Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advertising. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Learn Before You Leap into Ads


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Many bestselling authors use advertising on Facebook, BookBub, Amazon, Goodreads and other places to sell books. Any author can sign up and create these ads and with a few online clicks. Each of these companies will gladly take your money. As writers we must learn before we make this leap which is the focus of this article. The little discussed truth is thousands of new books enter the market every day and while publishing may seem simple on the surface, it is a complex business with many twists and turns.
 
With all of these books entering the market, authors need to understand several key factors:
*they need to be actively promoting their books in various places.
 
*Readers need to hear about your book at least 8 to 12 times before they purchase your book.
 
*Bestselling authors advertise to sell books and also to build their readers on their email list.
 
As an editor at Morgan James Publishing, I've had authors spend $30,000 to $50,000 on marketing and publicity for their books—and not received the earnings or results from such investments. I hate to hear these stories from my authors because these choices are costly on many levels.
 
While it is helpful to learn bestselling authors advertise on websites, I encourage you to use some common sense about how to apply this information to your own book marketing. From my experience, authors need to learn how to navigate the advertising from authors who are succeeding with it.  One of the bestselling authors who is effective (generating sales) using advertising is Mark Dawson, who lives in the United Kingdom. He is one of the most successful indie authors in the world. In 2020, Mark grossed over $1.5 million in revenue from his novels and he's living the dream of every author. For the past several years, Mark has spent more than a million dollars on Facebook ads, conducted numerous research studies and determined what works best. He's also a great teacher and wants to help others succeed as well. He has created training courses with detailed insights about how to successfully use various book advertising programs. His courses are only open a few times a year and in general you have to get on a waiting list to get information about them.
 
Dawson's course, Ads for Authors is open now and only for a few weeks. (If you are reading this article later and the course is closed, get on the waiting list for the next opportunity.) I encourage you to watch these short videos to hear what his students say about the course.  Maybe you don't write fiction, this teaching is still for you and follow this link to watch short videos from different types of writers. I've also added an image below and notice the scroll bar on the right-hand side, you can scroll down and see different videos from some of Mark's students.
 
 
I'm taking this Ads for Authors course and understand it takes consistent action to watch the instruction, then apply it to your writing life. The key is to add this training into your writing life, learn from someone who is using it successfully then apply the information to your own plans for book marketing and selling.
 
Have you taken one of Mark Dawson's courses? Tell us about your experiences in the comments. Or maybe you want to tell us about your results using advertising for your books in the comments. I look forward to your comments.
 
Tweetable: 

Prolific editor and author recommends writers learn before they leap into using ads for their books. Get the details here. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers.  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. He lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Searching for a Magic Bullet


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin


With the rapid expansion of self-publishing (1.6 million books last year), you have to be careful in some regards which company you select, but overall, it is easy to make a book. Selling those books to readers is the major issue for every author—whether they verbalize it or not. Everyone is searching for a magic bullet which catapults them to the bestseller list and sells many books.
 
Are you ready for the hard truth from my decades in publishing? There is no magic bullet or path to become a bestseller. If such a path existed, every book from every publisher would become a bestseller. There are many well-written books, well-designed books which have dismal sales. What will make the difference?
 
In this article I want to give you a few of these best practices of bestselling authors. I understand there are many others here's a few critical ones:
 
1. Bestselling authors understand and maintain a relationship with their readers. These authors spend time to cultivate and nurture this relationship. They devote lots of attention to building an active email list.  I've read the articles where people say email is over but this long-term tool is key because each author controls their own email list for things like frequency, tone and building these relatinships through email. There are many tools for building this list like ConvertKit, MailChimp, AWeber and many others. As an author, pick one, learn to use the tool then actively use it repeatedly with your readers.
 
2. Bestselling authors create multiple paths to their email list. Whether these authors are on a podcast or a radio program or a guest blog post or a teleseminar or ????, they have created a “gift” or a “freebie” which is something attractive to their readers. Their readers can only gain access if they give this author their first name and email address. Some authors collect even more detailed information. These freebies are called lead magnets and take creativity and effort to create, then maintain. Check my link to see some of what I've created and get ideas. Every author needs to be creating these multiple paths of connection which lead to your email list.
 
3. Bestselling authors understand and use various forms of media like radio and podcasts. They have built relationships with effective publicists who can book these events for them.
 
4. Bestselling authors build an active presence on various forms of social media. Yes these platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are “rented” and nothing they control. They understand they have to be wise (read careful) about what they post so they don't get cancelled yet they find tools like Hootsuite or Buffer, then use those tools consistently to reach their readers—and guide them back to their email list.
 
5. Bestselling authors understand the power of advertising and invest in Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads, etc. Yet they hire the right people to help them or learn the inside scoop about it before investing into it. For example, bestselling self-published author Mark Dawson has a course which is only open a few times a year (follow this link to see it or at least get on his notification email list) or watch some of these testimonial videos of his students.
 
6. Bestselling authors are always learning and growing in their craft and various tools to reach new readers. It's something I've built into each of these various aspects.
 
Instead of searching for a magic bullet, I encourage you to mirror some of these practices for your writing life. Just pick one or two and begin taking action. My brief list is not exhaustive so let me know some other aspects in the comments below.
 
Tweetable:

Instead of searching for a magic bullet, this prolific editor and author gives a series of practices from studying bestselling authors. Get ideas for your writing life here. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers.  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. He lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers

Saturday, July 4, 2015

So Why Shouldn't Authors Profit from Advertising When It Benefits Their Audience!


Memories, Marketing and Sponsorships and Sales

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning
books fir writers, The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor,
both in their second editions

About a year ago I was answering questions for an online interview to promote the Southern Utah Book Expo I would soon be presenting at.  Because I am from Utah, my high school newspaper and yearbook became a topic of discussion and mentioned that getting sponsorship ads for those things was as vital to their being as the photos, writing, and layout of those parts of high school life we all value.

Authors  do the same kind thing with their Web sites. Carefully vetted ads can add value to their contents. I am a sometime actor and occasionally I notice how carefully a director places a picture on a wall or a can of Coke on the table in the shot he's taking. That's placement advertising and we—as consumers of both the Coke and the ad itself—hardly notice. It's subliminal. It's natural to see them there. And besides, this country lauds capitalism and monetary independence. In fact, many metaphorically wave the flags of commerce in our politics (though some suddenly become shy about doing so for their own books! But more on that later!)

Just as I'm thinking about that, I ran across a related article in the business section of the LA Times. Of course! It's about product placement in videos and how it's growing. And how it's making some smart video companies and producers some really big dollars. Why am I not surprised? Here's why. The Love Boat, the TV series from several decades ago, was one giant product placement sitcom! This kind of marketing is not new—nor is it unacceptable. And I’m used to sponsorships (a soft word for advertisements) appearing in the front- and backmatter of fine literary journals.

Now, back to the idea of authors using the same techniques to upping the value of their content and for fattening their pocketbooks. I hope I’ve convinced you that if it’s OK for everyone else, it’s OK for those who write books.

For any author to sell product placement or advertising and make large quantities of money requires an audience (we authors call it a platform). But it can be done on a small scale—perhaps out of the goodness of your heart or perhaps in trade with other authors who are out there making videos and otherwise promoting and building their platforms like crazy.
The video entrepreneurs in that article remind others that audience is "more important than any brand deal." They say that if they love a product, it feels good to do something with it commercially. But it’s even more than “love.” The bigger question is, “Does this product benefit (elucidate) the work itself?” Another is, “Is the product something that might benefit the author’s intended audience?”

If you’ve decided something like this is worth exploring, here are a few guidelines for you to consider:

  1. Don't interrupt the story (the arc or thread) with an "unrelated product message." I'd extend that and say at its best it should never feel like an interruption at all.
  2. A product or its logo might work best if it doesn't appear until half way through the video. If you should decide to use an actual ad, put it at the end of the video or book because if a person has hung in long enough to see that final frame--read that final page—they probably will be more receptive to a product than if it's flashed up front where it might discourage a person from watching at all.
  3. Try a title card. Entrepreneurs McLaughlin and Link Neal use product placement well into their cat video and then a brand name "title card" at the end. I'm thinking even the title card could add something more than just an ad. Perhaps it could look like a cross-stitched "Kitty Snoozing" sign hanging from a doorknob. It could be designed with Friskies colors, a logo, and little kitty-food-can tassels hanging from the corners. The question now is, what would the title card on your video look like—beyond just your bookcover image and a Web site address. In The Frugal Book Promoter, a couple of my ads offer a discount on products that writers can use by means of promo codes.

So what are the guidelines for success—whether it is a paid-for project, a bartered one, or the goodness of your heart?
  1. Passion
  2. Appropriateness
  3. Perceived Benefit
  4. A Promotion Partner so you can share both real expenses and the time it takes to promote it.

On that latter point, one of my subscribers, Reno Lovison, once made a slide-show video for me without even asking. He sent it to me as a gift with suggestions of how I might promote it. It was an interesting turn around because his own promotional materials and video business were the product placements within the ad he made for me. Talk about partnerships! His Web site is http://authorsbroadcast.com/ and if you look at the books on his Web site, you'll also see the cover of one of my retail books for which he made a more traditional sales video several years ago (and which I still use in multiple spots on my Web site).

If you'd like to read more check the LA Times story by Madeline O'Leary, Tuesday, July 29, Business Section (B3).

-----
Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including the first edition of The Frugal Book Promoter published in 2003. Her The Frugal Editor, now in its second edition, won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. 


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