Friday, February 05, 2010

Marketing Tips for New Authors

I was on the From Cover to Cover Radio Show in Houston, Texas today. Reshonda Tate Billingsley and Pat Tucker are the hosts for the show.  You can listen to the show in archives, but here's the gist of what I had to say. 

I was asked to give tips about marketing and promoting a book as a new author. I was surprised that I had caught the producer's eye as a potential guest, because who knew I was a subject matter expert. LOL. Anway if you've signed a contract or have a new book coming out real soon, or maybe your book is here, these are some of the tips I recommend to help you to be successful at promoting it:
1.       Write a strong book. (I hope you've already done that.)
2.       Know that writing and selling books is a business. I appreciated being offered a book deal, but I knew from the word on the street amongst authors, that as a new author, I would get very little help with marketing, so marketing and selling the book was going to be my job.
3.       Begin building your brand and promoting your book early – as early as the day you sell the book.
a.       Develop a marketing plan –
                                                               i.      How are you going to market and promote yourself (can you travel, and if so where and do you have the money).
                                                             ii.      What’s the budget? Critical item. Do not spend in a vaccum unless you're already loaded. :o)
                                                            iii.      What are your strengths and weakness and what can you do to work around those?
b.      Network - Find out where readers are? In your community, on the Internet and insert yourself. Begin building relationships. It’s all about relationships. Keep in touch with potential readers – try to get a street mailing address and email address  to contact people that are interested.
c.       Seek advance reviews – Make sure you have a professional advance review copy
                                                               i.      I developed relationships with reviewers. I mean they’re book lovers just like me, so I introduced myself to them on their blogs and in chat rooms and message boards. When I put out the call for reviews, people were interested. I’m naturally out going, and I love to meet people, so that was easy for me. It might not be as easy for an introverted author. Suggestions for them would be to make sure they have a professionally developed press kit. Also make an effort to publicize some samples of your writing. I introduced some short stories on a blog way back in February and posted it everywhere. People knew ahead of time that I could tell a story, and they were probably fairly certain they wouldn’t want to throw the book against a wall. LOL.
d.      Book Clubs – These readers are always looking for books, but again this goes back to networking.
e.      Invest in a good press kit
                                                               i.      I can’t emphasize how important a professional press kit can be. I have a blog and the number of people that contact me with no presskit or a poorly designed one is a complete turnoff.
                                                             ii.      You need a press kit for media.
4.       Use Social Media. It’s not your enemy and it’s not going away. Choose one or two sites and spend time there. Be genuine. People are your friends, make personal connections with them. They want to read your book, you just have to tell them why? 
Remember, it's never too late to get on board and do the dogone thing. Sell that book!

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