Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘book marketing

At the end of 2008, after years of rejection letters from agents and publishers, I decided to publish my novel, ‘Tasting the Wind’ in a ‘Print on Demand’ (POD) format.

POD is not to be confused with self publishing. If I had self-published there would have been a lot more donkey work- buying my own ISBN, submitting the legally required copies to the relevant libraries and so on. It would also- and I have this on the authority of self- published authors- be far more expensive. With conventional self-publishing the author pays for a print run and ends up with a garage full of physical copies. POD books exist in cyberspace, and can be printed off… well on demand, as the term suggests.

So how was it for me?

The down side.

So you can have a nice, glossy covered version of your work without having to suffer another rejection. But what are the down sides?

These are probably in proportion to your expectations. If you think that a POD book is going to make you rich and famous, then think again. Some writers (including myself at one time) will point out the occasional author who has self or POD published and as a result has been ‘noticed’ by a major publisher. These are so few and far between that it can in no way be relied upon to get your book into the bestsellers list. Also, once you have gone down the POD route you have used up your first publishing rights.

 The fact that the technological revolution has enabled you to publish a book which has had no editorial input or proof reading means that anyone at all, regardless of talent or lack of it, can publish a book.  Even as a POD published author I have to admit that I am very careful about buying POD  work, and like to find out as much as I can, including reading a sample if possible. In order to give others a chance to decide before buying ‘Tasting the wind,’ and because I believe it will stand the test,  I have put the opening chapters on my website, www.allanmayer.com  and you can read a whole 25% of it on Smashwords, where it can be downloaded as an e-book.

Even after ten years of work, ‘Tasting the Wind’ admittedly has some typographic and grammatical weak spots. Despite careful readings by myself, family and friends, seeing your book in a published form for the first time will highlight some obvious errors previously unspotted. *

The company that I published with – www.youwriteon.com , have had their fair share of criticism. Their original plan to publish 5000 books by Christmas 2008 was never going to happen in reality. For £39.99 YWO printed my book, bought an ISBN number and placed it on several online book sellers sites including Amazon and Book Depository. YWO get 40% of everything I sell. I am aware that I could have gone down other routes which would have retained me more of the royalties, but as I knew that these would not be phenomenal figures I didn’t get over concerned about this.

I’m not sure if marketing should come under the downs or the ups, as it has provided an enjoyable learning experience. BUT it is hard work, and can consume a lot of your time. The best thing that can happen to a POD book is that it finds a niche audience or manages to get national press coverage (which to my knowledge two YWO books have done.) Talking of the down side, as I am, this brings me to my two greatest disappointments. Both ‘Community are Magazine’ and one of the Royal College of Nursing  journals showed interest then decided not to pursue the interview/ review. An appearance in either of these would have really boosted sales, but que sera sera… 

One last thing about  the downside: there were  frustrating delays in the publication of the book and the appearance for a short time of someone else’s cover with my information on some of the sites.  I don’t know if I’m particularly blessed with patience or just plain stupid, but at a time when people were panicking and withdrawing their work I decided to wait and see. The POD project was new to Ted Smith and the team, and they would be first to admit that there were teething troubles.

Then came the day when the first copy arrived, which leads me to…

The Up Side

I had heard all sorts of terrible things about the quality of POD books, including one of a writer doing a signing where the books were so poorly bound that they fell apart. No such problem with books published by YWO- I have handled several copies of ‘Tasting the Wind’ and books by other YWO authors and all have been sturdy and well produced.

I have made a lot of lovely contacts through developing my web presence. I received an e-mail from an Australian Speech Pathologist who was using parts of ‘Tasting the Wind’ in her lectures. The director of a company which specialises in workplace disability adjustments ordered signed copies for all of  his staff. I was also contacted by friends of David Heffer, a friend and colleague who was killed by the IRA and to whom ‘Tasting the Wind’ is dedicated.

Talking of web presence- I succeeded in what I set out to do by blitzing as many outlets as I could find. Google any combination of ‘Allan Mayer, Tasting the Wind and you will find pages and pages. Not that many people will Google those words, but I am pleased to say that if you also Google ‘Learning Disabilities novel’ I now appear on the first page.

Although, as I said, you will not earn fame and fortune through a POD novel, you may earn a small amount of local celebrity. I have appeared several times in local papers and have been approached by people who have seen the article and even bought the book. I am also pleased to have appeared twice in the magazine of  Derian House children’s hospice, to whom I was proud to give the first month’s royalties.

The critics of POD publishing say that only your friends and family will buy your book. This is patently untrue- living as we do in the world of the internet there is more potential than ever before for creating sales worldwide.

The most important thing is that my book is being read. It is not only being read, enjoyed, and not just sitting on my hard drive.

So how many people have read it?

Well, I once read that a POD book would do well to sell 100 copies. I was happy when I heard that I had sold 122 in the first six months. Fluctuations in my Amazon rankings (U.S. and UK) since then  indicate that it has continued to sell, and I know that some people have passed it on to friends. Having come to the conclusion that my book was not commercial and unlikely to attract a major publisher, I concluded that a small readership was better than none at all. At the end of the day it all comes down to why you write. Yes, fame and fortune as a writer is a highly desirable thing. But in this case so is the thrill of connection I have found when people have sent personal e-mails or written reviews which tell me that they get what I am saying.

I think that fame and fortune can wait until the next book…

(WATCH THIS SPACE)

*My purpose in writing this post is to give an honest account of my POD experience- not to put you off buying my book.  If you find this off putting please refer to my Amazon reviews, where people I have never met have taken the trouble to point out that despite these issues they would still recommend the book and have given no lower than 4/5 stars.

Advertisements

I’ve not been able to spend much time blogging recently. In the real world I manage a service for people with profound learning disabilities and am a foster carer. Regardless of how ‘worthy’ that all sounds, I’m actually more of a Homer Simpson than a Ned Flanders, and the idea of lying in a hammock drinking ‘Duff’ beer is most appealing.

So where is all of this leading to… oh yes, I’m short- staffed, over-worked and knackered, so I’m taking a break from my cyberspace activities for the rest of the summer.

(Having said that, in a week or two I may just have to mention my review in the August edition of ‘Lancashire Life’ magazine (circulation 50,000, don’t ya know?))

Until then, I have done a series of  author interviews which you can find on my website at www.allanmayer.com .

I am also reposting on this page my list of ideas for marketing your book, with links to several useful sites. So….

SEE YOU IN THE AUTUMN!

 

I have spent the last twelve months researching ideas about book promotion.

The fruits of my labours (and advice gratefully received from other writers) can be found below.

BUT BE WARNED:

The number of ideas and links below may look overwhelming, so before you start to use them you need to formulate a structured marketing campaign. To help you do this I have created a free PDF of useful planning tools which can be downloaded from my website by clicking HERE.    

(Much of the content below has already been included in previous blog posts. New additions are marked with a  )

Another important tip before you set off is to identify your target audience or audiences  . Often in marketing this will refer to such things as age or social class. Another way of finding where your book will be best received is to make a list of the themes of your book, and work out to whom these will appeal. For instance- if you have written a children’s book starring an animal, how about approaching a zoo or wildlife sanctuary to see if it is the sort of thing they sell in their shop. Does your book have geographical settings or themes which would be of interest to people of a particular area?

Once you have planned your strategy and identified your target audience, try some of the ideas below:

1- Not using the internet…

●Contact local bookshops. They may have a policy or even a budget dedicated to supporting local authors. But remember to avoid visiting on Saturdays or at lunchtimes .

● Investigate local groups who may want you to go along as a speaker.

 Make some promotional bookmarks or cards- hand them out, leave them around, always carry a few in your wallet or purse for when someone asks so what are you up to at the moment? I made my own on my computer, with a picture of the book cover on the front, and the details of where to buy it and my website on the reverse.

 Link up with a charity- this is a win-win situation. Offer the charity a cut of your royalties for inclusion in their magazine or newsletter.

● Always have a copy of your book handy- you’d be surprised how many people will ask if they can buy a ‘signed copy.’

Read books on marketing.

 Send a press release to local newspaper(s). Make this about yourself- not your book. This may sound like contrary advice, but you are more likely to get your press release published if it has a human interest angle. (One editor told me that the best press release for a new book is something like: local boy, dyslexic, written off by his school, has now published a book.)

●Contact local radio stations. Like your local paper, they are always looking for content- I know several writers who have done this, and they have never been refused.

● Approach your local library and ask them if they will stock/ help promote your work. Get your friends to request it.

● Approach local book clubs, offer them a chance to ‘Ask the Author.’ 

2- Using the Internet…

There is a wealth of information and lists of sites that you can use on a range of Websites and Blogs. Just Google ‘book marketing’ and ‘book promotion’ and you will come up with enough ideas to last a lifetime.

Visit these sites and get advice from authors who have already been down the same route. Some have newsletters which you can subscribe to.

Contribute to writers’ forums– don’t go on there to announce that you have a book to sell- this will just put people off. Go on to ask questions or contribute, and if you have a blog or website then you will get visits from other forum members.

How about making an audio book on YouTube? This is easily done- all you need is a webcam and microphone (I used a Skype set which only cost me £20.) Just follow the upload instructions on YouTube, and leave details of where your book can be bought. Again, you are guaranteed hits from anywhere on the globe, and if people like what they hear this could even lead to sales.

Have you got a blog? This is free and easy to set up. Write about how you wrote your book, your quest to publish and what has happened since. And don’t forget to Ping! Use a service like ‘Ping My Blog’ or ‘Ping 45’ every time you blog.

Put out an online press release. There are sites where you can do this such as the one set up by wordpress.  Write quality articles for ezine articles and leave links to your other sites. If people like what you have to say they will look you up and maybe even buy your book. 

  E-mail all of your friends and colleagues with information about your book, and get them to email theirs (Keep it with friends and friends of friends to avoid SPAM!)

 Talk about your book on social networking sites such as FaceBook and Twitter. These sites also have groups that might be relevant to what you have written.

And don’t forget the importance of finding your target audience or audiences.  Find groups on social networking sites and elsewhere on the internet that might have an interest in the themes of your book.  This could include interests and hobbies, but it may also be the case that you have written about a geographical area. Does that area have community pages or a FaceBook group?

And what about  business networking sites such as Ecademy and Naymz? As a writer it may come as a surprise to think of yourself as a business- but you have got a product to sell now, haven’t you? So look up some of these sites, get advice from established members who are in PR, and put details about your book and where to find it in your profile.

 

3-An alphabetical list of places to market your book, to showcase it or to get ideas on book promotion.

I have tried some but not all of these links- so be discerning, especially if any of them ask you for money, and please let me know if you have any bad, or good, experiences.

 A

http://www.absolutewrite.com/novels/book_promotion.htm 

https://allanmayer.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/planning-for-success/  

https://allanmayer.wordpress.com/2008/12/07/blogging/

AllThat.tv

http://alphainventions.com/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0713659653/ref=sr_1_olp_7?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229895322&sr=1-7

http://www.anniejenningspr.com/pages/bookpromotion.htm

http://authorchats.gather.com/

http://www.author-promotion.com/index.html

 http://www.authorsonthenet.com/

http://www.authortree.com/About%20AuthorTree

 

B

http://www.bauuinstitute.com/Marketing/Marketing.html

http://www.behindthebuzz.com/book-promotion-through-blogs/

http://biblioscribe.com/ 

http://www.binnaclepress.com/

http://www.blogtopsites.com/tag/book+promotion

 http://www.bookarmy.com/  

 

http://www.bookmarket.com/bookpromotion.htm

 

 http://books.google.com/googlebooks/book_search_tour/

http://www.bookmarket.com/bookpromotion.

http://www.bookpromotionnewsletter.com/

http://whttp://websrvr40nj.audiovideoweb.com/avwebdsnjwebsrvr4436/bonus/BookPromotionNOTforSissies.pdf

www.book-promotion.com/press.phphttp://pumpupyourbookpromotion.ning.com/

 http://bookpromotion.wetpaint.com/?t=anon 

http://www.bookpromonetwork.com/

http://www.booksurge.com/content/Google_WordsWorth.htm?cid=Wordsworth_ebook

C

Is for Confidence coaching…  Work on having a positive mental attitude. Marketing your book will need perseverence- how about getting a confidence coach? I can recommend: lynn@lynngrocott.com

D

 http://www.davidlouisedelman.com/book-promotion/ethical-self-promotion/

www.deankoontz.com 

E

http://www.ecademy.com/ 

http://www.editred.com/Book_Promotion.php

www.ezinearticles.com 

http://ezinearticles.com/?Book-Promotion-Woes?&id=71585

F

 

www.facebook.com 

http://www.fictionfactor.com/promo.html

 http://www.fonerbooks.com/market.htm

http://foremostpress.com/authors/articles/promotion.html

www.friendsreunited.com 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Frugal-Book-Promoter-What-Publisher/dp/193299310X/ref=pd_sim_b_5 

G

http://www.geoffthompson.com/

 http://gwendafox.web.officelive.com/bookshop.aspx 

H

http://www.howpublishingreallyworks.blogspot.com/

I

http://inotauthor.blogspot.com/ 

http://www.inspiredauthor.com/promotion/node/46

http://www.iuniverse.com/ExpertAdvice/MarketingYourBook.aspx

J

http://jockstewart.typepad.com/writers_notebook/book_promotion/

http://www.juliamccutchen.com

L

htthttp://www.linkedin.com/ 

p://www.lookuppage.com

M

http://www.managementconsultingnews.com/interviews/poynter_interview.php

http://www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/advice/introver.htm

http://www.milesburke.com.au/blog/2008/11/27/book-promotion-on-the-web/#comment-332792

www.myspace.com

N

http://www.naymz.com/  

 

http://nomediakings.org/doityourself/doityourself_book_promotion.html

http://novelspot.net/Book_Promo

O

www.offtopic.com

http://www.oksana.com.au/book_shop.htm

P

www.ping45.com 

www.pingmyblog.com

www.pingoat.com  

www.ping-o-matic.com  

http://www.pressreleasehome.com/   

http://www.pubmatch.org/  

Q

http://www.queensofbookmarketing.com/ 

R

http://www.readerscircle.org/  

http://www.ryze.com/  

S

www.secondlife.com 

http://selfpublishing.lifetips.com/cat/59136/promotion-ideas/index.html

http://www.aboutus.org/Soflow.com 

http://www.spawn.org/marketing/bookpromotionmistakes.htm

http://www.spawn.org/editing/bookpromotionwell.htm

http://sta.rtup.biz/

http://www.stealthpublicity.com/books.htm

T

http://www.talkink.com/promotion.html

http://thewriterslife.homestead.com/

www.twitter.com  

V http://vistanow.net/          Added 27th April 09

W

www.wayn.com

http://www.weberbooks.com/2006/11/using-myspace-for-book-promotion-and.html

http://websavvywriter.com/

http://websitemakeoverworkshop.com/  

http://www.writeandpublishyourbook.com/marketing/book-promotion/7-book-promotion-methods-for-your-nonfiction-book/

http://www.writeanygenre.com/book-promotion.html

 http://www.writerfind.com/resources/bookpromotion.htm

http://www.writerswrite.com/bookpromotion/

X

http://www2.xlibris.com/authors_lounge_QA_howto_onlinebookpromotion.htm

Y

http://www.youtube.com

 

I’m sure that this list is not exhaustive, and new marketing opportunities are emerging on the internet all of the time. I will be updating this from timw to time and would be grateful for any more ideas. So go for it- put yourself out there, have fun… and maybe sell a few books. 

coverChristmas Eve, 1976: a man dies, tied to his bed in a Victorian Mental Institution… Andrew saw what happened. Eddie saw what happened. But their severe learning disabilities prevent them from communicating what they have seen. There is an answer… but it can only be found in fragmented clues about the men’s pasts. Can these clues be put together before one of them becomes the next victim?       
 Tasting the Wind…  Available NOW on Amazon  or for
                                               free delivery worldwide go to: Book Depository

 

 

 

 

I’ve been visiting so many different writing websites this year that I haven’t had time to return to many of them.

Tonight I noticed that someone had come to my blog via Writers’ News. Following the link back revealed a comment on my thread from February, with the following link, where you can find a load of free e-books on book marketing:

http://robinmizell.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/a-list-of-free-ebooks-about-book-marketing/

I’ve also had some good news: Tasting the Wind will be featured in Lancashire Life Magazine in August. You can find Lancashire Life at newsagents and supermarkets throughout the county, so I’m hoping that this level of publicity will be a great boost to sales.

By George, I think I’ve got it…

Last year I set up a Twitter account, added one comment then left it, thinking ‘So what’s the big deal?’

Since then I’ve been receiving e-mails from business sites and reading blog posts which have indicated that Twitter is the up and coming social networking site.

I had wondered how this was possible- the idea of Twitter is that you can only write a limited number of words about what you are doing at that moment. Other people are using it more creatively- such as Steevan Glover, author of ‘The Frog and the Scorpion’ who is writing a novel with a friend, one snippet at a time.

So there I was, joined up but not using, when I got a couple of e-mails saying that people were following me on Twitter. So I’m thinking if they are following me I’d better put something on for them to read. So I did, and as a result got another follower.

Looking more closely at Twitter I found that there were groups on all sorts of things, and have joined one on book marketing. Also, as you can see, I’ve linked my blog to my Twitter account- click on the title of my Twitter Widget and you can go to Twitter and sign up if you like. I’m still exploring it, but it does appear to be fun and a good way to meet likeminded people.

See you there maybe.

april-text3    

                            

 

 

 Which means that TTW has immediately shot into the number one position on Amazon. And if you think that’s my big announcement, read on…

merchandise

 But that’s not the Big Announcement…

The merchandise is just the forerunner to the news that Tasting the Wind will shortly be hitting the big screen!

I was contacted last week by an American film producer (who for now wishes to remain anonymous) who has already started the process of having TTW converted into a film script.

Of course the story is now set in the States- which I am OK about, as it will be more meaningful to American viewers if set in New York.

Some terminological alterations will be made. I wasn’t too comfortable with this at first, until it was explained to me that the word ‘retard’ is still freely used in the film industry.

They will also be adding a new character. My learning disabled characters were not felt to be cute enough for family consumption, so they have written in ‘Daisy- Lou.’ Apparently her punchline is going to be repeated in playgrounds and workplaces all over the world: ‘Life is like eating at a Blumenthal’s Restaurant- you never know what you’re gonna get…’

So watch out for Tasting the Wind, the movie (or whatever title they choose) in cinemas this Summer.

And don’t forget to buy the merchandise, available exclusively here:

 images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

1: I’ve started up a ‘Tasting the Wind’ group on FaceBook
2: I got this from Ted at YouWriteOn…
 
Hi Allan
 This is to give you an update on the issue that the majority of our book titles are appearing as normal on leading bookseller sites such as Waterstones, but a number, including yours, have not being listed for display. This was due to a data input issue at Nielsens that they have resolved.

 How booksellers receive information is that Lightning Source, our printers, provide all the necessary information to Nielsens and Gardners  for each book published so that each book can appear on bookseller sites and be ordered through book stores. This is the basic info including ISBN, publisher, etc. Lightning Source assured us all this information was correct and sent information to us to verify which appeared all correct and in place. So we looked into this further with Nielsen and they report that for a number of titles there was a temporary blip in their Trade Data and that their Trade Data Team have fixed the problem to resolve this.

 Nielsen have reported to YouWriteOn that this was due to the omission of a publisher link in their trade data information for the affected titles. They report, “We manage this via a prefix mapping process. I believe that the titles that were missing the publisher link had a prefix which we had not mapped to the YouWrite publisher name. This has now been recitifed, and any new titles supplied by Lightning Source in their ONIX file to us for YouWrite titles with your prefix will automatically be given a YouWrite imprint name.”

 Nielsen’s have worked very hard to identify and rectify this issue.

 We are pleased this has now been resolved by Nielsen’s Trade Data team so that the affected books, including yours, can go forward to appear on the wide range of leading booksellers sites that our books appear on.

 Best wishes

 Edward

 

3:I had already uploaded my cover to Amazon, as the page was looking sad with no image.

4:I’ve also sent in a synopsis now, so that people looking at the page can tell what ‘Tasting the Wind’ is about.

5: Submitted another press release to the local paper.

 

I’ve also been chasing up the copies I ordered a month ago from Legend Press. I wanted to send some of them out as review copies, so that side of the marketing campaign is on hold. I do know that from now on I will order from Amazon or Book Depository, as they do free delivery and I get royalties which aren’t swallowed up in postage.

 

Oh Well, you live and learn…

 

 

 I’m working on a new promotional photograph. The local newspaper suggested a photo outside of me holding a copy of the book… what do you think?

 Too Serious… would you buy a book from this man?

press-releasew-photos-0022 It’s important that you look as if you know what you’re talking about, but on this one I look like I should be holding a prisoner number.

 

 

 

 press-releasew-photos-0111

 

 

 Spot the book Competition

  

 

 

 

 

 This one is too far away- you’ve got to be able to see the book.

press-releasew-photos-0042

 

 

 

 

 I decided against a suit and tie, as that would look too formal and academic.

 

    

   

 

 

 

   

OK, it’s outside, but I think it will look better with more greenery.

 

press-releasew-photos-008

 

Tip: try to look proud to be published, without looking smug…

 

This is the one… I’ve morphed it to make it look like I live in the middle of some Canadian forest….  much better…

 

press-releasew-photos-0034

 

 

 

 

 Now all I have to do is write an interesting press release. It’s got a better chance of being published if it’s got a good ‘human interest’ angle. Perhaps I should write about how I was brought up by bears, was told by my teachers that I would never be able to write and ate nothing but sugar puffs until I was fifteen…

 


My Latest Twitterings