Measuring success

As authors, we need to market for ourselves. But how do you know if your marketing was successful.

There are generic trends that follow every publication (not low-content books). The generic trend for fiction from debut authors is as follows

  1. Author posts that they have a new book out
  2. Friends and family purchase (the harder the author pushes, the more friends and family push)
  3. This dies down to almost zero sales
  4. Author must learn how to market

We read somewhere that over 50% of marketing did not work. And after almost a year in the industry, this fact holds up. So how do you measure if marketing is successful.

Think of your patterns as a consumer. We increase our chances of purchasing something if we remember it. Thus for book advertising, the more time someone sees your cover and your title, the more likely they are to remember your book when they want to read something like that. How do you know if someone has seen your book in an ad multiple times and then gone on to purchase it via a direct search? Measuring success is hard. But this is one way to do it.

Define success

If you assume that initial flush of book sales is success, then you are doomed for disappointment. Most authors spend a conciderable amount of money advertising their products after that initial flush.

Here are some definitions of success you may like to use.

  1. An increase in sales of X%
  2. Make a $10 profit (income – expenses)
  3. Increase exposure to a book (no. of clicks on book links increase, running multiple ad campaigns)
  4. Give away 200 free bookmarks (to strangers, not your family!)
  5. Get invited to speak at an author event
  6. Get an indie book store to stock your book
  7. Set up your first ad campaign
  8. Sell a book through an ad campaign
  9. Join a writers group for feedback
  10. Start a mailing list

As you can read, not all of these are $$$ measures. And indeed not all of these are marketing measures, but can you increase your sales without marketing? No. Will joining a writers group improve your sales? Not directly, but getting feedback will improve your writing, if you are willing to listen, and that will increase the chances of retaining readers in a series (it’s not a measurable success statistic however).

When you want to measure the success of a marketing campaign, decide on your goal and then if your goal is measurable. If it is not measurable, adjust the goal so that you can measure it. This is how you will determine success and if you don’t get success, it will help you work out what you need to change.

Happy measuring.

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