Many describe the writing process as a journey, but Susie Wheeldon’s story took her quite literally 13,500 miles around the globe…on a bike!
Susie gives her six tips on marketing, and how she got people to sit up and take notice when she published The SolarCycle Diaries, a book all about her adventures.
Without an agent of publisher to establish your book, you will need to do this yourself. Largely today this means ensuring your book has a good online image.You can do this by building a website (easy to do through WordPress), creating a Facebook page or starting a Twitter account. Copy on these needs to be clear, concise and comprehensive. It is also important to have a good photo or image of the book cover. In the age of the short attention-span it doesn’t need to look extensive, but it needs to look good. If you don’t have the time or inclination to build a full social networking profile it is even more important to provide a good description of your book on your sales platforms (Amazon, Completely Novel, Kindle etc).
You can find numerous examples of press releases online but broadly speaking a press release needs to be brief, engaging and include an image, description and all key purchasing and contact information. You can use a press release to announce the publication of your book.
You will need to research who to send this to. Look online for relevant websites and blogs and through magazines to get contact details of journalists and editors. Where possible, tailor an introductory email to explain why your book will be of interest to their readership. As well as the usual suspects, think more broadly. There are a lot of smaller publications which appreciate local or specific interest stories and a lot of organisations which might pick up something with a quirky link. If, for example, your heroine has a penchant for archery and aeroplanes then archery clubs and airline magazines might take an interest. Try sending it to your work, your community centre or your local library. Try everywhere! Use all your networks and ask everyone you have ever met for contacts. Where possible create a personal connection. Go to relevant events, get your friends and family to provide introductions and find out what interests the people you want to get hold of. They may receive hundreds of emails or letters a day. Yours needs to stand out.
It will also fall to you to arrange a launch; a big splash to announce your book’s arrival that you can use as a spring-board for other promotion.
The book I wrote concerned cycling so I arranged for my launch to be held in the well known cycling cafe ‘Look Mum No Hands’, ensuring that I could benefit from their targeted twitter, blog and media channels. I also asked friends for creative and professional help and through them arranged support from Quiksilver and SolarAid, using their networks to extend the reach of the launch. Another friend took photographs providing great images to send out after the event and for my social media.
No matter where it’s held, though, a launch is the perfect excuse to tell everyone you know about your work and to invite them along; preferably bringing their own friends and useful contacts with them. It will be a brief period of intense smiling, chatting and selling but it will get people talking and it will get people buying your book. Details of a launch can also be included in your press release.
Follow up on your launch or press release. People are talking about your book. Right now. Maximise on this. Chase any leads or media suggestions and update your social networks regularly.
If you are like me, it is excruciating doing self-promotion. Which is why it is brilliant to outsource. Give your friends and family the tools to help you promote your book. Send them the correct Weblinks and asked them to share information on Facebook, Twitter, on their blogs, in forums or in their local village newsletter. If they are particularly keen just give them a few books to sell on your behalf. I remain eternally grateful to my parents who are my number one sales outlet!
There may come a point when, having spent so long on writing, publishing and promoting your book, you simply want to throw it from the window and never see, hear or speak of it book again. Don’t cry. Take time out. Get involved in new projects, go on holiday or stare at a wall for a while.
When you can finally enjoy talking about it again remember that books are timeless and you have the rest of your days to remind people of yours whenever you want. The odd presentation here, a talk in a book shop there or an email to someone you meet that might be interested. Think about overseas markets. Could there be an international link? Is there an angle you haven’t explored? Have you created an ebook? Could you get the local coffee shop to sell some copies?
The options are endless. Good luck!