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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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Charlotte,
You are right to start early, you might have mentioned the title of your book in your comment, that would be a beginning. You will find that marketing is a full time job, much harder than writing the book in the first place. We face a new dawn in publishing and the key word is self, that word is now added to every facet of the process from writing to sale. I have not clicked on your name, but if I do, will I find some information about your book? My point is; put your book information everywhere that readers can see it. What was the old Sunday school song about putting your talents under a basket? You will find the process fun, exciting and a gathering of friends and supporters. Good luck to you and don't be shy about letting us know about your progress, because some of us here can and do read books written by others. Dr McGinnis (The Paradise Series) See what I mean? Paradise Series, get it? Let us know.
My biggest challenge is trying to promote my book. I really don't know where to begin.
http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/AreMenReallyDogs.html
Dr. Stein,

Your book and mine are similar in several ways, so that if you follow some of my marketing efforts (I self-published through my own press in March, using BookSurge), you should find that I've saved you a lot of time in trying to find what works and what doesn't. Mine's on helping people with their personal finance; yours on helping people deal with their weight problems. Both of these are subjects that are continually in the news and that there are thousands of newsletters, blogs, sites, etc., dedicated to the subject that have to come up with new angles all the time.

The distributors I contacted turned me down and I've since decided that bookstores aren't the best places to sell my book. And since they charge about 70% of the retail, I was probably going to lose money at the price I had my book at. (If you do get a distributor, you might be able to argue for keeping your Amazon royalties for yourself, so that you don't lose most of your profit there.) Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to market books.

Here's an extensive outline of my recommendations on marketing books - particularly books like ours: http://wisdomcreekpress.com/how-to-market-your-books.htm

Many points link to posts on my blog that expand upon the subject.

Would love to follow you in your marketing efforts. Keep asking questions and reporting back on this forum. We'd all love to learn from your experiences!

Also, I'm trying to compare BookSurge and Lightning Source on Amazon sales. Can you tell me exactly how much money you get from an Amazon sale? Do you have to subtract anything from that, like shipping costs or anything? I have a discussion going on about this in a list serve and people are disagreeing.

You'll probably want to enter your book in some contests before the end of the year. They have lots of categories, so that you have a decent chance of winning a category, and a great chance of being a finalist. I've listed the contests I sent mine to in my blog. I won the "personal finance" category in the "All Books" contest, which allows me to put a nice star on my book saying, "Best Books Award Winner, USA Book News." A good way to separate yourself out from the hordes of books in your field.
Sara,

I did an initial press release about my book on about 4 free press release sites, and got no response at all. (I really didn't expect anything, since so many books are published, announcing a new book isn't really news, unless I'm a presidential candidate.

But then I did a paid release through Bostick ( http://www.bostickcommunications.com/custom4.html ), and within an hour I had about 20 responses, including one from TV and two from radio. I got a good radio interview out of it. Apparently, members of the press don't have time to look at all the free stuff, but listen to these more targeted press releases from places like Bostick, which they trust.

See my experiences under "i-1" of my outline.

So does your relationship with Amazon happen automatically through Lightning Source, or do you have to order from Lightning Source and set up your own account with Amazon? And you're netting about $2 per book sold on Amazon. Right?

J. Steve Miller
Author of Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
http://wisdomcreekpress.com/press_kits.html
Sara, Steve,

Someone I know just launched a book in the pretty crowded "self publishing" field and used PRWeb for press release duties. About a week later I was doing a Google search for something and realized his book had gone to #1 in Google for the phrase I was searching for, which is pretty remarkable. I don't know what they cost, and I'm sure it's not the cheapest, but it might pay to check them out.

Nice job on your blog, Steve, gathering all your marketing articles together, thanks for that!
PRWeb looks pretty good. Thanks for the tip!

I'm having a hard time getting my hands around the press release industry. Some press releases are free. Bostick will send it out nationally for $175. (For less money, they'll send it to only the states you want.) From Bostick I rec'd about 20 responses from media. So I knew it made an impact - much better than the free releases - but from a budgeting perspective, I don't think I need to keep putting out $175 press releases.

PR Web starts at $80 - http://www.prweb.com/pr/press-release-price.html .

The Jenkins group (http://www.targetedmediarelease.com/) starts at $499 (they help you put your press release together).

I wonder if someone has taken the exact same press release and released it through several of these groups, to see which got them the most media attention. I have no way to evaluate whether one is a better deal than another.

And I wonder if there's become some industry standard among publishers - like they'll send out one press release through a paid, targeted firm, for each book released. Or, they send out four press releases through the free groups for each of their books.

Perhaps press releases aren't typically cost effective for books. Maybe we'd do better spending our time finding the top blogs and publications on the topics we write on - comment on their blogs and ask the editors if we can send a free copy for review.

Bill Frank or some other in-the-know person, can you give us some direction?
My press release through Bostick got responses from some radio stations, so I assume all that's included.

The guy who wrote "Rich Dad; Poor Dad", which has been extremely successful, got virtually no response from his publicist's efforts (couple of tiny radio stations), but paid to be included in the Radio-TV Interview Report
http://www.rtir.com/index.html (I'm pretty sure this is the one), and started getting all kinds of reviews.

I'm concentrating on one thing at a time and am still collecting names of the top bloggers, periodicals, etc. in personal finance, to get the word out to. After that, I'm thinking of putting my name in the Radio-TV Interview Report to start working radio. For a past book, I did about 30 radio interviews. Almost all of them were from home, so that it was a good way to go.

With your topic, your unique qualifications, and your unique angle, I'd assume you could get a lot exposure in the media. If you can make your best interview segments available on your author site (online press kit or whatever), then radio folks will probably check your site to see if you can handle interviews.

Keep us up with the results of your efforts. My TV interviews (Fox 5 Atlanta and CBS Atlanta News) didn't result in any sales, but I bought the rights to digital copies (c. $45 each) so that I could put them on youtube and link to them from my press page, letting the media know that I could communicate well. I understand that typically, unless you're talking Oprah, radio tends to work better than TV in selling books.
Hi Steve,
I sent my bio to Bostick Communications two days ago and waiting to hear back from their editor. Is it a long process to wait.

Yes---I'm anxious after hearing about your calls. The testimonials all say the same as you about getting them within "minutes" after the Press Release goes out.

I don't think $175 is that much to invest. Thank for the other tip locations from you and Sara.

This has to be my favorite chat room.
Alberta,

Couldn't find an "add reply" below your last comment, so I put it here. That's odd that they're not getting back with you. They were very communicative with me. Maybe something didn't get through. I think you can even call them on the phone. Make sure you study up on how to do a press release. It's an animal all to itself. They'll look over your release to make sure it's appropriate.

Keep us up with how it goes!
Steve,
RTIR has been around a long time. I used them with pretty good success over 20 years ago, so I would say they probably know what they're doing and have some level of effectiveness. Let us know what happens!
Steve,
Ken emailed me saying that they received my Press Release and gave it to the editors. He told me what to put into three parts. I also have an editor in my group "Authors Without Borders" (there are six of us) and he does Press Releases so I went from there.
I may call them Friday and ask. It takes seconds to read a two page Press Release.
I'll keep in contact with you.
Hi Steve and Joel,

I just received this in one of my emails from Bostick:

The Editor states that you should receive average response (5-15 requests) from
your book distribution. He commented that the market is flooded with memoirs at
this time.

If you wish to proceed he recommends that you include more synopsis
or material from the book to capture the contacts attention.

Please advise as to your intention.

Is this anything that you received?

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