Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Making Promo Fun? by Alicia Dean

So, I think we all agree, promo is a necessity, but sometimes a necessary evil. Like exercise, I think the key to sticking with promo is making it fun. (Don't get me wrong, I haven't figured out a way to make exercise fun :()

But, there are a few ways to make promo fun. I haven't tried all of these, but here are some thoughts about fun stuff to try AND some questions/thoughts about marketing in general.

1) Videos - Let your readers see you live and up close and personal. This is something I haven't done, but a weekly video chat on Facebook with your readers is a great way to promo. You can talk about your writing, read a short excerpt, ask them questions, talk about your life (just a little, not too much sharing). You can announce ahead of time and invite readers to join you.

2) What are you interested in, other than reading and writing? For me, it's Elvis, MLB, TV, NFL. Pick a topic unrelated to writing that interests you and write a weekly blog or Facebook post about it. You'll probably be more likely to write about it each week, because you love it. (Gardening, animals, scrapbooking, hang-gliding, etc)

3) Cross-Promo with other authors. Learning about other authors and sharing for them can be lots of fun.

4) Play games - maybe give away a book to one of the commenters. You can play games like, which of these lines is from so and so book. You can play games with other authors, let them share something on your Facebook or blog that readers can guess. Or, just have readers list their favorite book, movie, food, actor, animal, etc. Give away a book to one lucky commenter.

I wouldn't try all of these, it would be too time-consuming, but they are just some suggestions for potential things to do that might be more fun than pure drudgery. :)

A few questions/comments...

1) I'm starting to wonder about my Facebook Fan Page. It's difficult to get exposure/interaction, although the promo group Jannine and I run has helped to increase that a little. However, I wonder if maybe I should just use my regular profile page. That way, there would be a mixture of personal and book things. What are your thoughts?

2) I recently tried an Amazon ad, and I felt it was quite successful. I took Alison's advice and listed a ton of key words, searching for authors and books similar to mine. I also added key words as I went along. One tip I learned from a marketing expert I met in May was to bid a higher price, like maybe 75 cents per click, for more common key words so that when readers search that, your bid should make you float to the top. Have any of you tried Amazon ads? What was your experience like?

3) I've heard some discouraging things about Facebook ads. I was thinking of trying one, but what I've heard has put me off. I understand that the supposed price you are charged always goes up. You spend more money than you expect, and that your ads aren't necessarily getting the exposure you thought they would. I found it a little confusing with the targeting and such anyway. Do you guys know anything about FB ads?

Would love to hear feedback on any or all...thanks!


Andrea Downing said...

Hate, hate, hate promo...but thanks for some good ideas Alicia.

Jannine Gallant said...

I tried doing recipe posts then Ginger (my dog) posts quite a while back. It was hard getting motivated after the first few. I know I need to start a news letter, but I don't want to deal with setting it up. I'm sadly lacking in new promo ideas lately. I've got a big gap between the last book in my Wilde series and the first in my Siren Cove series, so I need to come up with something entertaining to keep my name out there!!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Not convinced about me and videos...I'm in the 'it's about the book not the author' camp. Tried my first FB boost and they 'disapproved' of my 'image' (MY BOOKCOVER!)...and by the time I protested and they 'approved,' the Free window fro my book was down to one-I told them not to run it, but they did anyway. I asked for my money back. Sigh. Bad experience so far. Have not run an Amazon ad. Probably will, some day.

Diane Burton said...

Many good ideas, Alicia. I've developed a list of things to try. Just haven't made time to try any of them.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great ideas Alicia! I may try some of these later. I'm seriously rethinking my promo efforts. Haven't tried an Amazon ad but hear they are very effective. Have tried FB ads....don't see the benefit.

Haven't seen the benefit of FB groups either although many say they are good to participate in.

It all seems like a lot of ways to spend hours upon hours chatting some place or another which cuts into already precious writing time.

Print ads are EXPENSIVE! but in my years, they seem to work best.

Who knows, it's all a numbers game.

Anyway, good luck and God's blessings

Margo Hoornstra said...

I'm in the same boat. Lots of good ideas, no time or expertise to implement.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thanks for some good ideas. I'm in promo mode right now (although I just got edits back so I'm doing that too). I think I posted about my 10 step plan a few weeks back.

I prefer to keep my author page and personal page separate, but that doesn't mean big things aren't on my personal page like book releases or signing events. And I post personal things on my author page too...readers want some of that. FB does limit views and you can see that on the business page. No way of knowing on the personal page but my guess is they restrict it too.

I had FDW do some extensive research on FB ads and even he was put off. I haven't attempted one yet. I do boost a post now and then for $5 or $10 and target the audience.

I started an Amazon ad on July 1. On July 14 I had my publisher check the activity and it was sick. I'd had some clicks but no sales. But I'm running it for two months. Amazon says do at least 30 days. I know with advertising you have to be seen repeatedly to have it work.

On the 15th and 16th I had good spikes in all of my Love and Murder Series books. Was it the Amazon ad or the TRS Heatwave party that ran the 12th to the 16th or the Christmas in July I was part of for NN Light or AskDavid where I listed all of my books? Numbers are falling again, so who knows?

I don't think I'd like doing a video of me.

I read an advice article about advertising. Basically it said do the social media thing and blogs and any other way to get your name out. But don't waste money on print ads until you actually have a name. If no one knows who you are, print ads won't really tell them and won't generate sales.

I also like doing Amazon giveaways that result in followers on my Amazon page.

All that said, I'm not hitting the best seller list yet so what do I know??

Alicia Dean said...

You're welcome, Andrea. I don't hate it, but it can definitely be a time suck. :)

Yes, Jannine, my games and regular posts have fallen by the wayside as well. I keep thinking there's something just on the tip of my brain that would be easy and fun and I would remember to do...hmmmm... Oh well. I wouldn't have a newsletter if Kathy L Wheeler hadn't set it up. I'm in with 4 other authors, or I wouldn't keep that up either.

Rolynn, I actually agree with you, even though marketing experts don't seem to. I would much rather push the book than the author. And, as a reader, I'm much more interested in the book than the author. I've got some tips if you decide to run an Amazon ad.

Diane, Pamela, Margo. I agree completely. I definitely have more on my list than I have time to try. I actually need to figure out a way to spend less time promoting, but find more effective ways, if that makes sense. :)

Good info, Brenda. Yes, I remember your 10 step plan, and I was quite impressed. How many and what kind of key words are you using on your Amazon ad? I can probably help in that area, if you'd like some assistance. Getting on the best-seller list is a tough task for sure!

Barbara Edwards said...

I wish promo was like excercise and I could see the results after plodding away. I need to make an outline and follow it.

Leah St. James said...

Great suggestions, Alicia. I haven't yet tried the Amazon ads, but I have done Facebook and Google, and didn't find either too helpful. I think I need to sit down with Alison's post, and this one and work out a plan. Thanks again!

Brenda Whiteside said...

I'm not sure the number of key words I used. For some reason I can't find my list. I sent it off to Lisa at TWRP who is handling the ad. I know I came up with as many as I could both from TWRP suggestions and my own. I think I had 20 or so. I used one author name to compare me to. I can do that on an ad but not with TWRP.

Diane Garner said...

My head is spinning! I seem to do the same things over and over and over and never see any significant results. Hmmm, isn't that part of a definition of insanity? Well, that's it. Promoting can drive you insane. LOL

Unknown said...

Hi Alicia. Thanks for all the advice. I find it a challenge to advertise my book because it has explicit sex scenes and a sexy cover, so Amazon Ads are not available, and if I use the cover, then FB also won't approve my boosts or ads. Even some of the romance newsletters balk if you fall under ER. I would love to hear what other Erotic Romance authors do for advertising. Anni xx

Susan Coryell said...

I try to keep up with all the promo ideas and I do appreciate what Alicia comes up with. However, I am a techno-dunce and any new wrinkle that requires me to punch unfamiliar buttons is fraught with peril. The best thing about promos? Posting as guest author on other writers' blogs. Thanks for your innovative ideas.

Darcy Flynn said...

I've also been wondering if I should just concentrate on my profile instead of my page. And today I set up my first Amazon ad. Trying it for one month for my new release to see what happens. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Alison Henderson said...

Just a follow-up note about Amazon ads. Last year, my June royalties (sans ads) were $6.45. Yes, you read that right. This year, they were $114.15. I'd say the ads are working for me.