That’s what companies on the internet want you to believe. In the marketing research for my new novel Darkwater I found a company that wants (though I doubt they get it often) $ 499 to read and post a (yes that’s one!) review online.
I contacted 53 companies claiming to “skyrocket your book sales” ranging from $7.50 to $339.00. What I found interesting is many of the more expensive companies would NOT get any more people to see your ad then their less expensive counterparts. So why is one company charging $20 for 100,000 people to see your book and another is charging $200?
That’s a question, unfortunately, I can answer, GREED and FEAR. These materialistic companies charging major money online are preying on an author’s fear that he/she won’t get any sales. Using someone else’s, in this case the authors, frailties to line your own pockets is reprehensible. Regrettably that is exactly what all advertising does.
If you are going to pay to advertise your book, and I think you should, remember its advertising and it’s not about the truth it’s about money. So the first thing you should ask any company before you buy is, “Prove it.” You say you have 100,000 subscribers to your newsletter, then let’s see the proof.
Do your research. Don’t let the vague “sales pitch” trick you into spending your hard earned cash. Ask a lot of questions. If the company does not want to answer questions then leave them in the dust. Make sure to ask at least the following
Look I understand that EVERYTHING is a business. That people and companies have to pay bills. But in today’s world price gouging appears common place and it’s clearly out of hand.
P.S. Once all the advertising for my new novel is finished Ill post the results. It may help you decide which ad company to use.
Side note: That gourmet coffee you’re buying has a retail markup of 2,900%. And the worst retail markup of all, Crystal Healing at 2,493,828% over a two million percent markup! http://www.businessinsider.com/products-high-markups-2014-7
Ok, so I published this book, Darkwater. You’ve probably already read it. Then I set about the arduous task of promoting the book. When you’re a new author (and even for established authors) you need to promote like crazy in the beginning until the book goes “viral” and begins selling itself. For my first novel I promoted like crazy for almost three months.
And here are my results:
Book sites the book is available for sale – 55 including the biggies, Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, and Goodreads (which belongs to Amazon now)
Book Sites that promote my book - 23 – You would think it would be much more. See "Paying for Listings" below for details.
Book Review Requests – 34 – I received 3 reviews. That’s about average. You’ll get about 10% of the people you contact that will actually post a review. Don’t accept “swapping reviews” from other authors. Amazon frowns on this and may remove the review if they find out. I did it ONCE. I posted a review for this person’s book and he never reciprocated.
Paid for book promo sites – 2 – I thought I’d trying paying for promotion. If you do this know that you WONT recoup your investment on the front end but you might after sales spike some time later. I did it more for reviews and to boost my Amazon sales rank. I didn’t get any reviews but it did boost my sales rank from 691,447 to 88,399. This meant I went from selling 3 books per month to 38 books per month. Since I had such a good result with the paid promos, I will try more when my next book is released the end of August.
And here are my complaints:
Paying for “listings”
MANY of the so called book promo sites charge fees to list your book. Most of the time the fees are small, in the $5-15 US range. That doesn’t seem like a lot of cash outlay. But if you list on many sites, I did 23 free sites (see above). I encountered 174 sites that would list my book for a fee. If I had chosen to do that, say an average cost of $10 US each that’s $1,740! That’s more than my house payment. I'll publish 3-4 books per year. Now the total comes to $ 6,960 year!! And you need to ask yourself, “How many people are seeing this listings?” Many of the sites don’t tell you. That leads me to believe it is very few people.
Contact me, us, them, they, etc.
I searched through countless websites (over 300, ok so I did count) that said they would help promote indie (that’s what they call us independent authors) authors. And I learned two sad facts.
1) The majority of self-published websites. (I.e. sites that people make themselves, not sites that a web designer creates) are awful. I mean just AWFUL. I’m sorry, that sounds mean and judgmental. But please I want to help. If you have no experience designing websites go to Fiverr and for a small fee, usually $ 25-50 US a web designer can make you a nice plain website that won’t scare away your readers.
2) Put your contact information on EVERY page. I searched through so many sites that would say, “contact me and I’ll...” and then nowhere to be found was an email address. Come on! If you tell us to contact you then add the email or even better make the contact me a link.
DW is an author and an artist. He has been creating paintings and photographs for over 40 years. He lives in Eastern Kansas with his daughter, a large epileptic dog, two cats, and a barnyard of chickens and ducks.