Basics of For-Pay Newsletter and Online PromotionThere are thousands of free options out there for promoting your book. Why should you also look into the for-pay options, and how do you choose which ones to invest your money in?
First, let's talk a bit about the basics of advertising. You aren't "losing money" or even, really, "spending money" if you do this properly. You are always MAKING money. You pay in $5, you get back $100, and you've in essence earned $95 for that day or two. You should strive not to think about it in terms of how much you pay. You should aim to think about it in terms of how much you'll be making. If you keep resisting that $100 ad campaign when it could be earning you $2,000 a day, that doesn't make much sense, does it?
The challenge, of course, is to find the investments that DO earn you an income. You don't want to be choosing campaigns where you pay $100/day and you only make back $5/day in sales. That would be a quick road to bankruptcy (unless you were fortunate enough to be born a billionaire).
So here are the steps to figuring out which newsletters and online sites you should invest in.
I am one of the strongest proponents of research that there is. Research, research, research. This is what makes or breaks your book sales. If you randomly choose places to advertise, you'll get random results. That's a waste of your time! Invest the time into choosing the absolute best locations to invest your money. Start there. Then work your way down! Don't dismiss a group just because it only gets you $50 and not $100 in earnings. It's still giving you earnings! It's still reaching a new audience. You never know which person in that group will be a popular blogger who now spreads the word to tens of thousands of their friends.
Certainly don't LOSE money - but don't dismiss opportunities either. Every opportunity could be that one breakthrough one. Author after author has a story about a chance encounter or that one lucky person being the difference for their success. You want to give yourself as many chances for that to happen as possible.
Again don't LOSE money. But don't turn up your nose at the smaller opportunities. They could be that golden ticket.
Ask on blogs, on forums, and in other locations about who has tried what. Keep notes in Excel or something. Keep in mind that maybe one or two people might be biased for some reason - but over time you get an accurate picture. If you hear from twenty people on three different sites and eighteen of them love Service A, then give Service A a try.
Be Skeptical of On-Site Claims
Every site is going to play up its own benefits in the most glowing language possible. Take those claims with a grain of salt. Yes, track the membership numbers and statistics for your own information and comparisons, But the biggest list isn't necessarily the best. If a gigantic list is mostly poeple who never read the newsletter, while another list is smaller but extremely active, you could be far better off going with the smaller option.
Track Your Results
It's absolutely key that you track your personal results with each campaign you run. How did it do. What graphic and blurb did you use. How did people react. The more you can fine tune your graphics and blurbs, the more you can get the absolute right combination to reach your audience. Keep in mind, though, that you can't just keep running the same ad on the same list and expect to get good results. The first time you run an ad, nobody in that list (within reason) has heard of you before. You're fresh, new, and people are likely to click. If you run another ad a week later, it makes sense you'll get far less stellar results. Most of the people who would be interested in you have already clicked. You're now old news. You want to keep finding new lists to work with, so you keep reaching new audiences.
Here are some of the for-pay lists I have worked with, with my results.
For-Pay Newsletter and Online Promotions
Book Basset Review - inexpensive and awesome
The Fussy Librarian Review - didn't get me great results
Lisa Shea Free Ebooks
Lisa Shea Full Library of Published Books
Getting Your Book Published
Writing Tips and Online Books
Lisa Shea Medieval Romance Novels
Online Literary Magazines
Lisa Shea's Homepage