Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Promotional budgets

Just over a year ago one of my partners and I set up a company to develop and sell a new product in the oil services industry. So far we've spent just under £400K without a penny in return. We expect to spend another £400K before the business moves into profit. Half of that investment is mine. Out of my pocket.

The total development and marketing budget for A Half Life of One so far has amounted to just under two hundred pounds. And yet success with my novel is infinitely more important to me than anything I am ever likely to achieve in business. So, something is seriously out of kilter here.

Let's assume I undertake all the corrective actions with A Half Life and set up a POD deal as I've outlined in some of my previous posts. What sort of promotional budget should I then allocate to the book and how should I spend it to ensure I get most bangs per buck?

I should say at this point that as my thinking on self-publishing evolves I realise that my primary objective is to get as many people as possible to read my book. By whatever means. Any financial sales I make (as distinct from free downloads) will therefore be ploughed back into promoting the product.

I haven't a clue what size of budget the average small independent publisher in the UK would allocate to a first novel. Let's take a stab. How about five thousand pounds? That's a lot less than the amount I've spent on that downhole tool I'm developing.

How to spend the budget? For a start I think I could run quite a few small adverts in literary magazines, newspapers etc for the money. I'm even more sure I could run a considerable number of online ads via Google, Amazon etc. In addition, lots of literary-type websites and blogs might take advertising for the book. Not just literary blogs either. Those with big readerships might be worth looking at too. For five thousand I should be able to transform the amount of attention the book is getting. Maybe I'll even be able to monetarise all that attention later if I wish, although at this stage I prefer to think about it as an investment in Bill Liversidge, the brand.

I think you can see how I'm becoming more and more comfortable with the viability of the business model I'm developing. Maybe, dare I say it, the book does have a future after all.

Still, it's early days yet and I haven't given the promotional side of the business too much thought at this stage so any ideas and all suggestions you may have will be more than welcome.


  1. Dear Sheik Bill,
    it seems to me that if you dropped the oil barons you could quietly set up your own publishing business and get all us struggling wordsmiths in the limelight. Only a suggestion, mainly because I haven't got any others as I'm sooooo relaxed after my hol. Wits and fingers will be sharpened after I have detoxed!!

  2. Minx, I read somewhere that the best way to make a small fortune out of publishing was to start off with a big one. And I don't have a big one.

    Nice to have you back.

  3. I wouldn't tell everybody!

  4. I hope you are writing whilst you're not blogging.
    And I'm sorry about the reference to your 'small one'- really!

  5. Ah, Minx, if only I was. I'm having to "work" at the moment trying to sort out a raft of problems.

    I'm relying on you to carry the standard over on your blog.

    Your comment didn't worry me at all - we all know good things come in small packages.

  6. Well, the enormous gas bill that came this morning was in a very small package indeed - so that blows that theory!