Do you have any marketing and marketing routine advices?Em
This comes at a really good time, as I am trying to figure out the benefits of social media vs the drawbacks.
To quickly recap, marketing is “paid” promotion while publicity is “earned” promotion. More on that in this blog post. As an author, there are relatively few places that you can target with paid advertising. In essence, you are buying billboard space somewhere on the internet, where you can put a nice poster that says “Hey! My awesome book is out. Buy it!”
The question is, where will that billboard get the most useful traffic? I can put an ad on Perez Hilton’s blog and it will likely cost thousands, but do any of our readers actually hang out there? Probably not. To get the most out of my money, I need to target places where readers hang out.
If you asked me seven years ago where the readers are on the Internet, I would have rattled off a dozen blogs. Now, most of those blogs have died out. Facebook offers an opportunity for targeted ad placement, and one of our colleagues very kindly took the time to explain the ins and outs of it. It’s complicated and honestly, given the steep learning curve, if we ever do this, I would just hire someone who knows what they are doing to run it for us. Our official page has 51,000 followers. I am reasonably sure that 1/3 of them are bots. The bots are rampant on Facebook. It does absolutely nothing to curb this. I’m wondering if I’ll be advertising to actual people or to bots. I’m really irritated with both Facebook and Twitter, the first because it’s so sloppy and the second because it creates a hostile environment and does very little to curb hate speech.
Goodreads used to be a good place for giveaways and reviews. You would run a giveaway of 10 copies of your upcoming release, ideally for at least a month, and if enough people entered, Goodreads would bump your giveaway to a more prominent place, effectively advertising your book release. But again, how much return on investment are you getting there? Who can say? There is anecdotal evidence that giveaways actually hampered sales, because people would wait to see if they won a book instead of buying it. Now, with the majority of people reading in digital, paperback giveaways are mostly a thing of the past.
I can tell you what doesn’t work. Book trailers. I have tried this before and I am 100% certain that unless you pay to have that book trailer inserted as an ad somewhere, posting it on YouTube and Instagram only advertises it to your followers, who would buy your book anyway. Blog ads also don’t work. I’ve done it a couple of times and never had any decent return from that. Now blog articles that recommend the book do work but only if it’s a genuine discussion of the book vs a copy and paste of the press release with the cover. Blog audiences trust the bloggers, so a personal touch is required to move any copies.
Which is why Gordon and I tend to shift that advertising burden onto retailers. In my experience, a well timed Amazon email or a Bookbub promo does much more for sales than a paid ad. This is something that’s usually negotiated between our literary agency and retailers, since NYLA acts as our publisher when we selfpublish.
We do spend money on our website – about $5,000 per year in hosting fees – and our newsletter, which is right now costing us about $400 per month and I really need to switch from Mailchimp, because they are just gouging prices now. ::sideeye:: We spend money on the website and newsletter because we found it to be an effective advertising tool. This is where we post news, free fiction, and articles, so it works for us. You know what worked really well? Offering a short story for the purchase of the paperback. The paperback sales blew up. We’ll probably not going to torture you guys like that again, but you did save some independent bookstore’s bottom lines.
I do hear about people in self-publishing spending $50,000 on advertising and getting awesome returns, but if I asked Gordon to spend $50K on advertising, his head would explode. My husband is prudent when it comes to investing money.
Me: We can assume costs and get a larger royalty share…
Him: Or, since we don’t know if we will make any money on this, we can let them assume costs and if it works out, then we will negotiate on the next one.
I would have to lay out my case very carefully and prove that it was worth it. Right now, I don’t know of any advertising venue to which I would commit that amount of money. If you do, share the wisdom in the comments. 🙂
Update: For those who asked about book trailers, here is a parody one I made with demo copy of the software. At that point, people charged thousands for book trailers and this cost me like $100. It was meant to look cheap and cheesy. Enjoy.
Just based off of previous blog discussions, maybe yarn, tea, or pet blogs for advertising? ???? I’m not sure if it’s considered impolite, but maybe you could work out a deal with Nalini Singh, Jeannine Frost, or another author you know and you could all discuss each other’s books on your newsletters? You probably already do that, but since it would be (might be?) free, I thought I’d mention it. ????
Whoo Hoo! First! That doesn’t usually happen. ????
Those authors used to host a blog together in the old days. It was fun.
That would be fun to read! ????
Ohh I remember that! The Odd shots I think it was called? Kind of sad when it ended but was fun. ????
Some still do but it’s all facecrack and Twitter now. No thank you
Patricia Schlorke says
I know Nalini Singh does a question every Friday on her blog asking what readers have read over the week. For as long as I have gone to her site, that question always pops up every Friday.
It’s nice since all of us who go to her site get a chance to see what new books or re-reads everyone is reading at the time. 😀
I enjoy this too.
To add on to Breann’s idea of other blogs to advertise on.
All my friends who watch kdrama’s read Illona Andrews books, might get a good audience that way.
Also I would love it if your books were translated into Korean.
I have your blog page bookmarked because you are entertaining, and it also tells me when something is coming up, but I started with reading the Innkeeper stories before they were published and then buying them after. Lois Bujold uses Goodreads as an blog and I get notifications when she posts something, Patricia Briggs and Grace Draven have intermittently maintained Facebook pages that I follow, generally chatty and also entertaining, but PBs page is maintained by her assistant. I get eNewsletters from some others. But some authors I just need to hunt down periodically and check to see if they have anything coming up.
The WORST is dead or outdated websites, usually (but not always) built and no longer maintained by fans rather than the author (The Bujold Nexus & Seanan McGuire).
So far, there is no “right” way. It is just what works for you.
I was a web designer in a previous life when the web was a new thing and spent a lot of time “talking people down off the ledge.” Basically, whatever the channel, if it doesn’t bring in more than it costs (not necessarily monetary), then it is a fail.
Ronwen Guest says
Re above…”The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”
Henry David Thoreau (I’m a collector of such quotes.)
And then you enter into the balancing of freedom and necessity.
IRL almost all of what I write is philosophical theology. That is write, publish has a variety of definitions! So ymmv. (And I’m entering my 70th year in Saturday, with everything I can find of what HA has published.)
Hilary Zanca says
I’m 38 years old and am considered a dinosaur by most millenials because my phone app use is limited, I can barely figure out how to zoom, and I still use Facebook for posting of my pictures. That said, as a person somewhat bridging the gap between the millenials and generation X and as someone who was raised by a baby boomer, I can say with some certainty that there is no one single way to target every potential reader. The joy of these books is that they appeal to a wide variety of ages: more youthful 20-something, those of us in the 40-ish age range, and I even have some comfortable IA discussions with people eligible for Medicare.
All that said, I would split the advertisement into 2 groups: those intended to target the younger millenial generation and hire a 20-something year old with social media knowledge to manage it (perhaps paying that salary with profits obtained from advertising from social media, websites like youtube, tiktok, facebook and whatever other magical mess is out there), and then follow up with the “more traditional” advertising methods toward those of us who might want to keep up with paperbacks because we don’t want to take fancy electronics to the beach or pool, or just because we -ahem- like the feel of a book in our hands. I feel reasonably certain that despite the “digital age” there are still a fair few who would like to purchase hard copies of these amazing works (my hand is up in the air waving around like a teacher’s pet!). The short story bonus was simply gravy and a nice perk for being a loyal paperback reader, by the way.
Suzanne Smith says
I am 75 and love reading Ilona’s books so your age range is a bit off but I agree with your other comments
Not a bad plan, though there may be a bit more overlap than it seems.
I am in the baby boomer generation. (I am almost 72 and my second kid is your age.) I read almost all of the other authors mentioned in various comments so far. I buy ebooks, but I also buy hardcopies of my favorite author’s books.
So far, I have not had to dig them out very often because the electronics are not working, but hurricane season is starting again soon…
I don’t take my electronics to the pool, because I go there to swim. I do take my phone to the beach, because it’s sixty miles away and I might need it.
You are correct. Folks of my and, to a lesser extent, your generation have a different relationship with our electronic leashes. My phone is the least used of my computational arsenal. My son and daughter-in-law carry their phones everywhere. Mine is either in my purse or charging.
I don’t want my business on my phone. It’s not as safe as I’d like, or as easy to use. I’ll just be old-fashioned, thank you.
My hand is waving too! I did enjoy the free short story though, and I always like to help independent bookstores.
I can see why it would be hard to figure out advertising for books. As a person that reads and purchases a lot, only a little of your ads would make it to me. I must say I do poke around on Amazon for new authors as it is easy to read the blurbs about new to me books. I will say though I am not always buying at Amazon, I spread my buying around. What ad worked for me was when you offered the pandemic sale on Innkeeper, I sent it to my sister and then gave her the rest of the series for her birthday, plus I let other people know about the sale. I don’t know if that was truly an ad, but it got me thinking.
I have all but dropped my Facebook account for personal reasons. Hadn’t felt the need to get any other social media. Good Luck in figuring out the advertising.
Love the book trailer! If more trailers were like that I would probably take a look at those books.
Maria Schneider says
I’ve dropped off FB too. I think I found Ilona books in a bookstore way back when. These days, I have a hard time finding new authors. I find them, but it’s rarely by ads. There are a few blogs I follow, including this one and I do check out books that Ilona mentions or commenters mention. I used to get lots of good recommendations on forums, but few people are on forums anymore. They were the precursor to FB, but FB is more of a random platform where everyone is talking and no one is reading.
Most people I know would check reviewers on Booktok.
I’ve never heard of Booktok. I’ll have to check it out.
Moderator R says
Booktok is a topic/side of TikTok dealing with book content :).
Arika Ito says
I joined tiktok a few weeks ago and BookTok is a pretty big part of my feed. Not a criticism on them but they tend to mention the same 10 ish books unless they’re trying to do “books that aren’t as popular as they should be”. The big ones are Acotar and the grishaverse right now.
I’ve found several new authors thanks to Booktok. Might be worth looking into if you haven’t already. Having your own TikTok account might be a bit much unless you have someone do it for you.
I remember the first time I saw a commercial on TV for a book. I think it was John Grisham. Then at one point I saw a TV commercial for one of Nora Roberts’ JD Robb InDeath books, and thought, hey, I read her!
Is that what you meant by book trailer? A commercial-like ad for the book?
Book trailers were a thing about 5 year ago where author is basically posting a series of still images loops into a video which talks about the book either as synopsis or quotes of people recommending it or whatever else they felt like putting in. Sometimes it has voice over and some times it doesn’t.
I never got the point of them. Movie and TV trailers makes sense because there are associated visuals and those visuals move so a short video advertising them makes sense. Books might have visuals if they are comics but those are still images so a video doesn’t make much sense.
They’ve mostly go the way of those teams that would go into stores and move books around to “better” spots.
Moderator R says
There is an example of a book trailer in the blog post. Your work computer must be censoring it again hehe :D.
Turns out the YouTube videos are coming in with captcha interfaces now. I missed that on the other video. I have to go through a series of captcha challenge pictures then the video would appear.
Is anyone else seeing that? Is it a YouTube thing or something my company implemented? I get that when I try to go to YouTube music, too.
May be a computer thing/company control? They play on my phone without the dreaded “captcha” pix.
Authors that i like recommending other books or authors has probably been the most effective way to get me to look at something new. I thought Innkeeper was one of the best marketing ideas ever. It amazed me that I still bought the books after reading them all in serial form. Coming back every week for the new chapter turned me from a casual IA reader to a buy everything you write reader. If you combined the two –free serials on a website or blog that hosted a number of prolific authors writing them, I think it could build a lot of cross interest. Not having ever written a serial, this could be a singularly unprofitable idea.
+1 on this
lol lol lol
Thank you for sharing the behind-the-scenes. Fascinating and helpful to understand more about your business.
I’m wondering about the business model for Kindle Unlimited, for authors.
I use KU to keep me sane in between “real book” releases & re-reads (aka yours).
Do you have any thoughts to share?
Moderator R says
The Kindle Unlimited model was previously discussed here https://ilona-andrews.com/2017/scammers-and-kindle-unlimited/
I hope this helps 🙂
Thanks for link!
I have been wondering about authors and Kindle Unlimited these days because an author I follow, Catherine Coles (cozy mysteries) just had her newest book come out on Monday and there was a snafu somehow and only the first four chapters of her book were published!
Unfortunately many one star reviews.
That returns an “author has deleted this site” error for David Gaughan’s blog. Any update?
Moderator R says
I just checked the link and it goes to the article Scammers and Kindle Unlimited on this blog.
Please use the search function for the blog (at the bottom of the page) with the key word “Scammers” and it should appear as the second search result.
Hope this helps 🙂
Wendy Wellesley says
Thank you for that book trailer! I had no idea what those were when I first started seeing them on amazon and really didn’t like them (though as usual your parody has been best I’ve seen!). Anyways – always fascinating to hear more about author world – thank you for running this blog! Makes my day.
omg that video! I needed the giggle today
I’m a pretty active follower of books on various platforms, and in my experience, the best advertising is something you do already — just write good books! Ads don’t influence my purchases, but recommendations in my various groups, especially on Facebook, get me almost every time. Another great source of books I would never have picked up otherwise is podcasts, both from book reviews and author interviews. Bookbub is always I good source, but I find myself skipping those emails more and more as my reading habits have turned more towards audiobooks. But audio deal sites like Chirp get my attention every time. I also occasionally find titles that are featured recommended reads on my library apps, but you probably can’t pay for that kind of placement, except maybe with the SimplyE app for the NYPL since they’re publicly funded.
There are a group of youtubers that are know as booktubers and they have very big fanbases with thousands of people some of them are even focused in fantasy and scifi genres. Maybe some small amount of money (much less then the numbers given in your post above ilona) and a pre-publushed copy of the book and you could have a nice piece of a video dedicated to your book. At the top of my head I have the names of 2 sucessfull and famous booktubers: Daniel Greene (286k+ people subscribed his channel) and Merphy Napier (250k+ people subscribed her channel).
Ps I know that at least Daniel Greene have interviews with writers in his youtube Channel like Sanderson and Butcher and other pro writers.
Reetta R says
Mara at Books Like Whoa with 20k+ followers is your fan and has posted videos of your books. She is currently doing a podcast about Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series and will interview Nalini for it soon. So there is a cross over audience. If you wanted to do an author interview with a BookTuber, she is someone to consider.
Booktubers can also be sponsored to do an entire dedicated video about your books so that might be something to try with your future releases.
Rebecca Roanhorse’s post-Apocalyptic UF novels are the closest thing I’ve ever read to Kate Daniels. Perhaps some kind of collaboration with her could work for you.
I love your tongue in check book trailer. It gave me a good laugh this morning.
I’m all for the trade of buying a book (and helping the small bookstore) for a short story or even just having the options provided to help them out. There is an interesting article by the CEO of Bed Bath and Beyond on “purchase paralysis” and how having too many options can keep people from buying anything. I think it relates. If I have to go find a place other than Amazon to buy a book I struggle with all of the options and research. If you give me a list of a few, I’m all for just clicking and buying and helping someone out!
Arika Ito says
I’ve been trying to mention Ilona Andrews on BookTok wherever I can. I feel like that is where book reviewers currently are. There’s also the subreddit /r/romancebooks and I see them get suggested quite regularly (I also recommend them too when appropriate).
Also r/fantasy. R/fantasy has some great recs.
Reetta R says
This. I mention Ilona’s books on r/Fantasy every time they fit the poster’s recommendation request, Innkeeper series especially.
They also do author AMAs and it would be awesome if House Andrews did one. This subreddit gets a lot of traffic and it’s entirely free marketing, only costs time.
I wonder if you’d ever consider exploring TikTok! I have seen so much discussion around new releases from self published authors there, though I’m not sure how much of your target lives on that space (besides me of course!)
Sheila Johnston says
TBH I get notified of new releases on my Kindle app on my FireTab. I also get recs on UF/RH/R from book groups on FB. I check on my fav authors on Amazon sometimes but mostly thats checking for discounted book sales.
I’ve found new books and authors, including IA, via google’s ‘people also search for’ feature. I had found Kate Daniels in a goodreads article for people who like harry potter. From there I gorged on the entire House IA bookshelf, before googling the name to stumble onto Jeaniene Frost, Patricia Briggs, Nalini Singh, Jessie Mihalik etc. Just about 2-3 years ago, which is kinda late considering how many years these authors have been active. So maybe some money spent on SEO? If someone new to your books can just find your name in a list of suggestions close to what they usually read, your blog/goodreads/fb page should take care of the rest.
I’m guilty of browsing who writes like posts from libraries and other places. I find they’re usually on point.
Anna Idziaszczyk says
Your parody is more entertaining than any book trailer I’ve seen and none would persuade me to buy a book.
I’d go for reader/writer recommendations and check out the Amazon daily offers/links to similar books to find something new. I don’t use Goodreads much any more and don’t use Facebook, Ticktok etc. When bookshops were open I’d also check their recommendations.
I can tell you that your BookBub.com Innkeeper promotion got me hooked on the Innkeeper series, and that led to finding your newsletter.
The Innkeeper series got my Wife hooked on your writing, such that she asked me to purchase the entire Kate Daniels series including novellas and short stories.
Overall, I’ve found some very good writers via Bookbub.com promotions.
Thank you for the laugh from the cheap cheesy video!
I’m sure my list is much smaller than yours, but I’ve had good experiences with aweber as a mailing list host.
I mean, ideally you guys figure out how to hook up with a youtube blogger who is intelligent and has a decent audience like Daniel Green or Merphy Napier and let them go to town on a review. They have done a fair amount of stuff i agree with and enjoy…so their audience might cross over with yours? Depending on the book?
I dunno, you guys don’t exactly need my advice since I know squat about all this. I just enjoy those 2 bloggers from time to time and I like your books and would like to see a cross over :p
The Mary Sue has a lot of romance and urban fantasy ads in the margins these days. Not sure if they are direct ones from authors or from the publishers. Some of them even make me click on them.
Love the Blog , its relaxing…..for me….
I remember when that trailer came out! It’s the only one, except for the Jayne Castle one with the dust bunny, I’ve ever bothered to watch again. And I enjoyed it immensely each time. Nothing useful to add, just wanted to offer thanks for reposting so I could laugh at it again.
Tim Muszalski says
Loved the book trailer it was really funny
As a reader, Bookbub has hooked me into many authors – including you guys. Anthologies do the same. I read one with Faith Hunter recently and found Devon Monk.
Trish Henry says
Best Book Trailer EVER!!!!
I follow you on a few platforms, but never Facebook. I know I miss a lot of author giveaways.
Facebook is too toxic. I follow a few bloggers and fan sites on Twitter and Instagram.
Thank you for all that you do. It is noticed by us the fans
Sending peace, light and love.????????K
I get a ton of junk email, but the one thing that catches my attention are the daily/weekly bookbub promos. Some are older books to fill my collection but a lot are new to me authors. I don’t notice goodreads except after I read a book and it asks my opinion. Marketing has changed a lot in the last 10 years
Seems like word of mouth is still the biggest advertiser. I am more likely to try a book based on a friend or even a friend of a friend suggesting it than an ad. I suppose this gives the social media avenue weight but not in a ‘paid for’ advertisement so much as a ‘Person A just read Book M and told her 100 friends and 25 decided to take a look’ kind of of thing. Though that probably has a bigger impact with just released movies then a just released book. I could be completely wrong about that.
Elizabeth Conard says
That trailer–I died ????????????
Annamarie Schmidt says
I belong to a group, on facebook, started by MANY authors, in the cozy genre , when the publishers were slashing cozy authors. it is still going and they advertise their new books, each others books, and have the followers of every author looking at all their stuff, I have found about 40 new to me authors. this works because all of the authors were willing to join and encourage their fans/FB followers to join also.
Side note… It’s been 10 years since Magic Slays came out!?!
Patricia Schlorke says
Wow! It’s been longer for Naked in Death by JD Robb (aka Nora Roberts). Times flies when you are having fun reading. 🙂
Yeah, she’s up to something like 45 books in that series, I think.
52 at last count and 2 available for preorder, if I remember right.
Eve and Kate go out for a beer! Maybe Peabody and Andrea, too. Much discussion of women in law enforcement.
Jéssica Freitas says
Curran on a horse broke me omfg xD
Donna A says
To be honest the only place I would probably notice and pay attention to any advert is goodreads and they don’t do adverts so. . .
However I don’t go on social media either so am probably not the target audience and I autobuy your works so don’t require pushing.
Having said all that I did see an advert today while on the London underground at Sloane Square station for a book by T. Kingfisher (I like some but not all her books) that I had no knowledge about and have since looked up and may possibly consider getting. I don’t know how much travel network advertising costs or if they are viable for you but loads of people around the world commute.
I am a beyond voracious reader upwards of a thousand books a year. I used to get exposed to advertising in Romantic Times (defunct) my local Barnes and noble, Tor,Orbit,book bub, amazon and goodreads suggestions and several blogs. Of those the ones now remaining to me for the last year have been goodreads and amazon suggestions and bookbub as well as the target adverts from orbit and tor. If I were not already a fan (and boy am I) that is where your advertising buck would find me. I have found a lot of new to me authors the past year this way. Many I may never have seen otherwise.
Podcast ads. I honestly don’t know if there are podcast with the fandoms that intersect. But announcements on podcast usually get noticed.
I have tried new-to-me authors based on a well-done Facebook ad, but “trying” is not the same as “loving.” I recommend your books all the time, although it’s a bit of a challenge to say, “Oh, if you like [different book series or author] then you’ll love Ilona Andrews,” because I don’t like anyone else in your subgenres. If someone says to me, “If you like Ilona Andrews, you’ll like [different book series or author],” I’ll download a sample, but it’s unlikely I’ll enjoy it. The distinction between case one (where a FB ad got me to try a new author) and case two (where an author is kind of unique) is genre: case one is “intelligently written contemporary romance,” and there are quite a few authors who qualify so the “if you like [X] you might like [Y]” is easier to believe. You’re the only one in whatever genre(s) you write, at least for me.
Nancy Weaver says
You Do Not See This
Fell in Love with Hidden Legacy and am filled with joy for the ease of coming up with fabulous plot twists! Wow!
I know Amazon targets me on Facebook with authors. I have no idea how that works though.
That parody trailer was awesome!! I was laughing out loud – thank you!
I was forced onto Facebook because authors stopped updating their websites. When authors interact with their fans on a regular basis, my opinion, it builds a loyal following and it doesn’t have to be on a daily basis.
JA Jance always blogs on Friday, P Briggs whenever something interesting happens or new foals. Some of my authors only post to Facebook when they have a new book coming out or announce an Amazon sale.
Facebook is really the only media I normally check on a daily basis or make time for but that’s because I am familiar with it and the people and craft businesses I follow post to it. I’d dump them in a heartbeat because of their rampant biased political crap if other sites could fill my wants and mostly I’m to lazy to take the time to research other sites.
As I know nothing about internet advertising, It all boils down to what works best for you as an author because you are a hybrid now, pub house and independent. Possibly working with other authors to announce new releases to their fan base would at least get the news to actual readers. I use Fantasticfiction.com a lot as a clearing house when I check on a bunch of authors at one time. Mostly whatever you do it needs to be consistent and interesting for potential fans and it doesn’t become a burden to you. You could even post an interesting snippet as a teaser to stir interest in prior published books.
If nothing else I’m learning that being a successful author is a lot more than just writing a good book!
Oh my! The trailer was hilarious! Curran on a horse!!
“Did you expect a face?”
Bwahahaha thanks for the laugh ????
Melissa CHAPMAN says
I always hated book trailes. They reminded me of the cheesy ‘Honest Trailers’. A little absurd. I’m sure some people appreciated them, but not me.
I love the idea of a free novella with the paperback purchase, though I think FB adverts get me the most. Also fellow author recommendations. Not always, but a lot of different genres or something I might not usually pick up have been from FB/websites where another author I like has recommended a book.
have you considered using TikTok for ads? there’s a whole self proclaimed “book tok” side that’s guerilla marketed/ persuaded me to buy a couple of extra series this year. the last half of your parody video would fit right in!
Bill G says
WOW!!!!! That was so great I should go buy another copy!!!! It’s a pity no mad scientists were hurt … wait a minute! I still aspire to be a mad scientist!!!!
I pretty much don’t buy books based on ads or trailers – unless it’s accompanied by a promo price for book 1 – then it’s a low cost entry to try them out.
I buy books because someone recommended them. Another author\blog, asking people with similar reading tendencies to me, etc. And seeing Book 1 of series in a genre I like for $1.99 or less shared out on the few Blogs\Groups\Sites I follow will virtually guarantee I buy it to see if I’m in for the long haul.
That said, I WAS on Kindle Unlimited for a short time and I’d read book one of a series with no real commitment and if I like it – I’d buy the rest of the series. My funds are less tight so I MAY go back to that. So it’s another avenue to “hook” readers. I have a friend that self-publishes and has a bit of a following that publishes several avenues including KU and has developed a bit of a following. Not yet enough to quit her day job but I support her by buying\reading\recommending her books as well.
Totally LOVE the trailer! It made my morning! Thank you, ma’am!
Angela Anderson says
I’m not sure if any of this will be helpful for you but I thought I would share a bit of my own social media/promotion experiences.
I teach acrylic painting tutorials on YouTube. We have almost 300k subscribers. I’ve been promoting my art & classes online for about 10 years now. Mine is more of a service than a product but promoting your “brand” is similar in any business.
Biggest Mistake: I didn’t start collecting emails and sending out regular newsletters early enough. We have collected 11k addresses and most of those came through running giveaways. I recently switched from mail chimp (agreed they are big time moochers) to my website Wix and saved about $150 a month. Also I didn’t jump on the Instagram bandwagon early enough.
Smartest move: doing weekly livestream videos to chat with the followers in my Facebook group (also a good idea to have a private group). That connected me to my audience more than anything and it was a relatively low stress, low investment activity. I just showed up and talked about what I was doing that week and took questions. It gave me a direct line to those interested in what I was doing and when I started on Patreon I had a ready group of people willing to jump on board.
Best income growth: Patreon. Hands down. I researched what others in my field were offering and decided I didn’t want to add to my workload by shipping a bunch of stuff (also adding cost) so I just offered digital downloads and exclusive videos at different tier levels of support. It doubled our income in the first year. Again the second & third and has now leveled off at around 3500 patrons and still growing. The extra effort I put into it is well worth the money I recieve back. At this point it is almost passive income. It has literally changed our lives.
I think your blog is wonderful and is such a smart way to keep your followers engaged between books. I’ve found that having a great product is very important but making a personal connection to your followers is key to long term growth. Sharing your personal, everyday-life stories and making yourself relatable (like you do) is where the real magic of social media lies. If you can connect to people that way you’ve won half the battle.
P.S. I think you could make a nice side income through Amazon affiliate sales. I went out and bought tea based on your recommendation. People want to support you and are already buying this stuff. With affiliates you can get a little kickback from it too. I don’t promote a ton of brands myself. Just the ones I really use or know to be beneficial. Keeping my audience’s trust is super important. So I don’t sell just anything. Trust me, I get very strange sponsor requests (electric plungers, bath toys, Russian gummy snacks – actually that one might work for you). ????
I have bought books because of bookbub and/or because Amazon reminded me one of my liked authors has a new book out. Some like Ilona Andrews or a few others I follow their socials and automatically buy whatever new book they put out. I think once you get a loyal fanbase, they stay loyal. Readers are probably the most loyal fans. They also recommend and push their favorites onto their friends or and book groups they’re involved in.
Lol…. you know I’d read a book with a trailer like that, just for sh*ts and giggles… and none of them sucked. Even if, as the authors, all you see are flaws, as a reader Kate Daniel’s is one of my favorite series!!!
Not gonna lie… I think the parody trailer was awesome and should become a regular thing. Just my opinion, and whatever the future holds, I look forward to any tales released from House Andrews.
Advertise on the Bombas socks site. When I visit your Blog, I get more Bombas ads on social media channels, so quid pro quo (ish)!
Also, I am a bog fan of your book videos and computer projects. You may want to think about starting a YouTube channel, which is supposedly the second largest search portal after Google Search. I would delight in watching many cheesy as all get out book videos that you make! Have special guests read the Kate and Curran Twitters … ah, I can see it now 🙂
big fan, not bog fan … no bogs where I live!
They do have a YouTube channel. Few personal videos only but check it out.
Patricia Schlorke says
I am not on social media. When I started reading books, there was no such thing as social media (the internet was in its baby stages).
I use to go to my local Barnes and Noble store and walk through the aisles to see what book would catch my interest. Authors I already knew about I would grab the newest book (if I didn’t have it already).
Now, with e-books, I have pretty much stayed with the authors I liked when I read in paperback. Newer authors I find through blogs such as this one. 🙂
Stacy McKnight says
Ha! Love the fake trailer! ThAnks for sharing. I also really appreciate the insight into publishing. It helps me learn and understand -always good – and let’s me make decisions that help me help all the authors I like.
As at least one other person mentioned – Youtube, the folks known as BookTubers might be worth a look. ARC to a couple prominent or up and comers.
Anecdotal, but I’m 34 and most of my book content/new books to read come from there, or the Tor blog nowadays.
Goodreads and Amazon are good for tracking/wishlist but hard to genuinely find something new.
One author I follow but will not name here posts a link to other author’s books at least daily on Facebook. Unfortunately many of them are in genres I have no interest in and none of them are similar to the books she writes. It has gotten to the point where I no longer even bother to read those posts.
So, while a popular author promoting other authors’ work can be effective, it can also be overdone and lose that effectiveness.
I have not met anyone who read only one of your books and then stopped yet, so I think you just need to make them try it once and you are good. But this might (or might not) help.
I have lectures on “Communication of environmental problems” this semester and they make us read so much theory about psychology of persuasion and marketing that I am slowly getting lost. However it seems that it is really important to start with figuring out the intended target group through research. First you find different groups that could be interesting to target and then you segment them into smaller groups of people with common characteristics (for example type of humor or whether they use Facebook on daily basis). Finally you choose the one that is the best – the biggest group that is not reading your books already, but there is huge probability you will be able to make them try. Then you make the advertisement just for them. Choosing the right website is part of that last step – that is why it is so difficult to choose websites now. Unless you know the target group and their habits, there is no way of knowing what could be successful.
Jacqui McD says
I can’t believe those don’t work. I would totally buy the book with that trailer even if I wasn’t already an addict.
Seriously, you make another trailer like that for one of your friend’s books and I’ll buy it. I won’t even read any reviews! You are a woman of many, many talents
Facebook algorithms suck, and I never warmed up to Twitter. It’s too messy and chaotic, and my eyes hurt from all the extra unnecessary info I have to scroll by to get something interesting. For my blog, there are only auto reposts to Twitter, and it doesn’t do anything. I still find book blogger reviews are the best source to find out if I’d like a book or not, especially if they throw in a comparison to authors I know. But it’s hard to find new ones I like and a lot of older ones have fizzled out.
I adore the book trailer you made, including how many times it said, “Don’t see this.” Your humor really matches me.
I actually got the first Innkeeper book on Kindle Unlimited, but now it’s not there and I had to poke my library to get them to buy your books. Now they just buy them. The problem I have there is that their hold lists for your books are long, and my time is short, so I just buy them for my Kindle and don’t worry about it. Your prices are perfectly reasonable to me for what I get, unlike too many other authors I enjoy reading.
But marketing and advertising for you is different from what it is for someone just starting out. Your devoted BDH will be here. Relax. We’ll buy it.
Thanks, I love these behind-the-scenes glimpses. That book trailer still makes me laugh!
Lacey Pfeffer says
TicTok is the way to go. You need a presence on there. Tons of new readers just waiting to find you.
Oh they could use those trailers on TikTok!! Hilarious!
Sharon Barrett says
Holy crap, I get chocolate, kittens, and a hot headless dude when I buy Ilona Andrews next book?? I’M SO IN!
Moderator R says
Hey Sharon, that particular offering is for Magic Slays, which came out in 2011 hehe. But the next Ilona Andrews book has a lot of excitement in store (don’t they all!).
In the Facebook group Mythic cafe with Charles de Lint and company he does a thread every Monday for what he’s reading. People then post comments about what they’re reading and is given me great ideas for new books and series… that might be an option. You could also try a public Facebook group (so people’s friends see their comments, which would expand your audience) but it would definitely need a moderator and clear rules.
Hey Kim, not sure if you know but there is an Ilona Andrews Fan page on Facebook, you should check it out
“In my experience, a well timed Amazon email”
What does this consist of? Do you pay Amazon to send a blurb to people their algorithm says readers who read X, Y, and Z would love Ilona Andrews? I ask because I get from Amazon:
— Weekly “newsletters” for each of my chosen genres, which are pretty good. Enough that I had to stop reading them because I was spending too much money*. Enough that even though I can’t open them, that I have to delete them immediately, I don’t unsubscribe.
—Daily Kindle Deals — for 99¢ to $2.99. 95% of these look like crap. But I had to replace my library when I got my Kindle (it turns out that trying to ship vast quantities of MMPs across the Atlantic is ludicrously expensive). So occasionally I get very good stuff I used to own very cheap — Asimov’s Galactic Empire trilogy and a couple of the Foundation books; some Bradbury; LotR; etc.
—notifications when authors I follow produce something new, although I find these mostly useless, since they often tell me about books that came out months ago, when I want the preorder links. So I have signed up for newsletters from the authors I *really* like (who also have newsletters).
—Monthly Editors’ Picks
—and lastly, random promos. Today I got “Looking for something in Teen & Young Adult Literature & Fiction? We have some suggestions for you” followed by Beautiful Darkness of the Beautiful Creatures series which I have no interest in. I happily read good YA, but I don’t seek it out. And didn’t sign up for the genre newsletter.
Do your paid Amazon emails fall into any of these buckets?
Also, very early in my unemployment, I set up an Excel spreadsheet to find new books to read. I went through all the Authors I Follow and noted who Amazon suggested (if you read Ilona Andrews, you’ll love…). I recorded how many times each author was recommended and compared that to who I was already reading (if you read Ilona Andrews, you’ll love Patricia Briggs! Why yes! I do!).
Then I assigned each author I follow a rating from 1 to 5 and built an incredibly complex formula based on the rating of the authors I was already reading and how many times a new author was recommended for each rating.
I.e. Author I am following (AF) gets a rating 1. New Author X (NAx) is recommended 7 times for AFs with rating 1, and only 3 times for AFs with higher ratings. NAy is recommended 3 times for AFs 1 and 4 times for AFs 4. Do I read NAx who has more total recommendations or NAy whose recommendations correspond to more highly rated authors? Yes. I built a formula that would figure this out and assign a NA rating. (I ended up reading Larry Correia. We’ll call that… a not so good result). I also kept forgetting that AF1s were authors I like enough to follow. Just because I would read the AF5 first if both released a book on the same day, doesn’t mean I didn’t like AF1s. The brain operates in weird ways.
Sara B. says
Oh I love this — I too am prone to assess things with complex spreadsheets — you should see the new one I have started assessing different cat foods for ingredients, nutrition, cost, and if the cats like it or not (ranking scale for taste is “good”, “ok”, “meh”, and “poor”).
I did that for our cats, too! And it turned out to be REALLY useful when we realized our small & skinny old lady Uschi who needs to eat 6 times/day (vs. our large & pudgies, who are fine with twice a day) was getting her food stolen. AFTER we were bodyguarding her.
A review of the spreadsheet (original purpose: cheapest food they would all eat) gave us food Uschi liked but the others didn’t. So they might try to nibble, but it’s only a token to show who’s in charge and Uschi gets to keep food in her bowl.
This. Is. Awesome.
Johanna J says
Your book trailer is a hoot. I needed that. 🙂 And I always enjoy reading your blog.
I am most apt to try new authors suggested by authors I know I like (and generally see those in their newsletters/blogs/emails) and sometimes from book reviews (especially when the reviewer notes the author is “for fans of” or “read-alike” an author I already read). It’s fun to discover a new author with lots of books already published.
After I’ve found an author I like I try to stay on top of their newest releases (again through their blogs, emails, and occasionally Amazon and Facebook).
pat roos says
the trailer is hysterical, thank you
Sara B. says
That was awesome fun! Cute kittens, meow, meow … Curran on a horse …
I tend to agree w Gordon on investment risk-vs-return … I say “fiscally conservative”, but think I like your use of “prudent” better. So I will never be rich, but hopefully will remain solvent.
Dawn Page says
An ad on Ravelry?
Stephanie Eda says
I am always looking for a new good book or author to read. I tend to find new material through book reviews or articles printed or published in newspapers or magazines. Amazon often lists similar style books when you pull up a specific book, and that can be enlightening. I read most of my books on my IPad using the Kindle app. I also check out books through the county library to save money. If I really like a book, or a particular author, I will purchase a copy, online preferred. I never thought I would desire online books, but I purchased my first online book years ago to get a novel by Thea Harrison that was only available as an ebook. I was impressed with how quickly I obtained the book I wanted, and how easy it was to order and read online. I liked that 24/7 shopping experience. It was also less expensive than a printed hard copy would have been. Picking the font size and style, not worrying about losing my place or damaging the book, having the book easily accessible wherever I was, etc. won me over. As I have aged, my vision has aged even faster. It is much easier, and more convenient, to read books from my online collection. (Some books, especially those for children, I think need to be enjoyed in their physical form). I found the illustrations you posted in the Inn Keeper series beautiful. They were really helpful and entertaining. That was an unexpected treat to reading the book online. I have read all of your work, and the Inn Keeper series is my favorite. I don’t have the patience or temperament to read your work online a chapter per week. I tried that once and it was not something I would care to repeat. I am too impatient. Amazon used to send me a “tailored” list of books they thought I might like in a semi-regular email. I miss that old format. What they send me now is not that interesting, and is often repetitive. I subscribe to Bookbub and The Fussy Librarian. Occasionally something good is offered through these sources. Too often, I think authors put their less desirable books out for free or reduced price in that format. I think that’s a mistake. I think it is better to offer a good sample and draw in new readers who will then pursue your other works. Why would you offer the public a shoddy sample and expect increased sales? I don’t use Facebook or Tiktok or other social media per se. I prefer to receive emails and newsletters from publishers or authors I admire. On a side note, I live very near to where your Hidden Legacy series is set, and it is fun to see references to places I drive by daily in your stories. We have felines and many wild creatures that visit our lawn as well. I enjoy reading about your experiences. Thank you for providing such entertaining reading.
Maria Schneider says
I’ve done facebook and Amazon ads. Neither works that well. Initially, you can break even or run at a profit. The problem is that FB and Amazon tend to show the ad to the same audience over and over. Some of that audience block the ad on FB because they see it too often–like every time they are on FB it’s in the way. You are completely correct that a good blog post with a good following does well.
One thing that works very well: I do exchange book mentions with other authors in my newsletter. But generally speaking, that is a short stick because I usually read the books and exchange with those authors whose work I actually enjoy. That doesn’t mean every book I mention is an exchange. I review books in my newsletter, including yours. But for whoever asked the questions, there are author groups you can join and find books similar to yours and do exchange mentions.
Another marketing idea that has a good return is to have a popular blog, like yours or some other famous author, list books on sale and then all the authors send out their newsletters and link to the page/sale. It helps if you have a lot of indie books because indie authors can control prices. Now and then, a trad publisher will lower the price of a book or two so that the author can participate in a “sale page.” These pages are a LOT of work to set up and coordinate, but they, by and large, have the largest return on investment I’ve ever gotten because authors don’t charge anyone to mention the page. If your book is on Kobo books, and you coordinate ahead of time, they may mention the sale page and/or create a page on their own site with the books that are on sale. Your mileage will vary with them, but they are very supportive and help when they can. Some of these sale pages also offer giveaways at the same time. Like with Goodreads, this can backfire and mean readers wait to find out if they win and miss the sale completely.
But of all the marketing opportunities these sale pages and exchange mentions are the cheapest with the highest sales return. I love them when I can find one that fits my books. Almost every author who participates works really hard to get the news out about the page. I’ve done a few on my own blog and hope to do another one this year or next.
For paid ads, probably bookbub is the best.
I’m really not sure ANY ads are worth it anymore… I actively look away from most of them because they’re just in my way.
There are some really lame ones on facebook lately – I’m assuming for Indy books but I’ve never read past the first couple lines since I figure if the ad needs an editor that badly then the book will REALLY suck.
I find new authors through word of mouth (love it when you do a Suggestions post for a particular genre and I trust the taste of a very few good friends), Amazon recommendations (Books like this.. ) and occasionally GoodReads. Eventually I’ll get to go back to browsing in my library too 😉
I think the best thing to do is just remind us to tell other people about your books.
Dixie McIlwraith says
You have a talent for trailers. Can you actually make a real one as funny and tongue in cheek wo mortgaging the farm. Sort of a Lincoln project wo politics.
Lol I love the video ????????????
Curran on a ???? ????????????????????????
And to much money for a face on those Abs *hehe
So I forgot most of what was said before the totally awesome book trailer, other than no good places to advertise anymore and it’s expensive.
I know it was a joke, but the trailer was way cool!!! I got a laugh ????. And for the record, I loved the first book!
I agree, I use amazon to follow authors I enjoy, including IA, and bookbub to find new ones
Valerie in CA says
FB – I get a lot of ads. Authors who advertise there should follow at least this rule: no spelling or easy grammatical errors. I’m done at that point because chances are the book is strife with errors. And that drives me crazy. And your beautiful picture of the book, be it scene or characters, need to match the book.
Goodreads- I and a few friends continue to base a lot of our reading choices there. We can look at an author, see their upcoming book, and ignore any comments about what anyone else thought about it. We enter the giveaways, sure. But we buy. And, unsure if this is helpful, each of us recommends the purchase to our libraries. I think I saw my library purchase 11 copies of electronic book Blood Heir.
Thanks for the post! Good information
I work in paid media strategy! Since your ideal target is relatively small/niche, it doesn’t make sense (like you said) to blow out a giant $50K advertising campaign. My recommendation for any paid media would be targeted social (FB/IG) and paid influencers. For a small, targeted Paid Social buy, I would recommend running on Facebook/IG to target a look-alike audience of your FB page users, which should help with extending reach. I would look at this as a media test (possibly between book releases, if you are targeting new audiences with the current portfolio of work), set a budget cap, run for at least 6 weeks, and see if there are any learnings to take from the campaign if it generated a good threshold of results. For influencers, I would suggest any book reviewers on IG or Youtube that fit the right category. Additionally, there’s a great opportunity for authors in the same category to cross-promote each others’ works. I have seen you provide recommendations when other authors release books, and as a reader, I take those very seriously because I love your work so much. So while it already happens, I would be curious if there is a larger opportunity there to cross-promote in a more organized way to generate more earned media without spending extra advertising dollars.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
So thinking about how I find books… I get an email from Amazon for authors I follow, I find authors on the amazon suggestions, I’m on a couple of mailing lists… but mostly, I get recommendations from friends.
Two weeks ago we were in our weekly zoom with girlfriends. All of us are SF readers, it’s one of the ways we’ve all met and SF cons are one of the way we see each other. One of my friends used to own a SF bookstore and is still in the loop on what’s coming up. She and I were excited about the new Murderbot book and were enthusing at each other… 4 of the women on the zoom went and bought the first book… Wednesday in a different Zoom, my friend and I were laughing at how many people we’d sold Martha Wells new book too… and a dozen people on that zoom (it’s usually about 30-45 people) went and bought the first book in the series (and several more bought the latest book in the series.)
I’ve probably bought 10 books this past year based on the recommendation of my friends in the Friday Zoom. They’re all in different book clubs and have friends who are authors and books is one of our favorite conversations We’ve done this for years (except we used to do it in person).
When my daughter worked for Barnes and Noble, she got an advanced copy of Kim Harrison’s first book. By the time the book came out, 10 of us had read the advanced copy. I figure between us, we probably turned 500 people on to that series. (At that point, most of the original 10 were running a science fiction convention, so we enthused at EVERYONE…)
When I find a book I like, I buy another one from that author. Then I buy ALL of them from that author. I follow that author and then Amazon tells me about them. YAY! Someone who tells a story I like!!
So… Amazon recommends, authors I follow, mailing lists and friends.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
Oh, I forgot! I’ve found several new-to-me authors reading your blog, and a couple of other author’s blogs I read. And why do I read them? They write about intersting things… imagine that, I like to read blogs by people who write things I like 🙂
Helen Holck says
Sabrina C. says
I watched the vid on mute and I was hearing the movie trailer guy in my mind. That was hilariuos.
The joke trailer is so funny. Had me smiling and laughing in multiple places.
Mary Carter says
The trailer was glorious !!! (Definition of glorious: Having a striking beauty or splendor that evokes feelings of delighted admiration.)
Laura Barr says
I’m a digital marketer and this was incredibly well done for someone who isn’t technically in the field. We get a lot of people who believe if you build a website people will just somehow know to visit it without any marketing, which is ridiculous, or people who want to start promoting on a platform without the resources/time to do so.
I will say your website fees are extremely high, but I’m guessing that you’re including your CMS costs (aka WordPress) in it. If you moved to a free platform like Drupal or Joomla you could cut this down to about 100 a year or less using a reliable hosting service. This would of course be a pain in the butt to do since you’d need to migrate everything, get a new template, learn a new CMS, but something to consider if anyone is doing a new website or a website refresh.
Also it’s very important to remember that all of your digital content is accessible to all users so that you’re protected from ADA lawsuits, which have been rapidly increasing over the last several years.
Also there is a ton of great free to access information about digital marketing online but it’s a lot to learn. Moz is great for search engine optimization, which wasn’t really addressed here and site improve has an incredibly useful blog and some great free tools.
I personally own a digital marketing consulting agency, and if anyone has follow up/specific questions I could post my website/contact info in an additional comment. Otherwise I’ll just assume no one cares ☺️
It’s the usage and bandwidth.
In January, we cleared 352,280 unique visitors and 667 GB.
In March, 313,717 unique visitors and 592 GB.
In April they called us for a plan upgrade.
It will be worse when the Innkeeper is running.
Laura Barr says
Ah, that makes sense. Definitely can’t get it down super low then. Personally I still think it’s pretty high (hostinger would be 840 a year with unlimited bandwidth and has a great reputation), but like I said moving things to a new server can be a pain so that may be something for later.
Also, because I feel like this needs saying, I love your books. 🙂
Laura Barr says
And I since it doesn’t look like I can edit my post I just noticed the plan I mentioned caps at 300 gb so they’d probably charge you more.
So I can’t really make a valid recommendation without actual research, which I’m not going to do because you didn’t ask me to.
Yay! Innkeeper will be running?
Do not see this –> When?
LOL, seconded! The Innkeeper sentence was the only one in Ilona’s post I actually read. WANT!!!
Please do a trailer like this for your next book. Remember, “Any publicity is good publicity”. Not necessarily of course, but the trailer was hilarious and it might work! I loved the kittens and the man from the neck down.
Joke trailer or not, that was hilarious! Andrea with her gun and the hyena was great, too. All the ‘do not see this’ made me giggle.
I learned about you guys in January 2009 from my sister. Just about 90% of the new authors I try are from personal recommendations from friends. Even when blogs were a big thing, I never got into them as far as recommendations went. YOU are an exception. I have found and loved many authors that you have recommended over the years. Then I have recommended those books to others.
I absolutely refuse to buy anything that Amazon recommends based on what book I am browsing. Back when I went to brick-and-mortar stores, I would walk up and down the isles glancing at covers and spines. When something caught my eye, I would read the back cover.
Thank you for all of the years of reading – no matter how we found you. I’m glad I got to reading you so long ago that friended Gordon on Facebook. I even regularly visited his cafe and he mine. I can’t believe I used to obsess about that game so long ago to the point that I rearranged my schedule so my dishes would not spoil on the stove.
Oh, God. The back covers. I used to think that people who wrote the blurbs for the back covers hated writers and didn’t want anyone to read the book, because of the back of book blurbs that made me completely not want to read books by my favorite authors. I was CERTAIN they either didn’t read the books or read only the first couple of chapters, based on inaccuracies exhibited. Then I found out the authors (at least sometimes) write their own. Self-loathing? Fear of success? Because they still so often make me not want to read a book I KNOW will be good.
I have picked some good ones based on covers, though.
(Ok, it’s probably that it’s two very different skills — writing a novel vs. writing what is essentially short ad copy. But I stick with my original claim when it’s NOT the author writing it.
Facebook ads target the demographics that you dictate for your ads, not necessarily your followers. The problem is a lot of people don’t do the work to really narrow down the demographics and get proper bang for your buck, so that’s how you end up seeing a restaurant ad for a place that is on the other side of the country. And don’t expect it to gain you more followers – your stats go up while the ad is live, and then promptly plunge back down to more or less original levels once the ad stops running.
That trailer was hilarious xD
Molly Valdez says
I’m real, as in not a bot. ????please add one counter to the actually breathing column.
I don’t use FB (no FB groups) as I don’t trust the site for privacy/ID reasons — that decision restricts my access to information but I’ve decided I can live with that. I’m so thankful that IA keep in touch through their website/blog/emails — loved today’s book trailer: give me a headless torso any day !
Truthfully, I loved it. Funny! I especially appreciated your self criticism at the end. Rofl!
I have often wondered what book advertising for indies was like in our less than lovely digital age. Thanks for the insight.
Thank you for that funny video!
Like the trailer. Do not remember seeing one for your books…found you by bookstore person recommendation. Then hunting down all your books mainly barnes and noble, follow by website. Only recently found you on Facebook. Bookstore closed now so kind of lost with finding new reads, hunt here and patricia briggs website for recommendations. Barnes and Noble is still were I get my books/ebooks, audible for audible…Love your books so have at least two versions of each earlier books all three, if I have the money I’ll get the paper version, so a few books behind on that format.
Loved the video! ❤️
You might check out Mark Dawson’s work. A lot of Indie authors are taking his Ads for Authors class and do really well.
I found your books through winning an free copy through Goodreads, I am so glad that happened! Now I follow your blog for updates
Mary Beth says
Thank you. I needed that laugh very much today. (The video was fantastic!)
Even with a degree in Fine/Commercial Art, I am hopeless at the Ad game as it’s played now. When I graduated, computers were still crap, and we all hated being in the paste up bullpen. (Which tells you how ancient I am.)
I asked my brother-in-law who worked at an ad agency, and he laughed and said “Don’t do that to yourself. Hire someone.”
Victorria Wytcherley says
THANK YOU so much for the laugh today!!! That trailer was fanTAStic!
Have you explored platforms / communities such as Reddit? The sub channels can get pretty diverse but if you categorized (like FB) you can reach potential readers of a genre who may not know you well. Just a thought.
Brooke Frazier says
I saw that there is a bookish box subscription. an adult version as well as young adult. Im hoping to get ob the list for the adultbox. It looks really fun. ????
Amy H. says
Some self pub authors seem to have good look on Facebook with groups that they have a PA or assistant moderate. They sometimes offer exclusive teasers, etc. or people have a chance here and there to discuss with the actual author. These seem hit or miss and are very big with the self-pub “trend” authors. One thing that seems to happen there is Facebook will recommend similar groups and people will do lots of recommendations for books. Also, you have a lot of authors “host” other authors release events and such, like the old blog tours when the blog sites were really popular. Moderators and the like will come around to try to create discussions about things that help build a community and that community helps grow readers. “Get X comments” or “get x shares” or something and get a POV happens a lot.
This might not be the right venue for you as an established author with a sizable community, but it does seem to be effective for them? A lot of those authors have been able to start branching out to writing full time, to having physical copies of books and to having audio books. It relies a lot on parasocial relationships and really galvanizing the readers to be the marketing team.
Streaming also might work. “Watch Ilona & Gordon play X game” or MST3K these movies. Y’all play enough major games that you could get some good hits other than just your standard fans. Playing jackbox games or something with members of the community or other authors.
Spreading out the IP maybe? pen and paper game? Merchandise? =D No? Ok, that might just be me eager for another thing!
Anyway, those are the two big pushes I see.
Ooh, I’d watch IA playing a game even if I don’t play anything myself.
I get a weekly email from BookBub with their deals.
Midway through the email, there is a book ad, usually the full color cover and a brief description, with a click-through to Amazon.
It has caught me numerous times
Agree about the bloggers. I first learned about the Kate Daniels books from my knitting vlog. After I discovered the Kate Daniels books were written by the same author as the “Edge” books, I was all in on everything Ilona Andrews.
Melisa M. says
That was a hilarious example of a book trailer. If I didn’t already love you guys I would say I just fell in love.
I have no opinion on the substance of this post, but dang, that book trailer rocks! ????
Robert Hinshaw says
Have you looked into reddit and Discord? I’m a recently self-published author in LitRPG and everyone in that genre has a Discord and try to post at least twice a month to several relevant sub-reddits. The hope is to trigger some organic growth in upvotes and really make a splash–sort of the lottery of advertising. But at least it’s cheap!
Discord is pretty intuitive once you dive in to learn it, so that might be a better fit if getting traction on reddit is tough. My impression has been self-promoting on reddit is nearly impossible unless you can somehow gently nudge an existing fan base to make noise for you there around publication time. But that might be a viable strategy for you and Gordon.
Discord is much more fan friendly (really easy for people that don’t know you to add your server and explore) and gives you a modicum of control over things, so it might be worthwhile to set one up to expand another point of contact with your existing fan base while letting others dip their toes in.
Oh god an oficial ilona andrews discord it would be incredible. I would Love that só much. The BDH would have só much fun there lol.
Tiger Lily says
I like author blogs and newsletters sent to emails. I do Patty Briggs, Shelly (badgers are the best) Laurenston, Nalini Singh, Ilona the Awesome, Jessie Mihalik, Lisa Shearan, to name a few. I have never done facebook, tiktok, or their like. I just found the Guild Codex : Demonized by Annette Marie a fun four part series from Mihalik’s newsletter. It was a fun read. Some places, goodreads, just have too many to look through. I have found more good reads from the authors listed here than by random folks.
Megan Lembach says
I see several authors on TikTok— I know but I have found some new books.
Love the silly book trailer!
As someone in the marketing profession, I can absolutely say that FB marketing is the way to go. Also, it is 100% worth getting/paying someone who is a professional to do it for you.
The risks are lower because you can continually optimize the ad based on performance and return on investment (ROI).
Unlike say a book trailer, were your eggs are all in one basket, your marketer can give you real time updates on the ads performance and edit and adjust to improve without requiring a whole new ad set.
The other important thing to remember is FB ads are not just to your followers. They’ve got incredible ‘look alike audience’ targeting. This means you can target followers of similar authors or interests and even go as far as excluding your own followers, (when you know will already see your organic (non paid) posts, web posts and newsletter).
You can also set your ads to be ‘pay per click’ instead of views, ensuring the people seeing the ads actually care about the content.
As I said, it’s definitely worth the $$ to get a professionals help. Without proper set up and monitoring it can be a big waste, but with someone who knows ROI and audience targeting you’ll be amazed.
Google advertising is a whole other thing, but could be handy as the fees are relatively low and the keyword targeting is insane. It also allows you to have ads on third party websites that are all controlled from one place rather than negotiating with a bunch of sites. Digital does work, and very well when done right ☺️.
Maybe I will hire a marketing person. 🙂 Thank you for the info!
Christopher Lee says
Love the trailer!!!!
I find a lot of the books I read on https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/ They have reviews, lists of books on sale, a book finder tool, etc. Sometimes they have interviews with authors and discuss a lot of different books, which can lead to adding several books to my ever expanding To Read List. They have a few ads, I’ve actually clicked on maybe two, a few reminded me of authors I’ve already read put forgot about. So many books, so little time ????
I rarely buy anything but food & replacement flip-flops, but a few times an ad in a free game app has worked on me. The key: keep it <10 secs. No idea what they charge, but surely there's some overlap btwn mobile gamers & ebook readers (I mean, other than just me).
Loved the trailer. Sexy man chest without a face cracked me up.
I get book recommendations from Amazon suggestions or lately I actually have gotten a few from Facebook. That’s how I discovered K.F. Breene’s Leveling Up series.
It’s been a long time, but I am pretty sure I discovered IA via an anthology (probably one with Nalini Singh in it) way back when.
If you find something to use other than, the VERY expensive, Mailchimp, please let us know. Their price is crazy. I’m rather prudent, like Gordon 🙂
LOL I had never seen that book trailer before! I laughed quite a few times I was surprised hahaha.
I always found book trailers super cheesy… a few were well-made, but it’s not a show or a movie, it’s a book! I don’t see many of those anymore.
Also Perez Hilton, omg I used to be on that blog 24/7 in college procrastinating. This was 10-12 years ago. His blog is still popular?? Haven’t been there in forever.
Laura Martinez says
I am addicted to your blog page. And I have gotten my long suffering husband to read the Kate Daniels series. He’s in book 3, and when I tell him that I cannot believe that I got him reading romance, he insists that it is not romance, thank you very much. It cracks me up. But now we can have discussions about Kate and Curran and everyone else.
And OMG, your video made my day…
Moderator R says
I have to side with Mr Laura, Kate Daniels is Urban Fantasy. Now when he starts Hidden Legacy…:D
+1 KD is definitely UF. Edge and Hidden Legacy are Paranormal Romance. Edge has, to me anyway, some horror elements alongside the PR, so that one might be a gateway romance for him. BWAHAHAHAH! You’ll get him there eventually.
Judy B Taylor says
Honestly book trailers make me sad because I associate them with Feehan jumping the shark!
I agree that recommendations from authors is a big one for me. I would add that readers who like Thea Harrison would also be a good fit.
PUT ME THROUGH THE AGONY OF A SHORT STORY AGAIN! I loved having something to look forward to, and was perfectly willing to buy paperback over kindle. The benefit of kindle is that it gets to me the day of release. With your books and Patricia Briggs, I end up buying hard copy (preferably signed), kindle and Audible versions. Most authors I end up in buying only one form, but yours get listened to and read over and over again, so I need them all.
LOL, I would suffer that hardship as well. I do buy ebooks (primarily Nook, with Kindle as backup if no Nook version is available) now if the alternative is HB, because 1) cost, and 2) shelf space. But if it’s IA or PB or Charlaine Harris, I have to buy my adult kids a copy as well, so that one is dead tree.
Ooooh! That “trailer” was fun!
Who can tell to watch it? I’ll think of someone.
The nuts and bolts of writing / publishing are interesting. I am fascinated by it in the same way I am by hand crafting artwork. (Blown glass. one of a kind jewelry, art pottery, etc.) Basically, I will never do these things, but watching, reading about, or researching them is very entertaining. (Are you kidding? They, like writing, take talent – of which I have exactly zero.)
Thank you for the extremely lucid explanations.
And the trailer. (giggles…)
Interesting about the book trailers. Because when I was getting my Social Media Certification (and any workshop before and after), they kept saying the same thing- video, video video. Video getting better placement on feeds due to their mysterious algorithms.
On the other hand, I did see an ad on my Instagram for a urban fantasy book by an author I did not recognize, and both the picture and description caught my attention, so I went and looked it up. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that good. However, that led to Amazon Kindle doing a good job recommending a bunch of books they thought I would like, a lot of them free through Prime.
I do see more book ads (with just photos or dynamic photos) on Instagram and read through them to see if it’s something I’d like to check out, and don’t find those ads intrusive as they target well to my preferences.
Hootsuite did just come out with an article on Instagram’s new algorithms, if you’d like to check it out. It’s titled: The 2021 Instagram Algorithm Breakdown: How to Get Your Content Seen
Hi – I get my book recommendations mostly from Booktubers and the podcast for sci-fi and fantasy by Book Riot
Bliss Crimson the Mooncatx says
I’m going to have to re-read Magic Slays, because I’m pretty sure there were not any kittens in it, but I’m not 100 percent.
I love reading all your posts, and this is my first time posting. I have purchased 20+ books as a result of reader recommendations on booktok so far this year. Hank Green just thanked a reader for a 5 star review on TikTok and that night his book (published almost a year ago) sold out on Amazon. Ilona Andrews content never shows up on my For You page, and my algorithm surely makes me the ideal candidate. I find it mystifying. I am trying to work up the courage to post some TikTok Ilona Andrews content. Baby steps.
Debi Majo says
I loved it! I’ve already watched it 3 times!????????????
O M G. I am dead. That parody was hilarious and I’m still laughing about it. I particularly like the end A)make chests cost a lot with a face attached – which seems ridiculous, but I am not surprised and B) This book doesn’t suck as much as the last one.
None of your books have EVER sucked. But the parody was amazing and I would definitely watch more. ????
*MALE. Not make. Male.
Also, I am the only one who misses the other blogs about books etc? I really do. I would much rather frequent a blog than social media.
I find out about new releases via author emails and then friends. (just thought I would share haha)
Also that Book Trailer is brilliant lol I loved Curran riding a horse! and of course the headless sexy man!
Billie Miller says
I buy books from Facebook Ads. Just in case your wondering if it works it did for me.
Tammy Frietsch says
I’ve often wondered if my email subscription was costing you money unnecessarily since I follow you on Facebook and see the posts there. Should I unsubscribe?
Moderator R says
Please don’t unsubscribe to the newsletter.
I could side Roman having a side gig as a YouTuber. Maybe something like a gardening or cooking channel.
Perhaps sponsoring a few ads in podcasts or YouTube channels for things like board games, period dress, etc would be an idea?
Kindle Android app recommendation notifications tend to get a bit of my attention. That’s how I spotted the new Martha Wells about a week before release. I tend to put pre-orders on my wishlist months in advance. That also hurts when self publish authors don’t give enough lead time for it to pop up as coming soon. I prefer to order on the day of release but put it on a wish list as soon as I see it is up for pre-order. I check the list on Mondays.
Personally I don’t have a facebook, and buy books of unknown authors after revies on book tiktok or booktok. Also, WithCindy from Youtube.
If I had money I would buy books in paper with art prints from the ones I like, as it is now: 100% ebooks.
You could make a thing where people choose options for howthey think the story would go before release(with google forms), and after release if they got it right they get a book refund or maybe art print or early exclusive short story.
Making it a game sounds fun and we fans never get it right (or do we? lol)
The trailer is hilarious. I have to admit, when I first heard of trailers for books, my jaw dropped.
Coincidentally, I got an email today from an old friend/editor who has now written a book. She asked me to pass the info along to any friends who might appreciate it. I have to read it before I do that though. She’s a very decent writer (nonfiction, and the book is nonfiction) so I have no concerns there. I just need to represent accurately, and for that I need to read it myself.
You should send your books to famous booktokers. That refers to readers on BookTok who make videos talking about books. A lot of your books would appeal to them and only a few small, not popular accounts are talking about you on there right now. I checked the other day after I did a complete reread of Kate Daniels.
Enjoyed the cheesy book trailer very much and now I know what is a book trailer! Learn something new everyday!
Also caught on to Ilona’s comment about Innkeeper posting… crossing fingers!
I look on Barnes and Noble for my favorite authors. I scan each author to see if they have anything new. If they do, I put it on a spreadsheet sorted by author, title and expected date of release. There are a couple of publishers who will notify me when one of my favorite authors has a new book being released. Besides your blog, I’m a recipient of Faith Hunter’s blog.
I will not hunt for top ten lists. If it’s in the newspaper, I’ll look it over for curiosity. Most of the books that make the newspaper are not fun reads. I read for amusement. I get enough angst, morality, sexuality, politics, religion and weather from all the news media for free. I will not buy those books, I’ve had it with text books.
I’m in to family trees. On my dad’s side there are several historic persons, and they have parts of their lives mentioned in some history books. One of my children, a fan of yours, and I have purchased several books that include them them. But, we have spent many more dollars on our favorite fiction.
One year I bought some of my favorite authors books for my relatives. Some, not most, liked what I sent them enough that they became fans.
Advertising – meh. Baldacci, Lackey and Martin are advertised a lot. I read some but not even half of their stories.
I didn’t start reading any author because of advertising. I went through the stacks of any bookstore in the mall at which my wife was shopping beginning in 1980. That’s how I found my favorite authors.
As far as I’m concerned, your blog is enough.
Greta Weinstein says
I think the key to advertising in the digital age is to use all available platforms and maintain consistent visibility via a media or marketing manager. I noticed your Facebook fan page isn’t linked to your group. Most authors link the two because some users aren’t aware that both exist. The group itself is a great resource because so many people are already in one place with the purpose of reading Ilona Andrews. Facebook advertising works. If I click on an author’s fan page I get ads for similar reads for several days. Sites like Bookbub work too. They let readers choose daily, weekly, monthly emails with suggestions. The reader can select what their budget is. The ones with the most hits are usually books that are on sale. Tik Tok is the hot thing and a single post can go viral in hours. My favorite is a monkey who got 80 million views for a short clip. That monkey has almost 17 million followers. Some social media influencers use ClickFunnel to target their specific audiences. I don’t know the demographics of your fanbase, but with Julie and Catalina being younger I would imagine there is a whole audience waiting for you on Tik Tok.
Re: book trailers, I have seen several very well-done trailers/videos on TikTok advertising books. I personally have brought a bunch of books from them, so they work on me at least! “Booktok” seems to be thriving
Something to consider perhaps.
I have been introduced to new authors through anthologies. I recall that you didn’t want to write for any more anthologies. However it’s a great way to hook in new readers.
For what it is worth, I order a LOT of digital books from Facebook advertising. Especially if the first book is included with Kindle Unlimited (Amazon), or is free. That way I get the benefit of trialling a new author at no risk, and if I enjoy the writing (which most of your targeted readers will) then I am happy to keep buying books to complete the series.
If the author and storyline are especially engaging, I then read everything they have written, and Follow them on Amazon to ensure I don’t miss any of their future works.
I’m not saying it will definitely work for you, but I have absolutely started following a tonne of authors based purely off the ads on Facebook.
(that’s the ad’s with a catchy intro into the book, fun picture and quick link to the correct book purchasing app).
Also agree with this one!
Uh – I thought the trailer was great fun! Does that make me a totally bad person? I hope not. 🙂
Moderator R says
I am so confused, why would that make you a bad person? 🙂
If you ran a Kickstarter and the reward was another one of these cheap ’n’ easy book trailers, you would make a mint. Just saying. This was hilarious.
Bahaha that was awesome. I used to be really active on goodreads and got heaps of book recommendations off reviews from my favourite book blog. Then one day I went to go to the blog site and it had closed down. I dont know why I dont use goodreads anymore, I haven’t thought about it but I think because I was just seeing the same books over and over? Even facebook groups are hit and miss as to whether recommendations will be books I like. Ive been a bit in a book wilderness of meh lately. Good book recommendations, where aaaare yoooou…
I read an email from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books – they review romance books and have other fun features like Cover Snarks and Help a Bitch Out (where people shout out for help to identify books they read a while back, can’t remember either the author or title and are now trying to track down).
I sign up to some of my favourite authors emails so I would suggest the “cross-pollination” method between authors. This would only be on an ad-hoc basis – it wouldn’t have to be a formal agreement?
Any which way, please continue with your blog/email combo as I really love it! It makes my day to read your posts and other’s replies in the comments, and I especially love the “free” serials which I also buy after to re-read again. Thank you.
Omg!! I love it!! But no knocking the first book!!
Julie Pointner says
I want to say that I found you for the first time on Facebook last year. You had popped up as a suggestion and I saw you had put out that first piece on what was to become Blood Heir. I started following you then and am loving your books. I thank you for putting out those wonderful free glances and appreciate you both for sharing your talent. I don’t know if it matters, but you made me smile through a really, really bad year. Truly thank you!
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you, Ilona Andrews for post.
Personally I very rarely watch trailers in articles in msn or Apple or local news media. I do watch Subaru ads on mindgames.com when I do my daily crossword puzzle and memory game. I think Outback and forester ads are hilarious so I watch. The snake looker/ muscle stretcher guy, the raccoons /moonroof, the frozen camper, downhill decent control…. But then I have an odd sense of humor.
Sometimes I hear a song on radio in car while traveling/ chauffeuring Mother to doctors appointment and I will go check out on YouTube. Same for movie trailers.
I read you because my sibling gave me a Kate Daniels book as Christmas present. I got hooked, found your blog and read whole series. Then I read rest of your works. I enjoy snippets.
Same story with Patricia Briggs. Different sibling gave me a Mercy Thompson book for my birthday and I liked. Found Huron site, loved Her husbands posts and I read everything published. I even went ILL route for books not available at local library.
You hooked me on Jeanine Frost and Jessica Milsek.
I agree with Gordon. In areas not your expertise, pay an expert. Know your market and product. Think about what expert is saying and make an informed decision. We are all human so we make mistakes and errors. The key is learning from. That is where I have problems.
I love the book trailer, thank you very much for the laugh!
A great read! I’m saving this for when I finish my book.
Right now the trend is Tik Tok, especially for indie and self-published authors, but also beneficial for authors backed by larger publishing houses. There is even a sub-culture called “Book Tok” where every day readers have become celebrity’s by recommending books.
I have seen books that have sat on shelves for a year or two, selling only a few copies shoot sky high in salss after someone mentions reading their book.
I’m probably rambling on about something you both know about already, but in case you don’t, I think it’s a really interesting promotion arena to consider. Same downfalls with bots and hate speech sometimes, but I now have a TBR list thata 200 books deep because of TikTok!
I would say perhaps it’s good to plan marketing effort separately for 1st time reader (ones never bought before), occasional reader, frequent reader and ardent fans. These are a few examples. You likely know your readers really well already. As you have so many great book series, once a 1st time reader’s interest is captured, the chance to sell one or several books/series could be quite good. Where to encounter the 1st time readers is not an easy question, as you said above. Guess one needs to plan, test and grow social media presence organically. One thing I’m thinking is YouTube. Selected chapter, short story reading, excerpt reading, from the audio book or even better, from you guys occasionally, can be quite interesting. Perhaps no need for complicated video. Nice and simple image background could do because the key is to listen to a new story. I’m not very familiar with regards to age limit on content and such. Perhaps one needs to think about that.
Have you thought about Tiktok?
The booktok section loves fantasies and I know for fact there are other authors making videos about their books. I think it could be a good way to introduce your books to younger generations.
Cecelia Donovan says
Loved the trailer ????. Curran riding a horse!
Sarah Javaheri says
I’m a long time reader and you’re one of the few authors whom books I will actually buy. I usually check out books from my libraries through overdrive. I get recommendations from overdrive and goodreads, and routinely ignore any ads from Facebook or amazon because I don’t trust the ratings there.
I buy your books because I appreciate your engagement with your readers, and your blog is hilarious and relatable. I want to financially support people whose work I appreciate. I also think your best advertising was your serialized fiction that stopped, and I had to buy the book!
With all that – have you thought of a serialized fiction podcast? I’m always looking for good fiction podcasts but can’t find many that I like. Or mini-satires on tictok set in your worlds as a form of advertising?
Facebook has gotten so morally irresponsible, I am more and more ready to kill my account. And the ads I do see there are for utter junk. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ad for a book I liked. The Goodreads giveaway had exactly the result you described. I put the book in my wishlist to buy on opening day, instead of buying now. Places where I find new books by favorite authors: Blog posts/newsletters by favorite authors is my #1 source. I “Follow” favorite authors on Amazon but I’m not convinced I get notices about new books. I also do a lot of hunting for authors like you, and Goodreads helps a lot on that front. Which makes me wonder how many people would read a post you wrote about authors you enjoy reading.
Moderator R says
There is a whole category of Recommended Reads posts on the blog ???? https://ilona-andrews.com/category/recommended-read/
Thank you! I will devour the books on your list.
I read a lot of YA which the bookstagram and booktube community love so I know that’s what they are mostly talking about/promoting, but that’s where I am mostly introduced to newly released and upcoming books. Seeing pretty pictures of books with pretty covers is very influential when it comes to books I’m likely to go purchase any given month. I continue to purchase from you just because of my previous history enjoying your books, which I first discovered when browsing the library.
Some of my favorite authors I follow on Instagram too, where they repost pretty pictures others took of their books, or fan art people make, and they promote their new books there too.
Like this gorgeous pic! All I had to do was search #ilonaandrews under Instagram tags!
Phyllis Lamken says
I agree with you on book trailers except for this one. https://youtu.be/UHsQSXAKvDE
I love this trailer. Makes me wish there was a movie for this book.
no one reads blogs anymore. we watch booktube channels for reviews and recommendations.
I follow Kobo on a few platforms and like what they do for book recommendations. I realize that’s the publisher, but just wanted to point to book advertising that works well.
I also get these random book ads in Facebook and the all seem to start with”If you loved Harry Potter you’ll love …” It gets my attention because I really liked Harry Potter, but it sets the bar super high and I usually wind up disappointed after reading the sampler and vowing to never read that artist. So Facebook ads do get eyeballs, but they have to be done right to get conversions.
Someone else already made the comment on cross-marketing with other business, which could work well with a Facebook Page. Especially now that you can join Groups woth your Facebook Page.
Richard Hainsworth says
Please do another trailer. It was brilliant.
Heather Michelle says
Yeah mailchimp can be expensive if lists aren’t managed right, but cheaper than others for the tools they provide. Pro tip. If u have the same people on more than one list in the account you are probably being waaaay over charged. Combine and use management tools can save a lot of $$.
Really like your book trailer. I even went so far as to turn on sound on my tablet.
I know how hard it is to get fair price for your books. Authors get shafted by the plethora of middlemen.
It isn’t fair, but it’s rare for us readers to willingly pay more then the lowest price.
I have certain authors who I buy the kindle version and the hard cover version at the same time. I do this because the version on my tablet is extremely convenient and the hard copy version delights more of my senses.
When your books come out in hard copy, I’ll buy another copy of all your books.
I wish your books were used in college English classes. Much cooler* than the books assigned when I was in school. The only book I hadn’t read previously was a rape fantasy book which made me physically ill. I went to my college advisor and tried to explain my distress and vomited on his shoes during my explanation.
*cool: interesting, precise, good use of language, a real plot, good characters, etc.
Oh my gosh, after a very long day with angry customers screaming at me for things beyond my control…your parody video made me laugh. Thank you <3
hahahaha…I would so totally buy that book! Oh wait…I did…
OMG that trailer was so funny! Yet another reason we love all things Andrews ????
Liz C. says
This is excellent! More, more, more!
Fran S says
Okay, cheesy trailer was funny!
I will just tell you that Amazon emails or Amazon advertising on Facebook create LOTS of purchases or Kindle Unlimited loans from me. FB algorithms pissed me off for years. I only ever saw ads for things I ALREADY purchased. How dumb can you get? Even now, only Amazon seems to understand what to advertise to me.
I don’t actually mind advertising. I only mind how poorly it is done, how loudly it is done, and how frequently it interrupts things. This is less bad when it is advertising for something I might actually want.
I can, and do, follow authors I like, so that I hear when new books are going to be released. But seeing the ads really helps me become aware of works by authors I am not familiar with. I can then read the book blurb and decide if I want to buy it or KU borrow it, depending on which is available or if I want the book permanently or not.
For favorite authors I always buy the book. And most of my favorite authors are not on KU anyway. But new authors are, and it really makes me happy that so many people can now write, some of them very well. These people might not have (in the past) even gotten published, and I would have missed the pleasure of reading their stories.
I read between 150 and 200 books a year right now, so I need KU and libraries so I don’t book-bankrupt myself.
What surprises me is none of series have been made into TV series. When I look at those made on Netflix. All you series would make great TV viewing.
That was awesome. Honestly, I would be tempted to buy a book just because they do a purposefully terrible/tongue-in-cheek advertisement.
Thanks for sharing!
MailChimp sucks lol I hate it!
Send fox is great tho. $50 one time fee for each 5K subscribers you have. No monthly fees unless you upgrade.
Orlana Curry says
Love the trailer, very funny. Curan on the horse is my favorite.
Kala A. Goriup says
Honest answer, here. I quit looking at Goodreads after Amazon bought it. It has become a clicky mess.
I tend to check out sights like Mary Sue and Tor for upcoming books and reviews of authors. I also follow authors on social media that I like to see what they are up to. I think most book nerds do. I bookmark authors on Amazon. As much as I hate the behemoth, it is a good place to watch for new books to appear. I don’t always buy them there, though.
If it is a series I have been collecting since the beginning, I am likely to purchase in hard copy. So I will look for an independent to purchase. If it is just “junk reading, I will probably buy an e-book.
I honestly don’t know how authors figure this stuff out now. It seems way more stressful than it used to be. My hat is off to you. And I think you for all the wonderful creativity you have given us.
I now feel the need to buy triplicates of anything you have ever written. I am also feeling the need for cake, among other things. I feel compelled to share this video with everyone I’ve ever met. Is that normal?
More trailers!! (meow meow)
Duffi MvDermott says
The fake trailer is my best laugh of the day.
Erin Burns says
I’ve seen some get some traction on TikTok. Not with ads but just engagement. That parody book trailer would probably blow up there.
Merie Davis says
Have you considered TikTok? I’ve started trying it out because I’m making a cute video game about working as a gardener for a sorceress but I see quite a few authors on there. I’ve heard better things about the ads on there compared to fb though I haven’t tried running any yet.
Are your Youtube videos helpful? Facebook and Twitter are so oversaturated with savvy marketers that I don’t think it would be worth any dollars to advertise there. Say, do you hold the foreign language rights to your works? I was wondering about a few specific markets overseas. Do you also hold the movie rights?
Are you under publisher pressure to cater to younger audiences? If so, I would vote against it because you have a unique style that appeals to older audiences as well as younger ones. So, your sales won’t get crushed if someone does release ripped versions of the ebook and audiobooks — most of us are not prowling online for questionable free downloads, and we wouldn’t take them if we saw them.
Blood Heir had nice cover art, so I guess that is now covered. You could have some special posters made for fans for free wallpaper downloads. Once you had those, you could hook up with some custom t-shirts and other stuff, so your fans could buy — the shops where you just sell the merchandise, but do not pay for it , lower margins but they are risk free. That would help SEO a bit. I saw an author, Marie Liu, I think, do some awesome art for her books, which helped her trend on Instagram. If one is so inclined, it could be a good way to go. Her use of social media is useful to check out, if you haven’t.
What would happen if you did some books and sold them here only? If your publisher contracts allow for it. Of course, we like your audio books, so perhaps your narrator has restrictions for audible, etc.
We do love your work! And your narrator is amazing.
Jennifer Crusie has a Good Book Thursday. Her followers cover a wide range of authors including sf/f. It’s a long running blog and she occasionally dives deep into why a book or movie doesn’t work for her.
Lol! I soo love your sense of humour, if you ever decide to give up writing, you have a great future in “B” grade book trailers ahead of you ????????
I have no answers, I found you via one of Audible’s “First in a Series” sales, many years ago – I can’t say I really go looking for new authors or titles anywhere other than skimming Amazon/Audible if I’m in the mood for some new ????♀️
Tik Tok seems to be doing well for a lot of authors as well as Instagram.
Is it worth participating in book festivals? I’m looking at going to one in another state. The cost for a table in Authors’ Alley is $110, and the festival is for one day. The last time it was held in person, attendance was around 9500 people.
Gail G says
It’s two in the morning. I’ve just grinned through your pretend trailer. Curran on a horse…perfect. So glad you guys are around. A little whacked out by Covid pneumonia but when I’m awake, there’s The Innkeeper stories and the Great British Baking Show, again. Be well and safe.
Bigmama Battillo says
When I think book trailers my mind goes immediately to Christine Feehan. She must be the diva of trailers and has done them for all her books for decades! I always thought them amusing and wondered if anyone ever bought a book based on the trailers! While I found most of them unintentionally hilarious, I must admit I always watched them.
Loved the fake trailer!
My personal bet is that your strongest advertising is word of mouth. I have turned on several folks to your work, and truly the Kate books got my sister through some very rough times. In fact I gave the ebook Innkeeper collection that you offered as comfort early in the pandemic to LOADS of my students. Several are now, as a result, full fans — and younger readers!
With that in mind, one advertising strategy might be a “share a story” or “share a snippet” promotion at the back of one of your new books — perhaps making it easy to send the snippet? Another might be a “tell a friend” promotion or an ebook link to Amazon’s “Follow this author.”
I freely admit that yours is the only author’s blog that I follow religiously, mostly because you talk about writing and others’ work as much as your own. And there is occasional knitting and FOOD. Always something interesting going on. Since I am mostly a lurker, please note that you may have fewer bots than you think.
Your blog has also benefited several of the authors you have mentioned, so the suggestion above about mutual blogging is a good one. (I do subscribe to a number of author newsletters and find those VERY useful for keeping track of new releases).
So glad I read all the way to the parody book trailer. Though I almost choked on my cereal while watching it. Honestly, that probably was the best Mother’s Day present. Thanks.
Laughing so hard – parody was perfect!!! All the key subliminals (laid out for us) and even Curran on a horse… 🙂
Thank you – awesome Canadian mother’s day gift.
Marc Quesnel says
I watched it on reddit then came here.
While i understand that Kate’s series is done, will there be anymore innkeeper books in the future?
Moderator R says
Ilona mentioned on Facebook that there are more Innkeepers in plan ????. Yay!
So why pay I buy all your book any way Hahaha
Just an FYI, when I started playing the trailer my cat-shaped void gave me a dirty look
Now I’m trying to think about where I go online and it’s embarrassing how much I buy from Instagram ads. Otherwise I check my favorite author sites for release information and that’s really it. Instagram is huge for me though – author stories that connect to other authors and book review accounts that push releases with covers is the biggest push for me anymore. With Covid I’ve not been into a book store in over a year (though I do the curbside pick up). Also subscription boxes – I wish they had a fun, affordable one for adult fun books like you guys, Briggs, etc.
Laura Robbins says
I have to admit, my favorite way to find new authors is to go spend time in an actual book store and browse. I can even get coffee/tea and a muffin/scone at the local Barnes & Noble for a bit less than an arm and a leg.
Sadly, a lot of the local book stores have closed. (I miss The Open Book so much. They served sandwiches too.) Mind you, I still use a Kindle but I buy my favorite authors in paperback as well, and, yes, Ilona Andrews works have a lot of space on my bookshelves. Any author that can transport me to another world deserves to be remembered in paper.
Best. Book trailer. Ever. ????
Due to family things I’ve not been able to actually write or produce new stuff for a while, but I’ve used what free time I have to try and stuff my brain with how the market is changing for us authors and how best to reach readers, and so far what I’ve learned? Get my blogging again, and focus on building my newsletter. Getting those readers who DO follow and love you to spread the word.
The thing is for authors like you, your readers already do that. You’re on a level right now I hope to someday hit, and I can’t get there, so I have np idea how to help you get further. Sorry. 🙁
Kelly J Jacobs says
It was a great advertisement!
Also some werecat just had kittens, like this:
Bookstagram or Booktok (Instagram or tik tok.
It is highly influential lately in getting books hyped up. When you see a ton of Instagramers reviewing or recommending a book you feel the need to not miss out and get the book everyone is talking about. Also book subscription boxes are big if you can get picked for one of those.
NYtimes just did a story on BookTok and the effect on backlisted titles. Good for these young people sharing what they like!
Late to the party, but i’ll add my story to the rest in the hopes that it will help.
I found you years ago, by searching with google for “(list/top of) best sfr romance(s)” or something like that. It returned some goodreads lists, and you were there with Silver Shark. I read it and that made me fall over The Edge 😉 stumbling into Kate’s post shift world and discovering Nevada’s Hidden Legacy while staying at The Inn.
The Innkeeper Chronicles was what made me come here (i found out about it on some book forums), but the regular blog posts which are at turns useful, funny, serious a.s.o., made this site one that i visit often. I’d probably have ended up here anyway as i prefer to search for information about upcoming books and such on the sites of the authors i read, but without Innkeeper and the blog i’d have come for news only every couple of months or so.
Thank you for keeping this site going and not giving it up for facebook or other multimedia platforms.
Facebook ads can be very effective. Why not give yourselves a small budget and split test until you find what works?
Is Lorelei related in any way (for example you like the book/ author) with cider with Rosie?