You Linkedin, Google, Facebook, and Twitter folks might want to pay attention.

In October, I began making plans to put out a marketing campaign to promote my science fiction novel, Promised Land: The Host Rises. I was, in fact, opening a two front effort; the first being actual sales of the book and the second was to promote a crowdfunding venture on a website called Publishizer.

At this point, one might ask why I needed a crowdfunding promotion for a book already published? Three reasons- my book is self-published and Publishizer’s hook is that it will get your manuscript in front of up to eighty publishing houses if you show a strong result with them. Second, if I had hit my goal of selling 500 ebooks, I would have achieved the $3,000 in sales required to qualify for membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Finally, publishing costs money- I’ve done everything I can to reduce the overall cost of getting this book out and promoted but even at that, I’m in at around $7,000 so far.Why not try to offset those expenses through crowdfunding? I looked at other sites but the publisher promotion hook offered through Publishizer speared me.

My hybrid publisher, iUniverse, had talked me into a $3,000 venture to deliver 4 million impressions on Facebook and Instagram. Initially, they had promised to focus the book onto fans of the genre. After they got my money, further conversation revealed that they had little control over who received an impression. That meant fulfilling the contract to them was all about throwing a bucket of shit against a wall to see if any of it actually stuck, Further frustration came from their “ad department”, which lifted a line off of the back cover and declared success; the equivalent of 9th grade plagiarism. I had also submitted for three independent reviews of the novel through iUniverse (that 15 weeks later I’m still waiting on). It was decided to wait until they came back and then use positive snippets from them to promote a book to the general public. This is on hold for now.

I began the campaign by reaching out to all of my Linkedin and Facebook contacts, letting them know that the book was out and the crowdfunding was in place. That was roughly 600 contacts in total. The response was 22 views and 0 sales or crowdfunds.

I then looked out into the vast social media ocean and chose to try Twitter promos and Google Ads. The Google Ads was implemented first; I created 9 word ads with a link to my website sales page. I honed the placement of those ads to keywords specific to the book or genre such as “science fiction”, “action-adventure”, “new books for sale”, et cetera. I then set the maximum bid per click through at 30 cents and the daily budget at $30.

The Twitter tweet promo was specific to the Publishizer crowdfunding. I chose one tweet to promote with a link directly to the campaign page. I set the daily budget at $30 and the maximum bid per tweet click throughs at $3. Again, I was very specific about limiting the impressions to those who had an interest in the science fiction genre.

The results to date:

  • The Google Ads campaign has been running for just under one month. It has provided me with 107,000 impressions and 1,200 click throughs to my blog/sales site. That is an overall rate of 1.13% (which is about right, according to Google) at an overall rate of 22 cents per click through. I have spent $263 to date.
  • The Twitter campaign has been on for around a week. It has provided 27,000 impressions and a 2,300 click throughs, an overall rate of better than 8%. It has cost me 7 cents per click and $150 to date.
  • The overall result of these efforts?

    Not one book sold nor a single crowdfunding supporter has been generated. Zero. Nada. Nothing.

I think that beats some kind of odds. Three thousand five hundred click throughs and not a single sale? My background is in sales and marketing and I understand cold calling. I could knock on one hundred strangers’ doors and offer shit on a shingle and one person will buy it to try it. It’s a numbers game.

So why this result? I have some thoughts. More tomorrow.