Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Writer's Block: The Online Campaign

Most advance reading copies I receive come with an insert or blurb about the book's marketing campaign. I'm not sure why this would be helpful to a reviewer, but I read them anyway. The latest trend I've been noticing is the "Online Marketing Campaign", and I'm not surprised.

Where marketing teams and publicists used to hit print publications, TV, and radio, they're now hitting blogs, online papers, newsletters, and using e-mail blasts to promote a book. They're focused on website hits, e-mail lists, and uploading book trailers to YouTube. Is this more effective than other promotions? Hard to say. One thing's for sure, it's a hell of a lot cheaper.

Web-based promotion costs very little. There's no toner, no paper, no postage or shipping costs. Web advertising is far cheaper than print, but most publishers won't pay for advertising at all. They'll focus on contacting e-zine editors and bloggers to interview authors or write feature articles instead. Why buy space on the web when you can get it for free?

There are many pros to web campaigns other than cost. You don't have to work on web-based campaigns during normal business hours. The web never closes. Once something is up on the web, it's there forever, unlike newspapers and magazines that get recycled or TV interviews that only last a few minutes. The web publicity sticks around until someone deletes it, which means it usually stays there forever.

The last major appeal to the web campaign, is the ability to track traffic. Using StatCounter or Google Analytics, you can see if a blog post or online article brought people to your website or to IndieBound and Amazon. It's a lot harder to see the effects of a magazine article or radio interview.

As print newspapers die out, so will the print marketing campaigns. Marketing and publicity follow the trend, and so far, the trend is online.

Two good examples of this type of campaign are J.A. Konrath aka Jack Kilborn and Jamie Freveletti. Instead of beginning with a traditional book tour to promote his latest book, Konrath did a blog tour, appearing on a different blog everyday in March. He is also giving away a free e-novella, hoping that if he gives away a free taste, people will go out and buy more. Jamie Freveletti's debut novel is about an ultra-marathon runner, so she's been appearing on various running blogs. Her book trailer is also being hosted on various websites, many of which are running related rather than literary.

As a reader, notice where you're learning about book releases or new authors. If you're reading this blog, chances are you get most of your info from the web. As a published author, think about the best, most efficient, and cost effective way to reach the widest possible audience. Chances are, it will be with an online marketing campaign.

No comments: