Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'm A Writer, Not A Used Car Salesman!

One of the first things I noticed in my contract with my publisher was a paragraph involving what the publisher would provide and what the author would be in charge of.
For me, the author, I had to fill out their paperwork to get paid, provide my manuscript, agree to edits in a certain time frame and make a written request if I wanted out of my contract based on certain stipulations. The publisher then promised to provide a digital copy of the novel, a POD or Print on Demand copy, a cover,  opportunities to showcase my book in their catalog and a percentage of royalties and sales. Standard stuff mostly. There was, however, a tiny blur which stated "Author's aren't required to market their own work, but anything the author wishes to do to promote their novel will directly effect the sales of the book.
Great! I thought. I don't have to do anything. That's what a publisher is for...WRONG.
Author's commonly make the mistake of thinking their terrific work will sell itself. It won't. You may have written the greatest novel ever known to mankind but it won't be found amongst the 30,000 other novels published every year, if you don't go hock your wares.
So many writers say things like:
"I wrote it, why do I have to sell it too?"
"I just don't get social media."
"I'm kind of an isolated genius, I don't deal with the public much."
All arguments I can understand, but unwise if you're planning on making money with your awesome novel.
Neil Raphel, Acquisitions Editor for Brigantine Media gives the following five suggestions.
1. Speak! Don't confine your appearances to the local bookstore. Try to craft a speech about a topic related to your book that will appeal to a large audience.
Then market your speeches to local clubs, libraries, schools, and any other organization that may be interested in your topic.
2. Give your book away – selectively. Publishers are willing to give books away for  authors on one condition: that the recipient has the authority and might
be willing to purchase bulk copies of the book. so giving away one book can be tremendously cost effective, even if it seems counter-intuitive at will actually allow authors who belong to Prime,  30 days of giving their book away for free. It's a marketing technique which promotes  the work and therefore the author. Especially, if you've got a series and only the first book is free.
3.Blog: You're a writer. You have ideas. It takes no advanced computer skills to put up a blog or even a full-fledged website. There are lots of companies
that will give you the tools to make a simple template on your own. Once you have the website or blog up and running, tell all your Facebook friends about
it. Use social media to discuss the topics on your site. Print up business cards with the site's web address. If you have interesting posts, you'll be
able to cultivate an audience that is primed to read your book.
4. Generate publicity. It's free and can make all the difference in book sales. Write a press release about your book for the local media. Figure out a
news angle that ties into your book and tie it into your press release. Have someone throw a party for your new book and put the photos up on social media
and send them to the local paper. It's really tough to get national publicity, but your book sales will perk up even if you get local or regional publicity.
5. Find a community of interest. If you've written a novel, memoir, or nonfiction book that has characters or stories involving autism, contact organizations,
Facebook groups, and local groups that help people with autism. If you've written a book about fly fishing, try to find organizations and interest groups
that cater to people interested in fly fishing. Try to find interest groups and organizations that might have a connection to the materials in your book.
You may think that this necessity of marketing your own work is a new thing because of digital books, failing and disappearing book stores and the ease of publishing independently provided by amazon, smashwords, and other sites, but its not.
Walt Whitman made up pamphlets and went door-to-door to sell his poetry. Hemingway posed by a Valentine's Ale while scribbling his work. These  photos were used to market his books as well as the beer.
While your publisher can provide tours, signings, and appearances, you must remember. Your book is only a fraction of all the books the publisher must promote. Their marketing team will probably spend less than one hour a week on your novel. Maybe your brilliant and that's enough. Maybe your novel will sell itself amongst the flooded marketplace. Just in case though, Maybe you'd better learn how to be a used car salesman too.

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