Sunday, 26 February 2012

Zazzle is my Affiliate heaven

I read a very inspiring book recently, one that's hopefully firmly set me on the path to doing something constructive with my free time to build additional revenue streams. The book in question is Geoge Marshalls "Get out While you can" a book about affiliate marketing but more importnatly its message to readers is the basic guide to getting out of the rat race and wage slavery of a 9-5 job by getting into affiliate marketing.
Try as I might most of my initial schemesbefore I read the book haven't quite taken off, I signed up to both Cafe Press and Red Bubble to very little success over the last 18 months and even when I did make $27 from Cafe Press I found out my bank wouldn't process the payment because it was under the $50 minimum which hurts even more when you're unemployed. Granted my uploads to both sites have been rather low and I didn't much go for the limits Cafe Press put on sellers so I left it. Red Bubble is very competitive, there are so many talented people on there its hard to cut through the competition to make something work, artists and professional photographers probably do okay with strong content. My novel on Kindle is in double figures, albeit low double figures and with the royalties I could probably buy a pint but not much else. I got into Clickbank but have stalled despite a good Google page ranking but puzzled as to how I move forward or resolve the zero sales situation. Its frustrating to say the least, My strongest and most successful Affiliate revenue stream has been from Zazzle of all places, a place where I'm competing against 42 Billion other products, that's right, 42 Billion!!, I've devoted lots of time to this and now thats paying off as I'm starting to see a good trickle of results and have become a basic Pro Seller, I'm getting low royalty sales admittedly but a steady flow is slowly adding up. What makes this even more surprising is the sheer range of competing products and product quality, no doubt there are people raking in cash from Zazzle from unique designs but to be making sales against these sellers is a good feeling to be had, especially considering how I'm stumbling to make any real headway with revenue from other affiliate revenue streams. I'll still work on improving my Clickbank and Kindle projects for 2012 but for now Zazzle is where the money is.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Is film the Magic wand for book sales?

Sales of Michael Morpurgo's novel War Horse have seen a dramatic rise since the release of Steven Spielberg's Oscar-nominated film version of the story.
It has sold more copies in the UK in a fortnight, than it did worldwide in the 25 years after it was first published.
The book, first published in 1982, has been the number one best-selling book in the UK for two consecutive weeks. A stage version of the show opened in 2007.

War Horse is the story of a farm horse, Joey, who gets separated from his owner and ends up in the trenches of World War I.
Publisher Egmont Press said the chart-topping book had sold more than 30,000 copies in the UK each week over the past fortnight.
By comparison, the book sold 50,000 copies worldwide between 1982 and 2007 - an average of 2,000 per year.

Is film the magic wand for improving book sales?, some would say its pretty obvious because of films broader reach and opportunity to be seen in the event of a promotional campaign is far greater than most book ad campaigns.What puzzles me about the above story is, if the story is good enough and compelling enough for Spielberg to adapt into a full blown movie why didn't word of mouth encourage higher sell through of the book in its own right when it was originally released?

Clearly its not sell through numbers of the book that made Spielberg sit up and take notice because 50,000 books sold is relatively small fry compared to other adapted novels which only really leaves the story as the single most compelling aspect of the project. Spielberg is a master storyteller (not counting Kingdom of Crystal Skulls) and no doubt a strong story that would appeal to a massive audience was important to him in order to get the studio ticket sales. Based on its $66M production budget U.S domestic ticket sales are $77,396,622 since December 25th, add to that another $44 Million international of ticket sales ($21M achieved in the UK alone) and it's pushing positive results. Not including DVD, Bluray, home rental and eventual TV rights War Horse should clean up pretty well. What's also interesting is that other film makers and studios have probably been pitched the story to option since Nick Staffords brilliant adaption from book to War Horse play. A stage production that has seen War Horse playing to 97% capacity audiences in London's West End in 2010.

Obviously there are some pretty big factors to take into consideration here for the massive increase in War Horse book sales. Spielberg for one is a movie juggernaut in terms of Director so immediately the profile of the War Horse book has been increased well beyond normal levels of interest when he signed on the dotted line, that in PR value alone for your book is probably all you need. Another factor is the promotion behind the movie, War Horse benefited greatly from TV advertising for its London West End theatre run in the UK before Christmas which perfectly matched it up to its Dec 25th release and TV ad campaign.

Its not rocket science to understand that an immediate face lift of the books cover to tie in with the War Horse film helped keep the marketing cohesive and this happens for practically all book and film tie ins, get people to see the film = get people to read the book, likewise, get people to the read the book = get people to see the film. Perception, value and quality are massively important to consumers, perception of the product and how they feel about a product or service are important for the appeal it has, value and quality go hand in hand, if you deliver value and quality in equal measure your customer feels good about the decision they made.

From my own dabble with trying to raise book profile and my true life experience of the Thames torso murder of the African boy Ikponmwosa , Martha Feinnes, sister to actors Ralph and Joseph is making a documentary on the murder case this year. My own book based on the events, "Carved" available on Kindle would benefit from the increased coverage that Martha will no doubt add to the case when the documentary airs later this year but I'm not getting my hopes up too much, its a competitive market to say the least but any promotion is good promotion given the current climate.