Reach out to people who will buy your stuff
I have not begun to exhaust this writer-publisher theme yet, so you will have to bear with me until I get it out of my system. The latest evolution in my campaign for world domination through self-publishing was arriving at a better understanding of how blogs work as advertising vehicles.
I saw the immediate market for Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day as being composed of people who are technically oriented, aware of problems in their working environment, and who are looking for answers online.
Providing free downloads of the entire book seemed to be a good way to get their attention – and it has proved to be so. Seth Godin and ChangeThis gave me an opportunity of a lifetime, and I took it gladly.
Using blogs of friends as vehicles for book ads seemed like another reasonable way to test my ideas and it gave me far more information than I expected. I cannot say enough to thank my friends for the privilege of appearing on their weblogs. Most refused any payment and I practically had to force Danger Quicksand coffee mugs on them as a small token of my appreciation. You know you have true friends when they run your ad on their site and they refuse to accept monetary compensation. I am adding a special section on the left side bar so you can see who they are and visit their sites. (I am still working on this, so if your name is not there yet, PLEASE let me know.)
What these ads showed me was that blog ads work. I would get immediate traffic from each site beginning the moment the ad appeared. I also learned that friends of my friends buy books! It totally validated the idea of blogs as a word-of-mouth marketing vehicle.
When sales leveled off, I discovered two things: the universe of friends of friends is finite, and it takes a long time for most people to read a book. I was still getting new referrals through my blogger friends, but the rate dropped to a much lower steady-state level, once the regular audience had clicked through and checked out my publishing site at bentcrowpress.com.
I also discovered that my responses did not correlate to the popularity of the blogs! I received far more visitors from some of the less well-known blogs than from the most popular blogs. This was a huge breakthrough for me! It made me look very closely at visitor comments on each blog to see what information I could gather about the kind of people visiting these sites.
I realized that entertaining and popular blogs were not the right place to advertise my book, unless that blog also attracted the person who needed what my book provided. It has nothing to do with how much I appreciate the quality of the writing or enjoy the blogger’s personality. It has everything to do with the people who frequent the site and why they visit it.
I started testing blogads on sites that seemed to appeal to people who work in offices. The results were extremely encouraging. I will explain in the next post of this series. Stay tuned.