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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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The 200 book figure always makes me feel good. It's achievable!! After one year, I've sold 1,000 of my self published version of Where Rebels Roost, an 800 page nonfiction history of civil rights in the Mississippi Delta. When I feel badly, I think of this figure and know more can be sold. Of course, I've trimmed it down and it will soon be an e-book. Thanks for your help!
Right on, Steve. I've sold my self-help books everywhere from restaurants, to Mail Boxes, to my local pet store!

The pet store owner was a friend who liked the book. My rationale was that, if you're in a pet store and read self-help, my book was the only one you saw:-) He probably sold as many copies of the original edition of Handbook to a Happier Life as any book store wit the exception of my local indy.
I've just started Twitter but I must admit that I don't see what's so great about it. To me it's just like every other social network except that you can list what you're doing every second. You can now do that on Facebook and MySpace so now Twitter's not that different. I am not one who is able to sit on Twitter all day tweeting, so maybe that's why I don't see the big deal. I check in to see who is following me and check up on a few tweets but that takes a few seconds and I am gone, LOL. It's kind of boring to me and I really don't see the big deal! As far as helping with book sales, I don't know because I haven't used it long enough. Some authors say it helped them IF they could make contacts with the right people but it's not a miracle in book selling like some folks think. It's also very hard to find other writers and authors on Twitter and that's my biggest problem. Their search method sucks.

For me, online method as a whole is working best. I also think it's too hard for an author to say what's working and what's not. You can't know what's helping you sell or what brings people to your web site. All you can do is promote the best you can and use what's best for you. There is no way that an author can be sure of what site or mode of promotion brought them sales. You gotta just go with what you enjoy doing and that way you'll work with it long enough for it to work.

One thing I've learned is that no one mode of promotion works for everyone. You gotta do what works for you and what you're comfortable with so you'll be successful. It also depends on where you live. It's easier to do on-foot promotion if you live in the East Coast and especially New York because there are tons of literary events and opportunities for authors. I live in Houston and we do not have tons of events or other literary things though we do have a lot of authors here. So, your location plays a factor. Some folks do better with events and others do not. Some cannot afford to travel or just aren't able and others are. You gotta do what works for you and I suggest not breaking your pockets to do it. Most authors think they gotta go to EVERY event in every city and this is not effective at all. Most authors who do book signings and festivals don't sell as much as authors who never do them. I now have a rule. I stay close to home with events unless my publisher pays me to go somewhere. It's not worth it to bleed your pockets and not get the books sold in return.

Best Wishes!
http://www.stacy-deanne.net
Twitter is simply a tool, not a big deal. But it does have impact. It is driving 10 to 20% of the traffic that comes to my main website at http://www.bookmarket.com. That means I'm getting 5,000 to 10,000 more visitors to my website each month.

I have 13,700 followers, so many of the people coming from Twitter don't follow me but catch a mention about my site from someone else - someone who is following me.

Now, Twitter is simply a tool. The more important thing to do on the Internet is to create relationships with targeted high-traffic websites who already have the audience you want to reach. That's the first and key lesson I teach in my Ten Million Eyeballs Internet marketing self-learning course (http://www.tenmillioneyeballs.com).

This network generates about 3 to 5% of the traffic that comes to BookMarket.com. Most of my traffic comes from Google and my partner websites.
Good comments, Stacy. Concerning your comment, "I also think it's too hard for an author to say what's working and what's not."

I think that's typically true. I published my first book with a traditional publisher. Since traditional publishers start off sending catalogs to distributors and bookstores, sales can start off with a bang and it's hard to track whether future sales are a result of past or present marketing.

But since I published my latest book through my own publishing company, and almost all sales are through Amazon.com, I can see pretty quickly what's working and what's not. (Each Amazon sale is reported within 24 hours). At this point, I think I can account for about 95% of my sales. Basically, when I do some promotion, the book sells. When I don't, nothing sells - Nada, Zero. That makes it easy to track what's working. It's only been out for three months, so these are just my initial efforts.

Here's the good, the bad and the ugly:

1) When my wife told her friends on Facebook, several sold over the next few days. Then, nothing.

2) When MidWest Book Review put out a five-star review of my book, three copies sold over the next 24 hours, then nothing. (More may come later, since they'll recommend it in their publications to libraries, etc.)

3) When I was interviewed on Fox 5 News, Atlanta, and CBS Good Day Atlanta (twice), none sold. Yet, the stations did a great job of pushing the book and showing how to purchase it. (As some research said, "viewers view, readers read.") But I paid $40 each to get rights to use these interviews, and put them up on YouTube, linking back to my Web-based press kit. It was a great way to get some expose and to get a professional promo videos on the cheap! I don't think anything has sold as a result of the YouTube Videos, but as I pursue other publicity, radio stations can see how I do in an interview.

4) About 8 sold after the financial columnist at the Oakland (California) Tribune wrote a column on it.

5) Most sales have come from people giving it as gifts. Example: One CPA bought 100 copies to give away to grads. A pastor bought 30 copies to give to grads. (Since I gave them a discount by ordering directly through me, I know these sales.)

6) I sent a press release through 5 recommended press release sites and haven't noticed any response.

7) I sent an e-letter to about 8,000 members of my two educational websites (together, these sites get about 900 unique visits per day. I thought this would be a main avenue of sales, since these people already use my resources and trust me. I think I sold about 4 copies as a result. A huge disappointment.

I'm not discouraged. I'm finding ways that work and ways that don't work. As I narrow down what works, I keep pursuing those avenues. I have a 50 page marketing plan and pursue it relentlessly. Eventually, I hope that word of mouth will take over and reach a tipping point.

I'm tracking everything I do at http://freelancewriterblog.blogspot.com/, in case you want to see where I've been and the honest results of each effort . If I end up selling a million copies, I'll be able to write a book about how I did it, to help other authors. If I fail grandly, it's still helpful for other authors to know what worked for me and what didn't.

And here's the press kit I'm building as I go along: http://wisdomcreekpress.com/press_kits.html .
Twitter just got me a one-hour interview with a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor.
One thing that's helped me is to always keep copies of my two books in the back of my car. Then when someone says "Where can I buy a copy of your book?" you can tell them they can get it from you right then and there.

Also it helps to have business cards with you advertising your book. One thing I have tried is tacking one up on any bulletin board that seems friendly to local businesses. Does it help sales? I have no idea, but it can't hurt, and the card costs me only a penny or so. Sometimes people will come up to me at a book signing and tell me they've heard of the book but can't remember where. Just getting your name and the book's title out there is helpful even when it doesn't result in an immediate sale.
I have to say I completely agree with you about Twitter. When AMNAR: THE AWAKENING launched on Podiobooks.com on Monday, the only real promotion it received came from my blog and using Twitter (where I'm known as TheCharmQuark). By Wednesday it was the top most downloaded audiobook, and today it's at No.2. This is very impressive as I'm going into negotiation with software and games developers and it presents a very good case.

Twitter has to be used in the right way to make it work, and I know it intimidates a lot of new users. If you're prepared to do the work to keep talking to your fanbase and build up a good reputation it can really work wonders for you.

Joely
Joely, mind if I copy your remark to another forum I'm discussing this topic in? In your case, Twitter and your blog certainly worked. I'd like to hear more details about specifically how you used your blog and Twitter. What do you blog about? How often do you post a blog and tweet? How long have you been doing it? Did you already have a following from former book? Any tricks or tips?

And congratulations on "the top most downloaded audiobook!" Wow!
Dr. Mani, can't wait to see how your plan works. Just a caution about expectations - in two of the books I read on marketing and specifically on optimizing for Amazon sales, they mentioned that these techniques take time - up to a year. I think they want to see consistent sales over time as they decide how much to help people find you. Please let us know what works and doesn't work for you. This is great for all of us.

Here's what I'm learning about press releases, which paid off this week for me.

1) I sent a release through several free press release organizations. This was a general release about the publication of my book, but put in a newsy way that showed how it addressed some of today's issues. I didn't get any response, but did find the release posted on an Atlanta business site.

2) A month later (last week), I sent exactly the same release through a paid service ($175) that claimed to have a targeted list. The company is Bostick Communications, who intrigued me with an e-mail advertising their services. Within 24 hours, I received over 20 responses, including a TV request, a radio opportunity (which I did this morning), and requests from newspaper columnists and bloggers who review books.

My contact at Bostick answered my questions promptly and thoroughly prior to taking my money. Then, he approved my release and told me that they'd wait until Monday to send it, since they get less response toward the end of the week.

I'm sure there are several organizations you could use to send out a targeted press release, but this one worked for me. btw, I'm not connected with Bostick in any way, other than having paid them to do the press release.
Dear Dr. Mani,

Someone else on this site gave information on a company that was great for promotion. It costs $175, press release, radio, television, etc. I'm going to go with it when I get a few dollars ahead.

Here is the info for you or anyone else.

Bostick Communications
7516 Cordoba Circle
P.O. Box 770059
Naples, FL 34107

ph - 239.598.0895
fx - 239.598.0896
e-mail - ops@bostickcommunications.com

website: www.bostickcommunications.com
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ALSO, there is a great site called Books In Sync (www.booksinsync.com). It cost $25 "A YEAR!." Seriously. You get a press release, reviews, etc.

The owner, Theodocia, is tired of authors being taken with cost for services. I've joined and for the first time in two years, I'm getting orders on my site from PayPal.

Visit their site and join. How can you go wrong for $25. I'm also on there under Multi-books (more than one) Alberta Sequeira.
With my new book, Don't Let an Old Person Move Into Your Body coming out in September, I'm going back to basics.

What worked for me in the past was looking for niches. Poynter is right when he says, "Tolerate book stores, don't pursue them" (assuming we're talking about non-fiction).

Back when I knew less-than-nothing about book selling, I hung on John K's eery word and still do. FYI That resulted in about 100,000 copies of my first book before I sold it to a big publisher.

Today, it's Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin, etc.

My early success there has been due to just being myself (who else can I be:-) and sharing useful information. If one keeps self promotion to a minimum, people will respond. If I want what you're selling, I can figure it out on my own.

Something we can all do when appropriate, is to help promote each other. Retweet, share on FB, etc. That, in itself, has a way of coming back to you.

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