Local Television Advertising for Authors

k. rowe ad on tv
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Once in a while you just have to stick your neck out there and do something a bit insane. I’d never even thought about advertising on television. What Indie author makes enough scratch to have commercials? It turns out, $40 will get you a month’s worth of air time — your ad being viewed three to five times an hour.

How? Well, it’s not national TV I can assure you. I live in the middle of nowhere. We have a cooperative that handles phone, TV, and internet. They have their channel which airs local programming. Much of it is devoted to public notices, school advisories, church adverts, birthday wishes, and other items of interest.

Since moving to a rural area, I’ve tried to figure out how to reach folks to let them know there’s a new author in town. The local newspapers haven’t been too helpful. Yeah, I got my photo in there a couple of times simply because they were covering author events at the library. But it wasn’t getting the word out. The local library did a lovely display of my books — which did generate some new readers, but the bulk of the population doesn’t always go to the library.

I was talking with a friend one day and he said our TV provider did fairly inexpensive ads. He wasn’t sure how much, but it wasn’t a lot. Definitely intrigued, I contacted the company and received and email from a lady who informed me that the ads were $10 a week. Wow, TV ads that fit my meager budget! I immediately said “I do” and made up a PowerPoint slide for them to broadcast. I also mentioned that I had at one time contacted the magazine they put out to possibly be interviewed, but never heard back.

What lovely luck. The lady handling my ad just happened to speak to someone at the magazine, and I got an email asking me if I wanted to do an interview. Heck yeah! I was now on the road to being discovered by over 18,000 people. I’ll be featured in a glossy magazine, and have my face plastered on TV for 15 seconds a few times an hour.

Will this work? As with any advertising campaign, it’s a shot in the dark. With the TV ad, I’m not pushing sales of books up front; I’m trying to direct folks to the library to check them out. I have a blurb on where to buy my books, but it’s not center stage.

For the magazine, I’m going to try and focus a little differently. I want local residents to know I’m not just an author, but a farmer as well. Experience has taught me to relate to the masses. Much of my area is farmland. We grow hay and have poultry, hence, we are farmers too. Granted we’re “outsiders” to the county, but I always give the impression that we’re doing our best to fit in. Lots of people around here hunt, so my TV ad has me wearing a fashion camouflage shirt. Do I hunt? Usually only varmint hunting to protect our poultry.

My ace in the hole happens to be a friend and neighbor. He works at the library. That’s one good thing about rural living; you get to know your neighbors really well — especially when their cow is in your front yard at 11 o’clock at night! I asked him if there is a way to track which books got checked out over a 1 month period. He said there was. So at the end of the month of advertising blitz, I’ll join him at the library to see if anyone checked out my books.

Overall, I don’t expect huge success from this campaign. But I also haven’t invested a lot of money. If 20 percent of the population of a three-county area at least read the magazine article, or happen across the TV advert, and then seek out my books, I’d consider that success. Country folk are a hard sell for anything, and with everyone being busy, many don’t have time to read. And money is even tighter, so I’d be thrilled if they went to the library and checked out the books. It’s not so much about sales as it is about gaining local exposure.

So we shall see where the dominos fall in this experiment…

Author: Kathy Rowe (K. Rowe)

K. Rowe is an experienced and prolific multi-genre author. She draws from over twenty years of active Air Force service. Kathy lives in eastern Kentucky with her husband and a zoo of farm animals. Among her many duties she finds time to offer services as a publishing consultant for new authors. Learn more about Kathy from Facebook, and her Amazon author page.

15 thoughts on “Local Television Advertising for Authors”

  1. Wow. What a cool idea, Kathy. That’s thinking outside the box. To be honest, I think your advertising is better targeted on the local station, too. I think people who watch local public access tend to be more tuned into local issues, enjoy supporting local stuff (like authors and stores) and might be readers (they don’t need flash and pomp to enjoy a TV program).

    I hope it goes well.

    1. Well, that was the idea, and I was wanting to advertise during the colder month when I thought folks would be trapped indoors with nothing to do but read (wishful thinking). BUT Mother Nature played a really cruel joke on me and we spent much of Feb. snowed in. The local library and nearly all businesses were closed, so I probably didn’t get the reach I was hoping for. Since the cost to advertise was very inexpensive, I’ll probably run another ad in June to see if that will draw some summer readers.

  2. Yes, there are advantages to living in a smaller community. Another avenue you might try is an actual interview segment at the local TV station. I live near a city that is still small enough to want local input (catchment about 400,000) and the local station was eager to do one, then asked if I wanted to do a second on a narrower aspect of my books. All it cost me was the gas for driving to the station. You can see my post about it here: https://www.indiesunlimited.com/2014/05/19/getting-book-signings-and-interviews/

    1. Still trying to find a local station. I did, however, score an upcoming article in the PRTC Connections, which serves about 30K people in 3 counties. That may help some too.

  3. Great initiative, Kathy. I hope it gets you and your books lots of attention, and maybe even gets a few new people to visit your local library. If the interest is good perhaps the TV station will invite you in for an interview to talk about your work.
    Good luck.

    1. Hoping that will help. I’m also going to put together a lecture on self-publishing which may draw interest as well. It’s hard when you live in the middle of nowhere and have to market with out-of-the-box thinking.

  4. Wonderful idea! Great plan! Here is another thought… Years ago I ran Public Access studios and we offered classes at low or no cost to the citizenry we served. This allowed them to create their own television programs. What a great opportunity to encourage reading, self promote, promote others AND have content to use on a YOU Tube channel or a blog. Yes, I have looked into this where I live and they only have the Government Access channel. Still I am not giving up hope as they may very well be open to a program handled through the local library… Gee, thanks for getting MY wheels turning.

    1. We don’t have much in the way of broadcast local TV- mainly stations out of Lexington and as far east as Pikeville. There are local radio stations that I haven’t contacted as yet. I’ll be doing an interview in May on a podcast that has a large following, and I’ll have the link to that for posting as well.

  5. Thanks Kathy!
    I had planned on uploading a book trailer to youtube and my friend’s site, blurbsurfer.com, but television, radio, or even magazines hadn’t even entered my mind due to the costs I had assumed would go with those medium.
    Very cool! Hope it translates to book sales for you 🙂

    1. I’ve done 2 interviews- one was video, the other audio. Have another one coming up in May (will blog about that) and hope I can survive an HOUR on the airwaves!

  6. Best of luck with your new venture, Kathy! It’s often worth it to try anything to get your work noticed. I know, for me, marketing will be my greatest challenge as a writer, since I don’t consider myself a “people person.”

    1. Marketing in tough, no bones about it. I don’t mind being a people person, but since we live in the country, it’s hard to find an audience when your nearest neighbor is hundreds of yards away. There’s no “chatting over the fence” while doing yardwork, it’s an effort to hoof it over to the neighbor’s house to borrow a cup of sugar. But I am in contact with my local libraries and plan on offering some self-publishing classes. No, I’m not selling my books per se, but they can get to know me and then check out what I have to offer. Face time is always good- and dress to the 9s!

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