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A new way to promote your book

Do you have a book? Do you have a site for your book?

Everyone and their dog has a website these days. It’s how we do business.

So when you have a new book, you obviously stick it up on your site for sale.

How is that working for you? No need to answer. It’s not.

I know this because I’ve worked with multiple clients who sell their books on their own sites.

Often they choose to sell the book themselves instead of simply providing a link to Amazon and letting the big guys take care of fulfilment.

The reasons for doing this are many – but they generally come down to the same thing, money.

Amazon takes a whopping 55% of your retail price. So your $20 book becomes an $8 book. And then you have to take care of printing costs.

But compare how many people go to Amazon each day with how many people come to your site.

You can sell 1 or 2 books a weeks yourself or 1 or 2 hundred through Amazon. You make more per copy yourself, but you’ll generally make a lot more money if you sell a lot more books through Amazon.

So then why do you need to have your book on your site?

Well the job of promotion is still yours.

Recently I did some thinking about how authors could promote their books more effectively online.

I think I came up with an interesting approach that may sound counter-intuitive.

Give the book away.

Not all at once. But in dribs and drabs.

I toyed with this concept a few years back with a client. We posted a new chapter each week to a custom site built around the book and also created videos around each of the chapters.

That was way back in 2007 – a million years ago in internet terms.

Last week I reached out to this old client to ask permission to use that content to create a proof-of-concept site where folks sign up to receive a free chapter each week accompanied by a video delivered directly to their inbox.

Each mailing comes with specific calls to actions that encourage people to not wait for the full 15 weeks to accumulate the whole book in separate PDF chapters – and just buy the book from Amazon or grab the ebook from Smashwords.

Have a look at the site – www.promoting-a-book.com.

[Update July 14th 2012: Check out this new one for Craig Price – Realist-Revolution]

Here are the key benefits:

  • A dedicated blog specifically for the book
  • Complete integration into Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin (share with networks, friends etc.)
  • Auto responder let’s anyone sign up at anytime and start at Chapter 1
  • Links on every email encouraging folks to buy
  • List building opportunity.
  • Search engine optimized site

I really think this is an option that most authors should consider. If this is something you might want to explore, send me a note.

So you want to publish a book: distribution and website

This series was originally posted in 2008

It’s never too early to think about how you’re going to reach your audience. Don’t think for a second: “If I write it, they will read.”

Getting your book into stores isn’t easy. The big guys in the publishing industry have whole teams working the big chains constantly to get their product placed prominently in stores. As a self-publisher you’ll have to do a lot of leg work to get your book on the shelf. And even then you’ll probably find that your book will be lost in the tide of a an literary ocean as the big box stores have millions of other titles.

Additionally, you may find yourself faced with huge orders only to have those same books returned to you three months later, dog-eared and unsuitable for resale.

As luck would have it, in addition to being a fantastic editor, Don Bastian also runs a small imprint and we were able to negotiate a fair deal for distribution in Canada. Where he takes on the leg work of retail promotion and distribution.

But if you don’t have a distributor for your book, you can still send out copies to reviewers, library magazines and direct folks to a web site.

Website
The model for distributing books has been the same for hundreds of years. Authors write a book, sell that book to a publisher, who then gets that book into bookstores.

This really made a lot of publishers and bookstores very rich. But for a small author trying to break into the racket, you may find that you’re just not worth the effort for these guys. But the internet has chnaged things. It’s easy to get your book into the online booksellers. But the real way for a small author to achieve the maximum return on investment is to build a web site with an ecommerce component and sell the book online.

With Moose, I hired a fellow from Pakistan to do the work. The result is mooseonthetable.com.

If you visit the site, you’ll notice we’re selling the book through our site as e-book and audiobook. Both these methods are great opportunities to reach an audience online and save money on production at the save time.

The website is a great way to provide information about your book and you can make it as interactive as you want. Websites are also great because you’re not just releasing your book to a domestic audience. You have the potential to sell to anywhere in the world. Think about it. A person in Toronto can download an ebook or audiobook as easily as someone in New York, London or Dublin! How’s that for a distribution channel?

So you want to publish a book: self publishing & project management

This series was originally posted in 2008

To self-publish or go with a one of the big guys
One of the first questions I was asked (after how long does a book have to be?) by more than one person was how do you get a book deal? Well, if I’ve learned anything from the last five months, it’s that you don’t need a book deal to get a book published. And frankly, there’s not much hope for an unknown writer sending in an unsolicited manuscript to a large publisher anyway, so it’s really up to you.

For the purposes of this blog series, I’m going to assume that you’re going to self-publish your opus. The risks are great, but the potential reward is greater. Why? You front the money- risk. You keep all the profit – reward.

And for the second question, Moose on the Table was about 52000 words or 120 single spaced pages on MS WORD that came out to a 176 page softcover.

Project management
So you know you’re going to go forward and get the book out there. How do you arrange typesetting, printing, find editors, illustrators, and distribution? A good project manager should be able to help you with all of this and pull together a budget based on what you need. You may be surprised to learn that typesetting and printing costs – while substantial are actually a very small percentage of your overall budget.

With Moose on the Table – we went with Heidy Lawrence and Associates. You can find out more about her operation at www.wemakebooks.ca.

Heidy sourced out 6 different printers to get the best unit cost. She also took care of the typsetting, cover design, and look and feel of the book, from a font and layout perspective. Most importantly, she was able to provide us with a short ist of highly experienced editors and illustrators.

In the end, we went with Donald Bastian as the editor and William Kimber as our illustrator.