Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Marketing

Serendipity, as any fan of Arthur C. Clarke will tell you, is the act of finding something while looking for something else.

A couple of things have happened over the past fortnight which tell me that my marketing campaign for Tasting the Wind is taking a new direction.

One of the joys of being published through a small press is the often obvious relationship between marketing initiatives and online sales. At first, I would do a promotion- a press release or a post on a forum, and later that day my Amazon rankings would climb. Recently there have been times when the rankings have altered significantly when I haven’t been doing any direct marketing. Maybe, I thought, it was people coming across something a little later than most, or probably word of mouth. Then I received two very interesting communications which highlighted the fact that there is more to marketing than I had thus far imagined.

The first was a text from an ex-member of staff who is now studying in the Social Sciences department at the University of Manchester.

She had walked into her tutors office and was totally spooked when she saw my book on her desk. She asked if I had sent it as a review copy, but it turned out that her tutor had discovered it through searching for books about learning disability on Amazon.

So… if you are promoting a book, remember to add carefully chosen tags to your Amazon page, so that your  target audience can find it.

The second thing was a contact through my website from somone I had worked with over twenty years ago. In fact she was someone who had influenced parts of my book. She had been looking for a book in Waterstone’s by someone whose name began with ‘M.’ When she saw my name she went home and googled it and discovered that it was me.

So there you go. I could never have guessed when I wrote my lists of book marketing tips for this blog that by this stage other, unexpected features would come into play.

So what happens next… someone sitting reading Tasting the Wind in the Big Brother House? *

 

 

*Yes, I do know that’s a bit far fetched… someone who can read in the Big Brother House?

poster

 

This is my ‘Tasting the Wind’ poster, which is now enjoying its first outing. It’s a humble beginning, but since W.H. Smiths won’t stock my book I’ve had to find other outlets.

The first is on a bookstall on Chorley Market, right across from Smiths, and by the end of this week it should be appearing at the Derian House shop.

Thanks to InPrint Solutions on Friday Street, Chorley, for making such a good job of the printing at such a reasonable rate.

blog-photo5 

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  8))

Another important tip before you set off is to identify your target audience or audiences  8). 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 . 8)

● 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.’ 8)

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.8)

● Approach local book clubs, offer them a chance to ‘Ask the Author.’  8)

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. 8)

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? 8)

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/  8)

http://www.binnaclepress.com/

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

 http://www.bookarmy.com/   8)

 

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/  8)

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 8)

www.pingmyblog.com

www.pingoat.com  

www.ping-o-matic.com  

http://www.pressreleasehome.com/   

http://www.pubmatch.org/   8)

Q

http://www.queensofbookmarketing.com/ 

R

http://www.readerscircle.org/   8)

http://www.ryze.com/  

S

www.secondlife.com  8)

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   8)

V http://vistanow.net/ 8)         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. 

 

 

 

Does it help to sell a book if comes with a ‘Celebrity’ recommendation?

I suppose it depends upon in which form the recommendation comes and how visible it is to the target audience. For instance, you might be attracted to a book which claims to be by ‘the new Stephen King,’ but if you look at the back cover of a book and find that Stephen King himself is praising it, you would (if you are a fan of that sort of thing) be more likely to part with your money than if the recommendation were not there.

The point is  that in order for a potential bookbuyer to see the famous name attached to your cover it has to be on the shelves. If you have self-published or published a POD book the only way that you can really make the connection work for you is to mention it in your marketing.

 I have a friend who self-published an excellent little self help/ positive thinking book. In his office is a poster containing the photographs of one hundred celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, sport, erc. who recommend it.

I hadn’t featured anything on my blog about this aspect of promotion, but when I invited him to contribute to my ‘Tips From Published Authors’ series he declined- because in his view as a marketing exercise it just  hadn’t worked. He felt that too much of his time had been taken up by getting hold of the endorsements.

He didn’t tell me if he had sent each of those people a copy of the book.

Another writer friend of mine, Lynn Grocott, did a very clever thing. She had written a book called ‘Cut the Strings,’ which is about her triumph over a whole string of adversities.

She was at a speaking appointment with mountaineer Chris Bonnington, who agreed to write the foreward to her book- after all, in their own very different ways, they had both climbed mountains.

Chris Bonnington’s name on the cover and recommendation inside is impressive, and is used in Lynn’s marketing.

Perhaps the most famous foreword ever was that of T.S. Eliot on a collection of Kipling’s verse. Eliot is attributed with rehabilitating Kipling, who at the time was viewed as nothing more than a jingoistic rhymster. The foreword was so successful that it became forever linked with the verse and is regarded as a piece of literature in its own right.

Surely it goes without saying that a celebrity assessment of your work will have far more authority if it comes from someone who has some relationship to what you are doing. I once interviewed a man for a care job, and at the end he proudly produced a letter of commendation from a celebrity. The celebrity was the star of a current Science Fiction film. His protegee may have been a dab-hand with a sonic screwdriver or lightsabre, but would he be able to assist someone having an epileptic seizure without panicking?

He didn’t get the job.

 There must be a lesson in that somewhere. For job hunting and book marketing… and for life, I suppose.

 

 Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsTasting the WindProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

If you click Here you can see the  current top ten bestsellers from authors published by YouWriteon.

At the time of writing (Sunday 29th March 2009, 18.50pm) The list reads as follows:

A Dangerous Windfall by Thomas Dean

Safe by Kate Hanney

The Frog and the Scorpion by Steevan Glover

Great Short Stories by YouWriteOn.Com Writers by YouWriteOn.com Writers

Tasting the Wind by Allan Mayer

The Stone by Claire Nolan

Ordinary Monsters by Paul Ekert  

Chasing Dreams by Aaron Jennings

 The Chronicles of Joya by Liane Carter
 
Tuppenny Hat Detective by Brian Sellars
 
At present YouWriteOn have 375 books on Amazon. A Dangerous Windfall has held first place for some time now. Having been at number one, The Frog and the Scorpion stays firmly at number three.
So what have these authors done to get into the top ten?
 
Earlier this week I noticed that Aaron Jennings’ Chasing Dreams was rising quickly, and maintaining high rankings, so googled it, to see if the web held any clues. According to the tenets of neurolinguistics it is better not to look up  to successful people, but to look into them. So what has Aaron Jennings been up to?
The Google results demonstrated two things: the first of these was internet presence. Aaron has planted his book on so many sites, the trawl producing a long list of varied references to Chasing Dreams.
The second- and perhaps the most successful strategy, is that he has identified a niche audience. I haven’t read his book, but apparently there is a surfing theme, and it is clear from some of the sites where his book appears that he has directed his marketing at the surfing community.
 
Kate Hanney has featured on the YWO website- she has had copies stocked at Waterstone’s because the manager was impressed with the price of her book. This highlights the fact that the Amazon rankings only indicate online sales, and may be a hint that if we combine Kate’s success at Waterstone’s with her position on Amazon she is probably YWO’s top selling author. (That is if we discount one author who has bought 1000 copies of their book direct from the publisher.)
 
Liane Carter was one of the first (perhaps the first?) people to feature on the YWO website at a Waterstone’s book signing. She has also invested in her marketing, and is the only YWO author to have a ‘Meet the Author’ video, which appears on her Amazon page.
Thomas Dean, the current number one, also appears on various websites, and has been featured in the Northumberland Gazette.
I can also vouch for the usefulness of the press release. I had fallen to ninth place, and my Amazon ranking was 160,000th. Then my press release appeared in the local newspaper, my ranking shot up to about 11,000th and I went back up to number 5.
 
So how many have been sold?  No idea- the stratistics give no clue. Although I know it not to be the case, the YWO table would look the same if  Thomas Dean had sold only ten copies, Kate Hanney  nine and so on. 
 
I would be interested to hear from any other POD published/ self-published authors about which marketing strategies they have found most successful.
 
Meanwhile, I am expecting to be making a big announcement on this blog sometime soon… watch this space.

It went something like this…

Monday

Kathleen, a colleague of mine in another area said that she wanted to buy my book, but didn’t know how to use Amazon, so I offered to order her a copy.

The day it arrived, I signed it, and asked another colleague, Barbara, to pass it on to Kathleen. 

Tuesday

I was in a multi-agency meeting  at a local day centre. I gave my report, then Kevin, the convenor, asked me if there was anything else. Gripped by the madness that overtakes you when you have a book to sell, I asked if I could steal thirty seconds of the meeting to mention my book, did my ‘Elevator Speach’ and gave out the cards that I keep in my wallet.

Kevin asked if I had any copies of Tasting the Wind with me, because he would gladly buy one.

At that point I thought of the motto: never leave the house without one…

Wednesday

Barbara told me that she had passed the book on to Kathleen, but before doing so had read the prologue.

And she was hooked- could she buy one?

It just so happened that after missing the opportunity the day before I had one in my bag.

I had made a sale.

I was pleased.

But somewhere, deep down, I wonder about my sanity…

 

And thanks to readers of the Chorley Citizen- since appearing in this week’s edition my Amazon rankings have soared. Please drop me a line or say hello if you see me around town.

The Press Release can be seen HERE.

Although I am still waiting for the copies of my book that I ordered from the publisher, a box of ten arrived from Book Depository at the weekend. So now I have them, what am I doing with them?

This seems to be falling into clearly defined categories:

1) Gifts copies

I have written in and given copies to members of my family, and have put one aside for Peter who designed and runs my website. (What do you mean ‘cheapskate’- I’m talking about a signed first edition here!)

2) Technophobe copies

This may come as a shock to you, using the internet as you do, but  you will have among your friends and acquaintances some people who do not know how to buy from Amazon, and don’t want to wait the upto four weeks for W.H. Smiths to get hold of it. So I have sold a couple of copies this way.

3) Review Copies

Now although I come from Stoke-on-Trent and live in Lancashire, I must have a spot of Yorkshireman in me somewhere because parcelling up a book and sending it, free of charge, to a total stranger was not an easy thing to do. But you have to speculate to accumulate, because the generation of interest from one positive review should make the sacrifice more than worthwhile. I have sent a review copy to ‘Lancashire Life’ Magazine. When I spoke to the editor he was happy with the fact that although Tasting the Wind is not on a Lancashire theme, the fact that sales will help a Lancashire charity would qualify it for their interest.

4) Shop Copies

I say ‘shop’ rather than ‘bookshop’ because there is no reason why your book can’t be sold from any  venue- particularly if it is thematically linked. I spoke to the manager of my local W.H. Smiths the other day, who informed me that she has a budget for local authors- but that at the moment it is overspent. I’ll be going back there later in the year, but for now will be approaching the shop belonging to the charity which I support.

5) Cheeky copies

I call them that because I have noticed a tendency in myself recently (brought on by an obsessive compulsion to market my book) to be a little… cheekier than usual.

I can best describe this in an anecdote of my week so far….

Which I will tell in my next blog.


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