Does it pay to advertise? by Ali Bacon
|Ali Bacon's debut novel
Well does it? Until recently I hadn’t even considered it. When A Kettle of Fish was published in late 2012, I already had a healthy online presence. Using my ‘platform’ to sell my wares, I could also call in online favours to shout about my new e-book without spending a penny. But two years on, while reluctant to conjure up images of deceased equines, that’s pretty much what I feel I’m dealing with. Surely my online audience and real-time contacts have by now either bought it or decided against? Yes, I think it’s time to find a new audience by doing some advertising. Will it pay? Maybe I should have consulted my blogging associates first, but having woken up one day with a sudden desire to go for it, here’s what I’ve done so far.
The first thing I considered was a listing with one of the increasing number of e-book marketing services. With these your book is emailed out to readers who have usually indicated a genre or set of genres that interest them. To test the waters, I signed up as a reader to three of these, Fussy Librarian (well I used to be one!) E-book Soda (nice name) and Bookbub (not a nice name but seems to be the biggest). Emails arrive daily with listings in my chosen genres with links to retailers and I have even bought one or two, so I can see that the system works. All of these services have or claim to have a basic quality control mechanism for submissions and some of them insist that the book is discounted from its normal price or have an upper price limit. The cost of these services is usually linked to the circulation stats for the chosen genre. These examples are all for a single day listing in the women’s fiction category.
Cost per listing
Free book $220
$1 book $440
Bookbub is the only one to give estimates of sales. They claim a paid-for book will sell an average of 2000 per listing but the spread is from 400 to 4000. Even if I make my book free (average downloads 19000) it’s a lot of money for a business with minimal profits. And no guarantees of the uptake. On the day I checked, the E-booksoda price was only $5 and I took the bait. It will be mailed in two days time on September 24th. If there’s limited impact, at least I won’t have broken the bank!
|Author, salesperson, ex-fussy-librarian
Meanwhile my POD publisher Feedaread was offering an advertising deal via Writers Magazine and Writers Forum (combined subs 13000 plus retail distribution 33,000) in which readers will visit Feedaread website and choose to read an extract from any of a number of novels for the chance to win a substantial prize. I have some reservations about this and would not have taken part if I hadn’t negotiated that the e-book as well as the paperback will be mentioned in the promotion. (Yes, there’s hard woman in there somewhere!) Let’s say the cost is a lot more than $5 but still considerably less than the cheapest Bookbub deal.
I have to confess my approach in all of this has been far from systematic and you can probably see there are other factors I haven’t gone into here. I’m also hoping that by the time these promotions run, I’ll have access to my own detailed sales figures which are at present only seen by my (micro) e-publisher.
I’d be fascinated to here how others have dealt with any of this and how they have fared. I do have other marketing plans including face-to-face events, but I’m also aware that the best plan of all might be to bring another product to the market.
Yes, never mind the sales pitch, time to get writing!
Ali has her own website at http://alibacon.com or follow her on Twitter @AliBacon