Tag Team Marketing - Authors Helping Authors

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

One of the biggest myths about being a published author is that the publisher will do the marketing for you. That certainly won't happen beyond a blip in a catalog or maybe an online mention, unless you're a popular, well-known, New York Times best selling author, which most of us are not. The reality is, marketing your book is your responsibility!

Marketing is difficult. Marketing ones own book is even harder. Promoting without being pompous is extremely challenging. Some authors are natural marketeers but most can't do it without a little help from our friends.

When I first moved to NC, I heard about a group of authors, four I believe, who were touring several libraries and independent bookstores together. I was surprised to learn that they had arranged the tour themselves traveling to each of the areas where they lived, sharing rides and overnight accommodations when necessary. What a great idea! I was very impressed.

Recently, I read a blog from Blog Wizard, Joan Edwards, titled, “12 Ways to Publicize, Promote, Market, and Sell Your Book.” If you're unfamiliar with Joan's blog, you can find it at  https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2016/03/28/12-ways-to-publicize-promote-market-and-sell-your-book

As I read through Joan's blog, it occurred to me that I had things to contribute, information that I had gathered from being a published author for over thirty years. And if I had information to share, perhaps others do also! The concept of  Tag Team Marketing - Authors Helping Authors, popped into my head.

So right now, I'm going to tag onto Joan's excellent blog and add my two cents to some of her 12 Ways to Publicize, Promote, Market and Sell Your Book." I'll not comment on all of them, just a few where I feel I can contribute.

Re: #1. Swap interviews with an author of a similar book. These would be blog interviews or postings to other online venues. I would add to move beyond the interviews--you interview them and they interview you-- to swapping ideas, concerns, strategies, solutions and experiences.

You might think your knowledge is too basic, to amateurish to help anyone, but what you've learned through experience might be the very thing, the last piece of a puzzle that helps another struggling writer.

Re: #10 – Contacting local bookstores – Barnes & Noble has an online form for both requesting a book signing event as well as getting your book placed in their stores (if you’ve self-published.) The link is: http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com (Click FOR AUTHORS, then GETTING YOUR BOOK IN BARNES & NOBLE. There will be a link on that page for suggesting an event a.k.a book signing.)

The form requests a great deal of information including your promotional plan, trade reviews and reasons why they should carry your book as well as all the basics; ISBN, binding, format, price, how it stacks up to it’s competitors, etc. etc. (I spent the greater part of a day gathering all my information to send to them.) Then, after about six weeks you will receive a YAY or NAY in written form. If it’s a YAY, your book will be added to their Small Press Department for distribution throughout their system, online and in stores.

When contracting to do a book signing, insist on being allowed to do a reading or a presentation. Even if there are other authors present, prearrange to do a presentation. People are more apt to purchase a book they've learned about, especially if they've met the author.

Re: #11 – Contact Retail Stores. Add to that, gift shops in theaters, museums, amusement parks, sports stores, restaurants, any place where you can find a connection to your books story or theme.

I once sold more books ($1500 worth) in a donut shop, in three hours time, than in any other venue large or small. Think outside the box or in this case, the book!

Also: it has been my experience that most retail stores (the ones I’ve dealt with) do not ask for a 60/40% split. It’s usually the other way around….they want a 40% discount which means I/you keep the 60%. The only venues I’m aware of that ask for a 60% discount are the fulfillment companies; Baker & Taylor and Ingram, etc. In fact, most stores even the bookstores I’ve dealt with on consignment are willing to take anywhere from a 25% to a 40% discount. Recently, a manager asked what kind of discount I was willing to give. When asked that, I respond by asking what they normally get from others? It’s almost always under 40%.

Oh, and one more thing about retail stores, they usually pay upfront unlike bookstores where you might wait 3 or 4 months and have to make multiple phone calls, for payment.

Re: #12 – Contact local organizations & groups. When speaking to a groups, especially non-profits, you can always offer to give back a percentage of sales or if not a percentage, then a donation of some kind. That’s assuming they allow you to sell your books following your presentation.

If the organization meets in a church, consider giving a small donation to help pay for the venue. It helps if book sales have been good.

Ask to partner with them on a project that you believe in. Remember the old adage: What goes around comes around! Years ago, a friend who wrote a car accident book partnered with an insurance agency who gave a copy of his book to all their car accident clients. 

Some additional thoughts: 

Hold a raffle and give away a book at the event. Audiences love give-a-ways.  I'm going to do that at my next presentation to help fix a mistake. You see, months ago I received a request for a book autographed to William. So, ahead of time, I autographed it. Big mistake! The sale fell through and I've been carrying around a book autographed to William hoping someone by that name would come by. No such luck. So, at my next presentation, I'm going to ask if there is a William in the crowd. If so, he's going home with an FREE autographed book! 

If any of the above ideas prompted thoughts of things you can share, I'd love to have you join this Tag Team Marketing blog. Authors Helping Authors! Just jot down your marketing ideas in your next blog post and include links to Joan's blog and mine as well.  Let's see how far this can go! 

Once again, here's Joan's blog: 12 Ways to Publicize, Promote, Market, and Sell Your Book. Find it at https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2016/03/28/12-ways-to-publicize-promote-market-and-sell-your-book

Check out Sandra's latest book, We Bought a WWII Bomber: The Untold Story of a Michigan High School, a B-17 Bomber & The Blue Ridge Parkway! 

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Hi! I’m Sandra Warren, a writer with very eclectic writing tastes. I’ve been fortunate to have publications in multiple genres including children’s, gifted education, parenting, how to, poetry, journal, educational activity guides and biography as well as audio and video production. I'm a city gal recently transplanted to the mountains of NC where glorious mountain vistas inspire latest renderings.

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