There is more than one way to use a book to promote a book and Infinity Publishing author, Debra Carttar is going all the way. Debra Carttar has recently completed a sequel to her novel “Picturing Lucy” and is donating proceeds to her local charity, Molly’s House. The sequel “The Art of Being Lucy” was published in December 2011.
Through March, 2012, 100% of the royalties from both her novels will be donated to Molly’s House in Stuart, Florida, a hospital hospitality house that provides temporary lodging to patients and their families in a medical crisis. The novel is dedicated to the volunteers at Molly’s House.
“The volunteers at Molly’s House give so much of themselves to help others,”said Carttar. “They inspire me every day, so it seemed natural to dedicate my latest book to them and donate book proceeds to Molly’s House.”
Besides writing novels, Carttar owns a business entitled Off The Wall Ink which provides owner’s manuals to boat and home builders. She also is the co-writer for the website Simplychecklists.com and works part-time at Molly’s House as its volunteer coordinator.
For a full article on Debra Carttar, her books, and her volunteer work click here.
Are you an author using your book to raise money for your favorite charity? Please tell us about it by posting your good will below!
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Knowing the ins and outs of Amazon is a must for any author, whether they are self-publishing or have a traditional publishing house behind them. Either which way, it boils down to the author still being responsible for their own book marketing and Amazon has one free marketing tool, that I really like…Listmania!
What is Listmania!?
Listmania! comes complete with an exclamation point, so you know it must be exciting. In a nutshell, Amazon allows all account holders to create a “list” of their favorite things…like books and it is called, Listmania! So if you’ve written a book, you can create a Listmania! list, and include your own book, along with your competition. Simple as that.
Why would you want to include your book with your competition?
Listmania! provides the perfect opportunity to cross-promote your own work with best-selling titles that are in your own genre. You want to create a book list that will attract your potential audience. You can create more than one list, if you want to cross promote your work to different audiences. If you have a cookbook that is about 30 minute Vegan meals, you may want to create a list for Best Vegan Cookbooks and another for Quick and Delicious Vegan Cookbooks. Get creative. I encourage all authors to utilize this tool to better market and promote their books. Also, ask a friend to create a list and include your book in their Listmania! lists as well.
Many people use Listmania! lists as a way to get recommendations from other readers to find books they may want to read and buy!
How to Create a Listmania! list (information provided courtesy of Amazon.com.)
To create a Listmania list:
Visit your Profile Page and log into your account if requested.
Click the "Edit Your Profile" button on the top right-hand corner of the page.
Click the "Lists" tab in the Contributions section of Your Profile.
Click the "Create your first one now" link or "Manage your Listmania Lists" link if you already have existing lists.
Provide the requested information for your list and click the Preview button to review your list and Publish list when you are finished.
Here's the information you'll be asked to enter:
Name Your List: Enter a friendly title for your list.
Your qualifications: Your qualifications should be a description of why you're an expert in the subject of your list.
Introduction: You can add an optional introductory paragraph to describe the list.
Add tags: This allows you to add keywords that help others discover your list.
Add a product: This is the core of your list! You can add anything from the product listings on Amazon.com.
Click here for more information on Listmania! at Amazon.com.
Please post a link to your Listmania! list below.
Benefits of Self-publishing
By Sherrie Wilkolaski
Throughout my career, I’ve had the good fortune of working with so many talented authors. Some self-published and others traditionally published. There are some authors who are dead-set on getting a publisher to pick them up and refuse to consider self-publishing, while others just want to jump in with both feet and go the independent publishing route. There is no wrong or right answer. It really depends on the author and what they want to get out of publishing their work.
If you’re on the fence and not sure if self-publishing is right for you, let’s look at some of the benefits you’ll have as an independent publisher.
Author has control. As an artist it is nice to have control over your own work. You’ll oversee everything from selecting your self-publishing partner, like Infinity Publishing for example, to approving your cover art and setting the course for where you want to go. No waiting on a publisher to get your book to market, you’ll work at your own pace.
Get what you want out of publishing. Are you publishing to get your work out to the world, or are you using your book as a tool to better your career and take you to the next level? As an independent publisher, you dictate what you want to get out of publishing your title. Some authors are happy just having their book published and available for purchase on Amazon. Others want to go all the way…NY Times Bestsellers list. Whichever road you go down, it’s up to you. You don’t have the constraints of a traditional publisher, managing your work and what you do with it.
Find the right publishing vehicle for your title. As an author looking to self-publish, there are a lot of choices out there. You need to find the right option for you. Ask yourself these questions when looking for a self-publishing company:
Will you be able to work along with a publishing professional, being able to talk with them on the phone…not just email? Being able to talk with a publishing professional, one on one is very important for any author looking to self-publish. Email is a great tool, but having a personal touch makes all the difference during the publishing process. At Infinity Publishing, our Author Advocates are available by phone and at a time that is convenient for your schedule.
Do they offer distribution options for all mediums (i.e. print, eBooks and audio)? An author cannot sell a book without distribution, no matter what format their book is in. Infinity Publishing offers the most extensive distribution options available to independent publishers for print, eBooks and audio and is always growing with the changes in the market. We’ll handle it all.
Are marketing and PR services and support available? Very important question, as every author needs these resources to be successful. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, use book marketing professionals who specialize in publishing. At Infinity Publishing, not only do we do our own marketing and branding to help our authors sell more books, we work one on one with each author to find the right marketing options for their title.
Do they publish just any title? It is nice to know you can get your book published, but as a self-publishing author you want to know that the company you decide to go with is somewhat selective with the types of books they are publishing. You want your book to be surrounded by authors of a certain caliber as it will make your work even more valuable. Infinity Publishing works with some of the best authors out there. You’re not just another number. Your work means something.
You own it. The book success or failure is all yours. You’re in control and if you’ve got the right fit with your self-publishing company, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.
More royalties on sales. It is true, there are start-up costs to publish your title, but in the long-run you’ll reap the rewards. Larger royalties on your sales when you self-publish, than if you are traditionally published. Authors who traditionally publish make pennies on the sale of each book vs. when they self-publish. The numbers just don’t compare. Yes, you’re still investing financially on the front end, covering your own costs for editing, cover design, etc. however you’ll be reaping the rewards for life. Going the traditional route, you’ll make less overall per book even if you get an advance. There are always exceptions of course. Ask one of Infinity Publishing’s Author Advocates about the potential royalties for your book.
Getting to market sooner rather than later. First let me say, that self-publishing authors still need to publish their book properly, having it professionally edited, professional cover design, marketing and all of that. This will take time from the point in which the manuscript is ready, 3-6 months to do it properly. If your book is picked up by a traditional publisher it could take 12-24 months before it goes to market. Timing is something to think about.
No matter what direction you decide to go, make sure the self-publishing company you partner with is right for you, and that they have the potential to grow with you. Most authors don’t stop at just one book. To schedule your free consutlation with an Infinity Publishing Author Advocate, click the button below.
Image courtesy of Zsuzsanna Kilian.
by Ellie Maas Davis
A compelling premise behind Indie publishing is that authors have dominion over their published work. To a great extent, whether wanted or unwanted, Indie publishing is about ownership and control, and with this power and authority comes great responsibility (lest you make the rest of Indie authors look foolish—yes, yes, it takes but one bad apple); the onus is on individual authors to use their reign of influence wisely. To distinguish your Indie title from other Indie titles—as well as those from the big six (Random House, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin, Hachette, Macmillan)—have your manuscript professionally edited and proofread prior to publication.
There’s no doubt that book editing is as important to bookmaking as book promotion. (Let’s face it: no matter how good a title is if readers don’t know about it, what’s the point?) It’s about getting a second (or, optimally, a third, fourth, or fifth) set of eyes on your manuscript, and it’s the number one quality that distinguishes Indie titles from big six titles (cover design and blurbing are close behind).
While professional editing can certainly make all the difference, don’t discount the offer your cousin made to “look things over” if, in fact, that cousin has a degree in English or literature or creative writing. Same goes if your neighbor taught ESL (they’ve an uncanny knack with recrafting prepositional phrases), or your boyfriend’s mother is a fiend for your genre (again, not optimal, but if she’s an avid reader of romance and that’s what you write, let her review what you’ve done). Really, really, truly, truly, never look a gift horse in the mouth. If someone is willing to read your book, let them. Just make sure they turn on track changes so you can see what typos, word foibles, and tense issues they find.
Infinity Publising offers professional editing services, to learn more contact an Author Advocate for more details.
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Do you own an iPad? Kindle? Are you reading books on your Droid or iPhone? Perhaps you’re reading the classics on your laptop, taking advantage of www.gutenberg.org. If you’re an author who is also an eBook consumer, I ask you…are you publishing electronically? First, I’m a huge fan of having as much distribution for your work and part of that is offering your book in as many different formats as possible. That includes, print, eBooks and audio to name a few. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge to convert your print edition to an eBook, let today be the day you expand your reach and increase your audience base.
Here are some tips to make the most of your eBook:
Start with a professionally edited and formatted file. When your book goes through the conversion process, it’s essentially taking your content and converting it to code, that will ultimately be manipulated, and viewed on an eReader like an iPad. The best eBooks are those that read well (yes, editing is critical no matter what format it’s in) and have been formatted by a professional. It will make your final eBook file the best it can be.
Use a professional to convert your book to an ePub file. Have you seen the commercials that provide a disclaimer that says, “Don’t try this at home?” The same thing applies to converting your book to an ePub file (eBook). You must be tech savvy and it’s worth spending the money to have a professional do it for you. You also want a company that tests on all the latest devices. Do you really want to spend hours learning how to make your own ePub and then have to buy a dozen eReaders to test it? Leave it to the professionals.
Keep your expectations in check. An ePub file will never be perfect. It is a bunch of code that can be manipulated on a variety of different devices, so it will look different from one device to the next. It is not supposed to look exactly like a printed book, so get over it. People read eBooks for the content. Make sure your content is solid.
Distribution. You must have your book in all of the major distribution channels, so don’t convert your file and assume you’ll just sell it from your website. Again, let the professionals handle this for you.
Pricing your eBook. Here is a critical piece to the eBook selling puzzle. Pricing your eBook to compete with your competition. Do your research. Most eBooks sell well between, $3.99-$9.99. Look at other eBooks in your genre and price accordingly. Yes, there are the 99 cent eBook success stories, but price it higher. You can always go lower or run a short-term promotion to offer a discount.
Marketing. Nothing sells without marketing and promotion, so get out there and promote your eBook alongside your print book. Let your potential readers know you’re a modern day author and you’re hip to the eBook publishing scene. Use your social media to drive traffic to your eBook and go ahead and ask for the sale. You’ll be reaching another demographic and reader audience you’re not reaching with print.
eBooks only. In some cases it makes sense for an author to start off by going electronic vs. print. Of course, I almost always recommend both options, it gives you more exposure and distribution options, but I digress. If you’re writing on a topic that is very popular and you don’t have the marketing budget to compete with more well-known titles, eBooks are a great option. If you’re launching a series of books and trying to define your niche market, using an eBook for market research may make better sense than jumping right into print. Just don’t forget that there are many readers out there who still love print and won’t even touch an eBook, so be careful in going eBook only.
So how do you make it BIG as an eBook author? The secret lies in having great content that is marketed and available to your ideal audience. I know, it’s not rocket science, but that really is the formula.
The last four years of Michael Jackson’s life are revealed by Infinity author Dr. Karen Moriarty in "Defending A King ~ His Life &Legacy."
Understanding that “bizarre behavior is normal in bizarre circumstances,” Moriarty leads readers carefully through the maze of stunningly bizarre events and circumstances of Michael Jackson's life. With previously unknown revelations, the King of Pop is disclosed as a complex and vulnerable man who lived—and struggled--at the pinnacle of human existence.
In the wake of the disturbing manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, in which the defense and often the media sordidly tried to put Michael--the victim of the crime--on trial, Dr. Moriarty helps readers understand the unique struggles of this inspirational genius and worldwide humanitarian. This is the first published book that covers the Conrad Murray trial--including the sentencing hearing in November 2011—and its lasting impact on MJ's family, fans, and legacy.
Incorporating more than 200 sources, including newly-reported accounts from a variety of people who knew Michael intimately, Dr. Moriarty reveals also where he went and what he did during those last four mysterious years of his life.
"If you want an eye-opening portrayal of the real Michael Jackson—delivered in a rare blend of disclosure, respect, insight, and passion—this is it!" - endorsement by MJ's AttorneyThomas A. Mesereau, Jr.
For more information on “Defending A King: His Life and Legacy” visit: http://www.defendingaking.com
Inner Michael Book Review: http://www.innermichael.com/2012/03/defending-a-king-by-dr-karen-moriarty/
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Where would romance be without the written word? Or is it the other way around? If you think about it, love is what drives so many authors to write. Whether it is the love for another person, or being passionate about a particular subject, love is most seemingly, on one level or another…always involved.
We credit authors like Shakespeare and Lord Byron for our classic love stories, but I think we should be complimenting their inspiration. Perhaps the subject of their affection wasn’t even aware of the role they played in the writing process. How scandalous. When researching a family tree it’s rare to find things like, “Aunt Hilda on your father’s side inspired Shakespeare’s, Romeo and Juliet. She waited tables in his local pub.” Perhaps the story behind the story, is even more more interesting than finding out you’re a direct decent of Shakespeare himself.
It is fascinating to know the history of where a character comes from and what the motivation was to create the details surrounding a personality or a piece of work. Jane Austen, who is the real, Mr. Darcy? As an author you’re having a romance with your writing every time you put pen to paper.
For all of your writers out there, today is the day to think about where your own inspiration comes from. You may want to thank your own personal muse, by writing something special, with them in mind, on this hallmark of holidays. Would you be as good a writer without that extraordinary someone or something in your life?
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Photo courtesty of Billy Frank Alexander Design.
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Book PR is alive and well for author Tom Cirigano. This Wednesday morning February 15, at 9:15am, his book 67 Cents: Creation of a Killer, will be featured in the "Book of the Week" segment on WVBF Radio, Taunton Massachusetts. This Wednesday's appearance is a 15 minute segment, (9:15-9:30) and Tom is also scheduled again for an hour show on this station within the next few weeks. Listeners can call-in to both of these shows or listen to the interivews online. (WVBF)www.hometowntalkradio.com
Tom has been diligent in doing his outreach to the local media and not only is he getting radio coverage, he’s also been interviewed by Bill Abramson from the New Bedford Standard Times. The article in the local newspaper will be out in the coming weeks.
About the book.
Within his newly released book, native Bostonian and author, Thomas M. Cirignano, brings his readers into the tough neighborhoods and back alleys of Southie, during a time when street-justice ruled, judgment was final, and penalties were severe.
67 Cents: Creation of a Killer is a fictional adaptation of the author’s autobiography, The Constant Outsider: Memoirs of a South Boston Mechanic. But fair warning: 67 Cents is not for the faint of heart, with its gritty language and graphic scenes of violence. The author defends his use of strong adult wording by stating, “This is exactly the way guys of the type depicted in the book spoke.”
In real life, Cirignano lived and worked in a city that was a far cry from TV’s Cheers and the sterile images of fashionable Newbury Street. At his auto repair shop in the heart of Southie, he had multiple opportunities to become involved with the underworld. As their trusted mechanic, he was on very good terms with the local gangsters. So much so, that when the Mob heard that Tom was having a problem with one particular thug, an “enforcer” offered to kill the man for him, for a very minimal fee. Of course, Tom said “No thank you.”
But in 67 Cents, the main character, “Nick,” says “Yes” to each and every one of those offers that were made to the author by both the Italian and Irish Mobs over the years. In a Boston where violence and lawlessness ruled, a series of wrong choices leads Nick down an ever intensifying path of no return. He learns to bend the rules, put aside his childhood values, and break the law in ever increasing ways. Nick finds that, like a lethal drug, money has a power of addiction all its own, especially easy money.
One skill he acquires is that of brutally fighting back against adversaries, eventually being pushed to the ultimate act of revenge; murder. Not only does Nick find that he’s good at killing, he actually enjoys it!
67 Cents: Creation of a Killer is now available in paperback, at www.buybooksontheweb.com, Amazon.com, Kindle, Readmore Books in Taunton, Somethin’s Brewin’ in Lakeville, and Lakeville Library. To learn more about Tom Cirignano go to www.TheConstantOutsider.com.
Photo courtesy of Tom Cirignano.
By Bob O’Connor
If you have one book in print congratulations. Please make sure you capture the addresses and/or e-mails of your purchasers. They will want to purchase you second book too. And it is easier to sell to someone you know has read your first book than just any random person.
When I publish a new book (I have seven in print), I have a postcard made with the book cover on it. I print 1000 at a cost of about $100. It costs 32 cents to send out. So I have 42 cents invested. I hand address each one. My return in actual book sales is very high. Where else can you spend 42 cents to reach your target audience?
The postcard sends them to my website to purchase the books. I have a form on my website that allows them to purchase and tell me how they want me to sign the book. Of course, they have to pay the postage for me to ship the book to them.
What about those I only have e-mail for? I send a newsletter to them quite often, but not every month. I put in information concerning my new book, places I am appearing in the near future and other pertinent information. See if that doesn’t work for you too.
Bob lives in Charles Town, West Virginia, close to most of the sites of his books. He is a well-respected member of the travel industry and a long time journalist and photographer. He initiated two of the area’s most popular annual events, the Independence Concert at Antietam Battlefield in July and the Memorial Illumination at Antietam Battlefield in December. He lives close to his six grandchildren and his two children. His next historical novel follows two brothers who fought against each other in the Civil War. The book is called "A House Divided Against Itself". Contact him through his website www.boboconnorbooks.com.
It is amazing to me that most authors aren’t even aware that Amazon provides a FREE author page to each and every author who has an ISBN and listed on their site. It’s true! It’s a great marketing tool to help authors, better market their books.
Setting up your Amazon Author Central page.
First step, is registering for your account. Go to authorcentral.com. If you already have a personal Amazon account, you can log in with your standard login, however you do need to register as an author via the above mentioned link.
Once your account is activated, you then can set-up your author profile. This is where you tell your potential readers about yourself. Be sure to fill in as much information as you can and don't forget to include your photo. To maximize this valuable sales tool, you will want to link to your Twitter account, and if you have a blog...which I hope you do, please be sure to sync that up as well. Both of these tools will keep your author page active, every time you post a blog or send out a Tweet. It can take 3-5 days for your page to appear on Amazon, so be patient.
Where do you find an author’s individual page on Amazon.com?
Great question! Go to Amazon and find your favorite book. Notice that the author’s name is hyperlinked. Click on that hyperlink and if they have an Amazon page.
Here are some links to several Amazon Author Pages for review: James Patterson, John Grisham and Amanda Hocking.
If they don’t have an Amazon page, it will simply go to a page that lists the author’s book(s) but that is it.
Benefits of having an Amazon Author Central page.
There are a lot of reasons to have an Amazon Author Central page.
Author Has Control. There is no better way to control your destiny at Amazon than by taking control of personal page. You’ll be able to manage what buyers see on your book(s) page(s). (i.e. book synapsis, search inside the book feature, etc.)
Improves Amazon Search. If you want to compete, you’ve got to be ready to play alongside best-selling titles. If you’re active on your Amazon page, that will help with key word searches on Amazon.
Track Your Sales. From within your Amazon Author Central account, you can track your sales and also see what part of the country your sales are coming from. Great feature.
Add More Books. As you launch new titles, you’ll be able to quickly add them to your personal Amazon page and start tracking sales.
Connecting with Readers. There is a section of your author page that allows you to start discussions. Use this to get feedback from your readers and fans.
Dealing with Issues. From time to time, you may run into issues with your book listing, etc. and you can reach out to Amazon via your account.
Create your personal Amazon page today if you don’t already have one and if you do, be sure to use it more. If you have questions on how to set-up your page or information on any other features Amazon has a wonderful help section.
Feel free to post a link to your Amazon Author Central page in the comments below for added exposure to your page.
Image courtesty of Mashable.com.
by Ellie Maas Davis
We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” –Kurt Vonnegut
When it comes to an author’s writing, style can only mean one of two things—one can be learned; the other, which is far more elusive, must be honed. And really, so we’re clear: it’s the latter that’s also tricky, fleeting, and artful; it’s the latter that’s about taking chances and creating narrative prose that has a life of its own.
And don’t get me wrong, grammar rules and standards applied to manuscripts or published documents ensure consistency. Language is a personal form of expression where rules can be applied in different ways, so following a particular style gives editors a specific point of reference to review your work against and offers you an accepted editorial standard for your manuscript. Still having a writing style is so much more than adhering to a certain set of overall writing strategies.
A writer’s style is the way he or she chooses to craft sentences in order to engage readers. As in most things, it’s subjective. Not only is style subjective, which makes it complicated—as in some readers will respond to your writing while others won’t—but even if a writer’s style is grammatically correct it can still be weak. Let’s face it: a cliché can be grammatically correct, and something written in a passive voice can initially pass a CMOS sniff test.
If an edited manuscript comes back to you with comments such as “tighten your prose” or “this section is overly wordy” or “awk,” it probably means you need to work on your writing style. I’ve found three simple things make a big difference.
First, write exactly what you mean. In other words, don’t skirt around what you want to say, don’t mince words, and don’t overwrite—just say it. If you make a conscious effort, you’re a few steps ahead when it comes to the writing process, because being authentic and purposeful helps. Also, be sure to choose words you know to get your point across. Nine times out of ten, to craft generous and well-delivered prose, a plainspoken charm is best.
Second, it also helps to consider your tone. It’s a delicate balance so try not to be academic if your book is meant to be written in laymen’s terms, and if you’re shooting for believability don’t rely on esoteric jargon. Be sensitive to how you’re saying something as much as what you’re saying. Your characters—each and every one of them—should embrace this habit as well. If you’re writing fiction, there should be a sense of “completeness” in each character’s development—make sure the people and places you describe are consistent in their overall being as well as their habits and preferences.
Thirdly, be willing to rewrite. A wise editor once said:
Rewrite, rephrase, reconfigure. Unfortunately, despite the Romantic picture many of us have of the writing process, prose does not just flow down from the Muse and magically burst through your fingertips. Even the best artists need to constantly rework and revise what they’ve written. It’s work. Of course, for most of us writers it’s fun work, but just because you’re an artist doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about your craft. Piano players practice scales, painters make preliminary sketches, and writers go through lots of drafts. That’s just how the process works. If you want to know the most important lesson I’ve learned about making art, it’s this: the stuff that looks the easiest is usually the hardest to pull off. Jackson Pollock? Raymond Carver? Ernest Hemingway? Andy Warhol? Always keep in mind that it takes a lot of work to make a work of art look effortless.
Having style means to write simply, yet ecstatically, with purpose. And as is so often is the case with art, such writing is difficult to pin down; we knows it when we see it!
Ellie Maas Davis
Make no mistake: Editors can be sticklers with the rules. Make sure your editor adheres to a traditional style of editing based on The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed.
Editing Tip: Once you find an editor who responds to your work—hold onto her!
Educated at Southern Methodist University, the University of Kansas, and the University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg, Ellie Maas Davis has written extensively on the environment and issues of human rights. She is the owner of Pressque, a publishing consultation firm located in downtown Charleston that offers editing, ghostwriting, and marketing services to authors and publishers.
She is a founding board member of the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts, a former curator and host of Charleston's longest running weekly literary series, Monday Night Blues, and serves as a mentor to senior writing students at Charleston County School of the Arts. Published in a number of anthologies and journals, she is the author of The Humours of Folly, See Charleston in a Day, 100, over a dozen ghostwritten works of fiction and nonfiction, and often reviews books for The Post and Courier. When she's not living somewhere else, she makes her home on Daniel Island with her family. www.pressque.com
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Have you ever considered what the marketing season is for your book, or if you even have one? Many authors don’t look beyond the first chapter and consider when to maximize their marketing. Your book may sell better during certain times of the year vs. others. Let’s take a look at some examples:
Holiday Books. OK, I started out with this one because it is the obvious example. If you’ve written about Halloween, Thanksgiving or Hanukah you probably know when to expect your sales. If your book is holiday driven, make the most of your holiday. Be sure to start planning your marketing well in advance and ramp up your marketing three months before your holiday season. Don’t wait until the week of the festive event or you’ll have missed your window. Think also about doing post-holiday book sales. If you have more than one title that is geared towards a specific holiday, bundle your books into a package and sell at a discounted price.
Days in History. I must admit that the idea for this article was sparked by the book The Virginian Who Might Have Saved Lincoln by Bob O’Connor. It’s about Abraham Lincoln’s personal bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon. Historical fiction at it’s finest. It is quite unique in its subject matter, for a topic that is widely written about. A different perspective and ideal for a history buff looking for a little something outside the usual Lincoln box. This author just held an event over the weekend to promote the book and well, I must say bravo. He is right on target. With President’s Day just around the corner, he couldn’t get more focused.
If you have a book that targets a day in history, then use it to your advantage. The media is always looking for authors and experts to tie into a local news story about everything from Ground Hog day to Fourth of July to 9/11. Reach out and don’t be shy to give the media an idea of how to create a new twist on day in history. Even if your book isn’t 100% about an historical event, but still has solid coverage of that historical period, use it.
Times of the Year. “Ahhh choo!” We’re in the midst of flu season and it’s the time that people start thinking about what they could have done to ward off this nasty bug. Buying a book on cold and flu season is top of mind, even if it is coming a little late. Another positive for book sales during flu season, is there are a lot of people home sick in bed, looking for something to read on their Kindles or iPads. Get out there and market your book to these folks. Great time to read a romance novel, or to look taking on a new career with a non-fiction, self-help guide. The possibilities are endless…so be sure to get creative.
Sports. Super Sunday is behind us and if you’ve written a book about the NY Giants, now is the time to sell, right? If you’re a diehard New England Patriots fan, you’re probably feeling a little nostalgic; perhaps you would like to cheer yourself up with a good read that talks about better times in the Patriot's history. Not that getting to the Superbowl isn't a good thing, it's just more fun when you win. My point is this, sports runs in seasons and if you’ve written a book about hockey, market it well in advance of the season. Make sure the local sporting goods stores have enough copies of your book before the season starts. If you’re writing fiction that is connected with an athlete or specific team, push it during the respective sports season. If your book has even a small connection to game, use it as another marketing angle.
Topics of Interest. Is your book focused on ballet, music, bungee jumping or river boats? You name the topic and you're sure to find a specific time of year that your subject matter is more seasonal. Find the connection and get out there and promote!
Start thinking about the seasonal possibilities for your book niche and how you can use the seasons to drive more book sales. Take the time to make a list of 10 ways you can market your book through the year, focusing on seasonality. Think outside the box. I think you’ll be surprised to find you have more opportunities than you thought.
Photo courtesy of Florin Garoi via sxc.hu.
by Gareth Howard
Would you bake a delicious cake and not even eat it? Would you revise for important exams and not bother sitting them? Would you book an exotic vacation only to stay at home, wasting that precious deposit? You wouldn’t do any of these things if you wanted to enjoy the fruits of your labor, would you? So then why do so many talented writers go to the enormous effort of lovingly crafting their manuscript and publishing their novel, only to do absolutely nothing to market it?
Despite the increasing connectedness of our world, combined with the sledgehammer of consumerism which batters us daily - demanding we choose, buy, share, like and vote for the things we want in our lives -there are still plenty of authors out there who think that the news of their new book’s publication will somehow subliminally transplant itself into the minds of the masses. If you’re thinking about promoting your book there really is only one question you need to ask yourself: how will anyone know my book exists if I don’t shout it from the rooftops? And that’s all any good marketing campaign ever is; it’s about engaging the public with the story that you have to tell, inspiring them enough to buy a copy and tell their friends about it, and letting the quality speak for itself.
In many ways, the most important aspect of the 21st century publishing world is the marketability - and indeed the marketing campaign - of the work itself. This may cause literature lovers to shudder and recoil in disgust, but it’s true. It’s realism, pure and simple; publishers, literary agents et al have to make money, now more so than ever, and unless a firm can rest on the laurels of a well-paying heritage estate, they have to take a pretty cut-throat approach. Is there an audience out there for this story? Will this book sell? If not, what will? We’ve all received those miserable literary agent rejection letters criticizing our book’s apparent lack of ‘commercial viability’. So what can we, as readers and writers, do to give our books a fighting chance in a market already saturated with self-indulgent celebrity memoirs, ghost-written children’s stories and groaningly, predictably thematic commercial fiction?
Well for starters, we must employ the same realism as our agent and publisher partners. My top tips for marketing your book into a success are:
Pick the things you can do well (that you have the time and expertise to fulfill) and the tasks where you need professional help.
Ensure that your manuscript is edited and cut to a reasonable length. Bloated books don’t sell.
Pay attention to book cover design. Research the competition, exploring graphics and images. At Authoright PR one of the biggest problems we encounter with our authors is how low they set the bar when it comes to the visual appeal of their books. Unless you are a graphic designer, don’t create the cover yourself.
Work out what makes your book special. Don’t take the word of your friends who will only pay you lip service. You need to analyze the story like a journalist, working out what its unique selling point is and why readers should care about it. Highlight this when you’re marketing it.
Make social media work for you. A slick online profile, such as a personalized Facebook page, combined with hard work on your part to connect with other uses and promote your book online will pay dividends. Consumers and book buyers have become very demanding, a basic online presence will not be enough, it needs to be professionally designed!
Broaden your media appeal. This is where you need professional book marketing help. It’s very difficult for an author to get themselves into the media (newspapers, radio, TV etc.); even authors with journalistic skills or marketing experience will struggle, because ultimately the journalists you will contact do not want to deal with authors directly. They don’t speak to Dan Brown, they won’t expect to hear from you either. Don’t just focus on book reviews, think about how else you can get your book in the media in a more dynamic way. Do you have a personal story that is separate from your book that might interest the press and that you could take advantage of in order to promote the book?
Be prepared to work for it. If you don’t have the force of a publishing goliath behind you, you need to be tenacious, creative and dedicated in pursuit of your marketing goals. Get involved with book groups, offer your time, for free, to schools and community literacy centers. Tour your book, talking about your writing wherever and whenever possible.
If you can build a platform for your writing through the course of your campaign then you need to hold on to it so that your future books can benefit. Write freelance articles or review other books for a local magazine in order to keep your name in the public consciousness.
The best piece of advice I can give to any writer is to embrace the idea of marketing . If in this day and age the idea of being interviewed, of having to promote yourself, of having to be bold and inventive in order to sell the story of your book to a wider audience, appalls you, then you are likely to condemn your book to that place where unloved and unread novels go to die; the garage, the loft, a lonely warehouse where they’ll grow mouldy. Ultimately, if you want people to read your novel you first have to tell them you’ve written it.
Gareth Howard is the founder and CEO of Authoright PR, the book marketing specialist. Launched in 2005 as an innovative services provider, designed to help authors and publishers with limited budgets and lower profiles to promote their work effectively and professionally, it has become the UK’s leading book marketing company and is growing rapidly in the US from its base in Boston, MA. Having trained and worked as a corporate lawyer in the City of London, Howard learnt how the publishing and marketing process worked with the publication of his first novel. Surprised by the total lack of affordable and creative marketing solutions available to first-time authors, he developed his own successful strategy, attracting international media coverage for the book on three continents. Howard is a respected guest speaker on the international book fair circuit and an experienced broadcaster, regularly appearing on NBC News in the US and on BBC Radio in the UK. Gareth Howard lives between London and Los Angeles.
Photo courtesty of Lotus Head via sxc.hu.