Monday, June 20, 2011
Tales From An Indie Author: Advertising
Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does. ~Steuart Henderson Britt
So you've written a book. What now? Tell people about it! That, my friends, is advertising. Specifically, today, I'm talking about PAID advertising.
My book, NOT JUST FOR BREAKFAST ANYMORE, was printed by Lightning Source and I advertised in the Ingram catalog (The one they send out to bookstores).
My sales were disappointing, but I was only offering a 35% discount (I've since learned that 40% to 50% is a minimum enticement for bookstores). Next time I will price my print book to accommodate this discount. We'll see.
GR recommends linking back in their ads to their site to create a buzz (discussion + internal links (TBR)). This does not necessarily result in sales. So I also tried linking directly to Amazon.
My findings? Good return on investment, but surprisingly more on the print side. Ebooks are usually an easier lift for an indie than traditional books. Mine sell that way, ten to one. But that could be because of the demo of GR's more than anything else. Next time I will devote more resources for GR's ads. Didn't try Facebook ads, but will next time.
A must try. Best ROI. Also, the most expensive. Their audience of dedicated ebook buyers is exposure you need. Together with their family of affiliate sites, there is a place for your book somewhere. I had my best luck with their daily kindle sponsorship, some with their ipad ad, and to a lesser extent with their weekly newsletter (though that could be advertising fatigue, it ran last).
I took their free money (trial) and ran a campaign alternating print book ads and ebook. Nada. Zippo. I just don't think that Google ads—as currently set up—are well suited to selling books; the profit is so slim that their low-priced ads generally get pushed too far back to be seen regularly.
No luck with static book ads on well-traveled book review sites. This might just be me, but I've yet to hear different from anyone else.
Kindle in the Wind styles itself like Kindle Nation, but at a much cheaper price. My experience is that it updates irregularly (and only listed my book for twelve hours instead of twenty-four). When my original ad failed to run at the appointed time, their customer service was underwhelming.
What I've Learned
My takeaway from this first campaign is to focus on advertising to ebook buyers. That's the driver of indie success. Hello Amanda Hocking! McQuestion anyone? My next book will be more geared to that demo. And now that I know of proven performers in advertising, I'll be able to make better use of my marketing dollars.
How about you? Any lessons learned you'd like to share?
What would happen...
If you gave an attention-shy twelve year old boy an embarrassing pet: Get kicked out of town? Make the baseball team? Both? Read all about it in NOT JUST FOR BREAKFAST ANYMORE.