What's the point of this blog!

I'm documenting the marketing for my YA book series "The chick friends rules". I want to see which marketing strategies will work best in creating buzz and hopefully income. So, sign up below and take the journey with me.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Judging a book by its cover. Choosing the perfect book cover.

I have been reading a lot in the indie circle lately on the topic of book covers. I've came across some blogs on the subject and there's an entire post on CreateSpace where authors ask strangers to rate their covers.
In my opinion the cover sells the book and to start the process by simply adding clip art with colorful font is a mistake. This is especially important for indie authors; because there's no big publishing marketing machine hired to do the task for you therefore the job should take much consideration.
I've seen some really bad covers out there, I mean really bad. Come on, you have too. A bad cover is a dead giveaway for an indie book. This is the one aspect where it is wise to spend money if you can.
When hiring an artist to create your cover you should do the following.

1. Ask to see samples of their work.

2.Communicate your vision. When I began the process of creating my cover for "The chick friends rules! Freshman year"; I had one vision, I wanted it to look like scribbles on note book paper.

3.Have a focus group of your target audience critique your cover. If they don't like it, the book won't sell and you should start over.

4.Ask your artist to create 2 covers.

5.Wait for the "wedding dress" affect. Ladies, remember when you bought your wedding dress and you cried when you found "the dress". That's exactly how you should feel when you see your cover; emotional. (For men just think the car you loved most)

This is where an author has to be a cut throat business person; I know it's especially hard for women to do because we're trained not to hurt anyone's feelings. But when your neighbors friend who's an artist agrees to do your cover for $50 bucks and you hate it you have to fire them. This is your career! Sometimes the thought of spending extra money on a new artist or starting again in square one is depressing but after spending all that time writing your novel doesn't it deserve premium packaging?

I've included some photos to share my book cover process.

First draft.

Second draft.

Artist interpretation.

What an amazing difference.

My artist was able to take my vision or lack of vision to create something truly amazing.

But my work wasn't done. I had a back up book cover.

I tried to upload it to show you guys but I got an error. Bummer. It was simply "notebook paper" look with the name of the book written in "typewriter" font in red.

Anyway. I had two book cover to choose from. I sent both covers with my daughter who at the time was a junior in high school and asked her to show the covers to at least 25 of her classmates. She tallied the votes and the busy colorful cover was favored by an overwhelming margin.

How do I know my cover works? Because teen readers compliment me on my "cool" covers all the time. I've had some criticism from adults who hate my covers but adults aren't my target audience teens between the ages of 13-17 are, so as long as they love it, its mission accomplished.

Please share your "cover" stories by leaving a comment.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Facebook vs AdWords

I've come to realize that promoting my book is going to require some form of paid advertisement; that's the hard reality of it.
I have a FB ad that's been working particularly well for me and I'm on my way to doubling my sales this month and that's just by increasing my CPC (Cost Per Click) by an extra $0.10. But still, I was dissatisfied and wanted to sell 10-20 books per day instead of 4-5 books per day. I kept running into these $75 Adwords coupons all over the place; so I clicked on the "coupon" which was really a sorta credit application that had to be approved. I went ahead and filled out the application (they don't ask for your s.s.) which asked some basic questions about my project. A few hours later I received a rejection letter, they didn't tell me why I was rejected but there you have it. After that I decided to set up my own account just to test the waters of Google advertising. The process was complicated and tedious. I felt like I needed to hire a savvy ad-executive just to get me through it. It took me a couple of days to figure it out but I was successful with setting up the ad and all the components that came with it. The downside was I wasn't allowed to market to anyone under the age of 18; well that's my entire audience (13-17) but I proceeded anyway. The most important part of the set-up was picking the keywords. I chose 34 relevant keywords. I was ready to go. I put in my cc information and set the date for the weekend only, between the hours of 6pm and 3am, because those are the hours teens are wasting away in front of the computer. Now, for the grand finale, after I put in my cc information my keywords lit up with the minimum prices of CPC. My average CPC was $1.25. Kiss my butt Adwords. Some keywords were $0.40 per click but with my 34 keywords my daily budget would exceed $25 per day. I set my daily budget to only $12 per day. My FB ad runs at $1.50 per day. Needless to say I deleted my account and increased my daily budget on FB. I figured that's where teenagers go to live anyway.
Share your paid advertising stories by leaving a comment.