I am unfamiliar with Kindle Board ads and Goodreads, but you need to look very carefully before investing too much in Facebook ads.
The Facebook platform can be VERY targeted and expenses can be VERY controlled. Also, they provide you with tremendous information about your campaign, making it very measurable. This is a positive. However, there are some things to be aware of.
The technology company Webtrends studied Facebook advertising. Overall, the clickthrough rates on Facebook ads in 2010 were .051 percent. To be clear, that is five one-hundredths of one percent. In the initial stages of a campaign, the click-through rate can get as high as 0.2 percent (that's still under one percent), however, Facebook ads have a burnout, according to the study, at about 72 hours.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't try it - you just need to into it with your eyes wide open and not be misled by the immensely high number of users on Facebook. I don't care how many times a social media guru says it, you will not reach 600 million Facebook users. You need to be very clear about who/how many you really will reach with your campaign.
Google Adwords has a little bit higher click-thru rate. While I assume Facebook has something similar, I know that Google Adwords has a lot of tools to help you adjust your ad to get just the right mix of keywords and other important factors to help you out.
I would seriously explore other ways to bring social media to the table on your behalf. It is an immensely powerful tool.
Also, don't discount the power of press releases - sent to your hometown media, the media located in the settings in the book (if they are real places), and even alumni newsletters, association membership letters, etc. You might want to also look at paid distribution press release services. PR Web for instance has a $200 option that I use for my clients. On average, it garners 7 to 10 million impressions and 25-30 pages of Google News results. However, results may vary.
Finally, many people downplay signings, and I don't blame them. However, hit the conferences, offer to speak to writing classes and writing clubs, that sort of thing. It will make a difference. You'll need some marketing materials to give out, but these don't need to be overly expensive.
And finally, don't forget your e-mail list. Start building it NOW. You might want to consider a newsletter every so often - You can do one for free via mailchimp.com. Over time, and as you release new titles, that mailing list will build and build and build, and it will be worth gold.
Just a few thoughts. Hope they help.
Clay, I appreciate the wealth of information you just shared and the time it took to put it together. Thanks. I will tread warily ahead.
I use mailchimp. Without a doubt, e-newsletters are THE way to go, even if your e-mail list is small. The audience already likes you and can be reached in the most direct way.
I launch mine roughly every other month, and fill it with four or five interesting tidbits. This could be news, a flash fiction piece that was published, special discounts or an excerpt from an author I like. I also include a full, free audiobook, hosted off my website.
To sweeten the pot even more, I now give everyone who signs up a free download of my eBook, all automated through confirmation e-mails.
My website is CrimeFictionBook.com if you want to see all this in action.
I do not buy books from ads. Period. I buy books that other people recommend or that I see a good review for or that are by authors I know. I personally don't buy self-published books. As far as selling, you need to get reviews, you need to get into bookstores (unless this is an ebook, obviously) and you need to hand sell. I sold every book I had on hand at the last writers conference I went to, even though writers as a general rule don't buy books. You need to look for a hook to get people interested. Where is your book set? Mine is set here in New Hampshire, and I use that when I'm at an event. You'd be surprised how many people buy the book just because it's set where they live. I have a friend who sells her books on commission at a local general store. Another friend says his self-published book sold well at a craft fair. Explore odd venues.
J.E Seymour: Thanks for your input. Your suggestions are welcomed.
My novel is set in the mountains of central Idaho, with short jaunts to urban areas like San Diego and Northern California. You are right. Many people do not buy self-published novels, however, through the advent of increased eBook readership, I am focusing on those sites that digital readers tend to populate and accept self-published works (take a glance at Amazon's top 100 bestsellers eBooks). Interesting, the more I search these sites, the more opportunities I find to get the word out to those who are inclined to buy eBooks, particularly self-published works offering an attractive price-point.
Advertising is only one aspect of marketing. I agree that other avenues need to be explored. Reviews, blogging (visit mine at Hook'em and Book'em), guest blogs, pod casts, web radio, trailers, and other forms of social networking need to be all a part of your advertising arsenal.
Right now, I'm concentrating on eBook distribution, with a print option later in the month. As I look at the changing landscape of publishing, I believe the eReader movement will soon be a significant percent of the market. It is already making unbelievable inroads into the publishing market, outselling hardcover and softcover novels on Amazon, for example. Like everything else, economics will be driving the reading market. Regardless what we might think of eBooks, factors such as less-costly publications, more mobility, less storage (how many books can you keep on your reading shelves), will inherently come to play in the coming years. As money gets even tighter, I believe readers are going to spend their shrinking disposable income on entertainment that stretches the dollar. The eBooks and PODs will be a significant part of this whole equation.
Just a few thoughts from a rookie ...
Hi mark,Want some FREE promotion? I publish a FREE monthly e-newlsetter with colorful click throughs to fans of mystery and suspense. Leighton Gage, Tim Hallinan and Simon Wood are just a few. If you're interested, go to the website: www.allmysteryenewsletter.com
FYI: Good Reads is a great place to put up your book, but you need to work it with your fans and friends to keep the reviews coming.
I would stay away from paid ads in those media. Kindle Board Forums are a good avenue for free promo, as is Facebook. Goodreads? It's pretty unwieldy and I for one can't figure out how to get noticed. If you want to pay, Kindle Nation Daily is not bad. A lot of self-pubbed authors have had success with it.
I am going through KB and KN, although both ads won't run until next fall, while the KN banner ad will run Sunday (If I can figure out the format). Both Facebook and Goodreads started out running hot and heavy, but seem to level out after a few days with a CTR for Facebook at .028% and Goodreads even worse at .01%. Am going to let it ride for the next month, then look at other avenues. Appreciated the impute.