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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Thanks Steve, I may call on this company for a quote. Do you mind is I use your name?
Which of my replies were you referring to? Want to make sure what I was recommending.

Shawn, Thanks. Scary stuff. Also, how can one possibly project with the costs would be in addition to the publicist's fee to cover travel, lodging, etc. It would really add up as well and make the experience all the more bitter if the payoff was not anything near what one expected.

My books are fiction - YA fantasy. The problem is I write allegorical - a cross between Lewis and Tolkien- so there is a moral base, even though the books are available in both ABA or CBA markets since the line is now blurred between them. However, she was targeting CBA, and the Christian market is slow to warm up to fantasy.

 

You seem to be under a misconception about publicist and travel. With today's internet and instant communication technology, travel isn't as crucial as it once was. Almost everything she agreed to do was done from home - either snail mail - as in mailing physical books - or via the internet through email contact. No travel was ever involved. In fact, my publisher shipped books to her home for the campaign.

 

She based her price on a range of promised work, which she didn't fulfill and I ended up with something other than was agreed upon. Despite the "pleased" clause she balked and said the substitute was MORE expensive than what was originally agreed so she satisfied her end of the contract. For me to push it would mean litigation. So I just chalked it up to a costly experience - and one I'm not eager to repeat any time soon.

 

Thus, with the second publicist I hired for the release of my 2nd book, I went with an a la cart method and ONLY paid for a service I wanted. This was far less money - and some I could lose if it didn't work - but yielded less results than the first one. In the end, I've come to view PR people as disinterested parties, since it doesn't matter to them if the book succeed as they get paid regardless. If I ever use one again, I must look at it like gambling, and be able to afford to lose the money rather than gain anything.

Shawn,

 

Thanks for sharing your experiences. That helps all of us.

Publicity's a funny thing in many ways, whether we're doing our own or paying someone else. Sometimes it's hard to judge success. Although neither of my Atlanta news interviews resulted in immediate sales, they gave me very professional video footage to put up on Youtube. And since it often takes several exposures for people to make a decision, you never know who might have heard about your book one place and later bought it at another.

I'll tell you what is shocking me. My blog www.albertasequeira.wordpress.com is getting wonderful comments from people. They find my blog educational on the substance abuse. They also said my other topics, besides addiction, are helpful with their other decisions.

I find joining Author Central on Amazon wonderful. This shows the authors "where" our books are being sold. Believe me, I'm not clearing off the shelves. I sold one in     New York City, Indianapolis, IN and Los Angeles, CA. 

Why am I excited with only three book sales?  Look at the different states that are buying.  Word of mouth is the biggest sales pitch to an author so I hope this spreads the knowledge of my books. I've noticed this with the blog I set up.

Last month I sold in NY, NJ and PA. Only three but they are selling. If the sales were in one state, I wouldn't be looking hopeful, but look at the range of states.

Authors all need "something" to show we may be breaking through. If we don't, we lose all ambition and desire to go forward with promoting, marketing, book signing,  and calling on the media for interviews.

I'm just starting to make it a "job" to go onto my blog and website www.albertasequeira.com at least four times a week to polish it up with different topics. Adding your excerpt and reviews from your books may be the right tease to get readers to purchase your book.

I just had my "one and only" e-book sale and you'd think I hit gold! We need our sense on humor, and more importantly, I'd be lost without this network.

Shawn, thanks again. I am trying to do as much on the internet and through the mail as possible. I think that the marketing picture is different for folks who live in a large city that offers its own well defined regional market, oranizations, etc, than for those who live in smaller towns and villages for whom a trip to a city of any size almost always means a day away from home. In the case of the latter, the population is not there to create a strong regional market. Organizations like book clubs, writers groups, etc do not exists. Opportunities for speaking to groups is limited and when available, they do not bring in scores of people, but a couple dozen at best. Few will pay for a speaker. There may be one, or at best two, bookstores of the mom-and-pop variety. A radio or TV interview means travel, as do book signings, and sometimes overnight lodging. In order to make the travel dollar pay off, days need to be spent in advance lining up appointments. It's Willy Lohman all over again. Perhaps a publicist would be of greater benefit to the more remotely situated writer.  The publicist needs to deliver, however. I could not agree more.

 

Comments, anyone.

John, I can tell you being in a larger city doesn't necessarily mean access to media and regional markets. I live in Nashville and this is MUSIC City, local authors have a hard time getting any media notice, which is strange considering all the publishers either headquartered or have a imprint office here. Everything in this city revolves around MUSIC - or the Titans. NASCAR and the Predators get some notice, but NOT authors.

 

The Southern Festival of Books is not much to write home about. Last year I toured the venue to determine if it was profitable for me to be a future participant - no. They boasted about 200 authors last year, but it was all confined to paid attendees at their speaking engagement with very little interaction and activity on the "Plaza" for the locals. There were perhaps a couple of dozen vendors and a few kids activities.

 

The one book festival that is OUTSTANDING is Decatur, held over the Labor Day Weekend in Decatur, GA. I was an Emerging Author last year and will return this year. The organizers know how to throw a community-wide book festival with, I believe, an estimated 80,000 in attendance last year.

 

If you can find a good book festival about 4 hours or so from where you live, go. This can do more than a publicist since it give you face-to-face personal interaction with readers.

Shawn, thanks again. Too bad we can't get others to jump in on this topic. I did not intend to minimize the challenges of marketing in a metropolitian area, although I can see how my statement may have came off that way. My intention was to point out some important differences between metropolitan and rural marketing to suggest that while the role a publicist plays may be the same in both, greater benefit may be available to the remotely located writer. Perhaps not. At this point, I have heard so little in favor of using a publicist that they may not be of much benefit no matter what the writer's circumstances.  

 

One has already been crossed off my list. They didn't even bother to reply to my letter of inquiry.

No, I didn't think you were minimizing anything. My example of Nashville was more to show the irony. In fact, other than visiting schools, most of my events have been outside Nashville.

Just be prepare to do a lot of work in promoting and marketing. Think a bit outside the box of where your book would fit - other than a book store. Perhaps a gift shop or flea market booth.

Good comments, Shawn. In the end, nobody is going to care about your book as much as you do. To look for others to do the things we can do ourselves ends up being expensive and less productive because the caring isn't there. They are interested in the money, not your book. 

 

That doesn't mean we need to write them off, but we shouldn't be misled into thinking they are going to sell us tons of books. That wasn't my experience.

John, I thought about doing the same thing with seeking out a publicist. I met Tory Johnson, an author, at the Massachusetts Woman's Conference in Boston last December. I found her website and emailed her explaining our meeting and my background with talks, etc. I asked, "When does an author know when to invest in a publicist?"
She asked me how much money I charged with my talks and the sales profits from my books, which are moving, but not flying.  Putting my finances together, she said that I was not ready for one. Tory told me an author has to build up their name to where they are very well known and your sales are growing.  You have to have a large following with book signings and talks to say you're ready. Until that happens, she advised me to not invest in this service because they would have to work extremely hard to get me known where it's worth their time.

I hope this helps. I think none of us would mind putting money out but there is no guarantee we'll make anything or they will do anything for us.

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