Thursday, February 09, 2012

Promoting your book: A 10-step marketing plan Part 2

As previously noted, these steps are from "The Self-Publishing Checklist" book that I received after clicking a link on a website I was visiting a few weeks ago. This book is published by bookstandpublishing and a lot of the information is geared toward using them as your publisher. The promotion of your book should be pretty straight forward and work for any book regardless of who is publishing it. I use createspace to print my books and have been very satisfied with them, especially since I don't have the several hundred dollars requiredto publish through another company. Createspace is free and the expanded distribution package cost has been reduced now, so I'm better off sticking with using createspace until I've completely published all my books.

Part 2: Steps 4 through 7

4. On-line promotion. This is what it says - using online sites to drive traffic to your books.

This is a given for me since I publish using createspace as my printer. I have a "store" or page for each title I publish through createspace and all my books are listed with amazon and B&N, even though createspace is affiliated with amazon. They suggest creating a "listmania" which would list books similar to yours plus your book or creating a "Find Similar Books" list. This may be an area I need to look into, but with my state stories, I'm not really sure there are any books out there that are similar. I'll have to do some searching.

The other suggestions include creating a blog, email, social networking, cross linking, YouTube, all free or fairly inexpensive.

As for the blog, that is a given. You want to keep your blog active but not "in your face" forcing folks to buy. You definitely shouldn't intimidate others into buying your book either. Again, I think this should be done before you are even published simply because you are building up your name and your book and can post anything and everything related to your book, especially if you know you are going to self-publish and use a site like createspace to print the copies up. This is a rather quick process from the time you submit your print-ready files to ordering the proof copy and approving for sale. Barring any errors found on the interior reviewer that need fixing (but nobody is perfect and it seems there will always be catches that createspace's reviewer finds that you don't see), the process is a matter of days to a week from submitting files to being reviewed to ordering proof copy and accepting proof copy as printed and releasing your book. For me, everything is about 3 or so week cycle unless there are many fixes needed secondary to my paydays. I am still using my hard-earned funds from my day job to cover expenses on my books. This is par for the course unless you are already rich when you pursue writing as a career. The old adage "You've got to spend money to make money" is very true in this business. What I like about using createspace is that their print facility is based in South Carolina and I've not once had a reason to pay for expedited shipping. Unless there is a holiday between the time I place an order for one or 15 or however many books I'm ordering, I usually get the books within two days. I've even had orders ship the same day and received the next but two or three days is pretty standard for me to receive them. I also know others who are not in South Carolina and have used createspace and have commented on how quickly they receive their orders.

As far as the other suggestions, the email one is basically creating a newsletter and to always reference your book in your signature (yep, that's a given for me). I used to do my own newsletter and had started a yahoo group for posting the newsletters but let that go due to the fact that I wasn't generating enough interest on the site; fifteen members may be reading my newsletters did not really seem worth the effort. I've been thinking of starting my newsletter again (I would use a site like constantcontact or one of the others but I like the look of my newsletter and am pretty sure I can't use my layout on those sites and I'm not good at creating such things) and posting on my website or on the side bar on my JGDS blog, since I haven't created a newsletter for my other writing stuff yet. This may take a while to show up if I decide to go that route again.

5. Book signings. Another Duh!

Yes, you need to do book signings but getting the right place interested in having you is the tricky part. I've done regular bookstore book signings. I also do book signings at what I call "events" that I participate in as either an exhibitor/vendor or a presenter.

6. Special events. This covers things like Topic Related events and book fairs or conferences.

Have participated in several book fairs along the way starting with my first in Decatur when State of Wilderness was first published in 2008. This book fair led me to homeschool conferences and other events along the way. So check. I'm doing something right but the sales are still not being generated that I really need to see a change in me spending my job earnings on my books to the royalties from the books covering expenses of my books.

7. Speaking engagements. The most coveted part of the marketing plan.

These are harder to come by than this book really lets on. When doing speaking engagements, you need to be paid whether it be an actual honorarium or taking pre-orders and having the place purchase a set amount of books prior to the engagement. Schools used to be the biggest place to get speaking engagements but with all the budget cuts and the terrible economy we live in right now, schools aren't able to bring in guest speakers too often or pay big bucks to have them there. This is also dependent on the area and the schools themselves. Sometimes you can get library engagements but selling your books at a library event is trickier still. If you decide to have a workshop using the facilities at your local library, you will not be able to sell your books. If you are invited to participate in a library-sponsored event, then you can sell your books. Or at least that is how it is here in our counties and several others in close proximity.

In part 3 of the 10-step plan, steps 8 through 10 will be covered and most of these tend to be geared toward specific types of books or require large investments.

No comments: