This is something new for me; I’ve never purchased radio advertising before. Rock 97.7 in Grande Prairie, Alberta, went live on Monday, with its ad campaign for Been Blued & Martian Blues. The ‘skyscraper’ ad (it sort of looks like a wide bookmark) on their website–rock977.ca–pops up a set number of times for four weeks. Other ads are in rotation for the same spot. I think it looks great, it has each book with its relevant info flashing to the other after a few seconds. (The closest I’ve come to achieving that kind of computer animation was having my brother fill in the ‘red eye’ for my dog, then putting both pictures on slideshow. She ‘blinks.’)
What I wanted to know right at the start was how much a few radio spots would cost. I’m not going to say what it cost per spot, because I think each radio station would set its own price. I did have a maximum figure in mind when I walked through their door, which is something every promoter on a budget should have. It helps you decide if you can afford the cost, and whether or not this something you want to do. Of course, the sales professional had information regarding their statistics, the listening area, and membership for their website. In the end, I didn’t just purchase ‘radio spots,’ but a rotation through their website advertising. They have a points club, which people join on the website, then listen in to daily broadcasting for passwords, etc. Now both of my books will be listed as something people can put their points towards, along with other products like concert tickets and t-shirts.
So, why radio? Have you even looked at the cost of a television ad? It’s been years since I have, and it was way more than I could afford back then. Personally, I like being able to access things on the Internet, and I still listen to the radio. A few years ago, I spent the better part of a year commuting back and forth to Grande Praire, roughly three hours for both trips. This is the same radio station I listened to in my car, and if often gave me a ‘feel’ of what to expect in town when I arrived.
I’ve been on the radio myself, first in high school, when no-one else wanted to host the radio program, then last month when I was interviewed about the release of the 2nd novel in the series. When I did the book signing at the Dawson mall, the store I was in asked me to do the intercom announcements–partly because I have a good voice, and partly because many Canadians have trouble pronouncing my last name. (Twombly, NOT Tremblay–Scottish, NOT French. It’s because Canada’s official bilingualism includes French, not Scottish. Go figure.) 😉
It will be interesting to see the results. In January and February, my website averaged about 2800 hits per month. Before the ad campaign, it was over 1300 for March. Of course, on the Internet many people find you by accident. It’s much better if people find your site because they actually want to. Google calls this ‘relevance,’ and from time to time ‘slaps’ advertisers they think are abusing it. (Please don’t leave me angry comments if you’re one of them–your disagreement is with Google, not me.) Of course a ‘hit’ isn’t the whole picture. More important is the time visitors spend on your site. Those who want to be there in the first place tend to stay longer, and are more likely to purchase a book.
I try to make my site interesting, with fairly recent changes all the time. One of the latest things I’ve done is add a fictional ‘White Paper,’ in which the fictional Martian geneticist ‘writes’ about the Martian symbiont. I thought my readers might find an explanation of its functioning and temperments useful, and give them some sense of realism. A good science fiction author should try to make his or her story ‘believable,’ once the basic premise has been accepted. To the reader, even a fictional cup of coffee should be hot–or iced–and ‘smell’ delicious. Hopefully, people looking up my site because of the radio/internet campaign will be pleasantly surprised at the appearance and content. The skyscraper link takes them to the publisher’s site, where they can buy Been Blued and Martian Blues. The link in the ‘shop’ takes them to my website.
Thanks for reading. 🙂
Phyllis K Twombly