So How Much is This Going to Cost Me?

costThis is a question that I always dread hearing when I first sit down with an author. Not because I can’t, or don’t want to get them pricing, but because it is such an open question.

I can get you pricing on printing your books, if you give me the needed information. With your manuscript, I can get you pricing on very basic typesetting and cover design, or even editing. However, that isn’t where the dollar stops. How much is marketing going to cost? What if I want a cover that really stands out? What if I want to employ a Literary Agent? What about distribution?

These questions are all good questions, but not something that one person can answer for you. Each and every single one of those answers has to come from people who deal in that specific business. There is another hitch. Before they can even give you an answer, you need to answer questions for yourself. How far do I want to take this? How deep do I want to go into my pocket? How deep can I go into my pocket? How far do I want my book to go? How much time can I put forward towards this? How much time am I willing to put towards this?

Without these answers, no one will be able to answer your questions. Really think on these before you get too deeply into your book. There is no point in spending thousands of dollars in design if you are only going to try to sell your book to family and friends, and it is unlikely that you are going to reach best seller status with your cover that you did in MS Word.

So, when I say that I, personally, can’t answer your question, it really isn’t because I don’t want to. It’s just not possible!


Should I Use Pinterest for Marketing?

Should-I-Use-Pinterest-for-Marketing1

Imagine if you have a cookbook. Take a good picture of a dish, put that recipe up on your site or blog, and then pin it using that picture. When they click on the picture, it will link it back to your site, and back to the recipe. Make sure that you have a great call to action button on the page somewhere that says BUY MY BOOK!! Of course, you can word it better than that (writing is your thing, after all!) but you get the point.

If you are utilizing your blog to market your book, then find a picture that you can legally use (don’t infringe on copyrights) that represents what your post is about, and pin it! You would be surprised at how quickly these pins can be shared, and by how many people.

Check out this awesome article from Wise Ink, and learn more about how you can effectively use Pinterest, and then give it a shot. What’s the worst thing that could happen? (Make sure that you keep writing and don’t just sit on Pinterest all day. That is the worst thing that could happen. It’s addictive!)


Getting Your Book Into the Library

Getting-Your-Book-Into-the-LibraryThis is definitely about more than purchasing a library card. We’ve discussed this topic before on this blog, but, previously, we really only scratched the surface.

It is a great idea to get your books into libraries. It’s a good way to get your book known, to get people talking about you, and to also do your part to help your local library. Of course, there are right ways to go about this, and there are wrong ways. I could try to explain it all, but I don’t think that I could do as good of a job as long time librarian, Marlene Harris. Lindsay Buroker, of www.lindsayburoker.com, interviewed Marlene, and posted this amazing article to her site back in February of this year.

Please check out the article below, and get some great advice from someone who is really in the know. Check out the blog here.


What’s in a Cover?

BookCoverGreenBrownThey always say, don’t judge a book by its cover, but really, don’t we all? Even just for that first, fleeting moment, as we find ourselves drawn towards that book on the shelf?

In the mid-19th century, with the advent of the mechanical age, a book cover changed. Previously, it was a way to protect a book, while decorating it with ornate finishing touches, to show how important the information inside really was. Books were so expensive that they couldn’t just belong to the average Tom, Dick or Harry. They were archives of information so precious that they weren’t meant for general consumption.

As mechanical book binding began to take form, the process and materials began to change. First, bound in incredible covers made of natural treasures such as ivory, then, on to natural products that still involved the delicacy of the hand binding, such as leather. Moving forward, it became cloth, such as linen, and then eventually, there was paper. At this same time, the popularization of the printing press was coming up quickly, and together, this created a phenomenon. Suddenly, books weren’t just for museums, parliament, or the extremely rich. Suddenly, book topics weren’t just limited to important, historical notations. Suddenly, books could tell a story, and be readily available on the mass market for a reasonable price.

Now, the cover was an advertising piece. Something necessary to convince the common consumer to part ways with their hard earned money so that they could read the pages hidden inside. The more expensive the book, the more daunting this task can become. The synopsis plays an important role in cementing the sale, but the imagery on the cover itself becomes so important in even drawing the consumer to pick it up in the first place. Whether it be dramatic in its simplicity, or vibrant and captivating in its detail, your book cover HAS to make the reader want to pick it up.

Your book cover is your initial point of contact and impression, so make sure that you make it a good one. Local designers can be found via writers groups, word of mouth, sites like Kijiji and CraigsList, via colleges of art and design and through various other sources. As always, be sure to ask for a good look at an established portfolio, and that you get a good feel for the designer. You want to be sure that you have made the right choice. Find out what your printer will need in regards to the files, and create.

Don’t believe me that it is that important? For a great perspective from a book reviewer on the importance of a book cover, visit this article.

On a final note, this is one of my favorite comments that I have read in a long time. On this blog, one commenter wrote, “I think the cover should be the first promise to a reader…..” I wholeheartedly agree.


The Results of Hard Work Marketing

Image property of Genesis One Publishing

We always love to share a story of success. This is a great example of someone who has really gone out there and done the hard work to market her book.

Last Wednesday, January 18th, Sharon Ennis, author of Gabby’s Gift, and Gabby herself, appeared on the CTS talk show, Full Circle, to discuss Sharon’s book, and their victories with Gabby’s Spina Bifida. You can view the clip here.

Congrats on your success Sharon, we are definitely proud of you!

To visit Sharon’s website, and to purchase her book, visit http://www.genesisonepublishing.com/


How to do the (Book Sales) Hustle

A couple of days ago, I read an awesome article about how a first time, self-published author has to hustle their books, and how the word hustle doesn’t have to be negative. I agreed with it wholeheartedly, and it got me thinking, what do my most successful authors do? Let’s take a cue from John Travolta from back in the day, and talk about how to “Do the (book sales) hustle”, shall we?

Practice on your local community.

I am talking your neighborhood here. When you start out, start out practicing your hustle on your friends and family, neighbors, and neighborhood stores. These people will likely be a bit more receptive, because you are from the ‘hood, or they know you well, so it gives you a good chance to figure out what works and what doesn’t work, using them as the guinea pigs. I guarantee you, if your sister won’t buy your book, you are definitely approaching your sale from the wrong direction! Local store owners will likely be more receptive and excited to work with you, because you are from the area. Ask them for advice. You don’t have to use it all, but it is a good way to build up your knowledge.

Get into your local library and schools.

Libraries & schools work on a shoe string budget, constantly experiencing cut backs and often falling victim to cutthroat politics and governmental funding being sliced and diced. They love donations of books, and they will likely be more than willing to take a donation of a few of your books. Sweeten the deal and offer to do a reading there. (This is especially great if you have a kid’s book.) If they agree, set up a date and time with them for a month or more in advance, and get to work. For libraries, create posters (make sure that they look professional) and post them up around town, and give them to the library to post up as well. Do your best to drum up interest. Talk to your local schools if you have a kid’s book. Many schools will jump at this opportunity. Be sure to let them know the cost of your book as well, so that they can tell the parents in advance. Have a table set up with your books for sale, and be ready to sign them. Also, be sure that your presentation is visually appealing. One of our clients uses the originals from her illustrations and has them up for while she is reading the story. No one call sell or read your book like you can, you created the story! This will be good practice for signings and readings in the future.

Talk to your local media.

Local radio stations, tv stations and newspapers are a great place to start. Be a professional, but also be yourself. No one is going to want to feature someone who is going to come across as stiff and without personality, especially live on radio or tv. It is especially great if you can book in a signing at a local bookstore, even big chain ones like Chapters, for in the next few days following your interview. That way, you can plug your upcoming signing, and will be able to get more people attending, just to see, and hopefully purchase, your book. Get your book out there to local book reviewers and bloggers too.

Book a signing with your local bookstores.

Many bookstores will let you do book signings in their locations. Be aware though, they aren’t going to do much for you, other than provide you with a table (ask to be sure that they will even do that). Also, they will be taking a cut of your book in order to be willing to let you set up there. Stores like Chapters will give you a barcode sticker to use, so that people can just take it right up to the counter like they would any other book. It is always good to talk with them about getting your books on their shelves as well. You will likely have to pay to do this, but it can definitely be worth it in the end. How much you pay will depend on the different packages that they will offer. Also, be sure to ask them if there is any way that your book can be visually marked as a local author.

Create a website.

Get yourself set up with a simple website, and a blog. We have discussed the importance of blogging before, and I stick to what I said. You can even set up simple  e-Commerce that can be fairly cost effective. Put that website address everywhere that you can, tell people on the street about it.

The basic moral of the story.

You have to work for it. Your books aren’t going to jump off of the shelves on their own, purely on the merit that you have a good story. If you don’t already have a good sized fan base, you are going to have to build one, and that requires work. Oh, and please, don’t think that putting your book up on Amazon, or the likes will make your book magically sell either. Again, unless you are willing to market it, it won’t sell, because no one will know about it.

Once you are good at what you are doing, you can get bigger and better and take your book to whole new levels.


Make Yourself the Hot Commodity

applauseDon’t just sell your book, let your book sell you.

What wonderful talent do you have to offer? Are you an incredible journalist, a marvelous creative writer, or a tech wizard? Chances are, if you have written a book that highlights your greatest strengths, you are going to be successful in marketing it. Why? Well, because you are going to be selling it with passion and zeal.

But why stop there? If you were a public speaker, and you were at an event, you would sell your book at the engagement. If you are good at what you do, your presentation should drum up plenty of interest in your book. It’s just common sense.

Wouldn’t it make just as much sense to sell your book, and allow it to drum up interest in you as a public speaker? Of course it would! Your book should be a part of a platform to sell you. At the end of the day, you are the product that people are going to buy.

Put it into perspective like this:

People who love Stephen King books buy new books that he has written because they love Stephen King. He has sold himself as a commodity, along with every other successful author. Think about how connected they are with their books, and think of how strong your mental connection is between their name and their books.

People who read books by motivational speakers and teachers buy their books, but they are also just as likely to spend hundreds of dollars on tickets to hear them speak. Think of Dr. Wayne Dyer or Deepak Chopra. Do you think that they are working harder to sell their books, or to write books that sell them?

Build up your confidence and believe in yourself. Take some public speaking courses so that you can feel comfortable up there in the limelight, and believe in what you have to offer. After all, at the end of the day, it’s you that is going to be the hot commodity.

Most importantly, believe in yourself. You are worth being a hot commodity!