Most new authors are under the impression that as soon as their book is written, their books will fly off the shelves and they will be swamped in sales. They’re brought back to reality when they open their royalty check. The real truth is that the author’s real work starts when their book is finished.
Great authors started by selling books out of the back of their car. Their career didn’t start with a bang and they did not have a budget for publicists and PR firms, but they are hugely successful today.
You need to work on marketing, promotions and networking every day. We’re talking for the life of the book, while you balance your own life.
A common misconception is that book signings and individual stores stocking your book will be the key to success. I’m sorry to tell you, but that’s wrong. Even in larger centers with massive promotion, a signing or reading event may get you a couple hundred one-time sales.
Small stores can expect less than ten sales. You’ll be spending over two hours at the event, is it worth your time? This isn’t even counting your preparation, event marketing and promotion materials, which you may have paid for in advance. Signing events don’t pay authors to appear, so any books sold might not even cover your travelling and hotel costs. What about parking, supplies or any time off work?
The worst part: The sales you get only last the duration of the even (or a couple days before/after) but rarely long-term.
Term Another shocking statistic is that most book stores only stock less than 1% of the three million plus books on the market. Stores have discount arrangement with publishers, and authors’ royalties are paid only on what the publisher gets.
So is it really worth the hassle to get your book on the shelf?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do signings or events, but you need to think outside the box. Focus on areas that deliver the best results. Expect some people to have a negative attitude – both in the media and your audience. Promotions and marketing is a long-term game, you need to persevere to succeed.
Lots of authors live in small towns and have normal jobs or physical limitations which prevent them from doing out-of-town promotions. The good news is that you can still promote successfully.
Use the Internet and think outside the box. Work your contacts – remember: Be persistent!
Everyone thinks about newspapers, libraries and bookstores. Because they’re the most obvious, it’s hard to get their attention. You should work on your image and produce beautiful promotional materials which makes you stand out.
To succeed, develop a marketing plan for the long-term – and don’t give up! Make sure you work hard for the full length of your contract with the publisher. Keep notes so you can draw from your knowledge when promoting your next book.
New authors when faced with promotional tasks get overwhelmed. It’s true: it takes a lot of effort to market a book. You need to plan a set of tasks for the week, then focus a goal for today. Do it every day. It’ll help you form a steady pace and stop you taking on too much.
One last tip: Newsletters can be useful when promoting your book, although the subscriber numbers are usually between five and seventeen thousand.
Online newsletters (or e-zines) typically have more than five thousand subscribers. If you are featured in a few of them in a month, you could be reaching a large amount of people.
You don’t need a lot of money or a publicist to succeed, you just need to be extremely determined.