Friday, February 26, 2010

THE REALITIES OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK


Last night was my third time giving my World Building Workshop to kids. Let me just say, when I started the journey of an author, I had no idea where it would lead.

The best part of writing for kids, for me at least, is watching their innocent, thirsty faces light up when you’ve given them some of your time.

There are some other enlightening parts of promoting my book that make me laugh and shake my head with disbelief.

DOING WORKSHOPS

I am lucky, because I have the natural gift of gab. I love people. Talking and interacting with young people is something I’ve always loved to do. Thank goodness for it, because if I wasn’t, it would be a difficult endeavor to set out in promoting myself as an author.

I do a series of workshops and speaks to kids at schools, learning centers, book clubs and so on. My event’s coordinator is keeping me extremely busy. Thankfully, she usually supports my events by being there and helping everything to move smoothly.

Workshops are a great way to meet your audience. I also get tons of feedback from them, and material for my books. One kid even asked me if the world they built at the workshop could be used in my next book.

There is a lot of planning that goes into doing workshops, and as a first time author, the pay is minimum. Usually the event cost more for me to give then I actually sell in books. We even do a raffle at the event and give away books, posters, keychains, and magnets.

However, for me this is a great compliment to my author platform, and I love doing them.

DOING BOOKSIGNINGS

Okay, picture this, you are sitting at a decorated table and there is a line out the door of people waiting to purchase your book. NOT! That is not the reality for a first time author – heck even an experienced author that is little known.

If you are going to do a book signing - and you want to actually sell a book, you have to work for it. That means you have to engage people. Speak up and work them over to your table. Have your one minute pitch ready.

When I went on my five bookstore tour I was extremely nervous. I had no idea what to expect. After I warmed up at the first store, and only sold a measly two books, I asked the store manager for tips.

She told me to walk up to incoming customers with book in hand and invite them to my table. My husband was also there, he has about twenty years of sales behind him, and told me to give my pitch then have them read the first page of the book.

Guess what! It worked! I sold almost all of the pre-ordered books for all five stores. The store managers told my events coordinator to call them for another order, and that they would love to have us back.

Wow! Now, I worked my tail off. I was so tired after that mini-tour I slept for ten hours.

MARKETING

If you are writing and think that your publisher will do all of your marketing for your book you are – WRONG. You should sit down with your publisher, build two marketing plans. One plan should be for all the free marketing opportunities you can feasibly complete. The other marketing plan should combine your publishers marketing dollars for your book, and your marketing dollars for your book.

Start marketing at least 8 months before release date. My publisher made it clear to me that to release my books without proper build up is a waste of time, money, and effort. Boy was he ever right.

Spend an hour a day on marketing, and you will be surprise at your progress.

BOOK PROMOTION IN A NUTSHELL

Getting to the point where people know you and your book takes work. Lots, and lots of work. If you are not willing to do the work, then set your expectations for your book's success accordingly.

If you are willing to do the work, be realistic about your expectations, work to improve your marketing strategies and yourself as a writer…hold on. You may just be more successful at it than you would have ever thought possible.

4 comments:

Anton Gully said...

The self-promotion aspect of becoming a published author is probably more daunting to me than the writing.

Chris Glennon said...

I posted a market research question on The Book Marketing Network's forum http://bookmarket.ning.com/

If you had a moment to respond and add your thoughts it would be greatly appreciated.

Chris Glennon
SmartSymbols Book Marketing Platform
http://SmartSymbols.com
http://Twitter.com/SmartSymbols

Marilyn Almodovar said...

This are invaluable tips! I've been looking in AW for ways to promote my blog, as I'm still at query stage. I think the best thing for a published or an aspiring author like me is to try to reach the people at the same time as we're trying to reach the agents. Someone in AW said that you should already have a fan page and everything for the book you're querying because agents usually google the name of potential clients to see what the author is doing to spread the word.

DarkWyrmReads said...

Great post with some great advice. I think a lot of writers think they're done after they turn their baby over to a publisher, but a publisher can only do so much.

Thankfully, the internet and social media has made marketing a lot easier...if you know how to use it and are willing to use those resources.