07. July 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: writing · Tags:

Book number fourteen is behind me and I’m going to take the next six months or so and devout it to cracking the marketing problem.

The goal of any author is to get name recognition, eyes on the books you’ve written, hopefully sales, fame, fortune and a life of leisure. Right now I’d just be happy with the eyes.

Fortunately we live in a digital world with scads of avenues of attack.

Like all problems, we need to define what success looks like before attacking the problem. I’ve given this a bit of thought, and while the avaristic part of me wants to target sales, right now, eyes on either my Amazon/iTunes page or web page related to the book I’m flogging is a satisfactory result. Sales would/should be then driven by cover/blurb etc. which is all on me, and another variable.

Avenues of Attack

It’s a digital world. There are a number of avenues and I’m going to try as many as possible. But given the nature of all experiments, I’m going to attempt to control the variables. Ideally, I shouldn’t change more than one at a time so I can see the impact of that change.

Facebook Ads

Say what you will about the evils of the Zuckerberg Empire, Facebook’s targeted ads can be pretty effective. Targeting can be based on country, age, interests, gender and possibly a couple of other variables. You can set the budget and time frame. I’m trialling this now.

Google Ads

Tried this before, and success was limited, but I’ll have another look with different targeting variables.

Amazon Ads

Not as much targeting is possible, but the platform is THE platform people go to look for books. There are a couple of options: 1) Sponsored products, where your book appears alongside searches for similar keywords or products, and 2) Lock screen ads, with your ad appearing on Kindle lock screens.

Podcast Ads

Something new for me. There are podcasts with Patreon tiers that include ads with every podcast. They read the ad and your URL about three-quarters of the way through, do listeners don’t drop off at the end.

Twitter promotions

On the cheap end of the scale, very limited timeframe but do have an impact.


This is on the steep end of the $ scale, but it is going to be part of the experiment. They offer a couple of tiers of service, from a six-month title listing to a listing plus a marketing package. Investigations ongoing.

The Experiment

For the next six months I’ll be trying all of the above, staggered in time, and with varying target audiences (where possible). The goal will be to increase eyes on either Amazon/iTunes pages or the particular web page for whatever book I happen to be flogging.

In play right now:

  • Facebook ad, Females only, 25-65+ in Australia, UK, Canada, USA and Greenland. It’s running at a 1.5% click rate (77 clicks for 5900 impressions). Notably, 85% of the clicks have been women over 55 years old. If I run this again, it will be for a shorter period of time. The click rate drops off over time. It appears that some of the ads run on Instagram also. The ad runs until July 15th
  • Twitter Promotion: for $15  Mark Lee will plug your book to his 54.8K followers. (I checked with twitteraudit.com and 90% of those followers are real). It drove a lot of traffic to my Amazon page and appears to have triggered a couple of sales.
  • Podcast ad: Comedy Film Nerds feature Chris Mancini and Graham Elwood and usually a guest who talk about the latest movies, trailers and pop out movie spoiler reviews every once in a while. One of their Patreon levels offers an ad service where they’ll read the ad and your URL. I’ve just signed up — they ad will have its first run this week. I’m going to run this for a couple of months to see the effect. The URL is to the Jeremy Brookes web page, so I’ll have pretty good analytics.

Coming up:

  • Amazon Ad: July 15th to July 31st. I’ll target it as much as possible based on information I get from the Facebook ad. The first run will be a lock screen ad.
  • Google Ad: 1 Aug to 15 August. Again, as targeted as possible based on previous ad analytics
  • NetGalley: This will run for six months from 15 August. I’m going to buy the listing as well as marketing. I doubt I’ll get the money out that I put in, but it’s something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. If nothing else is should push reviews.

At the end of September I’m going to have a look at the results and plan the next quarter. I’m going to be as transparent as possible and I’ll post updates as useful information becomes available. If there are other avenues you think might be helpful, let me know in the comments.

About the author: tonymcfadden

Since Tony McFadden left Canada two decades ago he and his wife and two children have lived in the US Virgin Islands, various American cities (LA, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta, Fairfax), Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and now, finally (and for good), Australia. All of those places and people have provided a wealth of characters and settings for his books, all filled with thrills, suspense and adventure.

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