Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Marketing Question: Where has your $ paid off in Book Sales? by Diana Flegal

Hello Dear Readers;

I have been carrying on a discussion with published and non published authors about the personal investments they have been making or are considering to help promote and sell their books.

The question arose, "Should I put my money into a book trailer or a launch party?"

Since the launch party 's expense promises to be higher and the venue had only the space for 60 people- the author has decided to go with the Book Trailer, thinking it is where the author would get the largest bang for their buck ($).

I am thinking their is still great power in word of mouth sales and wondering if that was the best choice.

Can you all please contribute to the conversation by sharing where, in reality- the best jump in sales has come from and what you might do differently next time in book promotion?

The experts weigh in on blogs and through their marketing business' but from an author viewpoint- can you let us know what has worked for you?

Have a great writing day and may your POV come across as you desire, and quote worthy phrases spring forth from pen to paper!



Melissa K Norris said...

Perhaps another venue could be looked at for less cost. Her home church or local library or local business. Our local theatre has agreed to host my launch (when I have a book contract) for free, plus they'll run my book trailer before every movie for two months. In return, I'll give away copies and tickets to the theatre. My cost won't be high, but both business' will win.

Book trailers are a great way to spread word and buzz about a book, but are there any reports or data that shows the increase of sales they have?

Diana said...

Great Idea Melissa- and that is very thing I am hoping we will find out :-)

Anne Love said...

As an unpubbed writer, I've been wondering about this. I'll be "lurking" here to see the answers.

The additional thoughts and questions that run through my mind are, how powerful is your hometown, or local exposure?

I write historical romance (not Amish), but I live in the heart of Amish country. I work full time and have to be realistic about the time I might be able to spend away from my busy medical practice in the future to do book tours. I'm wondering about the benefit of say--book signings at the local hotspots on our county's tour for tourists.

Timothy Fish said...

I currently have seven books in print, in addition to the books I’ve published for other people. My latest book is Book Cover Design Wizardry. I can’t claim large numbers of books sold, but my profits are on the positive side of the zero.

I operate at extremely low costs, so this won’t apply to most traditionally published authors, but I’ve found that the most cost effective strategy is to put the book out there and do nothing at all. This works more with non-fiction than it does fiction because non-fiction readers are looking for help on a particular subject, find a book title that addresses their need, and then they purchase the book.

As much as I hate to say this, my most effective strategy with fiction has been to tick some people off on an online forum. While they are ranting and raving about how wrong I am, other people are buying my books to see what the fuss is about.

I see trailers as one of the biggest wastes of time and money unless you have the opportunity to use it as an introduction before you speak. If you think you’re going to put it online and everyone is going to watch it without you doing anything, you’ll be sadly mistaken.

I’ve also given up on trying to sell books at church. Churches are too tightly knit book sales. My experience has been that you sell one book and ten women will read it. I don’t mess with it anymore. I wait a year after the book comes out and donate a copy to the church library.

Diana said...

Michael Hyatt posted an interesting blog today about using FREE as a 'Brilliant Marketing strategy'(his words in quote)
Check it out at

Julie Coleman said...

@Timothy Fish: I think you are right. Controversy is what won so many sales for The Shack. I had to buy a copy just to find out what people I work with were discussing.

Steven Abernathy said...

Hello Diana. My first novel was published by one of those pay-to-play companies which, as you might imagine, provided far less than they promised. They did, however, get the book into the distribution chain for bookstores. My greatest sales push was a book signing tour (which I arranged and paid for) that took me coast to coast in six months. I may be an unknown author, but I am one heck of a salesman who does very well face to face with people. We sold out at virtually every venue. I self published my second book, Nikita's War, and have had very little success promoting it via internet marketing. To answer your question, I lean toward launch parties or any other venue that actually allows me to meet people face to face. At the risk of being commercial, my oldest son is a professional video producer who understands writer's limited budgets. He can do great work at a very reasonable price. You can contact him through

Diana said...

Thank you Steve and all of you for sharing your personal experiences. We all have much to learn and you that have gone before us help to light our path.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I hate to tick people off. I enjoy making them laugh. Maybe I could tell only half of a joke on an online forum, then direct them to a link to buy my book to find the ending!

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

In this particular case, I would say the launch party. While a book trailer may be great, you still have to promote it for people to even find it. If you don't already have the platform available, the book trailer will be just like the book itself--unknown.

Yes, I think word of mouth marketing is even more alive today than yesterday, and social media has made it even more powerful than it was years ago.

Great topic!

Millie Samuelson said...

As Diana knows, I'm independently/indie pubbed (I prefer that term to self-pubbed). By far my best venue for selling books is speaking (and then selling books afterwards) OR assertively selling books as a vendor at a conference, "market," etc (my record is 450 books in approx 24 hours at a conf -- I couldn't have survived without my husband's help, and I was only a vendor not a speaker at that conf). If I did the above full-time, I could probably make a living on my books. But I've lately realized my writing and publishing are more like a hobby God has blessed me with during retirement (after 30 years in education). I speak mostly about the topics in my books, but even when I don't, people want to buy my books after they hear me (or, I hope and pray, hear God through my message). And I always sell books at a special deal when I speak -- like buy two and get one free. Plus I often give out a free book as I speak (to the one who invited me, etc) -- that seems to help increase sales somehow. Another tip I've learned -- I always presign books. It's easy to add a name when you sell, but a full signing takes time. And a line discourages some buyers (I've seen them walk away). Plus this way I can actually visit a bit with buyers/readers as they pay. And that's the whole point of my ministry -- to encourage others as God leads! Blessings! :-)

Anne Schroeder said...

All this talk about platform made me rethink my priorities. I'm a social animal and I've thrown launch luncheons for other writers and I'll remind them that they owe me! When my inspirational novel hits I plan a launch party with personal invites (Coalesce Bookstore in our area has a nifty chapel they rent out for cheap,) another mini launch at my favorite service club, another at my group of church friends and a last at my writer's club monthly meeting will generate newsworthiness and get the blood pumping. Hopefully it will start the buzz. Our family and friends are willing accomplices in our careers and they'll support us if we just ask. They'll even bring cookies.