Monday, July 18, 2011
Promoting Tips From an Award-Winning Author
(If you're here for the Inspiration Blogfest, it's the post below - HERE)
I have the honor of welcoming my dear friend and mentor, p.m. terrell, to share with you about promotions. I’ve admired Trish from day one and have strived to attain her level of grace, poise, and generosity. Watching her put together Book ‘Em NC has been amazing! She knows how to promote - and she’s here to share some tips today.
The most intense adjustment I’ve ever made as an author was making the transition from solitary writer to carnival barker.
When my first book was released, I believed the public would beat a path to my door. All I’d have to do is start writing the next book while the first was flying off the shelves.
Then reality set in.
My publisher’s marketing rep, Wanda, began the long process of educating me on sixty percent of my new job—selling my own books.
When the book is in production, it’s time for the author to start the book buzz. It begins with review copies to all the Usual Suspects.
Over the years, I’ve accumulated thousands of contacts—followers on Facebook, Twitter, or my blog; people who have signed up to receive my newsletters; and those who order directly from my website.
My first step is scheduling the book tour. I still do a physical, multi-state book tour because it gives the media in those locations a reason for printing feature articles about me and my book.
I write a series of articles as if I am the reporter interviewing the author. I’ve found that print media rely more on articles they can cut-and-paste than the overhead associated with interviews and unique articles. Thirty to sixty days before I will be in their area, I email the articles to the media in that region. I also attach two high resolution pictures: one of me and one of my book cover. I often arrive in those cities to see articles reprinted verbatim.
In fact, with my historical books, I took that method a step further.
I pulled out a map of a river journey taken by the Donelson party of 1779-1780, the subject of my award-winning book, River Passage. Then I googled the print media along that river route, wrote an opening paragraph on how the book specifically included history of their region, and completed the article with an abbreviated story of the Donelson party’s journey. The results were front page articles spread over a thousand miles.
I also turn to social networking, letting my followers know my next book will soon be released. It’s important to avoid blatant selling. Instead, I mention reviews as they’re released or provide snippets of background on the writing of the book, the plot, and the characters.
As I get closer to the release date, I mail post cards with the book cover and review quotes on the front, and ways to buy the book on the back.
Today’s authors need a platform.
A platform is the author’s stage and how large their audience is. If one percent of that audience purchases the book, would it result in sufficient sales? And if each person who read it enjoys it and tells someone else, would it help to propel the book to a higher status?
Authors at the top of their game have national media to help propel their sales—an appearance on The Today Show, for example, will reach millions. If they’ve already written a bestseller, they have a built-in audience. Their platform is enormous.
When authors are not yet at the top of their game but working their way up, they have to build that platform.
It all comes back to exposure.
I once knew an author who spent $30,000 to advertise one week’s book signings. It was a terrible move. Have you ever turned on the TV, the radio, opened a newspaper and a magazine, all to find one person splashed across it? Now flash forward one week and the person has disappeared. Move forward another month and without a sustained presence, all that publicity has become a distant memory.
And so have the author and the book.
Book publicity is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Not only do you have to start the buzz, but you must find ways to keep the buzz going and growing.
p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of 12 books, including Take the Mystery out of Promoting Your Book. For more information, visit her website and blog.
And for more information on Book ‘Em NC, visit the official website and blog!
If you ever get a chance, you simply HAVE to meet Trish in person!