Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Marketing Q&A: How much should an author spend on their marketing?

Question: According to your advice about an author Website, I should spend about $5000 minimum for my sight. If I expect to use a publisher that will print about 5000 copies of my book and at the rate of $1 per book for the author, you are saying I should expect to break even, right? (Katharine)

Answer: Katharine, thanks for your question. According to your math, you will actually lose money, because you'll need to spend more than just $5,000 on a website. You'll need to create other marketing materials, such as newsletters, speaking demos, etc. I've heard some literary agents say that authors should expect to spend around $10,000 - 15,000 to fully help promote their book. That's the bad news.

The good news is that you can probably get a website done for less than $5,000 if you shop the project around to several designers. Also, your book is really a "loss-leader" to generate more profitable spin-off products, such as speaking engagements, audio and video teaching products, teleseminars, coaching, etc. When I was a full-time author, over half my income came from speaking and spin-off products. You've got to sell a lot of books to make a living...that's why it's important for authors to create multiple revenue streams.

For more information on this topic, check out my article called "Think Outside the Book" at:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Comparison of ECPA Publishers

Check out the March, 2010 Amazon rankings for the Top 15 ECPA publishers. This research lets you see both the overall industry rankings, plus each publisher's individual top 20 bestselling book list.

Why is this information helpful to you? This is one of the few ways that authors, agents, and publishers can simultaneously see how a publisher's best books stack up against their peers. For example, Neilsen BookScan doesn't let other publishers see the competition's sales numbers (only bestseller lists). But, WildFire's free research gives ECPA publishers a way to see which titles are selling well on Amazon at 14 other houses. This data is also helpful to see which authors, topics, and genres are dominating Amazon sales trends.

Items of Interest this Month:

. Top-Selling Overall Titles:
1 - "This Little Prayer of Mine" (# 60) by Anthony DeStefano from Waterbrook Press.
2 - "Crazy Love" (# 66) by Francis Chan from David C. Cook
3 - "So Long, Insecurity" (# 104) by Beth Moore from Tyndale.
Rankings exclude the originally self-published title, "The Shack" (# 80).
b. Biggest Publisher Moves:
Waterbrook / Multnomah hits the Top 3 for the first time.
NavPress jumps to # 6 this month from # 9 last month.
David C. Cook reappears at # 14 this month as Barbour falls out of the Top 15.

Note: Amazon rankings do not reflect accurate sales figures and only account for a small percentage of a book's total sales. However, they can help determine how specific publishers or book titles perform over time versue their peers.

Click here for an Excel spreadsheet of last month's rankings.

For all of the previous monthly rankings, click here.