Sandra here with some ideas, information and experiences with placing ads for her books. We have discussed in other posts the methods to market with a low budget and for free, but I am hoping to gather more information from all of you as to what has worked for you and what has not with the placement of paid ads.
I am also interested in hearing from readers as to what ads they pay attention to regarding the books they buy. Do you respond to ads? How do you select the books you buy online? Do you buy most of your books online or in bookstores?
The most frequent request from Seekers in the survey involved marketing. This is the aspect of writing that befuddles most of us, including the major traditional publishers. And since we are in America and our economy is based on capitalism, we all know the value of advertisements.
|My Christmas novella will now be in print copy so I wanted to be ready for the upcoming Christmas season.|
The new paradigm shift in publishing has given authors much more freedom, choices and opportunities to publish. But it also brings real issues on how to let readers know your wonderful, best-selling book is out there. Where do we advertise to reach our audience?
Amazon has algorithms for marketing. They try to switch it around so every time you think you have it figured out, it changes. They are trying to level the playing field. But honestly, they have ended up with their own exclusivity because they end up promoting the sales that are already up. So the new and upcoming author ends up with the same frustration on getting their books noticed as they did in the old paradigm.
One of the methods for success with Amazon is to produce new books every month. This is wonderful if you have a large backlist to put out there or if you write like Ruthy and Mary, and finish thousands of words per day.
I am not one of those type of writers. I did have some backlist, but with all my responsibilities, it takes me a long time to write a book. When I do write it, I want it to sell. What author doesn’t?
So what can we do to promote sales. I remember interviewing Karen Baney for marketing advice. She was a midlist author who made several thousand dollars per month and I wanted to know what she did. She said she puts 20 percent of what she makes into advertising. When she doesn’t advertise, her sales drop.
|Karen's marketing book|
I am blessed to have the money to pay for advertising, but so far the money I’ve spent has not paid off and I think it has a lot to do with the market. I have advertised with some of the best mainstream publicity agents, but that puts my book out there to everyone. I get sales, but end up with a lot of reviews from customers who wanted more sexy or erotic romances. Or the readers wanted more Christian elements. The publicists don’t have separate lists for the types of books out there. So if an ad goes out to a reader looking for erotica, they are going to be very disappointed in my books. Or if they bother to read the ad, they won’t order it because it isn’t erotica.
I worked with Writerspace for a year, but had very little response. Most of the response was for the free books I offered.
I also worked with Pub-Craft. I met them at RWA 2016 and was impressed with their ideas. They are young and tech savvy, which I think is important in today’s market. However, when I saw where they had placed most of the ads for my books, they were placed on erotica web sights. I had specifically requested that they be marketed to the clean and wholesome list and they assured me they had one. But when I went to all the places where my ads were, most of them were erotica. So you can imagine the impression I made. LOL.
|Slide from Pub-Crafts workshop at RWA 2016 shows a list of major places to advertise.|
I used them for my audiobooks because I hadn’t had many sales with those and I would be able to track results. In truth, sales did go up with their publicity. They did have some websites that would have readers that would like my books, but I don’t think the results really impressed me that much.
The same rationale applies to the Christian market. My books are mainstream and not specifically Christian. They are faith-based, but advertising those with the Christian publicists is going to create some disappointment as well. However, I’ve had more success with them, because most Christian readers prefer clean and wholesome.
So does anyone know of any publicists or advertisers for Clean and Wholesome romance? I know there is a market for it, because most of the time when I go to booksignings and fairs where I sell many books, the readers always show more interest when I declare they are clean and wholesome. Many readers thank me for writing a good book that isn’t filled with sex and violence.
|Slide from Pub-Craft presentation at RWA 2016 shows free places to advertise|
AT the RWA conference I went to a workshop regarding the use of social media to promote book sales. On Facebook and Amazon there are options to BOOST your webpage or site. Those presenting advised that the boosts were not very effective. I agree. I tried the boost to Facebook and really all that does is go to my friends and they already know what I have.
They said the paid ads were the best marketing tool, especially Facebook. Well Facebook had a workshop in Prineville, Oregon which is only about 45 miles from here so a girlfriend (who sells her art) and I went to the presentation. We were really hoping they would show us HOW to place an ad, but they mainly showed us the statistics and data we can get from their ads. They can show demographics, who looks at your ad, what section of the country looks at your ad, the age range of those who click on your ad, etc. If you were really a marketing expert, this information would be fun. However, at this point it is Greek to me. (Laughing again) Tina did post a link last month about ads in Facebook.
|Facebook Event in Prineville, Oregon|
Unfortunately, the ad was difficult to place with my lack of tech savvy. I kept putting it off as they used so much language I wasn’t familiar with. But I did finally place an ad with them. So I will let you know next month how that went.
I also went with other authors and placed an ad in the RWA Report. They were a group of us that met up in San Diego. Now the ad includes other genres, but the headline is: “Something For Everyone” So it is clear what type of book each one is. The reader will know what type of book they are ordering. It comes out in the November issue, so I’ll let you know how that goes as well.
Be sure and check out the links Tina puts in the Weekend Editions. They are loaded with marketing tips and articles.
Do any of you writers have experience with placing ads? What has worked and what has been a waste of time and money? Any writer who comments will be entered into the drawing for $25 toward a paid ad or a copy of Joanna Penn’s book HOW TO MARKET A BOOK. This website was recommended to me by Tina. Thank you Tina. I’ve ordered the book for myself and would be delighted to order one for a winner.
Readers, I do want to hear from you as well. What ads do you pay attention to? Do online ads influence your buying? Those readers who respond will be put in a drawing for a Seeker book.
Please indicate which prize you are interested in when you comment.
I have a large pot of my chocolate mocha swirl coffee and several teas on the sideboard. I also have my grandma’s crystal platter filled with yummy fruit of the season-crisp apples, pears, grapes and sliced melons. Since pumpkins are showing up in the veggie stands, I made some yummy pumpkin bread to go with the coffee and tea.
Enjoy these first days of fall. We are seeing leaves turning here due to crisp thirty degree mornings. Time to follow the birds and head south.
Sandra Leesmith writes sweet romances to warm the heart. Sandra loves to play pickleball, hike, read, bicycle and write. She lives in Arizona with her husband and during the hot summers, she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motor home where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project. You can find Sandra's books here on Amazon. Three of Sandra's most popular books are also audiobooks at Audible.
You can read more posts by Sandra here.