So here is the final post on my short series of "Reading, Writing, Reaching". Today I am going to reach all those potential readers, basically I'm going to reach for the stars. Shouldn't we all?
When I first signed the contract with my publisher, Life SentencePublishing, they sent me the book "Sell More Books" by J. Steve Miller and Cherie Miller. I think that this book should be everyone's Bible when it comes to publishing, promoting and selling your book. The suggestions made in this book can be overwhelming at times - there are so many things we can do to promote our books - but the author does keep saying, "pick three or four of these things, things you feel you can do well, and put your effort there. No author can do everything there is out there to do to promote their book". Or something like that.
What are some of these wonderful things? The one big thing we have all been hearing about until we are probably nauseated is that we have to build our social network. I've blogged about this before, asking how big our network should be, how many different social networks do we need to be involved with, what are good numbers when it comes to followers? This alone seems overwhelming to me.
So I check my social networks nightly, post something about my book on each of them maybe once a week, ask others to follow me about once a week, and post my blogs there. I think that that is enough. Any more time on the social networks and my husband would call social services on me, claiming that I never shower or eat. And forget about house work. Whoever has time for that?
I think that social networks are what they are. A great tool to connect with others, but there is no reason to spend all of your time working on them.
Get an interview with your local newspaper and your local TV station. (Check, and check, I have achieved these). Get some local speaking engagements, talk to a few local businesses about doing book signings. And here's one which I don't remember seeing in "Sell More Books". If you work a full time job for a company of any size, they probably have a newsletter or a web presence. They will usually let you advertise there for free. I posted an ad for my book on the free classified ads on my employer’s website. Sure, only other employees have access to this, but we have people working in a two state region. And plus it is free! (Do any advertising which is free; what is it going to hurt?)
Another free and simple thing to do is to put a tag on the bottom of your personal email, mentioning your book and where it can be purchased. So initially this will only reach people you know who probably know about the book already. But you never know who will forward on your emails and there you are – out in the world.
Some ways of promoting I just don't have a handle on, such as getting others to write reviews of your book on their blogs or websites. I've asked a few bloggers I know to do this, and I trust that they will, but I am still waiting and I don't want to be a pest.
Or you can research the bigger newspaper markets, find a connection there and send them your information, asking them to write a review. I just don't know about this either. I'm sure it works well for many people, but it doesn't sound like something I want to do. I know, I shouldn't sell myself short, but that is how I'm wired.
This does remind me of something I was told many years ago. Believe it or not, back in 2005, I became a BeautiControl consultant. One thing which my director told me was that you never know who will buy your product. Don't judge people on their outward appearance. Ask everyone you meet to buy from you. All they can do is say "no", but they won't say "yes" if you don't ask.
It also depends on what your book is about, whether it is fiction or not, if there is a geographic or historical connection. If your book is about a fictional rodeo cowgirl, look into the Denver stock show (which I was at many years ago and it is huge) and figure out a way to sell your book there. If your book is a thriller about a truck driver, stop at as many truck stops as you can and ask them to sell your book on consignment. A book of short stories about women going through mid-life crises might sell well at area beauty salons. Ask to put one free copy in their waiting area for women to read while they wait and then they can buy a copy after their visit.
There are so many things we can be doing to sell our books. I probably am not doing enough of them. But I think that the whole process waxes and wanes a bit. You don't want to forget about promoting your book all together, but it is ok to take some time to sit back and work on something else, while the book wanders around on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble on its own for a while. It's not going to disappear completely because you took a mental health break.
So there you have it. My short course on making it as a writer. Read, write, reach. And last of all rest.
Are you waiting for the parade or are you out making your own parade?