From the Editor’s Desk:Book Marketing and Promotion, Part IV
By: Dr. Andree Robinson-Neal
Our last two installments on marketing and promotion included an interview with blogger and novelist Charles Yallowitz. This installment includes responses from two other writers, Glynis Rankin and Tony Roberts. Let’s take their comments in turn, starting with Ms. Rankin.
When asked about what she does to market and promote her books, Ms. Rankin says:
Well, it’s about being agile and seeing what works. In addition to posting daily on social media (sites/ book pages), I also post images that have quotes from the book. I like these because they attract more attention to my books (including the upcoming book) and generate more interaction with potential readers. Plus, they often get passed around on other sites, giving the book more traction.
Let’s pause here for a moment. Glynis uses social media to share images and quotes from her books. Such quotes get passed around the internet and thus the buzz about her work increases.
I tag local media too. Don’t get me wrong. I know my books or a new book release isn’t newsworthy. So I identify what, if anything, makes it newsworthy.
My book The Between for instance, is about a professional woman dealing with the sudden death of her only child. The debate over whether to start a family or work and wait, has been a hot topic for women for years. That’s the book’s hook and my way into many women’s social clubs and Senior groups. I garnered information through the library both for and against the issue.
I also keep an eye on the local news; if there is a news story that touches on my book subject, I will contact the reporter. They’re always looking for sources on timely topics. I’ve even “liked” local reporters on social media and complimented on their columns or news coverage. And left comments on their online editions too; it’s a way of getting my name in their line of sight. I’ve gone so far as to send a reporter an email with a personal letter (by the email usually found in their byline) summarizing my book and the reason I’m contacting them (that’s the hook). I’ve gotten a small write up in a few free local papers from that alone.
Glynis markets herself through local media outlets; remember: many local papers have national and international connections!
Through a Google Alerts account set up for topics related to my books, I’ve contacted reporters and offer my services as an expert for any follow-up stories. After all, I did write a book about the subject. I also pitch articles, interviews or blog posts to media outlets and other bloggers (they love this stuff and will link up my book).
With my Vine and YouTube accounts I do quick videos and book trailers. Plus, I have the support of my street team, (a group of friends, family and other authors) who help to promote it too.
In addition to making use of social media to market, Glynis includes her circle of connections to help.
I check Google+ to make sure my personal tagline isn’t too long and my profile is visible in any search.
As far as promotions go, it’s said that the best promotion for one book is to write another book. I’ve gone with that theory. I’ve guest hosted and been interviewed on a blog about my upcoming book with links to my recent books.
I’ve done the leg work, and gotten in contact with bookstores and coffee houses around the city, to see if they’ll be up for a book signing and if they’ll take self-published books on consignment. Some do, others don’t.
At my first signing, I offered a free copy of my book to the first five people that came out. It wasn’t a great turnout; in fact, I lost money. But it was worth what I learned from the experience.
My local library hosts a yearly summer local Author’s Fair. I’ve managed to get a booth each year, but I’m talking with the librarian to get a host post to talk up my book next year.
Of course I’ve done the free promotional/giveaways with sites like Goodreads, The Library Thing and others and my own blogs. I like Noise Trade and The Library Thing the best. And with Noise Trade, in exchange for the book, readers provide their email address and zip code, helping to build the author’s email list. Giving the book away free can even earn the author some money because readers can also choose to tip the author.
To advertise outside of my sites and social media, I’ve gone through quite a few of theFree Advertising sites, but I liked Press Exposure and Work a day Reads. Work a day Reads allow authors to request features, interviews, and giveaways. This fall I plan to do a “Name the Crime” contest, which will offer a free ebook copy of my new release Believe to the winner.
I’ve stayed alert to any changes in the market, did some quick-thinking and know my target audience as well a of strategies have worked as part of my overall marketing and promotional campaign. The objective is to find the right mix that will garner the best results in the future.
Notice that Glynis states that as a self-published author she stays alert to market changes and knows her target audience.
Let us consider another perspective. Mr. Roberts also self-publishes, but has done so with assistance on his most recent book, Delight in Disorder. Tony’s book is non-fiction and as such he is able to connect with organizations and entities related to his topic areas (faith and mental illness).
I do many things to promote my book. I started about a year before publication, with a daily blog building readership and addressing subjects I touch on in my book (faith and mental illness). While I’ve dropped off of late, I regularly commented on other blogs with similar interests and connected with interesting folks.
Tony began his promotion campaign a year before publication!
I actually met my editor — Leanne Sype of Pen to Paper Communications — through blogging. She has been an invaluable asset, not just correcting my text , but coaching me through the query process for conventional publication and, when that fell short, guiding me through a self-publishing venture that has been tremendously rewarding. Through Leanne, I recruited a graphic designer and a formatter. Leanne also directed our successful indiegogo crowdfunding campaign which raised enough money to cover the costs of publication as well as provide seed money for early marketing (such as sending free copies to advance reviewers).
Since my book has been published, I feature regular excerpts on my blog (“Delight in Disorder Tuesdays”) and continue to highlight faith and mental illness issues on Twitter and my Facebook author page. Locally, through contacts I made, I have spoken at a library, a mental health clinic, a church, and a counseling practice. I’ve been featured in the local newspaper. I have recruited a prayer team of 32 “delight-ful prayers” who regularly lift up praises and petitions related to our mission.
As you see, Tony also made use of his blog and social networking to promote his book. He made contact with local entities such as the library, which led to public speaking engagements about his book.
In October, I will be a keynote speaker at a mental health conference called, “Shattering Stigma with Stories: Mental Health and the Church” taking place in Lake Oswego, Oregon. In November, I will lead a four-session study of Delight and a six-session support group.
One key decision I made early on (based on the success of the indiegogo campaign) is that, for the most part, I would give away copies of my book instead of selling them. As I give them away, I let folks know if they want to contribute, they can do so on my website. I have found that with this approach, I have received more than enough to cover my costs and continue to spread Delight wherever I go.
Through his decision to give away his book, Tony has received enough in contributions to cover his own costs. He continues to receive opportunities to spread the word about both faith topics and issues related to mental health.
And there you have it! All three of our interviewees indicated many of the same areas of importance when it comes to promotion and marketing:
- The use of social media
- Knowing your audience
- Connecting with other readers AND writers
- The use of local media outlets, libraries, and book clubs
- Trying different methods of promotion and marketing
As you complete your manuscript and continue to develop your marketing and promotion efforts, we hope you will refer to these posts for tips and tricks!
Before we leave you today, please read on below for the bio’s on our two guests. They offer their contact information and welcome your comments and questions as well.
Glynis Rankin is a freelance writer, published author and poet. She worked for more than twenty years in the tapered mentality of the medical profession as a Critical Care Respiratory Therapist, yet she kept her childlike awe of the world and rich imagination in tack.
She characterizes herself as an Introverted Sensitive who writes with an empathic view. Glynis loves to inhabit the inner space of her imaginative mind, creating worlds that mirror what this one tries to conceal. Her stories are on the fringe of reality, giving insight into humanity, while offering the reader a new perspective into their daily lives.
The author of two inspirational fictions: Linger and other short stories, The Between as well as the soon to be released collection of psychological suspense, Mental and a YA Paranormal/ Urban Fantasy, Believe.
Glynis lives in Memphis, Tn with her family, in a dissimilar locale. One, an idyllic setting full of wildlife and open spaces, the other, urban decay. Both ignite her imagination to write the unbelievable that exists all around us if only we open our eyes. .
Her motto: “I write the unbelievable because the unbelievable exists.”
Follow on Facebook: authorpage GlynisRankin
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Tony Roberts is a balding middle-aged Midwesterner with an unquiet mind who has “A Way With Words” (awaywithwordsforyou.com). He is the author of Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission (available at most major on-line booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords). He blogs daily (awaywithwordsblog.com) on faith and mental illness as well as other subjects, stories, and the occasional poem. When he is not writing, he can be found reading, walking, listening to John Prine and eating almonds to enhance his mood.