|"The Social Network"|
|"The Social Network"|
|Times Square, NYC |
Going back to some of my original articles about being a new author, I mentioned some of the non-cheap “promotion packages” offered by self-publishing companies who found my book so fascinating they didn’t need to read it. Being overly eager and overly stupid, I tried a few of these “fantastic, state-of-the-art” marketing programs. The end result was similar to what John Locke described in his “How to” bestseller; lots of bucks shelled out on my end and minimal book sales from their end.
When I look back at these “packages” wondering how many Coach handbags I could have purchased instead and put to better use, I remember the methods used. One was an “email blast.” On hindsight, this was spamming my work I actually paid for. Then I succumbed to temptation of social site ads. After paying for “clicks” for about six months, I had a full credit card and an empty sales account. When I decided I could hardly get any worse, I took on search-engine ads, with some strange hope that when someone surfs the Internet, he/she would somehow find my book and decide it looks so brilliant the day could not go on without purchasing it.
Only after epic-failing at every attempt at getting noticed, I started networking at small doses with gradual increases over time. After lots of dollars down the drain, I spent small, single-time sums on the right services for advice to get me started on blogging and Twitter. The results aren’t “sudden fame” but it’s a slow, steady, growing Internet presence all of us get as we use social networking.
Question: Why do ads fail for new authors? Why does the single tried-and-true method for selling pretty much everything else from real estate, lingerie, and diet soda not work for newbie writers? Ads come natural for big-name authors. Car insurance sells by clever commercials featuring a cute reptile. Wireless cell phone services are sold with obnoxious music. Beautiful women sell anything/everything. So, what’s the deal with books?
I don’t really know the answer to this question. I noted on “The Social Network” when they said, “Ads aren’t cool.” OK. If ads are so un-cool, why are they used to sell just about everything? The reflex answer is: “Ads look spammy.” OK. Ads look spammy. So how many handbags or computer gadgets are we purchasing with no knowledge about them from advertising? It’s no secret that big companies shell out the big bucks to sell their products, be it the food, clothing, film, or publishing industry for bestsellers. We live in a world of advertising, and rely on it for entertainment during the Superbowl, but for new authors, it’s truly a hard sell.
I find it interesting what we tag as value to consumption. It’s easier for Coach to sell a $900 handbag than for a new author to sell a $2.99 book. Of course, many reasons include competition and alternate modes of entertainment. Whatever the reason is, for new authors, if traditional routes of advertising works, that’s great. I don’t tell people what to do with their money, but I will say to be careful before stepping into the deep chasm of purchasing ads. The mathematics don’t “ad” up.