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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 http://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.
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.