Publisher members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) generally have tight budgets. Hence, they are reluctant to easily part with their advertising dollars unless they have some assurance they are not throwing their money away.
The question I get asked over and over again whenever CSPA presents a cooperative advertising opportunity to our member publishers is:
“Will I sell enough books from this ad to at least recoup the money I spend on the ad?”
In other words, they are asking, “What will be my ROI (Return-on-investment)?”
Return-on-Investment is an important concept for every small publisher and self-published author know. It simply means: What can I expect from an activity?
Publishers and authors do need to define and track what they want the return on their investment to be for any given marketing activity. This allows you to keep the marketing activities that produce results and get rid of the ones that don’t.
If you blog, you want to track whether blogging is affecting your book sales. If you Twitter, you want to know if this activity is raising awareness for your book through increased web traffic. If you place an ad in a magazine, you want to know if anyone actually buys your book as a result of your ad.
Let me let you in on a little secret about ROI—It takes time.
In other words, no one marketing activity (except perhaps speaking to groups of people) will immediately generate an equal return-on-investment for the time and money you put into it.
The key phrase here is immediate. I have said it before and I will say it again. Book selling is a marathon, not a sprint.
No one ad, no one guest blog, no one book-signing will immediately net you a full return on your investment. It may over time, though. A few people will pick up your book, if they like it, they will tell their friends and buy it for someone as a gift. If the friends and the gift recipient like the book, they will tell others and so on.
ROI takes time. Keep that in mind when you are planning your next book marketing activity.