Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This THING Called Marketing

       So, you've written a book, managed to get it published and now you need to make people aware of the fact it's out there. How do you do that?
Seriously – I'm asking! I have three books – two are available in print as well as e-books the other is in e-book format only. They're great books, people would love them, but aside from a few sales a month, they aren't making me rich. No one is knocking down my door to make a movie and my bank account is still anemic.
I am not good at self-promotion. I've never been one to toot my own horn. I'm not going to wave a sign and say, “READ MY BOOKS!” I don't know how to write catchy copy, nor do I know clever marketing ploys. I am marketing inept, promotionaly illiterate and sales impaired.
I would love to know how books like “Twilight” and “50 Shades of Gray” became overnight sensations. What did those authors do and can I do it too? HOW did they get their books recognized by the masses? And why can't I?
It's frustrating knowing that I have amazing books that aren't selling. It's annoying to think that mediocre books can skyrocket to the top of the market when really good ones sit on the bottom rung.
I know there are websites devoted to this sort of thing. There are books and blogs and videos about how to make people more aware of your books. Sensory overload sets in and I am no better off than before I watched or read anything.
I see authors having giveaways, setting up contests and giving away all kinds of awesome products when people buy their books. They give away book bags, Amazon gift cards, jewelry, Kindles! I can't even afford a Kindle for myself, let alone buy it to give away. So what is a “poor” author supposed to do? I'm with two small publishers. They don't have promotional budgets either, which leaves it up to me. What little royalties I bring in go to buying food for my family or gas for the car. I can't put it toward a Kindle or Amazon card or some other kind of swag (a truly obnoxious word, in my opinion) to give away.
If someone has promotional ideas to share, I'd love to hear them. Meanwhile, I'm having a quiet cup of coffee while I wait for inspiration to strike. I have a feeling it's going to be a long wait.

© Dellani Oakes


Aileen Stewart said...

Dear Dellani:

Don't give up hope; after all Rome wasn't built in a day. I recently watched some videos by Micheal Hyatt the former CEO of Thomas Nelson and he said half the battle is just showing up every day because most people give up way too soon.

It is also important to remember not to compare our books with anyone elses. It isn't productive at all and doesn't change our sales status. I have been marketing my book Fern Valley for two years and have seen small changes over time. It is going ever so slowly, but my efforts are beginning to pay off. I started blogging more regularly, search people out to review my book, keep doing as many events as possible getting ready to do the Southern Kentucky Book Fest in Apr), join with other authors and tweet each others events and books, hand out business cards where ever I go, leave them with tips at restaurants, and even put them in my bill envelopes.

These are just a few things I have been doing, but each one builds upon the next. So remember, just keep swimming!

Dellani Oakes said...

Aileen, what great ideas! Thank you. It helps hearing that someone else knows what I'm going through.

Kemberlee said...

Aileen has some excellent advice. I have business cards on me all the time but rarely use them. I've been thinking of slipping them into books in the bookstore :-) Putting them in bill envelopes is great, only we're all electronic now. But with tips is good.

People who have just digital books can still do book signings. Even if you have some print and some digital only, you can still promote the digital. Put your author kit on a CD and give it out to people who show an interest. Have post cards or book markers made up (Vista Print is really reasonable) and give out. If your publisher is good, they can even give you a special discount code to write on those postcards and bookmarks that gives those people a time period to buy the book at a discount.

Book fairs and conferences are really expensive as an exhibitor if you only have a couple books but as an attendee, drop those bookmarks and postcards everywhere. Book cover on one side, website and contact info on the other, maybe also with the book blurb.

I think part of promotion revolves around self esteem. You have to convince yourself you ARE good enough and you ARE worth shouting about. Fear of success is often worse than fear of failure.

S.L. Bartlett said...

I'm in the same boat you are, Dellani. If you come up with a miracle solution, send it on to me, will ya? Meanwhile, reading all the wonderful suggestions you're getting on here.
S.L. Bartlett

Dellani Oakes said...

Thank you, Kemberlee! My publisher is one of the best! She's helpful and supportive and absolutely brilliant. MWAH!

S.L. When I have an answer, I'll sure share it with you!

Dellani Oakes said...

S.L. - if I come up with a miraculous "cure" I will certainly share it. I could make a MINT! :)

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