Marketing/Advertising

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Peter McLennan
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Marketing/Advertising

Postby Peter McLennan » Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:28 pm

I've had it on my to-do list for a while to clarify the advertising/marketing guidelines for posts in AWF. I'm not talking about placing externally-sponsored advertising on the site; I'm thinking of writers (like me) wanting to attract readers, and other forum members who have writing-related services (eg, editing, marketing, etc).

Since the forum is fairly quiet at the moment, this isn't really a good time to be discussing such changes. The catalyst for doing so now was a specific request, and I hope the requester will contribute to this discussion.

The official position at the moment is 'no advertising'—and even I'm in breach of that. :) Such a simplistic policy probably isn't what we want, since most of us are keen to attract others to our products. My excuse for constraining advertising is that I didn't want this place to become primarily a stream of on-the-take communications (such as twitter feeds :x ).

Some specific possibilities:
  • Post signatures. Many of us (including me) already do this. Signatures could include links to other sites, and can extend over multiple lines. How much is too much?
  • More prominent listing and/or renaming of the Notices section.
  • Marketing posts allowed in any section. Any limits?
  • Better use of the members and hall of fame web pages.
  • Web pages in addition to the members and hall of fame pages.
  • (Your suggestions here!)
As always, I'm keen for this to be a group discussion and decision. Please discuss!
Peter McLennan
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Skate
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Re: Marketing/Advertising

Postby Skate » Fri, 18 Jul 2014 4:03 pm

A couple of the forums I belong to have a section where people can start a thread about their product or service. We're only allowed to post once a week, unless answering a comment from another member. This stops people bumping their post to the top all the time. It seems to work pretty well; keeps the spammers out of other areas and makes it easy to find services when you're looking for them.

Allowing a restricted ad in the signature would be good, too - although I do already have my book cover site in my signature and you did say that was ok. Were you talking about something a little more eye-catching? Linked book covers would be nice, too.
Skate
http://www.katiewstewart.com
http://magicowldesign.weebly.com (Book Cover Design and illustration)

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Peter McLennan
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Re: Marketing/Advertising

Postby Peter McLennan » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 9:00 am

Thanks Skate. Those are good ideas! I'll have to experiment with placing images in signatures; I didn't even know it was possible until now. If we do go that way, it will be important to limit the size of such images.

I'll hold off finalising this topic in the hope that others will chime in.
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ArcherSwift
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Re: Marketing/Advertising

Postby ArcherSwift » Mon, 21 Jul 2014 7:44 pm

Hi All,

I'm the "specific requester" Peter mentioned, and his PM earlier to me has given me the confidence to surface. I've been a quiet beneficiary of many a good thread of this site, but I've been reluctant to share my thoughts. Mainly, because I'm new to novel writing, and feel I've got so much to learn.

I do have some experience in marketing, and I've now enjoyed a relative degree of success with my first YA novel, using an assortment of methods available. This 'success' though has allowed me to develop an audience primarily in the US market. While this is certainly not to be sneezed at, of course, I've struggled to find inroads into the Aussie market. Looking for advice on how to engage with Aussie readers, I posed a question on this forum entitled Aussie eBook Promoters and that turned into a very helpful discussion with Peter.

I've now put together a website that will, hopefully, become a platform on which Aussie authors and readers converge; that is, authors can submit their books, and readers can peruse the latest Aussie offerings. To run such a site has various expenses and therefore, advertising on the site will incur a basic charge for free eBooks, and various fees for bargain eBooks (<$0.99), discount eBooks (<$3.99) and exclusive eBooks (>$4.99).

However, to launch this website, I'm going to offer the first 300 Aussie authors the chance to submit one book to the site for free publicity for eight weeks. There are additional benefits to these 300 authors (plus benefits offered to the first 15, 30 and 50 authors who submit a book), and a few simple requests conditional on being part of the launch.

As mentioned to Peter, I'm not going to include a website link here since this is not meant to be an advert. I would like to hear from anyone who might be interested in such a website, perhaps mentioning what you'd like to see included in it. If you have any thoughts, please add it to this thread here to stimulate thought and discussion.

PS- I didn't realise links in the signature were a no-no. Eager to learn, I got the idea from Peter :oops:
"Not all those who wander are lost."
Website ~ Amazon ~ Smashwords

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Re: Marketing/Advertising

Postby Buslos » Wed, 23 Jul 2014 1:55 am

I think that's a really cool idea. If you're confident you can connect 300 authors (and then an audience) then you're doing something right. I'd be interested if I had a book to sell, hah. I'm just happy to know you're a human and not a spambot; I don't think anyone's going to react to your idea/service/whatever with hostility.

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Re: Marketing/Advertising

Postby Peter McLennan » Wed, 23 Jul 2014 7:58 am

Archer, could you please describe here how you would like to utilise AWF to promote your service. I'm most interested to find out what nature and extent of in-forum marketing is considered acceptable to forum members.
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Re: Marketing/Advertising

Postby ArcherSwift » Wed, 23 Jul 2014 1:59 pm

I didn’t really envisage utilising the forum as such. As per my PM discussion with Peter, I merely asked him whether there would be authors on the forum interested in participating in an idea (which quickly morphed into a website I’ve put together).

During my discussions with Peter, the following ideas emerged:

1. If there are interested authors on AWF, I’d gladly offer the “invitation to participate” to them first before I take it elsewhere (to Goodreads, for instance, where I’m on a couple of Aussie author related groups). I’ll post a link to the invitation and website for perusal later in this thread with Peter’s permission (or wait for the consensus of the forum’s members, however decision-making works best here.) [Although I am working towards a provisional time schedule that Peter knows about.]

2. If there are book formatters, cover designers, editors, etc. in this forum who would like to profile their services on the website in question, I’d be happy to take this idea further. I’m thinking of a list of Aussies similar to what Smashwords does here. In other words, this won’t be site-wide banner advertising, but will consist of a link in the resource page to a list of service providers. (There will be no cost for inclusion).

3. Not wanting to duplicate matters, I’d like to point authors using my website to the resources on AWF. The forum itself is very helpful, and so too are the resources accumulated here.

4. Could AWF accommodate readers into the forum? If so, readers could be pointed to AWF, too.

5. ??? Ideas, thoughts, questions, portents ;-)

Why have I started here at AWF? Two reasons. Firstly, I’ve benefited from the discussion threads on this forum. I’m new to novel writing, and I’ve cut my teeth on the advice in these threads. Secondly, Peter. His assiduous approach to helping other authors is inspiring, and mirrors what I’d like to think is my goal, too.

Disclaimer time. I personally call my website idea the BIG EXPERIMENT. I’ve done what research I can in terms of the sustainability of the project, and have committed to an extensive launch period (fifteen weeks starting from 1st September) to see whether I can pull it off. Admittedly, there’s a good chance it won’t generate the momentum needed. But I’m of the school of “have a go, you never know.”

Plus, I realise that a basic fee charged (after the fifteen-week is over) might be a hurdle. I’ve decided not to become an Amazon affiliate (personal convictions and all), and have settled (mostly by circumstance) on a non-automated system. (I won’t screen or review the books submitted, but this provides better security and gate-keeps against trolls and non-Aussie authors.) Down the road, if the project takes off, I'll introduce more automation with its related pros and cons.

I hope this answers Peter’s question, and provides more insight into what I’m thinking.

Thanks for your time.
Last edited by ArcherSwift on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Not all those who wander are lost."
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Peter McLennan
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Re: Marketing/Advertising

Postby Peter McLennan » Wed, 23 Jul 2014 2:11 pm

Thanks for the detailed response, Archer. That's what I was wanting AWF members to hear and consider (to be specific, the bits about how your proposal would relate to AWF; it's probably too late to convince any of them that I'm so great ;)).
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Re: Marketing/Advertising

Postby Peter McLennan » Wed, 06 Aug 2014 4:05 pm

I've had a go at rolling these ideas into a draft policy: see here. It's not integrated with the rest of the site yet, and is only there for comment.

Thanks again to Skate for the suggestion of allowing images of book covers in post signatures—even though I had to create a new BBCode entry to make it possible. Comments on the number (1) and size (65 pixels) of the images are welcome. I'm concerned that more/larger images could impact on page load times.

The suggestion of restricting the frequency of advertising notices is also c/- Skate—although I blew out the frequency to monthly. If that's too harsh, let me know. At the moment, any forum member can create such topics. I could restrict this to forum regulars if that's deemed prefereable or if the status quo becomes a problem.

Comments please!
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MichelleL
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Re: Marketing/Advertising

Postby MichelleL » Thu, 21 Aug 2014 5:37 pm

Hi Archer,

I'm a newbie to this forum, but I've known Peter a long time and hope to become quite active in this forum.

Two things from me (hopefully not breaking any rules here):

I'd like to offer my editing, book design and ebook conversion services on your site if the offer you mentioned above is still open. Should I just email you the details? (I have your email address from other correspondence regarding your website.)

Secondly, if you promote links to Amazon.com.au, it may help people reach bestseller status more quickly. I had one ebook that only sold two copies in the space of a few days and it hit #1 in its category.
Michelle
Odyssey Books
http://www.odysseybooks.com.au


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