I’m beginning to understand why a lot of authors just put their book out there on the internet and hope that someone will discover them (which of course the probably won’t with 50,000 books per year being published). It’s bloody hard work to do PR for a book! In fact, the title of my book, “Rough Enough” could be used for an article on book sales and PR by beginning or lower echelon authors hoping to make good. This hometown boy (pick Hood River, OR, or Bozeman, MT) is doing his utmost to go the second mile in order to make the grade. Here are five pointers towards the things you ought to be doing if you hope to get beyond the “just published” but “zero sales” level:
1. Recognize that being an author is a business and unless you already know and hobnob with the in-crowd for your book publicity, it will be who you “get to know” that will determine whether you make it up the ladder.
2. Get started on the “getting to know you” while you are still finishing the final year of work on your book. Blog – Blog – Blog, work and rework your profile and contacts lists through WordPress, LinkedIn and Amazon (just 3 of the many you can be on). Make the contacts and have enough content to keep them interested in what will be coming out.
3. Decide how much money you are willing to invest in the marketing of your book. I constantly am asked the question, “Why doesn’t your publisher mail out gallery proof copies and contact all the media?” My answer is simply, “I am still small peanuts in the publishing world which means that publisher has been willing to carry my book through to print, and is willing to get out the word that the book exists, but they don’t have the cash to be able to float a lot of books out to prospective reviewers who may decide to not take a chance on a new author.” So the amount of money you are going to invest in your small business venture is important! If you are going to have books available to sell and sign as you move around you community, you have to invest in inventory. If you are going to mail out media books ahead of the publication date, then you need to have more inventory. Inventory costs $$$$ even at the discount rate offered to authors.
4. Put in your investment money and then follow up on your commitment with hard work, energy and time to build the publicity. I have it figured that with an investment of $10,000.00 dollars for publicity, mailing, printing leaflets, envelopes, gas, etc., etc., etc., I should be able to break out above the average “wait until they find me,” author.
5. Carefully pick out the list of who to send media Gallery copies. I picked only magazines that would work with my interest area or that have book reviews for bored inflight passengers and retired folks. I picked newspapers only of larger size, but all over the US, and they always have a Sunday edition which is more likely to have some book reviews in it. I also concentrated especially on the States of VA, MA, ND, SD, MT and OR where the book is centered, and I think there will be higher sales. I picked other reviewers as persons, authors, and persons in my field who responded to my queries and who would bother to send me their mailing address (You wouldn’t believe how much work this takes!). I also selected 20 universities that have programs of history that might very well have Civil War courses and pitched them for possible use of the book as supplementary reading…..
The list goes on, but the chicken eggs are waiting to be collected down the garden so more with the next blog.