Monday, June 11, 2012

My Spin on Book Spin by C. Hope Clark

Today I welcome author C. Hope Clark with her tips on selling books!


By C. Hope Clark

I was asked recently what I do to sell books. What don't I do is more like it. My recent release, Lowcountry Bribe: A Carolina Slade Mystery, is traditionally published via Bell Bridge Books, but I also self-published a book, The Shy Writer, several years ago that's still selling.

What I do to sell books is no different for one book over the other. The only difference is getting the book in the readers' hands. No bookstores were involved in The Shy Writer - just the publisher Booklocker and Amazon. I sold the books from my website. Lowcountry Bribe, however, has the force of a publisher behind it, and I'm finding it a little easier with that distribution advantage involved.

Regardless, the burden is on you to make sales happen. In essence, the tricks that worked for me are the following:

1. Post a regular presence online. I started as editor for FundsforWriters newsletter 14 years ago; however, today I include my fiction product in the weekly deliveries. No, you don't have a big newsletter, but you can. Or you can do something different. What's important is to have a consistent, steady presence where people expect you. It could be a blog post 1-5 days per week or a newsletter like mine. It could be a podcast once every couple of weeks. However it's done, keep just putting yourself out there. Advertise it in your email signature and everywhere you appear online, on your cards, on postcards, everywhere. It's called establishing a home base, and people go there to find you.

2. Appear where people want you. I've had a horrendous time with small book stores. Some are not nice while others are so sweet you want to put in your pocket and take them home. Deal with those with a positive attitude only. It's hard enough out here promoting without that negative energy. Don't feel you've failed if your local store declines your offer. Move on.

3. Agree to personal appearances. I'm not talking conferences. I'm talking book clubs, writers groups, and little pockets of people in libraries, bookstores or even their homes. That word-of-mouth magic is marvelous. These people get excited about you. The fact you gave up your time to spend a couple hours with them is remarkably charismatic. Sell eight books? Expect them to speak to others and sell at least eight more due to their accolades about you.

4. Answer every single email about your book within 24 hours. Seriously, this makes a difference. Personalize it and let them know you care about them as readers. Use their names. Thank them.

5. Write articles. Include your book in the bio of every article or blog post you publish. If you can cover a topic related to your book, do so, but even if the topic is about something unrelated, include the book in the bio. You reach many more people in one issue of a magazine than you do in an entire year on the road with book promotion out of the trunk of your car. Keep putting articles out there. Over and over. Then list them on your blog/website. Mention them on Twitter and Facebook. I try to post a guest blog somewhere at least twice a week.

I do these simple concepts over and over, and sales continue to climb. I'm proud that the slow, methodical push to make Lowcountry Bribe known is working. At least my publisher is happy!

C. Hope Clark is author of Lowcountry Bribe, a Carolina Slade Mystery, located in rural South Carolina. She calls the authorities to report a bribe offer, and suddenly she's the target of the law, her boss, and the original culprit who offered the bribe. The twists and turns of this debut mystery have amassed a hundred reviews on Amazon since its February release. Hope is also editor of Funds For Writers, chosen by Writer's Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past twelve years.


welcome to my world of poetry said...

I self published 2 books but if I did a third I have a wealth of information I didn't have before.
Much of it has come from your blog of which I thank you.
Very enjoyable to read today as always.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I really need to try articles beyond guest blog posts but have no idea what I'd write about.

Karen Walker said...

Wonderful advice. Thank you both.

Laura Marcella said...

This is really interesting and terrific advice. It takes a lot of hard work, but I'm sure it pays off well in the end; at least a lot better than if you didn't do anything at all!

Congrats to Hope on her book release!!

Hope Clark said...

Thanks so much, y'all. Hope some of this works well for you and your careers.

Lowcountry Bribe

Johanna Garth said...

Those are great tips and make me feel like I'm definitely on the right track with my marketing efforts.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You have to put yourself in front of your readers any way possible.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

These are great tips. I should definitely do more personal appearances. Thanks for the encouragement!

Madeleine Maddocks said...

Great advice. Hopefully one day that will be me :O)

Ciara said...

Great advice. I know several authors at Bell Bridge Books and Belle Books. They are all super sweet. I wish you all the luck with continued success.

Matthew MacNish said...

I don't have any experience with marketing, because I'm not published, but I imagine it's tough to find that balance. Posting about your books enough, without posting about them too much.

Talli Roland said...

I like the tip about maintaining a consistent online presence. I think it's really important to be there before and after the book launch!

Hope Clark said...

I think if I had to choose one habit to follow, it would be to remain consistently available online. Get into that habit of "being there" when readers want that instant gratification of finding you.


Southpaw said...

Good tips. I appreciate the steady approach.

Heather Murphy said...

Great tips!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great advice. I need to write more articles. I hope to kick up my number of personal appearances in the next year.

Anonymous said...

I've applied to eZines and asked to write articles for them for free. I submitted a few and received positive feedback, but nothing concrete yet.

Hart Johnson said...

I think that's GREAT advice. I think the 'find what works for YOU and stick with it' is the very best we can do. For me it is blogging and facebook and I currently have my first book out and it really DOES seem to be working.

Arlee Bird said...

Hope, this is great advice, but I would expect that from someone who so consistently posts helpful information. By necessity you have a busy life.

Great guest, Diane.

An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Great advice. I'm inspired. Will get busy. Thanks.