Book marketing is not for the faint of heart. It is a minefield – an obstacle course – a marathon of epic proportions. Too often authors are so eager to “make a living” with the book that they miss the bigger picture.
“Sign up to be a part of our . . . “
“Join our event where 20,000 people come each day.”
“If you show up then they will show up.”
I have heard hundreds of pitches and just as many promises since launching my writing career. I struggled to find a balance between getting my name out to people and throwing my “pearls before swine.”
In the ends, I have learned to count the true cost before I ever consider following through with the promises “THEY” make.
Count the Cost for Book Marketing
1. Is there a cost involved? Most places charge something for authors to set up and hawk their wares. It can range from $5 to $5000 (yes, they can get that expensive).
2. Are there added costs involved? Some places may provide you a table, but others will require that you rent a table. Internet or electricity can also be additional costs. The larger the venue the more the additives are likely to run.
3. Where do the fees go? The more open and honest an organization is about how the monies are invested the sounder of a foundation you will have for making your decisions.
4. What are the traveling expenses that will be associated with the event? If the venue offers room accommodations, you want to be certain that you will receive a discount (most hotels and resorts that can host an event have higher priced rooms). You should also add up the cost of transportation to and from the event.
5. Who is the market that is expected to attend? There should be some marketing data available. You want to be sure that your target will be represented.
6. What do you expect from the event? There are as many reasons to attend an event as there are events to attend. Connections, sharing, engaging, and even a vacation are all reasons.
7. How much is required to recover the expenses you will have to invest? Most authors are in the business because it IS a business and the bottom line needs to come into play. If the event costs as little as $5 and is next to your house, then you can justify that better than if the event will require $500 in travel/hotel/food expenses plus the cost of a booth. The first translates into 2 books (plus a day of extroverted engagement) while the second will require the sale of over 250 books.
8. What is the history of the organizers? Look at the social media of the organizers. Look at the motivation behind the event – the one that benefits the most should be the authors.
9. What is the history of the event site? It should only take a little search and research to discover the main source of traffic to the location where the event will be held. An author event NEEDS lots of feet (and pockets).
10. Are you ready? There will be more to setting up a strong marketing spot at an event than just books. You will want to have a way to catch the attention of visitors. You will want to have a way of staying in touch with those that you connect with at the event (a website or email list). You will want to have a way to take payments.
The bottom line IS the bottom line. There are so many ways to gain exposure and connect with readers (and authors) that it is important to count the costs of book marketing before you make a leap.