Austerity Program, Meet the Author’s Budget
Whether you are an online marketer or an on-the-road peddler, advertising is important. For us that means Website, in capital letters. Today’s consumers look for you and your product’s website first. The first platform publishers want to see is your website. Websites aren’t optional.
We all need to invest in an attractive and attracting website. In my opinion, one that is easy on the eyes, quiet and relaxing to look at is friendlier. I’ll visit more often, stay longer. That’s my opinion. Others will say a bright, chaotic one that reaches out and grabs its audience is what we need. Media specialists say interacting websites are best. Interacting or noisy websites shut me down, as a consumer. So how do you know which is best?
My tip is this. Trust yourself. You wrote a book that you like. You want to reach others that will like that same book. The website that appeals to you ....
Printing is a big line item for me. I pay premium for super nice business cards because of the many ways I use them. You can get very functional business cards free on line. You can get inexpensive ones printed online that also work well. What will you use them for? How will you use them? How often? How important are they to your marketing plans? A good scheme might be to start out with free ones. See how often and in what manner you use them. Maybe free will always be adequate. You can move up and down the price ladder until you determine the least expensive way to get the results you need. You do need business cards of some sort, even before the book is in print.
I use sell sheets. I print these from my computer or you can have a printer do it for you. I give these to librarians and sometimes include them in mailings to schools. At events I give them to teachers or students who want them for their teachers. I take them to events where my books are displayed and leave them to be picked up. Depending on your market, you might not need these. Think about how or if you would use them.
Because I choose to market in real time, I travel. My trips might be three hours to nine. I try to tie trips to visit friends and family, but that doesn’t happen a lot. I have gas expenses no matter where I go. That’s something I can’t control. I get gas when I need it and try not to stress over the cost. I do record my mileage and travel expenses. The IRS allows 56 cents a mile. Keep accurate accounting of all your business expenses, and make your entries immediately. It’s not just for taxes, it’s for you. You will learn a lot about your budget for “next” year by studying “last” year. It will show you where your investments worked best, where you got the biggest bang for your buck. It will show you waste you can cut.
I stay in budget hotels. What kind of luxury do I need? A clean bed, a shower, a toilet that flushes. In four years of traveling alone and staying in budget hotels close to a highway exit, I’ve never been threatened, frightened, attacked, robbed or had bed bugs. You can’t believe everything you see on facebook. I don’t flaunt being alone, I keep my door bolted, lock my car at gas stations, stay alert to others. I look outside before I go outside, dress modestly and don’t draw attention to myself. I also don’t carry a purse. These are all precautions I take every day wherever I am.
Now, back to the budget: staying at budget hotels has another advantage, and that’s free breakfast. Breakfast is an expensive meal on the road. Many budget hotels have microwaves and refrigerators in the rooms. This means I can bring food from home and carry my lunch for the day. I can get microwavable food and eat in for supper. One time I brought sweet potatoes and microwaved them in my room. If living frugally is a challenge for you, think of it as a necessary sacrifice for selling your books and not going broke doing it.
Not all authors want or need to travel the way I do. Whatever you decide is the best way to market your book to your target audience is the road you’ll choose. But whatever that is, you will need to decide where to invest your marketing budget, where you can cut corners and where you can’t. And however you choose to market, you must enjoy it, or you won’t stick with it long enough to pay your expenses. When making out your spread sheet, include a column for enjoyment and don’t forget to invest in that.