In a rather timely coincidence, J. A. Konrath blogged about ebook promotion on the same day that I experienced my first book promotional flop. In October 2010, I purchased a Kindle Boards Book Sponsorship, which is basically a small ad at the top of an ebook discussion board. I had read many authors had success with this promotion, but the first available date was May 7. I took it.
I expected to see a modest jump in sales on May 7, but instead, I had the worst sales day of the whole week. Strange. But I’m not terribly upset at the waste of advertising dollars because this gives me valuable information for the future. This was not the correct place to promote Charlotte Collins, so I won’t be using this particular venue again for similar books.
Take a few minutes to read Konrath’s post, and in addition, I’d like to emphasize the importance of choosing quantifiable promotions. You must be able to see concrete results from your advertising dollars; you must be able to see a direct relationship between your ad and your sales. So here are some things I’ve found important:
- Choose limited-time promotions. There are many one- or two-day promotions out there, and many of them are free. If you limit the time of your promo, you will be able to see an instant, direct relationship between it and your sales.
- If you choose a long-term promotion–like running a month-long ad–be sure that you will have access to its results, like having a spreadsheet or chart of your ad’s clicks. Otherwise, you are not going to know if your ad is effective. You can’t prove that any sales correlate to it directly. Goodreads is a good example of a long-term ad program that does it well.
- Sure, there’s something to be said for having your book “out there” for people to see in a long-term ad even if you can’t prove that it’s getting any sales results. Part of advertising is getting your book in someone’s head, but there are lots of free ways to get the job done. If you can’t prove your paid ad is working, why bother? You’re just wasting money.
As Konrath says, sales fluctuate, and authors shouldn’t panic as this happens: “Ebooks are forever, and forever is a long time.”