& Don't's for Self-Publishers - Part Three
by Julie Duffy
DO: Always carry business cards or postcards...
...that contain book and ordering info.
Hand these out to anyone and everyone you meet---especially if you tell them you are a writer and they express any interest whatsoever.
Ideally, you should print the cover design of your book (in color) on one side and the title, author, and ordering information on the other side. You can use the post-cards for direct mailing or to advertise signings and appearances. You can put them in stacks at the local dry-cleaner's, in your barber's shop, at the local supermarket's notice board...
These pieces are eye-catching and useful for many different events and promotional efforts.
DON'T: Pay for advertising...
...until you have exhausted every possible opportunity for free publicity.
Paid advertising carries much less weight than editorial coverage. Try to obtain editorial coverage in newspapers and magazines by sending not just an announcement about your book, but a story idea the reporter can use. If you need ideas for this, subscribe to the Publicity Hound newsletter and the Marketing Minute.
But there are many more sources for free publicity than print publications. Ask local businesses or clients if you can include your information in their direct mailing. Offer a free copy as a contest prize to an organization whose members might be interested in your book. Give online chats about your book, publishing, your area of expertise, anything - just make sure 'author of...' appears in the promo materials.
Paying for advertising should be your last resort. To be effective marketing has to put your product's name in front of the customer between 3 and 18 times before they will buy it. Can you afford to rely of paid advertising for all that exposure?
DO: Ask people to send reviews and feedback
...that you can use in your publicity materials.
Save every piece of email or mail you receive that says anything remotely flattering about your book. Ask the sender if it would be OK to quote them in publicity materials. If they give permission, save that communication too. Not only does this give you protection against accusations of using someone's words without permission, chances are they will add some other glowing comment in the reply!
If you meet someone who has read your book don't just ask 'what did you think?'. That question is too broad. Ask which character they liked best, what in particular they liked and disliked about the book, who they think would enjoy it. As long as they don't recoil in horror, ask if you can follow up with a note or email asking for a written quote (don't put them on the spot for a quote right there and then).
It is hard to ask for compliments, but if you are willing to accept honest feedback, it can be very useful.
DON'T: Harangue people...
... if they havent yet read or ordered your book.
I know they said they were going to, but asking 'have you read it yet?' every time you meet them, is only going to make them less and less likely to read the book. Instead, they will probably start avoiding you.
If people have read it, great!
If they have not read the book, politely leave it alone. Change the subject, ask them how the family is, or how their business is going. The more people like you, the more likely they are to want to read your book!
Go To Part One
Go To Part Two
Go to Part Four
Duffy (www.julieduffy.com) is the former
Director of Author Services at Xlibris. She is a
freelance writer and has been published in newspapers and
magaizines including the Writer's Digest special issue
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