I took notes during Mike Dillingham’s riversbooks.com talk about marketing at the August 2011, Alaska Writer’s Guild meeting. Perhaps you can glean something useful second hand?
To say Mike gave a “talk” is misleading because, while Mike never stops talking, he never stops moving his hands or his whole body either. This may be his main message, taught by example, that to get people’s attention, and perhaps buy my book, I need to entertain them.
Marketing is unavoidable.
Mike began by explaining two important considerations before going to a publisher. First, they are only interested in me and my book to the extent it will make them money. The more I rely on them to promote my book the less money I will make, both in numbers sold and percentage paid per book. Conversely, and second, if I do use a publisher, the more marketing I do the more money I will make. It is not just the possibility of selling more books. I will get a bigger percentage of each book sold when I contract to do more.
Whether I self-publish or use a publisher I will need to market. And, since I did self-publish my book A clueless Man’s Guide To Relationships my “take away” notes from Mike’s talk focus on marketing.
So . . . essentially . . . go anywhere, do anything––book store signings, gift shop signings, shows, Saturday markets; be here, go there and be active.
Have business cards to hand anyone I speak with about my book so that they remember me and know how to buy the book if they decide they want it.
[My thought––Put up fliers that are just my book’s front and back cover on popular bulletin boards each week as they are cleared. I can print them as needed and distribute them as I have coffee, etc. around town.]
Use “Book Tour” – what is this? On the Internet? Defunct!
Use Facebook – Already doing.
Blog – Already doing: kellyfisherauthor.com
[Me again––Find out about the museum’s book fair and about the Christmas craft/gift fairs.]
Consider using 3rd party marketers. Could be someone at the Saturday Market or the State Fair. They take 20% and do all the work!
Here is what I do when marketing:
Appear to want to be there even if I don’t want to be there.
Make it fun! Nobody wants to interact with or buy anything from a grump.
Maintain eye contact.
Talk to folk and show an interest in them. “How you doing?” “Nice kid.” Etc.
THANKFUL they are looking at my book;
ECSTATIC they are asking me questions;
THRILLED they show an interest in my book;
SHARE my books message. The book has to have a message and I have to get it across.
My message is: THERE IS AT LEAST ONE THING IN MY BOOK THAT CAN HELP EVERY RELATIONSHIP
If they window-shop, send them away with a card.
Follow up––ask them to come back when they are done looking.
They will remember me if I stay (politely) in their face.
If they are looking for something else and I know where it is, help them find it. Sell other peoples stuff and they will do the same for me.
Thank the people who help me.
Thank the people who put on the event.
I want everyone to remember me because I was nice.
What convinces people to let me do signings and have a table at an event? It is the impression that I make and that impression is that I will be energetic and make their customers happy and remember the event favorably even if they don’t buy my book.
Read my book at events. People may ask, “What are you doing?” BINGO “Reading my book. Want to see it?”
Keep and use a notepad at events. I can jot down things I think of but, more importantly, I am doing something that makes me look more involved and that people can ask me about.
Watch my body language. Hold my book and hold it up prominently. [I am proud of it!]
In other words be a “working” author.
Be excited about my book.
Indicate that I think my book can help.
Move around a bit. Engage the customer. [Remember the guy with the tile animals?]
I am not chained to the table. Move around my table area. If not much is happening, move around the event and see what there is and engage other venders.
In all public appearances: (1) be myself and (2) smile.
[Wow! Think of how Mary does it.]
Don’t worry about the bottom line at any show.
I get 30 seconds to engage someone.
I am an entertainer!
When I decided that self-publishing was my best bet for getting A Clueless Man’s Guide To Relationships published I went to the book store and looked at self-publishing “how to” books. There are many of them. I perused those that caught my eye in the store, bought and read several, and finally decided on Tom and Marilyn Ross’ very informative The Complete Guide To Self-Publishing.
After I read the guide thoroughly I did nothing for three weeks. The process seemed too daunting. But I knew that other people had self published and I started to tick off the 60 to 80 steps necessary to create a book. I hired an editor, a cover designer, a book designer (who fits the words on the page – it’s an art form), a graphics designer for the logo, and others who helped create the finished book.
I created the limited liability company as the legal framework within which to work. I got ISBN and LCCN numbers and the EAN bar code for the book. I found a printer, a shipper, and signed up with Amazon to sell the book. It was like trekking in Nepal. I knew where I was going but I had little idea of what I was going to encounter to get there. It turned out to be a fun challenge.
My editor, Sarah Cypher (no kidding!) The Threepenny Editor was a Godsend. She did all of the right things including two I am unable to do on my own: she put my often inside out syntax in the correct order and she organized the book’s sections into a continuous flow. She also persisted in insuring that I wrote proper transitions form one chapter to the next.
Sarah is also a part of a network of people who have the diverse skills necessary to create a book; and it is through her that I found a cover designer and book designer.
The Complete Guide To Self-Publishing recommends using separate people for the cover design and the book design because book design is a particularly specialized skill. The person Sarah Cypher recommended, Kristin Summers of redbat design could do both. I am particularly pleased with the book design.There is something I love about words properly fitted to a page in a font I enjoy reading; bembo in my book.
I am also pleased with the cover design; but I regret having given Kristin my firm ideas about what I wanted before I saw what she would come up with on her own. Don’t make that same mistake.