Thursday, February 01, 2007

Buzz, Balls, and Advertising

Regular readers of A Newbie's Guide to Publishing know that I don't believe book advertising is cost-effective.

Gregory Huffstutter has disagreed with me on this topic, and many of his smart responses can be found in the comments on this blog.

He's doing a guest column on MJ Rose's blog about roadblock advertising. Here's the link:

I want you to check it out. Not because I believe he's right, but because I believe he's wrong.

What do you think? Go there and weigh in on the conversation.


Anonymous said...

JA-- Thanks for the link and the comment at the end of my first article (even if we come at the topic from different perspectives).

Hope you like the radio spot I did for you on-the-fly!

And if you wind up using that radio commercial one of these days, I fully expect a royalty check (BTW, still waiting for the one from your speech at Google).

Stacey Cochran said...

There's no doubt that the right kind of advertising will move books.

What I'm skeptical of is just wildly spending money on advertising that produces intangible results (things like people visiting your website, viewing your book at Amazon, hearing your name and book title, etc.)

Advertising that produces tangible results, on the other hand, (in the form of actual units sold as a direct correlation to a placed ad), I see no problem with.

One that worked for me was's Paid Placement. Though I didn't earn back the money spent, I noticed a direct leap in actual units sold via Amazon, during the month and half that the paid placement ran.

The key with Amazon's paid placement is that you must pair your book with a book ranked inside the top 25. People who have failed with this program have paired their books with books ranked like 10,000th (or worse).

I think a fair amount of skepticism toward advertising is healthy. Total skepticism, though, is not.

You just got to know what works.


Stacey Cochran said...

You guys'll get a kick out'a this.

Saturday Night out with Stacey, Susan, and Sam

My wife had a big surprise for me. I tried to figure it out. And the video camera recorded.

Christine said...

I just heard an interesting tidbit from a person who runs her own (very successful, I might add) small press.

Her distributor said that the chain buyers actually like it better when there are good reviews in highly visible places than a slew of print ads.

Apparently reviews drive more people to the store than ads? Who woulda thunk it? Uh, well me, for one. I would be much more likely to buy a book that So-and So in big review place said was good than if I saw an ad. I don't notice ads.

But I can see the benefit of a few, well-placed ads in niche markets, like a genre magazine. And I can see how the Amazon thing would work too.

But just throwing out ads is a waste of money IMO.

Christine said...

I copied this from the AW board. the OP is the person who runs Nomad Press.

"I would say that chains aren't necessarily as concerned with print ads as they are with solid publicity. That's what drives people into the stores to ask for a book. Trade print ads can be a necessary evil (in PW, SLJ, etc.), but consumer ads aren't a good use of anyone's marketing dollars. "

Anonymous said...

This isn't really a comment on your post, but a question I thought you might like to handle here on you blog since you deal much more with the promotion part of publishing than do I.

(Although the comment about reviews driving sales? My editor told me that for hardcover fiction this is true - which is an argument against a debut author getting hardcover since review space is dwindling. Many hardcovers don't get reviewed anymore. But trade paperback is less review-driven; readers seem to be more willing to pick up a book they haven't read about if it's in paperback which of course, makes a lot of sense. So if your debut book is in hardcover and you're not getting the reviews you'd hoped for (not the quality but the quantity), you might be in for a bumpy ride.)

Anyhoo - I know an author whose latest book just came out. I'm on her mailing list - which is fine. She's doing something that I find rather annoying but she's pretty savvy, so there must be a reason for it: For the first couple of weeks of the book's release, she's sending a new email newsletter every 3-4 days to the people on her mailing list. She runs a new contest every newsletter, and her prizes are pretty amazing. She always includes an exhortation to get the word out about the book, of course. Her newsletters are well-written and witty. But my overall feeling about being inundated every few days with another newsletter from this author is major annoyance. I'm not feeling any greater urge to buy her book because of this campaign; it's almost pushing me to the contrary.

But as I said she's pretty savvy and has excellent PR connections, so there must be a method to the madness. Any thoughts?

Maria said...


Thanks for the stats. I know you posted at least one other time about the Amazon program and I found your tips very educational. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Anonymous said...

I have listened to both sides of the story. To be honest I'm not sure either way. After I have been published, I might be able to give an answer.

Anonymous said...

I'm following up on your challenge to readers of your blog who haven't read your books yet. Well, I finished reading Whiskey Sour today. I don't know if I should write anymore, cause some authors find it weird when random people review their books. Let me just say I thought it was really well written, it made me laugh, AND creeped me out. I think it may have been worse than The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen. I'll be reading Bloody Mary as soon as I can get my hands on a copy...

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