In an earlier post, I discussed a recent article I had written that appeared in on-line forum Room for Debate published by the New York Times. My article focused on the role bystanders have in intervening when they witness violent crimes, and how that intervention is important in maintaining a free and civil society. These are central themes in my bullying novels for middle graders, A Warrior's Soul and Renegade.
authors, I am experimenting with different strategies for raising my visibility
among key audiences. I am appearing at the Downtown Marketplace in
On some metrics, this was a very successful marketing event. Visits to my website (www.srstaley.com) tripled, helped in large part to the inclusion of a direct link in my tagline. Traffic stayed well above typical levels for several days. Higher traffic to my web site also likely drove a new tripling of traffic to my self defense blog since I linked used my home page to link to articles for background.
So, did I experience a bump in book sales when the Times article appeared? Or, more directly, was I able to monetize this raised international awareness and exposure?
The short answer is no.
It's a little tricky tracking my impact but amazon.com provides a useful barometer. From the basic metrics tracked by amazon, print sales have done virtually nothing since the article appeared on April 22nd. Digital sales seemed to have increased slightly as my author ranking began to spike somewhat more frequently around the third and fourth weeks of April. But my rankings have spiked more frequently since the beginning of the year, and these spikes seem to center more around personal appearances than general publicity. Thus, the more frequent spikes are just as likely a product of ongoing marketing efforts that build on and link individual events rather than one specific event.
I also have not added many twitter followers since the article appeared even though my twitter handle (@SamRStaley) was included in my tag line. Visits to my self-defense blog tripled on the day the article appeared, but quickly fell to their normal levels. More interestingly, visits to my blog increased by nearly 10 times in the day or two following a posting on Facebook by a follower with a high profile in the martial arts community weeks in advance of the New York Times article. In fact, his cross post generated nearly three times the traffic to my blog than the Times article (and most of this traffic was the result of my own marketing of the link though facebook).
Of course, the article I wrote was not directly tied to my books. They were listed in the tag line (with links), not embedded in the narrative. And the article was not in the book review section of the Times. All those factors would mitigate against its effectiveness in monetizing this exposure.
Lesson learned: A one time event is unlikely to boost your sales unless it is directly tied to selling books. The value of the New York Times article was in raising general awareness of my work and in validating my expertise, not selling books in the short term.
The key to monetizing this marketing benefit is the consistent, steady application of a marketing plan that focuses on building my marketing platform over the long haul.