Thursday, January 23, 2014

Self Marketing by Mike Hartner

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Congrats! You’re published. In today’s world, in many cases, it won’t matter whether you are self-published, or published by one of the Big Six. You will need marketing.

Marketing. Yes, that ugly word. What, you mean my book doesn’t sell itself? Nope. Sorry to disappoint, but you are one of nearly a million people who have self-published this past year. Finding your book, for any but the most diligent (read: friends and relatives) is going to be a crapshoot. So how do you make your odds better?

1. Blog tours. Orangeberry.com has them. Pumpupyourbook.com has them. And there are others out there. They schedule you on blogs that work with them, and then send you a list of material they want. Some material that they like to use includes: Chapters, for chapter reveals; character interviews, to get a better feel for the characters; author interviews, in which you answer questions about yourself and your book and your publishing journey; top ten lists by you; and a plethora of other information. Blog tours are the 21st century equivalent to book store tours. Except you are doing them in cyber-space. And they can be fun. So go out and enjoy them.

2. Reviews. This falls into several time frames. To do this properly, there are things you need to be setting up PRIOR to the release of the book.

  • Netgalley.com - $350 set up. Six months. It gives newspapers, book sellers, etc... a chance to look at your book before they decide to stock or review it. Sometimes it can lead to reviews.
  • Newspapers - ARCs of the book should be given to media 3-4 months in advance of the release to give them a chance to read it and respond. Remember, they have busy lives too.
  • Internet book reviewers (book bloggers) - There are lists out there. They are genre specific, and will definitely help you contact reviewers who will look at your book. Like newspaper columnists, though, they are VERY busy. Many of them need to be booked four months in advance. Not all. But, if you give them four months, they are guaranteed to appreciate your efforts even more, regardless of whether they agree to help you.
  • Amazon book reviewers - Amazon has lists that include their top ten reviewers. And if you pick through these one at a time, and contact them, then some will help and others will not. But give them a time frame.... the more leeway the better. They, too, are busy.

3. Contests/Awards. You can enter all sorts of contests for your book. Make sure that you’re in the right genre, though.

  • Other independent book contests are out there. Google them.
  • Local book awards - Every state and province has book awards for local authors. You can’t win if you don’t play.

4. Associations. There are many associations, including Independent Book Publishers Association. Membership in them will give you discounts for participation in some of the contests and services like: Netgalley, LightningSource, trade shows, etc... I HIGHLY recommend IBPA. But, look around. If they’re not right for you, some one else will be.

5. Trade Shows. Throughout the year, there are trade shows all over the world:
  • London Book Show -- April
  • BookExpoAmerica (BEA) - May
  • Beijing (usually September)
  • Frankfurt (October)
  • There are others in your state or province.
  • American Library Association (ALA)
  • National Educators Association (NEA)
  • NewYork State Library Association
  • California State Library Association...
  • This list is endless.

Two points about trade shows. 
  • They are OPTIONAL. They get exposure to your book out there, but don’t stress if you can’t afford to go to every one of them. 
  • Pick your conventions wisely. You may decide to go to the ALA without going to the NEA. That’s okay. There’s some member overlap, but not a lot.

6. Free Sites. IF you join Kindle Direct Program (KDP) they will allow you to have free days -- up to five across three months -- as promotion days. There are hundreds of spots around the internet that advertise to kindle users, e-readers, etc.. that will help you to publicize FREE days, provided you give them reasonable notice. By reasonable, I think minimum two weeks.

7. Social media. Put up a Facebook author’s page, a Twitter feed, your own website, Pinterest pictures, etc. Look into badredheadmedia.com to find Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC), a social media guru, who can help you grow your brand.

8. Google Adwords. Theadwordsguy.com and JP help you to use Google Adwords and landing sites to generate interest. You pay per click, but it helps to show you which genres and keywords resonate interest with your book.

9. Reader websites. Goodkindle.net is one example. These are websites dedicated to individuals who read e-books. There are plenty of them, and for a small fee, you can be a part of their book list on their site.


This list is by no means comprehensive, but it describes most of the areas that I have delved into to help promote my book. You don’t have to do them all at once. Pick and choose according to your whims. But get out there and try something to improve your exposure to the massive number of readers out there. Now go out there and market!

Also, don’t forget that "FRONTLIST sells backlist." In short, the best way to sell this book... is to write the next one. So don’t get hung up in the promotions area for too long.

And, if you’re getting overwhelmed with it all, ask for help from an author’s assistant like Kate Tilton.

About the Author:
Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents. You can visit Mike at his website.


4 comments:

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Thanks for the tips Mike. Self-marketing is tough but necessary.

erica and christy said...

Thanks for the great tips. I've bookmarked this for future reference! Christy

Mike Hartner said...

You're welcome.

Ansha Kotyk said...

I found the IBPA link differed from the one referenced above.
http://www.ibpa-online.org/