Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Best Way to Make a Profit by Bob Sanchez, Guest Blogger

It's my pleasure to welcome Bob Sanchez to talk about good and bad marketing decisions and how to make the right choices for you and your book. I first met (a virtual meeting) Bob while taking Dani Greer's blog book tour class. He was very helpful to those of us who were blogging rookies.


The Best Way to Make a Profit by Bob Sanchez, Guest Blogger

Thanks for hosting me, Patricia. This is the last stop on my Blog Book Tour, and I will give a prize to one of the commenters on the tour: signed copies of my three books. In addition, I have been giving away Kindle versions of my latest novel, Little Mountain. So for goodness’ sake, please leave comments.

This tour experience makes me wonder how much marketing effort is necessary to make a self-published or small-press book successful. That question in turn begs the question: What is success? That’s a definition that’s probably unique to each of us. My experience so far is that when I promote my work, it sells; when I stop, the sales stop. So my definition of personal success would be having a book that sells by word of mouth apart from my involvement, for an extended period of time. That’s not to say I’d like to stop flogging the books, of course. Along with that, dare I hope for a paltry profit, merely enough to sate a hungry ego?

The best way to make a profit, I am convinced, is to keep a close eye on your expenses. Someone may try to sell you an ad in the New York Times or Publishers’ Weekly or tempt you with an emailing to 500,000 book buyers or entice you with your novel as a screenplay for only ten grand. Hold tightly to your wallets, dear friends. The dumbest thing I ever did was to agree to give a talk to a writers’ group 800 miles away, Deep in the Heart of Texas. Sure, I combined it with a trip to see my son in Austin, but it was still a whole lot of effort to sell two books and get a free lunch. A lot of us writers figure we have to spend money to make money, and that idea has merit. But there is a whole subclass (and I mean sub) of people out there who are skilled in relieving writers of their cash. Writers can do a lot for themselves for free on the Internet. Marketing takes patience and persistence, as I am learning. But if you haven’t invested a lot of money, you can afford to be patient.

For Little Mountain, I switched from iUniverse to CreateSpace, which saved a lot of money. You may want to hire out certain tasks, depending on your skills. I paid a graphic artist to create the cover, for example, but that was all.

So it all comes down to this: Marketing is a different skill from writing, but it’s something you can do. Trust yourself, keep your checkbook closed*, never give up, and have fun. It’s working for me.

Purchase Little Mountain at

*Except, of course, for worthy books.


Bob, thank you so much for being our guest today.

For those of you who are interested in a chance to win copies of Bob's books, please leave a comment and make sure to include your contact information or have it available in your Blogger Connect profile. I'm going to leave Bob's post up until noon tomorrow (Mountain Time). At that point Bob will cut off the entries and select the winner from comments left during all of his blog book tour stops.

Bob will also select one winner of the ebook editon of
Little Mountain from the comments left at today's post. You definitely want to leave a comment here.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've not plunged much money into promotions and almost everything I do is online. It does take work to keep the momentum going, but it's worth it. Eight months after its release, I still see reviews pop up for my book. (One even appeared today.)
Oh, and I'm an eBook kind of guy. Just so you know.
Good article, Bob!

Giles Hash said...

It still disgusts me that there are people out there who exist only to rip off honest people. I'm glad there are people like you putting out warnings to writers about the type of folks who would try to steal from us by offering to make us rich and famous. :)

Bob Sanchez said...

Alex, I've noticed that most people I've offered an ebook to actually have a Kindle.

Gilles, I'd like to think some of those folks actually think they're helping the writer. We're still at a stage where people don't yet know what works.

Patricia, thanks for hosting me today. This is such fun.

Karen Walker said...

This is good advice, Bob. I found that even doing local book signings wasn't worth the time and effort, but to add travel expenses. Unless you are a best-selling author, I don't think so. I like what you said about success and defining it for ourselves. I'm working on that one myself. What would make me feel successful? Thanks, Patricia, for hosting Bob.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good morning, everyone. Bob, I'm at the writers studio and connected at least for a couple of hours, so I'm off to Twitter and Facebook to let everyone know you're here.

John Paul McKinney said...

Besides writers, that's great advice for a number of folks, especially for young families just starting out and for our government officials! Thanks for the sage tips.

Edna Pontillo said...

Good advice and a good reminder that marketers see opportunities in the dreams of others, so we doers and dreamers must also be thinkers. Pat, I always appreciate your blog guests and comments.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm finding it's still a matter of casting a wide net. I've got a buy 1 get 1 free offer going, and it's not as successful as I thought it would be. I've drawn the line at going to conferences where I'm not going to be on the program. If I'm spending that kind of money, I want there to be the chance of making people aware I exist. I have a simple spreadsheet, and when the outs get way ahead of the ins, it's time to rethink how much money one has to spend to make money.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Kay Theodoratus said...

If only marketing didn't take so much time. Whine. Whine, but then, I think I must twice as long to accomplish the same thing.

Morgan Mandel said...

I made the mistake of accepting returns before because that's what bookstores wanted.Then l discovered bookstore signings aren't as profitable as appearances elsewhere where I get paid to talk and can sell my books myself.
Morgan Mandel

Bob Sanchez said...

What I think many of us don't understand is the need for persistence. That's why some of these publicity offers aren't as good as they look. It's not enough to contact a half million people once, or place a single ad in the Times. We have to make an impression, which takes several exposures at least. And that adds up to a lot of money if you're paying someone.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I had my first poetry book self published and was quite an easy process.
I would like to do another but this time shop around for something a bit less money with the same professional look.

Heidiwriter said...

Good advice, Bob. The title of this blog is an attention-grabber! I agree, you have to watch expenses. When you're starting out on this marketing journey, though, sometimes you have to try various venues to find out whether they pay or not. So it's all a part of the learning process. For example, I thought rodeos would be a sure-fire marketing success for my rodeo-themed books. Not. But I had to try a couple to find out.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Bob, I like what you said about persistence and patience. I don't have a book ready yet, but I've been building a platform for two years now with my career. Twitter has been the best social media tool for me. It's at the stage where followers organically grow. I also think the best way to sell is not to be a salesman. The blog posts that get the most views are the ones about my life not my work. I imagine it's the same for books. Personality sells products, and being a professional. Nice to meet you here, Simon simonhay_healer (at) bigpond (dot) com

Dani said...

Every person in publishing all the way up the ladder should take your message to heart, Bob! Watch what you spend and to whom you give your money. Get value for your dollar. Put your money where you're most likely to get ROI. Don't give political bimbos the biggest advances either (talking to the big guys here). The titles that stay alive on your backlists are better assets than books you have to remainder after six months.

Patricia Stoltey said...

There are so many words of wisdom in these comments, Bob. I think you hit a big topic of interest to everyone.

I found book signings fun, especially when working with several other authors at group events, but I rarely sold many books that way. Mostly I wasted time and gas. My biggest live sale event ever was a well-attended Senior Center arts and crafts fair in my home town right after Thanksgiving. I learned a big lesson and now happily stick close to home. Working the internet through social media and paying attention to e-book opportunities makes much more sense.

Bob Sanchez said...

Heidi, you're right. Sometimes you just have to try things, and once in a while they work out. Keep a few copies of your book in the back of your car, too. Every now and then, when the fact that you've written a book comes up in conversation, someone may ask where they can buy a copy. Then you can say you just happen to have a copy in the car. It's these moments of serendipity that help make all this such fun.

Anonymous said...

iUniverse makes their $$$ not by selling books but by selling promotional and marketing packages that run well into the thousands of dollars. They sell false hopes to aspiring self published writers. I can;t see why anyone would ant to go with them.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Bob! This was a great discussion. Now I'll leave the book giveaway in your hands and be back a little later to post more information.

Bob Sanchez said...

Thanks for hosting my last stop, Pat.

The winners are:
Simon Hay wins the free e-book version of Little Mountain.

Cheryl C. Malandrinos wins the three-book ouvre consisting of When Pigs Fly, Getting Lucky, and Little Mountain.

Doesn't ouvre sound important?

Thanks to all the hosts and commenters on my tour. It's fun to meet and chat with everyone.

Dorte H said...

Ah, what a sensible guy! I am always very sceptical when people try to persuade me to spend money in order to earn it. Personally I hardly ever buy books based on advertisements; I check out what my blog friends liked and let them tempt me.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Bob and my friend Pat. I'm a bit behind in my blogging right now basically because of "life's" challenges. So I missed this post when it first came out. Never too late, though, to get some good information. You, Bob, seconded what I've been doing, too. Word of mouth is working well for me, and the Internet and the friends I've made blogging are the other major aspect. The latter have been wonderful.

And now I've met you, and what sounds like a good book. I love the title, Little Mountain, and I intend to click on the link as soon as I finish this comment!
Ann Best, Memoir Author