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Indie Publishing: Navigating Advertising Everest

by Marta Tandori (writer), suburbs of Toronto, Canada, July 14, 2014

That’s when the writer learns the ins and outs of navigating Advertising Everest. And, let’s face it. Navigating Advertising Everest takes patience and experimentation.

The indie writer has many dilemmas he or she must contend with like trying to visualize the perfect cover and then bringing that cover to fruition, making sure that his or her manuscript is properly edited and then formatted, as well as a myriad of other minute details before his or her book is ready to be published. By the time the “publish” button is actually pressed, there is nothing more appealing or alluring than the thought of kicking back, grabbing a cold brewskie, and savoring the sweet victory of becoming a published author and letting life get back to some semblance of normalcy after having spent months (or perhaps even years) pouring over the keyboard in an effort to create The Next Great Bestseller (“TNGB”).

Unfortunately, that’s little more than a pipe dream for most authors because unless that indie author is Stephen King or James Patterson, with legions of fan eagerly waiting to lap up their next literary offering, that indie writer’s TNGB is at risk of slipping quietly into that dark void called Literary Oblivion – which is where published books tend to expire if their authors don’t make the Herculean effort of navigating the very expensive valleys of Advertising Everest. Of course, there are those fortunate few indie writers – and I do mean few – who will tell you that despite never advertising their books, they’ve had consistent sales with every book they’ve written. That may very well be true, but these writers fall into a very minute percentage of the writer population. Almost every other writer quickly learns that advertising of some sort leads to exposure, which in turn leads to the writer’s book getting noticed, which then leads to the writer’s book getting reviews, and so on, and so on...

Until now, many indie writers have chosen to go the KDP Select route. KDP Select allows writers to advertise their ebooks free on Amazon for a total of five days. These five days can be spread out over three months or they can be used consecutively.Amazon doesn’t care how a writer uses their free days – provided that the ebook is locked in and available for sale only through Amazon for 90 days. Some writers have found that codicil a small price to pay for the wide-spread exposure their book will garner, resulting in substantial free downloads and a nice bump in sales for several days afterwards. But what to do when a writer’s KDP Select free days are used up for that 90-day period?

That’s when the writer learns the ins and outs of navigating Advertising Everest. And, let’s face it. Navigating Advertising Everest takes patience and experimentation – and it’s not for the faint of wallet. Yes, book design, editing and formatting all cost money but it’s a small drop in the bucket in comparison to the considerable expenditures an indie writer will put out so that readers will become aware of his or her book. What kind of expenditures, you ask? Well, that depends on which way you’re leaning. By way of example, BookBub is the current behemoth in terms of advertising clout and results.It’s a free daily email that lists deeply discounted and free ebooks to its subscribers based on their genre preference. Unfortunately, with such clout comes a hefty price tag. For the mystery genre, BookBub boasts a subscriber readership of 1.4 million with its Free Book Stats at 28,600 downloads on average, with the range between 14,700 and 42,700 downloads, while its Discounted Book Stats average 2,850 sales, with the range between 500 and 6,810 sales. In order to advertise to these masses, if the indie writer is lucky enough to be picked (the word “lucky” is NOT a typo because with writers literally throwing their hard-earned money at BookBub, they can afford to be highly selective), that writer must have deep pockets, to be sure. To advertise a “free” book in the mystery genre costs $320.00 USD, to advertise a less than $1.00 discounted book costs $640.00 USD, to advertise a $1.00 to $2.00 book costs $960.00 USD and to advertise a $2.00 plus book costs $1,600.00 USD. As indicated earlier, these expenditures are NOT for the faint of heart or the wallet, yet most writers will say that the steep costs were well worth the results.

Also popular is Kindle Nation Daily which offers a similar email program. While not as popular or as allegedly effective as BookBub, it also offers considerable bang for a writer’s advertising buck.And “bang” it certainly is. A Thriller of the Week spot costs $399.99 USD while an eBook of the Day spot is more manageable at a mere $159.99 USD.Book Gorilla, which is an offshoot of Kindle Nation Daily, also offers a daily email alert and sponsorship for the Free to 0.99 books in Group A (which includes mysteries and thrillers, romance, historical fiction, women’s fiction, literary fiction, etc.), at $50.00 USD. The jury’s still out, though, on whether Book Gorilla is advertising dollars well spent.

Of course, there are many other smaller advertising venues who will happily take the indie writer’s advertising bucks. For an indie writer, spending money on advertising is inevitable; however, spending it without doing one’s homework and without assessing the marketplace is a waste of hard-earned money. This is just one indie writer’s opinion...



About the Writer

If you need someone to count to ten in seven languages or are lost and all you've got is a map, then I'm definitely your gal but if you need something assembled and all you've got is an Allen wrench and a set of instructions, then we're both in trouble!
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2 comments on Indie Publishing: Navigating Advertising Everest

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By Randy Mitchell on July 14, 2014 at 10:14 am

Nice article. Have you used any of these promotions and what were your results? Thanks...

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By Marta Tandori on July 14, 2014 at 11:28 am

Thanks, Randy. I always use the KND Free Book Highlighter Service on the last day of my promo - I usually always do five consecutive days on a KDP Select. This has proven quite effective in terms of a last day bump. I've never used Book Gorilla. I've also used ENT which has proven to be quite good, ditto for Booksends. I've also heard rave reviews about BKnights on Fiverr which I'm currently trying.

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