveaways!

Marianne and Jennifer
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We're two Puertorican girls who want to share our love of reading with the world. We sometimes substitute words for GIFS and either rant or fangirl a lot in our reviews. Talk to us about anything! 🙂
  • I’m a little late to the party, but… HAPPY BLOGAVERSARY!! Ooh, and I loved this post, very informative. I learned something new today. Thanks for sharing!

  • Stephanie Shaw

    Thanks for the great info and opportunity.

    • Stephanie Shaw

      This is a great guest post!

  • I’ll see you (Eva) at UtopYA!

  • Thanks for sharing, isn’t it great when you go to those conferences and you really get a lot out of them! Congrats on increasing your author ranking 🙂