I haven’t sold my first book yet, but I want to be ready when it finally happens to me. It’s bound to be soon, since I’ve been at it for so long and invested more than enough hours… but enough whining. When I sign my first publishing contract, I want to know what’s expected of me as far as marketing goes. So I’ve dug into my collection of blogs (I’ve been saving them for YEARS) and pulled out everything I could find on marketing. I’m also blogging on this topic every Saturday at Melody Steiner’s site, so head over there for more great posts. Today’s topic comes from Joan Webb She posted this on August 1, 2011, and I’m blatantly copying a bunch right out of her article. She listed ten specific marketing methods that worked for her. I’ll list them, then comment.
(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)
1. “Mail gift copies of the book (with a personal letter) to strategic ministry and business people that you know.” I’m guessing she writes non-fiction and her books have a special place in ministry. However, even fiction writers can network this way. For instance, the local public library might appreciate a free copy of your book. You could also ask to do a book signing and/or a public speaking gig at the library to promote the book and drum up some sales as well as library check-outs.
2. “Create a website and start to blog regularly. Share guest blogging with friends and colleagues.” I know this works because I’ve tried it. I’ve been a guest blogger at Melody Steiner’s site before, and she’s been at mine. We’ve both noticed an increase in blog traffic on those days. The key to blog posts is to have content that matters to the readers. If you’re just blogging about the weather and the condition of your kitchen sink, no one will come back for more.
3. “Cooperate with your publishers’ team to do interviews.” Ooh, I’m so ready to have a publishing team! But even without a team, I’m capable of setting up radio and newspaper interviews on my own. Local stations and newspapers like to do local spotlights. You don’t need a publicist to get an appointment.
4. “Join social networking like Facebook.” This also includes Twitter and Pinterest. I’m not a huge Twitter fan, but I do it anyway. I’ve found Pinterest can be a lot of fun and a huge time drain, but it’s worth it.
5. “Consider doing a blog book tour. You will enlarge your online base.”
6. “Develop a contact list and email regular newsletters.” This is one of those things that I’ve heard mixed messages on. Some say that newsletters are a waste of time. Others swear by them. One of my favorite authors sends one out quarterly, and I always read it. If she can do it successfully, I should be able to, also. Can’t hurt to try, right? When you do those public speaking things, put out a sign-up sheet and see how many people show interest.
7. “Distribute business cards with the name/cover of your latest book.” This is an inexpensive and easy thing to do. It takes seconds to hand one over. The hard part, for me, is introducing myself to a stranger in the first place.
8. “Get a 2-3 minute video (some call it a book trailer).” Again, I’ve heard mixed reviews on this idea. You can put it on You Tube, your own website, your Pinterest board, even in a guest blog spot. You’ll need to find a healthy balance on this one, though. You don’t want to spend lots of bucks creating a super-duper book trailer, but you also don’t want to go cheap. Quality counts.
9.” Speak/share on your book topics…. speaking, teaching, presenting, and facilitating workshops equals marketing.” You don’t have to do large speaking engagements, either. You could conduct small classes on freeconference.com on a weekly basis, if you can find enough people to make it worth your while.
10. “Do book signings.” I think this got brought up previously, but it can also stand alone. They can be disappointing and humiliating if no one shows up, but they can also be fun and productive. Increase the chances of success by inviting two or three other local authors to join you. That way, if no customers show up, you still have great people to talk to and commiserate with.
Did anything in that list stand out as something you’d like to try? Share with me your successes and failures at any of these endeavors, or just add your two-cent’s worth for the group’s benefit.