Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Snag Your Board and Let's Boogie

I was chatting with my agent recently and he casually dropped a line that made me want to grab my pom poms and do a couple of cartwheels.

"So how's business?" says I.
Slight pause on the other end while I steel myself for more publishing-is-down-the-toilet news. Seems like that's all we hear lately from the media.
"Well actually ... it's great!" says he, sounding surprised to hear himself say it.
"Great? Did you say great?"
"Yes I did. Despite the doomsday predictions that print books are going the way of the leisure suit, sales are solid ... better than they've been in a long time. People are still writing books - good books - and publishers are still buying them."

Well ain't that just the best news you've heard today?  It seems that although e-books may well be "the tidal wave of the future," print books will continue to crest high enough to surf on. Especially as gifts. They haven't yet figured out a way to wrap up an e-book in a pretty bag with a festive bow to take to your Aunt Hilda in the hospital.

And this is a good thing. A very good thing.

So you just keep editing and tweaking and polishing that manuscript. Plan on it coming out in e-and print versions to float in all ebbs and flows of the publication sea. Perseverance will pay off.

These are some swell promotional and marketing ideas that have come across my frontal lobe recently (some proposed by other authors and agents via various and sundry articles, conversations and blogs):

1. Give away chapters or shorts - tease and entice readers with individual bites of your luscious pie.
2. Publish shorts (for 99 cents or less) in your genre through such as Smashwords to get your name/work into more hands (and hopefully readers will check out your other books as well).
3. Contests/giveaways on your website - advertise via Twitter and FaceBook to drive people to your website.
4. Offer a freebie for signing up for your newsletter on your website (I draw a free book winner quarterly from the names of those signing up on mine).
5. Offer bonus material (downloadable from your website) in your books or articles - something educational, useful or entertaining that's related to your topic, such as updated material, teleseminars, videos, or audio instructional materials, games, contests, a prequel or sequel featuring characters from your book, and related books you'd recommend (not necessarily yours).

So grab your surfboard and hang ten, dude!