I was reading through the website of Michael Hyatt, the chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers. Besides his marketing director’s advice on how to promote fiction, one thing that really thing that caught my eye was a particularly effective photograph of the author. A lot of authors have a photograph on their website and/or inside their books (sometimes even on the front cover in non-fiction), but a lot of these shots are not terribly effective. Here are some tips that might help you do it better.
A professionally-published novelist usually makes only $1 in royalties per paperback sale. Typically, I’d guess that a well-tailored cost-per-click Adwords campaign could get the costs per incoming reader to somewhere between $.05-.20.
If you’re selling a single book, you almost certainly can’t break even with ads*. If you spend $20 on cost-per-click advertising, you have something somewhere between 100-400 prospective customers and need to get 20 sales to break even. That almost certainly will not happen. If your material is good, I think you’d probably convert 1-3% of your readers into buyers. So attracting 400 readers would probably generate between 1-12 customers. You probably couldn’t break even with that.
However, there are several situations that might shift the numbers in your favor.
The difference between men’s and women’s interactions on Facebook
How to get your content shared on Facebook
One thing that I find both interesting and scary about Facebook is that its audience isn’t gathered around a single interest (like a political site) or even a group of interests (like DeviantArt). If you’re interested in marketing a book online but aren’t web-savvy enough to make your own site, I’d highly recommend giving this a look.
“It’s the most heart-warming phone ad of the year!” I’m not sure that heart-warming is the best fit for NFL Live. I think that the average American man likes his humor a bit more robust and, umm, funny.
UPDATE: We’re in the second quarter now and the ad has played three five times.
SECOND UPDATE: The ad ended up playing nine times, by my count.
The bad news is that Hayden Christensen, the same “actor” that ruined Star Wars and Jumper, is starring as Case. Dare I say that John Travolta could do this better? Egads. How could we have come to the point where John Travolta is the lesser of two acting evils? Hayden [censored]ing Christensen.
The Hellboy Quote Generator is out, although it has been technically unreliable. On a comedy scale of 1 to 10, I’d give this a 5: amusing but uneven. It’s a well-done piece of viral advertising, though. (“Let me put this to you as delicately as I can.” *BANG*)
The New York Times has an interesting run-down of cartoon updates, from apparently successful endeavors like Strawberry Shortcake and the ugly-but-popular TMNT series to horrible flops like Magic Earring Ken and Warner Brother’s Loonatics…
Some starting authors expect that their work is over when their manuscript gets picked up by a publisher.No, not even close.Once the book is published, it falls largely to the author to market his work by running promotional events like book-signings.
Learning to host an effective book-signing is as crucial for authors as a good hand-shake is for a politician. Here is some advice on how to hold an effective promo event. Continue Reading »
10 days ago, I changed the title of one of my most popular articles from “Helping Girls Write Guys” to “Writing Male Characters” (I explained my reasoninghere). I think that it’ll take 20 or so more days until I have conclusive information, but so far the article has tripled in unique hits over the past ~9.5 days compared to the 10 days before the change. I had anticipated some change, because my target audience is much more likely to use words like male/writing/characters than helping/girls/guys, but the magnitude of the leap surprised me.
Additionally, the article has become more effective. I suspect that the new title retains readers that click the Google link more effectively. “Writing Male Characters” is very straight-forward and serious; “Helping Girls Write Guys” doesn’t sound nearly as helpful.
Before, the article bounced an unacceptably high ~60% of readers. That has dropped to 35%. My preliminary conclusion is that strong titles are critical to retaining readers.
Including readers that bounce after a very short amount of time, the average time spent on the article has increased from two minutes to three. Excluding relatively unpopular articles that are skewed by a few devoted readers (three people spent an average of 30 minutes on one of mine), only my review of Soon I Will Be Invincible and my article on naming characters retain readers longer. And my SIWBI review is 4000 words long.
With the exception of the main site at www.superheronation.com, more readers enter my site through this article than any other.
Post something every day. If you’re gungho enough to actually log on to your site every day, great. If not, write a few more posts than you need and set their timestamps so that they come out once a day. Having one post a day is vastly preferable to a few posts every few days.
Daily posts encourages readers to check your site often. It also reminds your readers that you’re still alive and why they love coming back. (Right, guys?)
Coming up with 7 posts each week is not too hard. I think we have 400 posts over the five months. Admittedly, we have a team of contributors, but to be fair I would venture to say that at least 200-250 of those are mine.
If interested readers see that you haven’t updated in the past few days, they may stop coming. I loved Your Webcomic Can Still Be Saved but it hasn’t posted in quite some time. I no longer check it.
Your readers won’t derive as much enjoyment from the second article as the first (diminishing returns). But it’s just as hard to write the second article as it is to write the first. From an economics standpoint, it makes more sense to stash the second article.
Strategic post timing. I think the most popular time to browse the web is (for adults) around 5pm-8pm. It’s probably around 3-5 pm for students. Target your posts to just before your audience is likely to check.
What should you post? That depends on what your site’s aim is. If you’re trying to market a novel, you can show your writing style with one-liners from your characters, strong scenes or a short conversation between two characters. Character profiles may be useful, particularly if your characters are fresh enough to draw us into the story.
When mapping out any kind of superheroic narrative, a consideration has to be made that is not often an aspect of other types of stories, and by that I mean you have to determine power level, or maybe we should say Power Level, since so many superheroic concepts work better with capitals. This is […]
Short version: Dr. Short at the University of Oklahoma conducted a study which found that graphic novels helped students learn material more easily and were preferred by 80% of the students. You can enroll for free here to test whether they are more effective for you. Here’s an example of the study incorporating visual […]