Marketing For Writers

Your book’s been accepted. How wonderful! Congratulations.
It’s a terrific, feeling, isn’t it, after all those rejections?

But now comes the real work. What? You thought you’d done
the work and that now came the pleasure? Ha! Think again.

Writing the book’s only half of it. And if you’re a techno-thickie,
like me, you’ll be amazed at what you can learn to do; I certainly
was.

Everyone knows about the signings and the crowds of people who come to each. But everyone would be wrong. Unless you’re very

well-known, you’ll be lucky to get more than a handful of signings, if that. Think about it. Why would a bookstore manager want to

 
put himself to the trouble for a writer that no one’s ever heard of? For a writer who’s unlikely to sell more than one or two books (and one of these purchases will probably be made by the writer’s partner)? What happens most often is that the writer sits behind a desk with a pile of his/her books and no one comes. That, believe it or not, is the harsh truth of most book signings. You don’t need to take my word for it. Watch this video made by writer Parnell Hall and have a laugh while the sober truth sinks in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZoJ5OKmEJY.

So what can you do? There are other things. Libraries are always welcoming to the idea of your giving a talk. Ring around a few libraries, ask to speak to the librarian and introduce yourself and your new book. You should get an invitation or two to speak. No good at speaking off the cuff? Don’t worry. It’s perfectly acceptable to use notes. I do myself as my short-term memory is shockingly bad and I’m hopeless at speaking without a crib. You may even sell a few books.

There are also other things you can do to draw attention to yourself. I’m in the middle of preparing for a seventeen-date Blog Tour in February. It’s a lot of work as you have to prepare posts to go on other people’s blogs and you won’t be too popular if you repeat the same blog on several people’s sites. You’re expected to be original and, as I said, originality brings a lot of work.

How did I organise this? I’m a member of a number of writing/book sites and I checked on the File listing of one of them: Yahoo Group’s MurderMustAdvertise, for those members who were prepared to host other writer members and contacted each one. You’ll need to be organised and create a Blog Tour folder on your computer where you can store the emails listing what you’re to do. You should also set up a folder in Documents with docs for each of the separate posts you’ve been asked to make and note in your diary the names, email addresses, dates, blog addresses and what your post is to consist of. If you don’t do all this you’ll get in a hopeless muddle. I could have arranged more Blog Tour dates if I’d contacted members on other book or writing sites, but I thought seventeen gigs was as much as I could cope with. This is my first Blog Tour, after all, and I didn’t want to over-reach myself.

I’ve written several question and answer sessions, prepared a few different excerpts of Deadly Reunion, my latest Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel which comes out on 24 February, with links to the other excerpts. Deadly Reunion is the reason I organised the blog tour.


What else have I written? Another blogger asked me to produce a post about my writing ‘Made it Moment’. LOL! Shows how deluded one can be! One asked me to supply my Top Ten Tips for writers. Another wanted me to write a post about my ebook experiences since I’ve published two of my Rafferty novels to kindle et al. They all wanted a short bio and brief synopses of both Deadly Reunion, my latest hardback, and Dead Before Morning, my latest ebook. Another blogger wanted me to tell her readers about how I set about making my various video book trailers. I did it The Hard Way, I thought! The first one was made from a basis of total ignorance. Boy, this marketing mallarkey is a very steep learning curve. I’ve also collected up the links to various reviews, to my youtube video book trailers, to amazon and, of course, my blog and website. I’m still working on some posts. But when I’ve finished, I’ll put up a list of all my Blog Tour gigs and you can follow me through the Tour if you wish. You’ll probably be asked to provide a few prizes. I think the most usual is that, at the end of the Blog Tour, a drawing is made of all of those people who have made a comment during your Tour. It’s up to you to check on each of the blog sites for the comments and to note down the details of each so you can make the draw.


What else have I done? I’ve made a video interview of myself, using the webcam on the computer, with my poor husband acting as the interviewer. Here’s the link if you want to take a look and have a laugh at our pretty inept efforts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoMLVcKxzBw This was about our fifth attempt, so you can imagine how poor the earlier efforts were. It was originally done for The Lit Chick Show, a video blog that hosts author interviews. But I’m going to do it again for the show and hope that both of us manage to project ourselves a bit better! Practise! Practise! Practise! The interview’s not due to air until the 25 February, so we’ve got time to apply a bit of polish. You could do something similar and put it up on youtube, then at least you’ll have something ready for your Blog Tour when you organise it. You can try to get radio interviews; local radio is generally pretty willing to host you and local newspapers might well feature you if you contact them.
I’ve explained before, in a previous post, that you’ll have to provide your own marketing materials, like bookmarks, flyers and postcards, as it’s unlikely that your publisher will do it. I’ve just altered the design of my bookmarks, but I’ve had a hell of a job lining up the two sides of the bookmarks. It’s been very wasteful of my white card and my computer inks, not to mention my time. But fingers crossed, they’re lined up now. My next printing will tell. Oh for the money to be able to pay someone else to make the blasted things! Hey, maybe next week, I’ll have time to do some actual book writing!
Now. To market! To market!

9 Responses to Marketing For Writers

  • jrlindermuth says:

    Good advice, Geraldine. I've found libraries very receptive to writers who offer a talk. The same applies to a variety of clubs and organizations.

  • Yes, JR. There's always someone willing to host an author. Some of them even pay! And next month I'm going to be wined and dined at a very posh hotel for getting up on my hind legs. It's not all bad being an author. 🙂

  • Dear Geraldine, thanks for telling it as it is, at my last signing at a Borders in York a lady- young boy in tow- paused, whispered something to the boy and moved away. The young boy dashed back and asked, 'Mister if you're a rich writer why are you sitting at a little table?' I looked long and hard at the three feet round tableI had been given, wondered indeed why I was there at all and said , 'who told you that?' His glance back to his mother said it all. Harsh reality eh? I sold 3 books in 4 hours that day, one to my grandson who I had to let take it to the cashout. I refunded him the money a little later; at least my soul's a little richer.jackleverett.me.uk

  • Ellis Vidler says:

    I'm about to launch another book, one way or the other, and was so glad to find you on MMA this morning. I love the bit about book signings. Been there, done that! Some bad, some good. Anyway, thanks for your interesting post.

  • Marja says:

    Good blog, Geraldine! I'm across the pond, so to speak, and I've found things work best at the libraries. I've also done civic groups and clubs. Anywhere that you can actually speak to a group seems to work well for me. I don't get it, but…

  • Hi Jack,Yes, being an author is often difficult. But when someone actually WANTS your book and is willing to pay for it. Whoo hoo! Then life as a writer is great!

  • Ellis,I think doing book signings calls for a particular sort of courage, especially when you've done them before and know what to expect.

  • Hi Marja,Yes, thank God for libraries. What'll we do in that worst-case scenario when ebooks take over the world…?

  • Sorry, my comments aren't exactly right after a posting. Either I'm going doollaly or Blogger has altered things… 🙁 I hate it when these sites alter things when it takes me so long to get any kind of a grasp of what I'm meant to be doing!

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The Author
Geraldine Evans is a British writer of police procedurals that contain a lot of humour and family drama Her15-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn series features DI Joe Rafferty, a London-Irish, working-class, lapsed Catholic, who comes from a family who think - if he must be a policeman - he might at least have the decency to be a bent one. Her 2-strong Casey & Catt series features DCI 'Will' Casey, a serious-minded, responsible policeman, whose 'the Sixties never died', irresponsible, drug-taking, hippie parents, pose particular problems of the embarrassing kind.
AUTHOR MEMBER: ALLi
The Alliance of Independent Authors — Author Member
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