A great resource for sites that accept self-published books. You should bookmark this link if only for the fact that it puts a lot of great sites in one location. Use caution though and make sure you do the proper due diligence for each site before handing over your money. As SPR says, “the top ten are those sites where authors have had the most success (not BookBub success, but…success).” One author’s success is another author’s mediocre or, worse, absolute failure.
What Were They Thinking?
Being a storyteller and working in advertising has its advantages. Each feeds the other to a degree. Storytelling is often about selling an idea. And some of the most memorable ads ever created were those that told a compelling story. So, that may be why a few of the “stories” told during last night’s Super Bowl commercials left me scratching my head.
Not every ad has to tell a story. Sometimes the funniest, most memorable ads are irreverent (though I’m often challenged to remember what those ads were for). But, if you’ve got an ad that’s supposed to tell a story, that story has to make sense. Beginning, middle, end. Compelling message that’s pulled through in the last act. Tough to do in a 60 second spot, but some ads pulled it off. I mean, the Budweiser dog being saved by the horses? It’s such a gimmick! But, it’s a gimmick that works. Dog gets lost, dog struggles to find his way back home, dog is saved by his friends at the last minute, friends reunite, and we live happily ever after. It’s simple, effective storytelling.
And then we had the Nissan commercial. Dad races cars (Nissan’s specifically), so Dad’s never home, and Mom and son watch his races, and the kid gets in trouble (I think) as he grows up, and then he’s leaving school and Dad’s there to pick him up in his new Nissan and… that’s it? And, as if that wasn’t poor storytelling in general, you’ve got Harry Chapin’s depressingly ominous Cats in the Cradle playing in the background the whole time. I was so absolutely confused by the message of this ad. Absentee parenting is absolved by the kind of car you drive? For the life of me, I couldn’t resolve the story or the message. Did it stick with me? Yes, but for the wrong reasons.
By now, you’ve probably heard of the Nationwide commercial, even if you didn’t watch the Super Bowl. The spot starts out whimsically, with a child talking about all of the things he’ll “never get to do.” Ride a bike, get cooties (animated into fuzzy little creatures), learn to fly, etc. Each “I’ll never…” gets progressively more dream-like and we’re feeling bad for this little boy because he has all of these ambitions and dreams that he’s probably just too small to realize. And then comes the sucker punch. the little boy looks into the camera and explains why “he’ll never.” “I couldn’t grow up because I died from an accident.” then the camera cuts to an overflowing bathtub, and open cabinet under a sink, and a toppled flat screen TV, with the phrase “The number one cause of childhood deaths is preventable accidents.” Uhhhhh…. what?! My son, who sometimes has issues separating reality from fiction (he walks along the edge of Asperger’s), happened to be watching that commercial. “Wait… did that boy die?” he said. I was stunned. I had no idea how to explain a commercial I was still having a hard time processing. “It’s not real, Buddy. It’s fiction.” “Oh.” The message? Maybe it was to counter Allstate’s “accidents happen,” but it felt more like “stop letting your kids die in accidents!” Yikes. Sorry, Nationwide, but you started telling a fantasy and ended with horror/tragedy. That’s not a crossover anyone wants to see.
Oh, and then there was that dancing cartoon foot with a fungal infection. Um… no. Just… no.
Did you watch the game? Did you have a favorite commercial? One that left you scratching your head? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Amazon Offers Author Advertising Option
Amazon recently announced the release of a pay-per-click advertising program for authors with books enrolled in Kindle Select. On your bookshelf, you’ll see a new option next to your Select books called, Promote and Advertise. The program, which had been rumored to be in beta months ago, is similar to other pay-per-click programs I’ve seen on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. You can target your advertising by product or interest. From Amazon:
Product-targeted ads appear on Amazon.com when shoppers browse for the products you select and similar products. Targeting by product may yield fewer impressions but more interested buyers.
Interest-targeted ads appear on Amazon.com to shoppers who have demonstrated an interest in the categories you select. Because you’re casting a wider net, targeting by interest may yield more impressions.
You set your bid amount, but be forewarned that your minimum budget amount is $100. This is certainly different from other systems, where you can usually set your budget to whatever amount you want, allowing you to run short, inexpensive campaigns. Strange that Amazon would do this, as it might limit the number of folks throwing their hat into the advertising ring. Which might also be a good thing.
Also, I’ve heard talk from some of the beta testers and the results are bland at best, horrible at worst, with a very poor return on investment. As with any new marketing venture, I recommend looking around for hands-on experience (try this thread in the Writer’s cafe over at kboards.com). There is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to advertising.
I’m sure I’ll give it a shot at some point, but I’m not quite in a position to drop $100 at the moment. When I do, I’ll be sure to report the results.
Do you have experience with this new program? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 🙂
So, while I have no standard ads scheduled for my books in the coming months, I have a couple of events that might fall under the category of “irregular marketing.”
The first is part of an interview series that is being conducted by my company. It’s a network-wide initiative to identify employees who have aspirations outside of their career (don’t we all?). It’ll be a short interview and photo (with me holding my book very prominantly). Now, if I worked for a small company, this might not get my hopes up, but the network is close to 11,000 people worldwide. Not too shabby.
The next two events are somewhat similar. I was invited back (apparently by popular demand) to my alma mater (The Richard Stockton College of NJ) to appear on a career exploration panel for Literature majors in February. While I never see this as an opportunity to sell books, I’ll be taking along a copy of Danny Dirks to at least show it off a bit. 😉
Then, in April, I ‘ll be part of a panel at the same venue to discuss Publishing in the 21st Century. My first paid speaking gig! At that event, the organizer said I’ll have a chance to read and sell books afterwards.
These types of events aren’t the kind you can simply sign up for, which I guess is why I call it irregular marketing. But, these are exactly the kinds of things that can surprise you with results. I probably won’t sell hundreds of books, but I may make a personal connection with someone who becomes a fan. These types of opportunities are priceless. so, when you’ve reached a point, where you just can’t handle the disappointment of a mediocre advertisement, take a good look at local resources. Does your alma mater have a newsletter that highlights alumni achievements? What about the local newspaper (if your town still has one of those archaic beasts)? Maybe the library has a discussion panel you could be a part of?
Anyway, I hope maybe these little tidbits help spur your own irregular marketing ideas. I’ll definitely follow up with results (if any!) as the events come.
Any irregular events of your own on the horizon? Please share in the comments! 😀
Promoting on eReader News Today – Postmortem
So, as I mentioned previously, I ran a $15 ad with eReader News Today (ENT) on Saturday, December 6th. I’m really quite pleased with the results, especially given the cost of the ad. Saturday produced 71 sales and another 14 on Sunday. At $0.69 royalty per book, I’ve almost quadrupled my investment. It was enough to push Danny Dirks to the very top of its sub-categories, which was a first.
Even more interesting to see was the change from Saturday to Sunday in the sub-categories displayed. Note the two “Myths & Legends” categories in the image above. Now day 2:
I’ve never seen this with any of my other books. Not complaining though, because I think the latter categories are better, but strange to see it change in a 24-hour period.
So, definitely recommend giving ENT a shot. Your experience might be different. I’m sure genre, day of the week, and other variables can affect sales. But, at $15-$30 for an ad, you’re chances of breaking even are quite good. Also, it’s hard to tell how many copies of the book sold because of the ad and how many sold due to visibility after it climbed up the charts a bit. Either way, the ad definitely was the only catalyst to sales, so that makes me happy. Hopefully, that visibility will carry through over the next week or so.
Had experience or planning to advertise with ENT? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for stopping by! 😀
Promoting on eReader News Today
I have an ad running today to promote my Kindle Countdown for Danny Dirks over at eReader News Today (ENT). I paid $15 for inclusion in their email list, a post to their blog, and a Facebook post. Their Facebook page has ~475k followers, but knowing Facebook, only 400 people will see that post. ENT recently changed their advertising format to mirror that of BookBub, but I don’t think they’re anywhere near the same scale (yet). At $15, I only have to sell ~22 books to recoup the fee. ENT’s book of the day feature is much more reliable, but nearly impossible to land. They have a one-time submission at the beginning of the year and then fill all of their slots in one shot. But, with a rate of $15, it’s hard to not give their new email venture a try. There are certainly more expensive and less effective venues out there. Stay tuned as I’ll post a follow up later this week for those interested in the returns.
Have experience with ENT? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!
Honestly, Don’t Bother With Facebook Advertising
Many moons ago (ok, over the summer), I wrote a piece denouncing Facebook as a valid platform for investing your advertising dollars. Well, with the recent news of impending change, I’d say that piece is even more justified. Essentially, Facebook wants you, as an entrepreneur, to pay for 99.9% of your interactions. So, remember when you could reach a few of your followers just by posting a link to your book on Amazon? Well, not anymore. My recommendation? Keep your Facebook page. Post updates on occasion. But, put your marketing dollars and your social media energies elsewhere.
10 Places to Promote Your Book
Let’s face it, everyone pretty much knows about BookBub (if you don’t, feel free to read up on my own personal case study). But, the ‘Bub can be a tough nut to crack and they won’t just keep running the same books over and over. And, while free works, occasionally we’d like to get paid for our writing. 😉 So, what are the second-tier options for my discounted, but still paid book? Check out some of the options below. In no particular order.
Pixel of Ink
Daily Cheap Reads
Digital Book Today
Now, while I’d like to say that the ROI is as solid for these as BookBub, that just isn’t the case. Make sure you do your homework before running an ad with ANY site. Some genres do better than others. They might have a big mailing list, but unless it’s segmented by genre, you could be sending your high fantasy novel to romance readers. Remember to temper your expectations. Be comfortable in the amount you’re investing, as you may not see a dollar for dollar return. Judge success on your own scale and understand that what works for one may not work for another.
Do you have experience with these or other advertising sites? Share with us in the comments and thanks for stopping by!