Advertising Your Book
Just how do you approach advertising your book? What methods do you use to decide on which sites to utilize and which to avoid? Are you willing to pay for advertising? How much?
All of these questions must be thought about once an author makes a decision on how best to promote their book. Most authors don’t have deep pockets. Our ability to pay for ad space in major markets is slim to none. Pricing the different elements of the minimum amount of promotional material we need often forces a decision between buying something you’ve wanted for a long time or paying for promotion.
First and foremost, I always tell authors asking these questions to opt for free over paid if their budget is tight. Why? A tight budget makes picking the right promotion site difficult. One of the things I emphasize strongly is that an author research a promoter.
Are they new to promotion?
What services do they offer?
Is this promoter willing to work with your publisher and not make unilateral decisions, going so far as to push the publisher to follow their plan, no matter what it includes?
Are all the services reasonably priced, based on their experience?
Is this promoter willing to let you contact people to speak to you about their services, no matter how the person feels about what was done for them?
Let’s start with the last question first. This one could possibly be the most important one you ask a promoter. Reputable promoters will honestly tell you up front if someone was dissatisfied with their work. They won’t elaborate much and will probably give you an email address so that you may make up your own mind. Less than reputable promoters will point proudly to a page on their website, where you will be able to read gushing testimonials about their work. Make sure you look at the time stamp. Did all of these testimonials come in in a short period of time, with large gaps between each group? Are there just a few from a year or more back, but nothing recently? When you question the promoter about more recent testimonials, or ask if you can speak with those who weren’t satisfied, do they blow off your request with an airy “You don’t want to talk to this person. They’re nothing but trouble?” A refusal to let you talk to clients on both sides of the satisfaction fence should be a major red flag to you, the author. Is there perhaps more you need to know about this person? Certainly, but there isn’t a place to go to check them out with any degree of accuracy. All you can rely on is word of mouth to find people who have had experience with this person.
Is the promoter new to the field and what services do they offer? These are important issues to clear up before you agree to let someone promote your work. If they’re new, what kind of experience do they have with promotion? Until 2013, there was a plethora of bloggers offering tours for book releases and reviews. From 2014 to the present, many of those people have stopped the promotional route. Some because they became involved in their own books. Others because they couldn’t get people to offer space on their blogs any longer. That’s a difficult proposition for a reviewer and blogger. You don’t get to choose the books you’ll read. If you sign on for a tour, you are required to read and review a book in a very short period of time. You are required to blog this review, and post that review to every sales venue where it’s listed. Most people found this onerous and once Amazon changed their review policy, difficult to have the review remain up once it was posted. As for their services, make sure if they offer to make cover art that your publisher will agree with that. There are requirements for upload to sales venues that must be strictly followed and if one thing is wrong, you will find yourself with a book that can’t be released until the cover is corrected.
Is your promoter willing to work with your publisher and not make unilateral decisions that cause problems? If they aren’t, you need to run away fast. You’ll soon find yourself in a position where your publisher is losing patience with the demands and perhaps cooling about accepting your next book.
Finally, are their services priced reasonably, based on their experience? Someone who has just started promoting and is charging a premium rate needs to prove to you that they are worth the money, and I don’t mean by assuring you that they are. There are far too many scammers attempting to entice authors into paying for unnecessary promotional tools and leaving you wondering why you accepted their offer in the first place.
The biggest thing to remember about promoters is the same thing everyone looks at when they’re thinking about hiring someone. Caveat Emptor—let the buyer beware. Do your research and remember that if it looks too good to be true, move on to someone else.