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What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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Getting into bookstores outside of my region (New England) of the country.
Rita,

Is your book currently in bookstores in New England? If it is, is it selling?

If it is selling—and selling well—it won't be long before your book registers on the BookScan sales statistics. You can then contact independent bookstores in areas outside of New England to tell them about your success.

If your book is really selling well, it won't be long before the bookstores—both independent and chain—will be contacting you.
My biggest challenge is overcoming the retail price my publisher set for my book---I think it is out of line for a new author----but hey no one said it would be easy ---
JW,

It's true nobody said "it would be easy." On the other hand, there are some rules to observe when pricing a book.

There are two ways to price a book: 1) cost plus pricing and 2) market pricing. Cost plus pricing is derived by taking the cost to print the book and multiplying it by a factor. In the old publishing model, the factor was 8 times the printing cost. That allowed enough margin to pay the steep costs of distribution. Using cost plus pricing, a book that costs $2.49 to print would sell for $19.95. In the new publishing model, on-demand printing has changed the multiplier, somewhat. The multiplier may be as low as 3 times (1/3 for printing, 1/3 for marketing and 1/3 for profit). Why? Because there are alternative ways to reach readers that are not quite as expensive as the bookstore distribution chain—distribution such as the Internet.

Market pricing is determined by other books in your category or genre. The easiest way to determine the market price for your book is to go to several bookstores. I recommend one chain bookstore (such as Borders, Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million), one independent bookstore and Amazon. Check for other titles in your genre. Record the title of the book, the publisher, the number of pages and the retail selling price. As you are gathering this information, certain pricing trends will emerge. You will see prices converging to an average. It's that average price that the other publishers value their books. Travel books, for instance, average between $12.95 and $14.95.
Michael,

Driving traffic to your website is the new marketing mantra. There are ways to induce people to your site without using ads. What are you doing now to drive traffic?

Have you considered using an "ethical bribe" to induce people to your site and to gather names for your mailing list? An ethical bribe is offering the visitor something free in return for their name and e-mail address. Some authors offer a special report or a chapter from their book. Others offer discounts on current or future books. Whatever you use, exchange it for the name and e-mail address. In that way, you can build a mailing list for any future writing projects.
Hi Michael,
A great and no cost way to drive traffic is through article marketing, meaning writing articles about your subject and them posting them to article directories. Ezinearticles.com is the largest and most respected and I feel the best place to start. To find out the "how to", Article Guy Jeff Herring, is probably the best. He gives plenty of free info and offers several classes and things like that.

If you are a freelance writer, (or learn the skills to become one) placing articles with mags and ezines in your subject is another way to do it. Posting on other people's blogs leaving your site address in your signature is useful too.

Hope that helps.

Cheryl Pickett
www.publishinganswers.com
Offering an ethical bribe isgreat...however they have to find you for this to happen...And I think people may be getting tired of all the offers that constantly keep popping up...SEO...those seem to be the magic three letters..any suggestions? carol stanley "For Kids 59.99 and Over"
Carol,

SEO is the buzzword du jour. There are many companies offering Search Engine Optimization. Most are generalist SEO companies, however, not geared to the publishing industry.

For SEO from a company that understands the book industry, contact Jennifer Thompson at Monkey C Media (www.monkeycmedia.com) in San Diego, CA.
My biggest challenenge to my book is to how to get the word out to a lot of people. That's mine quite honestly
Tyler,

Getting the word out may be easier than you think. Figure that people who will want to read your book are like you. Think of places where people like you congregate—either in person or online. Think of magazines you read, web sites you visit or communities you belong to. Concentrate your efforts on these areas to attract readers to your book. Get reviewers to review your book on Amazon or BN.com. The easiest way to get reviewers is to submit a free request for reviewers to Dan Poynter's newsletter Poynter's Marketplace. Reviewers will request your book and write a favorable review for you.
The biggest challenge I've encountered so far is setting book signing events. Working within my budget constraint - it's a challenging purchasing enough to cover an event.
Hi Michelle,
Look in your local newspaper or special event pages. Get a few authors together to join you in getting a booth. I've joined a writer's group for three years and we have around 12 authors who go around together to cut the cost of the booth. Oct we have six authors for a two day event that cost $150. Each will pay $25. Not bad. The sales of the books, help us order more and we start the cycle again.
If you don't have many friends who are authors, join a writer's group at a bookstore. Great networking, too.

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