Sunday, September 21, 2014

Which Marketing Is Worth Paying For?

by @JeffeKennedy

This week's topic we'll be gnoshing at the Bordello is our favorite free and paid marketing venues.

It's always the question, which thing to invest in. The topic comes up repeatedly on my author loops. It's not that we don't want to pay to advertise, but there are a LOT of "opportunities" for authors to shell out money in order to bring their books to readers' attention.

Okay, it's downright predatory out there.

Between the perception created in part by the astonishing success of authors like Veronica Roth, JK Rowling, EL James and Stefanie Meyer that authors are rolling in money and the most understandable eagerness (which can shade toward desperation) of writers who *aren't* rolling in money to get that way, a huge marketplace awaits the unwary writer. All of them claim to deliver book sales. None (in my experience) can definitively prove it.

And, lemme tell you, we're not talking cheap. Book Bub charges up to $1600 to feature your book for one day. Fresh Fiction offers a one-year advertising  package for just shy of $1100. You can pay up to nearly $4000 for a full-page, full-color ad at RT Book Reviews - and barely skate away for less than $1,000 for a 1/6th page ad. Now, I'm not saying these don't return on the investment. Some people swear by them. I can vouch that having Rogue's Pawn featured on Book Bub put the book up at #2 under Fantasy Romance on Amazon. Which was amazing and wonderful - arguably tremendously effective. And my publisher paid for it - even better.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't have that much cash to invest. Not like that, anyway. So I tend toward free marketing venues. Do I get what I pay for in those cases? Maybe. The ones I pay for I choose pretty carefully.

Social media. It costs time, yes, but - if you don't succumb to Facebook's endless prompting to pay to boost posts - it's otherwise free. If you do it right, it's also fun and builds a community of friends and like minds. My personal favorites:

  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Blogging
  • Goodreads
  • Facebook

My favorites aren't necessarily the smartest investments, but in examining what I actually shell out money for? Giveaways. I give away my books, my friends' books and various prezzies. I tend to favor baked goods. Some examples:

  • Guesting on blogs and hosting a giveaway as part of that
  • Contributing to a group gift
  • Participating in another author's party and adding my own giveaway
  • Offering a gift related to the book on my own website
  • Swag at conferences
In the end, I shell out the most to attend conferences. Going to those, interacting with readers and other writers, both feeds me and gives me a real-world sense of who is actually reading my books. Nothing is more wonderful than having someone dash up to me at a cocktail party and introduce themselves as the person who wrote that amazing, glowing review. It's a small sample, but I love having that moment.

1 comment:

  1. After catching up on the week and reading the other posts point back to Jeffe's...I had to stop and read this one too!

    Everybody wants a piece. I wouldn't have even guessed close to those costs! Awesome that your publisher footed the bill once.

    So, as usual, way to knock another post out of the park Jeffe!