If you want answers then don’t bother reading this blog. I have no answers, merely questions.
If you have read my previous blogs you will realise that all I seem to do is moan about how hard and time-consuming it all is, once your book is published. But I am facing yet another conundrum.
How much should I pay out in order to promote my debut novel, “The Jewel Garden”? When is it time to say, “Enough, I can’t afford to promote my book?”
Obviously, if it was easy to determine that a cost of £x resulted in sales of £y, then it would be an easy decision. But it is difficult (if not impossible) to determine why any reader buys a book and what it was that caught their attention and made them make the actual purchase.
I hope I have done all the basic things that I have been advised to do in order to promote my book, some of which have no cost (other than time), others do have a cost.
So, the costs I have paid out so far, which I would not have done if I had not written a book and wanted to promote myself as a write as well as my book, are:
- The cover of the book. This was painted by an artist friend. She asked for no money but I gave her a £100 token in appreciation. I have no idea how this compares with any other means of getting a cover produced.
- I have purchased about 10 hard-copies so far at discount to send to reviewers at a cost of £60. I have not yet received the reviews from some of the reviewers.
- Postcards printed to leave at bookshops, literary festivals, shop windows etc etc. I have had 150 printed at a cost of £90. I still have well over 100 left.
- I have joined the following societies in order to help promote me as an author as well as my book:
- Society of Authors – £102 per annum
- Contact an Author – £49.50 per annum. No-one has contacted me as yet.
- Historical Novel Society – $50 per annum. Not received their review as yet.
- Readers Review Room – £26.08 (will no longer be in operation after 2018. No reviews added.
- SWWJ – £55 per annum. Not received their review as yet.
There are a few other things that I could potentially pay for:
- A blog tour. I gather there are blog tours for historical novels but they certainly don’t get such mainstream visibility as those for crime/thrillers/light romances. I have had mixed responses about whether these are worth while. Some enthuse and some say they are not worth it. I suppose it depends on whether the author believes the tour resulted in sales. There are, unfortunately, no guarantees, so it is always going to be a risk. The costs vary, the cheapest I have seen is £45, which covers the basics but for £85 I would get my book “promoted over the blogs every day for a week. This includes reviews, interviews, guest posts and extracts. We also provide a professionally designed poster.” This sounds good to me, but I would have to sell a couple of hundred Kindle versions to cover the costs. Can anyone actually convince me that this is cost effective?
- Use a company such as Publishing Push to do all the promotion for you. This sounds perfect for someone like me – but comes at a relatively high cost. I seem to have lost the e-mail I had with indicative costs but I seem to recall that it is in the region on £400+. I would have to sell thousands of Kindle versions to cover these costs.
- Audio version. This is only something I started to consider yesterday after a writer colleague posted something on FaceBook. Again, there is a cost (I haven’t researched how much yet) and more time and effort.
- There are doubtless many more ways I could pay someone, which might possibly increase my sales.
No one cost is high, but there is the potential to spend a small fortune, far more than I may ever earn in sales, especially when the cost of the Kindle version is £1.99 and I get a % of that after the publisher has taken his %.
I still love my book and have faith that others will love it if they read it (based on the reviews on Amazon.co.uk). But how much should I spend before I say, “Enough, I can’t afford to promote my book?”