Earlier this year my debut novel was published by an independent publisher. I recently received a pretty sweet review from Kirkus Reviews for my book.
I'm on the verge of purchasing a half-page ad in Kirkus' trade mag that will hopefully be seen by many agents/execs.
Here's my question(s)
1. Do you think buying this ad is worth the money? It's $1,100 for the first two weeks in August.
2. Is there an optimum time for placing an ad like this that will have the best chance of being seen by the most people?
3. Are these ads a good idea?
4. The contract with my publisher expires in December 2018. Will this prove to be detrimental in attracting an agent now?
(4) Yes, but not for the reason you think
First, congrats on a good review from Kirkus. Those aren't easy to come by. I love reading Kirkus' reviews cause they are blunt to the point of being eligible to swim with the sharks.
Buying an ad in the Kirkus magazine is a terrible idea. Kirkus is a TRADE publication. Bookstore buyers and librarians are their target audience. NOT agents. Certainly not editors. We do read it but mostly to see what's been published and the reviews for books we sold or recognize. We do NOT read it to find projects to work on. (That is what the incoming queries are for)
Given Kirkus is for bookstores and librarians, I went to your publisher's website. It's clear they don't work in the wholesale market at all. There's no information for bookstores or libraries on how to place an order; there's no mention of discounts or terms. In other words, if you did place an ad, and a librarian wanted your book, there's no information on the publisher's website about how to get it.
Orders for your book are MUCH more likely to be generated by readers asking for the book, either at the bookstore or from their local library.
Thus, any outreach should be to READERS not retailers. If you're hellbent on spending $1000 research Facebook ads or google ads, or other places that a reader will see.
As to question (4): Your chances of attracting an agent for this book are close to zero. The book has already been published, and Bookscan shows you sold three copies. Yes, I know you sold more, probably a lot more, but you sold them one on one, on consignment, or in other ways that don't register on Bookscan. Bookscan is not even close to accurate for these kinds of books, which is why I also look up sales stats on Amazon. Amazon doesn't measure volume, it measures velocity, but we still look to see what's happening. And not surprising, since this is a small press, it's not speeding along the sales highway. It's kind of dawdling.
Agents (and editors) are looking for books that are sprinting, not dawdling, for taking on a book with a publishing history.
Here's a deal announcement for a book like that:
POMODORO TECHNIQUE, a time management system that breaks work into 25-minute segments, based on a self-published book that has been downloaded more than 2 million times, to Roger Scholl at Crown Business, at auction, by Howard Yoon of Ross Yoon Agency (World English). Translation: Dara Kaye of the Ross Yoon Agency
If you want to snag an agent's attention, your focus now is finding readers for this book. You'll find those people on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. You will not find them via advertising. You'll find them via conversation.
Use your Amazon author page; use GoodReads. I've said it before, I'll say it again now: books are most often sold by word of mouth. The best thing you can do for book is make friends.