All too often I see authors in forums asking if advertising is important to sales or criticizing an advertising placement for lack of sales. I have ignored comment after comment and have tried to delicately offer advice to authors about advertising. But, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I can’t hold my tongue for too long before I am forced to speak. Consider this my turn to talk about advertising.
First, for all authors who wonder if advertising is important to sales, my answer in an unequivocal, HELL YES. Have you ever went to a movie, in which you didn’t see a trailer for, or which didn’t have a poster in the lobby? No, because they all have a poster and a trailer. Do you want your book to be put in brown brag, where a blindfolded man just might pick your book out of the bag? I hope not. Leaving sales to chance is quickest ways to lose money. Advertising is targeted. Advertising is systematic. Advertising is the antithesis of chance.
Second, don’t wait for success in order to start advertising. I hear authors all the time say, “Well after I get this project off the ground and make some, I will then have money for advertising.” No! This is not how advertising works. There are authors who can be successful without advertising, John Locke for example, but this is the exception to the rule. If you want to one day quit your day job, then advertising your product is a must.
Finally, for everyone who I have read say “I spent $20.00 on a box ad at fillintheblank.com, and I didn’t sell a book. Advertising doesn’t work.” No. No. And No again. Someone needs to see or hear of your product seven times before they remember the name. Seven times! That comes from months of advertising on multiple websites, forums, and magazines.
Advertising isn’t just a day, week, or month long campaign. It is a targeted lengthy campaign that must be flexible enough to change your advertising platform as you find out what is successful and what isn’t. But advertising works. For example, last year I kept seeing an ad that said “Better then steroids, and legal.” Now I don’t take supplements, and keeping in shape for me doesn’t consist of doing curls in front of a mirror, staring at my muscles. But after months of seeing the ad on more forums then I can count, I finally clicked it just to see what it was. I never bought the product and only stayed on the page for maybe 30 seconds, but nonetheless, I went to the page. Again it was on multiple forums with a slogan that at least made me curious. That is successful advertising.
I know this rant is long, but it needs to be. This is how important advertising is to the selling of any products. Self-promotions will always help sales, but in order to reach the pinnacle of success, advertising must be implemented. I know most indie authors don’t have a huge advertising budget, but there are cheap advertising platforms out there. A little research goes a long ways. Again, it needs to be targeted to your demographic. It has to be on multiple forums, with a lengthy campaign. It has to at least spark some curiosity in your project. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars for advertising, but you must be consistent. Long story short, until you advertise, you will never reach your peak. Combine self-promotions with a small advertising budget and you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.