Monday, February 06, 2012

Promoting your book: A 10-step marketing plan Part !

A few weeks ago I was on a website and there were some ads there. One of them said get this free "Self-publishing checklist" book. I clicked on the link and was taken to Bookstand Publishings's site but decided it can't hurt to request the free book.

Although I have now been self-publishing for almost two years now, it doesn't hurt to make sure I'm really doing all I can to get the most benefit from self-publishing, especially if some new ideas are there to market and promote my books.

A quick preview of the chapter contents made me realize that they advice they are offering seems to be pretty much where I am in my self-publishing endeavor. There is one chapter dedicated strictly to promoting your book, the 10-step marketing plan. So a glance through and I'm trying to figure out where I'm going totally wrong or took the left turn when I should have taken the right turn, because it seems everything suggested here is where I seem to be promotion wise. The problem with some of these suggestions is getting the readers' responses to some of them in order to make sales.

Part 1: Steps 1 through 3 in the marketing plan as outlined in "The Self-Publishing Checklist":

1. Always be selling: In a nutshell, you should be talking your book up, displaying your book and offering free copies in exchange for reviews. Common sense. There are some mini steps suggested in #1 to include creating or getting business cards and/or bookmarks, tell everyone you know that you have a published a book, create excitement (see above statement about giving books out in exchange for reviews), and creating an effective sell sheet. I've done all this except creating sell sheets. I did have sell sheets when I was first published for the first two books in my series which were part of the media kit put together. Not much came from the sell sheets at all.

In January, I offered 100 ebook copies to anyone who would request them from me in exchange for reviews. Did I receive 100 requests for any of the nine titles available at the time? No. I received two requests, one person in England whom I met in an online class and who is familiar with my state stories requested a copy of Finally Home, "The Proposal" and "The Tulip Kiss". I know he is busy and as of this posting, I have not heard back from him regarding reviews on any of the titles. I did have another lady who requested a copy of "The Proposal"; she has posted her review on her blog and amazon, B&N, and Goodreads. She also does reviews for children's books on another blog and so I asked her if she would take a copy of one of my state stories and do a review on it. She agreed to do so. She also informed me that it would take a bit longer to read and review that story since she had a few books in front of me. No problem. At least, as far as I'm aware, she will post a review when she gets a chance.

Maybe I need to go back to the drawing board on coming up with creative ways to "sell" my books since apparently no one wants free ebooks to read in exchange for reviews.

2. Get Book Reviews. The book says that Reviews sells books. Duh!

I can't afford to pay people to post reviews and was hoping by offering free ebook copies of the titles available ("The Proposal" and "The Tulip Kiss" are only available as an ebook, and all the state books are only available in print but I do have PDF files for them that can be used for review copies) that I would gain a handful of reviews. Two, in my opinion, does not equal a handful of reviews and thereby does not sell books. Although looking through the list, it may be a good idea for me to consider sending print copies to several of the review places that are not a fee-based entity.

3. Your website.

In my opinion, this actually should be something created long before your book is published whether you get a "website" from the publisher like bookstandpublishing offers or not. There are several free or low cost sites out there. Yolasite.com is one of them; weebly.com is another. I advise upgrading to the pro side since this will allow you to do more with your website. With weebly.com, by paying the yearly fee (I think I'm paying like $42 and some change a year - or maybe less; I think it works out to about $2.95/month when I renew my upgrade), you can add videos and have more the ability to upload more files on a page. This is a big advantage for me since I've got a whole page dedicated to the accompanying study guides for my books and I'll have 50 when the series is completed. I think before I upgraded to pro I could only upload like 10 files on the page, which would have been 1/5 of my study guides being on the page. Now, I can upload all 50 and not have to decide which few I'll keep up or how to switch them out. I also think with the pro upgrade you get more pages; with the freebie side on weebly.com I think you are limited to only five pages, but if you don't have a lot going on, five pages may be just right for you.

You can create your website and add, take away, change as you progress in your publishing endeavor, but I highly suggest you start a website before you are even published.

I have two websites, both through weebly.com and both have been upgraded. You can find all my non-state related book information here and my JGDS, 50-state series here. I try to make them look as professional as possibly and have included buy now buttons on the book pages as well as the necessary information. I created my JGDS site first and then created my non-JGDS site but didn't really publish it until last year when I started thinking of my other stories that had won contests and could be republished and about the time I finished Finally Home.

Heather, my illustrator uses yolasite.com for her graphic design business. You can check her out here.


Tune in Thursday for part 2 where I'll cover steps 4 through 7, which all seem to be related to in-person or online promotion. See you in the postings - E :)

1 comment:

publishkindle said...

Wow, as usual.. I learned a lot from your posts. I do agree about the benefit of having a website to promote your book. You can run web searches, try to find answers, and see what keywords guide you to sites like the one you are building. Examining these sites will help you generate content for your own website that will bring you increased traffic and promote your book more effectively.