What’s the male equivalent of ‘shameless hussy’?

1 Sep

What’s the male equivalent of ‘shameless hussy’? No, I don’t know either, but if you want to be a published author, you’ll have to be one, regardless of your sex. (Thanks to ‘Sisters in Crime’ for making that a more respectable phrase than it once was.)

I didn’t forget about ‘Marketing’ in last week’s blog entry. Marketing your book is entirely too big a topic to share with other departments in the publishing company. Marketing is the 900-pound gorilla in any room, believe me.

Unless you’re someone who can add ‘NYT Best-seller’ to your list of accomplishments, you WILL do marketing for your book. Even should you be so fortunate as to be commercially published, you will still do marketing. There are companies that will help you: while many of them are on the web, there are others who will do actual mailings, etc. But none of these are inexpensive, and you might as well learn how to do some of the basics for yourself.

Bookmarks are wonderful little things – you can of course, purchase them, or you can easily make them yourself, if you’re at all capable on your computer. (If you want easy instructions for how to do this, send me an e-mail.) I carry a bunch with me at all times, and give them out all over the place. I generally don’t leave them anyplace, as they frequently just get thrown out. But if you tell someone (store clerk, whoever) that you’re a writer, they’re almost guaranteed to respond “Oh? What the’s title of your book?” This opens the door to a lot of answers – but if you don’t give them a bookmark, they’ll likely not remember one word of what you said.

Among the more helpful things you can do for yourself is belonging to writers organizations—the bigger ones have already existing marketing tips available to their members. Word of mouth can hardly be beat in this situation, as a good recommendation by someone who’s read the book and liked it, will be extremely valuable to you. Try if you can, to get that person to write a review for one of the on-line booksellers.

Reviews in big city newspapers are almost a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try. But don’t be overbearing in your efforts. You really will have to learn to accept the word ‘no’ as a viable answer. Small-town papers, especially if you’re a resident in the community, are generally much more willing to oblige. If not with a review, then perhaps they’ll do a feature article/interview/review with ‘the area’s newest published author’.

Look for on-line review entities – there are bunches of them, and some of them will accept self-published books for review. Be sure to ask first, and clarify how they wish to receive your book. If the reviewer has an e-book reader, that format might be acceptable, but don’t presume that. Until your book is actually in print, a computer-generated print-out might make your story more accessible, and that’s what you really want in today’s world.

Talk to your local book-stores – the national chains will usually have a “Local Author” section where your book can be displayed. If your book is readily available from the larger distributors (Ingrams or Baker & Taylor) they may even purchase a few copies for this purpose. You (or they) might also suggest a book-signing. By all means, do this. It’s an interesting (and sometimes fun) event. Try to have friend to accompany you, so you don’t have to sit at the table all by yourself looking forlorn and lost with a ‘what am I doing here?’ look on your face.

And for goodness’ sake – don’t forget your local library! Many of them have a ‘local author collection’ and will happily buy a copy of your book. Or several copies! Many people are hesitant to spend the money for a book today, but if they borrow it from the library and like it, they may then be more willing to buy it. (I do this myself!)

I’m a big fan of postcards. I have a color photo of the cover on the front side, then a few words about the book (including the vitally-important ISBN) on the reverse, along with purchasing information. I send these to friends, of course, but also groups that I think might want to know about the book, for any of a number of reasons. (Libraries and indie bookstores, for starters.)

For instance, when Windsong was re-released in 2005, we did both regular size print and large-print. So I went looking for libraries and organizations that made large-print available to members or patrons. I sent each of them a postcard and during the next two years, the large print version outsold the regular print by a 2 to 1 ratio! Will I do that again for Secret Shores (once it’s available!)? You’d better believe it! Actually, any of my books that are published from now on (especially the ones I do myself) will have a large print version, as well. (Next up, I think is a collection of short stories, titled Brief Interludes. More info as it gets closer to pub date.)

Considering that boomers are the biggest segment of our population, this is a no-brainer, as far as I’m concerned. Although e-readers can enlarge the type size for easier reading, I’m still of the belief that many older readers will prefer the tactile sensation of having a book they can hold and turn pages as they go along.

So what do you think? If you think I’m kidding or exaggerating too much about a lot of the contents in this blog, here’s another person’s take on the topic. Enjoy!

http://www.goodexperience.com/2008/07/following-up-on-these.php

And if you have questions, please write to me at: bookmechanic@wordpress.com  Comments are always welcome, but SPAM is immediately and automatically trashed.

Happy Writing!

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