Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Marketing Your Book

Just like books are going digital, the way of marketing books is changing. On Straight From Hel, we talk about virtual book tours (and host authors on their tours, as well), Twitter, blogs, websites, and other ways of promoting books.

A recent article in the Austin American-Statesman had some interesting ideas that I thought worth sharing.

The first one is from Tam Thompson, a publisher and writer, who scheduled an author signing at a local library. But there won’t be any copies of her book there. No, they aren’t missing. There just aren’t any copies of her book that she can sign. It’s a 60-page ebook.
Thompson will be printing out color copies of the title page of the PDF file and signing it for buyers.
An author who is a firm believer in promotion,
Thompson is spending $7,000 on her e-book's promotion, much of it going to an Internet consultant and Web team who helped her set up a blog and a payment system for selling "Busy Sexy Body" online.
It’s hard to say this will translate into sales. It’s too early to tell since the book is only about two weeks old (it had sold one copy as of the time of the news article).

Today, YA author Sarah Mlynowski is holding a virtual online party for her book, Parties & Potions. “There'll be virtual costumes and prizes for the online author chat.”

The news article lists some other ideas for authors to consider:
Other self-published authors (as well as many authors who are published by mainstream publishing houses) are promoting their work with blogs that supplement what's in the pages of their books.

In recent years, some books have even been promoted in unexpected places like YouTube; video trailers have become an increasingly common way to promote a new book. Stylized titles, dramatic voice-overs and publicity blurbs are common in these videos. If they'd been around a few centuries ago, one might have begun, "In a world ... where it was the best of times ... and the worst of times."
Here’s hoping the publishing world is headed into the best of times.


  1. A very interesting subject, Hel. I believe people are beginning to realize, as are writers, that the e-book is here to stay and growing stronger every year. I believe the printed book will survive along with the e-book.

  2. Virtual touring is a must these days! Costs less and is more effective. Real question though is whether a paid virtual tour or one an author sets up himself is better! Could the $500-1000 for a blog tour be better spend elsewhere if authors research and do their homework for their own?

    What are your thoughts?

    L. Diane Wolfe

  3. I agree Gwyn. Although there may come a day when the printed book is something for the National Museum, it will be well beyond my lifetime. I see printed books as here to stay.

  4. Diane, I have to say that an author can do a better job setting up a tour than a publicist.

    The problem is that it takes time to do a good tour. The author really needs to spend a month or two beforehand visiting lots of blogs that fit with their niche(s) finding ones that will be a good match for them, have the readers they're appealing to, and have consistent traffic.

    You find authors going to a listserv and doing a blanket request for tour hosts. Doing that, they may come up with enough blogs to put together a tour, but chances are it won't be a great tour. And a publicist may have a list of active blogs, but unless she has been doing her research and has a wide enough net of blogs to accommodate each of her clients, no matter what their genre or niche, chances are the tour won't be successful.

    So, I recommend an author do his own tour, but start doing his research well ahead of time. Plus, he has to leave close to a month between the time he sets up the hosts and the start of the tour. He's going to have to write a lot of great posts, each one different, and/or answer Q&As, each one different. That takes time and work.

  5. "Here’s hoping the publishing world is headed into the best of times."

    Amen. and I agree with you and the others - Ebooks are the wave of the future but I doubt we'll see the end of paper books in our lifetimes.

  6. Every day I'm wanting more and more to have an e-reader.

  7. I like the idea of promoting ebooks, but I couldn't afford to spend $7,000 to do it.

    Morgna Mandel

  8. That does seem like a crazy amount of money to promote a 60-page e-book. But who knows? It could become the next hot seller. Most of my promotional money has been spent giving away copies of The Sex Club in hopes of building a readership for the series.

  9. Seven thousand kinda stumped me, too, Morgan.

    I think you have the right idea, LJ. Getting your books into the hands of readers who will grow to love the characters is one of the best ways to build readership.

  10. I agree that virtual touring is a must, and probably a more effective way to connect a book to its audience than random book store appearances.

    You have to be careful though. I visited an author website recently that was very elaborate - lots of time, effort and money had gone into it.

    The prose itself was dreadful. So, first things first.

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