Sherry told us about the pros and cons of royalty publishing versus self-publishing. While royalty published books sell on average 2000 copies, self-published books sell only 250. While royalty publishers allow very little control, self-publisher companies give you more autonomy. While royalty covers tend to look professional, self-published covers look more amateurish. While royalty publishers only give the author a small portion of the book profits, self published authors retain a large portion of the profits.
Sherry moved on to branding. She reminded us that all of our advertising should look the same: our logo, letterhead, website, promotional products, business cards, posters and taglines. Any author worth his or her salt should dress professionally when doing book signings. She said that book signings are not just a way to sell books, but to make the bookstore staff aware of your book. Later, when a customer pays a visit, the staff will be able to point it out to him or her.
Authors cannot underestimate the importance of an online presence. Whether it's Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or Youtube, they should get our name and our book out there.
There are many other ways to raise awareness about your book. Authors have the option of developping their own team of readers to post reviews on their book. Sherry recommended Randy Elrod's "How to Write a Book Review" as a good benchmark for prospective reviewers.
Sherry showed us her marketing packet, a binder full of information about her book. Authors can send out marketing packets to various groups like churches and retailers. They can promote their book in magazines and newspapers, on TV or radio.
Authors can also attend speaking engagements about their book. Sherry said that authors at the very least, should request gas money and an honorarium for such events. As authors become known, they can request a set fee. And, for successful speakers, that fee gradually increases.
Listening to Sherry was inspirational. The hard copy of her book, a Christian devotional, only came just over a year ago. At her third book signing, she met Jayne Self, the director of Write! Canada. Jayne asked her to present a continuing class at the conference and Sherry readily agreed. In the meantime, she has sold 700 copies of her book, Water in the Desert, already exceeding the average for a self published author. And she's not done yet. She's just revving the engine. As she says: "It's a long haul, not a quick trip." So, when you plan your first book launch, you'd better bring your Winnebago.