Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Preparing for a Golden Anniversary

This is the fifth and final entry in a series: Manuscript to Book Metamorphosis. Scroll down to read the previous posts if you haven't already: Proposals form the Heart (9/23/09), After the Proposal: the Wedding (9/30/09), Signing in Blood (10/7/09), and Proof is in the Putting (10/14/09).

After finally receiving your long-awaited book in the mail (and weeping with joy for two solid days), it's time to put your marketing plan into place. That includes newsletters, e-mail blasts, sending out press releases, querying radio, TV, newspaper and any other media source you can think of for interviews, donating copies to libraries, sending out copies for reviews in high profile venues (especially online), enter contests, and securing book signings.

For the latter, I recommend seeking non-traditional settings such as coffee houses, tea rooms, gift shops, libraries, craft fairs, etc. so that you can pocket more proceeds from book sales without having to share huge cuts with hosting bookstores. If you really want that traditional bookstore signing high, Barnes & Noble stores usually offer two local author book signings per year (spring and fall), which you can sign up for in advance.

Unless a bookstore carries you books, it's difficult to book a signing (another reason to explore non-traditional venues for first books).

A major outlet for promoting and selling your books is to begin speaking to groups interested in your genre, i.e. church women's groups for inspirational self-help books. Focus on presentations that will help them in some way - you will be more in demand if you meet a felt need. Developing and dispensing a professional-quality brochure about your presentation options is a very good idea. Offer a video sample of you speaking on your website for easy reference for those considering your services. Apply for national speakers bureaus for more extensive exposure.

If you haven't already, I recommend having eye-catching bookmarks printed as your best and cheapest means of advertising. You can get good quality and prices online from companies such as Printrunner (shop around) - don't be chinchy on these; they speak volumes to prospective readers. I include the cover of my newest book on one full-color side and on the back, list my other books, website (from which they can contact me), and a few brief endorsements if there's room.

Many authors create (or pay someone else to create) book trailers to post on YouTube and other online sites. Trading links and blog interviews with other authors is a fine idea so that your book gets as much exposure as possible. Mention the title, positive reviews and blog interviews as often as possible in Twitter, Facebook, and your blog.

New ideas for your next book should already be bouncing around in your head; don't let the grass grow under your feet. Capitalize on the buzz surrounding your book to create interest in the next book. It's all about the future!

Now you're on your way to a long and fulfilling union with the publishing industry!


Kathryn Neff Perry said...

Deb, great blog! I appreciate your tips----some of them I hadn't thought about (non traditional places to sell your books)
Thanks for the info----