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popmuze
09-18-2009, 12:45 AM
This isn't about rejection. It's about when your book is finally published (whether it's your first or your tenth). What was your experience (whether self published, published by an indie or a major)? What kind of innovative ways did you find to publicize yourself and your book (other than attempting to get your relatives to buy a few boxes)? Did this change from book to book? Did you have an ad budget? Did you go on tour, on television? How did you use the internet? Was your pub date exciting or anti-climactic? Did your editor and your agent love you right up until they stopped taking your calls? Or did you ignore it all and just keep writing your next one?


Meaty, realistic stuff like that.

Karen Junker
09-18-2009, 01:13 AM
Well. My first book was pubbed by a now-defunct epublisher.

At the time, I wanted to publicize my book, so I started a writers' conference. The conference was a multi-genre event, meant to fill in some gaps that weren't being filled by other local writers' events, but I also figured it was a great way to get my name out to a lot of people. At one point, we had several hundred people on our mailing list, so I made an announcement on there when my book was released.

In addition, I participated in chats and writers' loops online. I think I may have sold as many as 50 copies of the book, total. But that's kind of what you get when you're pubbed by an unknown epub.

Just so's you know--I'm totally buying a copy of your book.

MsGneiss
09-18-2009, 01:37 AM
Well. My first book was pubbed by a now-defunct epublisher.

At the time, I wanted to publicize my book, so I started a writers' conference. The conference was a multi-genre event, meant to fill in some gaps that weren't being filled by other local writers' events, but I also figured it was a great way to get my name out to a lot of people. At one point, we had several hundred people on our mailing list, so I made an announcement on there when my book was released.


Wow. I just want to say - that is absolutely amazing. Just thinking about the amount of planning and hard work that would take makes my head hurt. Good for you!

popmuze
09-18-2009, 02:48 AM
Just so's you know--I'm totally buying a copy of your book.


You won't regret it. And if you do, you wouldn't be the first.

Darzian
09-18-2009, 04:03 AM
The publisher does the advertising. You just have to run down the main street screaming that you're published.


http://artiewayne.files.wordpress.com/2006/12/screaming-girl.jpg


A little older, of course.

Wordwrestler
09-18-2009, 06:16 AM
The publisher does the advertising. You just have to run down the main street screaming that you're published.


http://artiewayne.files.wordpress.com/2006/12/screaming-girl.jpg


A little older, of course.

I've heard this, but then I've heard that it's all (or mostly) up to the author. Does it depend on the kind of deal you get or what?

ChaosTitan
09-18-2009, 06:42 AM
I've heard this, but then I've heard that it's all (or mostly) up to the author. Does it depend on the kind of deal you get or what?

It depends on a lot of things - publisher, advance, advertising budget, what format you're being printed in.

A hardcover literary novel with a six-figure advance will likely have more advertising dollars behind it than a mass-market genre paperback with a mid four-figure advance.

From personal experience as a mass-market genre, a lot of the advertising over and above what is standard for my publisher is up to me.

I'll have way more to say on this topic when the book actually comes out. :)

popmuze
09-18-2009, 05:23 PM
I'm sure Darzian was joking here. Except for the part about running down Main Street screaming, which I do every day. Then it's on to the next town. Yelling from the rooftops works, too. Until the fire department shows up.

C.M.C.
09-18-2009, 06:06 PM
It really isn't hell if you don't have high expectations.

popmuze
09-18-2009, 11:39 PM
It really isn't hell if you don't have high expectations.


You're not a writer unless you have insanely high expectations. It's reality that's the problem.

Mr Flibble
09-18-2009, 11:51 PM
Think of it this way.

When Jk Rowling's first book came out, it wasn't hugely popular, or massively pushed by her publisher. And yet the series became a phenomenon, right? Because old Jk ain't stoopid. She found her audience and promoed them. She went to every school that would have her to talk about books and writing and, incidentally, read excerpts from her book. The kids loved it - and pestered their parents to buy the book. Parents wonder what it is that's got their kids so excited and read the book too...and the rest is history.

To a certain extent you get out what you put in. And as such I've stuff lined up apart from the usual book shop signings etc. We shall see how it goes.

quickWit
09-19-2009, 12:03 AM
To a certain extent you get out what you put in. And as such I've stuff lined up apart from the usual book shop signings etc. We shall see how it goes.

It'll prolly help if you flash a boob now and then, too.

prolly.

:D

Mr Flibble
09-19-2009, 12:15 AM
I'll try. But I'd rather flash yours.

C.M.C.
09-19-2009, 12:19 AM
You're not a writer unless you have insanely high expectations. It's reality that's the problem.

I'll disagree with this. Not wanting to have my face plastered on billboards across the country doesn't make me less of a writer than anyone else. It makes me more sane, if anything.

popmuze
09-19-2009, 01:06 AM
I'll disagree with this. Not wanting to have my face plastered on billboards across the country doesn't make me less of a writer than anyone else. It makes me more sane, if anything.


You misunderstand. What I meant by insanely high expectations was, like, to break even, maybe.

popmuze
09-19-2009, 01:10 AM
I've stuff lined up apart from the usual book shop signings etc. We shall see how it goes.


You see, this is the whole reason for my original post. To find out what some of these things are, if you don't mind.

Mr Flibble
09-19-2009, 01:25 AM
Oh, right lol. Okay

Firstly - I work at a large trade counter. I have literally hundreds of customers every week. My boss lets me have free promo stuff on the counter - and of course people always ask why, and then I get to skive while I talk to them about writing lol. My boss wants me to do two signings at work ( one in the week for the tradesmen, another at the weekend for the DIYers. He's talked to a couple of managers at other stores about me doing the same there, though I'm not so sure about that. The interest here is obviously that because my customers know me, they are more likely to buy the book. We'll see)

My local pub's landlord has asked me ( surprise there - he asked me, I didn't ask him) if we can do a book launch kinda party at his pub - he'll pay for the advertising, he might get some extra punters in, I might sell some books.

I've approached a few schools too (I'm not writing YA but there's no reason older kids couldn't read it) and they're interested in me doing a talk about creative writing ( feck knows how I'll manage that, I loathe and destest public speaking. But needs must....)

One of the cafes locally has a thing about books - there are loads on shelves in there for people to read while they have their coffee. We're working out what we might do there.

A county radio station does 'New author interview' slots and I was going to see if I could get on there ( reminds me, I must e-mail them!)

I'm starting out local and seeing how it goes. Trying to think a little further than 'Book shop signings' Maybe go a bit further afield if all goes well. I think the thing is just to get yourself out there, in whatever way you can. It's not going to hurt, and people won't buy your book if it's buried in eth sea of new releases and they don't know about it. If they know about it, and they've talked to the author, I've been told that there's a certain amount of - ooh well I'll give it a go, because she was nice or whatever.

It's all local, but well if someone likes the book and recs it to someone else...That's how it starts. Obviously it ain't going to work for all books. But it's got to be worth the shot.

popmuze
09-19-2009, 02:24 AM
I'm into the think locally thing too. The other day I spoke after a screening of Gimme Shelter to 100+ people and sold eight books, met a professor who said he'd like to make my book required reading for his class. Doing several local radio shows and a local signing.

Darzian
09-19-2009, 02:43 AM
I've heard this, but then I've heard that it's all (or mostly) up to the author. Does it depend on the kind of deal you get or what?

I was just joking! The writer does have some promotion work to do, especially locally. It may not be essential but every little helps.


I'm sure Darzian was joking here.

Yup. :D

Wordwrestler
09-19-2009, 02:58 AM
Ok, all joking aside, how do you sell books in a non-store location? Do you have a cash box? A debit card swiper-thingy? Do you purchase the books at wholesale first? Must you register yourself as a business in order to do this?

Karen Junker
09-19-2009, 03:22 AM
I did a booksale/signing at our writers' conferences, selling other people's books, not my own. I got a business license and got a wholesale account with a book distributor. I got a credit card processing account and I took a cash box. In addition to paying the state sales tax, I also had to collect and pay local city taxes, too. Depending on what city you operate in, they may require you to have a city business license as well.

You have to watch out for those accounts with the distributors, though. Some require you buy a certain dollar amount of books per year. Some will only let you return a certain dollar amt. or percentage.

Mr Flibble
09-19-2009, 03:31 AM
Ok, all joking aside, how do you sell books in a non-store location? Do you have a cash box? A debit card swiper-thingy? Do you purchase the books at wholesale first? Must you register yourself as a business in order to do this?

I'll be doing it through my husband's company so all VAT etc is sorted. Or is when I do the accounts lol. Sorry. I buy the books at a discount from my pub ( and get paid royalties for my purchase! Which means i get them at about er....wait I worked it out not long ago. I think it was 30% Um no it wasn't that. Ends in a zero. CBA to work it out again. Pretty cheap though, and I get the markup)And yes a cash box - though where I work takes cards, so my boss reckons we'll work something out, same with the pub.

CheshireCat
09-19-2009, 04:14 AM
The problem with comparing war stories about publishing is that every single experience is unique.

How much promo will you need to do? Depends on: which publisher buys your book, what type/genre the book is, how high the advance, how much enthusiasm there is for the book in house, whether you're in a line/series (as in romance) or sold a single-title, whether the house looks at you as an investment worth building toward possible bestsellerdom -- and on and on and on.

If you sell to one of the majors, you'll probably be encouraged to do local promotion, maybe signings, and internet stuff. Have a good webside, MySpace and Facebook pages. Except in very, very rare cases, doing more than that, especially if you spend your advance, isn't going to net you extra sales worth the effort.

If the publisher wants you to tour -- and that's becoming as rare as hen's teeth, especially for new authors -- you tour. Their dime. (At least this was true of major publishers back in the day.) That means they pay travel expenses, pay a "minder" to meet you at airports and drive you places, and put you up at possibly okay hotels. The schedule will be packed, because they'll want every dime's worth out of you; you'd be well advised to include in your carry-on (NEVER check your bag while on tour) small bags of peanuts, granola bars, and other non-perishable snacks for those occasions when you arrive at the hotel long after room service and all nearby restaurants have stopped serving. You should also be sure to take cash and plastic along, because some travel arrangements are inevitably screwed-up and you'll have to pay for something.

You'll sign at stores that have promoted the appearance and hauled in regulars, and you'll sign at stores where you stand with what patience you can muster while somebody finds you a chair and rickety table and frantically checks to see where your books are. In many cases, you'll be lucky if you sell a book or three, and even luckier if the store asks you to sign stock (which is kept on the shelves longer, possibly until sold, rather than returned). You'll discover that whoever planned the trip has a poor grasp of geography and an apparent inability to use GoogleMaps or an atlas, so that you're scheduled to sign at opposite ends of a state within an hour.

You'll be interviewed by radio, cable, and (now) internet "personalities" who may or may not have read your book, may or may not have an agenda of their own, and may or may not have an audience big enough to be worth the trouble. You'll give print interviews and find yourself wildly misquoted. You'll find yourself signing at the opening of a grocery store. You'll find your schedule disrupted, possibly beyond repair, by late and cancelled flights and the aforementioned lack of geographical research.

You'll answer the question, "Where do you get your ideas?" approximately 6,047 times.

You'll defend the design of a cover you hate.

You'll explain to an endless procession of aspiring writers that, no, you can't read their manuscript or "introduce" them to your agent or editor.

You'll answer dozens of questions about How Publishing Works only to watch the person who has monopolized you for the better part of an hour walk away without buying a copy of your book.

You'll sit there at your table nicely decorated with copies of your book and direct people to the restrooms. You'll have to figure out what to say to at least one person who stops by the table only to tell you that he/she doesn't read "this sort of book," and then goes on to ruin somebody else's day.

Yes, I have had every experience related above. Most more than once.

I don't like to tour. I believe it's -- mostly -- a waste of money better spent on co-op and other forms of promo.

I also don't believe that author-driven promo, for the most part, is successful enough to be worth the time and money spent. As my agent says, the best thing an author can do for his/her career is write a damned good book -- and then work hard to write another one.

Rinse, repeat. Build a body of work.

All that said, this is the Internet age, and there are more things an author can do now to help promote his/her work. But each thing takes time, trouble, energy, and sometimes money -- and every author has to decide if the cost is worth the outcome.

:Shrug:

My experiences come of being published by major houses for more than twenty years. I've put very little of my own money into promo. I've never toured on my own dime and would argue strenuously against a tour now if my publisher wanted to send me out -- but they know me well and aren't likely to suggest it. ;)

I put my energy into things I can control. The best manuscript I can produce. The strongest cover (I have input, and you can bet I take advantage of that). The strongest cover copy.

Then I cross my fingers and hope all the stars align.

:D

Darzian
09-19-2009, 04:43 AM
CC, :Hail::Hail::Hail:

Mr Flibble
09-19-2009, 11:28 AM
I've put very little of my own money into promo. I've never toured on my own dime

The best bit is this ain't costing me a penny ( except to buy in books for the non book shop events. Let's hope I sell them lol I won't be ordering job lots or anything.)

I'll be getting paid to be at work. I even get free beer in the pub. :D Me no daft.

<<

>>

Okay, not that daft



As my agent says, the best thing an author can do for his/her career is write a damned good book -- and then work hard to write another one.

Rinse, repeat. Build a body of work. Doing that too. Or trying to.

I'm under no illusions - this won't get me on a list anywhere. Might not even get me much in sales. But I'd like to know I've given it a shot.

I don't like the sound of a big tour though, so I'm glad I'll never get one :D

Christine N.
09-19-2009, 04:34 PM
I find that nowandays the best promo isn't the in-person kind, but the online kind.

*have a website. Keep it updated. The easiest way to update is to
*have a blog. Make it funny and a good balance of personal and writing. Readers want to know you're a regular person, not some hoity-toity, too good for us writer.
*Be on Facebook, etc. Social networking really doesn't take that long, and most of them you can connect together. I have my LJ copy every entry over to my FB, and Tweetdeck that allows me to post status updates to FB from my desktop as well as tweet.
Some people run contests and all that. I will do that too, but they tend to be time consuming. However, if you want new readers, giving away copies of your backlist sometimes gets the job done.

The above are really the best ways, I've found. I think it's because if you're all over, people recognize and remember your name. Someone has to see your name seven times before they remember it. I've tried print ads, but they don't seem to give me the bang for the buck that having an online presence does. Most of this stuff is low-cost or free. And I'm only with small presses. I've earned out two very small advances this way, though.

It's not ALL up to the author, but yes, things are changing so that publishers want authors to be more visible to the public and help with promotion. They don't want you to spend tons of money, but be out there for readers to find and connect with.

popmuze
09-19-2009, 06:18 PM
[B][COLOR=#4b0082]You'll be interviewed by radio, cable, and (now) internet "personalities" who may or may not have read your book, may or may not have an agenda of their own, and may or may not have an audience big enough to be worth the trouble. You'll give print interviews and find yourself wildly misquoted. You'll find yourself signing at the opening of a grocery store.

Been there; done that--doing it now!
Beautiful post, better than the last six "inside publishing" blogs I've read.

illiterwrite
09-22-2009, 09:54 PM
I've had two books published. I was unavailable to do much publicity for the first.

For the second, I tried. I did signings, readings, festivals. I had a web page, did online interviews & book clubs. Travelled to book clubs in person.

Made no difference in terms of sales.

More than that, it all took me away from my very limited free time and thus a new manuscript and my family.

I've decided now to just focus on writing.