"Most of us wouldn't cook an entree for the first time without following a recipe , and having a marketing plan for your book can make the difference between success and falling flat."
Well known authors with many books to their credit can look forward to financial support when they market their novel. However, for first time or little known authors, this is not the case. Be prepared to market your own book. Marilyn Henderson offers several tips to get you started on the road to success (http://www.writing-world.com/promotion/buzz.shtml).
Get acquainted with the managers and staff at local bookstores. You will have an opportunity to do that in the six to eighteen months it takes for your book to be published, once you've signed a contract. Attend book signings and buy books. Become a familiar face at bookstores. Independent stores are one thing, but big changes are another story: your book must be in their computer before they will order it. If you are self-published, contact the Small Press Department of the chain's headquarters to see if they will carry your book.
Reviews are a good way to spread the word about your new book. Marilyn Henderson recommends that you make a list of magazines, newspapers, e-zines and websites where you can request reviews. Google "review novels", followed by "search within results", followed by "submit book". Search sites related to your book subject.
Book clubs, a formidable force, can be found in most mid to large cities. Contact book clubs and suggest that they use your book as one of their selections. Offer to attend one of their discussion meetings.
The Internet is also a powerful tool to use in marketing your book. You might discover a chat room where your book is being discussed. Once again, it's an opportunity to spread the word about your work.
Not all promotion has to be costly. Order bookmarks and postcards with the image of your book cover on them. Marilyn Henderson suggests printing an enticing excerpt on them to peak the reader's interest. Leave bookmarks by the cash register of your neighbourhood bookstore. Distribute them at writing conventions and workshops. Have them handy to hand out when the occasion arises.
Now is the time to create your own website, if you haven't already done so. Post reviews of your book. Share "free read" scenes. If your book involves catering, post a recipe. If your book involves cars, post safety tips about driving on the freeway. If you've written about bird watching, post a chart of the birds in your region. Post a well researched tip sheet about your topic.
Turn business or family trips into marketing experiences for your book. If you are travelling to a city anyway, use your free time to visit the local bookstore.
Marilyn Henderson points out that networking is a vital part of marketing your book. Hang out with fellow writers and share ideas. Participate in joint signings, joint book launches and panel appearances at schools, libraries and bookstores. My husband pointed out that it is commonplace at university for one department, for example, history, to have a joint book launch. Brush up on your public speaking skills and give talks about your book to rotary clubs, women's guilds, or other groups who would be interested in your topic.
Above all, Marilyn Henderson reminds us that marketing "isn't a one shot deal, it's an ongoing process." What are you waiting for?
Note: For more information, read 1001 Ways to Market Your Book by John Kremer at http://blog.bookmarket.com/2012/02/jack-canfield-on-how-he-got-lucky-in.html.
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