What does an author – or any small business or artist – need to know about art design and marketing? Cody Morehead caught the graphic design bug a few years ago, and after learning from some major companies, he started his own business PubZoo to help writers, non-profits, and companies define their brand. But what does that mean? Listen to the great conversation with Cody about art design and marketing for authors.
In this episode:
How Cody got involved in graphic design and Serious Writer.
What is branding?
Why is branding important for an author or business?
What are some of the common mistakes authors or writers make with graphic design?
Why is listening and paying attention to the market important for marketing?
Why is it important to realize we sell who we are more than the product?
What is Wattpad? With over 15k followers on Wattpad, author and YouTuber Elizabeth Newsom gives her expertise, experience, and how the site can help writers with their platform. We also discuss her books and how difficult allegory is to write.
Check out the episode below:
In this episode:
Realm Makers recap and the importance of networking at conferences
Introduction to Elizabeth Newsom
What is Wattpad? How did Elizabeth get 15k followers?
Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) allows you to advertise your book utilizing a targeted keyword strategy.
But first, you must answer two important questions.
What type of ads do I run?
Where do I find the keywords to use?
What type of ads do I run?
There are two types of ads:
Sponsored Product Ads
Product Display Ads
I recommend running “Sponsored Product” ads. These types of ads allow you to specify up to 1000 unique keywords for your ad. When a person types keywords in the amazon search bar, your ad will be displayed in the “sponsored products” under any books you view.
The ads are displayed on an auction basis, so you must choose a high enough cost per ad ration to allow your ad to be displayed over any competition. I use $0.25 for all of my ads, and I rarely pay anything close to that amount.
In the example below, I searched the word “romance”. The keyword planner found 701 keywords associated with the word romance. Conveniently located on the page is a “download” link so that you can export the keywords to a .csv file.
The keyword planner also tells me the average monthly searches associated with that keyword on Google, and it shares the amount of competition in the market for those keywords.
Once I have my keywords .csv file, I can import my list of keywords into my “sponsored products” ad and within minutes my ads will begin running on Amazon. Be careful to set low spending limits. With 1,000 keywords you can spend a lot of money very quickly if you are not careful.
It is also wise to insert the title of books and the names of authors on the bestselling lists in the categories, which your book is listed.
Bonus: Make sure to not overlook books and/or authors who have published with Amazon imprints, those books seem to get favorable search ratings.
Once your ad is up and running you can examine how effective each keyword is at bringing in sales and clicks.
If my keywords are not brining in at least one click per 1,000 impressions, I pause the keyword so that I don’t get charged for underperforming keywords.
How has your Amazon Marketing Services experience been? Are you getting any sales?
Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is the newest marketing opportunity that you can utilize as an author. You must have an Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account to participate. The best benefit of AMS is that your advertisements will be seen by buyers who are kindle readers.
Unlike Facebook Ads, which can cost you hundreds of dollars in advertisements to people who do not own a kindle, AMS offers you the opportunity to define your audience to a very specific group of people—readers who use kindle apps or platforms, and readers who buy books on Amazon.
You can be assured that by using AMS you will have the best opportunity to acquire sales from kindle readers. No other advertising platform can offer such a defined market—not even the infamous, Bookbub!
One of the great benefits to AMS, is that it allows you to customize the keywords that you are targeting. For one of my recent adds, I imported a list of over 1000 keywords and phrases that covered every conceivable and searchable term or chain of words related to my topic.
AMS reports specifically on the success of each keyword, showing you how many impressions the keyword delivered, how many clicks came as a result of the keyword, and how many sell throughs were associated with that keyword. No other marketing platform can give those kind of specific details.
Every promotion and marketing service has its strengths and weaknesses, but for an author with books listed on Amazon, AMS is currently providing excellent results. I highly suggest it at this time.
Be forewarned, as with any marketing opportunity, overtime as more people begin to use AMS it will become less effective at delivering results, but for now it is still providing a wonderful return on your investment.
Should an author begin using Amazon Marketing Services?
Comment below with any questions about AMS, and/or comment about your results with AMS if you have used it so far.
As a literary agent, I routinely get asked which is more important platform or the quality of the writing?
For writers who are looking to get published, this is an important question to debate. It may be the most important question.
The correct answer is not as easy as it may seem. The winner of this important debate between platform and writing ability can change more frequently than the tide. For the purposes of this post, I will look at this great debate from a traditional publishing perspective as it pertains to unpublished authors. For self-publishers, a third-party candidate weighs into the equation—marketing/networking.
I have looked at a great number of submissions from first-time/unpublished authors and wanted to scream because their work was sooo good, but they had zero platform. Zilch, nada, nothing.
No website. No Twitter. Not even Facebook.
Sure these are extreme examples, but I can’t sell books written by authors who have no platform. It’s very difficult to sell books by authors with a small platform—many times near impossible.
If you have an excellent book and no platform, some agent may be able to sell your book, but your success rate will be low and that path will be paved with a lot of rejection.
Writing is a Business
You have to remember, your book is your business. It’s a marketable and sellable product. To sell your book you need to have influence enough to convince potential buyers to purchase your product. And you have to understand that a real-world business with no influence doesn’t get sales, because it has no platform.
If you owned a small business with no buyer influence, would you risk going on the television show Shark Tank and attempting to get billionaire investors?
No, of course not.
Those billionaires would tell you that you had no proof of concept. No sales potential.
It’s the same way with most publishers. They want to see that the book has sales potential to an audience or fan base that you are already connected with. Maybe through speaking, YouTube, instructional classes, blogging, etc. and at the bare minimum they want to see that you understand platform and you are actively working on growing your writer’s platform.
As an unpublished writer, if you want to sell your manuscript to a traditional publisher, you need to spend 60%+ of your time and effort building your platform. If it’s not your passion, learn to love it. Learn to make platform-building part of your passion.
There is only one winner in the debate between platform and writing ability as it pertains to an unpublished author—platform.
What percentage of your writing time do you spend working on platform? How can you make platform your passion?