Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Bit About Marketing and Distribution...

Okay, as you all know my first book is out.  "The Bridge" is available on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, I-Tunes, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, Createspace, and a bunch of other places.  How did I do it?  And how are the sales coming so far?  Are probably what you are asking at this point.    Well, I'll be honest, the sales are going slowly.  The book has only been out maybe 2 weeks and during that time it took over a week for it to appear on a number of those sites.  But that's no excuse.  It is definitely out there, so why aren't more people buying it right away?  The answer is simple, "They don't know it's out there!"

Now here's where we get into today's discussion.  I'll briefly answer the first question "How did I get it in so many places?"  Then we'll address how I'm going about to correct the problem of getting the word out.

Now I published my novel both in e-book form and trade paperback for those who prefer being able to hold a book in their hands and turn the pages.  I did this by going to Smashwords for all the e-book formats that are NOT Kindle readers (Ibooks, Sony readers, Nook, Kobo and others).   Smashwords gave me the option of where to distribute their formats and I chose all those I mentioned, plus they also made it available to libraries and e-book form.

Then I went to Createspace to make it ready and available for Kindle (which automatically got it on Amazon) and also for Print-On-Demand to have the Trade Paperback version available.  Now, I also paid an extra $25.00 for the Expanded Distribution which is how I got the book to be available on-line with Barnes and Noble and other bookstores, even overseas.  So, that part was actually pretty easy.  Amazon also offers a KDP Select program which I did not opt for because the book was already out in Smashwords and I would have to make it unavailable for 90 days while KDP Select had the exclusive distribution rights.  I could make it available again in Smashwords and their distributers afterwards, but that didn't feel right to me on this occasion.  I might try it next time

But, getting back to "Getting The Word Out..."  This is the harder part folks and I strongly recommend you get a good marketing plan in mind and underway BEFORE your book comes out.  First, networking on the internet.  Use the social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Pinterest, etc. to establish your presence and let people know who you are.  Don't just talk about yourself though.  Be active in discussions and participate in other's promotions or questions.  This way the other participants get to know you and what you're like.  Help promote their works and books and they will be happy to do the same in return when yours comes out.

Create a blog and get yourself known to more people that way too.  Write about something you're interested in (reading, cover art, hobbies you have) something to let people get to know you and become more intrigued by you.

Also, if you're like me and have no history of writing, maybe you can write some articles for your local newspaper (I've not done this yet, but it's been suggested to me and I'm looking into it).

Get yourself on Goodreads.com, review other peoples books and set up a presence there.  And when you're book is ready to come out check out free advertising or promoting groups on the internet.  I'm trying a new one called AskDavid.com to help promote my book.  There's dozens of ways of getting the word out over the internet.  But you can't stop there.  You can do more locally to get the word out.

This coming week I'm going to be contacting local radio stations to see who does interviews with authors, I'll be sending out press releases to the newspapers and TV news stations in my area.  I'm going to be talking to the local libraries about getting my book on their shelves and maybe giving talks.  I also plan on getting business cards with my info and where people can find my books online.  There are local independent bookstores I'll be approaching to see if they are interested in carrying my novel by ordering some through Createspace or on consignment.

You also need to get reviews done on your book.  Goodreads is a good way to do it, or you can offer free downloads to select people who promise to write reviews of your book in return over the internet.

There's probably a bunch of other ways I haven't even thought of yet.  If you know of some or have suggestions, please leave them in comments section below.  We all want to get our work out there and by pooling and sharing our info, we can help each other make it as authors with good followings.  But you have to get the word out first, for without that "How can anyone even know you have a book out?"

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.  Keep writing everyone.