Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Let's get real about book advertising

At the beginning of 2013, I did a post on how I became a bestselling author. It was such a hit, I decided to do it again this year. Without advertising, the chances of your book selling are slim to none. Very few authors simply get lucky without having done anything. All those books you lament over having burst onto the bestseller list, are backed by authors who have struggled and starved for years before landing there. I realize there are a lot of people who won't share their experiences, I'm not one of those. If I paid for an ad and it worked, I'll say so. That goes for not selling most especially. If I drop the price of my book down to $0.99 to advertise with a company and lose my ass, I should get to say as much. On the other hand, if anyone reading this blog has a different outcome for any one of the following companies, please join in and let us know. After all, it might just be me or maybe my genre doesn't sell as well as another genre might. With that said, everything from this point is solely my opinion and I don't believe in flaming anyone. Here it goes and just as last year, don't throw rocks! :-D

1.) My love is still with Ereader News Today. They are honest, reasonably priced and they have been good to me. The success of my campaigns with them are always based upon placement. If I'm one of the first posts to go on their FB page for the day AND it's my cover showing on their FB page, then I have more downloads. If I'm the last post of the day and/or it's not my cover showing on their FB page, then I usually have a significantly lower number of downloads. With all that said, they are my go to for advertising. Love them!!

2.) Bookbub is currently all the rage, but I'm not feeling loving toward them. This will be one of my uglier reviews so if you're in love with them, please look away. Are you looking away? :-D They've sold out. Indies made them huge, because we saw a large number of downloads with them, but as soon as they had success on their side, they dropped most Indies like a hot plate. They've even gone as far as to post on their homepage (the last I looked) they cater to the big publishers. This leaves me with a feeling of, how dare they? First, you're asked to drop the price of your book to $0.99 where you'll only make a $0.35 profit AND you have to pay them around $300 for this privilege. You're sweating bullets, praying you make your money back and then the surge only last for about 2 days. The last time I applied, I caught myself hoping they would deny me because I stopped and thought it through. If my book is priced at $5.99 and it is selling, why should I drop it to $0.99? I can make $300 by selling 72 books. If I pay them that amount, I have to sell 858 books to break even and then an additional 858 to make a $300 profit. In what world is that reasoning considered sane? Trust me, check out Ereader News Today instead. You pay around $9 per 100 downloads after your sale takes place. If you don't sell, you don't pay. That makes better financial sense. Remember this: when the gold rush hit, it wasn't the miners who struck gold, but the people who set up shop to cater to the miners. It's the same with publishing.

3.) One of the new kids on the block--BookTastik. Since this company's doors have only been open a couple of months and I advertised with them in their first month of business, I didn't expect a huge success. I was pleasantly surprised. For a $10 ad, I made a profit of $30. In my opinion, that's a pretty good return. They are set up exactly the same way as Bookbub. Readers subscribe to a genre specific reading list, and it's emailed to them daily. Authors pay a set amount for their specific genre and book price. Definitely worth the risk and I will keep submitting to them.

4.) IndieAuthorLand-- Another new site and the last I checked, they're free for authors who are willing to share. I've had mixed results. There aren't any set standards for who is picked for their email ads. Your book is posted on their page. They will tweet their booties off for you and they're awesome people to work with. You never feel as if you're not good enough for them. The one time I landed in their email, I had a ton of downloads and it didn't cost me a dime. Instant new love.

5.) For erotica authors: What to read after 50 Shades of Grey. They have so many different advertising options I'm not sure where to start. They do a free ad, which you can find here. The results will vary depending on how many people are paying attention to FB that day, but it's free. They also offer paid ads. There's one where they will pin your post to the top of their page for 24 hours and pay to boost it. I like this one because your book doesn't have to be on sale. You can advertise at its regular price. My results were 50/50. The first time, I doubled my money. The next, I didn't do as well. Nonetheless, they work really hard to promote others for very little profit and I can totally get behind that.

6.) I'd like to start this one by explaining my thought process when I purchased this ad. 90% of the the time when you publish a new title on  All Romance Ebooks, it stays on their homepage from anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours depending upon how many new releases they have that day. I'm not sure what happens the other 10% of the time, but occasionally they don't show your book on their homepage at all. Anyhow, every time I've shown up there, I've sold a ton of books so I thought, "I bet if I buy a homepage ad and my book was there for a whole month then I'd sell an ass ton of books." This was a huge risk. An ad on their homepage ranges from $2000.00 to $300.00 depending upon placement. Although I realized this was a huge investment, I was positive this was going to pay for itself. Well, this one is a NEVER, not EVER again for me. I TOTALLY LOST MY ASS!! You'd think if someone charged you a small fortune, they'd have a reason for it, you know, such as it works or something like that. Wait for it.....I sold 10 books. How could this story get worse? It can, I assure you. Something else happened which left me questioning the site's integrity. They played with my sales figures. Of course, I might not have noticed if I hadn't been watching the sales board obsessively, but as most authors know, you have to sell an ass load of books to break even on that sort of investment. So, here I am, obsessing over it and my numbers aren't adding up. On the 14th, they were showing I'd sold 9 books at $5.99. They'd collected 29.95, making my royalty amount 17.97. Now, I'm looking at this, thinking, "What? On what planet does 5.99 times 9 equal 29.95?" I email them, thinking maybe there's been a glitch of some sort. Do they email me back? Nope. The next time I look, I've sold 5 books. Now, I'm not sure what happened. Maybe I'd only sold 5 books, but the whole situation has left me with a bad taste in my mouth and I'm not sure what to think. It goes against my nature to automatically think someone isn't honest, so **shrugs** UPDATE: Since this post, I've had some great experiences with this company, so I do think my results might have been some sort of fluke. 

7.) EbookBooster: Meh. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. I paid $30 to have them submit my book to 30 sites to advertise my $0.99 sale. I'm not 100% sure my book was actually submitted to 30 sites. However, I do know out of the sites it was submitted to, a majority of them tried to get more money out of me. In the end, I don't think it helped my sales, but they did keep me from having to do it myself so....whatever your going for there, I guess.

8.) EbookSoda-- yet another new comer. Last I checked, they were free. It's based on sharing. They post and you tweet. Give and take. 50/50 on this one. One time I had high downloads, the next I didn't. I'll do it again.

9.) PeopleReads-- Free and paid options. I've only done the free. Not sure it did anything for sales, but it couldn't have hurt in the exposure area.

10.) Okay, this one is a bit sketchy. BookBlast. My experience is warring against my sense of honorable behavior on this one. When I advertised with them, I had amazing results and I was very happy. No complaints. My problem is this, they operate under more than one name and they charge significantly different prices for the same services. I'm not saying that's wrong, per se...it's just that it's not listed on either site. It's seems a little shady. Idk. Other people may not see it that way. My thought is this, if you paid $20 for them to advertise your book and then you see their other site and think, "Hey, I'll advertise with them too" then pay them an additional $100 for the same ad, you've been taken for a ride. That's bad juju, if nothing else. On the other hand, if you know in advance that they are Bookblast, Booksends, and Kindle Fire Department, then you're good.

11.) Bewitching Blog Tours. This one is an exposure thing more than geared toward sales. They were easy to deal with and I was happy :-D

12.) Self-seve Goodreads ads. No. Useless.

13.) A Girl and Her Kindle: This one is more for marketing and exposing your books to new readers. Inexpensive and I was happy.

Here's a couple of additional people who offer free ads. Free is always good.

Awesome Gang, Indie Book of the Day, The Fussy Librarian.

Please keep in mind that all of this is only my opinion and personal experience, and that some of these places could have changed their prices, policies and/or practices since I last looked into them.The art of selling books is an ever-changing beast. Hopefully, I'll keep changing with it. I want to keep writing full-time for the rest of my life. This career is a blessing and advertising is part of it ;-) If you know of something I didn't mention or would like to add something, please join in.

17 comments:

  1. Terrific post. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thanks for your candor in sharing your experiences! Very helpful.

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    1. You're very welcome. Thanks for stopping by :-D

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  3. This font is so hard to read. I really wish I could change the appearance so I could get through the article!

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  4. Great info! Thank you for being so honest about your experiences!

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    1. You're very welcome and thank you for checking it out ;-D

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  5. Wonderful and very helpful info, Charity. Thanks so much for your honest reviews of sites. I just published my latest 124,000+ paranormal romance (with some erotica), Cursed & Coveted, and I need to do some advertising and get some exposure for it. This is the first time since publishing my work (started in 2011) that I'm wading in the advertising arena, so your post is greatly appreciated and it helps enormously! Retweeted and joined your blog!

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    1. Congrats on your new release and I hope I've helped you find some amazing advertising for it. :-D Thank you joining.

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  6. Thanks for this post, Charity! I have three books out so far, and am just now focusing serious attention on advertising. You're absolutely right: without it, finding readers for your work is like attempting to draw blood from a stone.

    I was surprised and disappointed to hear about your experience with All Romance. I recently set up my publishing account with them, but haven't uploaded any of my books yet. I sincerely hope what happened with you was a fluke, because, yikes!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I hope this helps you find some good advertising. I haven't left All Romance and I'm really hoping it was a fluke as well. I knew going in that I was taking a risk on the investment. It was the numbers changing that freaked me out the most. That, and the fact they didn't email me back over it. I might be too trusting, but if they'd explained themselves, I would've felt better about it. In my first month there, I was watching it obsessively since it was new to me. I made around $100 within the first week and one day I checked, it was gone. It was showing I'd made nothing. After emailing them, the sales reappeared. The replied to my email that they didn't see anything wrong. I let it go, thinking they'd fixed it so it must be a fluke. Now, with this second incident, I'm not feeling quite as forgiving.

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  7. I'm getting ready to Indi publish and can use all the help I can get. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. You're very welcome. Good luck with your upcoming release.

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  8. Thanks for the awesome post, Charity! I'm always interested in hearing about other authors' experiences, because, as you said...you can write a great book, but if no one knows about it...

    I've used almost every one of these, with the exception of ARE. Thank you for letting me know about them, so I don't. I love ENT because you get what you pay for. They only charge you on their affiliate sales, and for the life of me, I can't understand why more sites don't offer this. Of course, Book Bub is the bomb--if you can get in. I've also had amazing turnouts with Book Blast...Book Sends now, I think, on $0.99, but not so good on Free. Oh...and not to jump on your post, but because I know peeps are always looking for a free place for exposure--or a good primer before running a big ad with Book Bub--my sites are totally FREE. I don't post erotica or horror, but I know you write others, so you and your friends, please feel free to stop by: Great Books Great Deals

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    1. Feel free to jump in with book ad idea any time! I love them, It doesn't matter if it comes from the site owner. ENT is such an amazing place. It would be awesome if more people would follow their lead. I'm trying new things this year and--as always-- I'll share my results.

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