Do you have $10,000,000 to promote your book? No? How about $1,000,000?
A big budget is certainly one way to hit all your target markets and get the recognition for your work that you feel you so richly deserve. The problem is, will you EVER recoup that investment? I know working from a limited budget (and even more limited time) means I have to really think about what I’m going to try next.
So what avenues are available to we authors?
I actually hesitate to use the word ‘Free’ because there always seems to be a cost of some kind. That cost might be time, it might be doing someone else a favor or it might even be the investment of your resources (or books).
So what are some of your options?
- Social Media:
- flavor of the month – in every one of these cases, the free part being successful is entirely dependent on your reach. In other words, when you post something, how many people even read the post?
- Purpose-built Web Applications/Sites for book reviews (free ones):
- name site here – Google is your friend here. Do a search for review sites and check them out. There are many. I’ve only named two that I use fairly often. Mileage will vary on whatever site/application you end up using. I am not talking about for pay here. Be mindful, it is often a good idea to offer free books (or eBooks) for review. Perhaps do a contest on these sites. Again, the quality of reviews will vary.
- Blog Tours
- talk to your friends about posting to their sites. Write something interesting and mention your book at the end. You can also have a number of sites send you questions and appear on a site a day…or a week or whatever so your book is being promoted in a number of places. Do online interviews. All of this is great for spreading the word. Just remember, some people have a dozen followers and some have a thousand. Don’t expect every site you appear on to result in untold numbers of books being sold. Also expect to spend some time writing posts/answering questions/doing interviews.
- Story Sharing Sites
- there are others. I just don’t use them - this one firmly falls under the category of lots of effort. You are trying to grow audience by writing stories for the site and interacting with people who decide to check you out. Be very aware of what the website offers for security of your story and asks for in terms of rights. Wattpad just happens to be the one I really like.
- There are many podcasts out there. Two that immediately come to mind that cater to the writer are my own Get Published and Dead Robot Society (DRS). I know there are many others because the rotters keep edging me out for a Parsec every year.
- These can be a good way to get the word out. It is time well invested.
- Face time with your readers is always good. Unfortunately, like everything else, it takes time to setup, coordinate and actually carry out not to mention the costs of books, gas and possibly food and accommodations (depending on where you are doing the signing).
- Never underestimate the power of talking with people. It might sell a book (or books) or it might get you into a bookstore. It might even get you speaking gigs and time on local newsmedia (radio, television, newspaper, etc.). Take the time to talk to people.
There are certainly others out there. My recommendation is to do as many of the free ones as you can. Take a targeted approach and it will all add up…eventually.
COST OF BUSINESS EFFORTS
I consider this to be those sunk costs that you should have. I won’t go into too much detail because I think they are inherently obvious:
- Website – every author needs an online presence. Take the time to build that presence in a way that is interesting and updated regularly. Unfortunately, if you don’t have technical skills this means hiring someone to initially build the site. Once you have it, the updating is a time commitment you must make.
- Business Cards – you should have cards you can hand out to potential readers, editors and publishers (and book store owners and…). Costs for these cards is pretty minimal but should include an email address you can be reached at, who you are (and why people should care), your website URL and possibly any books you already have out for sale.
The sky is really the limit here. If you have the money, there are plenty of people and businesses who are willing to ‘help’ you. Some options include:
- Facebook Paid Promotion
- Paid Reviews
- Newspaper/radio/television advertising
- Consignment of books (find out what the bookstore actually charges before agreeing to anything – you may be losing money on every book sold).
- Reviewer copies of books
- Mail outs
As you can see, there are plenty of options available to you to get the word out. The cost, however is usually high, either in terms of money or effort.
Is there an ideal combination? If there is, I haven’t found it, however patience is key here. Keep the efforts going. Be willing to try new things and the word will spread. It just takes time.
If you would like to interview me, do a blog tour or any other kind of cross promotion, please email me: author at michellplested dot com.
You can also find more details about my work at: http://www.michellplested.com/my-work/. My books, Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero, Mik Murdoch: The Power Within and very soon Jack Kane and the Statue of Liberty can all be found there. There are also several anthologies with my stories up there too.
Then there is Wattpad.com. You can find me and my stories under mplested there.