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  1. #1
    R. Thomas Hogg
    Guest

    authors doing their own marketing & PR

    I know a lot of small press authors (and 1st time bigger press authors) are expected to do a lot of their own PR and marketing. And with presses unwilling or unable to devote a lot of PR resources, if an author wants sales he or she will have to do a lot of the legwork.

    So what kind of legwork have people been doing out there? What kinds of things have authors tried that seemed to work? How did YOU get people to buy your book? Or what are you planning on next time around?

    Cheers,
    RTH



  2. #2
    Jackie Miller
    Guest

    Re: authors doing their own marketing & PR

    I have joined several writing communities to not only introduce my book but to mix and share information. Such as this community.

    I am also surprise to see a new section of topics devoted to POD books and their authors. I'm beginning to believe that it was given birth from a thread I started in here under the "Published Author's section titled' "I Am a New Author!!!" The response was 60 threads strong just because I announced myself as an author from a POD publisher.

    Since then I have developed my press release, media kit along with a list of Media contacts, independant book stores, martial art supply distributors, martial art schools since the Martial Art World is my main market.

    When doing a search for "Keeper of the Arts" on various search engines, my fiction book title comes up on Google, Yahoo, MSN, Froggle, and CompuServe. I could get more by paying a $29.00 fee but I doing good on that note. K.O.T.A. is also on Amazon.com

    I feel that yes, it is a struggle for a POD but I am also seeing sales from authors and royalty publishers going slow. Of course, that does not apply to all authors in the Industry.

    There was a comment made on another thread regarding a actor being laughed at for paying to be in a commercial. If he/she has a S.A.G. card then I guess they would be laughed at. I see myself as those very actors who payed with thier free time, accepted non-paying jobs in order to get experience and exposure.

    I am also planning to enter writing contests. Feel free to copy and paste the link below to read a excerpt from my book.

    http://blog.myspace.com/1blkndn

    Peace

  3. #3
    Francis Nantha
    Guest

    Re: authors doing their own marketing & PR

    The deep-rooted frustration and helplessness that RTH & Jackie have very tactfully expressed are emotions that all new & established writers share.

    It is so easy to slip into cynical dismissal of PR efforts as being too much work, too difficult and often not effective enough - I too had to make a deliberate and conscious effort to break out of that mindset.

    My inspiration for setting up 1authors is the movie "Pay It Forward"; you never know just how far a good favour will pay off somewhere. Maybe I'm overly positive in my outlook. It is likely that mistakes will be made along the way. Abuses may well occur. But I'm placing my trust in the honour system and human kindness to guide 1authors to becoming a key tool to make the world a better place for writers.

    Stay positive!
    Francis

  4. #4
    Cathy C
    Guest

    Re: authors doing their own marketing & PR

    Favors are a good idea! Something I've found works well in that same vein is to join various author groups in your genre and then watch for announcements of conferences. Lots of conferences (especially the smaller ones) want to fill the bags of their attendees with "goodies" about new books, etc. Something that's worked well for me is a half-sheet flyer created on my computer that has the book cover and blurb on one side and an excerpt on the reverse that's tailored to whatever sort of conference the book will be placed at. For example, for a romance conference (since most of our books are romance) I'll do an excerpt of the first kiss between the characters. But for the very same book, if it's a science fiction/fantasy or horror conference (since the romances are also paranormal), instead of a kiss, I'll include a short action scene that resolves but still makes you want to turn the page.

    Another goody that works well for a multi-day conference is to create a pocket-sized conference "calendar" with your cover on the front. You can fit three on a sheet of 8-1/2x11 paper. People will keep this one for a lot longer than other stuff in the bag, because it can be tucked in a purse or pocket and used for the whole conference. It only took me about ten minutes to create a small table with times of the day in one-hour increments from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Then I put in two pages of "Contacts" with room to insert names, phone numbers and email addys and a few blank pages at back for people to take notes during workshops. The cover with the book cover image was just a sheet of off-white card stock and They were a HUGE hit, and I heard back from quite a few people who kept them for a long time after because of the notes they took in it! 500 of them cost me about $40 on my laser, plus the time to put them together and staple them.

    Just a few thoughts...

    Cathy

  5. #5
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: authors doing their own marketing & PR

    If your genra is big enough to have a specialized fandom, such as SF, Fantasy and Mystery, there are fan-run conventions. They're glad to get authors, and not just for signings. Authors can give speaches, run workshops, sit on panels. If the convention includes a masquarade or art show, they can act as judges. Unless you're a Guest Of Honor, you'll probably have to pay your own expenses, but your membership will probably be comped. It's great publicity, and a great way to meet the readers and get them interested in your book. I doubt there are conventions for Romance, Thrillers or Historical fiction, but you never know.

  6. #6
    R. Thomas Hogg
    Guest

    Re: authors doing their own marketing & PR

    What are some of the good SF/Fantasy cons to attend for book-selling purposes? Or how do I go about finding good ones? I must admit to near-total ignorance on the subject (though I did watch TREKKIES )

    How are people using the internet/e-mail to market? If you have a website, how to promote it so people actually come visit it?

  7. #7
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: authors doing their own marketing & PR

    Well, the biggest, of course, is WorldCon, in Anaheim this year. (I'm on staff.) I see you're from NY, so check out Boskone in Boston. Here's a link to a SF Con Webring that might be of help. There's at least one SF con every weekend, someplace. TREKKIES isn't that good a start, as it focuses too much on one fandom and goes out of its way to point out the weirdness. At most cons, less than 10% of the members wear hall costumes, although cons for Furry Fandom have a slightly higher ratio. If you think you can make it to LaCon IV, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the right people; it may not be too late to set up a signing.

    In general, the smaller cons are more hungry for authors, but have less fans; it's a trade off. As an example, we hold a smallish con every year across Thanksgiving Weekend, and get around 1200 people or so. One thing you can do is find out where the local SF clubs are and get involved. Not only do you start getting hooked into the con circuit, you'll meet a bunch of great people and find yourself with a new hobby. Unless your book is tied into some movie or TV show, avoid the media cons, like the various trekkie/starwarz/anime fans because if they read at all (unlikely) it's only books about their private universe.

  8. #8
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: authors doing their own marketing & PR

    One more thought: even if you're just going to "press the flesh" and meet the readers, let the ConCom (Convention Comittee) know you're going to be there and what the name of your book is as soon as you've decided. The'll let the dealer's know so they can be sure to stock your book. That way, you'll get impulse sales to members who want your autograph and the dealer's make a profit.

  9. #9
    R. Thomas Hogg
    Guest

    Re: authors doing their own marketing & PR

    That's great information, thanks! It's a little too early to set up signings yet, as my editor & I are getting started on the revision process and the book won't be out for at least another year -- but can I get in touch with you about LaCon next year?

    And if you're not a big name, a convention with fewer fans may even be beneficial -- that way it's easier to grab the attention of that 1200 people, easier to schmooze... I'll definitely have to snoop around and see what I can find; I checked out the link and it looks really helpful.

    Molto grazie,
    RTH

  10. #10
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: authors doing their own marketing & PR

    Alas, LaCon IV is the 2006 WorldCon. It moves every year. Next year, it's in Japan. However, it you want a smaller con, how about LosCon? We hold that every year, and are always looking for new blood. I'm one of the usual suspects for helping run it. When you're ready, let me know and I can get you in touch with that year's chair. (Every February we pick the chair for next year's con, to give them enough lead time.)

    BTW, you could learn most of what I told you from almost any fan who attends cons. The part about letting the dealers know who's books to stock isn't something you learn just by attending, but by working the cons and being involved in the planning.

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