Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Hello Seekerville,

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.

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.


Marianne Barkman said...

Hi, Sandra. I buy most of my books from bookstores or from authors themselves. Occasionally I have bought from an online store, but that's the exception.

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Thanks Sandra for a thought-provoking post.

I have NO idea.

Of late, my FB posts are getting extremely few views, 30-70 versus 200-300 months ago. I'm doing what I always have done so something has definitely changed on their end. Haven't tried the boost but did spend several $100 on FB ads 2 yrs ago - I don't think I got one sale.

Advertised in a regional Christian paper. I too write more inspirational type books, not Christian per se but I thought it would have an appeal. Didn't get one sale that I know of, though I think it helped with publicity in general. They saw May the K9 Spy and perhaps when we met at a festival they knew us from that ad. One person told me they saw it. /sigh/

My current plan is to get all 4 ebooks everywhere (currently only on Amazon), set book 1 free, then to go for Bookbub. Worth a shot.

I write middle grade, so it's an entirely different situation.

Still do best IN schools. If I can get a school visit scheduled, I can sell many books and plush in a short amount of time.

Have thought about placing ads in school magazines or library journals too. Might tackle that also.

As far as buying books, hard to say. Ads don't affect me much really. It's word of mouth for the most part, like nearly everything else.

Thanks again for interesting post and for y'all addressing an issue important to us all.

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Oh. And I'd be interested in the ad for prize. Hopefully can learn some places to use it. Will be sure to report on how it went too! :)

Vince said...

Hi Sandra:

I used to place $50,000 of retail newspaper advertising a month with the sales figures for that day's ad listed at the top of the ad and placed in the employee break room for all to see. I learned very quickly what worked and what did not work.

Here's the key to making ads work.

1. Learn as best you can who your best prospects are, that is, who will buy you book if they just knew it existed. You must get the 'low hanging fruit'.

2. Determine what the most cost effective way there is to run ads that will reach those best prospects.

3. Write the ad headline so that it must attract the favorable attention of the best prospects for that item.

4. Demonstrate how your book really is one these prospects would buy and enjoy.

5. Make it easy for the reader to order the book.

Doing the five things listed above can be very difficult. You may have to think way out of the box. For example: the best prospects for "The Price of Victory" might well be bicycle riding and racing enthusiasts. A small ad in bicycle magazines might get the most 'hot' prospects per dollar of advertising. The wonderful "The Sisterhood of the Dropped Stitches" quartet, by Janet Tronstad, would find the best prospects in newsletters for cancer support groups. The same is true for Ruth's "The Lawman's Second Chance". Some good Catholic theme books might do well in Catholic magazines, newsletters, and church bulletins.

The point here is that you don't have to appear in traditional advertising media for books.

Of course, there will be books that don't particularly appeal to any highly reachable group of prospects. In that case it might be best to not run ads at all. A first step for "The Price of Victory" might be a tour of bicycle websites.

Once you get the hang of doing this and thinking like a marketing person, you'll be in a position to 'build the marketing' into your story before you write the first word.

I know that this pantser heresy but it is marketing orthodoxy. :)


Mary Preston said...

As a reader I take very little notice of ads on the internet. I'm more likely to purchase a book I have seen on a book related blog or author newsletter.

Cindy W. said...

I'm with Mary, as a reader, I usually purchase a book because of a book review or more than likely because of the author that penned the book. Sometimes the ads online are an irritation to me.

Cindy W.

Jill Weatherholt said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Sandra. Like Cindy, I'm not a fan of the online ads or when authors clog my Twitter feed with their book promotion. I'm more inclined to purchase a book based on a personal recommendation than an online review. I plan to visit later to see what others have to say.

Kara Isaac said...

Hi Sandra,

This is very timely as my agent recently suggested that I experiment with some paid online advertising for Can't Help Falling which releases in a couple of weeks (apart from FB boosts which I've already been doing some playing around with). '

My first attempt is an ad on GoodReads which should go live tomorrow. GoodReads has recently introduced a feature that allows you to target an ad to readers of other authors who you select (for example, I know that fans of Becky Wade often also like my writing) which gives you a much improved chance of actually getting visibility with the readers you want to connect with. For me, this ad isn't about sales so much as it is an experiment to see if it helps get people to add Can't Help Falling to their "Want To Read" list. It will be interesting to see how it goes!

Jackie said...

Hi Sandra,

Thanks for sharing! Some authors promote their books on Twitter almost hourly with the same message. I understand tweeting and retweets, but it's embarrassing to see an author tweet the same thing about her book multiple times a day. Of course none of them are Seekerville authors, but I thought I'd mention it.

I do enjoy seeing what others are reading, and when done right, I think Twitter is a great tool!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Marianne, Are you like me and thinking of heading south? I bet signs of fall are up in your neck of the woods. smile

Thanks for your input. I really value you as a reader. You help us often with the reader pov. Thanks a bunch.

Happy reading.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi May and KC, Wow, what a treasure trove of info. Sounds like you do a lot of promo with children in schools which makes sense because your May the K9 Spy books are for children. Great ideas

And sounds like you've had some of the same experiences I have with ads. So maybe a good thing to share.

Good luck on Bookbub. I tried to advertise there, but they rejected it. Wow, even rejections from advertisers. LOL But I have heard if you do get an ad with them it is very effective. And maybe its because they are selective and don't inundate you with ads that makes it more powerful.

Keep us posted on how it goes.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Vince Well this topic is right up your alley. Great points to consider about Price of Victory. All of my books have some interest to some special interest group or another. I know that is how I sold so many of Flower For Angela because the word went out through the university professors teaching teachers.

I've been targeting ads to romance readers, but it is such a general group with a large diversity of taste and interests. From comments so far, it sounds like most don't really obtain books from ads.

I'll take your points into serious consideration.

Thanks for the tips on how to form a good ad also. Good info to have for how we promote in general. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Mary P. Thanks for sharing that info. I've avoided newsletters myself, but maybe I should look into that avenue. We have had some great posts in our archives about writing newsletters.

Happy reading.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Cindy W I have to agree with you. I really don't pay attention to ads either which is why I don't really know where to place an ad. If I always looked for a certain ad, I would know to use it. LOL

Thanks for sharing the pov of a reader.

Happy reading.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jill This is really interesting isn't it? I will be looking forward to hearing what others say as well. Maybe I just needed to hear that ads are not that effective and don't waste my money on them.

But I'm open to learn so will wait with you to see what everyone says.

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

May and KC Wanted to add a link to your May the K9 Spy books. I forgot to do that in my response to your post. As a former teacher, I know how difficult it is to find clean and wholesome books for kids to read, especially ones that interest boys.

Janet Dean said...

SANDRA, I'm of no help with placing ads as I've never done it except when the Seekers placed a group ad.

It's very difficult to know what works with any form of promotion. I just hope that getting our names out one way or another will build name recognition.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Kara, I'm really interested in finding out how the Goodreads ad works for you for your release of Can't Help Falling . I have heard many say Goodreads helps their promotion when they do the free giveaways. It will be interesting to hear if the ads help.

Interesting also that your agent advised you to place ads. I wonder if your agent has seen evidence of them working with other clients. Do you know?

Thanks for sharing and keep us posted.

Glynna Kaye said...

You're far beyond me, Sandra. I've never placed "just me" ads -- only been a part of group "Seeker" ads and Love Inspired author group ads.

The biggest draw for me as a reader, whether ordering on-line or picking up a book in a store, is if I've previously read and liked the author and/or if I like the sound of the back-cover blurb. Covers, of course, always catch my attention, but if the blurb doesn't interest me, the cover doesn't win over that.

I also like to pick up books by authors who've guested in Seekerville, so I think that's good "advertising." Just picked up two of the latter yesterday. (Waving to Lisa Carter and Laurel Blount--your books are out in mountain country Arizona!)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jackie, I so agree with you. In fact, I think that is why I hardly ever read my twitter account. It seems to be mostly ads. I've never actually figured out how to use it to simply communicate. LOL.

I did inundate friends once when I first got the account. Its a funny story and thankfully I didn't have too many friends yet. But I subscribed to Hootsuite and without knowing it, set it up to announce me every hour to my friends. Finally one of them emailed me and asked me to stop. So embarrassing. I had no idea what I had done. That is why trying out tech stuff can be scary sometimes. LOL

Needless to say I don't have the Hootsuite account anymore.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Janet Yes, I'm with you in this part of the business. But I have already learned a lot this morning from our readers. Thank you, readers for your insights and input.

Have a great day Janet.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Glynna I'm so with you. My TBR pile is stacked with Seeker books and Seeker friends books. Yay. I guess that is like getting a recommendation from a friend.

But how do authors who aren't known by other authors get out there? I guess you need to get busy and get yourself known on some of these blogs. That helps for name recognition.

Thanks for your input.

And I am really looking forward to your next release of The Pastor's Christmas Courtship which is up for pre-order. Yay.

I know you are experiencing some signs of fall also. smile Waving at my fellow Arizonan. I'm heading south soon.

kaybee said...

SANDRA, thanks for a meaty and thought-provoking post. So much to think about even after you've published, and like the Seekers, published a lot. This writing thing isn't for wimps.
I tend to buy or borrow books according to word-of-mouth, past experience with an author, or instinct. I read back-cover blurbs.
If an author has guest-posted in Seekerville I tend to pick up their books because I can see the "bones" of the book in what they said in their post, about the process of writing it, and I can follow along as I read the book and see what they did. It's another form of writer education. So yeah, Seekerville works! (And rocks.)
This has given me a lot to "chew" on. Unfort., I haven't had breakfast yet, so I'm going to amble over to your brunch table and see what catches my eye, kind of what I do with reading.
Back later,
Kathy Bailey

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Kaybee Hope you like the fruit and pumpkin bread. Yummy with morning coffee. smile

Thanks for your input. Yes, I think word of mouth means a lot. We are inundated with ads, but hearing from a trusted friend helps when you are putting money out there to buy a book. If you have no clue whether it will be a good book or not, you are not likely to spend that dollar. sigh.

So do you browse back cover blurbs online or just in bookstores? I know that was the main draw in the old paradigm. But how do you do that online? How do you find books to browse?

I'm talking about new books or books from an author you have never read before? How do you find those books?

Glynna Kaye said...

P.S. Sandra -- I love your new cover for Heart Full of Hope! :)

And yes, the trees are turning colors here now. Young maples & locust trees mostly, but soon the big maples and aspens--and a month from now ALL will be leafless until May or June. :(

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thank you Glynna. I really liked that cover also.

I will be getting my other Christmas novella out in October so they will be ready for the holiday season.

I love the aspens when they turn yellow and the leaves quiver in the breeze. smile Sounds like I will get there in time to see them.

LeAnne Bristow said...

Good morning Sandra! I haven't worried much about marketing yet, but I think I better start paying attention. I'm going to have to digest some of this information and research some of it. Usually when I try out a new author, it's because I saw an ad on BookBub. I'm signed up for the clean/inspirational romances, so at least I know I won't get a surprise when I open the book. :)

Renee McBride said...

Wow! As usual, Sandra, so many comments already that I had to keep scrolling down to post. Welcome back! You're such an inspiration.

First of all, the cover of your latest release is beautiful. I can't wait to read it. Second, I agree with your assessment that Amazon success seems to be tied to quick releases. I've seen a backlist of books vault a writer from zero to top ten in less than a year. That's something to keep in mind as far as an actual marketing strategy.

Your effort to place a Facebook ad will pay off in the long run. We use it for our business and are amazed that one ad we placed a year ago is still getting Likes. Amazing how that works, so best wishes on that front.

I had no idea there were so many free ways to advertise. I clicked on the link you gave to the marketing book, but sadly it's currently unavailable. But it's on my Watch List now. ;-)

Thanks for sharing your experience with us this morning. Enjoy your trip home. I love seeing photos from your trips.

Edwina said...

Great post Sandra!
As far as finding books online to browse, I think the easiest way is through Amazon. If you look for a certain title or author, usually Amazon will post "other customers who bought this book, also bought..." or if you like this book by Ms. So and So, you'll enjoy these books by Ms. Whatever." It's probably not the most scientific way to find new books! The other place is GoodReads. I think it's easy to find new books/authors there.

I have a memoir that will be coming out in late December or early January. Because of the possibility of lawsuits, I had to change all the names in the book and had to write the book under a pen name. How can I market the book at least to people I know? I can't wrap my mind around that situation. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!

Cindy Regnier said...

I have no idea how to market a book (not that I need to) but can I just say that I am almost never swayed by any type of paid ad? Maybe I am not the norm - or maybe I am - but I am more inclined to pay attention to a social media post that doesnt sound like a sales pitch or someone else's (not the author) recommendation to read a book.

That said, I think this was a great post, Sandra, and I will never need an ad to convince me to read a Seeker book. I have NEVER been disappointed when a Seeker's name is on the spine!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Renee Thank you so much for your comments. That is good to know that your Facebook ads work for your business. When I placed the ad, they gave me a time frame. So you must now have had an ending time if you are still getting hits for that. We'll see what happens with mine. It didn't really cost much, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

Which book is not available? I better go check that out. I don't want to lead people astray. I'll take it out.

Thanks again for your input. Have a great day.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Edwina Thank you for your input. Yes, I know that many use that Amazon feature to look at books they recommend when you buy a book. However, that is a trick to be one of those books. It is my understanding that they place books there that have sold well or have tons of reviews. That is like the old paradigm. The best sellers keep on being best sellers and where does the new author fit in?

You're the second person to say they use Goodreads to help them find a good book. I really don't know how Goodreads works. I need to study that more.

Congrats on writing a memoir. Check out the links in the Weekend Edition because there are many for marketing advice.

Happy writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Dear Cindy What kind words and thank you for the compliment toward Seeker posts. From the comments we are getting, you are definitely not out of the norm. Not one person has said they have purchased a book from an ad. I'm learning a lot today and this is helpful info to me as well. smile

Thanks for your input as a reader. I think we all need to pay attention to this info.

Happy reading and writing.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandra, I'm so interested to see these results!

I don't place ads, so I was no help on this topic... and I took the advice years ago from some wonderful authors who kept telling me to just keep writing books... and get them out there. And that formula has worked well.

It's a different world than when you and I began this quest fifteen years ago (CAN IT BE THAT LONG?????) but we're savvy chick ladies.... we can roll with the curves!

Connie Queen said...

Sandra, the best advertising to me is word of mouth, or having read and liked an author's previous work.

Covers can make me want a buy a book. Some of the LIS covers are irresistible.
I don't pay much attention to the ads on Twitter.

I guess if an ad was going to work for me, the cover would have to very appealing and then the blurb cinch it.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi LeAnne How did I miss your post? Thanks so much for your input on Bookbub. I hear it is a great device. So you can input the type of books you want to hear about? That is good to know. Like I said in the post, most of the publicity agents I have worked with don't divide their lists out. I don't want to try and sell my book to someone who isn't interested in my type of book. That is a waste of time, money and effort.

The advantage of writing for Harlequin, is they have a list of readers already. Yay. I bet you can hardly wait to see your first book in print. I know I can hardly wait. smile

Happy writing.

Marianne Barkman said...

Sandra...after a few sips of coffee....I do so buy books from ads. Sorry about that. If an online ad from Bookbub, or Faithful reads (I subscribe to a few different ones) has a free Ebook, I nab it if it sounds interesting. When my Bookstore (in Peoria, Az) sends me their flier, I go through that before I head to their store! Does that help? And yes, I've been checking into travel insurance and airline tickets this week!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Vince, do you think things have changed somewhat with fewer "paper" opportunities for ads?

We grew up scanning the newspaper for bargains and coupons and sales...

But I don't know many people who even read a newspaper anymore.

So that brings us to "discoverability".

I don't know of any way to be discovered other than slogging through each day with a hand in social media, that steady writing and production and a smile. I know big names don't have to do all that, but I think for us (the mid-list author) it's critical.

And mostly, the production. The steady 2 or 3 books/year. I have to honestly say that in these years of being published, that's been my take on the experience. To get those 2 or 3 books out annually, and watch the readership grow. Word of mouth is still my very best friend for finding new readers.

Because readers love to share, share, share about books they love.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Good morning Ruthy Yikes! Fifteen years??? That is amazing. And look where we have come? Back then you could hardly find a Christian novel. Now we have such a wonderful selection to choose from.

And you are so right! Getting those books out there seems to be the best formula. You are so prolific and write such great books, that I am not at all surprised that you are on the best seller list.

If you want a good book check out one of Ruthy's here

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Connie Q. Thanks for your input. So how do you check out covers online? I know that covers were the selling factor in bookstores so it makes sense they work online also, but how do they get presented to you? Do you look at the covers that pop up when Amazon recommends a book? Do you see them from ads?

That is what we all want to know. How does a new author get their cover out there to be seen by you?

Caryl Kane said...

SANDRA, I select books based on personal recommendations. I'm not a fan of ads. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Fall photos!

Please enter me in the draw for a drawing for a Seeker book.

Sandra Leesmith said...

H Marianne Yay, you'll be back in Arizona soon. I'm getting excited myself, especially when I wake up and it is only 31 degrees. LOL

Thanks for the input on Bookbub and Faithful Reads. I know about Bookbub. But Faithful Reads is new to me. What are the other ones you look at? That list would interest us because we all probably enjoy similar books.

Hey, when I went to Faithful Reads to get their website I saw Janet Dean's book. Go Janet.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Yes, Ruthy, Word of mouth has been the consensus so far to be the most effective tool. And I know getting those books out there is so important. And you are so good at doing that. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Caryl Thanks for your input. Seems word of mouth is the big clincher for getting known. I guess we need to cultivate gabby friends. chuckle.

And write good books to talk about.

Your name is in the dish.

Happy reading.

Vince said...

Hi Sandra:

There is a point about advertising that I didn't mention because it is so basic:

"A great deal of the power of an advertisement is in how it is written and not what medium it appears in."

In his book, "Tested Advertising Methods", John Caples, shows how ads in a split run (when two ads run in the same location on the same day with each being printed in every other printing of the newspaper or magazine) can have up to 19x more sales when the only difference in the ad was the headline!

I would strongly suggest three books for writers who want to get the basics of what makes advertising work: "Tested Advertising Methods," John Caples, "Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind," by Al Ries, Jack Trout & Philip Kotler and Scientific Advertising, Claude Hopkins, (perhaps the most influential and read advertising book ever written -- just .99 on Amazon).

Also learn how some ads actually turn prospects off and more product is sold to those prospects who didn't see the ad than those who did. To paraphrase Shakespeare, "The fault, dear writer, lies not in our stars but in our copy."


Sandra Leesmith said...

Thank you so much Vince for your wise words of advice. Vince used to work in advertising folks, so he does know what he is talking about. Vince, you have coined some great copy for some of my books and those blurbs have helped a lot. I do use them. smile

Here are the links to the books Vince is referring to:

"Tested Advertising Methods," John Caples,
"Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind," by Al Ries
Scientific Advertising, Claude Hopkins

Great quote btw

Thanks again Vince

Cynthia Herron said...

Hi Sandra! Such a great topic today! I purchase a lot of books by way of recommendation--word of mouth, blog post, review, or of course snippets of stories I see on Seekerville. As someone (Jill, maybe?) mentioned earlier, I rarely buy because of the "hard sell" approach. When my Twitter or social media streams are loaded with memes, I find that wearisome.

Something that DOES resonate with me are the more subtle approaches. For instance, some of the author swag that's given as freebies at conferences. (Yes--there's a minimal investment, but the message, book, and author name stay with me.) Vistaprint, for one, is a great resource for all kinds of ideas--bookmarks, magnets, pens, and even everyday things we writers use--like coffee mugs. :-) If it's FREE and something folks can use, those subliminal "ads" resonate when the items are tangible and put to use every day, unlike a magazine or something where maybe we'd flip through it just a few times.

Laurie Wood said...

Hi Sandra, thanks for sharing your experiences with ads and I look forward to seeing how your new ventures play out for you. As a "pre-pubbed" author this is all new to me, but as a reader I buy books I see put up for a contest (any kind of contest and I'm there!), Amazon and their "recommendations" and definitely Goodreads. I also subscribe to the "eReader Cafe" which is similar to Bookbub as it emails you a list of free or "bargain" ebooks every day. You indicate which genres you want when you sign up. So that might work for you. And I confess the cover of a book, along with the author's name, is what sells me on a book. :) Love Inspired books have phenomenal covers, jmho! Whether contemporary, suspense, or historical, Harlequin's done their marketing research on what sells a book when it comes to the cover! And I find when I check out other authors I love, the cover is what grabs me first, the blurb second. This is because I already know I love that author. But if I see a "new to me" author promoting a contest anywhere on social media, I'll enter and usually buy the book. As for Twitter, I've started blocking authors who only tweet their book promos. I want to interact with real people, not just get ads in my limited social media time.

I'd love to have my name in for the book! And while I don't have any photos, autumn has definitely descended on Canada. We've got the cool temps and pumpkin spice everything going on right now. :)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Cynthia Thanks for your input as a reader. Yes, it seems word of mouth is winning out here.

Its interesting that you bring up the swag. So you have found authors from swag you have picked up? That is interesting. I know I have swag that I keep and I read the author's name, but honestly it hasn't led to sales. But maybe it would if my tbr pile wasn't so high already. I think when I was younger, I devoured more books than I do now. My eyes get so tired.

But it is nice to know that the money spent on swag did have some influence. smile

Thanks again for sharing.

Myra Johnson said...

Interesting discussion, Sandra! Like so many others, I haven't really tried advertising except as part of a Seekerville ad. And as a reader, I'm no judge of what works or what doesn't. The way I choose books these days is SOOOO different from when I wasn't published, or even before that, when I didn't have so many writer connections.

And--sadly--the fad for "free" or "cheap" ebooks hits authors even harder. All these newsletters that go out from Bookbub and other sources are advertising discounted or free books, and I think many readers aren't buying regular-priced books anymore but simply wait and watch for books by their favorite authors to show up on one of those lists.

Cynthia Herron said...

Sandra, yes--I may be the odd duck--but swag I can actually use stays with me. And the more creative AND useful the idea, the better. :-) For instance, at ACFW this year, a lovely author friend gave away pie servers (with her name and book) printed on the handle. I used the server for a chocolate cream pie when I came home from conference AND hers is the next book I plan to order. :-)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Laurie Waving at you across the border. I bet the fall leaves are gorgeous out your way. And doesn't the smell of pumpkin spice just give you a warm cozy feeling? smile

Thanks so much for your input as a reader. It is definitely worthy information to glean for when you do get published.

Thanks for the tip on another website to get book ideas. Here is the link for eReader Cafe I've heard that offering free books is a great way to promote. Traditional publishers are doing that. They will offer 4-6 free books and then hope that when you go to their site you will see other books they have for sale and buy them. Tyndale House does that monthly. And I have actually seen a book or two and bought it.

However, an author has no control of what pricing deals they can do with their books that are with traditional publishers. For example, Montlake informs me all the time when they put one of my books out there for $.99. And when they do so, it does boost my other sales.

So this is a good reason to have some indie books out there. You can control what you do with those. I know that Julie Lessman has a free book from one of her series Isle of Hope . She is doing that because if you read the free book and like it, you will want to go order the others in the series.

Good to know you like the contests to win a book. That might be a better idea than placing ads.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Cynthia A pie server? I've never seen that one. And evidently her creativity paid off. Good for you and thanks for sharing that idea.

I do have to say that I really love emory boards with author names on them. I have bought books from those, but to be honest, I knew the authors and would have bought their books anyway. But the emory boards made me think of them often.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Myra You are so right. The free book offers are really tough because there are so many free ones out there a reader doesn't have to ever buy a book.

But I can equate that to free books in the library and also used books at the used book store. The author doesn't see any royalty off of those. And as a former teacher with limited income I did read a lot of used and free books. But that being said, if I found an author I really loved, I would break down and go buy their books.

I never object to giving away free books, especially to family and friends. It is easier for me to give books away than try to sell them. I've never been a good sales person. LOL. However, since family and friends know that this is my business, it is always nice when they support me by purchasing my books as gifts to their family and friends. I have one girlfriend who can hardly wait till my books come out because she buys them for her friends. Her friends can hardly wait also. smile. So that is a win win. By giving a free book to her, I made several sales.

Unfortunately not all my family and friends think that way. She ran a business so she really understands the process.

We all have gifts to buy. I love buying Seeker books to give as gifts. Most of my family and friends know that they are going to get a book from me and what a great gift that is. Unlike a card or flowers or candy, a book can be enjoyed for days.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Sandra, it's interesting to read about how difficult it is to figure out the "best" way to market books. I haven't had a need to place any ads on Facebook or anywhere else. I've heard mixed reviews as to their success. I have a published friend who got together with other authors and they were going to take turns boosting each others' ads, as their books came out. I'll have to ask her if she felt that was successful.

I'll be very curious to hear how your venture this month turns out. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Sandra, I haven't placed any ads at this point in my career, so I'm interested to see what responses we see today in comments!

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI Jeanne Please share how your friends did. You can email me later. I'll be happy to share my news. Hopefully it is good news. smile

I think authors sticking together really helps. Thats how Seekerville got started. We started sharing with each other and then decided to make our learning process public so others could learn along with us. Obviously we are still on a learning curve even after publication. LOL

Thanks for your input.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Missy Me too. I have really learned a lot already.

I think I might have to do a follow up post after I play around some more.

Mary Connealy said...

I don't know what to do about ads either, Sandra. My publisher believes in them and creates and pays for them.

Have you considered advertising in sat....the program handout at ACFW? There were ads in the handout at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat.

Could you search for Christian Writer's Conferences, beyond ACFW and see about putting ads in those conference magazines? That is your target audience, or maybe, CLEAN READS or SWEET READS is getting to be it's own genre. Advertise using the words CLEAN READS in non-Christian conference programs.

Do you put ad money into bookmarks and hand them out at libraries. Or other promo type articles.

I really don't know if that sells books, but Seekerville has given away some things. I leave stacks of business cards or magnets (or whatever promo stuff I have on hand) here and there. Libraries. Book stores usually don't want them, they're selling book marks.
I've made up business cards with a book list on them. I hand them out when I'm speaking or some churches have racks in the front where stuff can be left. Most of it is advertising, like Christian concerts or other type events but bookmarks would be a good fit for those places.

I also try and keep a few books with me at all times and if I stay in say...a hotel, they very often have a stack of books somewhere and I can add my books to their library.

I've done that in Senior Centers with small libraries, nursing homes, hospitals. Just add my book. My doctor's office has a book rack like that. Take a book, leave a book.

That costs a little if you have to buy your own books, but it spreads the word MAYBE.

Mary Connealy said...

Again as far as ROI goes (return on investment) I don't have any numbers that tell me any of this works.

I do think that, as authors, we get flooded with bookmarks. But do READERS get them all the time? Is that something they hold on to? Or do they constantly lose them and stick yesterday's newspaper into the book to keep your place?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Mary I have done all of those things with handing out flyers, bookmarks, etc. In the old days, post cards sent to my mailing list were effective.

However, with online sales, I'm having to do things differently. I'm getting the idea that producing more books is the best bet. So that means less time with social media as my time at the computer is limited. Social media is big, but it takes so much time. I was hoping to just pop in a check for an ad. LOL. But the way its sounding, it doesn't seem to be the most effective.

Doesn't pay to take shortcuts. We just need to do it. As Ruthy and Tina advise us all the time. smile

You are such a prolific writer and super great writer. I think that is the main reason for your super success. smile

Tina Radcliffe said...

Marketing! The million dollar giant question mark.

I love a good tchotchke any time over money spent on an ad. But I tell you. RyanZee.com. His promo really gave me a huge return on investment for 60 bucks.

Tina Radcliffe said...

LOVE your cover for the novella Sandra.

Write a few more of those with those pretty covers!

Debby Giusti said...

All so interesting, Sandra.

Early on, I ran an RWA ad with each release. Then Revell started advertising in the RWA Report with gorgeous ads that put mine to shame. My ads looked so amateur, and at the time, I didn't have contacts with good graphic designers. I'm thinking of taking out an ad for the release of my Amish trilogy. I'll be interested in what you say about your NOV ad.

Vince provided good info as always. Need to mull over everything. I'll be continuing to read comments.

Connie Queen said...

Sandra, I LOVE Fractured Memory's cover by Jordyn Redwood.

I think the first time I saw it was either on the Harlequin website or Twitter. Mainly Harlequin's advertising, not from the author.

My husband, me, and my 16 and 17 year old stayed on the internet last week finding "Spot the Difference" on their LI covers. There was one we never did find and it about drove us crazy. We decided it must be a mistake but that cover is engrained in my mind... The book is A Rancher of Convenience by Regina Scott so if any of you know what the difference, please share. (I did not buy the book though so I guess it didn't work, did it?)

Sandra, this gets my attention. I do notice when an author's ad posts over and over again. It can get annoying. If it's my type of book, it might work, but most of the time I hurry to scroll past it.

As far as Amazon goes, I'd say the thing at the bottom of the page that says people who bought this, also bought...makes me look. Again, it's mainly the cover that makes me look twice.

Connie Queen said...

Sandra, I'm also not a big reader, nor do I normally get on Amazon and buy 3 books. I don't do the kindle-thing so all my books are in print. I'm targeting LIH and LIS so most of my purchases are in those lines. I go to Amazon with a book in mind, not to browse.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks Tina I looked up Ryan Zee Author Marketing so I could put in the link. Thanks a bunch for that info. It will be my next one to try. I'm glad you found one that worked for you. I'm always willing to try something and I'm more willing when I've heard success stories.

Thanks Tina and thanks for the other links you sent me that are in the post.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Yes, Tina I'm starting some Christmas stories soon. I love Christmas stories. Lena Goldfinch designed that cover for me. It is really nice. Thanks for the compliment.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Debby I think I am going to need to do a follow up post after we try some more of these ideas. Did the RWA ad bring in more sales?

Thanks for sharing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Connie Q Thanks for all of your input. You make some very interesting observations. The spot the difference game sounds fun. Traditional publishers are trying to figure this marketing issue out as well. They used to have it all planned out in book store marketing, but Internet marketing has been a big puzzle for all of us.

I have really enjoyed hearing all the comments.

I guess I haven't tried ads before because like you and so many others who have commented today, I find them annoying and bothersome. But capitalism does rely on advertising so in some ways it works. We just have to find out what ways work for our business.

Happy writing and reading.

Vince said...

Hi Sandra:

You wrote:

"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."

Now, I'm not sure if you were serious about Mary and Ruth writing thousands of words a day. I believe that if you write consistently everyday without fail, it will seem that you are writing thousands of words a day.

I mention this because it may very well be that the best advertising is writing more stories. It might be best to use the money that would have gone into paid advertising to hire help to do jobs that will free up more of your time for writing.

A powerful trend I've noticed mega-bestselling authors doing, and some do not want to do it but the publishers are making them, is coming out with novellas between major novels.

I've seen novellas on very old books that go into that old book's backstory or are 'the rest of the story' sequels by famous authors (Lee Child, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly and J.A. Jance) for as little as .99 to 2.99. Since these are new and fresh stories, they can revive interest in the author's backlist. They also garner 'new book' interest and blog site coverage. I've also seen 'peeks' at what will happen when the next novel comes up.

J.A. Jance did this with a novella letting fans attend the much looked forward to wedding that would happen in her next full novel. The novella also had a small mystery in it making it more than an 'insider's' preview. If you do this, the novella has to be of the same quality as your full novels. Even if you are giving the novella away for free!

Even at a low price these novellas should be making good money for the authors. They also help the author stay on a fan's 'auto-buy' list by reducing the time fans have to read other authors.

A good product makes for the best advertising!


CatMom said...

Thanks for sharing this information, Sandra.
Filing in my Keeper File for *when* I'm pubbed. :)
Love your pumpkin bread - - yummy!
Also love your Christmas novella cover - - looks lovely and festive!
Hugs from Georgia (where we're waiting for the temps to fill like FALL!),
Patti Jo :)

Jackie Smith said...

An interesting post, Sandra...thanks!!! I purchase most books from Walmart and/or Amazon...don't live close to an actual book store. I decide which book I want from blogs, SEEKERVILLE #1 and of course, keeping in mind books coming out by favorite authors!! I check out Bookbub often. Never heard of Faithful Reads....so thanks for that info.
Please count me in for a Seeker book.

Mary Connealy said...

Vince, I've thought of this for myself. It's so much cooler if you're doing it for an iconic character like Jack Reacher. But Lee Child writes what I call 'shorts'. I doubt they're more than 10,000 words. He charges 99 cents or $1.99 and I always snap them up.
Reacher as a 13 year old.
Reacher as a new recruit.
Reacher at 16 years old in NYC for the first time...at the same time as the Son of Sam serial killer. (Reacher's info helps catch him!)
Anyway, very fun little glimpses.

I've written a lot of novellas based on older characters from older books but those seem to demand novella length, which is more like 20k or 25k books.

I can't quite figure out how to do this in 9k.

DebH said...

I like the novellas Mary and Vince are talking about. Most of my TBR list comes from the author exposure here at Seekerville. I usually ignore email type ads, but not the newsletters I sign up for.

I'm easily distracted by cool covers when I'm looking for a book on Amazon. I bunny trail a ton there. Never go to Goodreads or other places because I get lost and confused if I find something I may want to get. I guess Amazon's process has corrupted me.

I don't really get anything print anymore and I'm not really on social media (minimal Facebook - need to expand friend list there...) Never have tweeted, no Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest accounts. I get lost too easily. I'm a social media hermit.

I've found carrying around a book piques interest from others. Was carrying around Ruthy's First Gift and didn't get a page read because so many people kept asking me what I was reading. (was at son's t-ball practice)

Not much help for you, Sandra, sorry. But I do love the cover of your novella. So many Seeker books, so little time. *sad face*

bonton said...

Thanks for the interesting post, Sandra!!

I do most of my book purchasing online through Amazon or CBD, but shop at Lifeway stores also when I am near one and receive regular catalogs from CBD (which I check more often during their sale promotions). I do look at ads, but most of my purchasing stems from other sources: an author whose work I already enjoy/previously enjoyed, FB book comments from friends, book blog posts, daily emails from several sites (similar to Book Bub), emails from publishers. I love beautiful book covers, but in the end - it's the storyline or a fave author that clinches the deal, although I also find free e-books to be an asset in determining new (to me) authors whose work I want to try.

Please drop my name in the drawing for readers - thank you!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Vince You have given us some outstanding advice in your last post. I heard J>A> Jantz speak and she discussed how much fun it was to have her readers help her with her novel as she went along. Sounds daunting, but more doable than paying for ads. From the response and from my experience so far, the ads don't seem to be doing the right job. However, I think If I targeted a different audience like you suggested earlier I might see some better results. But that takes time also.

Ruthy and Mary have been known to write thousands of words a day. I used to critique with Ruthy and had a tough time keeping up. LOL She can write two thousand easily and I think she's even done 5,000.

Thanks again for the advice.

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, SANDRA, I feel your pain, my friend -- I have had the same experience with promo, in everything from ads in Fresh Fiction and Family Fiction Magazine, to Facebook boosts and promo sites for free and sale books.

From everything I'm hearing, the best way to promo is through BookBub, but you only have a 20% shot at getting an ad there (which will cost you anywhere from $380 to $420 for Inspy), and I (and Natasha for me) have been turned down more times than I can count. :(

As you mentioned, I currently have A Glimmer of Hope on permafree, and I'm not sure why, but the first day it was free, I had over 1,500 downloads and have NO IDEA why since it wasn't promo-ed by anyone as far as I know, or at least I didn't pay for any promo that day. I did promo on a number of sites between 9/20 and 9/22, and got a modest amount of downloads, but nothing like the first day.

I think the only way to help sales is to publish at least 3-4 books a year priced at at 99 cents, which like you, I have trouble doing. Sigh. It's a dilemma for indies. :(


Nicky Chapelway said...

I don't have any experience marketing my books whatsoever. I did find this post very interesting, but I think I'll just focus on getting a few reviews before sending out ads and stuff.

Please enter my for the drawing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jackie Thanks for the input on where you shop for books. Interesting that you use Bookbubs. You will have to thank Marianne for the Faithful Read hint. We have some other interesting suggestions in other comments too.

Happy reading.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Patti Jo Not feeling like fall yet? Hmmm, are you like us in Arizona? We don't get fall leaves there in the desert until November.

Glad you like the pumpkin bread. Hard to beat your peach cobbler. smile

Some fresh applesauce on it is good.

Have a wonderful week.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Interesting comment Mary

I haven't gotten into reading the shorts. Maybe I should try them. They might be the answer for my limited time. When I was working full time, I would read Harlequins on week nights because I could finish one in two hours. I would save the full length 100,000 word novels for the weekend and summers. smile

Same principle isn't it? Hmmmm. Now you have me thinking. Scary. I know.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Deb H. You are really too funny. You are a woman I can relate to. smile All this media stuff gets me so frustrated. Thank goodness for the Seekers and the Seekerville friends or I would not even know all of this exists. LOL

You really did help us because I am finding it really interesting that most readers so far aren't really paying attention to the ads. So why spend all the money on those ads.

Interesting too that you like the novellas and short pieces.

Happy reading .

Missy Tippens said...

Tina, I agree on Ryan Zee's promo! I did take part in that and had great success.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Deb H Forgot to mention how much I like your current photo. Really nice.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Bonton Thanks for all of your input. You gave us some great ideas of how to and where to use ads if I decide to try more. Sounds like you use a lot of resources. smile

You're one of the few that has said they actually look at ads. Thanks for sharing what ads you look at. That will help us decide where we want to try placing them.

Happy reading.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Julie, so glad to know I'm not alone on this crazy ship of marketing and promotion. We tried so hard to get off unpubbed island only to find ourselves on another marketing island. LOL

Thanks for sharing. Makes me feel better. I guess we need to remember that the big traditional publishers are flaffing around trying to figure this out just like we are. sigh.

Very interesting about your free promotion spiking without any promo and then not spiking with promo. Wonder if that has anything to do with Amazon's system.

Happy writing dear friend.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Nicky Its always good to be prepared for when you get that book out there. What drawing do you want to be in?

Thanks for joining us.

Happy reading and writing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks MIssy for the feedback on the Ryan Zee promo. Might need to try that one. smile

Chill N said...

Wow, Sandra! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I realize the same actions can bring different results for different writers in different genres (is that enough use of the word 'different'?). But it sure helps when writers share their experiences and I can see a tendency of what works and what doesn't. So ... one more time ... thanks!

Reading-wise, I'm not much help about what ads influence me to buy a book. The closest I come to an ad causing me to buy a book is when I receive a newsletter (I've signed up for) announcing an author's new release. The only other thing that is close to advertising influencing me -- I tend to buy a book I find out about when the author guest posts on a blog I follow. You know ... like Seekerville :-)

Nancy C

Chill N said...

Oh, and non-advertising influencers for me to buy a book are a recommendation from someone who knows my reading tastes ... and the book being on special display at my local library.

Nancy C

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Nancy Thanks so much for your honest insights as to what influences you to buy a book. I have heard that newsletters are a big help in promotion. I've just not liked the pressure of having to put one out there. But if they work and ads don't, it would be smart to try.

Glad to hear that Seekerville is a good source. That is how my tbr pile gets so high. smile.

Thanks again and happy reading.

Chill N said...

Oh ... one more thing :-) Several times when I've bought anthologies that feature authors I always read, I enjoy a story by a new author I didn't know about. Then I follow up on the new-to-me author. It's always fun when that happens!

Nancy C

Sandra Leesmith said...

Yes, Nancy a lot of publishers put in a new author with tried and true authors to give the new author a boost. Thanks for sharing that. They will be delighted to hear it works.

Heidi Robbins said...

Most of the books I buy are e-books, and I purchase them at Amazon for my Kindle. I can't say that I notice the ads there, but I will look at the recommendations that pop up based on my browsing or purchase history. I learn about new books from blogs that I follow and Goodreads.com. I've noticed some sponsored posts in my update feed lately. Pinterest is another place where I see sponsored posts mixed in. I know of some publicity companies that specialize in blog tours like Litfuse, Prism Book Tours, Loving the Book, Celebrate Lit, etc. since I participate in reviewing books or posting spotlights for them.

I'd love to be entered in the reader giveaway! Thanks!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks Heidi for your input. Good to know you are a reviewer? Thanks for the suggestions and places to tour.

Happy reading.

Boo Smelser said...

Back when I had more time on my hands, I would read the Christian Book catalog cover to cover during breakfasts and lunches. After a while, it takes only special books to stand out to you, and I do remember one (The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry, which I mentioned to my mother who was able to get it for me to review :). After all that reading, I know how to make a good book synopsis; unfortunately, my advertising savvy ends there (which is how I've been a published author for two years and made virtually nothing). So I'd really like my name thrown in for the paid ad, please.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Boo Well at least you have a handle on the synopsis part of it. Great going. That's the hardest part to write for me. And it goes to show what editors keep saying. You have to read want you want to write. Or write what you read. That way you know what is expected.

I remember reading through catalogs all the time now also. And reading through that kind of thing online just doesn't interest me. Maybe because I'm in front of the computer for so many other things and when i want a break, I really want a break from the computer.

Good insights Boo. Thanks for sharing.

Julie Lessman said...

SANDRA SAID: "Hi Julie, so glad to know I'm not alone on this crazy ship of marketing and promotion. We tried so hard to get off unpubbed island only to find ourselves on another marketing island. LOL Thanks for sharing. Makes me feel better. I guess we need to remember that the big traditional publishers are flaffing around trying to figure this out just like we are. sigh."

LOL ... agreed on trading one island for another. :|

And, yeah, I know for a fact that the big publishers are scrambling, too. Everybody's looking for the magic bullet. :)


Sandra Leesmith said...

And we know who to count on don't we girlfriend. Thanks for sharing.

Laura Conner Kestner said...

Thanks for such an interesting post, SANDRA! I'm unpublished so I haven't gotten this far yet, but I'm fascinated by it all. I did pay for two "boosted" posts on Facebook for my writer's page (hoping to come up with followers, which seems so strange when I don't have anything for people to follow me for yet, very frustrating, lol). The results were less than impressive, but maybe if I actually had something to sell, it might have worked better :-) BTW, love the cover of your Christmas book!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Laura Thank you for the compliment. The cover was designed by Lena Goldfinch. I really love it also. smile

Great idea though to get your writer's page going. You have lots of things to write about. You can talk about the progress you are making on your novella. Maybe ask your followers for ideas for character names, or maybe a conflict issue. They will be invested in your debut book and will buy it. yay.

I have heard many say they do this and it seems to work well for them. I am published but I don't really have much of interest to post either. So being published or not isn't the issue. Its how you use and develop it.

And now is the time to experiment around. Publishers will look for good social media presence, so hang in there.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Well folks it is midnight back east and here out west its my bedtime. Thanks to all of you for joining us and helping with your wonderful insights into the advisability of paying for ads or not.

I think the consensus is to use time and money in other ways. Paid ads don't really seem to be that impressive. The whole issue is building relationships and contacts and writing good books quickly.

Keep on sharing and learning. We all need to know what is going to work to bring our books to the attention of the ideal audience.

Thanks again all of you.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Remember to check the Weekend Edition for winners. If you check in after this message, don't be discouraged. I will check back in the morning and all names will be put in the drawing for the winners.

Happy reading.

Happy writing.

Jan Christiansen said...

Great post, Sandra. I usually learn about books I might buy through Book Bub, Faithful Reads or Facebook. 95% of my book purchases are Kindle versions. Never thought I would like an e-reader, but I love it. About the only time I be a "real" book is if it's a non-fiction book and I know I will want to highlight/underline in it. That's just not the same on a Kindle.

Oh, and could you pass me some of that chocolate mocha swirl coffee, please?

Rebecca McLafferty said...

This was really interesting, Sandra. I haven't had the thrill of a published book, yet, but it sounds like the author needs to really be on top of the game for best results. Very interesting. I am going to print this out and save it for that blessed day! Thank you for this lesson.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jan Good to see you this morning, although I know it was late last night that you visited. smile Thanks for the input on what you look at for books. Not very many commenters said they were influenced by the ads. Glad to know there are some of you who might see my ads. chuckle

I'm liking my e-reader also. Discovered though that a e-cookbook does not work for me at all. I think its cause I can't find the page quickly nor write in it like you do with your non-fiction.

And yes, the chocolate mocha swirl coffee is delicious.

Happy reading.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Rebecca As you see from the comments, many choose their books from friends, word of mouth and reviews. So take this time now, to develop your social media and garner some friends that will help you get the word out when you do make that first sale. Some writers have a facebook page or blog where they get their readers to help them develop their novel. Because they are invested in the process, they will be your "street team" when you publish your first book.

It will be so much easier to have that in place before you publish so you don't have to scramble afterward.

Happy writing and thanks for sharing.

Janet W. Ferguson said...

I'm joining the party late, but I use FB ads successfully by targeting people who like certain publishers and authors and excluding people who already like my page. After an ad purchase with say Robins Read or Faithful Reads and so on, I go back and figure out which ads made a return on investment: price of ad/ # books sold at discount. The next time I do a discount, I only use the ones that were worth the price. I do the same with blog tours or other advertising.
Thanks for covering this topic!

Nicky Chapelway said...

I would like to be put in the drawing for the twenty-five dollars toward the paid add, please.

Terri said...

Sandra, please include me in the drawing. I'm horrible at marketing. I just so totally don't know what to do.

Beth Erin said...

As a reader/book review blogger, I don't pay attention to ads for book recommendations. I rely on other bloggers, authors I know and love, and publishers I enjoy for recommendations.

Phyllis Wheeler said...

Well done Sandra!

I'm trying to not respond to ads of any kind (and rather make conscious choices about what will add to the quality of my life) but it's about impossible in our culture to not be influenced. Ads infiltrate our brains. But I do subscribe to Harlequin so I get discounts on the Love Inspired Seeker books that I buy. And when I know there's a book I want outside there I add it to my Amazon wish list (Ruthy's next Back in the Saddle is there). I think Seekerville is a wonderful way to learn about upcoming Christian romances and the articles are very helpful and interesting. So I don't think of this as an ad but more of a service. Hope that makes sense.

Please enter me in the drawing for the reader prize (a Seekerville book :)).

May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

Olivia said...

"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"
Sandra, this is my pause for thought! As a fledgling writer, marketing is the last thing I am thinking about, but as a Stephen Covey (paraphrase) "Begin with the end in mind." I will need to think ahead to that day when my first novel is finished. Please put my name in the cat dish for the drawing.