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Question on Trad Marketing

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Cargoplayer, Dec 6, 2020.

  1. Cargoplayer

    Cargoplayer Dreamer

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    Been reading and learning as much as I can over this last little while. Been getting ready to start querying agents, as I'm going to target trad at first.

    I understand publishers are expecting a lot of marketing from writers now. So, websites, mailing lists, social media. Willingness to do interviews, conventions (if they ever come back,) etc. I assume they're still providing editing, covers, etc, as well. But as far as actual advertising, are they providing anything at all? Or is the trad author now doing the same things as the indie authors, figuring out Amazon/FB/Bookbub ads, and spending their own money on said marketing? Do the publishers provide some marketing, and the authors add more on top? Do the publishers work with the writers on this, or do they simply say, this is what we're doing, you do what you want?
     
  2. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Sage

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    The one thing you need to remember about traditional publishing (and repeat it to yourself until you don't forget it) is "The money always flows to the author. You should never, ever be made to spend your own money on marketing. They have their own marketing teams who's entire jobs is to market as good and as efficiently as possible. Your job is to write the best story possible. As a marketer and a writer, I can tell you that those are two disparate skills and there is little overlap. You do not need to worry about any of those things at all.
     
  3. Cargoplayer

    Cargoplayer Dreamer

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    I’d love to believe that, but it’s not what I’m hearing. If they have allocated little or no budget to advertising, are you going to let your book languish in the vast swamp of Amazon? That’s more my question, I guess. New writers, those who were not given the large advances, are not seeing much of that kind of support, even the big four publishers.
     
  4. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Sage

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    Where are you hearing this? There are plenty of small publishers that exist just to scam writers so those shouldn't be brought into discussions like this. The fact that you get trad pubbed, especially by a big 4, already has you head and shoulders above anyone who self publishes. Your book is going to be stocked in all sorts of book stores, so people browsing the shelves of their library or local bookshop will be seeing you. When manuscripts get bought/sold they're discussed in industry circles. Agents and editors talk to each other and will share you because they are legitimately excited about your work and believe in it.

    Now if you want more than what they want to do, then you should discuss it with your agent. You can do your own ads or buy your own billboards or whatever, maybe the publisher's marketing department can just make up the materials for you and you pay for it. Professional marketers will have plans and connections that are much better than what you, the individual, can do. You'll never be able to get your book listed in the Target weekly sales flyer but your publisher can.
     
  5. Cargoplayer

    Cargoplayer Dreamer

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    I’m hearing this on various podcasts, in forums. It’s one of the reasons writers go independent, in that, if they’re getting neither the revenue or all the support, they might as well do it on their own. I don’t know for sure, that’s why I asked. I’ll see when i get there, if i ever do.
     
  6. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Maester

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    It pays to remember the difference between marketing and advertising.
    Marketing: getting the word out about your book
    Advertising: paying someone to get eyes on your book

    The first you should do if you're traditionally published. The second sound like a bad idea to me.

    First on the second: The whole reason to go to a traditional publisher is that they can cover this part. They have a marketing department, with actual marketing people. They should handle this. And you pay them good money to do this. It's where the 75% of ebook royalties you don't get goes to. Or the 90% of the list price of your paperback. It's also a money losing proposition if you have to pay for this. self published authors who earn 70% royalties on their ebooks can make this work. They get $2 on the sale of an ebook or so. Traditionally published, that might be $0,50. The math just becomes really difficult to get this to work in a profitable manner. So, I agree. In traditional publishing, the money flows to the author. Always.

    Now, marketing is a different beast. Yes, advertising is a part of marketing. But don't do that. Money flow to the author. However, all the other marketing stuff I feel you should do. But, you should have an advantage as a traditionally published author. And that is that your publisher (and agent) have contacts in the business and can get you in the door. So, ask them about talking with book-bloggers/ book-tubers, social media banners, interviews, whatever else they can think of. They probably don't have a big budget for your book, but they'll have something.

    Also, yes, be active on social media. Have a website and a newsletter. First, it might help sales and also it might make a publisher like you more. But, just as important, it gives you a direct channel to your fans. And if your publisher ever drops you, then you don't have to start over. Or if you write a novella. Or whatever other reason your publisher doesn't want your next book. I believe a hybrid approach, where you're not firmly in one or the other camp, is a sane way to go.
     
    Cargoplayer and Ned Marcus like this.
  7. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Sage

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    I agree with this.

    I think at the least, set up website, start a newsletter, and build up your mailing list. I think setting up a Facebook author page would be a good idea, too.

    Traditionally published authors often complain about the lack of marketing done by the publishers (and that includes the big publishers). Sure, they do something, and by getting your books into bookshops they're giving you a push that indie authors lack. But even this is only short term. If a book doesn't sell (and often the first book in a fantasy series won't sell because many fantasy readers wait until a series is complete before buying—thus ensuring that many series are never completed) then it will be off the shelves in months.

    There are many traditionally published authors with invisible books because the publishers don't spend money marketing them.
     
    Cargoplayer likes this.
  8. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Getting started early could well be over-rated, right along with anything and everything else. r

    There is an old gambling con, you send out newsletters to people claiming to be able to predict the results of games, and you start by sending out a multitude of versions of the newsletter that covers every possible result. You then only send a second and third and fourth newsletter to people who got a previous newsletter with a lot of wins! Anyone whokeeps receiving the the trail of accurate predictions will begin to think wow! And somefool then subscribes to the bogus newsletter.

    Book marketing is a bit like this, although most likely less nefarious... at least in most cases. Although one should keep in mind that an amazingly successful testimonial probably IS one of the lucky ones who found success. It’s not so far from having an editing service want to use my book and testimonial to help promote their site after Eve of Snows won a few awards. Great! But was it really the editing service? It sure didn’t hurt, but no. But I happily wrote a testimonial and then an article for them, because they did hook me up with a fine editor and its all back scratching anyhow!

    So! Let’s go into some generalities and strong odds... I’m sure exceptions exist, but...

    Advertising 1 book will lose money, assuming you spend more than a few bucks.

    You won’t get a Bookbub promo, BUT their little relatives like Fussy Librarian and Book Barbarian (my favorite for back in the early days) are excellent and reasonably priced promos. Bookbub is a powerhouse and pricey, but IMO worth it. That said, I won’t do a $0.99 Bookbub again. $2.99 or not at all, because of the reason given in another marketing thread: People forget things they pay $0.99 for way too easy.

    The gurus are full of it, even when well intentioned or believe what they say, or what they say worked for them.

    Spending a lot of money to build a mailing list BEFORE those people know what the hell you’re writing or if you are even good, is going to be a waste of money... or at least that’s a good bet. Here is one the marketing gimmicks, I believe, that we here success stories about without hearing enough about the people who bomb at it. Lots of people swear by their mailing lists built with giveaways, etc., but really? But then again, they rarely say how successful success actually is. On top of that, if you use a mailer system like the evil chimp, they will charge you monthly tor using all those addresses you paid for in the first place, and early on, most dollars spent are goin to be a loss. This piles on.

    Pro Reviews: Yes. Absolutely worth it, if they’re positive. My preferred are Booklife (by Publishers Weekly), Kirkus, and Indie Reader. They all build street cred, and Booklife and Kirkus build it outside the indie community.

    Contests: Yes. Absolutely worth it if you win, which of course is the rub, no win, no street cred.

    Facebook, Bookbub Ads, AMS ads: All three can get eyes on your book. All three can fail miserably and cost you a lot of money, and don’t waste money on a guru claiming to teach you how to use them, you can learn it by trial and error for cheaper, in all likelihood, LOL. And frankly, I snooped on a couple, and some of the advice outside the basics was ludicrous in practice.

    All of this boils down to one thing: More books = better chance of success, that’s the only thing more important than “write a great book.” The major ad platforms, frankly, even Bookbubs and Amazon’s, are NOT designed and priced to make profit on a book. Period. Can it be done? Sure. I had at profit months early on, hell, I was pleased with break even! but nothing like 200% like I was running before my finances hit hospital bills, LOL. Or 300% this month (albeit with small capital investment, because hospital bills = ouch) By the time my money recovers and I save up for the launch (whether trad or indie), and I can hammer the next book’s release on top of the books before? It should be rather spiffy.

    And on top of that! One thing I foolishly delayed was audiobooks. IF I had launched Eve of Snows with an Audio at the start, I would’ve been at profit faster, and knowing what I know now, I would’ve produced it myself and made more money. This kind of follows the more (Good) books = more money theory. The more options you have, the more people can buy.

    But one could babble on this for hours...
     
  9. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    And I meant to note that indie and trad are basically going to use the same avenues in this market, from what I’ve spoken with a couple of trad published writers. They seem to be dealing with the same basic notions of promos along with p;ublicists, which I failed to mention as I’ve only begun to work with one.
     
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