It seems to me that it wasn’t so long ago that all a writer had to worry about was getting a book published. Times are a changing now and you not only have to sell that book, but you are expected to promote it as well. Sadly, the talent that gets the book written is not the talent needed to market your work.
Sure, there are clues out there to how it should be done. Join myspace, facebook, twitter, create a daily blogspot, frequent other’s blogspots, and the list goes on. We spend hours managing these sites, and we wonder if our time spent is actually useful. Ask any author where they generate the most book sales, and many will say they’re not completely sure.
Then again, how much money should an author spend to promote his/her books? Yes, you will get some author copies, but you will find you just have to give a free book to certain people. After all, you so want them to have one. It doesn’t take long to find others actually expect you to give them one. After all, you’re a rich writer now. In reality, don’t expect to quit the day job anytime soon.
I told my husband that as promotion, I needed to donate three to five books to an online site where readers have the chance to enter and win a free book. When he asked me my motive for this contribution, I had to stop and think. I decided that if I was a member of this group, I would be after free books. This is a wonderful site for readers looking for a deal on books. Sure, I could send in my books, someone may read one and want to buy all the books I have, but it is a gamble considering the percentage a writer gets paid for their books. It’s a risk whenever you donate your books, for that matter.
Promotion is still a learning game, perhaps one day soon we’ll all have it down and know just how to spend our hard gained promotion monies. One would have to wonder, though, since so much is changing in the publishing world today.
During this past summer, I had the opportunity to join author Paty Jager at a book signing. We discussed marketing techniques and she said she spends the most money on bookmarks. She uses Earthly Charms and spends somewhere around $130 on 1,000 bookmarks. From my research, it seems to be a good deal and Paty’s bookmarkers are beautiful. At Vistaprint, I found I could get a smaller amount of rack cards, adding three covers and color to the back side at 100 for $48. I even located a link where you can do it yourself:
Paty uses her bookmarks in several ways. When conferences are looking for contributions for goodie bags, she sends them bookmarks. When she’s traveling around, she leaves them in coffee shops, restaurants, hotel rooms and lobbies. Paty slips opposite ones into her books, so the person buying her book gets a bookmark for the book they didn’t purchase. As an author, every time you give a talk hand some out or make them available for people to pick up. She’s even slipped them into bills she’s paid. Finally, she hands them out to people she meets after they’ve talked about books.
So, I give Paty an extra thank you for helping me promote my books, in a visually appealing way, without breaking the bank.