authors, indie-publishing, marketing, publicity, publishing, reviews, SCBWI community, SCBWI members, self-publishing
by R.S. Mellette
So was it worth it? Hiring a publicist. Spending $20,000 to promote Kiya And The Morian Treasure, from a traditional publisher that’s no bigger than a self-published author? Let’s look at the numbers.
- Total Pieces of Coverage to date: 22
- Pending: 18
- Response Rate (10% is industry Standard): 42%
- Up Cover Votes: 15
- Impressions: 557
- Downloads: 36
- Purchase for a Friend? 67%
- Giveaway Promotion entries: 2,479
- Digital Marketing
- Facebook AD Read: 180,921
- Clicks: 489
- Books Forward reached out to nearly 120 targets, following up with each one 2 or 3 times.
I’m a little disappointed with the number of reviews so far, 18 total which are shared across Goodreads and NetGalley. I had a friend tell me she wrote a review for Amazon, but they haven’t accepted it. I believe I sent her a PDF file, so it’s likely Amazon’s being a stickler for a verified purchase… great.
Blah, blah, blah…
But was it worth it?
Fellow writers from seminars tell us, “We have to treat our writing as a business.”
Okay, from a business point of view, there isn’t much difference between a book no one knows about and blank paper, so it’s worth it. Then again, the odds of a single book earning back the amount it takes to promote it correctly are so long that it doesn’t make sense as an investment—not worth it.
But we have to treat our writing as a business.
No, we don’t. We’re creators. We don’t have to do anything, and we are armed with the magic “What if…”
What if we call it a hobby? The IRS probably will, so we might as well beat them to the punch. We all know people who spend much more on their hobbies than I have on this book. It might be semantics, but by changing my POV, I allay my guilt for spending so much on a long shot while simultaneously shutting-up the voices in my head who offer unsolicited publishing advice when I’m trying to sleep.
Like any gamble, don’t spend money you can’t lose—because you will lose it. Should you go first class or hire what used to be called a “Blog Tour Guide”? They are basically an uber-indie publicist who probably still has a day job. I’ve done both and they’ve both done me well. In this case, when my publisher was swamped with outside work, the cover was late, my dog and my dad died just days before the launch, it was nice to be someone else’s day job for a change. So for me, yes. It was worth it.
I hope this blog-umentary has been worth it for you.
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R.S. Mellette is on the board of the LA Region of SCBWI as the PAL Liaison.
Images provided by the author.
Such an important post! I spent about $5000 marketing my first self-published book
(Do Not Resuscitate) in 2015 and I still haven’t recouped the costs. But I am close. Some marketing is needed to get readers. But it won’t make you more money. Seven years later I still get an average of 5 sales a month. That’s a win in my book!
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