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March 2013

Promoting Your Book - Developing Sales Materials With Punch

If you create any sales materials to promote your book, here's a rule you need to remember: They must be quick and to the point. In short, they must have "punch." To begin, start noticing those ads that grab your attention. We'll bet it isn't just the full-page spread or the full-minute spot on radio or television. You may discover that short, well-done ads pull. They can often draw attention better that a long ineffective one.

The key is not length, but rather quality and repetition. You'll get more bang for your buck by investing in twelve identical small ads than from one large, full page spread. Stay in front of your prospects with punchy sales material, and you will make sales.

Some of your sales material can be created in parallel with your book's dust jacket or cover. Often a jacket or cover can easily become a one-page flier telling about your book. Such a piece can play an important role in promoting your book to libraries, bookstores, wholesalers and educational systems. It's straightforward, low-key, to the point and quickly communicates your message. Combined with a salesy cover letter and a few book reviews, you can develop a powerful book promotion package.

Use both your imagination and those beautiful third-party accolades that drift in from reviewers, columnists, educators, experts, and media personalities. Third-party endorsements carry much more weight that anything you can say on your own behalf.

Remember, sales materials do not have to be expensive, they just need to "pack a punch."

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

Tips on How to Use Reviews to Promote Your Book - Part 2

By Karen Hodges Miller

As a follow-up to Part 1 of this subject, here are some addition tips regarding the obtaining and use of book reviews.

5. Here are a few ideas on where you might find book reviewers? There are dozens of blogs on the internet that focus just on book reviews. Some newspapers and magazines still have book review columns. There are also radio shows - on the air and on the internet - devoted to books.

6. There are also book review journals that are read by librarians and bookstore managers. These people often make purchasing decisions based on reviews they read in these journals. However, it can be difficult to get your book reviewed in these journals unless you pay for a review - so weigh this strategy with other alternative promotional activities.

7. There are probably more differing opinions on the value of paid book reviews than there are journals to place them. Paid reviews may have less value than unpaid reviews, but they do still have value. If you are a first-time author, a paid review may be your best chance to get in front of buyers for libraries, bookstores and other retail outlets. There is a downside, however. There is no guarantee that a paid reviewer will give your book a good review.

8. Negative reviews happen. No matter how wonderful your book, there's someone out there who will not like it. And if they write about it, it can hurt your sales. But there is good news. One or two negative reviews among a group of positive ones will not hurt sales too badly, and reasonable people understand that no one can please everyone all of the time.

Regardless, book reviews should be an important part of your book promotion strategy. How you use them can greatly impact the success your book will have.

 [This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Sell Your Book, written by Karen Hodges Miller, founder of Open Door Publications.]

Tips on How to Use Reviews to Promote Your Book - Part 1

By Karen Hodges Miller

Book reviews are some of the best ways to bring your book to the attention of a new audience. The more people who review your book, the greater exposure it has to new and different people who are potential customers for it. If you are thinking about how you want to use book reviews, here are some helpful tips you might like to consider.

1. It's a great idea to have some reviews or book testimonials in hand before you publish your book. Who should you ask? The most influential people you know who are in your field. Think about your target market. If you are writing a book about health care, get a leading doctor to write the review. If you are writing a book with a regional influence, such as a history of your town or region, ask the head of a local museum to write a review.

2. Don't be afraid to ask for book reviews. You would be surprised at how many positive responses you will receive. Sometimes the reviewer will ask you to send something specifice, say three chapters rather than the whole book. If no special requests are made, the easiest thing to send is a clean final draft of your book in PDF form. Make sure it is the most complete and error-free copy possible.

3. Most likely, you'll want to put a couple of great reviews on the back cover of your book, and if you have gathered enough of them, in the front of your book as well. You may need to shorten them to just a sentence or two to fit them in. You can put lengthier reviews on your website and use them in press releases.

4. As soon as you have copies of your book, send them out to other reviewers. In fact, it's smart to allocate a certain amount of your first allotment of books to be given away, not sold. History indicates that every copy you give away results in approximately 10 additional sales. Send out the review copies as soon as possible. A new book is news;  a six-month old book is not.

We'll share more tips about how to use book reviews in Part 2 of this post.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Sell Your Book, written by Karen Hodges Miller, founder of Open Door Publications.]

How to Get Your Book Into Bookstores

Bookstores base their decisions on whether to carry a book on one question: Will it sell? They want to know what you, as the author, will be doing to create customer demand. Another challenge is that they are often hesitant to deal with a one-book author. Too much paperwork, they say. Yet, there are things you can do to make inroads.

 Independent booksellers are competing in ways that provide good opportunities for small publishers, such as category specialization (children's, travel, feminist, mystery, science fiction, business and technical - just to mention a few). It's possible to rent mailing lists from the American Booksellers Association (ABA) for each specialty if you publish in one of the areas.

Also, consider your local bookstores. However, be prepared to make a strong case to convince the bookstore manager that he or she should take on your book. So what can you do?

Your presentation: One good method for developing a presentation is to put together a loose-leaf binder with such things as a copy of the dust jacket or cover, a prepublication announcement, newspaper interviews, advance comments, reviews, standard terms and conditions and price discount information.

You might also wish to make a list of the chief points that you think will be most effective in capturing the sale and that you don't want to forget to mention. Go armed with extra sales literature and an adequate supply of books.

Bookstore owners will be expecially interested in your advertising and promotional plans, since this is what will motivate people to come in and ask for your book. Bookstore owners will also be interested in any affiliations or qualification you may have and if you have any regional or local tie-ins. If you have any point-of-purchase sales items, be prepared to leave them. And you may also want to discuss where best to position your book in the store to maximize exposure and sales.

Make your presentation first, then offer a copy of the book - not the other way around.

Whether you sales call is successful or not, follow up is an important part of building a business relationship. Be sure to record all pertinant information from each call. Stay in touch. Even if a store did not take on your book, you may be able to overcome the objections at a later date.

[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.]