Posts Tagged With: marketing

My Experience with Amazon Marketing Services

In my continued desperate attempts to get people to read my books, I decided to try out Amazon Marketing Services. For anyone who doesn’t know what that means, it’s basically a marketing service run by Amazon where you create an ad that will show up when people browse related products. You set a CPC bid (i.e. how much you pay when someone clicks the ad), along with a max budget. Then you sit back and hope the people who click your ad are willing to take the next step and purchase your book!

 

My marketing adventure …

I set up the ad for my first book, Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It, back in January of 2017. The CPC bid I chose was $0.35 — as in, every time someone clicks the ad, I pay Amazon 35 cents. I tried a cheaper CPC bid (25 cents) but it wasn’t getting any views, so I had to up it a bit to make it worth Amazon’s time to actually show my ad.

My max budget was $200 although, SPOILER ALERT, I totally did not run through all that money. Hahaha, can you imagine? That would mean people would actually have to click the ad.

Sarcasm aside, I did see a tiny bit of return for my investment, although definitely not nearly as much as I put in. Here’s the stats on my campaign, which I ran for about 4 months starting in January of 2017:

amazon marketing services results may 2017

 

Let’s break those numbers down …

17,990 impressions: # of people who saw the ad (or the ad showed up while they were browsing Amazon and they ignored it)

199 clicks: # of people who clicked the ad (costing me 35 cents per click)

1.106% CTR: the ratio of clicks to impressions

199 DPV: same concept as “clicks” (not sure why this is a different stat)

$69.65 Spend: amount of money I spent to get people to click the ad

$0.35 ACPC: average cost per click (because I could raise or lower the click price if I found it wasn’t getting enough views)

6 estimated orders: # of sales they’re pretty sure happened because the customer clicked the ad

$15.94 Estimated Total Sales: the amount of royalties I made off selling those 6 ebooks (which doesn’t make sense because I know for a fact I make less than $2.66 per ebook sold …)

 

So what does this mean?

I spent approximately $70 to sell $16 worth of books. It’s possible some people clicked the ad, saw the book, decided to buy it later, and therefore their sales didn’t register with the “estimated total sales” measurement — but my sales have been fairly pitiful, so I doubt that. All in all, an interesting experiment, but a failed one in my opinion. I wish it had turned out better, but ultimately the point was to see if the system worked — and for me, it definitely didn’t.

I think this sort of “cost per click” system would work a lot better if the product being sold had a higher sell price — as in, you’re paying Amazon, say, $1 per click, but you make $20 if the product sells. That would make the initial payout worth it. For a $2.99 book, however, I just can’t see how this kind of marketing makes financial sense unless the purchase rate is much, much higher.

 

Anyone else have experience with Amazon Marketing Services, or something similar? I’d love to hear about it!

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Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Book Marketing — Facebook “Boost Post”

Due to the fact that my IndieGoGo campaign for Imminent Danger is almost done (Dec 9th, baby!), I figured I’d go out on a limb and try to spread the word via the Facebook “boost post” feature. The post is over on my Facebook page if anyone wants to check it out and ooh and ahh over how shiny it is. Hypothetically you could also share the post via your own Facebook account, but that might be a bit extreme.

I set the post to “boost” itself $5 a day, for 2 days. It’s supposed to show up for Canadian women aged 13-30 who like books and e-books … which supposedly will reach between 2k-5k people. The actual people who read my book obviously aren’t all in that target demographic (not by a long shot!), but I’m hoping some impressionable teenagers — I mean, clever and discerning young readers — will see the post and be tempted to check out the campaign. In all likelihood this marketing scheme will fail miserably, but heck, what’s life without a little risk? I’ll let you know if anything actually comes of this marketing attempt.

In unrelated news, my roommate’s cats have taken to spooning on the chair beside my desk, and it’s ridiculously adorable.

That is all.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

 

Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , | 23 Comments

IndieGoGo Campaign — Day 1 Results

It has now officially been one day since the launch of my IndieGoGo campaign to help pay back the cover design costs for my novel, Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It. Woo!

Day 1 was awesome, and exceeded all expectations. Thanks to the generous contributions of friends, I’m already at 45% of my funding goal. And a ton of wonderful people have helped share the campaign on their own social networks, so hopefully that percentage will continue to grow. Thank you to everyone who’s helped out so far, and thank you in advance to everyone who is planning on, but has not yet had a chance to, contribute!

An interesting thing I’ve noticed, from browsing assorted book campaigns on crowdfunding sites, is that I set my goal ridiculously low. Most of the projects are looking for several thousand dollars of funding at the very least, with some going up into the tens of thousands. I guess it’s a difference in mindset — I’m trying to pay back the cover design cost, which I’ve already paid for, so at this point literally any funds I can drum up are more than I could have hoped for! Whereas other projects are more along the lines of, “If this campaign succeeds, I will be able to: hire an editor ; upgrade my website ; take off work for a year and write”, etc. This isn’t a commentary on the efficacy of one crowdfunding approach over the other — it’s just interesting to note.

And for everyone wondering about my $500 goal, here’s the reasoning: that’s the lowest goal you can set. If I don’t make the goal, oh well, since I wouldn’t have had a chance of making an even higher goal anyway (thus, no opportunity lost). If I do make the goal, awesome! Cover design paid for, hope renewed that one day I’ll actually be able to start making money off my writing. And if I surpass my goal … well, I’ll get to that if it happens, but basically I’d get to have lots of fun coming up with stretch goal rewards for all my backers, not to mention I could put the extra money toward helping drag my book out of obscurity.

Well, that’s enough rambling from me for today! If you haven’t check out the campaign yet, here’s the link again. And even if donating money isn’t in the cards, please consider donating your time and social media connections by sharing the campaign. I shall not rest until every person on the planet has seen this campaign! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

It’s not the most vocally spectacular parody cover in existence, but the theme is fun and the lyrics made me laugh a couple of times.

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Want Imminent Danger Swag? Email Me!

Have you ever dreamed of owning your very own Imminent Danger bookmark? Well, dream no more, my friends! I have a boatload of bookmarks and stickers that are getting dusty on my shelves, and I just bought a shiny new 50-pack of envelopes, so I’m putting out a call to all my adoring fans:

If you want Imminent Danger swag, email me with your address and I’ll send you some!

Before anyone gets overly excited, we’re talking bookmarks and stickers here, people — not, like, a pony with my book cover shaved into its side. That’s animal cruelty, which is very bad. Shame on you.

So if you want some ID swag, email me (michellishelli@gmail.com) your address, and I’ll do my best to make it happen. Obviously if I get 500 emails (unlikely, but I’m allowed to dream too, dammit!), I won’t be able to send out swag envelopes to everyone, so we’ll say this is a first come, first serve offer.

Now fire up that inbox and send me all your juicy personal information!

Unrelated media of the day:

Correct usage of quotation marks is a must for the savvy writer …

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

New Book Marketing Idea — Short Story Booklets!

This Saturday I’ll be at the Gathering on the Green 2014 arts festival with my little tent and table, ready to sell some copies of Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It!

In terms of marketing, my new strategy this year is to give away printed copies of my short story, The Coin Collector. I figure I can give these out to people who express interest in the book but aren’t sure they want to commit to buying, or even as a grand prize to people who spin the golden stars on my Wheel of Imminent Danger. I’ll also ask them to pass the story on to friends or family once they’re finished reading, in the hopes that some of these booklets might end up circling around the city and reaching multiple people. I doubt it will actually happen, but I remain hopeful!

Here are some pictures of the booklets:

Pretty booklets all in a row

Pretty booklets all in a row

Inside!

Inside!

Inscription on the back

Inscription on the back

I’ll let you guys know how this whole booklet thing goes, and if they actually entice anyone to buy the book. If you feel like reading The Coin Collector yourself, just click the cover on the right-hand column of this blog and it’ll take you to Smashwords, where you can download a free copy.

Wish me luck at the festival tomorrow!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Chapter Book Signing = Great Success! (Plus 7 Lessons Learned)

I am happy to announce that not only did I survive my first book signing, it in fact went fairly well — huzzah! Pictures/video will come sometime in the next week as my photographer/videographer/hair stylist Rhiannon assembles the footage, so we’ll have to stick to text for this post. I now present …

A basic run down of what happened yesterday (aka My First Book Signing!):

8:00 AM — Woke up. Ate Cheerios. Surfed the internet.

10:00 AM — Took a shower. Got dressed. Remembered to put on deodorant.

10:30 AM — Rhiannon arrived. Sat in uncomfortable wicker chair whilst she styled my hair. Shouted at brother to hurry up in shower so I could retrieve my make-up.

11:30 AM — Applied make-up. Asked mother what time it was. Heard “11:45 AM”. Had minor panic attack.

11:32 AM — Discovered it was only 11:32 AM. Calmed down.

11:40 AM — Got in car. Drove to Chapters.

11:45 AM — Met Chapters store manager and assorted friendly employees. Was directed to wooden table where they set up approx 30 copies of my book, along with sign proclaiming “Meet Michelle Proulx!” Family brought water to prevent dehydration.

12:00 PM — Stood beside table, attempting to look non-threatening and inviting. Rhiannon set up tripod and video camera to film footage.

12:05 PM — Realized tripod and video camera were scaring people off. Rhiannon took down tripod and video camera and joined mother/brother in attached Starbucks.

12:oo-1:00 PM — Stood a bit more, having little success with attracting customers. Sat down behind table. Was rewarded by a stream of interested parties (some of whom I didn’t actually know!). Several books sold.

1:05 PM — Lull in customers. Noticed my hands were shaking and it was hard to breathe. Realized I was having a mild panic attack. Realized I was nervous about my book signing (better late than never, I guess). Realized it was stupid to have a mild panic attack, as I’d already been sitting at the table for an hour and had done just fine. Stopped having a mild panic attack.

1:30 PM — Met random woman who claimed to have read my book and loved it. Was confused, as did not recognize her. Discovered she was a Chapters employee, who had decided to read my book when she heard about the upcoming book signing. Was no longer confused. Chatted happily for several minutes.

2:00 PM — Friends arrived (several from out of town) to purchase books for themselves/friends/relatives. Sales boom. Was very excited. Handed stacks of bookmarks to friends and instructed them to wander around the store giving them out.

3:00 PM — Sales slow but steady(ish). Gave sales spiel to a woman who listened for about 10 seconds, then asked, “Wait. Is this fiction? I don’t like fairy tales”. Felt it was best not to point out the difference between fairy tales and other types of fiction.

3:15 PM — Gave sales spiel to father of two boys. Father was interested. Boys were not. When spiel concluded, younger son (5 years old) stared me direct in the eye and said “Yeah, whatever” and walked off. Father amused but embarrassed.

3:30 PM — Foot traffic and interest waned. Valiantly gave out more bookmarks. Bottom began to hurt from sitting on wooden chair for so long. Water supply dangerously low.

4:00 PM — Tentative end time of book signing. Was not told to leave, so stayed.

4:15 PM — Friends began to congregate around table, waiting for me to finish so we could leave. Sent friend to look for manager.

4:30 PM — Manager on phone, so spoke with different manager. Thanked them for their hospitality, packed up things, left some bookmarks, and exited Chapters.

Total books sold = 17

Mission = Great Success!

7 lessons learned from my first book signing:

  1. Make sure your signage indicates that you are the author. Otherwise you’ll get people walking up to the table, staring at you, then at your book, and then tentatively asking, “Did you … um … write this?”
  2. Make sure your signage indicates that you are local (if appropriate). As soon as people hear you’re local, they’ll be much more interested in hearing what you have to say.
  3. Make sure you have something to hand out, other than books. And also make sure your handouts (bookmarks, stickers, etc.) have your info on it — i.e., the name of your book, your name, your website — so that even if the person doesn’t buy your book at the signing, they still have the necessary information to purchase it at a later date.
  4. Look professional and approachable. (Note: Big thanks to my mother, who financed my official “author signing” outfit.)
  5. Bring/acquire water. Talking makes you thirsty.
  6. Have your sales pitch somewhat worked out beforehand. I didn’t. That made talking about my book an … interesting exercise.
  7. Don’t be offended if someone doesn’t want to buy your book. Thank them for their time, and send them off with a smile. There’s always next time!

Unrelated media of the day:

This image needs no explanation. It simply is.

Categories: Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 63 Comments

Bookmarks! Bookmarks! Bookmarks!

Sorry, I tend to get over-excited by little things. However, yesterday was quite thrilling in that my shipment of 3,000 bookmarks arrived in California in preparation for the LA Times Festival of Books. Here’s a photo of the bookmarks sprawled across a random flat surface, courtesy of Daniel Mariano at Blackbird LSD:

883287_505472546165822_669495894_oAin’t they bootiful? I’m still not sure if 3,000 bookmarks is way too much, or way too little. On the one hand, the Festival of Books attracts 200,000 people a year. On the other hand, 3,000 bookmarks is a lot of bookmarks. Let me find the other picture Daniel sent me … hang on …

image_1363729479722463

See??? That’s a stupid amount of bookmarks right there. And yet I have a feeling they will all be snatched up long before the end of the weekend-long festival due to their extreme awesomeness.

Moving on.

I went through several designs before I landed on this one. My initial design was incredibly crowded, as you’ll remember from my previous post about bookmarks. Here’s the new design — you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s an improvement or not:

bookmark_front_wordpress

bookmark_back_wordpress

Important note re: designing bookmarks — you have to leave a 1/8 inch “bleed” around the edges of the bookmark design, since this will be cut off when the bookmarks are printed.

This design is definitely much simpler, but it’s more in keeping with the simple, black and red theme of Imminent Danger’s cover. Plus, my hope is that when the bookmark is stuck in a book, the Imminent Danger title / “A YA sci-fi novel by Michelle Proulx” part will stick out the top of the book like a mini billboard for my book. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

My bookmarks, for anyone interested in bookmarks and printing and whatnot, was ordered from printrunner.com. The price was reasonable — it came out to $174.96 with tax and shipping — and the quality of the bookmarks looks to be pretty good. So if you’re in the States and looking for bookmark printing, check it out!

As for creating the bookmark itself, I used Inkscape, which is basically the free, glitchy younger cousin of Illustrator. It has lots of neat features and, fingers crossed, I will hopefully be able to design book covers using this program in the future.

This concludes my sales pitch / bookmark how to lesson of the day. Live long and prosper, fellow bloggerites.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Fun with a big piano:

 

Categories: My Works | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Bookmarks, Customs, and Muffins … oh my!

We’ll start with the best first: Muffins!

I would like to share with you possibly my favourite joke of all time. I’m pretty sure everyone and their pet llama has heard this one, but whatever, I still think it’s hilarious:

Two muffins are sitting in a microwave. The microwave turns on.

The first muffin looks at the second muffin and says, “Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here?”

The second muffin looks at the first muffin and screams, “OH MY GOD! A TALKING MUFFIN!”

He he he …

Right. Moving on to: Bookmarks!

In my continuing attempts to spend all my time thinking up marketing strategies for Imminent Danger instead of, say, actually doing my job and getting paid, I hit upon the idea of printing out massive amounts of bookmarks and leaving them randomly around town.

I found a site called nextdayflyers.com that claimed to be able to sell me 1000 bookmarks for a crazy-low sum like $60. I was sold. So I created a kick-bottom bookmark, which I shall now share with you in all it’s bookmarky glory:

bookmarkfrontback

Aren’t they gorgeous? Don’t they just make you want to run outside in the freezing cold in your bare feet and dance around in the snow exulting in the wonder of life?

Exactly. So I sent in the design files and paid the $60. I was a bit surprised that there was no charge for shipping, but I figured they were just doing one of those “Order over X amount of money and we’ll ship it for free!” promotions like other online companies do.

I was decidedly misinformed.

Three days later, I get a call from nextdayflyers.com. The nice man on the phone greets me, tells me my bookmarks are printed and ready to be shipped, and then says, “It will be $65 for customs and shipping, so I’ll just go ahead and charge that to your VISA, shall I?”

My response, obviously, was “Hell no.” It is absolutely ridiculous that an online company would not charge shipping up front … and even more ridiculous that they would actually print an order before securing the shipping fee from the client! That’s no way to run a business!

So I sadly had to cancel my order. I feel bad that they already printed it, but I’m not going to pay more for shipping than I did on the actual product. If I’d known that was the shipping charge, I would have never placed the order in the first place.

So the moral of the story is:

Check what the shipping charge is before you place your order!

And now I’m back to square one on the bookmark front. Le sigh. Anyone know of a good, cheap bookmark printer that I can order from in Canada without incurring crazy customs fees? Writer of the winning suggestion gets a free bookmark once I actually get my hands on them!!!

Unrelated images of the day:

I have no idea what this is, but it looks awesome!

And a cute/disturbing comic to brighten your Friday:

Categories: Random, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Super Awesome News!

Before we get to the super awesome news, I want you to do two things for me:

  1. Find the latest version of your current WIP.
  2. Email it to yourself.

I ask this because I just read this post, in which my blogger friend explains that she lost her manuscript. Lost, as in, her computer crashed, the files have mysteriously disappeared from her flash drive, and the only hard copy she has is about ten revisions back from where she is now. That SUCKS. Seriously. Drop by her blog and wish her luck, because as you can imagine, she’s not exactly thrilled at the moment.

And now … the SUPER AWESOME NEWS!

Well, I think it’s super awesome — and it’s my blog, my rules, so get on the excitement train or get left behind in the dusty wastelands of … not excitement …

Anyway. Remember how I was all psyched and stuff because Imminent Danger won the Editor’s Choice award? Remember how I mentioned that the next award up for grabs is Rising Star? Well …

I WON IT! WOOOOOO!

But Michelle, you ask, what is Rising Star? To which I reply: beats the potatoes out of me. Let me look it up.

Aha! Click here for details.

Basically, I get a swanky cover design, they give me some sort of marketing direction, I get to stick the Rising Star award sticker on the back of my book, and — here’s the best part — the iUniverse reps will present my books to major retailers. Now, I’m not sure what this entails. I imagine the reps go to book fairs, shove my book into various people’s hands, and say “Look! Book!”. Presumably they will be more eloquent than that (although points to them for rhyming).

So this means they can finally get the book cover design going. I got my friend Paul to do up a cover for me back in May, which I sent to iUniverse. According to my “Publishing Services Associate (PSA)”, they really like the design, but will be basically re-making it with stock photography and something something something I don’t remember.

Anyway, I’m really psyched. So close to publication! Ahhh!

Unrelated videos of the day:

Japan, why you so crazy?

Categories: iUniverse, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

18 Marketing Ideas for the Self-Published Author

So yesterday afternoon I submitted my Rising Star Marketing Evaluation to iUniverse. Assuming they like my marketing plan, they’ll approve me for the Rising Star Award, which nets me a variety of benefits.

In the evaluation, they basically ask you how you plan to market your book. Easy enough, right? WRONG! I trawled the internet for hours, coming up with a list of marketing ideas that I’m now going to share with my awesome readers because that’s how much I love you guys.

Thus, my list of marketing ideas, in no particular order:

  1. Create a book trailer
  2. Hold a blog tour
  3. Press release for local newspapers
  4. Enter book into literary contests
  5. Include link to your website on every article you post, every email you send, etc.
  6. Connect with fellow self-published authors and ask for a book review exchange
  7. Donate books to the library, accompanied by a book reading and a press release
  8. Donate books to local middle and high schools, accompanied by a book reading or lecture on writing/self-publishing and a press release
  9. Free book giveaways hosted through blog/Facebook/Twitter
  10. Free bookplates (signed labels that you can paste into a book in lieu of an in-person author signature) for fans who’ve bought the book
  11. Sell themed merchandise (bags, mugs, t-shirts, etc.) on Zazzle.com
  12. Leave bookmarks and posters in key strategic locations – library, cafes, local stores, etc.
  13. Connect with other local self-published authors and set up an author’s panel/publicity event
  14. Set up an online newsletter to keep subscribers informed on upcoming events, special promotions, new releases, etc.
  15. Write guest posts on other blogs to build your following
  16. Create a “freebie” available exclusively on your website – e.g., a short story based on the book
  17. Release excerpts and snippets of upcoming works to build interest on blog/Facebook/Twitter
  18. Record an audio book version of the novel

Got more ideas? Tell me in the comments. We self-published types have to stick together!

Unrelated media of the day:

Source: http://imgur.com/0AJpY

Categories: iUniverse, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

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