An artist friend of mine, in her FAQ, offers several quick suggestions on ways to advertise. She suggested a banner ad on a special interest website, convention book advertisements, Project Wonderful, and business cards.
The first advertising mechanism I went for was the banner ad. That banner ad has delivered between five and twenty hits a day (more by their reckoning, but I think my counts are more accurate). In short, it’s done exceedingly well and is a great, steady source of hits. I will probably need to refresh it (give it a new look and feel) in the next month to help boost its effectiveness.
Convention book ads are failing to meet my expectations, at least at this point. Ads in two large conventions have not generated a profound amount of hits, if any, and watching how convention books are distributed (take one if you want one) kind of explains why. Advertising is like a pyramid – at the bottom is the base of those who will see your add. Fewer will actually read it, and even fewer will react to it. If a convention hosts 1,000 people and puts a convention book into the hands of each and every one, then the base is potentially 1,000 people. If a convention doesn’t make much of an effort to pass out or emphasize their books, then the base is considerably smaller than the number of attendees. I have two other convention ads already in play, but after that, I’ll probably steer clear.
One novel idea I saw at conventions, however, were flyers. If someone is physically present in a convention AND the convention has tables set up in high traffic areas, then flyers might not be a bad idea. Next year, for example, at the convention I just went to, I would likely go with flyers before I ever considered another con-book ad.
I haven’t tried “Project Wonderful” or business cards, yet, but they look interesting. Project Wonderful has a little less promise than my banner ad in one respect (fewer impressions), but if it reaches an audience that doesn’t go to the site where my existing banner ad is living, I’m hitting a new audience. Business cards are something I want to try, and I made a note to start putting one together. Perhaps within the next month or two, I’ll get something printed.
Where I have had some successful experiments have been with Facebook ads and with Google Ad Words. Facebook, for the small amount of money I spent, rendered not so much in the way of “hits,” but it did teach me the right way to advertise in that space. Pictures and images of intense emotion will get people to stop and get them to click. It’s pretty cool, as far as their metrics, but I could see where I had two “interesting” images and one “evocative” one, and the latter drew 20 times the interest. Google Ad Words is a science in and of itself – pairing phrases people are searching on Google with your book or product is challenging, and when I do it for real, I’ll have to give it serious thought and then tune as I go. Still, across two weeks, a lightly managed campaign of $30 netted 87 clicks, and if I spent time honing my search phrases, I know it could have done far better. I’ll probably tread softly until September (saving the finances) and then try a campaign or two.
Anyway, that’s enough for now (and I’m still writing, by the way – up to page 200 and more than 100,000 words in Beyond 2). I also started a little editing on Purebred, which is the next book I’ll release, probably at the first of the year. In the next week or two, I hope to start recording the audio book of The Rescue. It’s all fun for me, and it’s fascinating to learn and work my way through this!
Take care and see you in the future!