Promotional Dilemmas

Sometimes one is faced with a dilemma in this game. What to do with your limited budget in order to promote your work and attract sales? After all, that is the name of the game; getting people to read your work, and that means selling them the idea, or, as a politician once phrased it, "you have to sell the sizzle" to attract attention. That, however, brings you back to budgets. To get noticed you do need to rise above the horizon, get into the spotlight and then grab the imagination of the passing reader, film maker or agent/publisher. It is easy to splash out a lot of money and get a minimal return, in fact, most self-publishing authors face just this dilemma. 

Recently I heard of an author who went for broke, laying out $100k on promoting his book. Great, if you have the money to do that, but most authors don't. I'm told this particular author has recouped his outlay, which is good to hear, but it is a huge risk if you're laying out capital. I'll confess that on some of my ventures I'm still a very long way from covering the original costs, but it is slowly starting to build up and maybe, sometime, I'll be in that happy position of having recovered what I spent. 

So, to the latest dilemma. One of my books is published through a well known self-publishing company. Returns on it have been, to say the least, disappointing, but now that sales are starting to pick up, they are urging me to lay out around £5k to get it turned into a movie or TV script. They claim to have a Hollywood company expressing interest, but wanting to see a "treatment" and a "Proposal" and draft script (written by a Hollywood Script Writer) before committing anything to it. In short, the book has found someone in Hollywood interested in selling on a movie version, but unwilling to carry the expense of creating it.

Now, it's easy to get excited about this sort of offer, but frankly, here I need to tread very warily. My discussions earlier this year with several folk in the film industry have warned me that this is one offer that needs to be very carefully handled. First off, if someone is genuinely interested in turning a book into a movie, they generally make the author an offer to pay for the book to be given the necessary "treatment". They don't get the author to commit financial suicide and carry all the risk. As I said, this is not the first time I've been asked to go down this road. So I'm not wildly excited by this prospect. After all I do have another book/script circulating and attracting interest.

The big thing with book sales is always the author's "exposure" as the marketing people put it. To be noticed you have to be visible, and certainly getting a book made into a movie increases your exposure dramatically, but that also depends on how much you can throw at it. There is my dilemma, if I pursue this one book and throw everything I've got at it, maybe I will see a return, and maybe not. There are no guarantees. On the other hand, if I continue as I am, with an advert here and an advert there; with a small promotion through an online review, through increasing my presence on Google and other search engines, I may not see a sudden illumination of "success" but I may see my sales continue to increase slowly and steadily to the point where, as my friend Jonathon suggested, someone makes an offer to pay me to be allowed to turn the book into a movie.

That is an attractive proposition. 

In the meantime IndieGo Publishing is in the process of getting the fifth Harry Heron Adventure - The Outer Edge - ready for publication. We've started the preliminary editing and I'm awaiting the comments and possibly the change suggestions from the editor. It's a long process, but worth it, and I'm looking forward to the final product sometime early in the New Year.

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