Thursday, 23 February 2012

Marketing on a non-budget

One of the big disadvantages of self-publishing is you're working on a marketing budget that's pretty close to zero.

The advantage is that your head of publicity knows the product inside out and is 100% committed to it.

I publicised the Halfway to Hell Facebook page to my friends list last week, and it's been a good way to get people talking about the book. Right now, I'm up to 33 likes, which is enough to get the page a custom short URL. There's been a bump in sales (we're not talking in the millions yet, but I've hit double figures), although I'm sure a lot of those are my more supportive friends. It's a good start: one of my primary goals is to get as many people as possible to read the book, ideally enjoy it, and post a positive review on Amazon.

The other marketing thing I'm trying this week is Halfway to Hell business cards.

Vistaprint offers 500 cards for £5 (which actually ends up more like £15 once you factor in extravagant extras like postage, uploading an image, and actually having words on it). I've ordered a set with a cropped cover image on the front focusing on the title, and a bit more info on the back: that it's the first in a new thriller series, that it's available from Amazon, and the Facebook link.

I think cards are a worthwhile investment at that price - they're small, they have a nice graphic, and I can spread them around a bit. I'm planning to leave them in the places where people who read books go: libraries, trains, cafes, bookshops. I can also mail them out to reviewers and anyone else I think might be a good target.

It might be that I'm barking up the wrong tree here, that I need to ignore physical marketing and focus exclusively on e-marketing. After all, even if everyone who picks up one of these cards buys the book, that's still going to do nothing for my US and European sales.

But I don't think it's an either/or proposition. I think it's a worthwhile experiment at that price. I live in Glasgow, one of the biggest cities in the UK, and work part of the week in Edinburgh. My day job takes me around the country a lot. On my travels, I've seen a lot of people reading thrillers, and a fair few reading them on Kindles.

If an eyecatching card intrigues someone enough to download a sample, then maybe buy the book and write a review, and if they tell a couple of friends... well, every little helps, to quote Tesco.

Memo to self: get some cards in the thriller section of Tesco. Maybe the Kindle section too.

Pictures when my order arrives.

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