Successfully Promoting Your Book
Panel: Kevin Smokler, Brent Sampson & Kate Rados (Moderator)
First Point: Timing. How far ahead of book’s pub date do you start planning the promotion of your book?
–Never too soon.
–At least start. Too many authors still don’t understand that authors are the ones who need to market their books in order for people to know the book is out there and then to buy it.
–Authors need to make themselves familiar to their reading base even if they don’t have a book to promote yet.
When do you stop promoting?
–When you start annoying people.
–When you’re no longer bringing your best self.
–When you need to start working on your next book.
–There are two forms of promotion: active and passive modes. Establish great key words that will allow the search world to continue finding your book when you’re no longer in active mode.
–Don’t engage just because you feel you have to engage.
–Don’t be a blatant self-promoter without any passion or meaning behind your activities.
–Needs to answer this reader question: Why am I reading this book/talking to you other than the fact that you’ve written a book? What is unique about you?
–Being a helpful member of an online community will cause that community to support your efforts and your book.
–What motivated you to write the book? What is it about you that makes you stand out? What are the things that make you a writer?
–The first stop for any author is knowing who you are.
Amazon’s AuthorCentral (amazon.com/authors): Create an account even if you don’t have a book yet. A major tool to help authors promote and sell their books.
–BookTour.com is part of the AuthorCentral site.
–Authors who have books published need to open a BookTour account, and then create your events.
How to Start Setting Up Events?
–You, books, people, food, alcohol=the beginning of a book tour. Draw on the “low-hanging fruit” such as organizations you belong to, your church, friends who will let you use their houses/apartments.
–Patronize your local book store first as a customer, then as an author. Let the book store know you can bring in 25 people because the book stores are always looking for more/new business.
What do you do at the events?
–Create a unique theme or gimmick to engage the audience and also attract the attention of the news media.
–Try not to fall into the traditional pattern of just reading and then signing books.
–Your event is competing with everything else people can choose to do for a night of entertainment.
–Ex. If you have a cookbook, there’d better be food at your event.
When should authors hire out for publicity?
–Ask what a publicist can do that you cannot do?
–Not all books need a private publicist.
–Before hiring, do a lot of research on publicists. Find out who they’ve worked for, what kind of publicity they’ve created, etc.
What is a blog tour?
–It’s a virtual tour online. Authors appear on someone else’s blog. The content is worked out between the author and blog owner.
–Book bloggers love books and promoting them.
–Research bloggers to find out how they want to be pitched and what their audience looks like, to make sure the blog/blogger is a match to you and your book.
–Much greater payoff than in-person events.
–Even after the tour is over, the event will have an ongoing Internet life.
Campaigns that have been especially effective:
–Twitter campaign by Rebecca Skloot (sp?)
–The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Got in his car with thousands of books and drove around the country. He sent a copy to the CEO of Mazda. Had Enzo T-shirts and other props.
–Come up with fun ideas that tie into the book.
–Overlying quality needed in authors: be giving, nice, pleasant, charming, sincere, etc.
Panelists were asked what they would do if they could only do one thing to promote a book.
–Write a blog.
–Build a blog/Web site–one place where readers have one place to go to find out everything about you and your book(s).
–Find the most unique aspect of your book an “hammer at it relentlessly.”
Is it worth the time spent to try and get newspaper reviews?
–Newspapers need to get books prior to pubication in order to do reviews. Authors are up against huge competition. Securing reviews is hard and rare and not worth a huge investment of time. Work instead on getting endorsements/quotes from other authors.
–Pursue people more famous than you are to help you with things like writing a Foreword.
Amazon Reviewers–Search them out by group and approach them about reviewing your book.
Do book club events using Skype.
Time to move on to closing Keynote Address.