I was in YAlitchat on twitter the other night and won a book for SHATTERING THIS MYTH:
YOU CAN’T PROMOTE YOUNG ADULT BOOKS ON FACEBOOK. <–BUSTED!
I honestly didn’t realize that was a myth. Then we started talking about it and I realized there’s a simple reason why I didn’t buy into the myth.
And I focused entirely on facebook.
As the Tweeting rolled along, I noticed that there are a TON of writers out there who don’t know marketing basics. And why would you? You’re a writer, not a marketing maniac.
But in today’s market you have to be both. This is the reason I didn’t go the traditional publication route. The publishers and agent asked me - how do we convert the facebook fans to buyers? I couldn’t believe they asked me that. I couldn’t believe they didn’t know. That’s their job. How did I know, and they didn’t? I pulled my manuscript and walked away. And I haven’t looked back.
The marketing world is shifting, and it’s not only affecting publishers. I’m self-employed and have been for years. Learning these things is so important. Even if you are traditionally published. No one – NO ONE – can promote your books better than you. Period.
So, how do you learn these things? Most of us didn’t go to school for marketing. And learning by trial and error is expensive. And stupid. Well, guess what? There are easy ways to avoid costly mistakes.
BOOKS. You’re gonna slap yourself in the head when you realize how much you can learn on your own. When a person first looks at marketing there is a total information overload. If you look for marketing books on Amazon or in BAM – there are TONS OF THEM. There are words you’ve never heard before. And what kind of marketing information do you need? Traditional? Networking? Gorilla? If you’re like me your first thought was, WTF is Gorilla Marketing?
Marketing as a whole appears daunting, but it isn’t once you are aware of the basics. And that’s what I’m going to talk about.
There will be a series of blog posts about some of the basics of marketing, including stuff about social media, expensive/stupid things that don’t work, and marketing techniques that are so simple – you can do them right away. And you can use this info if you are traditionally published or Indie.
So what’s MARKETING anyway? Marketing is what you do to promote your book. It’s the means of getting your ads in front of people. Think of an ad as a static means of communicating that you have a book for sale. Marketing is active. It’s how you go about promoting your book. See the ‘ing’? That infers you’ll be doing something. Don’t expect money to fall from the sky just because you have a pretty ad. Life doesn’t work that way.
Since this topic scares the hell out of people, I’ll start small. Think of it as an introduction to help you understand this crazy world of promotion. If the word marketing makes you feel queesy, think of it as ‘making your book visible to the public.’ Because that’s what you will be doing.
While we are talking about marketing, you will read the term ‘channel.’ Each ‘channel’ is a different means of advertising your work. Examples of different channels are: a movie theater ad, a newspaper ad, and a cardboard display at Barnes & Noble. Typically, marketing is done most effectively using three different channels simultaneously.
Each is channel different. Each channel targets differently. There is statistical information for each, including typical response rates. Based on what I was hearing on Twitter, I wanted to talk about some of the most common marketing channels used by authors. It should help you consider what is effective and reconsider what’s not.
PRINT ADS: PHYSICALLY PRINTING AN AD
Think twice about doing anything in print. This includes but isn’t limited to postcards, mailings, billboards, newspaper ads, etc. You can tell it’s a print ad if the marketing campaign requires you to physically print something.
Print is very costly with a low return rate – and that is assuming you created your ad with a call to action, correct prompts, and a deadline. How low? Say you do a mailing. You make a pretty little postcard and mail those babies. The cost is $100′s of dollars, and that is assuming you create your cards and mail them yourself to a small number of people (1,000 or less).
What is the statistical response rate on snail mail? 1%-3%. That’s it. Using snail mail to entice people to buy your book is expensive. Example: A mailing of 1,000 pieces can easily cost you $1 a piece. That’s $1,000 that you would need to recover before turning a profit. Mathematically, a 3% response rate on your book is 30 people. The average author is making $1.14 profit on a book, which means – if you did well – that you made $34.20 from that mailing. And honestly, 3% is high and is usually from a targeted mailing – not a wide spread, un-targeted mailing. (We’ll get into target demographics in another post). Do the math. How many books would you have to sell to make that postcard print run and mailing financially worth it? The math doesn’t add up. And any time the math doesn’t add up – DON’T DO IT! This promotion cost you -$965.80. That sucks. And it doesn’t have to be that way.
Some people will cry and ask - Well, what else is there? Marketing is expensive and return rates suck on everything! Yeah, that’s just not true. Some very effective marketing is very cheap. Most people think of mail when they go to promote their book, because they get so much crap themselves. But there are better ways to spend your money.
Come back later for the next marketing post: Marketing for Writers & Authors Part I: Making the Most of Your Online Presence. It’s simple, easy, and cheap and/or free. And you can do it right away!