Quick and Cheap

After doing my taxes this year, I’ve overspent my advance and my last year’s income tax refund combined.  Believe it or not, it was intentional.  I wanted to know what worked and what didn’t in terms of book promo and I’m pretty sure I got my answer. 

I’m coming to terms with no Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, though it’s not easy.  😥  Instead, I’ve traded it in for a smaller conventions like  RavenCon and ConCarolinas.  Both of them alone will cost me less than half the price of RT and fighting for spotlight time with readers won’t be as difficult.

Promo will still happen, but not in the ridiculous realms like it did last year because I wanted the coolest and most professional looking stuff I could find to stand out.  Instead, I’m investing in the very economical Vistaprint and doing all of the design work myself. 

The same goes for book trailers.  I’ve already created one for STRIPPED, so now I have to create one for LOVE ON THE PROWL.  While Windows Moviemaker is nice, it’s time consuming.  Since nobody is paying me by the hour, I’ve decided to go with One True Media.  Less options, means I can only do so much with it, which also means my time is better spent writing than monkeying around with some fancy program.  Plus, I’m convinced that promo trailers, regardless of how fancy they are, DO NOT sell books.  If that were the case, then there would be a lot of authors on bestsellers lists.  Neither do sticky notes with your name on them, fancy book marks, quality magnets, or cool looking buttons.  Yes, I’ve tried all of that and more.  Never.  Again. 😡

This year, I’m investing in three ads and I’ll be handing out some cheap magnets and postcards about my upcoming releases.  Next year, when my books are released in print, I’ll invest in two more ads.  Period.

As far as I’m concerned, this is the year of smart spending.  Besides.  The way I see it, the best promo you can possibly have is shooting for one release per year.

Anything you’ve ever gone the cheap route with to save money?  What did you give up and did you replace it with anything else?

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17 thoughts on “Quick and Cheap

  1. Allison Brennan did her own trailer for her newest trilogy! I’m talking about it on Magical tomorrow. I think as writers, we have a good idea of what needs to be done.

    But I’m with you and I haven’t bought a book because of a trailer. It’s the cover copy and excerpt for me, every time.

  2. Exactly, Edie. Trailers are nifty tools for people who are already fans of an author. It gives them a good idea of what our next book is about. But to win over new readers? I doubt it very much. Heck, I hardly look at promo trailers anymore. Give me a good cover copy that teases and entices me anyday. 😉

  3. I can understand skipping the lavish book trailers. If you’re trying to sell a movie, then trailers make sense. But since it’s a book, why not spend the money on circulating excerpts or blurbs via websites, blogs, and other cyber media? In fact, most of those are free, right?

    I always liked bookmarks and pens, basically because I use them and it keeps the name in my face. So, in that regard, I still believe in them, and when I get to that stage, that’s what you’ll all see from me. Consider yourself warned. 😉

  4. Exactly, Kath. That’s why I plan on spending more promo time on Twitter, Facebook, and even that crappy MySpace. Those are certainly free. Also, I plan on spending more time on the forums I belong to with the hopes of getting my signature line noticed. All of those are free and that’s the way I want to go.

    I’ve always believed in the useful trinket like pens and sticky notes. However, I’m seriously economizing this year. No more lavish spending on the best and prettiest when I doubt my sales will justify it. My smartest investment will be using some of my advance to cover the cost of hiring an attorney to look over my contract.

    Oh, and I look forward to getting your pens and book marks someday. 😀

  5. I’ve focused all my efforts on social networking, reviews and now planing a blog tour. I’ve met and bought new writers books who I’ve met or heard of on-line, because they were friendly. So I know that the social networking does work. Also guest posting on peoples blogs does work, because I’ve seen my own sales increase. I think the other stuff, like the trailers, and the pens, and the mugs etc, we do because it’s fun and we think that because that’s what everybody else is doing we should to.

    Joan De La Haye
    http://joandelahaye.wordpress.com/

  6. Joan, I’m with you. Social networking is the only way I know of to go that doesn’t cost a lot of money and you stand a better chance at reaching readers. All of them can’t get to a convention or a book signing, but they still want to be kept in the loop. What better way to do it than through social networking, blogs, and websites? The other stuff that others are doing will only make us just another face in the crowd. Our books stand out, therefore, so should we.

    I haven’t done the guest blog thing because I can’t come up with something interesting to talk about in a dozen places. More power to you, girlfriend. I’ll be cheering you on. 😉

  7. The only marketing that pseudonym has ever paid for has been my website. I’m just not into that, I guess. I dabble with MySpace, but that’s about it. I’ve never seen great results from what little marketing I’ve done, but I always mean to try in earnest one day!

  8. Spy, I think some amount of marketing helps, but I also think it’s very important to be wise about it and to know what works. Otherwise, you’re just spinning cycles and watching money go down the tube. I think having an online presence, which you already do, is one of the most important (and cheapest) way to get your name out there. So go in earnest, but be cautious. 😉

  9. I’m with you. I’ve spent so much on promo that I’m lucky I am able to do all my design and trailers… 🙂 My best advice is doing those Blog Tours and getting your name out there through word of mouth and referrals. That’s what has paid off for me. Next year, I’m going to cut back on things and this year, I’ve cut out all the conferences which I was supposed to attend. Time to re-evaluate.

    I haven’t even done my taxes..hopefully I don’t owe any. That would royally suck.

  10. Jax, blog tours seem to be the way to go these days with a lot of authors. Authors are getting their names out there to audiences they normally wouldn’t have access to.

    All of those conferences I thought I’d attend, I’m pretty sure about only two of them now because they’re teh cheapest. The other two, I’m not so sure. That takes a huge chomp out of those “small business” expenses and I see it when it comes tax time. Fingers crossed that you get something back this year. 😉

  11. I agree with you on the promo trailers. Although I’ve seen a number of them, I’ve never once bought a book I wasn’t already planning to buy simply because I saw a trailer. I have, however, discovered plenty of new authors through blogging, and that’s free (though, yes, time-consuming…)

  12. Like you, Caryn, most of the time I buy a book because it was already in the plans. Not because a book trailer convinced me to buy it. They’re cool and nice to have, but that’s about as far as it goes. Like you, I’ve discovered most of my buys either through word-of-mouth, by visiting someone’s blog, or by reading a synopsis/blurb.

  13. I really think relationships are much more valuable promotional “tools” (if you want to call them that) than bookmarks or buttons or trailers. So, I’m in agreement with you that social networking is the way to go!

  14. Sonja, dahling, you are the queen of social networking. 😀 I bow down before you and chase your shirttales when it comes to the latest social-networking craze that’s out there. They say word of mouth will sell a book faster than anything, and as far as I know, those forged relationships are the best way to go about that.

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