Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Will Your Book Reach the Attention of Reader?


This is the seventh question of seven that Bill Petrocelli of Book Passage in Corte Madera, California asked at a writers publishing workshop last month. During the past few weeks I've expanded on Bill's lecture. Here are the past six weeks:
5. How can you control the costs of publication?
6. How and Where Will Your Book Be Sold?

How Will You Find Readers?
There are hard targets and soft targets in the world of book marketing. Hard targets are bookstores, on-line sellers such as Amazon, and face-to-face scheduled book signings and events at bookstores. Soft targets are blogs, book review sites, social media, and word-of-mouth. The primary difference between them is that hard targets offer the book for sale (this includes ebooks) and soft targets present the author and a hopeful sale through a hard target at a later date.

In almost every instance a book sale is the direct result of some form of promotional action: blog, book review, word-of-mouth, radio interview, cover shot on a promotion site, workshop participation, and social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn. There are probably a dozen other ways of putting the book in front of a potential buyer. New opportunities that have evolved over the last ten years include maintaining an email list of potential buyers gathered from fan mail, letters, and even publisher's private lists.

Promotional Actions To Consider
Every author must have a blog site and a web page, period, full stop. Think of it as a way to practice your writing and analytical thinking. Weekly posts are excellent ways of reaching readers; often you get direct feedback that is helpful. This requires discipline but the upside potentials are excellent. You can also direct the reader to a hard site for books and ebooks.

Book Reviewers
Outside of the ones you beg from friends and then hope they post them on Amazon or Barnes and Noble there are thousands of reader/blogger/reviewers out there that just love what they do. Most don’t charge a fee but appreciate a free book to read (they then pass them onto libraries, senior centers, and retirement communities – or schools if children's books). They are well respected with huge followings, they can be found by Googling something like romance book reviews blogs (I just did it and hundreds popped up). Chase your genre, ask the reviewers and get their rules and regs. For submittals – be patient most are running months behind – or anticipate and get them a galley proof months before the book's release.

Enough is never said about your book. The more books you can put before readers the greater the chance for a comment or two, nothing stronger than a book recommendation from a friend.

Radio Interview
Also a recent development, radio book reviews and author interviews. We would all kill or seriously maim someone for a thirty-minute spot on NPR or the Book Channel, but remember there are hundreds of self-produced Internet radio shows out there that need your voice to help fill the time. Like book reviewers just do a little surfing – they will pop up.

Cover Shot
As your sales increase you may acquire one of the coveted Amazon or B&N web page references that are called, "If you like that book, here are some others." People often buy books in bundles, to have your cover sitting there is pure gold – make it the best cover you can.

Workshop Promotion
As you gain a reputation you may be asked to participate in a workshop on writing, marketing, design, etc. Don't pass up the chance and even though you will not be shilling the book directly, they will be stacked out front with the other presenters and you will be given credibility. And after the workshop the participants will think they are buying the book from a friend – not some web site or URL.

Social Media
There are books on this subject coming out daily. They are ebooks, paper, etc., all contain helpful hints on using these social site, participate but be careful. I have seen writer's sites turn out to show that they are grumpy and bitchy people, they offer too much about their personal lives that just makes me wonder about them – some have even turned me off. There is a problem with being too revealing to your readers. Talk about writing and tangential bookish things, offer historic quotes, images of book signings, pass on great happenings and event from other writers, just keep what you had for lunch off the internet – unless it was lunch with Michael Connolly, then tell all with a picture.

This is a three-day seminar in and of itself. Take the time to brand yourself, you are the author of the book, you are the storyteller that a reader has invited into their lives, even if only for ten hours. You must think of yourself as the face of the story, in promotion it is not about the current book you are selling, but all the others you have written and the others yet to be written. We are always writing the next book in our heads even while we finish the current project. This is the same with promotion; you are always selling the next unwritten book.

More Later . . . . . . . . .

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