As with most authors I am always on the look out for opportunities to gain more exposure for my books. I was interested therefore to read this article (https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/advertise-your-book-on-amazon-new-opportunity/) which highlights Amazon’s new programme allowing authors to advertise their books at a cost of $100.
On the one hand I am tempted to take advantage of this new opportunity. The potential benefits are obvious (increased exposure and, hopefully) sales of my books. If only a small percentage of authors take Amazon up on their new offering then they will, potentially have an advantage in terms of exposure for their works over those who do not.
On the other hand if significant numbers of authors avail themselves of Amazon’s new programme the potential book buyer will, I suspect be bombarded with advertisements so my books may become lost in a sea of virtual noise. It is hard enough to find one needle in a hay stack and if that mound of dry grass is chock full of sharp implements what are the chances of readers picking out my needle when there are so many other instruments from which to choose? I believe in my writing, however one good author among many other writers (many of whom are producing quality works), why, exactly should the book browser click on my ad in preference over that of another advertiser?
Prior to parting with one’s hard earned cash it is useful to pause and consider the many free alternatives to paid advertising. KDP Select (https://kdp.amazon.com/select) allows authors to promote their books free of charge for upto 5 days in any 90 day period or, alternatively to offer them in a Kindle Countdown Deal. Most of my books are enrolled in KDP Select and in my experience the programme does increase the exposure of an author’s work for, human nature being what it is most people jump at the opportunity of obtaining “something for nothing”. Many who download books advertised via KDP Select will not leave a review, however some will and good reviews possess the potential to increase the exposure of one’s books thereby (hopefully) enhancing sales.
The downside to KDP Select is that in return for enrolment the author must keep those works enrolled exclusive to Amazon for 90 days, (I.E. the books concerned may not be sold anywhere other than Amazon during that time frame). Another disadvantage is that while newly enrolled works will be downloaded (in my experience) relatively rapidly, once a book has been in the programme for some time it will, when on promotion receive fewer downloads than freshly enrolled titles, so the longer a publication is offered via the scheme the fewer downloads it is likely to receive.
Another way to gain free publicity for one’s books is by contacting fellow bloggers who advertise as offering guest posting opportunities and requesting that they provide you with a guest slot. (If a blogger is kind enough to let you guest post it is only polite to offer them the same opportunity on your own site). You can find a useful list of book bloggers here (http://bookbloggerlist.com/). The Story Reading Ape’s Blog also offers a wealth of useful material for authors and readers alike and can be found here, (http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/).
In conclusion I won’t be signing up for Amazon’s advertising opportunity at present. I will, however watch with interest how it develops and, in particular what those who use it have to say. At this juncture my view remains that free opportunities abound so why spend money on advertising when it could be spent on book covers, editing etc.