Thursday, December 01, 2011

Promotions That Don't Break The Bank

Promotion special today as I welcome Bob Sanchez to share some ideas with you. Book promotion takes time, effort, and money - but it shouldn’t take A LOT of money. Bob has some great ideas for you. 

Thanks for inviting me to guest post, Diane.

I thought I’d share some promoting ideas that work and some that don’t. The past couple of years have given me a different perspective on promotions. I spent $150 on a mass mailing to a half million addresses of book buyers and experienced a tiny blip in my book’s Amazon rankings. A friend reported a similar experience, having shelled out more money for a larger mailing.

Someone made money, but not the writers. There is a whole industry profiting from writers’ hopes, with publicity campaigns that include press releases, interviews, and shilling your wares to Hollywood. All of that is money out of your pocket, with no guarantee and little likelihood of getting your investment back. The result is that I, who am normally an affable fellow, am fast becoming a curmudgeon on this topic.

My attitude has become this: Spend little to no money, and do as much as you can on the Internet. Here are a few things you can to increase your book’s exposure:

1. Set up a web site or blog that features your work. You can get a free blog through Blogger and other places. You could hire a web designer, but try doing it yourself with free templates. It’s easier than you might think.

2. Visit other writers’ blogs regularly and leave comments. Often those people will visit your blog in return, and you’ll see what their posts are like.

3. Be sure to get your book reviewed at Midwest Book Review which reviews self-published and small-press books. Your only cost is mailing them a couple of copies, and your chances of getting reviewed there are high.

4. Offer to post reviews of other writers’ books on Amazon in exchange for their reviewing your book. In fact, you can start with me (desertwriter1@gmail.com).

5. When you get a nice review, tell people about it. That applies to Midwest Book Review as well. Most of the world doesn’t read book reviews without a little prompting. Where to brag? Your own blog, Twitter, Facebook, and any writing or book discussion groups you might use.

6. Is your novel available as an ebook? If so, then see if your potential reader would accept an e-copy. That will save you time and money.

7 .If your novel is available on Amazon, let people know, and remind them with a link in your email signature. My own signature, for example, reads:
Bob Sanchez
http://bobsanchez1.blogspot.com (links to my blog)
http://tinyurl.com/bobsanchezauthor (links to my Amazon page)

These are just a few ways to build up your Internet presence as an author. Do you have more ideas? Please share them here, and we can all benefit in 2012.

P. S. My latest novel is Little Mountain, and I will be glad to trade Amazon reviews with you.

Thanks for sharing those ideas today, Bob!

21 comments:

L'Aussie said...

Well aren't I hot off the press? This is the most practical, sensible post on promotion I've seen. Thanks Diane and Bob.

Denise

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I have the blogging thing down and usually note when another blogger has reviewed my book. Wish I had time to trade reviews, but I have so many books on my iPad already!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Great tips, Bob! Thanks for hosting Bob, Diane. :)

Bob Sanchez said...

You're right, Alex. Trading reviews takes a lot of time. But there's no harm in offering free e-copies to people in exchange for reviews. You don't have to offer to read their books.

Bess Weatherby said...

Great ideas! I will have to keep these in mind for when I'm (finally!) done editing. Thanks for sharing!

KarenG said...

Thank you Bob and Diane for a succinct and helpful post. My favorite paragraph:

Someone made money, but not the writers. There is a whole industry profiting from writers’ hopes, with publicity campaigns that include press releases, interviews, and shilling your wares to Hollywood. All of that is money out of your pocket, with no guarantee and little likelihood of getting your investment back. The result is that I, who am normally an affable fellow, am fast becoming a curmudgeon on this topic.

Really made me smile, and I agree with every word!

Bob Sanchez said...

Hey Karen, I agree with me too! :-) Spending a lot of money just enriches other people, not the writer.

virginia winters said...

Thanks Bob, especially for the tip about Midwest Book Review. Great blog!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks again, Bob. And Midwest is the only reviewer of the Big 12 that reviews self-published books.

There are so many things an author, self-published or traditionally published, can do to promote his or her book that doesn't cost a ton of money. And a lot of the traditional ways of marketing a book just don't work anymore.

Dani said...

I think one of the biggest mistakes authors make is that they don't give readers regular opportunities to buy a book. That means leave a buy link often and don't make your fans look for a way to buy.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A great idea especially as my book is out on 12 Dec.

Yvonne.

Morgan Mandel said...

Thanks for the great tips, Bob!

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Jemi Fraser said...

Those are terrific tips! The internet really is a great help for promotion!! :)

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Ha! Yess! A man after my own heart. After all, it's hard to predict how many books we'll sell. It isn't predicted on quality or even the amount of promotion. So, thrifty is good--until you're famous and most everything you do in terms of promotion helps the cash register ring.(-:

Best,
Carolyn Howard-Johnson,
Excited about the second edition of my multi award-winning Frugal Book Promoter (http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo).

LynNerdKelley said...

Hi Bob - Thanks so much for these wonderful tips. I'm forwarding this to some writer friends and saving this.
I didn't know about Midwest Reviews, and that's a great idea to add the link in our signature lines.

Thanks for hosting Bob, Diane.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hey Bob, thanks for the tips! And for the Midwest Book review tip. I forgot all about them. I'm book marking this one!

DL Hammons said...

That's some great stuff! I've bookmarked this post for future reference! :)

Bob Sanchez said...

One thing about reviews, though, especially from Midwest--if you like the review, you really need to tell people about it. My sense is that readers respect reviews from the site, but don't often go there. You gotta flaunt them kudos.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks again, Bob.

And if you like the review, it needs to be featured with your book on your website, your blog, and any other social site you're on. Let your publisher know about the reviews as well. If you're doing your own bookmarks and other promo items, add the best reviews from the biggest reviewers, too.

Arlee Bird said...

Great tips. Free is the most economical way to go as silly as that might sound, but a lot of people don't think of free and go with the "it takes money to make money philosophy". I've known people who own businesses and I myself have spent a lot of advertising money with virtually no return to show for it. That's not the way to go.


Lee
Wrote By Rote

Bob Sanchez said...

"It takes money to make money" is one of those aphorisms that people think must be true because it sounds clever. No doubt there is truth in it, but you have to know where that money is going to be well spent, or you are just throwing it away.