First let me apologize to those of you who are accustomed to reading the daily blog first thing in the morning. I’m about 4 hours later posting it. Life does, sometimes, get in the way. Let me also report that I’ll be in San Diego for the next 4 days presenting 5 seminars on article-writing and platform-building at the San Diego State University Writers’ Conference. I hope some of you signed up. It’s one of the best around.
While, with any luck, I will have Internet access, I may not have the time to continue my commitment to writing a generous, informative blog each of the next 4 mornings. I will certainly try, however. Now to today’s theme: the sometimes overwhelming task of Book Promotion:
You might think you have all of your ducks in a row. Then one day, here comes a truckload of your books from the printer or the publisher. You jump around excitedly. You tear open the boxes and spend some time caressing your book. You show it to your co-workers, family, neighborsâ€”whoever is close-by at the time. And then reality sets in.
You realize that you are no longer just a writer. You are also a published author with a book to sell. Now what? Where do you start? Do you get a distributor, head to the nearest bookstore, send out review copies, write articles, get on amazon.com, book speeches? The answer is, â€œYes.â€ Do all of the above. But in what order? What comes first? Whatâ€™s the most important task?
Hereâ€™s what I suggestâ€”slooooowwww down. Take a deep breath. Do a few stretches and knee bends.
Now, go get your Authorâ€™s Workbook and review the â€œAfter Publicationâ€ section.
â€¢ Ship and deliver review copies, complimentary copies and prepublication orders.
â€¢ Send two copies to the Copyright Office.
â€¢ Send 3 copies to the Library of Congress.
â€¢ Fill out the paperwork for your State Board of Equalization application.
â€¢ Apply for a business license in your city/county.
â€¢ Start contacting wholesalers/distributors.
â€¢ Send announcements to your mailing list.
Next, take a look at the â€œBasic Book Promotion Planâ€ as well as â€œMy Bold Book Promotion Planâ€ â€œMy Book Promotion Plan Beyond the Bookstoresâ€ and â€œMy Creative Book Promotion Planâ€ in The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your book and The Authorâ€™s Workbook and make a priority list of things you will do and when.
Try not to look at book marketing as a whole. Itâ€™s much too intimidating, confusing and overwhelming from that angle. Instead, write down all of the promotional activities you want to pursue. Then start prioritizing.
Maybe youâ€™ll want to start by soliciting book reviews, visiting local bookstores, setting up a few book signings, arranging for a merchant account and submitting your book to Amazon.com. Set up a schedule including each of these tasks. For example, spend some time each day researching specific bookstores, review opportunities and merchant account services. Note those that you want to pursue. Set aside an hour or so one day to get your book on Amazon.com. It may go smoothly and take just a few minutes, or it may be a lengthy test of your patience.
Once you have these tasks underway, get bold. Begin the process of arranging speaking engagements, getting interviews and sending press releases to appropriate publications and newspapers.
Unless there is a book festival occurring nearby in the next few weeks, save this activity for a later time. Youâ€™ll also eventually want to submit articles/stories to appropriate sites and periodicals, establish a newsletter and/or blog and continue seeking other avenues through which you can promote your book.
Book promotion is ongoing and it can be intense. Donâ€™t let the first few weeks/months as an author overwhelm you. Hereâ€™s my suggestion:
â€¢ Take it easyâ€”relax and enjoy being an author.
â€¢ Keep things manageable
â€¢ Stay focused.
â€¢ Follow through.
â€¢ Watch for and jump on good book promotion opportunities that come along.
For additional help with your book promotion plan, sign up for my online, on-demand Book Promotion Workshop http://www.matilijapress.com/course_bookpromotion.htm
Writing a book and promoting a book are two very different activities. When you are faced with the foreign task of promoting your book, donâ€™t get frenzied. Get organized.