Author Topic: Chris Fox on advertising  (Read 2315 times)

Anarchist

Chris Fox on advertising
« on: January 31, 2019, 05:59:39 AM »
More good stuff from Chris:





"The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.” – Thomas Sowell

"The State is an institution run by gangs of murderers, plunderers and thieves, surrounded by willing executioners, propagandists, sycophants, crooks, liars, clowns, charlatans, dupes and useful idiots—an institution that dirties and taints everything it touches.” - Hans Hoppe

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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Chris Fox on advertising
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2019, 07:14:58 AM »
And the cynical side of me visualizes someone at Amazon watching the video and saying, "What? People are making money without AMS ads? Time for another algorithm change."

I think the insight that certain basic elements have to be in place--like a great cover--before advertising is really going to help can't be stressed often enough.

I'm sure it's also true that the more books out, the more profitable advertising can be. Of course, when you're just starting out, it's hard to get over that hump.


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Maggie Ann

Re: Chris Fox on advertising
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2019, 07:30:17 AM »
If I don't advertise, I don't sell. It's that simple. I certainly don't have the profit margin that Chris has but break-even is a win for me.

Most of my covers are professionally designed (the blue ones in my sig are some of them) so I don't think the problem is my covers.

Then you have the people who say ... write a good book or even a great book. No, not absolutely necessary. Just ask Michael Anderle.

But I will keep on writing because I enjoy it and throw a few dollars at my books from time-to-time, but only where I already know those dollars to be effective.
           
 

DrewMcGunn

Re: Chris Fox on advertising
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2019, 08:06:51 AM »
Thanks for posting that Anarchist.
I started advertising right after I released book 1 of my series. My ad spend was very low, a couple of dollars a day.
And I started getting a few sales. More than enough to cover my ad spend. But I find myself agreeing with Chris. Had my ad spend been more than my royalties, I'd have stopped it.

My biggest gripe (aside from Amazon fiddling with the algorithms) is that I can't ramp up AA spend. I can have a gazillion Amazon ads, and I'll spend $7 or $8 dollars in a day. I'd love to figure out how to scale my ads. Taking into account KU estimates (and this just an educated guess), I convert 1 out of every 8-10 clicks, and have 5 books in the series, with solid read-through. If I could scale my ads, I could (maybe) sell a lot more books.



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Re: Chris Fox on advertising
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2019, 08:33:09 AM »
I hope many indies see this video and heed Chris's message. Wouldn't surprise me if such a statistic existed that measured the percentage of indie authors who buy ads for a product with substandard packaging worked out to around 90%+. Of course, Amazon stands to profit from that widespread indie-cover-art delusion, but still...

Maybe Chris could be the Simon Cowell of Book Cover Idol. Nah, he's too nice. I'll do it.  :hehe
 
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mike herman

Re: Chris Fox on advertising
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2019, 09:38:26 AM »
I've found that Bookfunnel is a great place to test a book cover. Granted, you are temporarily giving the book away, but if the clicks are low compared to everyone elses clicks, you have a cover problem. If your "claims to clicks" ratio is low, then you most likely have a blurb issue. If you aren't the promoter of the giveaway, you will have to ask the promoter for the comparison of how your clicks did against everyone elses. But as a promoter, you see all.
Also, I must agree with Chris that, like his book that he decided has no appeal, I ran a small test outside of Bookfunnel for one of my books and concluded from the lack of response that the cover was very wrong. (It had similar problems as Chris') Now, the REAL problem is coming up with the right cover. And, like him, I concluded that spending money on it was a waste until I solved that problem.
 

munboy

Re: Chris Fox on advertising
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2019, 01:25:14 AM »
"The title may be a little clickbait-y"

Well, he wasn't wrong.  :icon_rofl:

To sum up his point. You can pour a bunch of cash into ads but if you're cover looks like crap, people won't buy it. Make sure your cover and blurb are up to standards. Easier said than done if you don't have the kind of cash just lying around to pay for an amazing cover, especially when it comes to original art. You have to do the best you can. His point remains, though.
 

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Re: Chris Fox on advertising
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2019, 01:59:52 AM »
If I don't advertise, I don't sell. It's that simple. I certainly don't have the profit margin that Chris has but break-even is a win for me.

Most of my covers are professionally designed (the blue ones in my sig are some of them) so I don't think the problem is my covers.

Then you have the people who say ... write a good book or even a great book. No, not absolutely necessary. Just ask Michael Anderle.

But I will keep on writing because I enjoy it and throw a few dollars at my books from time-to-time, but only where I already know those dollars to be effective.
I've found the same thing most of the time, though by now I get a trickle of sales without advertising. I certainly get more by advertising. I think I'd modify Chris's advice at that point to something like, "Don't spend more than X amount until you're sure that..." He doesn't actually say that most authors should never spend anything on ads. I think his point is that authors, especially new authors, overspend before maximizing cover, blurb, and numbers of books.

The last one is tricky. Unless you write a whole bunch of books and then publish them in a huge batch, you aren't going to start out with that large catalog from which you can get sell-through and thereby profit more from your ads. A point he doesn't mention is that ads have more impact during the first thirty days of a book's life (or at least they used to). I've heard several people say, "I'm not going to advertise until I have at least three books out," which probably means the first two run through that new release period with nothing. It might be better to think in terms of not advertising as much. But if you don't advertise some, you haven't built any kind of following. Building a little following early might make your later advertising more productive. It certainly seemed to work that way for me. I'm a prawn, so it's not like I have thousands of people clamoring for the next book--but the few who do would never have found me if I hadn't started doing some advertising early.

I haven't read any Anderle yet, so I don't really know what to say about your observation there. Some people in other threads have said his writing does have appeal. I will say that having a high-quality book is never going to hurt sales. I also think it's more likely that someone who gets into writing because he or she loves it will hit the great book target than the marketing genius target.


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Maggie Ann

Re: Chris Fox on advertising
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2019, 04:51:58 AM »
If I don't advertise, I don't sell. It's that simple. I certainly don't have the profit margin that Chris has but break-even is a win for me.

Most of my covers are professionally designed (the blue ones in my sig are some of them) so I don't think the problem is my covers.

Then you have the people who say ... write a good book or even a great book. No, not absolutely necessary. Just ask Michael Anderle.

But I will keep on writing because I enjoy it and throw a few dollars at my books from time-to-time, but only where I already know those dollars to be effective.
I've found the same thing most of the time, though by now I get a trickle of sales without advertising. I certainly get more by advertising. I think I'd modify Chris's advice at that point to something like, "Don't spend more than X amount until you're sure that..." He doesn't actually say that most authors should never spend anything on ads. I think his point is that authors, especially new authors, overspend before maximizing cover, blurb, and numbers of books.

The last one is tricky. Unless you write a whole bunch of books and then publish them in a huge batch, you aren't going to start out with that large catalog from which you can get sell-through and thereby profit more from your ads. A point he doesn't mention is that ads have more impact during the first thirty days of a book's life (or at least they used to). I've heard several people say, "I'm not going to advertise until I have at least three books out," which probably means the first two run through that new release period with nothing. It might be better to think in terms of not advertising as much. But if you don't advertise some, you haven't built any kind of following. Building a little following early might make your later advertising more productive. It certainly seemed to work that way for me. I'm a prawn, so it's not like I have thousands of people clamoring for the next book--but the few who do would never have found me if I hadn't started doing some advertising early.

I wrote a four book series and released them all within 30 days of each other. I finished writing all four before I released the first one. I also wrote two twelve book series (novellas and novelettes) but also didn't release any of them until I had the full series completed. Again, I released each book within 30 days of the previous book. Admittedly, the covers were home-made and probably pathetic.

But this was several years ago and I never even thought of doing any ads so nobody found me. Or if they did, they passed right over those covers. All of them have been professionally done since then.

Quote
I haven't read any Anderle yet, so I don't really know what to say about your observation there. Some people in other threads have said his writing does have appeal. I will say that having a high-quality book is never going to hurt sales. I also think it's more likely that someone who gets into writing because he or she loves it will hit the great book target than the marketing genius target.

Anderle will be the first to tell you (and has) that he had awful covers and his books were rather poorly edited, but they sold. I think this is the video where he talks about that.