Monday, March 31, 2008

What price promotion?

I finally got my taxes together. Yes, I've looked at a calendar recently. My how time flies when you're avoiding something.

Anyway, when I tallied my advertising expenses, I almost swallowed my tongue. And, really, who can tell you whether the money is well spent? There's an old saying about advertising, "Half of all advertising dollars are wasted, but no one can tell you which half."

Last summer, I asked an editor her opinion on the best promotional avenues. She said the best form of promotion writers have is their book. Write the very best book you can and the rest will take care of itself.

Music to my ears, right? But I think it's a catch 22. You can write the very best book you possibly can, but if readers don't know it's available, your very best book will sit unread on the shelves.

Once I freed my tongue from my throat, I decided I wouldn't lose my mind - or my savings - over advertising. I'll send announcements to bookclubs and bookstores and hope writing the very best book I can will take care of the rest.

As readers, what types of book promotion catch your attention? As authors, what types of promotion have worked for you?



Marcia James said...

As an author, I think promotional tools that reinforce your pen name and author brand are more effective than promotion geared toward a single book (which can become obsolete, e.g., when you end up stuck with extra bookmarks for a book no longer in print). I find it helpful to have a Web site contest that includes on its entry form a question asking how the entrant learned about my Web site. The answers to that question allow me to see where at least a portion of my PR efforts have produced results.
-- Marcia James ;-)

patricia sargeant said...

Hey, Marcia! Great to see you here.

I agree that, especially if you're on a budget, you should focus on your brand rather than an individual title. Good advice.

Yasmin said...

As readers, what types of book promotion catch your attention?

Okay I might be biased because I'm also a marketer and know that it takes multiple vehicles to capture a reader's attention. In today's addition to the traditional marketing's need to consider a website, booktrailer, podcast, postcards, online book tour, book reviews and anything unique to break through the clutter.
Now I will admit that word of mouth is still 80% of book sales...but I will also be the first to say that I no longer rush out to buy books even if its for my favorite author. In recent years...I can only think of a handful of books that I thought I had to have on the first day they came out. Now that author I'm fond of had a new release that came out in January...prior to that she produced an awesome, well-done book trailer that was so HOT...I was emailing her to find out when the book was going to be available for sale...but more importantly how quickly could APOOO get a copy of her book for review! APOOO reviewed the book and a number of bookclub members and followers bought the book because of how much we raved about it. But...the impetus for me was her trailer...because of the trailer...even if I didn't get a review copy...I was going to buy her book the first day it came out because I wanted to know what happened with Georgia and Marvin Brown.
Oh yes the name of the book is Sweet GA Brown by Cheryl Robinson and I highly recommend her book to others.
The right promotional tool can help to generate awarendss and increase sales. Selling books is a business..and as with any has to do research to find out what's the best vehicles for promoting/advertising their product and hopefully increasing sales.
Oftentimes it can be trial and error...but here's the problem with any matter how good it is if folks don't know about it...exactly how much are you going to sell?
No offense Patricia...but I'm the founder of a well-known, well-respected online AfAm bookclub and while I've heard your name...even featured one or two of your books on APOOO I didn't realize until this blog that you wrote mysteries...and I'm a huge mystery lover! Then again you've probably never heard of APOOO until today.
So here's to bonding and hopefully forming a lasting literary relationship.

patricia sargeant said...

Yasmin, no offense taken. Truly. You've given us good information and insight. I appreciate your time.

I have heard of APOOO. You have a very vibrant community. Best wishes to your bookclub for continued success.

I don't write mysteries. My first two books, You Belong to Me and On Fire, were romantic suspense. I'm currently contracted for two contempories, but I'm also shopping romantic suspense proposals.

As I wrote, I do believe it's a catch 22 between writing and advertising. You have to write the best book you can, but if readers don't know it's available, no one will read it.

As you wrote, publishing is a business. I agree. As in any business, you have to spend your marketing dollars wisely, not rashly. That's one of the reasons I asked for reader input as to what captures their attention.

Thank you again for sharing your information and your insight. It's very helpful.

Yasmin said...

Hey Patricia U R welcome and thanks for letting me know what genre you've written.

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