Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 16: Marketing Jargon for Self-Published Novels

*** I haven't actually worked in marketing as a full-time employee, but I freelanced for two different marketing firms for over two years and picked up a great deal of information.***

Do you know what a clip is? A clip is any instance of advertising for your book (or product/service, but this is a self-published novel blog, so let's stick with book). 

  • A comment on a blog read by anyone with your name that links to a website/blog promoting you and your novels.
  • A purchased advertisement.
  • A review
  • A tweet
Judging marketing campaigns requires channels, and being able to count the number of impressions a particular channel makes. For some channels, this is easy. Others, more subjective. For example, buying a one-day advertising slot on Kindle Nation. If you use a unique coupon code, you could track how many sales/impressions you made from that channel. Comparing number of sales (or profit) to the cost of the advertisement gives a ratio that can be used to compare the effectiveness of all channels on equal footing.

But what about "free" advertising?

Technically, nothing is ever free. Either it took time or there is a string attached you must later address. The channel method still applies. Instead of money, use time as the variable as compared to sales or impressions.

For example, say you create a unique shortened url to go directly to your book for sale on Amazon. In my case, I might buy a shortened URL that I can use Pro to customize for shortened links. Why? Because readers are increasingly skeptical of the generic shortened URLs, but one you can customize lets you lend credibility. vs some jumbled mess. By customizing the tail (ip1 or whatever) (Or use where you can custom the tail for free). I can create a clickable channel. Now, I can see which blogs gave me the most bang for my time, a niche or massive audience? You might be surprised by the results. A focused, contributing comment in a list of 4 or 5 is more likely to be read by a reader than a comment just hocking your book and competing with hundreds of comments.

Marketing is all about creating channels (individual paths to your book that you can measure and judge against the cost in money or time) and clips (mentions of your book that you arranged or bought or happened spontaneously). Luck is going viral.  

How to be effective in your marketing

There are tons of novels, scams, and programs dedicated to this topic. Effective marketing is results, plain and simple. If commenting on blogs in your genre for one month bring you a boost of an average of 10 more books sold per day, that's effective marketing. Optimized marketing is doing the smallest effort for the greatest increase in sales. That will always be an individual calculation. You could assign a pain ranking to each channel, meaning how much pain did utilizing the channel give you. For some authors, free blog comments are a real pain, a 10. Others, that's a 1 and something easily done while watching Dora the Explorer with your toddler. Using these types of rankings makes it easier to decide where to put more effort or money. If you love to make book trailers, debut a new one every few months to keep it fresh. Or to put in different channels. If you love graphic arts, play around with print advertisements you can put in forum signatures, or email blitzes (where you email a very short, graphical email to everyone on a contact list announcing your book and ask for a forward).

I will write more about niche marketing and things I learned from watching non-profits later on. Here's an update on my book, "Imperfect Timing" for today. I fixed my digital story board alleviating the writer's burden that was preventing me from jamming out the chapters. I wrote 492 words, almost completing Chapter 7. I started pages on my major settings with pictures, addresses and descriptions for handy reference. I fell in love with sheet protectors in a notebook and dry-erase markers.

"Imperfect Timing" arriving Fall 2011. Johnathan Michaels, a robotics engineer, jeopardizes his engagement with his business partner when a previous one-night stand surfaces, carrying his child.

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