Marketing/promoting upcoming ebook
Saw your qualifications and so had to ask you.
I am editing a private eye/vampire book that I plan to put on Amazon Kindle.
How can I effectively pre-promote it? (Don't have cash)
I already have two black Brit Sherlock Holmes short stories on Amazon.
Good morning Demetrius!
Please, call me Pierce.
I am sitting at a cafe called "Joe's Garage" on Brunswick Street in Melbourne, Australia whilst on vacation. I logged in to see what interesting question would be awaiting me and, as I'm eating my "brekkie" I come across yours and got instantly excited! What a great question...
So, let's just jump right in.
Firstly, we always have cash. Always. Keep track of every single quarter you spend on a vending machine, iphone bill, cable, internet, fast food, gas and where you used it to get to, snacks, pizza, girls (or boys), shoes, lotto tickets, drugs, weed, Starbucks, homeless people, video games, etc. It's become quite trendy to say you can market yourself for free, but it rarely pays off. This is an open invitation for every other so-called marketing professional to challenge me on this (spoiler alert, they'll lose every time). Just because you can market for free, doesn't mean it will make you any money. Of course you can market for free. I'm just not going to recommend it. However, I'll give you a suggestion that is pure gold and will make you a great deal of money whilst giving you much-needed publicity and brand awareness at the same time. You are the brand and we need people to know who you are. This idea I am about to share with you—I'm essentially sharing with the world because this is an open forum. Therefore, I recommend you take it seriously and do this as quickly as you can. For what it's worth, this idea (which I can honestly say is just for you) would normally cost people thousands of dollars to just hear, much less have executed. You are my very first question, so I'd like to start with a bang! Here goes...
Contact your local movie theater and ask to speak to the people that do their advertising for the pre-movie. Usually the same company will be in charge of a majority of the theaters in your area or, at the very least, all the same theaters. Save your pennies, because it will cost you a fair chunk of change. However, the payoff will be huge, REGARDLESS if your book is shit or brilliant. Remember, we're selling you before we sell your book. Ironically, movie theaters make their money from selling concessions, not the actual movie. I believe it's roughly 1 out of every 10 dollars that the theaters end up keeping. That is why food and beverage concessions are so high. The movie gets them in, but they make the money from the concessions. We need people to buy into you before they buy your book.
It usually goes something like this—the company responsible for the advertising will tell you (or show you) the cost of advertising at three of their top theaters for 6 months (usually they will throw in an extra month). The price can easily start in the 10k-15k range and even go up to 20k+. Don't fret. They need you. They're not providing a service worth that much and they know it. You've seen the ads. They're boring. You're not going to see an ad for a dentist and then run out and spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on that dentist. They know this, but they trick people who want to try something into believing it's effective. It's not. At least, not until now. I'm going to share how you are going capitalize on their nonsense and actually be the first in the entire country to hit this out of the park. Those dollar amounts can easily drop down to $3k for the same number of theaters and for the same amount of time. Remember, they need you. You don't need them. You're just going to use them.
I'm assuming you're black. Word. Got it. Or do you preferred colored? African American? You see where I'm going here? I don't care which it is. I do care, however, that we're going to capitalize on it. Consider it reparations :) We need a great photo of you. I don't care what you look like, handsome or ugly. There will be an image that will be the "go-to" image for you. That will be on the left side of your 15 second ad. Not 30 second. 15 second. To the right will be the following copy (text):
"My name is Demetrius. I live right here in __________. I am trying to make something of myself and follow my dream of being an author. I'm not the best, but I aspire to be. I have spent my entire life savings and borrowed from friends and family for this advertisement. I am selling a book on Amazon Kindle. Although I need to charge over $15 to even begin to recoup my costs and to provide for my family, I am asking anyone to take a gamble on me and buy my book for $5. You took a gamble on the hotdogs, right? I will gladly take your criticism or praise if you feel I deserve it, but at the very least, I would be honored if you took a chance on me and my dream. Thank you so very much.
You can have the link on there or how to search for you either with that copy or as a three second follow up out of your 15 second ad.
Here's the thing with movie theater advertising—it's a captive audience. The people there have disposable income. They have cell phones. They have money for tickets, concessions, gas to get there, etc. They're in a good mood. Do you like missing the previews or getting the worst seat? Neither do they. You can't even get that type of beauty on TV or radio. I scratch my head every day why someone hasn't capitalized on this yet.
In your example, you are tugging on their heartstrings. You're the difference between a beggar just asking for money, versus someone asking to clean your entire house in exchange for a meal. People intrinsically appreciate someone trying to be a success story. They appreciate a little humor (the reference to the hotdogs). The appreciate that they're helping someone in their hometown.
I'm not sure which city you live in, but you can count on some pretty amazing numbers over the course of six months. Three theaters will usually generate over 500,000 impressions. That means whether it's the next Star Wars, Harry Potter, Mission Impossible... people will always see your ad—before every single movie, on every single screen, every single day of the week. You can also get a few changes made over the course of 6 months. At month 2, you can give an update and "thanks" for the number of people taking a chance on you. It's not just the people that buy your book that actually went to the theaters. It's the residual benefit and word-of-mouth that comes as gravy to your impassioned ad. It's the media attention you'll surely get for such an unusual approach. It's the copy-cats that will surely take your idea and try to bastardize it (but never be able to quite get it because they don't have me in their corner :) Trust me, you'll be checking your numbers every single hour of the day that a movie has shown. It will be addictive!
Some simple math. Let's say that just 7% of your total impressions (or people that know your impressions) by your book as a result of this campaign for $5—I'd say that $175,000 isn't too shabby.
I hope this info helps. I apologize that I didn't give you any info on marketing for free. I felt I would be doing you a disservice. I looked up your info and felt that you have some real potential. I wish you all the best and feel free to reach out any time you wish. You're on to something, Demetrius. Keep at it!