how to · Pay It Forward · Tips · Writing

Author Tips: Crunching Numbers

When it comes to dates, things can start getting really tricky, really quickly.

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Let’s look at the biggest problem: Time Zones

 If you use the 12/10/15 date format for a poster, you could be causing yourself and your readers real problems. Unless your date is over the #12 then us UK folk are not going to know what the real date for the poster really is.

Remember that everyone on the Internet lasts forever, unless you delete it and even then it might be floating around somewhere. If someone shares a poster with this date format on it, people like me will get seriously confused.

 In the UK we put the date first, so 12/10/15 would be the 12th October (yesterday) but for the US it would be the 10th December. Now, those dates are close enough in the year that you could be advertising a December release.

It doesn’t take up any more space to write 12th Oct or 10th Dec instead. It generally takes up the same amount of space, especially if you use the right text font and size to make sure it’s still legible.

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 Problem #2: Cross-Release

Now, this isn’t always in your hands. Sometimes the publisher sets the release date of a book, but you can often find that they’ll give you some leeway if you really want it.

 Look around for blog tour sign-ups and release events, even cover reveals on Facebook or Google for them, for your chosen date. Check to make sure that a similar book to yours or something in your genre isn’t releasing on the same date. If it is, you’ll be directly competing with that book. It might not seem like it, but trust someone who has gone to many release parties – people don’t have time to switch back and forth between 2 or 3 release parties that are happening on the same day. If your book event is in the morning and a competing book’s event is in the afternoon, then that’s fine. But if you’re both at the same time, your readers are going to weigh up who is more well known, which event is offering the best prizes and which book is more interesting. You don’t want that. Sure, you might find that your book IS the most interesting/anticipated and giving the best prizes. But what if it isn’t? What if this competitor has more money to spend on prizes than you do? You’re going to miss out and your party won’t be the best it can be.

Solution? One great way to solve this is sometimes to have your release party a week or two AFTER your actual release day. Why? Because this will let you get all of your links and blog tours out the way. If you run them all at the same time, you run the risk of spamming your audience and not benefiting from the surge sales each event (blog tour, release event, cover reveal) should give you individually.

 Also, people who are desperate to buy your book will pre-order it or buy on release day, so they’re already an automatic purchaser. If you wait that week or two, you can reach people who might not have noticed your release yet. People who don’t know you, but want to hang out at your release party to win prizes.

The best reason is to avoid the issue above – having your release event on the same day as someone else in your genre. Having your release event after your release can solve most of the problems with this issue and also remind people of your new release. It’s a double whammy!

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Next on the list: Thunderclaps!

Thunderclap is an amazing platform to advertise your book. Now sure how to do that? You can find a post on our site, detailing that.

 When setting up your Thunderclap, think about what you’ve already planned in terms of release events – FB party, cover reveal, release day, blog tour. You generally want your Thunderclap to be an event of its own, so try not to plan it for the same day as any of those other events you’ve already organised.

Reason #1: it can be considered spam. And – trust me – no matter how good your intentions there will always be someone complaining that your book is clogging their FB/Twitter newsfeed, if you have all this set up for one day.

 Reason #2: you won’t see the real benefit.

When you’re advertising a new release, you want to see which advertising platform is working best for you, right? How can you do that if you have the same buy link for 5 different events that are all happening on one day?

 The biggest draw of Thunderclaps is that you can literally see how many people will see your post. It’s not an estimated number or just the number of people who have clicked to support you. It is literally the number of followers on FB, Twitter and Tumblr that every supporter will display your message to. Cool, right?

So, if your Thunderclap is going to be shown to 500,000 people, that should be enough of a boost on its own, without other advertising events. In my latest Thunderclap, I had around 50 clicks on my buy link after release day. The next day, my Thunderclap tipped and that number jumped to 370. If you have another event a day or two later, that will also give you a boost.

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Finally: SmartURL

 USE SmartURL. I cannot emphasise this enough. If you don’t know how, check out this post here.

As I mentioned before, when you’ve got a lot of release events planned, using SmartURL as your go-to buy link, you can track the effectiveness and results of each event using this site.

 #1: you can see how many clicks you’ve had on your buy link at a glance. If you have 1 event every day or week, you can note how many clicks you have on each day and calculate which event got you more clicks. Easy!

#2: you can see stats about WHO is clicking on your link, e.g. male/female and age ranges.

 #3: you can see which countries have given you the most clicks

#4: you can see which platforms (social media and mobile/computer) people have used to click from.

 Why is all of this important? Because it helps you figure out your target audience and advertise effectively. If you see that you’re getting more clicks from a mobile, you can make sure that most of your social media sites are properly set up for a mobile platform (places like Wix.com let you check this and re-arrange how it looks). It you’re getting more women clicking than men, then you can target your posts to that, or vice versa if men are your main clickers.

Also, as I said before, you can view which social media sites were used most. That lets you see if it’s worth doing an ad for that site, on another date, or whether to boost another social media site with an ad there.

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In total – always think ahead!

When it comes to a new or re-release or even a sale, it is VITAL to think about your timing and how you’re going to keep track of progress and sales. Utilise all of the information above, to make sure that your advertising is effective and doesn’t waste you time or effort. Or, more importantly, money.

 From experience, I can tell you that if you have your Cover reveal on your FB page on the morning of your release, have your release event all day and then have a Thunderclap that tips later that afternoon, you’ll probably end up with a few angry/frustrated/disinterested comments in groups (that you may or may not see) about how a certain book is spamming their news feed, or you’ll end up with barely any clicks, because everyone who was at your event already clicked the buy link, so why would they click it on your cover reveal and your Thunderclap too?

Spread out your advertising and you’ll see the benefit. Clunk it all together and you’ll find that your book falls into those nasty little cracks of forgetfulness and inattention, because people have seen your book advertised so much that they’ve lost interest.

 You want to be interesting and encourage people to read your story, not alienate potential readers.
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