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BOOK PROMOTION NEWSLETTER
Issue 150: Nov 19, 2008
EDITOR: FRANCINE SILVERMAN
You might want to sign up for this newsletter as the following and other good articles appear in Francine's promotional material.
Seven Book Promotion Mistakes and How to Fix Them
By Patricia Fry
You wrote an amazing book, designed it to perfection and even managed to get it published. But it isn't selling as well as you thought it would. What went wrong?
As the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) and an international speaker, I meet many authors who are disappointed in their book sales. I think it's fair to say that 100 percent of the time, the fault lies with the author. Fortunately, he or she has the power to change the situation. Here are seven common mistakes that authors make and tips for how to repair them:
1: The author writes the wrong book for the wrong audience. Way too many authors write the book they want to write without truly considering their audience. It's no wonder they fail in their attempt to promote the book. They're trying to reach an audience that doesn't want or need the book. Gerald is a case in point. I met this author in St. Louis. He wrote a book featuring scientific proof that there is no God and planned to sell it to a general audience. As it happens, the audience for this book is most likely comprised of people just like him-people with the same belief system.
There are two things this author can do:
· He can start marketing to the right audience.
· Once he sells enough copies of this book, he can go back to the drawing board and create a book that may actually appeal to a larger target audience.
In the meantime, he can write and submit articles on his theory to help establish a platform to use when he finally produces the right book for the right audience.
2: The author doesn't know that he is responsible for promotion. Obviously, this author didn't take the time and initiative to study the publishing industry or he would have known that his job isn't over once the book is published. Hopefully, the author will turn to informative sites, newsletters, forums and books where he'll quickly learn that authorship requires a commitment beyond the proper dotting of i's and the crossing of t's.
It's never too late to promote your book. Start now soliciting book reviews in appropriate magazines and at related Web sites and set up speaking engagements, for example.
3: The author neglects to build promotion into his book while he's writing it. Savvy authors think about their target audience while they are writing and designing their books. If yours would make a good reference book, for example, you'll want to include a complete index. For a novel, choose a setting that is conducive to promotion-a town that others want to read about and that would welcome your promotional appearances.
You could build promotion into your how-to book by involving a lot of experts and/or organizations. These individuals and organization leaders will promote the book to their contacts. For a novel, give a character a popular ailment. If you present it in a positive light, related associations might agree to help with promotion.
If you didn't think to build promotion into your book as you were writing it, dissect it now in search of possible promotional opportunities that are imbedded within. Does your young adult novel feature a girl with a horse? Perhaps horse and riding magazines, newsletters and Web sites would review it, publish excerpts or welcome your targeted article on an aspect of horsemanship. Maybe you could get some press related to your self-help book for women with phobias through health columns in newspapers nationwide, women's magazines or on radio talk shows such as "The Satellite Sisters."
Did you interview a high profile individual for your book? Ask her to promote the book to her audience. Request an interview with her for a major magazine. Do you have some impressive expert testimonials in your book? Play them up in your promotional material.
4: The author neglects to establish a platform. Many new authors don't know what a platform is. It's the author's following, his reach, his way of attracting his audience. Most successful authors today have a platform in place before they produce a book.
My platform for my writing/publishing-related books revolves around my experience in this field: my exposure through previously published and distributed books and articles on these subjects, my affiliation with SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) and my active and far-reaching speaking and workshop schedule, for example.
Your platform for your book on phobias might be the fact that you're a psychologist in this area of study, that you suffered a severe phobia for years, that you work with women with phobias or that you've written on this topic for years.
Even as a novelist, you'll need a following and this can be established through previously published novels, of course, published stories, a popular Web site or the fact that you're a widely-known master storyteller.
How can you play catch-up with regard to your platform? Start now getting exposure and establishing credibility in your field. Participate in online forums on your topic, submit articles to appropriate magazines and newsletters, set up speaking engagements, write letters to the editor of pertinent magazines, make news by starting a volunteer organization, for example, and then tell the press about it.
5: The author has unrealistic expectations. Many first-time authors (we've all been there) expect to sell their books by the truckloads through mega bookstores. They believe that any good book will be eagerly welcomed by bookstore owners and managers. The reality is that few people outside of traditional royalty publishers with track records can get new books into bookstores-no matter how brilliant and beautiful they are.
And here's something to consider-do you really want your books in mega bookstores? Just look at the competition. Space on bookstore shelves does not guarantee sales. In fact, books that are not selling will be returned-sometimes within the first six months.
If you are determined to have your books available through mega bookstores, there is a way. How? Make a big enough splash with your book that readers are swarming to bookstores asking for it by name. This might mean appearing on TV and radio with your book, presenting large seminars all over the U.S. related to your book and getting tons of press by creating news and submitting press releases to newspapers everywhere. Become high profile and get enough exposure for your book and, even if you are self-published, when enough readers start asking for your book by name, it will be accepted by bookstores everywhere.
6: The author gives promotion just a lick and a promise and then wonders why his book didn't "take off." Authors need to understand that book promotion is ongoing. It should start before you write the book and continue for as long as you want to sell books.
Remedy this mistake by establishing a solid promotional plan immediately. Start by compiling a mailing and emailing list. You'll use these lists to announce your book, publicize any specials you're running, inform folks of new additions to your products or services, let them know about upcoming appearances and so forth.
Your list should include everyone you know. Combine your Rolodex, Christmas card list, address books and club rosters. Add business colleagues, former classmates, your children's teachers, neighbors, your hairdresser, Yoga teacher and then continue to collect business cards everywhere you go.
This is just a start. Once you've notified your massive list about your book, research book promotion ideas and create a plan. You might pursue some or all of the following: build a Web site, launch a newsletter, write articles to promote your book, send press releases to newspapers everywhere, give presentations and solicit book reviews. In order to succeed as a published author, you must take promotion seriously. And do yourself a favor-don't stay too cozy inside your comfort zone.
7: The author gives up. I can't tell you how often I hear this from disillusioned authors, "I can't sell my book, so what's the use?" There's one thing for sure; you won't achieve the level of success you desire if you quit. Successful promotion takes time, energy, patience and lots of persistence.
Think, for a moment, about an author you admire-someone who is rather high profile. You see her name everywhere. Every time you visit a site related to this author's genre or topic, there's her book, her byline or her quote. This is no accident. This author spends many hours every week making sure her name is constantly in front of you. This is the sort of commitment you must make if you wish to experience a level of success as an author.
Patricia Fry is the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) http://www.spawn.org. She is a full-time freelance writer and the author of 25 books including "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book" (300-pages, $19.95). Additional information and order form at http://www.matilijapress.com/rightway.html. Visit Patricia's ongoing, informative blog at http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog.
FROM PUBLISHER'S LUNCH BOX
looks at their efforts against the backdrop of the many indies that have gone out of business in recent years. It's also framed against a recent screening at Vertigo of producer-director Alex Beckstead's movie Paperback Dreams, which follows the fate of Kepler's and Cody's in .