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View Full Version : what do you think are the absolute most effective (sales-producing) publicity methods



hopeful
08-01-2007, 01:37 AM
What, in your view, was the best investment or best activity you ever did to promote your book?

Publicity-wise, if you had to pick only one or two activities, what worked the best (i.e., helped you to sell the most books)?

For instance, do you think readings are the most effective?

Or radio interviews?

Or doing local press?

Doing a really fancy website to promote your work/yourself?

I know getting on "Oprah" is the best thing any writer can ever do to boost book sales, but are there any close seconds, in your opinion?

Thanks!

-hopeful

patricer
08-02-2007, 09:20 AM
Based on my experience (24 published books including several bestsellers), online promotion has been the best tool for helping me reach a worldwide audience of readers for the least amount of time and money. I've been promoting my books online for the past 10 years and really feel I owe my successful publishing career to my online presence.

That said, other forms of promotion can also be effective. I didn't find that readings/booksignings were really worth the effort, but radio and press can work well for certain types of books.

Good luck!

Patrice
------------------------------------
Patrice-Anne Rutledge
Bestselling author (24 books)
CeM-certified online marketing expert
Author, The Web-Savvy Writer:
Book Promotion with a High-Tech Twist
http://www.websavvywriter.com

hopeful
08-02-2007, 04:57 PM
Based on my experience (24 published books including several bestsellers), online promotion has been the best tool for helping me reach a worldwide audience of readers for the least amount of time and money. I've been promoting my books online for the past 10 years and really feel I owe my successful publishing career to my online presence.

That said, other forms of promotion can also be effective. I didn't find that readings/booksignings were really worth the effort, but radio and press can work well for certain types of books.

Good luck!

Patrice
------------------------------------
Patrice-Anne Rutledge
Bestselling author (24 books)
CeM-certified online marketing expert
Author, The Web-Savvy Writer:
Book Promotion with a High-Tech Twist
http://www.websavvywriter.com

Hi Patrice!

Thanks for your words of wisdom! Can you go into some specifics about your online promotion? What works the best?

Thanks so much!

-hopeful

J. R. Tomlin
09-04-2007, 10:54 PM
I ran into a link to this blog on another forum:

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2007/08/what-works.html

It is amazingly informative on what author marketing does and doesn't work--at least for that author, and he seems to have done quite a bit of marketing and is with a major publisher.

Renee Russell
09-04-2007, 11:42 PM
I've done some online chats and found that hits on my website doubled the day of and the day after the chats. Also banner ads are inexpensive and will bring hits.

Also, Joe Konrath's site is a definite MUST for great promo information!

Renee/Darcy

JanDarby
09-05-2007, 01:19 AM
Write a really good book. And then write another one. And another.

JD

Christine N.
09-06-2007, 02:15 AM
Writing a good book is of course the first and most important thing, but it's only effective if people know about it. If a tree falls in the forest...

But you want to be smart and not break the bank trying to earn a royalty check. I also agree with the others - online promo is the most cost-effective. They see your name/book/excerpt/banner and are able to get it right away from some place like Amazon.

I'd also suggest a Virtual Book Tour. I did one, arranged it on my own, so it only cost me time and a little money for the prizes I had lined up. But there is an outfit online that arranges them for a fee - www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.blogspot.com, is one of her blogs, as is www.plugyourbook.blogspot.com . Dorothy Thompson is her name, she does a nice job if you can afford it.

I don't know specifically if it boosted sales, but I did see a sharp spike in website hits that month, which contributes to name (or 'brand) recognition.

Then you need a decent website - spring for the domain name and include excerpts, free downloads, link to your blog, all that stuff that will keep people coming back.

Spread your name around, that's the best thing you can do.

hopeful
09-08-2007, 05:36 AM
Thank you all very much!

I am excited about exploring all the options you mentioned.

Thanks again!

-hopeful

hopeful
09-08-2007, 07:32 AM
I am very seriously considering using Dorothy Thompson's virtual book tour services.

Thanks so much for letting me know about her, Christine!

I am very grateful!

-hopeful

ResearchGuy
09-09-2007, 11:52 PM
. . . I don't know specifically if it boosted sales, but I did see a sharp spike in website hits that month, which contributes to name (or 'brand) recognition. . . .
Nothing counts but SALES. "Recognition" does not pay the bills.

That is my opinion, of course, but ask your grocer if he will take recognition in payment for a sack of food.

--Ken

Christine N.
09-23-2007, 10:13 PM
Since I did it for practically nothing, yes, I consider it a good investment of time if new people know my name. It takes the average person 7 times seeing something before they remember it - like a name. It takes 21 times before they'll buy something, I think was what the reasearch said. So doing interviews, getting reviews and doing a virtual book tour just puts your name that many more places. I also have a MySpace, which I think is another good marketing tool - if nothing else, it's free.

If I got a bunch of new people to come to my website, and say a third of them bookmarked it, I've got new readers. As long as I keep them coming back, with new content, or contests, new releases and get them on my newsletter mailing list, it will translate into sales, and hopefully into word of mouth sales.

You have to build a base, just like any other product you want to sell. That's part of figuring out what works and what doesn't, and what you pay for and what you don't. I wouldn't say go all out and spend a bunch of money on online marketing, espcially if you don't have to. But every little bit helps.

Like I said, I can't specifically link it to sales, because I don't have the sales number in front of me. It was the month the book was released, so of course a few copies sold on Amazon, but I don't know about my publisher's website. If I asked my publisher if I sold more copies in July than in August, I could give you the information, but I don't have access to them until I get my royalties for the quarter when I did the promotion. Increased website hits (and I mean MARKED increase over previous months) is the only correlative evidence I have at the moment.

I sent out postcards too, to every single library, elementary school and middle school in my county. It wasn't expensive because I waited for Vistaprint to have a sale - the first batch I got for the price of the upload of the graphic (actually half-price, that was part of the sale) and the second I got for the price of shipping - 100 free postcards that time. I think I spent less than $20 for 200 custom postcards. Blank back, so I can also use them to sign and give away as promotional gifts, like a cover flat, and I print the backs out on my printer. They also have my website url, of course. I have a full brochure for my school visits on my site as a downloadable .pdf.

Doing postcards, not just for the new book but also to promote myself as a speaker, is something advocated by almost every children's author around. I took a course from Anastacia Suen, one of the best-known picture book authors in the biz, about how to do school visits. I also make my own bookmarks, but I don't give that many away. They're nice to have for school visits so you have something to sign for kids that didn't get the book, and to tuck inside a signed book at events.

Again, I'll know more about what's worked when I see the numbers on the royalty check, since many of the library and book sales would come through Baker and Taylor.

Lauri B
10-02-2007, 12:19 AM
I have found that the single most successful way to boost sales is to get good reviews in major publications--not necessarily Publishers Weekly, although that helps with getting the books in stores, libraries, etc.--but in the big dailies. I had a great review in the NYTimes Book Review for one of my books (written under my pen name), and it boosted sales enormously. The Times also excerpted from the book on its web site, and kept it up there for a month or so. Then it was archived so it came up regularly whenever anyone googled the book's name. The book was also reviewed in a bunch of other major daily papers, and sales have been strong even a year and a half later.

Christine N.
10-02-2007, 04:08 AM
Yeah, but if you're with a smaller publisher, the odds on getting one of those coveted major publication reviews is exponentially smaller than a bigger publisher. Sure I'd love it, but I know I have a better chance of being struck by a bus. Some have managed it, sure, but it's not easy. Those publications have limited space and thousands of books that show up in the mail. Not trying to be discouraging, just pragmatic.

Sometimes ya gotta go with what you can get.

That being said, check around and see if there are any big bloggers that do reviews in your genre. I have a list of Tween and Teen book review blogs, all of which have a large readership. They're on the ARC lists of major publishers, they get all the new books. Some will take e-books, some not. But there's a network of blogs out there, and if you can get one of them to review you (or better yet, more than one), you'll gain some exposure and that all-important name recognition. I'm with one publisher that has a lot of romance authors, and eveyone knows everyone over there, so everyone knows all the review blogs and sites to visit. Lots of traffic, and I've even gotten a couple of reviews on them because they review more than romance.

Anyplace that can link to your website is also good.

Jeff Colburn
10-02-2007, 11:03 AM
Read "1001 Ways to Market Your Books," Sixth Edition by John Kremer.

You can read a review on my site here http://www.creativecauldron.com/library.shtml

Have Fun,
Jeff

ResearchGuy
10-02-2007, 06:20 PM
Read "1001 Ways to Market Your Books," Sixth Edition by John Kremer.
. . .
In my opinion, that would be a much better book if Kremer had taken the time and effort to edit it down to, say, 101 Ways to Market Your Books. Maybe 201 at the outside. As it is, it is an unselective dump of ideas, some of them really BAD ideas. (Reverse shoplifting? Pathetic.) At the same time, he should have updated his examples and statistics. it has much of value, but the book is hard slogging because it is such a warehouse of everything that has ever popped into Kremer's mind.

IMHO. YMMV.

--Ken

Jeff Colburn
10-06-2007, 11:18 PM
In my opinion, that would be a much better book if Kremer had taken the time and effort to edit it down to, say, 101 Ways to Market Your Books. Maybe 201 at the outside. As it is, it is an unselective dump of ideas, some of them really BAD ideas. (Reverse shoplifting? Pathetic.) At the same time, he should have updated his examples and statistics. it has much of value, but the book is hard slogging because it is such a warehouse of everything that has ever popped into Kremer's mind.

IMHO. YMMV.

--Ken

I haven't read it yet, but he has another book about with another 1,001 ideas.

Have Fun,
Jeff

Popeyesays
10-07-2007, 01:53 AM
Read "1001 Ways to Market Your Books," Sixth Edition by John Kremer.

You can read a review on my site here http://www.creativecauldron.com/library.shtml

Have Fun,
Jeff

Kremer's book is next best thing to worthless. Save your money.

Regards,
Scott

Kentuk
10-07-2007, 10:13 AM
Let's see get murdered, sued, arrested, excommunicated or have a reward for your murder posted or did you just want safe suggestions?

nccreative
10-10-2007, 03:53 PM
There's probably a lot of debate about the use of myspace. Maybe after one is published, it's cool to add potential readers.

For someone not yet published, it seems dicey, to say the least. Most myspace pages I've seen really turn me off - unless it's STRICTLY for social networking - because they're all cluttered with very unprofessional stuff. When I try to find information, it's nearly impossible given all the "friends" pics and posts and, again, strictly social stuff.

I would think publishers aren't thrilled with potential clients having myspace pages talking about their manuscript in the midst of photos of people barely clad (unless your manuscript is erotica...lol), etc., etc.

What do you think? I think a professional webpage to start off and point business-related people to (including your target audience), is best. After you're published and known, the more social aspect of myspace could be a bonus. :Shrug:

Christine N.
10-11-2007, 04:50 AM
The best part of MySpace is that it's free.

I have a simple page - no bandwidth-sucking background, no music.

Of course, I didn't get my MySpace until after my first book was published. And after I had my own website. So I can't help there.

Gigi Sahi
10-11-2007, 05:20 PM
I have a website, MySpace, and a Live Journal. Overkill? I didn't find any of these to be effective in promoting my book. So far, what has worked for me are what I call "teaser books".

I printed out 500 of these teasers on my home printer. I have two printers: a laser and an inkjet. I did the covers on coated one side 10 pt card stock on my inkjet; the book block (first three chapters of my novel) I printed on my laser jet, then I saddle stitched the booklet. I grab a stack of the booklets and slip them in my purse, and leave them wherever my travels take me that day. I've left some at bus terminals, malls, train stations, and handed them to total strangers I struck up conversations with; a couple libraries even let me leave a few. The teasers have my website and ordering info (I accept PayPal on my site and a PO Box for checks and money orders - some people don't like giving out financial info over the Internet). This week alone I received ten orders. My site is getting more hits and a few people have friended me on MySpace.

To me this is an inexpensive yet very time consuming way to promote my book. I used paper I already had (20 lb white paper) and ordered the card stock (100 sheets for about 50 bucks). A few extra ink cartridges, toner, ClickBook software (50 bucks), paper trimmer, and a long reach stapler - you're all set. Clear the dining room table and have at it!

So, for about a $500 initial investment for materials (plus at least a hundred copies of your book on-hand to send out as soon as orders come in), and a weekend to staple your booklets - you get out and meet a few people, hand them a teaser copy, and see what happens.

My book costs just $5.94 to print through LS. The cover price is $15.95. So I do make a modest profit. I'm not looking to get rich - at best, this will be Christmas money. But my name is getting out there and, more important, my book. Plus, I'm having fun. I even got my kids in on the act helping me staple booklets.

Lastly, I want to point out that this was my PA book. When PA printed it, my book only sold 3 copies to 3 friends of mine. So far I've sold ten times that amount to total strangers - doing it myself. No helicopter, no race horses, no tone letters, no scam.

Jeff Colburn
10-12-2007, 09:03 AM
I printed out 500 of these teasers on my home printer.
My book costs just $5.94 to print through LS.

Do a search for Book Printers, and you'll find that they can print your book for about half of what your current price is. For example, 500 copies of a 100 page book is only $2.07 through Morris Publishing. Cover design may up the price.

I haven't used them myself, since I only do ebooks, but go here http://www.morrispublishing.com/ and check out their prices. I STRONGLY suggest that everyone order their Free Kit. I ordered it a couple of years ago, and it has tons of information that will answer any question you have on self publishing.

Have Fun,
Jeff

Christine N.
10-17-2007, 12:59 AM
I make simple tri-fold excerpt booklets. Two to a sheet of cardstock. Not even a chapter, since I have two books included, but my website info, cover art and some snippets of the books fit fine.

They do go like hotcakes at events. I use them almost like business cards too, since all my information is on them. Cheap, cheap, cheap to make.

KCH
10-26-2007, 05:53 PM
Are radio interviews worth it? Absolutely.
No travel. No expense. Nothing beats "free." If you've got a phone, you already have everything you need. You can do a phoner in your jammies with your hair sticking out like a demented cockatoo. Your biggest challenge is remembering to disable call waiting, and to remind family that they are not to bang on your office door with demands to know if you fed the dog.

In my experience, there was clear correlation between these interviews and sales. After the first few interviews, the publisher just automatically contacted Ingram in advance of an interview in the scheduled broadcast area, just to make sure there was plenty of supply to meet demand. You can do several a day and, unlike reviews, radio phoners are far less tied to a release date. If you have a decent hook, you
can keep doing these things for months or years.

Obviously, the bigger the broadcast reach, the better the return. The 50,000 watt morning drive-time shows are going to pull much better than the small, local stations. But do them all. In addition to book sales, this exposure is invaluable for getting people to come to you for speaking gigs or other interviews, which leads to more spin offs.

AndyPolyak
10-28-2007, 01:48 AM
Based on my experience ... online promotion has been the best tool for helping me reach a worldwide audience of readers ...

To say "online promotion" is not sufficient, to my mind. The web is too wide. Can you recommend any definit websites? where can I place the links to my books so that lots of readers could see them daily? I am trying to use MySpace and LiveJournal, but I cannot stay online 24 hours a day - I need some time to sleep, to have a meal and to write my next book...

Well, I guess you won't share all the secrets of success :)

To begin with, I am placing the link here (and cherish a hope that the moderators won't delete it - I write books suitable for all-family reading, nothing bad at all!) The link is my signature below :)

WordedWrite
12-04-2007, 01:55 AM
Media publicity is excellent, but it provides only short-term boosts in sales. You can generate your own publicity online that lasts for a longer duration. The best online method I've found is a blog—providing you use it regularly to review and comment on current news events that relate to your book's theme (non-fiction or fiction), and link the title of your post to articles you critique in major online news media. The key is to tie into hot topics in the news that plenty of people are searching for online. Don't use your blog in a "Dear Diary" kind of way to talk about yourself if you want it to support book sales—give people information they can use, or laugh about or cry about. Over 30% of the traffic to one of my book sites comes from its blog at http://www.bigbadbossbook.blogspot.com I can't be sure how many of those visits translate into sales, but I see a consistent correlation between heavy hits on the blog and a rise in the book's Amazon.com ranking.

Inky
12-04-2007, 12:20 PM
Another way is to place your books sale page from Amazon...jeeze, am I wording this right?

What am I trying to say?
I read that you should place a link in your signature line for your book that will appear at the bottom of all your outgoing emails.
This works for sales.
I conduct a lot of business via the internet. All outgoing posts have my book in the signature line. I've sold copies, as a result, to people in Japan, Turkey, and Germany--bummer my book is only in English, eh?
One of many suggestions that I read from an anonymous author.

Dustry Joe
12-20-2007, 09:30 PM
It's pretty hard to separate "recognition" from "sales" with books. Or, increasingly, anything. When did we last have a president or even presidential candidate without name recognition?

This may sound lame, but a major principle is Be Out There. You have to show up. Anything that get's your book on the web adds to the snowball.

In some ways you could view a book or author website as merely a place to funnel attention to so you can check the stats. And, of course, to show them the door to where they pay for the book.

By "out there" I mean the slightest little thing. When I worked for publications I always carried a copy of the publication with me, carefully visible. In restaurants or bars or coffee houses, I had it displayed on the table beside me. I also had rate sheets and cards to hand out.

I always have a copy of a book with me and try to display it. (It was designed for high visibility and recognition...as well as for maximum involving point-of-purchase pimping on the covers)

So if you're at the beach or the bus or Starbutts or whatever...is there any reason not to have your books sitting there? This works better if you are gorgeous and maybe even topless, of course, but the same principle applies down the scale of how much people are eyeing your goods.

Of course your book is in the signature of your emails and forum posts. Of course you are a member of a jillion MSN/Yahoo/Facebook/myplace groups. It doesn't take that much time just to register and join.

Sure, it's hard to get featured in Oprah or NYT book review. But how hard to get a nice feature in your local free weekly? Or a trade journal dealing with the subject you wrote your book on? Again, it helps if you look great or used to play for the Packers or something. But you put together the package you can.

hopeful
02-04-2008, 11:51 PM
Hi Everyone,

I have started a virtual book tour. I will let you know how it goes!

- hopeful

WordedWrite
02-27-2008, 09:25 PM
I've had such great success with online marketing that author groups here in Arizona have invited me to tell them about it. Then they asked me to write it down because they said it was too much information to take notes. So I put it all in an e-book--a step-by-step guide about how to create an online presence that attracts media attention. Then I got invited to a national writers conference to present its contents, and I've been invited back again. The conference planner said: "...She is the only one I know who can speak to them and they won't walk away witha "Huh?" on their faces."

All you need to know how to do is use a computer to create documents and how to search for information on the Internet (in Google or Yahoo or MSN). The e-book takes you, step-by-step, from creating a Web site, to using a blog to generate media attention. I use my actual experience as examples. This is not one of those books that tells you "what" to do but doesn't tell you "how" to do it--it's a "how-to" all the way. And I'll answer questions personally that are not already answered in the book.

This is a sideline for me--I do it only to help authors in the same situation I was in, so I hope you'll forgive the plug. It's 53 pages of information--far too much to post in a forum message. You'll find, "How to Market Your Book on the Internet For Free: A Guide for Non-Techies Like Me" at http://www.lulu.com/content/531796

K1P1
03-22-2008, 11:35 PM
I've found that my web site doesn't generate much in the way of sales. Actually, my book being widely available in retail stores is driving traffic to my web site, not the opposite way around.

The promotion my publisher does to the distributors and at trade shows for my retail niche market (needlework) is by far the most effective.