Monday, November 15, 2010

Creative Book Marketing 101

The following are ten highlights I gleaned at the Florida Christian Writers Conference from the Internet Publicity workshop led by Penny Sansevieri of AME Book Marketing. Be sure to check out Penny's professional services - she's got tons of great ideas!

1. 1500 books are published each day in the U.S.

2. Biggest book marketing secret: Know your audience! What does your reader need? That's what they'll happily come to your site to find. Research places you reader goes to narrow your focus and get the most bang for your marketing buck. Look at clubs, magazines, newsletters, websites, associations your readers frequent, then YOU go there too!

3. Your website is a 24/7 sales tool. Treat it that way. Make it interesting, informational (pertinent to their needs) and entertaining to your readers. Offer enough new and changing info that they'll want to come back often. (Note from Deb: I have my Twitter postings linked to my website so all I have to do it tweet a few times a day and evolving news appears on my website and my Facebook page as well - kills three birds with one stone!)

4. Keep your website home page simple and clean - about 250 words for easy navigation. Avoid music and moving parts, which can seem overwhelming.

5. Newsletter sign-up should be front and center, easy to find and workable by a click.

6. Make purchasing your books quick and easy; add Amazon links and offer PayPal or a shopping cart. Keep the choices to a minimum to avoid confusion.

7. Blogs are a good way to personalize your site and keep content fresh, but remember, take care what you write - your words are your resume!

8. Sign up for Google Alerts. (Deb's note: This is an extremely helpful tool that you should take advantage of if you don't already - I've done it for a long time now and it's priceless. Every time your name or work appears online, you'll get a notice and link so that you can monitor pubicity and share it with others.)

9. You should try to blog 1-3 times weekly, approximately 50 words each (so busy people can click over and enjoy your brief thoughts stress-free). Use pictures as much as possible for visual interest and to enhance searches.

10. Use creative blog titles (like this one - LOL!) to pique interest and use key words related to your brand that will snag searchers.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Clearing up Publishing Confusion

This is some excellent information I learned from Lynn Price of Behler Publications at the Florida Writing Conference in Orlando on 19/22/10. I've added some of my own editorial comments.

Publishing terms defined:

Digital printing: Sometimes mistaken for Print on Demand; digital printing is used by all publishers to create low print runs of less than 100 units. Even Trade publishers who use large print runs (see definition below) use digital printing for ARCS (Advanced Reader Copies) and backlist titles.

Print on Demand (POD): Books are printed only when ordered (usually low order runs) to avoid warehouses overflowing with unsold books; prices may be slightly higer than average. POD is often offered by small presses. The publisher pays up-front production fees but offers no distribution services. In other words, books are not usually on store shelves because they can't be returned and bookstores only carry copies they can return if they don't sell. Many POD presses provide assistance with editing and cover art. Most POD books are available online through Amazon or other Ingram and Baker & Taylor dealers such aas or

Vanity/Subsidy: The author pays all printing costs or the fees may be subsidized by the publisher (who pays partial fees). The author has little say in production or retail price, which is usually higher than average. The publisher offers various package fees and often charges extra for editing, cover design, and a host of other things that in my humble opinion should be considered basics. BEWARE of hidden fees that can add up fast.

Trade publishing: also called independent trade or commercial publihers. These are "real" publishing companies who provide their own editors, cover designers, distribution systems to bookstores, libraries and outlets, print ARCs for reviewers, and have standard return policies. They have distribution teams and sales teams who actually get out and pitch their titles to vendors. They have a vested interest in your book because their success depends on your success.

Self-publishing: The author is the publisher and provides his own editing, marketing, distribution, design and layout. He directs and funds the entire publishing process. He is responsible for purchasing his own ISBN number and with sufficient funds, may hire professionals to pitch his book to vendors. Some highly successful authors with readerships already in place choose to self-publish so that they may be in control of every detail of the publishing process.