Which way do we direct traffic for the best long-term results?

the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes Diane McGyverWhile I’ve generally thought about this over the years, in the past two months, I’ve thought about it a lot.

  • In which direction do I direct traffic?
  • How many directions do I want that traffic to go?

We all have 24 hours in the day, and with busy lives – such as writing that next book – we want our time spent marketing our books to be efficient and effective. We get bonus points if we do one action for a book and it has a ripple effect for other times during the book’s life cycle and for our other books already published and books we will publish.

When it comes to book sales, when books are reduced to entice readers to buy, obviously, we want to direct traffic to the sale page, be that Amazon or another vender, so a click or two later, the book is sold.

But what about other times, when we want to do a simple share of the book and/or its information with the hope of someone buying it? And what about times we want potential readers to learn more about what we do and what we write in general with the hope they will one day buy a book?

This has me thinking long and hard about the many websites appearing in my radar these days.

For example, when I placed a promotional ad for Northern Survival with Awesome Gang (See warning about this site on my Promotional Sites page), the operators of this site suggested I complete an interview and share it with my readers to help promote the book.

After I submitted the interview, I asked myself: Why would I spend my time and my space on my social media platforms to send traffic to Awesome Gang to read my thoughts? Why wouldn’t I send them to my website, where they will not only read my thoughts today but see my past thoughts and my books and, if they like my material, follow me where long into the future, they’ll see what I’m doing? Better to do that instead of sending them to Awesome Gang where they’ll see that one interview frozen in time and nothing more…except what Awesome Gang has to offer.

This is exactly what Awesome Guy wants – for others to share news about them. It’s why they offer the free interview space.

Also, I ‘hired’ them to promote my book, not for me to promote them. My money should go towards them directing readers at my books and my site.

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Marketing: Our De-sensitivity for Advertisements

the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes by Diane McGyverI’m going to be the first to admit I don’t see ads. My brain has the super power to look at a page, see the information offered and put blank squares over the advertisements, so they don’t distract me.

This started with newspapers and has become more refined while surfing the web. Partly because I’m not a shopper, so I’m not looking for deals, and partly because I’ve been inundated with ads since I was a child, so I’ve grown immunity towards them.

I’m not fussy about which ones I ignore: I ignore them all, the ones I’d never be interested in and products I would probably buy.

I’m talking about this because of an article I read last night. It discussed our ability to ignore ads has increased over the decades. Are you surprised? I wasn’t.

Bill Arnott has a Beat on “The Miramichi Reader” website where he imparts sage advice for writers with and without books published in his Writers’ Tips from Bill’s Workshop Series II. You can read the full article here: The Essentials of Ads and Promo.

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Update on Marketing Blitz and Why it’s Not Here Yet

It’s been a busy two weeks, and this past week has been challenging and unpredictable. So, the update for my marketing campaign for Norther Survival will not appear today. Here’s why.

Pickiness and Thoroughness

Northern SurvivalI’ve been reviewing the details of the ads, the results and the ‘companies’ selling the ads. It’s taken longer than I thought because I’m being overly picky and thorough. If I take the time to do this right, I will have a good resource to refer to with future book launches.

The list of online ‘companies’ that provide ads will benefit me and you because I’m creating a page (Promotional Sites) on this website to help others find places to promote their books.

More Promotions for Northern Survival

To keep this book in motion and to get it in front of new readers, I’m planning a short marketing blitz between November 16th and 20th. At that time, the $4.99 price will drop to 99 cents. I’ve already had confirmation on five paid ad sites, and I’m working on a few places to get the book where it won’t cost a dime. So this week, I’ve spent about eight hours looking for new places to promote the book and submitting it for consideration.

During this 90-day stint at KDP Select, I can’t offer a Count-down Deal because I’ve already offered free days for the book, so I’ll manually change the price to 99 cents and claim only 35% of royalties instead of the preferred 70%. I won’t use the final three remaining free days. My free days for this book are done. However, when the next KDP Select stint begins, on November 22nd, I’ll wait the 30 days and execute a Count-down deal.

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Marketing “Northern Survival” Sunday Update #6

Northern SurvivalWhile this was supposed to be a wrap-up post, I’m pushing that to next Sunday because of the activity with Northern Survival this week. I didn’t want to make this post extremely long.

While no paid or free ads were placed, I’ve been busy answering messages about the book and completing guest posts.

I received word mid-week that a review was coming shortly and that the reviewer requested an interview. That review appeared on Thursday. More about that below.

Speaking of reviews, the heightened activity of my book has generated many offers from pay-per-review people. For a dastardly price of usually more than $60 USD (I won’t calculate the Canadian price; it’s a week’s worth of groceries), they will write a professional review and post it on Amazon and Goodreads. I get one or two requests a day. I assume this is normal for just-released books that have generated a lot of exposure. I’ve received them before, but never on this scale. Like any writer, I want reviews, but I don’t want to get them this way.

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Marketing “Northern Survival” Sunday Update #5

The promotions for Northern Survival’s book launch are basically over. It officially ends October 15th, when the eBook goes to its regular price of $4.99. That said, I will still promote the book in the coming months, just not as aggressively as I turn my attention to my next release, the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes, and the writing of other stories.

This is the last update to detail what I’ve done. The October 11th update will be a wrap up with results. Here’s what happened in the marketing department this week.

PRICE

On September 30th, I reduced the price of the eBook to the final 99-cent sale price to prepare for the scheduled ads to run on October 1st and 3rd. The price will return to $1.99 on October 5th. Because the book is enrolled in KDP Select, Kindle Unlimited Members read for free.

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Marketing “Northern Survival” Sunday Update #4

The promotions for my book launch for Northern Survival are almost complete.

Here’s the summary of what I’ve done to promote the book and where it appeared in the past week. My price stayed at, what I’m now calling, the launch price of $1.99. On October 15th, I will increase the price to $4.99.

The Laker – Free

About two weeks ago, I wrote and submitted an article about my book to a local online newspaper. On September 19th, it appeared: Author From Milford Releases Latest Book Northern Survival. I love free publicity. I’ve had various articles published in this newspaper (formerly The Weekly Press), including my weekly Garden Tales column a few years ago, interviews of other authors and other press releases for my books. The newspaper has changed form and editors, but it’s still alive.

Hot Zippy – $24 USD ($32.57 CAD)

On September 23rd, I ran an ad with Hot Zippy. I’ve never used this service before, and, as mentioned above, I did not reduce the price of my book.

The website to book the promotion is here. They have a few genre sites, and the one that suited my book the best was Romance.com. Books are promoted through an email subscription and social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest). Continue reading

Marketing “Northern Survival” Sunday Update #3

I’m half way into my book launch promotions for Northern Survival, and Fall is two days away.

Quick Fact: On September 17th (in some year not long ago, or perhaps it was this year or the next), the four-seater plane, in which Olive and John were travelling, crashed in Northern Ontario. They were only days away from the first day of autumn in a place that greeted winter earlier than here in Nova Scotia and many other places in North America.

Here’s the summary of where my book appeared in the past week. For this week’s promotion, I took advantage of Kindle Select’s free days at Amazon. I used only 2 of the 5 for September 17th and 18th. The other five days, the book was at regular price: $1.99.

The Miramichi Reader – $10 CAD a month

On September 14th, I sent my ad to The Miramichi Reader, and they placed it in their right-hand margin that evening. The website is operated by a local fella in my neighbouring province of New Brunswick. James posts reviews, releases and other news in the local (and sometime not local) book industry. He offered a reasonable price for ad space from now until December 31st. That price fit into my budget, so the ad I made will remain on this site until the end of the year. At that time, I’ll evaluate it and decide if I want to continue.

The link connected to the ad takes people to the Northern Survival book page on my McGyver site and because WordPress keeps track of where visitors come from, I’ll be able to see how many come from The Miramichi Reader.

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Introducing Blog Tours on Wednesday’s Word

In my effort to promote my books over the years, I’ve been fortunate to be a guest on various websites. As I search for more avenues to spread the word of my books, I’m finding others who want to do the same. It’s not always easy to find blogs to provide space for advertising, and finding free ones are more difficult. This is made all more necessary due to the lack of opportunities to meet readers personally at markets and other venues.

So, for the unforeseeable future, I’m offering up space on my blog each Wednesday for a writer to promote their book. This is ideal for authors doing blog tours for new releases.

What Can Authors Post?

  • Introductions to your book. It can be done freestyle or in question format. This is a great way to brag about your new release or upcoming release.
  • Interview: You create the questions and provide the answers.
  • 5-Question Interview: I’m posting 5-question interviews from now until the end of the year. You can answer those questions and use that as your post. Laura Best’s 5-Question interview has the questions and provides an excellent example of length.

Focus

I’d prefer, and it’s in your best interest, to focus on one book: your new release or the last book you had published. If this is a book in a series, of course, mention the series, but don’t discuss the other books.

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Marketing “Northern Survival” Sunday Update #2

Northern Survival

We’re almost at the halfway mark of the month. So far, sales have been better online for this book launch than previous book launches. However, face-to-face sales are still not happening. Here’s the summary of where my books appeared in the past week. For this week’s promotion, the book is half price, only 99 cents. The sale ended Thursday September 10th, and the book is back to the regular $1.99 price.

Discount Book Man – $15 USD – $5 (coupon) ($13.61 CAD)

On September 7th, my book was posted to Discount Book Man’s website and sent to the subscribers of their newsletter. I’ve never used this service before. After I had bought an ad from Awesome Gang, I received an email message from them to confirm my order. In that message, there were several other ad sites mentioned, some that offered coupons, including one for Discount Book Man. That’s where I found the $5 off coupon to reduce the fee from $15 to $10.

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Today I’m at Indie Author News

Indie Author News is a paid for service. It cost $25 USD, which translated to $33.92 Canadian (Yeah, our dollar sucks!). I’m hoping for results, but we’ll see. I’ll share my results of all these ad providers when the book launch promotions for Northern Survival are completed: the first week of October.

While ads may only give a small bump in sales, that small bump may translate into a larger bump by the next ad.

You can visit the website to learn more and see how things are presented (Indie Author News), but here’s how the top of the page looks today with my “Book of the Day” ad at the top right.

Indie Author News ad

Marketing “Northern Survival” Sunday Update #1

Northern Survival
The eBook is NOW AVAILABLE at Amazon

As mentioned in my Book Launch post, I am trying a few new things this September to promote my book online. Given the current limitations to public events and possibly the cancellation of the annual craft show this fall where I sell a large number (large number as in between 30 and 50 each year) of books, I don’t have the usual venues in which to get my new book in front of readers.

I know, online is where it’s at, but I sell a lot of books in person from a small table at craft shows, farmers’ markets and pop-up markets. I love talking to readers, and I always meet a published or hope-to-be published author at events.

Turning to online means trying new things and investing money in ads instead of gas and table rentals. My Sunday updates will summarize where I appeared online during the week to promote my book. I’ve checked out dozens of sites that offer ads, some free, some that cost money. My wallet doesn’t permit me to spend hundreds of dollars willy-nilly, so I set my budget at around $100 to see what I could do with it. That’s $100 for the entire month.

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New Facebook Page for Atlantic Canada Writers to Promote Events

During my book launch in June, I spoke with author Tim Covell about writing groups we were members of on Facebook and how we couldn’t cross promote author events. This got the gears in my brain turning and by the time I arrived home that day, I had a plan: make a site where events could be shared.

Coming Soon

Because Tim and I are in two Facebook groups that are unable to share news and events, I thought it might be better if I involved the creator of the second site, Peter Foote, to see if we couldn’t collaborate on this effort to benefit members in both groups.

Long story short: It’s done!

If you are a writer living in one of the four Atlantic Canada provinces, you are welcome to join and promote your events. These events may include book launches, book signings and readings, market events where you plan to sell your book, virtual book launches, short-term sales (my eBook is free for the next two days; grab it now!), con events where you’ll be a vendor or something similar to these.

To learn more or to become a member, go to Atlantic Canadian Author Events and sign up.

Don’t Muddy Your Brand

Thought for the dayMy teen-aged son loves to attend truck pulls at exhibitions. He only has his beginners, but he’s itching to get behind the wheel and has created elaborate schemes that would see him get there before he has his full driver’s licence. He has yet to successfully carry out a scheme, but his mind is always working on it.

The videos he captures at these truck pulls are mashed together and posted to his YouTube channel. After a big pull at the end of August, I told him I’d share his link on my Twitter feed, thinking I’d be helping him spread the word so he’d have more subscribers and more views.

“You can’t do that,” he said. “You’d muddy my brand.”

For a guy who has no problem getting muddy on his four-wheeler, he had a real problem with mud on ‘his brand’. He knows little about marketing – or does he?

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Wandering Slowly into YouTube

My Wandering PathI’ve been taking photographs since I was 11 years old. Over the past 39 years, I’ve felt comfortable behind the camera, but I’ve never overcome my discomfort of being in front of it. I’ve seen other authors bite the bullet and create videos on a regular basis and post them to YouTube. It helps get their names and books out there.

They don’t always talk about writing or their books. They create a following with interesting videos on a variety of topics.

I had shared a few videos in the past, but I want to do more. I’ve convinced myself the only way to do that is to gain experience making videos – because I like a challenge and my world isn’t crazy enough.

My first step was to watch videos by different people to see how they went about creating content. There are a wide-range of styles and subjects on YouTube, so it is easy to find something to pique your interest.

When I began practising with my phone to shoot videos, the first issue I noticed was the audio. I saw YouTubers often had a mic clipped to their shirt, so I did a little investigating.

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Saturday Morning Briefs

Why Sex Doesn’t Sell

I know what you’re thinking: it does.  We have been told a gazillion times it does. A lot of books containing vivid sex scenes are swept off the shelves before the new print smell starts to fade. But after reading Copy Bloggers post, I understand why it may not be as successful for many authors than I previously thought. To learn more, read Why Sex Doesn’t Sell.

Brand Building 101 Continued with Kris

Building a brand is tough when you don’t know what you’re doing or you’d rather be writing that next book. But it’s an important part of being a published author. In this week’s post, Kristine Kathyrin Rusch provides eight easy steps to building your brand. Check it out here:  How To Build A Brand: The Early Stages (Branding/Discoverability).

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