Marketing and Promoting Your New Book

War Unicorn has been published with Books We Love Publishing, LLC.

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So how do you go about marketing and promoting, especially if you (like me) had surgery immediately after it was published? There are several sit-down ways to start your promoting. Here are a few to consider with your own new release:

  1. Update your website to include cover photo, short synopsis, and links to buy the book.
  2. Tweet it, post the cover on Instagram, shout your hurray on Facebook, or any and every other social media platform on which you are involved.
  3. Consider doing a book launch, a blog tour, and/or a physical book-signing tour. (Requires about thirty times more contacts for every one interested party, as well as much planning.)
  4. Seek reviewers. (Reviews are an author’s golden treasure.)
  5. Start contacting libraries, schools, bookstores, etc. for signings or speaking engagements.
  6. Do giveaways on Amazon and Goodreads (or others) to stir interest in your book.
  7. Enter your book in contests – however, only those which you’ve researched and know are ligit.

And while you’re at it, why don’t you go check out this new and fabulous MG fantasy by S.L. Carlson:

WAR UNICORN Print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1773627201/

WAR UNICORN Ebooks: http://books2read.com/u/3Ro6jp

And if you are so inclined, please leave a golden token (review on Amazon or Goodreads). Happy reading!

Being A Writer Plus

Before I was published I was much more of an idealist. I actually thought being a writer had to do with writing. I quickly learned that writing was so much more. There was revising, rewriting, rearranging or deleting scenes or chapters or even characters, and giving up a thousand times. There was a constant improving of the craft of writing, including critique groups and conferences, both of which provided networking and encouragement. There are thousands of contests, most which require fees to enter.

Then came the submission process: how to write a query letter and how to research to whom to send it, and whether to find an agent or go directly to an editor (or rather, the assistant editor). In the postal days, you could easily wait six months or more for a form rejection with the publishing house asking for exclusive submission. All the while you are picking up the ever-changing vocabulary and shape of the business of writing.

As a writer plus, you must also keep your finger on the pulse of what is popular with readers, or what books are already published which are similar to your own, as well as to the national situations (e.g., eBook v.s. print, or a recession, or the government changing books from literary to product causing taxation on warehouse-stored products, etc.).

After publication comes an entirely new writing-connected world. Whether self-published or traditionally published, the writer now turns to marketing and promoting. There’s advertizing, book launches, signings, and speaking engagements. A published author is often asked to do free presentations, all the while having to spend lots of her own money. She must research, design and invest in cards, brochures, stamps, and a designated P.O. box on the hard-copy side. On the electronic side of the business, there is website designing, domain name access, picking your social media means (blogging, blog tours, book reviews, online listservs and writing groups, FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and dozens more).

Getting book reviews and awards are yet another aspect to being a writer plus.

As side-arm to post publication is the entertainment factor. Should you use Power Point or props? Wear a costume or do your speaking engagement in business casual? Will you get your vender fee back in book sells? Are you satisfied getting paid enough for gas money to speak at an event, or willing to do what you can to have your book(s) and face out in public to be recognized? Do you focus on one niche and age group, or morph into many types of presentation to meet the needs of the many?

Typing all this out makes me want to go back to pure raw writing, splattereing my words over a page or screen and letting the ideas flow, and not worrying at all about selling or promoting or entertaining. Good news on that front: NaNoWriMo is less than two weeks away. If you are participating, I am, too. My user name there is  sandycarl. Let’s be NaNoWriMo writing buddies and encourage each other to write-write-write.

Never give up.

More on Mad Marketing Skills

I just read an interesting post about marketing by Laura Wolfe: http://rockinghorsewriting.com/2015/09/02/eleven-ways-to-support-a-friends-book-release/

I couldn’t have said it better myself, so if you’re interested, go there (after reading here, of course).

Three things I would like to add to Laura’s words of suggestions using friends to help you market (buy a book as a gift, give a review, etc.). Mine are more like a pre-list:

  1. It helps if you have friends (and/or family), the more the better;
  2. The writing has to be very, very, very good; and
  3. Start local (local bookstores, schools, libraries, etc.).

Also, if you don’t have a book published (yet), it’s never too early to start beefing up on your mad marketing skills so there’s no fainting or panic on your book release day.

Oh, and keep on writing!

What is Writing – Publishing Success?

A writing friend recently called me successful. Her comment gave me pause. What is writing and/or publishing success?

I see author success in steps.

Step one: Write a good book. This involves taking classes, reading books on craft, attending conferences, webinars, workshops, joining critique groups – all to improve your writing. Every year you should be a better writer than the year before. If you’ve got a well-written story, you are successful.

Step two: Submit to and have agents and editors give you positive feedback about your work, even if they reject you as client or for a manuscript. When your story makes it through the initial reader, through the editor, through the editorial group, and to the acquisitions group, this all indicates that people in the publishing industry verify that you have been successful with step one. If traditionally accepted, follow that route, and I’d strongly recommend it.

If wanting to pursue self-pub, follow the next steps.

Step three: Partner with an awesome cover illustrator. Sales rank has proven that fresh covers make a difference even when there is no text change. You can judge a book by its cover. Traditional presses can pay $1,000 – $5,000 for a single cover illustration. That’s out of my price range. But if you know an illustrator whose work you admire, negotiate for a reasonable fee. Never accept an offer for a free cover. There could be legal and relational repercussions in the future. Finding a good illustrator match is success.

Step four: Learn how to self-publish. There are entire books on this subject. I could list a few hundred tips here, but it would be like a flood gate opening. Read as much as you can about how to self-publish. If this is the route for you, then do it. Having an ebook, or holding a physical copy of your book in your hands with your name on the cover, this, too is success.

Step five: Book sales indicate success. If only friends and relatives are buying your books, your success is limited to who you know. To me, when one stranger buys my book or does a review, this is success. To sell books, learn about marketing and promotion. Again, many books on this subject. Read. Read. Read. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Repeat what works and embrace your failures. I spent $92 on gas alone for a far-away book signing and sold a mere three copies of my book during the signing. I didn’t get paid for those books, not until, according to their contract, all their inventory of my books had sold, which they never did because they went out of business and donated my other 17 copies someplace. I can only hope that “someplace” wasn’t the dump. What is marketing success to me? Marketing success is when I sell books.

Step six: Write another book. If you make millions of dollars from your first and only book, good for you, but that’s not truly literary success. Being able to be creative enough to write more and more good stories – this is success.

Step seven: Having the strength and endurance to repeat these steps with each book, and to convince your friends and family that you really do have a job which takes up your time – this is success.

 

(Success to the successful thistle sifter.)

Results of a Left-Brained Marketing Trip

Yesterday I took a five-hour drive, stopping at twelve places to see about donating or selling my middle grade book, THE TOWN THAT DISAPPEARED. Ninety-two miles in eighty-six degree heat. (Giving thanks for air-conditioned vehicles. Wouldn’t have been that way last summer.) The result: 3 books left on consignment and 7 given to libraries.

The sad news part of yesterday’s trip was going to three indi bookstores which had closed down. The great news from yesterday — and my last stop to make me float home — was a librarian who told me that they already had a copy of my book and the boys were reading it and circulating it all summer. I still left her a donated copy because I told her that was my plan. They’re going to use it as a raffle later this year. Libraries and librarians are so awesome.

Came home to work on the formating the text of a middle grade fantasy I hope to publish soon. And still on chapter fourteen on my Great Lakes sea adventure.

Note to self: Learn to separate marketing days from writing days. Perhaps the left brain can have the left side of the week and right brain can have the right side of the week. (But only my right brain knows what I’m talking about.)

Keep on writing!