MARKETING YOUR BOOK

Had a book accepted or plan to go the ebook route? Then you want to think about getting your marketing campaign organised. How can people buy your book if no one hears about it?
So what sort of things should you do? And where should you do them? Here are some ideas to get you started:
ORGANISE A BLOG TOUR
I found this the best route to go to increase book sales. I did my Blog Tour back in February 2011 and my sales numbers quadrupled. I know it’s a lot of work writing the posts and approaching possible hosts, but I believe, from the sales increase alone, never mind the name recognition it should engender, that it’s worth it. Put your Blog Schedule on your website so chance visitors can have the opportunity to follow the Tour, too.
ADVERTISE
I didn’t find this the best way to go. I’ve tried both Kindle Nation Daily and a banner ad on kindleboards and I can’t say I noticed  any increase in sales. Of course, you might be luckier and this is far from the definitive guide as I’ve tried such a limited area in which to place my ads. By all means try it. At least, if nothing else, you will be the wiser for it and who knows, it might pay off.
BOOK TRAILERS
It’s hard to see how much good – if any – trailers do. They’re fun to make and the cost isn’t prohibitive if you do them yourself using Windows Movie Maker. And they’re always available on your website, youtube and other sites for people to see. It’s a big help with planning which pictures to put where if you jot down a synopsis of the book. When it comes to getting royalty-free pictures, there are a lot of sites out there. I use www.istockphoto.com
BOOK GIVEAWAYS
These don’t have to cost a lot. You’ll get author copies free from your publisher or if you’re going the ebook route you can offer books free using a coupon at smashwords. Goodreads and LibraryThing also allow for book giveaways.
You could also offer books as prizes on your own website as part of a contest, though if you hold something like a short story contest with a critique, you must be prepared for a fair number of entries.
CONFERENCES
This is not a route I’ve ever taken as it’s rather expensive. But if you can afford it, conferences could be the way to go to get your name better known and to promote your new book If you sign up early you can get your name down for a panel. Just make sure you have something to say when you get there. You’ll want to have postcards and bookmarks ready to hand out, possibly business cards. And you’ll need to ensure there are books available for sale in the sales room. You should be able to organise this with your publisher.
REVIEWS/ARCs
With any luck,  your publisher will provide advance reading copies of your new release In any case, you’ll want to solicit reviews for your new release. If your book is an ebook there are many bloggers out there who will review your book, some of whom are widely recognised as providing a reliable reviewing service. Some specialize, so make sure you approach an appropriate blogger. ARCs are also handy to give away as prizes in contests.
NEWSLETTER
Try to collect email addresses every time you make a public appearance so that you increase the number of people to whom you can send a regular newsletter with your doings. I use www.tmynewsletterbuilder.com and send out a newsletter once a month. What do you tell people? Well tell them about the new release with the book cover, tell them about appearances and panels you’re on at conferences. Tell them how you’re doing on your Work in Progress.
PROMO  MATERIALS
Once you have your cover art, you can design postcards, bookmarks and flyers. You can have business cards designed very cheaply, with either the book cover or your author photo. You can create most of these cheaply yourself or you can take the professional print route.
WEBSITE AND BLOG
Don’t forget to post information about your new release on your website/blog. Don’t forget to add the youtube link to your book trailer. Post an excerpt so your website visitors can read your scintillating prose! Crease a Press Kit page with a picture of you, your book cover, a short bio of you and the reviews when you get them. Interview yourself about the book and add this to the page.
SPEAKING AND SIGNING ENGAGEMENTS
Never turn down a chance to appear in public. Yes, it’s anxiety-inducing, but the more you do it the better you’ll get at it. Never be shy when you have the opportunity to sell your book. Some groups, like the Women’s Institute, require you to do an audition as a speaker before you can get on their approved list of speakers. Daunting, but it’s just another of the many challenges you’ve already faced.
I can hear you thinking that this all looks like a lot of work. You’re right. It is. That’s why the sooner you start thinking, planning and getting stuff organised, the more you can cover. That way, when your publisher/yourself expects you to be working on the next book, you have the time in hand. An hour or two at evenings or weekends with get the work done. Just be sure to get the word out somehow.

MAKING VIDEO BOOK TRAILERS

Do you want to know how to make video book trailers? I’m self-taught, so don’t expect sophistication. But I’ve had a couple of compliments on them even if earlier ones were a bit long. Stick with me and you’ll have a trailer to put up on youtube, vimeo and blazing saddles.
Here we go. If you look at your Start Menu, you’ll see that you have a programme called Windows Movie Maker. Click on that. Click on File and select ‘New Project’. If you have your book cover, select ‘Add Video and Photo’. Find your cover and open it into Movie Maker.
Okay, you’ve got your first still. Next, you’ll probably want to do an intro, so click on ‘Title’. You’ll see some words on the black screen. Delete these and add your own. You’ll want the title of your book, author’s name and mention the series name if it’s part of a series. You can alter the colour and size of the words and move them about the screen. Once you’re happy, click outside the text box.
Next you’ll want some pictures. I bought my photos from http://www.fotolia.com, but there are plenty of stock photo sites out there – http://www.iStockPhoto.com is another site I’ve used. With both of these sites, you designate what rights you wish to purchase and buy credits. Medium size seems to suit most requirements. On these photo sites you can store a selection of pictures in your own lightbox. You can then go through deciding which pix you want. Once you’ve selected suitable pictures and paid for them with the credits you purchased (a Standard  License is likely to do for most book trailers, unless you envisage selling many thousands of books), you can download them. Once you’ve done that, you need to open up Windows Movie Maker again and import the pictures (Add videos and photos). I would advise importing these into WMM in the order you intend to use them, otherwise you will have to shift and shunt them about. You might as well get them right the first time. I would now save as a Project
I’d learned from my earlier efforts and for this one I wrote out a short synopsis of the novel then broke it into bite-sized pieces. Don’t make each of your pieces of text much more than half-a-dozen words or your viewer won’t be able to read them quickly enough and will just end up confused. There is, I seem to recall reading somewhere, a way to increase the viewing time of a particular frame, but I can’t remember what it is. Anyway, I still don’t think you should have great screeds of text.
To place the text, make sure you’ve on HOME (top left), then click on Title and name your book and yourself as the author. Next click on your first picture and then click on CAPTIONS and type in the first of your short blocks of text. These will go either on the picture itself or on a separate screen,depending on which version of Move Maker you have. You might have to alter the colour, size, boldness or placing of your text if it goes on top of the picture. You do this by highlighting and then select bold, size and colour. You move the words around by clicking on the dotted lines. Sorry. I don’t want to  teach Granny to suck eggs, but I don’t know what level of computer use I’m addressing here
Carry on placing your CAPTIONS against each picture until you’ve typed up all of your synopsis. Try not to make this too long as the shortest Video Book Trailers are regarded as the best. Brief and punchy should be your aim. You may need to experient with colours for your text as sometimes particular colours won’t show up well if they have to be placed right over the picture rather than to the side which makes for greater clarity.
Here’s a brief example of how I wrote out what I was doing. 
PIX:                  BOOK COVER
TEXT:               Dead Before Morning
                        A Rafferty and Llewellyn Crime Novel
                        by Geraldine Evans
TEXT:               DI Joe Rafferty
PICTURE:         A hand holding the word ‘JOB’ ( In the UK, a policeman’s profession is
                        known as ‘The Job’.).
TEXT                has just been promoted.
PICTURE:         Partying People
TEXT:               But the morning after the night before
PICTURE:         Man with tie undone and lipstick on collar.
TEXT                a girl has been found murdered.
Well, I think you get the idea. It carries on like that, text and picture, text and picture till I get to the end. You want a brief snapshot of the book, that’s all, the shorter the better. Choose your words and pictures carefully. Your aim should be to try to make an impact and give the gist of the book. For my latest one for Deadly Reunion, I’ve managed to get it down to eleven pictures including my book cover and about a minute and a half in time. Of course it helps that now I put the words on top of the pictures instead of in front of them as used to be the case with the old version of MM
Once I was happy that I’d got my text and pictures in the right order, I decided on my transitions. These can be the transition of your still picture flying away, as in the old movies, or any of the other choices. Experiment a bit. I didn’t select and place my transitions before I was sure I had finished shifting and shunting my text and pictures around as for one of my videos I did alternating transitions and they kept getting out of sync and I had to go through and alter them all. I’d already chosen my text colour and background colour.
To select your transitions, go to ‘Animations’, clickto the left of the picture where you want the particular transition and then click on the transition. On my earlier movies it was a click and drag operation, but this is another one of the changes I had to get used  to when I got a new laptop with updated Movie Maker.
If you click on ‘Visual Effects’ when you have a picture in the screen, you will see the different things you can do to the appearance of your pix. Don’t go mad and choose a different Effect for each picture. The result would probably be bizarre, not to mention unprofessional. We’re trying for Steven Spielberg here, not Picasso.
Next you want to get your music. I liked listening to lots of different pieces of music in an attempt to find a piece that was appropriate to my book trailer. Eventually, I found one I was happy with. If you write romances, you’ll probably want something suitably dreamy. Likewise, if you write thrillers, something fast and dramatic would likely be the best. You then need to go online, find a music site and pay for the license to use the track you want. I use StockMusicSite.com. Once you’ve paid for and downloaded your music, you should find it in My Music of Downloads. To get it onto the trailer, you need to click on ‘Home’ in Movie Make, click at the left of your first picture and then select ‘Add Music’.
Remember to make sure you choose your music and pictures from a bona fide site where you pay for the appropriate usage. Other artists also like to get paid when their work is used, so don’t be tempted to go for the non-bona fide site.
Now you want to add the CREDITS. So click on HOME then CREDITS. Then type Movie by (your name). Then, on another line, Pictures from fotolia (or wherever). Then, music: Humoresque by Dvorak (or what and whomever).
Okay, you’ve got your words, you’ve got your pictures, you’ve got your music and you’ve let the credits roll. You’ve got a Movie, baby!
Next, you want to ‘Save Project As’ to get the version of the video that can be uploaded to YouTube, etc. Once it’s saved, from File select ‘Publish Movie’ and select whichever choice you prefer. Most people go for YouTube to upload to. Naturally, you’ll have already signed up as a member for whatever site you’ve chosen for your video upload. If you haven’t this is as simple as it is for most sites. Just click on ‘Sign Up’. You don’t even have to stick at one upload. You can put it on youtube, vimeo and whatever other ones you can think of as well as on your website and blog and facebook and twitter and crimespace and… Well I think you get the idea..
Here’s a trailer I made earlier. This is a long one, but not without amusement.

Sorry. the blasted thing won’t load. Oh well. You can still see examples of my trailers on my website. Go to: http://www.geraldineevans.com/  You’ll find a number of different trailers for my books, some better than others, some with music, some without. For more examples, some made by professional outfits, log on to YouTube and click on a video. Give you some ideas for your next movie?

Once you get adept, you might even be able to put in moving pictures. If you do, you will tell me how to do it, won’t you?

MORE STOPS ON MY BLOG TOUR

Ten Tips for Writers with host Nancy J Cohen
http://nancyjcohen.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/tips-for-writers/

Third excerpt of Deadly Reunion with host Debbi Mack
http://midlistlife.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/excerpt-from-deadly-reunion-a-guest-post/

An interview with host Wendy Gager
http://wsgager.blogspot.com/2011/02/mitch-malone-mondays-geraldine-evans.html

Fourth excerpt of Deadly Reunion with host Peg Herring
http://itsamysterytomepegherring.blogspot.com/

Fifth excerpt of Deadly Reunion with host Chris Redding
http://chrisredddingauthor.blogspot.com/2011/02/excerptuesday-geraldine-evans.html

How to put a video book trailer together with host Marian Allen
http://www.marianallen.com/2011/02/a-deadly-reunion-with-geraldine-evans

An interview with host Kaye George
http://travelswithkaye.blogspot.com/2011/02/guest-blogger-geraldine-evans.html

What a lot! Sorry – I should have been putting these up every day. Trouble is, I’ve been getting deeply involved in writing my next book as well as correcting the formatting of Death Line which I’ve had converted from an Amstrad disk preparatory to putting it up as another ebook, so, as you can imagine, my head’s been pretty full.

BLOG TOUR DATES

Finally got my act together re this Blog Tour. It starts on 2 February and ends on 25 February 2011. I will be stopping off at 17 other blogs and posting comments, from how I created my first crime series, to interview, to how I made my video book trailers and many other things.

Why not stop by and leave a comment? It could win you a PRIZE as everyone who leaves a comment has their name put in a draw.

The PRIZES: for the first three names drawn from the hat, there will be one signed copy of Deadly Reunion, my latest hardback, published 24 February 2011 and one of each of my ebooks, Dead Before Morning and Down Among the Dead Men, my debut and the follow-up in my fourteen-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series.

I’ve enjoyed preparing for this first Blog Tour, though it’s been hard work as every Blog Host wanted an original posting from me, as well as a bio, a blurb, links of one sort or another and a few other things which I can’t remember. Imagine my desperation when the emails from my Blog Hosts that I’d put in a folder on my email programme couldn’t be accesssed! Aargh! I thought that was the last I’d seen of them. On my old computer it was so simple, but it in this one with all its bangs and whistles, I have to actually click on a folder link (which I hadn’t even noticed) in order to access things I’d filed. The relief when I discovered this folder link was tremendous.

Don’t forget to stop by and leave a comment. The list of Blog Tour dates and blog sites is listed on my website (http://www.geraldineevans.com/). Just click the link and it’ll take you straight to the date list for click-throughs. Looking forward to seeing you there.