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:
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