Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Advertising Strategy Part II

Are you a fan? For new releases and author news, you can sign up for my mailing list HERE.

Last post I talked about the basics of my strategy: have a series, make the first book free, and "overkill" a consistent message.

This is the post I will talk about where I advertise, which is really the meat and potatoes of what I do.

When I first began writing and learned that there were companies out there selling something as basic as a single tweet (to thousands of followers), Facebook posts (again, to thousands of followers--or friends, in the case of Facebook), or an email sent out to a list, I scoffed. It was absurd to me to think that people would pay enough attention to that kind of advertising that it could make any significant impact in sales for an author like me.

I've had experience with email marketing and social media advertising in the past (through my regular job) and none of them worked. Why would I ever consider paying good money for something I'd already tried before that didn't work?

Well, let me tell you--Twitter and Facebook may not yield high results, but email marketing, for books, absolutely does. If you're an author struggling to get yourself noticed, this is the road for you to take. Now, there are a lot of companies out there that provide this service. All of them, bar none, will promise to deliver amazing results. Unfortunately, you don't get to put that to the test until you've already paid them.

This is the post where you learn which ones work, and which don't. This is the post that will save you a lot of time and money. Now--keep in mind as you read this: some of the sites I list here that didn't work for me might work for you. Maybe I'm the wrong genre for the majority of their mailing list. Maybe the size of their list has grown significantly since the last time I used them. Try them if you like. Actually, I encourage it, and would love to hear back from you if you have positive results.

I can only tell you my experiences, and let you make the decision from there.

As I said in the last post, I go on a six-month rotation. Most sites regulate how often you can advertise a book with them. Most will allow an author to advertise different books once per month (meaning if you have multiple titles, you can advertise a different book once a month). But if you want to advertise the same book over and over, the waiting period is usually longer. Keeping in mind (from my last post) that I only spend money on advertising my free book, I'm forced to go with the max amount of time between postings. That's fine with me. I want to give the mailing list time to grow between mailings. I don't want my book to become the equivalent of 'spam' when their mailer goes out. Six months, to me, seems like an acceptable period of time to satisfy those requirements.

I follow the 15 Day Rule: I try and have something go out every 15 days. I want people to see my book, my name, and my graphics as often as possible, and in as many places as possible: brand recognition. By doing that, I establish trust in my product, because the more often someone sees a name or logo, the more likely they are to believe it is legit. I am legit, and I'm not afraid to shout it from the rooftops.

There are only 3 companies that yield strong enough results that I don't worry about following up 15 days later. For those, I wait 30 days. For the sake of an easy example, I'm going to start the list on January 1, although that isn't necessarily a date I use.

My rotation, the cost for each, and the results (for me) are as follows:

  • January 1: ($130 for a Scifi Listing) Last run, 15,239 downloads on the day of the ad  *Bookbub is by far the best of any ad site. I skip 30 days for this one
  • February 1: ($0, for now. They will soon charge for free listings) Last run, 376 downloads on the day of the ad
  • February 15: ($5) Last run, 487 downloads on the day of the ad
  • March 1: ($0--free books are free listings) Last run, 1522 downloads on the day of the ad *2nd best results I've ever had, I skip 30 days for this one
  • April 1: ($50) Last run, 538 downloads on the day of the ad
  • April 15: ($8 premium) 155 downloads on the day of the ad
  • May 1: ($25) Last run, 423 download on the day of the ad
  • May 15: ($5) Last run, 128 downloads on the day of the ad
  • June 1: ($50) Last run, 667 downloads on the day of the ad *3rd best results, I skip 30 days for this one
  • *repeat beginning July 1
As you can see, you don't always get what you pay for. High cost does not always equate to the highest yield in sales, but these sites are the ones that have given me the best results. I can tell you this: I'm averaging over $1,500 per month in sales, and I'm spending $510 a year in advertising. It's a no-brainer.

Bookbub is the site that will "make you," but recognize that they are choosy. They decline 90% of their submissions. It took me 7 attempts (once a month) to get approved for an ad, but it was worth it. If they decline you, don't give up. Set a reminder for yourself and submit again 30 days later per their policy. Persistence will pay off.

Now for the ugly: the sites that didn't yield results for me.
  • ads: don't do it. I put $50 in their fund, have changed the layout and wording of my ad dozens of times, and have had no results.
  • Google Adwords: you pay per click. If someone clicks on your ad, it costs you. But that doesn't guarantee a sale. I did them for six months, spent over $300, never saw any increase in sales.
  • Hotzippy ( and Very professional site. It gives you confidence just looking at it, but I saw no increase in downloads. $30.
  • I really like this site, and I really like the owner, Vinny, but it didn't help sales. It was only $10 though, so maybe worth a try again in the future.
  • no spike in sales, not even a blip. $15.
  • Spent $50 for the ad and actually saw a decrease in sales on the day it went out.
There are other sites that advertise books, many of them. I realize I haven't listed them all, but these are the ones I've used. I welcome comments, insight, or experiences from other authors that aren't the same as mine for comparison, especially with regard to sites I haven't mentioned.

I know how hard it is to find good advertising in this business. I know it can feel like every other author out there is in direct competition with you, and yes--they are, to some degree. But the great thing about books is that it isn't like "Big Mac" vs "The Whopper". Readers will try both, and if both products are good they'll come back for more from both authors. So for me, I'm happy to share the way I operate with other writers.

I hope I've been helpful.

Are you a fan? For new releases and author news, you can sign up for my mailing list HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.