If you have done the research, then you are aware of the high costs associated with magazine and e-zine advertising. But you’re probably aware that you can only go so far with a good word-of-mouth campaign before you have to start digging deep into your pockets and investing in your book’s marketability.
After spending some time contacting marketing agents for various reader and writing magazines and realizing I am not yet ready to invest money in quantities of four-digit numbers, I received an email from the marketing staff of WritersCafe.org telling me about their new program designed specifically for writers looking to compete and market their work but at costs much less than traditional online marketing.
The program is called the “WritersCafe.org Ad Network” and you simply have to have an account with WritersCafe.org which is a free online writing forum, similar to others like Gather.com where you can post your work and share it with individuals and groups. You can rate work from other friend connections and request reviews of finished writings or works-in-progress.
The program is relatively simple; though I am not yet sure how effective it is. WritersCafe.org mentions in their online ad [that] the Ad Network is specifically designed to do the following:
- Promote your WritersCafe Writing, Contests, & Groups
- Advertise external, writing related websites
- Design your own ads & choose where they appear
- Set your own pricing and daily budget
- Track your ads with in-depth stats
- Get Started for as little as $2.50 a day
After reading the last bullet point—“Get started for as little as $2.50 a day”—I thought it was worth the shot. The setup is painless and (honestly) took me less than 5 minutes to process one online ad. You can choose between a campaign to promote your present WritersCafe.org profile or any pre-existing website you own or operate. I chose to promote the URL link for my book: Proud Souls, via Amazon.com.
Next, you choose an image to represent your ad and then you choose where you would like to run your advertisement, whether it’s in a Banner (along the top of the site’s page), a Tower (vertically along one side of the site) or in a Notice Board (a bulletin type posting within the site). You can choose one option or up to all three choices.
Next you choose a title (with limited character spacing) and write a brief ad description. This is the actual text that will be available to viewers and prospective buyers. Next you choose an image to upload and you are done. It was that simple. Now how much your ad gets run depends upon how much (daily) money you are willing to spend. I chose $5.00—double the expected minimum—per day and set a budget of $15 dollars.
This meant I would be able to run my ad for 3 consecutive days (or whichever times I specified). Once I paid the cost via my PayPal account, WritersCafe.org did the rest. Within a few moments my ad was running on various pages within the WritersCafe.org website and I was able to view my stats in real time.
Within a five-day period my ad peaked at 5,000 impressions per day and I was able to generate 22, 25 and 12 clicks from various viewers within the online forum in three consecutive days.
Naturally, like any real advertising campaign you never truly know how effective the advertisement was until you first, run the ad for an extended period, secondly, prove the advertisement is generating actual sales and lastly, ensure the overall cost of advertisement helps you at least break even or gain a positive return-on-investment.
The return on advertisement dollars is hard to measure, unless you have some form of matrix in place for calculating and validating actual sales generated by a particular ad. For the rest of us who can’t say that—we have to hope [that] in time our efforts to promote our work and essentially get our book covers and titles in the readers faces, will in turn heighten the curiosity enough that someone might stumble upon our work and give us a chance.
I plan on investing in the program for one legitimate month—30 full days—to see if it at least peaks someone’s curiosity that may not have heard about my book from my big mouth. When you consider the cost at $2.50 per day, for 30 days, it’s only a $75 investment. Double that amount and you are looking at a huge (potential) readership for less than $200 dollars a month. Now that’s not too bad. I say it’s worth a shot.
Best of luck to you! And remember, I believe because you believe.