What do you think about all of us sharing our blogs and writings..and making a commitment to make comments on them. I think this alone will work well for all of us..as long as we do not overdo it...I write for Seattlepi reader bloggers,,Would love to have some comments and it puts me on front page...WHat does anyone think? carol stanley
Well, my blog is http://lindipendente.splinder.com, but I do not write there as a writer but as a journalist. I also publish articles of other people, that is, I have collaborators. It has an ISSN number too, like a real magazine. Most articles are in Italian language, but in the last few months I wrote also English articles. I accept comments in Italian, English, French, and Spanish.
A promo technique I have used, is not expensive, and effective is to design bookmarks containing incipit's of my books. Then I ordered 10,000 bookmarks at a professional typography. It required only few hundreds euro, but bookmarks are a good way to promote books. I distributed them in the major bookstores in Italy. Everybody wants free bookmarks since they are useful, whatever book you purchase ;-)
Bookmarks are a great promotional tool. The most effective bookmarks were 2 inches wide by 8 inches long. An effective layout for the book mark is to put the picture of the book cover plus the publishers’ contact information. Nothing is printed on the back.
A cost saving trick is to gang print the bookmarks when you print your paperback book covers. Typically, there is extra space on the printing sheet when a cover is printed. Use the extra space to print your bookmarks. The bookmarks can be laminated at the same time as the book covers, then separated when cutting the cover.
I actually work for a very small publisher. We recently published a first novel by David P. Shepherd entitled Resurrecting Randi. (www.resrandi.com.) One of the first endorsements we got was from one of the world's most important writers, Nobel Laureate J. M. Coetze. That was soon followed by Pulitzer Prize winner David Oshinsky who said he "couldn't put it down." Suddenly we knew we had a much bigger book than we realized, but alas, our budget was fixed. So, we decided to put enthusiastic readers to work. Those who had read the book and were willing to advocate for it can join our networking site at http://resrandi.ning.com. And, we even have a program to give away complimentary copies to some applicants. While sales have yet to explode, they are ticking up and the popularity of the site suggests that it will lead to critical mass.
My main problem is distribution. Right now my books are ONLY available from my website. I believe this severely curtails the ability to reach possible buyers. The reason for this limitation is that I published them by having them printed by a traditional book printer (Bookmasters.com). I have the boxes of books in my basement, and every time I look for distribution methods I bounce off.
The easy way to get distribution these days is POD, but in order to go that route I would need to republish them and I've not yet felt that this would be worthwhile. So I feel stuck and am gearing up on my third book ("How your life story is the ultimate self help tool"). I hope I can figure out how to sell this one better than the last two.
BookMasters has Atlas Books to distribute books. Atlas is a traditional book distributor. As such, they have three distinct functions: 1) selling your books to major vendors (such as Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Borders and the discount stores such as Target, WalMart, Sam's Club). 2) distributing books (warehousing, picking, packing and shipping) and, increasingly, 3) marketing (promoting, publicity, etc.).
Atlas Books, like any distributor, will want to examine your books for their suitability to their customers, the aforementioned major vendors. Part of what the major vendors want from a distributor is the appraisal that the books they sell to them are professionally written, edited, designed (including a cover that competes with similar books in your genre) and that the books are available in sufficient quantities if they become popular.
Getting into bookstores through a distributor also requires lead time. Most vendors require a four to six month lead time between knowing about a book and the publication date. Purchasing decisions made by vendors are budgeted that far in advance. Anything less than this amount of lead time only hurts your chances that your book will be bought.
Another option for you may be to sell your books through Amazon. You can join Amazon's Advantage program for a nominal, annual fee. Amazon Advantage will buy your book for 55% off the retail priice and make it available on their website. If your book retails for $20, for example, Amazon will buy it for $9.
Some people bristle at the 55% discount, but this is less than the 70% discount the distributors demand.
This begs the question of how much each book cost you to produce. Your books have to have been printed for less than $9 (in our earlier example) for you to have some additional money for marketing and profit.