Self-Publishing: Marketing – Don’t forget to budget for this.
In the last post, I gave you a rundown of the basic cost to consider with producing a book, but let’s not forget marketing costs in your preliminary budget. Doing this ahead of time will help you to avoid overspending. Remember that your book will only make money once it has hit the break-even point. All cost associated with production and marketing have to be made before you make any money.
So, let’s look at some of the things you might consider when marketing your work, and their potential associated cost.
1) Website or Blog $10-$the sky is the limit
You need to have a presence on the internet where people can find you and learn more about you and your work. There is no getting around this. We live in the digital age and people are used to being able to type something (like your author name) into Google, and find out whatever they want. And really, that’s what you want too. You want people to have easy access and a place to find out the information you want to share with them. Aside from the obvious social networking sites like: Facebook, Twitter, & Goodreads, you’ll want a home of your own on the web.
Professional websites can cost you a lot of money. Domain names need to be purchased, webhosting needs to be established, and for those of you who can’t code a website, you’ll need a designer to make something that pops!
However, the costs associated with these things, may not fit into the budget. If you can and want to afford it, great! More power to you. But, for those who have a tighter budget, there are other ways of creating an online presence that won’t break the bank. (And remember, you can always upgrade later as you become more successful).
Most people will already have a blog via Blogger or Wordpress. Both of these are free to use and have the capabilities to be tweaked to add static pages for things like: Author Bio, Book Info, or books to purchase. With the purchase of your own domain name for around $10, you can even make the address something easy for readers to find, like: www.yourname.com
2) Book Reviews and Blog Tours. $100+
The single best way to get the word out about your new book, is to get it into the hands of people who read and review books publically. This is where Blog touring has taken off. There are plenty of services out there who will take your book and not only get it into the hands of other book reviewers; they’ll also package those reviews up into a nice week-to-month tour through the blogosphere!
This is a great service to look into; however, the cost can be high. Again, just like with all things I’ve mentioned, doing a little homework can mean the difference between spending $100 and spending $1,000.
You don’t have to do a blog tour. There are free alternatives but they will require a lot of legwork on your part. There are literally hundreds of bloggers out there who are willing to look at self-published books. You can hunt them down and request reviews from them yourself too. It might take a little longer to get the reviews but those reviews will cost you nothing more than the price of a book plus postage (in the case of print books) or free (in the case of ebooks.)
The single best resource I have found for this is a $0.99 book, listing over 50 sites willing to review indie authors.
This is a “starter list” including tons of bloggers who devote their time to reading and reviewing books by indie authors. Will they ALL be right for your book? NO. But many MIGHT be and for only $0.99 it’s worth the investment to pick up this list.
Now, if you do chose to go the blog tour route, there are some things to consider.
What blogs are they affiliated with?
Check out their links. They should provide a listing of blogs they regularly work with.
Do those blogs have a good following?
Most blogs have a “followers” widget on the side. You can see how many people publically follow them there. Along with that, take a look at the comments section and see if people are participating in the bloggers post. This will give you an idea of how active members are.
Do they offer reviews with your tour?
Reviews are really the biggest seller in these tours, people trust their bloggers opinion. An interview is great to introduce yourself, but a “thumbs up” from a blogger who has read your book can help people decide if they want to take a chance on you and your book.
Does the blog tour offer giveaways for your book?
Giveaways are another key to blog touring. People like to win things. If your tour includes giveaways of your book or Amazon gift cards, etc… it will attract more attention.
3) Bookmarks, Posters, Business cards, etc… $ variable pricing depending on printer.
These are “freebies” you give away to help promote your book. While not essential, they are a handy tool that can showcase your book, tell people where to find you, and give them a reason to come back to your future work.
People like getting freebies. It helps to build a sense of “goodwill” between you and your potential new reader.
Bookmarks are a multi-use marketing tool. A bookmark is something we all use. By giving them away to people, you are planting a seed. That person may not buy your book today, but they might just use your bookmark when sitting down to read. Each time they use it, they see your book’s image and your information. That can eventually lead to a sale.
Each bookmark you create should have a few essential items on it: your book(s) image(s), your name, and a place they can go to find you (see above Website or Blog).
You can create your own images using photo editing software and then send them to the printer of your choice. Remember to do your homework and find the best price for your printing needs (because chances are, you are just going to give them all away. Don’t break the bank on giveaways).
4) Paid Advertising - $10 - $ The sky’s the limit!
There are various places where you can pay to have your book listed. Some are “per click” advertising services and some are flat fee. While it is not necessary for you to pay for any advertising for your books (there is no guarantee it will make them sell) there are a few you might consider looking at.
http://redadeptreviews.com/ - Banner ads and sidebar book ads as cheap as $10
http://www.kindleboards.com/ - Banner ads and Book of the Day ads $35-$195
http://kindlenationdaily.com/ - Various ways to feature your work $89 -$299
http://www.projectwonderful.com/ - Bid on various advertisements
http://thefrugalereader.com/ - Various advertising packages
http://www.goodreads.com/advertisers - Pay Per Click
As I said above, these are things you might want to consider. You do not have to do any of these things, but some may be helpful to you. And, now that you’ve got an idea of what the cost could be, you can factor that into your budget and get started on the actual production of your book.
For more information on cheap/free marketing tips, take a look at my previous post on marketing advice.