Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Building the Buzz: Day 7 Marketing Budgets

Now that your website is looking good, you're ready to start driving the readers there in droves. But first, we have one more foundation item to consider. It's time to show me the money.

The reality is that while most of the marketing ideas you can use to find readers are free, not everything is. Setting a budget ahead of time keeps you from coming to the end of your launch efforts and realizing you spent your entire advance on marketing.

When creating your budget, start with everything you think you might want to include from a launch day cake to promo bookmarks.  Once you have a huge list of items and their anticipated costs, you can zero in on only the things you really want to do (and can afford).

Don't forget a few items that tend to be overlooked in marketing budgets.
  • Travel: This can be for gas and oil changes for short road trips, food expenses, airfare, and hotel costs.
  • Conferences: This is more than just the fees. Don't forget to factor in spending money, bar tabs, and a new "professional author" outfit.
  • Shipping: Book giveaways aren't free. You need to include packaging supplies and postage.
  • Thank you gifts: No marketer works on an island. It will take the help of several others to get the word out about your book. Don't forget to factor in a little thank you, even note cards, to show appreciation for all those who help along the way.
  • Post Launch: Don't forget to add a little extra into your budget for marketing efforts past the initial launch efforts.
  • Surprises: You never know when a golden opportunity is going to come along that's too good to pass up. Add some room in your budget for items that aren't a part of the original plan.
Two final thoughts. Be honest with yourself. Don't create a budget you can't afford. You'll only set yourself up for disappointment when it comes to execution. And make sure you consider ROI (return on investment). An idea can sound super cool, but if evidence from others suggests it doesn't help with sales, make the hard decision to leave it out.

For today's task, make an honest budget. It doesn't need to be itemized, but you do need to know what your total expenditures can be. Be sure to keep a good log of what you spend. Not only to keep yourself from going over budget, but also for tax purposes.


  1. I really like your ideas. Considering my whole Egypt/Paypal problem, I doubt it would work for me. I intend to spend the money listed in my contract advance on marketing = $0. Maybe if I pub with a big press someday, I'll get an actual advance and have some money to do something (or have my agent do something, since I'll still have the Egypt/Paypal problem no matter what happens).

  2. This is a really great idea and something I've thought about a few times, but never knew how to address. Now when I need to, I'll know how to make an honest budget.

  3. Oh, my budget exceeded what I was anticipating. Between the cost of travel and the cost of shipping, eek!

  4. The thing I've found that works the absolute best and as long as you have more than one books relatively inexpensive is sampling. Providing a free story, especially when it's part of a series. But when Amazon won't pricematch you...arrgg!

  5. I assume the budget will be based in some way on the advance??? How do your authors determine their budget??

    1. I've seen anywhere from 10% to 50% of the advance set aside for marketing. I've even heard of some authors who use the entire advance of the first book in the hopes that excellent sales will result in a higher advance for the second book. Of course, not everyone gets an advance, and even if you do, it may not be all that much. There are tons of things you can do for free, but I would look at how much you can realistically afford and go from there.


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