When promoting a new product or book there are typical mistakes that can be made, especially when it comes to how much money to spend and where. I thought for this issue I would discuss what I'm going to call "promotional money-wasters". I always try to guide authors and clients with information I've gleaned from experience and observation.
Drive up a decent amount of book sales before you start over-spending. Here is why. Some books no matter how much money you invest just may never pick up that precious market momentum. I always try to encourage authors to spend conservatively before they start throwing money at the book's promotion. Sometimes the results are the results. You need to measure and gage the market. Don't just throw money at the wall and see if it sticks. You will be unhappy if the money disappears into the marketing abyss. So test the waters. See how initial sales go and overall reaction. If you've got a strong start on your sales then keep pushing and invest slowly.
Using things like bookmarks are nice to hand out but don't count on those bookmarks to generate sales. I don't think I've seen a single bookmark generate a sale. The bookmark though is a nice touch to provide contact information and cement your brand and title.
Flyers with reviewer quotes only work when you're at an event and you're handing them out while the author is at the event, too. A flyer in and of itself won't work. Only invest in a flyer when you're going to promote your book at a reading or book festival. BIG TIP (the one worth reading this newsletter for): hand out the flyers right in front of where the author is actually sitting and talk it up. Then point to your author to close the sales. Every time I do this for an author I have created lines to his table. The other authors who neither brought marketing promo nor had someone canvassing the crowd sat in awe.
Social media "boosts" don't work. Don't bother with those gimmicks. On Facebook you can boost a post. I've talked to so many professionals who have said those so-called boosts didn't do a darned thing. So don't waste your money on boosting a post. Concentrate instead on building up your legitimate network of true connections. ALWAYS interact with your community of connections. Interacting with others helps raise their awareness about you and your book/product. People who really know you will be excited to support your book.
Don't invest anything over $500 in a booth space at a festival. In fact, look for nonprofit literacy groups that put on festivals and sell booth space and tables for under $100. Just think about it. How many books do you have to sell to recoup just the booth cost? Realize that festival attendance will also be a determining factor of your success. Make sure your book festival is a well-established event with a large number of people who come. New and unknown festivals are always bad news. Paying for a booth space and sitting while you can only hear crickets is depressing.