Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Book Promotion.. Are You Ready?

By Mary "Lynn" Lewis

Congratulations! Your book is in print. That's a major accomplishment, so go ahead and pat yourself on the back, sing from the rooftops, or just do a happy dance in your kitchen.

Now what?

If you're very fortunate, your publisher will do everything it can to promote your book – for a limited time only. If you self-published, it's all up to you. Either way, if you want your book to sell, you'll have to handle some portion of the marketing and promotion yourself.
Some statistics to consider:

· somewhere around 120,000 books are published in the U.S. every year
· according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll, one in four adults read no books at all in the past year
· a successful fiction book sells 5000 copies
· a successful nonfiction book sells 7500 copies
· 70 percent of books do not make a profit

If you Google book statistics, you can find more information. The numbers can be daunting and discouraging to a hopeful author, but there are ways to get the word out about your book. The internet has become an invaluable tool with the advent of social/business networking sites and blogs.

I asked a couple of authors about their experiences regarding the marketing and promotion of their books. Their answers are below.

"These days, publishers rarely send authors out on tour, as it's simply not a cost-effective way to sell books. Neither is advertising. Further, fewer and fewer newspapers run reviews of novels. So what's left? Not a lot, I'm afraid.

The good news is that the Internet an invaluable tool that lets you spread word about your book far and wide. I use it pretty aggressively, and do a ton of work on my own with it, in addition to my publisher's efforts. I think many authors would agree with me that Internet marketing can make or break book sales, especially for a debut author." -Ellen Meister, author of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA

"My publisher does a huge amount for the book in the initial phases–getting it into stores, getting good placement in stores, buying ads in the major publications, sending newsletters, supporting authors at conferences with give-a-ways. They really do what they can. But what they can do is limited, so that's where I come in. I spend about an hour a day doing marketing chores; more when the book is about to release. That includes blogging, maintaining lists and newsletters, maintaining my website, writing articles, speaking at conferences, signing books, etc. I was surprised how much work it was–and how much money it could be if you let it. That would be my number one piece of advice to authors: don't spend your money. Figure out what you can do free and go with that." - Diana Holquist, author of Sexiest Man Alive

Many of the authors of books I've reviewed at Virtual Wordsmith have MySpace pages, websites and blogs of their own. Connecting with the reader is paramount to book sales. If the reader feels a connection to the author, their curiosity will lead them to reading the book. Raised awareness is an important promotional tool. If the average book buyer has seen a picture of your book cover online, it will jump at them when they see it on the bookstore shelf.

So, use the new resources available to you. It's all here at your finger tips! http://blogstopbooktours.wordpress.com and http://virtualwordsmith.blogspot.com

Mary Evelyn Lewis is the woman behind Blog Stop Book Tours. Blog book tours are a new, and cost effective, way to promote books and their authors. It's a form of viral AND word-of-mouth marketing. People talk. Don't you want your book to be what they're talking about? Mary is also a writer, a mother, a wife and an avid reader. If you'd like to know more, see her website at www.maryevelynlewis.com.

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