Thursday, September 10, 2009

Don't stand too close to a naked book promoter!

I knew I'd get your interest, you bunch of perverts! (Heh-heh...)

This post is about how to get readers to notice your book and purchase it, so if that's not of interest to you, "Move along, move along... nothing to see here!"

There has been some discussion lately on one of the online groups to which I belong about the ROI of various promotional methods. One problem is, unless you have a very specific target audience that you can track minutely, it’s very hard to get a reliable view of the ROI on advertising and promotion. How do you know, for example, that it was the postcard, the bookmark, the book teaser video, the flyer, the blog entry, the tweet, the… whatever, that was the tipping point to persuading someone to buy your book.

Or if we look at it another way, which one actually gained the reader’s attention on a subliminal level?

Some authors have said that they saw definite increases in purchases after this or that promotional action... but do you know if this was the second or third or twentieth time the purchasers saw an ad or a mention of your book? Maybe it was the postcard laying on their desk from a month ago that really did it, not the ad they saw yesterday.

If you have the money to spend on sophisticated tracking methods to find out what works best… well, you probably don’t need to worry about your personal book sales very much, do you?

Al that being said, people who pooh-pooh using postcards, bookmarks, video teasers, blogs, etc., are forgetting a couple of very important points.

First of all, not everyone is hardwired to respond to the same sort of stimuli. Just as some people are visual learners, some are auditory learners, some are kinesthetic-tactile learners, and some are evenly split across two or all three methods, not everyone will respond to the same sort of promotional methods. For some people, finding and handling that bookmark in their bag of goodies may be the thing that triggers their interest. Others may be intrigued by seeing a colorful flyer, or their attention may be captured by a multimedia mix of sound and movement that comes from a video teaser.

Secondly, it takes more than one mention of a product to get most folks’ interest. Marketing pros say that it takes multiple stimuli from the same product to evoke a “purchase response,” and the various numbers I have seen range from ten to forty-plus. So seeing that book cover or title once, or even twice, may not get through the wall of built-in resistance that most of us have to spending money! That doesn’t mean you should spam everyone repeatedly about your book, but it certainly means that if people see multiple mentions of the book, it will increase their chances of remembering and purchasing the title the next time they are in their local bookstore or browsing Amazon.*

One specific question asked in an online forum was, “What do you do with a book trailer or video, anyway?” Book trailers or video teasers are very useful in ways some of us don't seem to think about. Here are some ways you can use a book video.

1. Put it on your laptop and have it on your signing desk, playing at low or no volume while you are signing books. I've used mine that way and generated a lot of interest from people who otherwise probably would have walked right on by.

2. Offer to send it out in advance to venues where you plan on having a signing or reading. They can (if they choose) put it on a computer or on their web site and have it running or available to generate interest in the upcoming event.

3. Post it on your CrimeSpace, MySpace, FaceBook, blog, ad infinitum web page so that anyone who goes there has the OPTION of viewing it. But don't make it automatically run, which is very annoying to those who are in a work environment or who have dialup connections.

4. At least one author I know (p.m. terrell) uses the video I created for her as a pre-presentation display, projecting it onto a screen from her laptop before getting up to talk about her book, SONGBIRDS ARE FREE. She reports that it really gets people's attention.

When you are thinking about advertising, marketing and promotion, think outside the book.

* Yes, I know there are people who will adamantly affirm that no advertising, review, video, postcard or whatever will EVER influence them to buy a book! Yep, and there's no such thing as behavioral conditioning, either, and advertisers who pay for time during the Super Bowl are just pouring millions down the drain, too. Uh-huh. We are ALL affected by advertisements, whether we like to admit it or not.

Tony Burton

Watch for the 2009 Toys for Tots anthology coming out in October-



elysabeth said...

Great ideas, Tony. How do you create a trailer for a series? I have a 50-book series (one for each state) and would love to have a video trailer for the series itself as opposed to individual books so any advice on that front?

Thanks for sharing with us - E :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You did Trish's trailer??? How cool! Now I can't wait to see it. Won't be able to make it down for her Lumberton appearance, but we'll undoubtedly be side by side at Book 'Em this year.

Thanks for the tips on videos. Now that I HAVE one, I can try some of those ideas. It's up on all my sites, but playing at the store is a wonderful idea!

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Tony Burton said...

Creating a trailer for a series that large is probably similar to creating a trailer for an anthology with many different authors, and I did that for last year's Toys for Tots anthology, DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND.

Go by and take a look at it.

It's longer than I usually like to make, but I wanted to make at least a short mention of each author's story.


Tony Burton said...

Elysabeth, one more thought: You might want to divide things up by region (Southeast, Midwest, etc.) to make it more manageable. That might help to keep you from having a five-minute-long trailer!


elysabeth said...

Thanks, Tony. The problem is that the series isn't written in a logical order (admission to the union, alphabetical, regional) and my tag line is "Where will the adventure take you next?". I'll come up with something, hopefully. E :)

Anonymous said...

Video promos have more uses than I would have thought. Thanks for the informative post, Tony.

Helen Ginger said...

Thanks for your expertise. I like all the ideas, but esp the one about having the video running during a signing.

Straight From Hel

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I think you have to do as much as possible to promote a book if you really want people to become interested in it.

Good ideas Tony, thank you.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Great ideas, Tony. I have a couple of book trailers that are not only on YouTube but my special blog site. They received quite a bit of attention at first but I find that unless I continuosly advertise them, few visit the site. Any suggestions?


Morgan Mandel said...

Great hook, Tony!
Looks like we're in it for the long haul! I try all kinds of methods to get readers' attention. True, it's hard to tell which works or if it's all of them combined. People these days have a short attention span, so they can only take in bits a pieces at a time.

Morgan Mandel

Tony Burton said...


I'm assuming that you have links to your blog and/or your book trailers in your email signature lines.

Again, as I am a member of CrimeSpace, I usually put a link there, or upload the whole trailer.

Tony Burton
Chec out the 2009 Toys for Tots anthology,