Think Globally, Act Online –
Think Locally, Act Personally
I always carry 2 or 3 books in my handbag with a back up supply in my car. Wherever I go I talk about my books. You need to be proud of your books and passionate about them or you are going to have trouble selling them. I went to buy a skirt – sold 2, went to get a key cut – sold another 1. Went to lunch – sold 3, went to the doctor – sold 1 to receptionist.
I have been averaging 10 books a week by just taking them with me whenever I am out running around doing errands. (I am not even going out of my way – although at times the errands take a little longer to complete) Always collect their name (when you sign their copy is a good way) – and email if you can without being pushy – put them in an Excel spreadsheet – ready to approach them with the next book.
- Direct promotion
There are times, places and people that are not right for a direct sale i.e. if people are busy, or there is a long queue. So here I hand out a bookmark. They cost me approximate 11.8 cents AUD each. The salesperson behind the Post office counter, the waitress who serves you, or the staff on the candy bar at the movies. The list is never ending.
- Mobile Promotion
I have placed a sign on the back of my car. Wherever I go my marketing message goes with me.
I have a special signature on the bottom of my email with my blog address. I used to have small pictures of my book covers, but found sometimes it caused problems with people’s inboxes.
I have donated a couple of books to charity raffles – in exchange for being in the newsletter as a donor or on the sponsor’s board. Gets you name out there as an author. I added a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates for good measure.
Brick and Mortar Bookstores
If you have print copies done through Ingram, Garner, Bertram or others with distribution ability. Look at your big chain book stores. Here I am going to use an example for Australia because this is what I know. Variety stores – Australia – Kmart, Big W, Target.
Dymocks has around 60 stores across Australia. I called and spoke to the buyer of fiction books. Told her I was Australian and they were immediately happy to support me if they could purchase through one of their suppliers in this case Ingram. I got my publisher to give them details of my book – they would have taken it from me too. And I am on the buying list for all stores and they will promote me in their newsletter.
I collected their email addresses into an excel file and them wrote a media release and sent to every store. I am yet to approach the local stores personally.
Use the yellow pages to find local bookshops and news agencies – ask them to take your books on consignment .
Listen to other writers – find out who supports local writers – someone always does. Approach them personally. Send them the blurb and a cover picture. Either you keep them stocked or they might like to order direct. Remember contact details – be prompt in reply. Also provide payment details like EFT or PayPal.
Talk, talk, talk about your book…
Social media, of course: Blog, Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+ etc
From my experience:
Blogging & Website
- To write interesting, readable posts; it takes time and thought – time away from writing, but it holds people’s attention and gets them interested in you when they find you
- Getting traffic to the blog can be slow and challenging for the time put in
- Yet to see evidence of increase in sales
- Ask your publisher if you have one – to write a guest post for you or get you a guest post request
- Ask other writers in your genre to write guest posts
- There is lots to blog about – go for it.
- Limited on how much to say at one time so need to be succinct – good for improving your prose if you tend to be long winded
- To me it seems like every one is yelling from their soap box – promote, promote, promote. Is anyone listening – look for something to respond to from your followers and those you follow
- Getting followers and suitable people to follow is time consuming – must source and filter
- Direct messages can be frustrating – I personally don’t really like them and when you right one back only to find you can’t send it is frustrating.
- Auto responses even more so – need to filter followers
My thoughts on this is;
- Write really interesting, funny or controversial tweets every day – not always just promoting your book or directing people to your Facebook Page – Hey, I want to connect with you, the person behind the tweets, not just have a promo line shoved in my face and I hope you feel the same
- Add images to your tweets
- Find quotes – people often respond to meaningful ones
- Respond to others who also have interesting tweets – some of them have nothing to do with books either – it might even be a meaningful quote and they might return the favour and retweet or favourite you, increasing your exposure without having to increase your followers directly
- Retweet those with interesting tweets, again they might be nothing about books, but a ‘connection’ can be built – pay off might come later – like a guest post request.
- With Twitter I often feel like I am standing in the middle of the Super Bowl or MCG, 10 minutes before the final siren of the grand final hoping to be heard and nobody gives a damn because they are all too busy yelling. Twitter is a very noisy crowded place for the newbie – hang in there, tweet interesting
- Lots of pictures, promoting your book – can be a bit more in your face about promotion here – many things you can do though, on your blog. Drive visitors from one to the other.
- Still working on getting more traffic
- Not sure of the value of likes – yet to see evidence of ‘likes’ turning into sales
- Always ask people to share on their page if they like your book or do a review (Amazon, Goodreads also) – not everyone will do a review but most will share or allow you to share a promo for your book on their page.
Goodreads, Google+ etc
- Write a fascinating profile, keep checking in, link to all your other social media sites – good to get you out there on as many sites as possible – even the less prominent sites – look them up on the internet and if they allow a free profile or add, go for it. All exposure is good.
- Ask readers you know personally to do a review – not everyone will though.
You Tube, Guest Posts, Book Bloggers
- I have done some guest posts – fun, and had them returned, but not sure of the value other than to build relationships with fellow writers – it depends on how much traffic they have to their blog.
- Book Bloggers – yet to have any success here probably need to spend more time commenting on these to get my name known. So much to do – so little time
- YouTube – is for later
Create a profile and boards and add pictures from your novels. let your readers get to know your books, visualize the places and people you have created. Add other boards just to let the readers know who you are – the writer as the person.
Please take what you can from this post I hope to help someone out there trying to make a go of it and I welcome feedback and other ideas about promoting your books from those more experienced than me. There are lots of ideas out there to try. As John Kremer’s book states – 1001 ideas.
Let’s share our knowledge and give a leg up where we can, but remember, you are the writer – it’s your book. Be proud, and passionate, of your creation. Communicate that passion to your potential readers without hesitation or doubt.