Click on the image for more information.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Killer Campaigns: Advertising, part 2

For the purposes of this post, I will be discussing advertising your book.

In last week's Killer Campaign post on Advertising, I mentioned that an ad must do three things to be effective.

• Intrigue
• Induce
• Entertain.

But there is a fourth element that is just as important. The first three won't matter if you don't get the fourth one right.

You have to know who your audience is. In other words, who are your readers? Knowing your readership is going to define how you approach them when introducing a new book to them.

For example, if you write western romance there are certain themes that are expected. Such as cowboys, six-shooters, or boots. Your audience anticipates this so you want to make sure you're meeting their expectations. That's not to say you couldn't throw in something extra. What if your cowboy was also a preacher? You might have a revolver on top of a bible. (There's your intrigue factor in visuals.)

It's important to define your novel and your genre. But have fun with it too. You want to take the consumer along for the ride.

Good advertising should:

• start with a good headline
• keep copy tight and short
• always provide contact information
• have a call to action
• have art that complements the copy

Headline Good headlines are short, punchy and preferably under seven words. You could use your brand's tagline or something that relates to the book specifically.
Example (totally fictitious): Hunky Heroes Found Here (brand tagline)
Example (totally fictitious): Someone Wants Her Dead…Undead (story tag)

Headlines draw attention to the ad. Fonts are always larger than the rest of the text and usually bolder.

Body Copy
This is where a lot of people get into trouble. They have a certain amount of space and they want to fill it up. It's totally understandable. Running an ad is expensive. You want to get as much as you can.

But here's a tip. Sometimes less is more. When you design your ad don't forget to include plenty of negative space. It will make the ad more visually important and give it greater impact.

Think carefully about what you want to say. Intrigue the reader, don't give him a blow by blow of the story. This is where your clever blurb might come in handy.

Contact Information
Always have it. For books, you want a website where they can get more information about the book and your back list. If you want consumers to physically contact you, put in an email address or a PO box. Never put in your physical address.

Make sure the contact information is clear and pronounced.

Call to Action
This is buying information. Tell the consumer what you want him to do. I know it sounds lame, but trust me. The consumer wants this information. If you want him to buy the book, say so.

Examples: (choose one, not all)
• Buy TOUCH OF FIRE at Barnes & Noble
• Pick up your copy today
• Order online for faster delivery
• See my website for my back listed books

There are so many art choices out there and the software to customize them to your needs so I won't go into it. For the most part if you are selling your current book, the cover art, unless it is hideous, should be your background art. I like this for a couple of reasons.

#1 People are visual creatures. Get them used to what your cover art looks like and that's what they'll hunt for at the bookstore.
#2 The art is already made for you. No need to find additional art.

If the cover art is hideous (and I have seen a few book covers I wouldn't wish on my enemy), take one identifying element from the cover. This can be the color, the font, or an item (or person) from the cover.

Use that as the central theme of your ad. This will help tie your ad to your book without using the bad art. You might need an artist for this unless you feel comfortable using something like Photoshop.

When left with ugly---salvage. It will help tie your ad to your book.

How to lower your advertising costs
• Ask the advertiser what kind of deal he will cut you if you repeat the ad.
• If you can't design your own ad, find an artist and see if you can trade goods or services.
• Consider doing a black and white ad. Color (in print ads) is much higher than b&w.
• Offer to write a column or article for the advertiser and see if you can trade your pay for an ad.
• Do a co-op ad with one or more other authors.

And finally...Budget for your advertising. Know upfront how much you're willing to spend. It won't lower the end amount, but it will give you guidelines so you don't overspend.

If you have any questions about your specific ad, feel free to post it in the comments or email me.
I am everywhere lately. I'm talking about what to expect after the apocalypse here and here.

And tomorrow I'll be talking about dreams.

…but I think I'll sleep on it tonight. :o)

See you tomorrow.

Want to get a whole book with this information for $2.99?

Find it on Amazon.