Tag Archives: advertising

Book Sale Advertising Cost

Not many things cause me to jump for joy, but today as I looked at my book stats on Amazon ranking, I noticed Be Still was ranked higher. How did I get sales? Facebook advertising. But that came at a cost of $30.00. One sale with a royalty of $1.75 at the cost of $30. This is marketing! Welcome.

I’m still not being condescending. As an author and entrepreneur, and non-marketing expert, I have had to experiment with several avenues of advertising. Next month I will try Pinterest as I have found that Twitter has not panned out at all (and was very expensive). Another marketer contacted me today stating they could get my books into the hands of 100 bloggers and reviewers and would only cost $3,500. I asked how many they would guarantee would actually leave reviews and/or blog review, they had no answer. Again, buyer beware.

As an independent author, I will continue to try different avenues of marketing. For now I will set my sights on preparing for the 2017 L.A. festival of Books coming up soon. I did find this venue to be great for making contacts and creating an email list. Sales weren’t fantastic, and I didn’t recoup my costs, but the exposure was fantastic.

Sales to date have been good however, much of that has come at a cost of trial and error. I try and bring what I learn back to my blog but I still haven’t found that ultimate trick to “find readers.” If you have advise on Pinterest advertising, I’d love to hear from you.

Tania L Ramos RN BSN

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Is it Time to Walk Away From Advertising?

After the high of writing and completing a manuscript comes the tedious task of deciding how to publish. Once that task is complete, and if you went indie or small press, next comes the crucial stage of marketing and advertising. I think many indie’s hit this strong and with so much excitement, but most would agree that they are writers not marketers. Short of  having the money to dish out into marketing/advertisement many of us are left to figure it out on our own.

At what point does an author step back from the day consuming chore of marketing/advertising to become a writer again? And is there a point at which an author gets marketing fatigue and goes on marketing disability?

A book will not advertise its self. When I’m not actively marketing my book it is not actively selling. I’m not of a name yet where people search me out. After life got in the way I took a moment to go back and look at my royalties for one book. I sold three in the first two quarters of this year sans marketing. In two weeks I revamped my energy and went back on the social media road. In two weeks I sold more than I did in the first two quarters.

When is it time to walk away from advertising and marketing? When is it time to say you gave it your best and now its on to the next project? How much do you promote older books when you release a new book? The answer: You are always selling. Your new life title is Author and Director of Marketing & Sales. If you want to sell it, you need to promote it!

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With over 3,000,000 books available online, you need to make sure people see your name and titles.

Tania L Ramos, RN & Author

Be Still on Amazon & BN

The Human Prospect

Social media is changing. Better? Worse? Every time I look at how to market there is some new media out there. I couldn’t possibly keep up, not with all the current changes. Read on how to market for indie authors and you will undoubtedly get Facebook, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Reddit, and more.

Many years ago when this was all new it was easy to market on these social media avenues. You were among the first which meant you topped the market when these sites went ginormous. It was like investing stock at pennies and hitting the payload a short time later. But now, you are a small fish in a huge and crowded ocean.

Why stick with social media? Its one of those hideous necessities. In all honesty, outside of blogging the rest of it for me is tedious work. I’m a writer, and I’ve said it before but allow me to say it again: marketing is not my forte. Does it work? Yes, it works as far as numbers go. I posted a few weeks ago how I hit these sites hard and fast for a week and saw major spikes in my numbers, but they did nothing for sales.

Is there a human aspect? Yes. I handed out flyers, bookmarks, and did a few small “vendor” events. These weren’t bookie type events, but more geared toward direct marketing vendors. At times when I’m late on the list to sign up as an It Works vendor, I’ll ask if I can set up a book booth. Most people want their money and allow me in. For the most part, I get to talk with people and interact and hand out tons of material. Most say they use some electronic device now and will order it online. Some do, most don’t, but in the mix of things I am able to sell a few books here and there. Depending on the booth cost, I rarely make my money back, but I sell books, gather an email list, and get information out.

The human aspect of one-on-one interaction seems to fair better than social media sales. Can’t say this is true of all writers, of course when Sparks or Palahniuk posts a new book online I’m all over it…but they aren’t indie. They are whales swimming in a sea of millions of indie writers. Maybe someday I’ll be a whale and my mere presence will command sales, but until then fellow indies, don’t forget to step out of your little writer’s cove and try a new aspect of sales marketing: the human aspect.

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Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Meeting Other Humans

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Read “Be Still” on Nook, Kindle, paper & hardback

The Small Press

I was having a discussion with my publicist today, who also happens to be my best-friend, so we talk a lot.  We also argue a lot.  Or is it having a heated debate? Sometimes, we talk just to argue and prove our points and agree to disagree over Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy ice cream. The topic of discussion today was publishing, and how I would go about it with my next book.

libraryI stated how unimpressed I was with the royalties I receive from Iuniverse.  Don’t get me wrong, they are exactly what I expected them to be, but it would be nice to see a bit more profit, considering how much is spent on a package.  Now, I do love that they do all the footwork and my book is available on every e-reader and in print form in soft and hardcover.  That is a big plus.  This leaves me time to write more.

He asked about small presses, as we thought of creating our own, but I have hit so many walls in trying to figure out where to even begin. I wasn’t really looking to start a small press for outside business, just one to set-up for my books, “TLR Press,” or something more spectacular.  But it seems like so much work on my end, so I looked into small press publishers, which seem to be so abundant in this day and age.

I spoke with two authors who went through small publishing presses and had two very different opinions. One stated she lost all rights to her book and the press had so many restrictions on what she could and couldn’t do, and the royalties were just  pennies more than what I was getting.  The second author loved the small press, but also stated she was only making a marginal increase in profit than I was.  They both clearly stated they were still in charge of all marketing, advertising, and publicity on their own ends.

I’m sure this book of mine will be done by end of February or early March.  The thoughts of which route to go are starting to edge their way into my head and this time I am at a loss. I can’t afford the assisted publishing route again, but will hold off on publishing to buy a package if this turns out to be the best avenue for me.

My question today is this: Total self-publishing, assisted publishing, or small press? If you have any links to blogs or articles please post them here. Or, if you have insights of your own, or stories to tell, let me know in the comments.

Tania L Ramos

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Author Taxes

Taxes! Nobody likes them, and here in the states it is that season again. I made a major error in watching my tax status when I went back to work last February. The problem: I left work on disability in Feb  2011, and knowing my last paycheck wouldn’t suffice carrying me into a disability check, I chose to file exempt. One year later, upon returning to the work place, I forgot to change that exemption until late summer. Ouch!

Is there redemption? I sure as high heavens hope so.  Here is what I have learned from my first year of publishing, or being an independent sales entity (as the tax man puts it):

  • Any monies put toward producing a tangible good is a write-off (ie, publishing)
  • Any monies put toward marketing and advertising is a write-off (ie, bookmarks, flyers, book trailer, websites…)
  • Any monies put toward research for a tangible good is a write-off (ie, trip to Alien Hwy for info toward my scifi book, hotel, gas)
  • Any monies toward a professional association is a write-off (ie, writer’s club, conferences)
  • Any monies put toward necessities of the trade are write-offs (computer, printer, programs)

moneyThese write-offs may be my saving grace, as I have well over $10,000, the bulk being the cost to iUniverse and those pesky review houses I will never use again. Much more is to the physical print books I purchased and give away for review, gifts, and giveaway promotions.  The rest is incidental.

My question to authors with experience is: am I missing anything? Granted, I am in the U.S. so this is sort of exclusive, but for those elsewhere, please give away any tax secrets you may know.  In this day and age, we all need our pennies, loonies, or pounds before we lose an arm and a leg.

Tania L Ramos

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Do You Need A Book Trailer?

I post this because I am currently working on a trailer for someone’s book. Yes, I am a jack of all trades. Actually, my son is the brains behind the magic, I just do the grunt work of looking for clips and music.

Is a book trailer important? I blogged on this last year, but things have changed since last year.  Trailers have become a near necessity at this point. When you put out a book there is always a checklist to create and complete: get all my friends & family to purchase a book (check). Put out a press release (check). Email everyone who has ever sent me an email and promote my book (check). Start a Goodreads account (check). Buy marketing material (check). Take a closer look at my budget (check). Create a book trailer….a what?

A book trailer is a commercial for your book and created just like a movie trailer. Some are simple: a picture of the book, a quick synopsis, picture of author, and end. Some are more detailed: pictures scrolling across the screen, overlapping, fading, words, picture of the book and end.  Others are more detailed: video clips, pictures, scrolling words, advertise pic of book and end. And some people shell out thousands to have actual actors and voice overs do scenes from the book.

Why are they important? Because it is a commercial and point of advertising. And once you post it to YouTube, it is there forever, so will be forever advertising.

Do people buy based on a trailer? yep. One woman who was doing research for her trailer watched book trailers for over three hours.  When she was all done, she had a list of ten books to buy based on the trailers alone.  In my own personal experience, I have had a few people contact me based on my video. It works.

Who sees it? Anyone searching for trailers based on your meta tags.  Search, “Be Still trailer Tania” and my video will pop up on YouTube. Use as many relevant meta tags as possible.

How much does it cost? That’s tricky. If you have a basic knowledge of WMM then it can cost you nothing. If you want video clips and pictures then you will pay accordingly. To have one created starts at about $1,000 and can go up to the cost of a small production studio at $25,000. I did mine just under $500, and the one I am working on for a friend will cost about $500 unless she wants more clips.

Can you do it on your own? Yes. Most computers have some form of video editing applications. Play with it.

Does it have to be full of bells and whistles? No. Michelle Proulx had an epiphany one night.  There was a thought in her head about creating a trailer that wasn’t too serious, but got the point across.It was simple, and it works.  Here is what she came up with: 

Yes, you can do it all on your own. From simple to elaborate, from cheap to expensive, you should have a book trailer. If you need help, let me know and i’ll give you some detailed pointers, or you can ask my son (the movie wizard) to create one for you.  Here is my trailer for Be Still.  This one cost about $500, and the views continue to go up everyday. Remember, it is eternal advertising. Once you list it, it is there for millions to see.

Advice: Keep it under 1 minute. One poll states most people will skip to the next video after one minute. If you are only using words, keep it moving or add diefferent pictures behind it.    Don’t add too much crazy scene changes, like using fan out, pan up, pan down, circle in, etc. Fade to black works great.

‘this the Season to Promote?

As my daughter takes full reign of my new computer to watch DVDs, I take control of my marketing, advertising, and publicity campaign. I’m just grateful to have this time, however little it may be. So, yesterday I visited my favorite low cost retail store and purchased a pack of holiday greeting cards. Then I realized I don’t have many people to send cards to, outside of family. I sat staring at all my cards, trying to figure out what to do with them, resolving to actually send them out this year, then it hit me …
I have a few addresses of readers who either purchased or inquired about my previous book, Be Still. Why not send them a card? And what more, why not include a free promo code for my next book. Yeah, yeah, so it’s self gratifying, but this is still a business after all. Besides, I get birthday and special occasion cards from my dentist, car dealership, and gynecologist. Yes, gynecologist … I know it’s weird. But if they can promote so can we.
This holiday take the time to send a nice handwritten card to those fans, friends, and family who have supported your dreams. Perhaps you have too many to be able to handwrite them all out, in that case try a printing press like VistaPrint that can create cards with a personal prewritten greeting. Then all you have to do is sign to give it that personal affect.
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Don’t forget to thank those who got you this far. And if you control your prices, why not offer a free promo even if only for a day or two. If you have any ideas or suggestions for promoting over the holiday season please leave a comment. I’d love some more ideas.

Tania L Ramos