I’ve discussed guerilla marketing tactics for book launches for new and niche authors before (see here and here), but one question never seems to be asked: How much does it (or should it) cost?
I’ve heard ranges from zero (everything is your own blood, sweat and tears) to tens of thousands of dollars. As a niche author unlikely to hit the New York Times best seller list anytime soon, most of my marketing has been “guerilla” marketing–identifying effective and relatively cheap marketing strategies to achieve my sales goals. The stone cold reality is that I could spend $25,000 on marketing for my books and still not get the return necessary in book sales to justify the costs.
But, spending nothing on marketing doesn’t make sense. Believe it or not, you can accomplish quite a lot on a marketing budget of under $1,500. I advise budgeting at least $500, and be ready to spend close to $1,000 if the right opportunities arise, but here is what a budget of $500 can “buy” you:
- A facebook account, and a page for your book, is free. Also, web site managers like godaddy.com (the host of this site) will allow you to establish blog and web sites free of charge when you buy a domain name. You don’t have to start fancy, and you can decide to upgrade your web sites and blogs (as I have) as your cash allows.
- Expedited reviews of your book from one or two reputable on-line book review sites such as Readerviews.com, Midwest Book Review, All Books Review, etc. may be worth the investment to legitimize your book to a broader audience more quickly.
- Focused marketing efforts on developing a personal network and relationships with book clubs and experts in your field, including local book clubs.
- Travel to local and regional book festivals and other events, particularly if they are free.
- Inexpensive Youtube video marketing products such as video blogs. While they won’t be polished and professional, that can be part of the appeal to potential readers. A home video camera can provide surprisingly good quality and video editing software that comes with your operating system is probably all you need.
This marketing budget won’t get you to the New York Times best seller list, but they should be able to get you to the point you cover your out of pocket costs and can finance your next book effort!