Selling Your Book in the Digital Age
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Tips and Marketing Help
A one day symposium was recently held at the NSW Writers Center in Roselle, Sydney to focus on how a writer can promote themselves in a digital age of perpetual and ongoing change in the publishing world.
This is a review of my day at Open Access
The symposium brought together many from the publishing industry; agent's, publicists, booksellers and authors to share their journeys, experiences and lesson's learned.
If you are an author hoping to be published the volume of information out there regarding choices for the pathway to publication can leave you a little overwhelmed and unsure of how to decide on the best option.
Should I self publish; How much will it cost? Where do I find an editor? Should I go the traditional route and pitch to a publisher? What about ebooks..Kobo..Amazon..Ibooks.. Smashwords..which platform is best? Do I need an agent? Is a publicist necessary? These are all questions that tumble through our minds about publishing options that beg to be answered.
Taking in a day like Open Access can answer some if not most of the questions an author seeking publication in the changing publishing climate might ask.
For most of us who are hoping to do so the facts for publishers and writers a like are that it is quite a challenge to get a book into the hands of a reader, whichever platform you decide upon. Advice from those that have met and worked through the challenges of doing so can be extremely helpful.
Don't Get Left on the Shelf
The lovely Anna Maguire having worked previously in publishing for 25 years and is now a Digital expert teaching authors about digital publishing started the first session of the day. Anna who can be found on twitter on @crowdfunditnow is the author of the cutting edge Crowdfunding book concept; 'when a group of people pledge or donate toward a common goal' a new possibility for publishing.
Anna made it clear that;
'Digital Marketing at scale is your best bet'
And that as authors we need to prepare ourselves for people to discover us'
Using a stellar quote from Constantin Stanislavski... 'Discovery is conscious preparation for an unconscious act' asked us to consider and find where our readers 'hang out'.
To develop an online presence before you publish
Have other books ready to go
Start with the best book you can and just work really hard from there.
Banafsheh Serov a Bookseller and the 2nd speaker for the morning gave her tips for promoting your book well in a refreshing, heartfelt and enlightening session. Banafsheh born in England, spent her childhood in Iran, fled the country during the Iran/Iraq war has written the true story of her and her families escape titled 'Under a Starless Sky'. Banafsheh now owns and runs a small chain of Independent stores. She suggested;
Have a good story
Embrace all platforms
Get a good editor
Have a good web site/blog
Target your audience
Think about the image you want to portray to entice your audience. Think of something unique and use it across platforms so readers know what to expect.
Make up your mind how, where and how much you want to promote your book
Decide what it is you want to highlight about your book
Use your social media platform to advertise your launch
List all of your social media contacts @ the end of your book
And very importantly make it clear where you can buy your book
The Author as the PR machine
The next panel of speakers gave us lots of insightful, useful information. I've included some their tips on how to go about selling our work;
David Henley author of (The Hunt for Pierre Jnr)
To compete with the Game of Thrones/ Fifty Shades of Grey etc you need a lot of books ready to go as audience expectation for follow ups are high with the current trend for book series.
Work hard and be patient
Brendan Shanahan Journalist and author of ( In Turkey I am Beautiful and Mr Snack and the Lady Water) he is based in Sydney.
Choose a web site/blog/social media platform that is easy to update and change so that people can quickly find you and easily buy your books
You have to work hard on Social media so that people remember you
Alex Hammond a Melbourne based thriller writer (Blood Witness)
Most Important - Know how to package yourself as an author
Be prepared to do your own book launch for friends, family and interested people
Alison Tait author of (Career Mums)and freelance writer and blogger
Alison steadily built her career over 4 years and went to the publisher with a thriving social media platform
Build up your online presence before you publish
Become involved in a online writing group
When asked the question how much promotion is too much Alison stated "think about what you don't like online and change it - talk about some other interests not just your book and don't tweet FB blog more than 1 in 20 times to advertise your book.
How Did You Sell That Book? Publicity Campaign Case Studies
Chris Allen author of the Intrepid series (similar to Mathew Riley) and Sarah Allen -Chris's wife and social marketing expert.
Websites can become stagnant, people don't stay there. They stay on FB and twitter but they will come back again and again to your blog if your blog is conversational.
Be yourself, don't pretend to be somebody else
Be useful, go out and find how you can go about it and places where you can promote your work
Build a relationship in the community both local and online
Visualize success - clear understanding of where you need to go and how to start promoting
Get guidance for marketing and promotion
Don't take any offer
Do your best, hang on, don't give up
Debbie Mcinnes arts publicist
If you ever do an interview set about preparing and carefully constructing the interview don't share too much
Share small amounts of succinct information
Only approach appropriate media ie those that are interested in YA books
When working with a publisher make sure if you have a question or concern talk it through so there are no surprises
Bringing Books and Readers Closer Together
Chaired by Linda Funnell, currently a freelance editor and literary agent has had extensive experience as a publisher with Harper Collins, editor and literary agent.
Kath Cuthbert well known in the romance industry as a reviewer, writer and advocate for the genre.
Know your audience and what they want and give it to them
Use Key words that amplify your uniqueness ie If writing a paranormal romance for young people say new adult fantasy - if it is a series advertise it by saying your new book kicks off the series
Try to drive the reader to your book by the use of feeling and emotive language
Tell the reader by the choice of cover the important elements that you want the reader to know
Try to ensure the look of the book hasn't been done before
Know where your reader is reading - Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, iBooks, FB
Think about putting together a pack, show bag, something unique to advertise your book
Enlist the help of online street teams - a group of readers that help promotion
Make a you tube trailer yourself with the best possible professional help available
Bethia Thomas Digital Marketing Manager at Bloomsbury Publishing Sydney
Some key ingredients for YA books -
Build up your social media presence
Watch what # hashtags are trending
Create a Pinterest board of images
Create a playlist soundtrack and have it on your blog
Make a book trailer but enlist expert help
Brett Osmand currently Marketing and Publicity Director and Head of Digital at Random
Random House do a lot of reader research which gives them a clear understanding of a readers values and attitudes towards reading ie where they shop, how much they spend on a book. In self marketing it's important to do some similar research ie who your audience is; what type of reader will read your work; where you will find them, where they hang out and will buy your book; is their a need for just digital or for hard copies to be available.
January is a good month for marketing new authors
Can Self Promotion be a Creative Act?
Self promotion is a must in today's publishing climate
No longer limited to a publicity campaign and author tour self promotion is a 24/7 plan
Kristen Krauth author of ( Just a Girl and Wild Colonial Girl)
Publishers don't have the resources for promotion
A lot of sifting is needed to find your audience
Start a blog while writing your book and start to mention it slowly
Make sure your blog is on Goodreads
When your book is out set up an author page on Goodreads
Make your launch memorable, aim for something unique
Unfortunately I had to leave shortly after the last session had begun and wasn't able to hear from the last of the speakers but I like many people that attended on the day will take home a wealth of knowledge from the authors and professionals in the industry that shared their expertise.
When A Little Help is Needed
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