The Book Marketing Network

For book/ebook authors, publishers, & self-publishers

I'd like to start a new forum where people can talk about what's working for you right now in marketing your book.

I think this will help other authors to prioritize their activities if they can find out what's working for other people. This would be especially valuable to new authors.

I've share the hottest tool that I'm using right now. And that's Twitter. As you will note on the main page of this Book Marketing Network website, both my http://www.bookmarket.com website and this network have been rising in Alexa ranks (and visits) because of my use of Twitter.

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I interview authors on my radio show at DreamtimeRadio.com. I prefer books on self-help subjects or shamanism, magical realism, or fantasy. I also review books at DreamtimeBooks.blogspot.com. Same subject preferences. I do prefer printed books as I do not have a reader yet and do not like to sit at the computer to read an entire book. Please query me at Julia@DreamtimeRadio.com
Has anyone had any experience working with a book publicists? They promise a lot. They seem expensive. I am interested in what others may have discovered--god, bad, or indifferent.

John, I worked with two publicists last year and honestly, I don't know if I would do so again. And for the reasons you stated - promise the moon at a sky-high price. Because of my experiences - good money thrown after little to no results - I've come to consider PR people as a disinterested party.

What I mean is this: they get paid regardless of whether your book sells or not - so they have no vested interest in the outcome of your book's campaign. If the book sells well - they can jump on the bandwagon and claim - I helped this author/book succeed and can do the same for you!! Or, if the book doesn't sell and the author complains about the dismal results, they excuse it as well, that's the market or each book is different or some other excuse. As I said, they already collected their fee, but the author is left dangling with little to show for the outlay.

 

A book campaign is not a one size fit all proposition, so I would be wary of PR people or firms that offer a total package deal, especially the social-media format. Yes, they may contact thousands over the course of a few days - and you would think the 'law of averages' would gain something in the form of sales. But with so many people connected so many different way, it can become noise and the campaign cross over in the the "law of diminishing return".

 

If you want to hire a PR person or firm, get one who listens! Who will design a campaign you are comfortable with and fit within your budget. Get it in writing, with a 'pleased' clause, meaning you see results.  Whenever I pay for services, I expect to see results.

That's good advice. There should be a performance clause when you are working with publicists. They can't guarantee you specific results (i.e., get you on Oprah or Today), but they should be able to meet some sort of performance clause that you are comfortable with.

It's a process of negotiation until both parties are happy.

I learned that the hard, expensive way. I'm actually getting further on my own and with better results - sales - not as many I would like, but I only took on the full task since Sept 2010.

I've done blog interviews, obtained reviews, started an email subscriber/newsletter, scheduled 4 major book events for 2011, sent out press releases, expanded online social media and forums. All this while still preparing 2 more books for release and all the promotional stuff to go with it. PHEW! It is EVER HARD work! Although I must admit, there are days I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels, wondering if I'm getting anywhere.

Additionally, if someone wants to hire a PR person, I'd beware of one who's willing to take your money before he/she even looks at your book. If she's been pushing sub-par books (anybody who'll hand her money), then the media people she's contacting have probably learned to ignore her recommendations.

 

I hired a PR person in metro Atlanta for very specific purposes. First, I wanted help with my first press release and paid her for her advice and to tweak my first attempt. After that, I knew how to do press releases myself. Second, I wanted to leverage her connections to get into some local media. She got me on two of Atlanta's largest TV News stations (Fox 5 and Good Day Atlanta).

 

But it's important that even though we knew her already, she wanted to read my book before she would commit to doing some publicity. This means that when she contacts media folks, they know that she's recommending quality people who won't embarrass them.

 

But except in these rare cases, I do my own publicity. I know my books better than anyone else and know what niches they appeal to. And it takes time to track down those niche groups - much more time than I'm willing to pay a publicist for.

 

J. Steve Miller
President, Legacy Educational Resources
Author of Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It
"The money book for people who hate money books."
http://wisdomcreekpress.com/press_kits.html

I agree with what you're saying, Steve. Unfortunately, the situation with my first publicist is she was someone I KNEW and interacted with in my writer's group and the same conference association. She also worked with BIG name authors and a proven track record, thus I trusted her and shelled out a good bit of money. But for some reason, everything she said she was going to do - and in writing - fell flat when it came to promoting my book, which was very surprising and discouraging.
Wow, that IS discouraging. That's a good reason for us all to be learning from each other on these forums. It takes some time to read and interact, but it's one of the only ways we're going to learn what's working and what's not, and what may work best for our specific books with our specific personalities.  I know so much more now than a year ago. Much better learning from others' thousand dollar mistakes than having to part with that money for my own painful lessons. Of course, I've made my share of expensive mistakes, which I hope everyone else can learn from!

"Much better learning for others' thousand dollar mistatkes..."? OUCH, Steve. :-)

Glad you added that last sentence. lol.

Steve Manchester, who is an author friend of mine, sold over 15 books, edits, teaches workshops and runs a Wish Foundation, had told me that it takes an "active" author in promoting and marketing five years to start seeing their name and books are being known.

I know I said this before, but for the others who are new, I listen to Steve Harrison (He's in Promotions) on his telephone seminars and he told the difference between a rich and poor author.

A poor author depends on book signings and getting their books into bookstores.

A rich author looks at his/her qualities and says, "What else can I do."

Since I heard this, I've become an instructor in writer's workshops titled "Bring Your Manuscript to Publication" and it took me a full year to put the three hour program together. I'm not getting rich by it but now I've entered my class to colleges.

I offer an hour speaking on "The Effect of Alcoholism on the Whole Family" and "The Spiritual Changes Within" from my memoirs.

I've joined four other published authors and we became "Authors Without Borders" (www.awb6.com) in 2006. Why did we form our group? Because promoting and marketing is the hardest part of sales.

We spare in the expense of festivals and convention, or anything we can split.

We teach workshops, book signing, speaking engagements, poetry slams, readings and discussion panels. Last year, we finally broke into bookstores and libraries.

Take the Wish Foundation I'm going to in March in Fall River, MA. This is a comedy night and dinner. Steven Manchester runs it and he has a table just for authors. I made up over 100 postcards from Vista Print with the picture of my three memoir book covers on the front of it and the back has my name, address, telephone number, blog and website.  I will be leaving about four on each table. Between 200-300 people go.  If there are leftover postcards on the table at the end of the night, I'll pick them up to save.

As authors, we have to jump on the smallest opportunity. Yes, I may not get one sale out of this idea....BUT....what if I do?

 

Shawn, Are your books fiction or non-fiction. It seems to me, as a writer of fiction, that the market is generally more responsive to an on-target work of non-fiction or spiritual writing than a work of fiction that can get lost in the crowd. Comments, anyone?

Steve, I had been getting calls from this promoting company in California. It sounded so good, again, starting point was not under $1,500. A woman salesperson, hit it off with me. We connected. I told her I wasn't ready...but may be interested in the future.

This woman left the company and called me, only because we became friends. She told me that she left this company because of the crookedness with the company to the people paying; most times they never continue to push you into TV or radio shows if they get no replies; they make off they are when you call. She couldn't handle the lies and refused to do it with her customers.

All authors want is a reliable company meaning what they say. Where are they?

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