Yes. If you do not advertise, readers will not know about your book.
Free ad events/venues I tried and their results:
-Cover reveal: a countdown till the day you show off the brand new cover of your book. I received moderate attention since at the time no one knew me, but also lots of positive feedback and excitement among the followers of my blog (Thank you, guys!). Cost zero, benefit 2/5
-Local book fairs/signing events: I had the most luck at events that targeted readers (book fairs) and gathered several audiences. Christmas markets were also okay, but most of the people shopping are not necessarily readers. Cost zero to $100 (depending on the event, some might have an entry fee), benefit 5/5
PAID ADVERTISING (and services)
As for paid ads there are many options and your success with them will mostly depend on the quality of your ads (professional, engaging, brief).
The general rule of thumb is that as long as you make more (or the same) amount of money as you are spending you are doing great.
As a newbie author you want to spread the word about your book, remember that you will not make significant money out of selling a few extra copies: you want to sell thousands per week and that will take a lot of work, time, and luck. As a new author it will be almost impossible to make money out of your ads. Establish a budget that you are okay with and stick with that. Keep in mind that the more money you spend in ads the more you will sell, which does not mean you will make money necessarily.
There are a few NY times bestsellers that LOST money because they were advertised so heavily (YIKES!)
What matters the most is that, no matter what you choose to do, you keep assessing. Try something for a month: if your sales go up keep it, if not, ditch it and move to the next thing.
Paid ads I tried and their results:
-Book tours: these are tricky. They cost anywhere between $50 and a few hundreds, based on what services you choose. I did one book tour for AIA (book 1). (Click here to see the page below and all of its links)
-The “interviews” are nice, it’s good to have a few out there just in case readers are curious and look you up. They might be worth it at the beginning of your career but honestly, eight months after publishing AIA, I have been contacted several times to be interviewed without paying a dime, just because bloggers/readers where genuinely interested in my work (thank you guys, you are the best!). Here are a couple of those interviews:
Booktours: I would only go for reviews and a couple interviews. Cost $50-200, benefit 3/5
-Google Ads (Ad words): I found these very tricky because the selling point of a book it’s the cover and Adwords has no images. I personally NEVER click on Adwords and so I eventually elected not to use them. This does not mean Adwords does not work.
-Amazon ads: you can advertise on Amazon only if your books are enrolled in the KDP program. You pay per click (meaning that you don’t pay for how often your ad displayed, you pay only if someone clicks on it) and you decide your budget per click. The higher you bid, the more likely your ad will be shown at a high traffic time. I normally bid 30-50 cents per click. Although you have to say your budget is at least $100 don’t let that fool ya! I almost freaked out and did not go through, but once your campaign starts you can stop it anytime, even after spending two dollars. I do not recommend doing that though. Run the ad al least for a week and keep it if your clicking rate is at least higher than 1% (for example you have 127,000 impressions and 140 clicks). Ideally you will get a 5% click rate.
Cost up to you, effectiveness 2/5
-Facebook ads: I hated Facebook ads till I discovered “the pixel”. The pixel allows you to target people that came through your website and therefore are more likely to be interested in your books. I will write a separate post on how to do that. This is what a Facebook ad looks like. Cost up to you, you decide your budget. Efectivness 3/5
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Who am I to give you advice?
I am Gaia Bistulfi Amman, the author of the Italian Saga (#TIS), an irreverent series of YA novels taking place in Italy and speaking of love, sadness, sex, and happiness with a healthy dose of humor <3