This is a forum to allow people to showcase the things they've done that have worked well for them in marketing their books. Please share your stories here. Then we can all read them and learn from them. If we work together, we will all be much stronger and more successful in marketing our books.
Knowing how tough it is for an unknown author to get published and knowing how difficult it is for an individual to nationallly market a self-published book, I did everything bass ackwards and it has worked beautifully!
After self-publishing my book, To Bee or Not to Bee, a year and a half ago I got a website made www.ToBeeBook.com which included a 60 second trailer. Then I identified email addresses of over 100 foreign literary agents through internet research and sent them a brief descriptive email with the link to the trailer. This piqued the interest of a dozen or so who requested a review copy. Several of them took me on and offers for translation rights from foreign publishers started coming--Korean, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Chinese and Romanian--with advances totaling nearly $40k. Several other languages are in the works. I strongly recommend using literary agents (as opposed to contacting publishers directly); they are worth their weight in gold.
With this track record I sent out 50 books to American literary agents, several of whom responded. I chose one and within 2 months had a contract with a nice advance from Sterling Publishing, a subsidiary of Barnes and Noble, for World English Rights. To Bee or Not to Bee will be re-released in hardcover in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia this fall.
If you feel your book has universal appeal I recommend going this route. I'd be gald to provide details and some sites that have lots of foreign rights agents listed.
Thanks for telling your story. I would love to know the names of the websites with foreign rights agents listed.
I have published a funny book about my experiences of the benefits of yoga, to encourage others to try yoga and reap the benefits. The book is titled "Where Are My Ankles? How Iyengar Yoga Rescued Me From Stress, Fear and a Very Bad Back." The book also offers a coupon for a free yoga class.
You can check out the book at www.funnypath.com and reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Even if you're not famous, but do get published by a major publisher, the publisher will still expect you to do a lot of your own publicity. I had to hire a publicist for my first cookbook (Macmillan) because they had no plans to send me anywhere and did not have contacts within the Jewish community, my target audience. They did get me terrific press. My second book was published by another large company, Morrow. This time around I did not hire a publicist and sales fell well short of their expectations. They also did not send me on any tours - virtual or otherwise. So lots of these ideas are pertinent whether or not you do manage to get published.
A few weeks ago I did a Virtual Book Tour for one of my books, Abundant Gifts, that was going out of print. In one week I sold 124 books! Compare that to a traditional book store signing in which it's typical for few people to show up or buy the book. There was no travel involved, I got the email addresses of people who asked questions about my book's topics, and I am able to continue to promote this page, add to my email list, and sell books.
I also set up Virtual Book Tours for other authors, and even publishers are interested. I have set up a FAQ page with more information on Virtual Book Tours. I also have articles on my site about them. Finally, you can ask me any question you have about how a Virtual Book Tour can save you time and money, sell more books, connect you with readers, ignite word of mouth, build your mailing list--to name just a few of the benefits.
Since my book is on soap making, I joined many and various soap making groups on Yahoo. I participate actively in these groups, and of course have a signature line that has a link to my book. I place ads on the days that they are allowed, but I feel that active participation and giving advice leads to more book sales. People perceive me to be an expert when they read my advice, then they click the link, and there you go.
Regarding MySpace... it depends on your topic. To promote National Invisible Chronic illness Awareness Week which we sponsor (I have illness books from a Christian perspective) we started a MySpace page and have had over 20,600 people in 2 MONTHS come from MYSPACE to our CHRISTIAN site... amazing! Many are from our MySpace page, but having it there, created a lot of people linking to it or talking about it so 200-400 people may come from someone else's MySpace site to our web page. Has definately helped book sales with us and on Amazon.com a bit. We've also sold more promotional goodies.