CAPTIVE SPIRIT released in June, I've embarked on a wondrous and wild ride down the yellow brick road known as Book Promotion On The Web. Since there are quite a few writer types who follow this blog, I wanted to share some of the things I've learned along the way. Sadly, Glinda the Good Witch hasn't popped out along my journey, waved her magic wand, and made everything sparkly (translation: easy and cheap). Glinda, where are you when I need you, girlfriend?!
While my publisher, Carina Press, has done its fair share to promote my baby, I've had to do my part too. It's a brave new publishing world, especially with e-books and e-readers. Suffice it to say that this isn't your mother's book promotion tour anymore.
In retrospect, I should have prepared longer before my release date--like at least six months before, probably longer. Unfortunately, as one of the authors lucky enough to be one of the Carina Press launch authors, publication moved at lightening speed--from acquisition to editing to book covers to release date. I had three months. That's like a nanosecond in the Publishing Time Spectrum.
And for the last six months, I've been shuffling through the myriad of promotional options available to authors--and believe me, there are dozens, maybe hundreds. The trick is trying to find those that will give you the biggest bang for your buck and reach the readers who typically purchase your kind of book. Facebook, goodreads, e-book clubs, reader web sites, even hiring publicists--the list goes on. And on. In a word, it's been daunting. Daunting but certainly not impossible to navigate.
I'm a member of many big reader web sites as I'm not only an author but a voracious reader. But here's where my eyes glaze over on those reader-friendly web sites, especially when I'm in the position of having to evaluate their author promotional opportunities: Don't give me 6032 options and mix and match them into a Sudoku puzzle. Give it to me straight, along with a flat price. When there are that many options, I have to wonder as a reader/consumer of those sites, is it just a lot of noise? Will it translate into book sales? Are consumers too inundated with too much book promotional stuff? Ditto for the packages offered by many of the consortiums that host author web sites.
Oddly, and this surprised me, I found it easiest to advertise on Facebook and Goodreads. Finding reader audiences there has not been a problem. On both, it was easy to upload ads, create a daily budget, and then watch progress. And here's where clicks (CPCs) comes in. With sites like these, you pay for either clicks or impressions. I've found that paying per click has been the most effective. With many of the bigger reader web sites, you pay a rate, watch your name and your book cover get plastered in a lot of newsletters, blogs, etc. And then you pray for lots of sales. Being the control freak that I am, I like to have (and see) more control of the progress like I get on Facebook and Goodreads. I've also checked out Shelfari and Library Thing but there advertising programs don't seem to be as user-friendly, and I believe their audiences are much smaller.
Of course, there are always things like blog tours and free book giveaways at an author's disposal but that's a given. But after a while, those reach a saturation point too unless you continue to reinvent your blog tour and keep it interesting. You'll see that I'll be guest posting more this year but my focus will have changed.
When my next novel RUN FOR YOU LIFE releases this summer, look out. I will be ready.
Take that, Glinda!
P.S. Send sparkles and cupcakes next time. Please.