How Authors can get the Most out of Marketing: Calculating Marketing ROI
Marketing is often uncharted territory for authors. For independent authors though, calculating marketing ROI is one of the most important components of producing a successful book. Creating the book is what most authors are best at, but it’s only half of the equation. Even for major publishers, getting your book into the hands of readers is a challenging but crucial part of publishing.
Marketing for the independent author
You’ve written the book that you set out to write. What now? You know there are readers out there, but they need to know how to find you. These days, there are numerous ways to market yourself including the traditional forms like ads in publications, to the more creative social media campaigns or sponsorships. Most marketing will cost either money or time, and most likely plenty of both.
Big publishers have the advantage of large budgets to invest in rolling out a book launch, but even those budgets are shrinking for the majority of authors. Most independent authors do not have a large amount of money to spend on marketing, though even if you do, you want to make sure that those campaigns are worth the investment.
A few things to think about BEFORE you start marketing
Where are your readers?
It doesn’t make sense to advertise a children’s book in an adult magazine, or a parenting book to teenagers or college kids. With so many options available, knowing where your readers are can help you narrow down the best options for marketing. What is your niche or genre? Where might those interested in your book congregate online or in the real world? How do you best engage with that audience?
These questions are ones you’ll have to answer but remember, you’ll need to invest a combination of time and/or money, so find something that you can commit to fully. Here are just a few examples:
More money, less time: Targeted ads (online, social media or print catalogues), paid reviews, affiliates.
Less money, more time: blog tours, interviews, contests or giveaways that you run yourself, campaigns and discounts through your own email list or website.
Your Return on Investment is what publishers use to calculate which campaigns were successful, but this doesn’t take into consideration the cost of your time, which is a valuable commodity for the Authorpreneur.. This is something you’ll have to determine. If you are mathematically savvy, you might want to calculate how much you think your time is worth in terms of a dollar amount and add that to the Investment figure in the ROI equation. Either way, it’s something to keep in mind when looking at the final figures.
Calculating Marketing ROI
The goal of marketing campaigns is obviously to sell more books, but knowing how many books you sold and how much money you made isn’t just about the final total. In order to get a clear idea of how well your campaign did, you need to calculate your ROI (return on investment).
The mathematical formula for your ROI is ROI=(Return-Investment)/Investment. Let’s break that down in book speak:
In order to properly determine if your campaign was successful, you’ll need to know:
- Cost of the campaign
- How many books you sold
- Price per book during campaign
- Your Royalty rate. Make sure to subtract any percentage given to retailers or distributors.
With this information you can then calculate these important totals:
Total Revenue: How many books sold x book price.
Author Revenue: total after subtracting publisher, and other retailer cuts is calculated by multiplying the Totals Sales by the Royalty Rate.
Author Profit: Subtract the Author Revenue from the Campaign Cost.
And finally, your ROI: Author Revenue minus the campaign cost, then divided by the campaign cost. This will give you a percentage amount that can help you easily compare between campaigns. The higher percentage the better, and 0% would mean you have broken even.
To make it easy on yourself, check out this Author ROI spreadsheet calculator from Bookbub. You can also set up a spreadsheet yourself with the proper formulas above.
Once you know how to calculate your ROI, you can analyze which campaigns were most successful so that you can focus on the ones that bring you the most return. Hopefully this will help you save time AND money in the long run, and of course, sell more books!
— Marquina (@Marquina) May 3, 2016