A Tome About Promo For Indie Authors: Part 4-Least Bang For Your Buck

I’m late posting today because we are having the second snow day of the season, and I slept in.  Y’all this doesn’t happen here.  It just doesn’t.  So hell has probably frozen over.  I’m taking advantage and going to build a snowman whenever I make it out of my fluffy bathrobe and slippers.

In any case, this brings us to the last part of our series–the stuff that I think gives you the least bang for your buck in terms of promo.  Now I haven’t actually DONE any of this stuff (because I’m a cheapskate frugal), so this is more my opinion and a collection of observations.  Take it all with a grain of salt.

  • Newspaper/magazine/print media ads: Now, I have no data to support this at all, but frankly I’m not sure why anybody, even traditional publishing houses, spends money on this.  I realized I am not 100% representative of Jane Q. Public, but face it, we are an increasingly digital society.  Otherwise newspapers would not be folding left and right.  Magazines…well yeah I still read magazines and other people do too, so maybe these aren’t as much of a waste of money, but I really don’t think any kind of print media ad is the best use of a small marketing budget.  It simply does not reach a large enough population.
  • The Book Trailer: This is one that can go either way.  If you’ve got some savvy, web knowledge, etc., and a good eye, you can put one together that’s decent on your own for not TOO  much money.  And there are companies that make them who do a really fabulous job.  And you pay for said fabulous job.  My view of the usefulness of book trailers is in what the conversation rate would be from number of viewings to actual SALES.  My guess is that in MOST cases, unless a book trailer goes viral, it’s not going to earn you enough sales to justify the expense.  If you’ve already got some kind of following on YouTube or wherever, that might not be the case, but for the average Joe, I think perhaps there are better uses of your limited budget.
  • The Kindle/Nook/iPad/E-reader Giveaway: Here you’re talking about a BIG EXPENSE. Even though the price of the Kindle and Nook have dropped, this is still a significant amount of money to spend.  You will no doubt generate a lot of comments or newsletter signups or whatever it is you’re centering the contest around, but I don’t think this is a wise use of limited promo dollars.  Here’s why: This kind of contest has nothing to do with YOU or YOUR BOOKS or YOUR PLATFORM. So all that buzz and attention and whatever you’re generating is only snagging people who want a free e-reader.  It’s not generating fans.  There is no guarantee that a single person who did whatever is required to enter for the device will ever buy a single book beyond what’s required for the contest.  And unless you’re the person who won it, there’s nothing about that kind of contest (usually) that’s going to make other people remember that it was YOU who gave it away!  You can do a LOT more putting that money toward targeted Goodreads ads and excellent cover art.

If you’ve found this little series helpful and have any desire to print and keep it, check the Downloads tab.  I’ll be making a nice, neat, printable version later today.  But, you know, I have a snowman to build first.

7 thoughts on “A Tome About Promo For Indie Authors: Part 4-Least Bang For Your Buck

  1. One way a video book trailer can be useful is if you already have a significant fan base, then it excites them to buy the next book in the series. Julie Kagawa has done wonderful things with both publisher-created trailers and with trailers created by her fans that go way beyond awesome. Another client of mine, Tee Morris, has loads of video experience so he put together an award-winning trailer for a friend’s book and is now working on one with his co-author for a steampunk series debuting in May. Lots of fun. And explosions. So if you have a friend who knows YouTube and video, buy a Flip video camera for $100 and have some fun with it. If nothing else, you can use it to spice up your blog!
    Laurie McLean

  2. I have enjoyed your little posts, thank you very much for sharing your knowledge. I started the coupon promotion Monday.

  3. I disagree about the giveaway, when this is divided by multiple authors it is not much of an expense in my minds eye (unless of course you were talking about an individual author doing this on their own). While I had already bought Forsaken by Shadow, I would never have found your wonderful web site or signed up for your newsletter and subsequently bought Devils Eye (anxiously awaiting the next installment by the way) if I had not learned about you through the recent tour de force, nor would I have bothered writing to authors I love to read, as I probably read three to four books a week on average, and thanking them for their efforts. I am like the most unlikely to win anything person around, but I still can hope sometime to win and that was what made me sign up for the tour. I do not know anything about tweeting or blogging and what I got from my participation was being able to meet so many new to me authors and learn more about their books. I am thoroughly enjoying your blog and all of the wonderful information you are sharing and appreciate all the efforts you are putting into your sharing of your experience. Thank you!

    1. Well the Tour de Force was a different thing, and as far as I know, nobody else has done anything like it. I’m talking about an individual author doing this (and I know of several who have and have not gotten the results they were hoping for at all).

  4. I never for the life of me understood the value in print ads. I’ve seen a couple of really striking ones in Realms of Fantasy or Faerie Magazine and such that were tailored to that audience, but usually publishers just throw a whole mess of books on two pages and think that will do it. I mean, seriously, what the hell were they thinking?

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