Be Your Own Marketing Machine

“Man Stand For Long Time With Mouth Open Before Fried Duck Fly In”

Confucius

Most publishers these days, even the major houses, expect the author to be proactive in helping with the marketing of their book. It has always been the case that readers relate better to the authors than they do to the publisher. After all, who wants to read the Blog of a publisher? At book signings and press releases it is the author who garners interest and not the publisher. Nobody wants the publisher’s autograph inside the front cover! For this reason self marketing is vital. The author should certainly own a website that ties in with their publisher’s. Once the book is published there are many ways to boost sales through combined activities with your publisher; from Amazon ‘Search Inside’ and Author space to promotions through Google and book review sites.

We are in a post Credit-Crunch world where the book-buying public are being more careful about where to spend their reading money, yet conversely there are more and more authors writing. Without the committed support of the author in helping to market their own work any first time publication, no matter the quality of the book, is doomed to sit on the shelves.

Sadly, good writing sells very few books but good marketing does, you only have to scan the book racks in the supermarkets to see this! The days of producing a masterpiece and waiting for the world to come are long gone. For this reason most publishers will now only work with authors who are prepared to put in some effort themselves. The publisher can’t write your Blog, update your Facebook page, create your author page on Amazon and market you in your own locality. All of which will make the difference between success and failure.

Local promotions are usually the best launch pad for any new writer. Once the buzz is working locally it is much easier to create a wider audience, the global village works very well once it’s started! Unless your name is Dan Brown or you have a six figure advertising budget think local first.

Here are some ideas for starting your promotion.

Book signings are the first and most obvious choice. Present in person three signed copies to each book shop manager within a thirty mile radius then call back in a few days to talk about arranging a signing. They will love the perceived ‘Free Profit’ and feel obligated to help you.

Affiliate shops. These are other retail establishments that may have a link to your book. For example, if you’ve written an historical novel then talking to the owners of local antique shops about stocking a few of your books can work wonders. Extra profit for the store owner and more publicity for your book! Be creative, would your action novel link to sports shops or your horror story tie in with Goth shops?

Newsagents will always welcome an extra income stream. A small stand with half a dozen novels by a local author is usually warmly welcomed.

Send signed copies to your local radio stations and newspapers for reviews and don’t forget to follow up with a phone call a few days later.

Attend local fairs with a small stand and sign copies. Donate signed copies to local charities for auction. Send signed copies to schools for teachers to use as prizes in English classes (assuming your work is suitable for the age group!).

Make sure there is always a box of your books in your car wherever you go. You never know when a chance opportunity will present itself. ‘Good fortune favours the prepared.’

All of these ideas take a bit of time and effort but the good publicity you will generate will give the boost you need to move your book up the ladder. Publicity is self perpetuating, all it needs is a kick-start. Remember, there are 175,000 new titles published each year. If you don’t do something to separate your work from the other 174,999 then it will sink without trace. The success of your work is your hands.

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