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February 2012

Some Advice to Those Who Have Just Published Their Books

[Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow offer the following advice to those authors who have just published their books and have begun their "marketing journey."]

Online or offline, the key to book marketing success is to "think outside the box." On an impulse, Dan Poynter once offered a carton of books about self-publishing to a local instant print center. Apparently, writers do a lot of instant printing, because the books soon sold out, and the center ordered more. Now Dan supplies many printing and copying centers with his books, as a regular part of his business.

Use your imagination. If you have a new idea, try a small test and see if it works. You may be pleasantly surprised when an unusual idea takes off.

Make a list of every possible public and private institution, print or broadcast medium, business or individual with potential interest in your book. Contact each of them individually with a proposal specifically tailored to the needs of the recipient.

Ask yourself "Who benefits when people read my book?" Then contact every one of them individually and get them involved.

One of the greatest benefits of self-publishing is that authors are passionate about their subjects, and know their specific markets better than most book industry people. A traditional publisher or bookseller might know (or care) very little about your book's topic. To them, your book is just one more product among thousands of others.

But as the author, you are a participant. Harness your more intimate understanding of the subject and its audience, and you can do a better job of marketing and book promotion than an outsider who sees your book as a product rather than a passion.

To your book writing success!

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from U-Publish.com 5.0, co-authored by Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow.]


Three Important Rules to Follow When Creating Your Book Cover

Dan Poynter offers these important rules when it comes to creating your book cover.

Rule # 1: Draft your cover sales copy first.

In order to focus on who your book customers are and what you plan to share with them, write the first draft of your book-cover sales copy before you write your book. Think about who your primary audience will be and list the benefits of your book. Tell the bookstore browser what is inside and how your book will help them. Your back cover will make an excellent outline. Then write your book and deliver on your promises.

Drafting the cover copy will make the book writing easier because it will enable you to focus on your readers and provide you with a list of what you plan to tell them.

Rule #2: Do not leave the writing of your sales copy to someone else.

Book cover designers can do a terrific job a laying out the package and incorporating the illustration, putting it all on disc, and sending it to the printer - but someone must draft the sales copy. That someone should be you. Publishers are notorious for writing weak copy. So, do it yourself - and be assertive! 

Rule # 3: Do not put your photo on the front or back cover.

Your book cover is prime space, and there is not much of it. The front cover is your billboard - make it attractive. Your back cover is for sales copy - make it convincing. Don't put anything on the cover that will not sell the book. Unless your face is recognizable because you are a politician, movie star or other high-profile person, leave it off the cover.

Your author photograph should be in your book. Your readers are investing their time and money in you, and many want to now who is talking to them. Put your photo in the front matter on the "About the Author" page. Thank write a whole page about yourself.

So forget the ego trips, you book cover should be used only to sell your book.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts take from Successful Nonfiction, written by Dan Poynter. Dan can be contacted through Para Publishing.]


How to Tap Into the Lucrative Library Book Market - Part 2

In part 1 of this two-part post, published last week, we provided some background into the library market and some tips on how to begin a book promotion campaign. In today's part 2, we'll explore some ways to capture the attention of libraries.

Library ordering often goes in cycles. You'll discover that certain periods during the year may yield a better response than others. The best time to contact libraries is just before the end of their fiscal years, as they may be in a hurry to use up unappropriated and available funds - or they may be collecting information to purchase in the new year when new funds become available.

There are other ways to connect with librarians, also. Exhibiting your book at the American Library Association Conference or midwinter conference, or specific annual state conferences, may make sense. There are also subject-specific library conferences that could yield tremendous sales opportunities for a niche book.

And don't forget libraries as a means of promoting your book. Libraries are author friendly and many sponsor book readings or seminars - with books sold in tandem. To find out more, check with the public relations department of larger libraries.

To capture the attention of librarians, send excerpts of your book - or a complete book review, if it is short. Also include testimonials and advance comments. Make ordering your book easy by providing an order form (coded, so that you can track results). Because library ordering tends to be a slow, bureaucratic process, there is no real advantage for your mailings to go out first class. Bulk postage will cut costs and probably not reduce results.

There are a wide variety of libraries to consider when planning your book marketing strategy. Here are some examples:

  • Church and synagogue libraries.
  • Military libraries.
  • Business and technical libraries.
  • Art and architectural libraries.
  • Music libraries (there about 500 of them).
  • School and college libraries.

You will find that the list can become quite extensive.

As you begin your focus on the potential library markets, match your book with the interests of the libraries you plan to target. This will eliminate wasting time, effort and money.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.]


How to Tap Into the Lucrative Library Book Market - Part 1

[This is Part 1 of a two-part post on the library book market. This first part discusses how to start your book promotion to libraries.]

Would you believe that there are approximately 123,000 libraries, including school, public and special libraries, in the United States - and their purchasing power is close to $2 billion. Yes, libraries can offer great potential to self-publishers. Besides the shear volume, there are other factors that make libraries a great potential market?

  1. Most book marketers recommend that library book sales be at full retail price, unless larger quantities are purchased.
  2. Unlike bookstores, libraries involve no return hassles.
  3. Some public library systems order for their branch libraries, and orders can be sizeable.

To begin your library marketing campaign, start local and contact the proper person in your local library system. Call the main branch and ask who is in charge of acquisitions of your type of book (genre). Send or leave a complimentary copy of your book, along with plenty of promotional material, to be circulated. Potential library books are displayed for branch librarians to examine and order. Consequently, it may be a couple of months before you actually receive a purchase order. Finally, be sure to cover all of your local bases, as there may be several library systems in your area.

Now that you have tapped the local library sources, the whole country could be your next target. Librarians are very review driven - they put a lot of stock in the primary review media. For that reason, you would be wise not to approach them until you can obtain a favorable review in one of the following: Library Journal, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and if your book is directly toward children or young adults, School Library Journal. These publications carry great weight with librarians.

And don't overlook Internet reviews. Librarians are known to be "information junkies."

Fortunately, libraries are interested in books other than just bestsellers. They seek titles of good quality that fill a well-defined patron need. For instance, if your book deals with African American studies or a topic of interest to Hispanics, you'd be wise to contact libraries in areas with these high ethnic populations.

Librarians aren't moved by hyperbole. They want to see significant reviews, a table of contents, and a typical entry for a directory or reference book. They also need all the book's vital statististics such as ISBN, LCCN, year of publication, binding info, and grade levels for children's books. And they'll appreciate a listing of distributors and wholesalers that carry your title.

In part 2 of this post to be published next week, we'll discuss ordering tendencies by libraries and how to capture their attention.

[The above post was create, with permission, from excerpts taken form The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.]