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Debra Rosen’s Tips on Hosting a Successful Book Signing

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Debra Rosen, author of Inspiration for Autism, A Pathway to Hope and Resources. For info about Debra visit her websites debrosen.com and inspirationforautism.com. To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Inspiration for Autism, A Pathway to Hope and Resources was born from my personal experience as the mother of an autistic child.  An educator and school administrator for over two decades, yet clueless on raising a son with such severe special needs, I found myself writing my story in hopes of helping others find inspiration, behavioral management ideas, and resources. sku-001082040

Once the typing was complete and the editing was flawless, the publisher was secured and the layout and design were polished.  Once the printing was complete, the selling of my beloved book was underway.  As a new author, it was important to keep in mind why I wrote the book in the first place.  I wrote this bestseller to be just that…a bestseller.  I wanted to reach the widest audience as possible to help as many people as I could.

I have had to put all apprehensions and fears aside to sell my book.  I began to market myself as well as Inspiration for Autism.  You may be asking by now, how did I do that?  My first step was to prepare a one-page synopsis of my work as well as the qualifications that allowed me to offer advice and benefit others in the world of special needs.  After preparing my literary resume, I researched my local Barnes and Noble retailers to find out who the community representative was in charge of local book signings.  I emailed her my literary summary and my connections in the community.  My focus was to show her that I could indeed bring in a large volume of customers to her retail establishment.

I followed up my email with a personal visit shortly thereafter.  It was immediate, once she saw my enthusiasm and passion for my product that we calendared a date for my first signing.  Passion combined with connections goes a long way in the literary world.  She sent the images of both my book cover and picture that I provided her to the printer and viola I was on the upcoming author book signing poster, B & N social media sites, and her marketing kit.  I immediately requested the marketing materials and blasted all of my social media outlets so I could spread the advertising across a wider audience.  I also sent a personal email blast to every person in my contact list using Constant Contact as to avoid any spam or junk mail issues.  Lastly, I contacted the local newspaper and asked them to publish the event two weeks prior to the signing.  They happily obliged.

auThe day prior to the signing, I made sure a table and my marketing posters were prepared. I brought in extra copies of my book in case we sold out.  Good thing I prepared for that…we sold out!  Barnes and Noble bought them on consignment from me.  The day of the signing, I made sure I had extra pens on hand, business cards for future questions and contacts. I spoke with every person I could as they entered the store.  I shared with them the latest statistics of children being diagnosed with ASD, autism spectrum disorder.  If they knew anybody on the spectrum, I encouraged them to take a look at my book. I sold many copies and the experience was a success.

I followed up my book signing with a personal thank you card and a small gift to the customer service representative who helped calendar my event.

Be passionate. Be prepared. Be grateful.

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation and length. 


Fishing for Sales

WestBow Press author Leon R. HayduchokA few years ago, when I was first researching options for publishing my book, I saw warning signs posted all over the internet: Danger! Shark-infested waters!

If trying to get a book published is like swimming with sharks, then promoting a book is like going out to sea on a fishing expedition. For those writers able to get onboard with a major publishing outfit, the fishing is good. The big boats have expensive equipment that locate the fish, and they drop enormous nets, scooping up fish by the ton. It’s an impressive operation. Now I realize fishing on these big boats isn’t necessarily easy—the hours can get long, the waters can get rough, and the stink can get to you—but the fishing is usually good, really good.

For those of us who don’t climb onto a commercial boat, we step into our dinghies—alone—with a few rods and a tackle box. We don’t have expensive equipment to locate the fish, and we don’t cast a $30,000 marketing net to catch tons of sales. We just set our lines and wait, catching one fish at a time.

But what if we don’t catch many fish? What if we scarcely get a nibble? What then are we supposed to do? (more…)


WestBow Press author Lyn Leahz on Using Social Media to Promote Your Book

WestBow Press author Lyn LeahzIn this day and age, if you want to promote something, it is imperative that you are on social media. Between laptops, tablets and smart phones, social media is easily accessible, even on the go. Different social media sites allow you to find and interact with people who have similar interests as you, helping you hone in on where on social media you should be promoting your book.

As a single mom who works, I have relied heavily on social media to promote my book; it is my lifeline! Taking advantage of all the social media platforms is totally free, and it’s something that anyone can do if they have determination and apply themselves. Social media is available 24/7 and you can use it according to your schedule; it even allows you to schedule your posts in advance. You didn’t write your book for nothing, you want people to read it! But, they’re not going to read your book if you don’t get out there, in front of as many eyes as you can, and promote your book. (more…)


5 Tips for Keeping an Author Blog

Robin Densmore FusonWhen I published my first book, one of the things that most frightened me was doing my own marketing. I discovered the best way to market my book was through social media, and that included a blog. There are many kinds of blogs, from how-to’s to devotionals. Whatever your interest is, there is a blog for you.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Blog Alive and Generating Hits

1.)    Post often. For you it may be daily, biweekly, weekly or monthly. It is best to post at least once every week. This will bring your audience to your blog regularly, which will keep your name alive and may even cause you to come up in conversation. Sometimes, just writing a sentence or two, or posing a question for readers to comment on will help you to post more often. Don’t forget to reply to any commenting, even if they are not flattering or are negative. (more…)


5 Things to Remember when Making Your Media Kit

Creating Your Media KitCreating awareness of your name and book is an essential part of an author’s marketing strategy. A media kit or press kit is the easiest and quickest way to reach anyone from a blogger to a publishing company. It allows you to gather all of your information into one place that can easily be seen and is ready to be distributed when you need it.

There are many ways to build your online media kit. Making it personal to your style is important, but there are some necessities to all media kits.

5 things to include in your media kit:

1.       A Creative Bio:
It’s all about the basics here; keep it short and sweet. Make sure to put in something unique about yourself, such as how you came to be a writer or what influences your writing. Add information about yourself that could possibly be used for any media coverage. Include your contact information and social media links so contacts are able to reach out to you.

2.       A Quality Photo:
This may seem like a no-brainer, but not having a high-resolution photo could make or break your media kit. A blurry photo doesn’t give your media kit the professional look it should project, making the media think you are unprofessional. While hiring a professional photographer for quality images is recommended, it is not necessary. Just make sure that you use decent high-resolutions images in your media kit. In addition to using the images for your media kit, you can use the images on your social media accounts as well.

3.       Your Current Work:
Let people know what you’re working on. Making your writing status known to the public is very important – it’s what a media kit is for. Get people excited for a future project or tell them about your current book on the market. Show your upcoming events, such as book signings, and add links to any recent news coverage about your book.

4.       Links to PDF Files:
Allow the viewers of your media kit to reach it easily. Put links on your social media sites or add it to the bottom of an email. It is also important to have the option of your media kit to be printable. If your media kit is not a digital PDF file, create a link to a PDF file so the viewer has the option to either look over your kit online or have it in a tangible form. 

5.      Your Previous Projects:
If you are building a media kit to show an upcoming book you are writing, add previous work you have already completed. Attach writing samples so viewers can get a sense of your writing style; it’s another way to generate excitement for your new project.

These ideas are some of the basic necessities to an online media kit. Utilizing this form of marketing can only help you get your name out there. But remember to take the time to make it professional, concise and relevant.


Tick Tock, How Do You Fit Writing and Marketing on the Clock?

J.V. CarrWestBow Press author, J.V. Carr, knows a thing or two about a busy schedule. She juggles raising children and maintaining a household on top of sharing her book’s message. Learn more about how she finds time for her time-consuming responsibilities.

 

Do you have busy days? A crazy work schedule? A busy house that steals your time? If so, how do you find the time to write, promote your book and keep up with your online presence on social media?

It may seem like a daunting and overwhelming task to juggle your life and writing, too. And believe me, I haven’t perfected this yet, but I am peacefully striving toward the writing and marketing goals I have set for myself. I say peacefully because at first I felt panicked to promote my newly published novel, Username: Bladen. I stayed up too late reading, writing, setting up and maintaining my social media accounts. Eventually I ended up too tired to continue. (more…)


5 Tips to Promote Your Poetry

Poetry MarketingEach April (National Poetry Month), people across the country get excited about reading and writing poems. But what do you do once you’ve actually written and published your own book of poetry? How do you reach out to readers and attract an audience?

Here are five ways to promote you book of poetry:

    1. Make your poems easy to share. Because poems are generally short in length, they’re easy to share. Take advantage of this by showcasing your shorter poems, favorite lines or poetic musings in images that can be shared on social media sites like Pinterest and Facebook. Design something on your own using a program like Photoshop, or use free, online tools such as Pinstamatic or Quozio to help you out. Make sure each photo includes your author name and links back to your blog, website or bookselling page.
    2. Turn your poems into works of art. Work with a graphic designer or letterpress studio to feature one of your poems on a custom poster or broadside. This special piece of art will be a conversation starter (and selling item) at any event or reading you participate in. Poetry lovers and art lovers alike will be drawn to this unique takeaway that brings beautiful words and beautiful imagery together in a meaningful, memorable and lasting way.
    3. Host readings and book signings. Organizing a poetry reading is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding ways to share your work and interact face-to-face with poetry lovers. Contact coffee houses, libraries, bookstores, schools, art galleries, etc. — think outside the box to find a venue that makes sense for you and your book. Bring promotional materials — such as custom bookmarks, business cards and BookStubs — to give away to attendees. Also be sure to bring copies of your book and poetry broadsides to sign and sell.
    4. Tap into the power of audio. It’s a commonly held belief that poetry should be heard, not seen — that the real power of poetry lies in the spoken word, not on the printed page. Why not give your fans both options? To help promote your poetry book, consider capturing select poems in audio files. Bring your poems to life with your voice, and share your recordings through videos on your own YouTube channel or through your own podcast. You could also create an audiobook so poetry lovers can listen to you read each poem in your book.
    5. Connect with fellow poets. Whether you’re hosting a reading, keeping a blog or producing a podcast, you’ll be well served to include other poets in your efforts. When multiple poets take part in a reading, each poet can help contribute to promoting the event and attracting their own built-in followers. In the same way, if you interview emerging poets on your blog or invite other writers to read on your podcast, the people you feature will drive traffic back to your site and, as a result, help grow your following.

 What tips and advice do you have for marketing books of poetry?


How to use Goodreads as an Author

How to use Goodreads as an AuthorWith all the social media and networking sites out there, it can be hard to decide where to focus your online marketing efforts. When deciding which online communities to be a part of, remember that your primary goal behind using any social  media site should be to reach out and build relationships with potential readers. With that goal in mind, we can’t think of a better place to concentrate your energy than Goodreads.

Goodreads is an online community where readers gather to discover new titles, rate and review books they’ve read, join reading groups, share reading lists, track their reading progress, etc. If you’re looking for a surefire way to get your book in front of a large group of dedicated readers, look no further. This is a place designed with readers in mind.

But Goodreads isn’t just built around readers. It was created with authors in mind, too. Using Goodreads’ free Author Program, you can take advantage of several fun and unique ways to promote your work, establish an online presence and catch the attention of Goodreads users.

Create an author profile.
As an author, you can have a different type of profile than the typical reader profile on Goodreads. For a great example of what your author profile on Goodreads could look like, take a look at how WestBow Press author Ashley Hodges Bazer is using the site. She’s taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase her author bio, list her books, share video, write blog posts, and more — all on a single page.

Host a book giveaway.
As a unique way to generate interest in your book, run a book giveaway on Goodreads. You can select how many books you want to give away and choose how long to run the contest. Goodreads will list your giveaway, and readers can enter to win a copy of your book. According to Goodreads, the average giveaway attracts 825 entries. That just might be the boost your book needs to reach more readers.

Join groups.
Within the larger Goodreads community, you can join smaller groups of readers and authors who share similar interests. Use these groups as places to engage with readers and learn from fellow authors. By joining (and becoming an active participant in) the right groups (whether it’s a contemporary Christian fiction book club or a group where Christian authors and writers can talk about their faith), you can truly zoom in on your target audience.

These are just a few ways to use Goodreads to your advantage as an author. Just like any other social media platform, we encourage you to dive in, explore, and see what works for you. If you’re having fun as an active user, readers will take notice — and take interest.


Do you use Goodreads?
We’d love to hear from you! Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below.


Book Marketing: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishers

Marketing SupportOne reason authors want to have their book traditionally published is to capitalize on the publisher’s marketing resources and experience. Traditional publishers, such as Thomas Nelson, have a staff that focuses exclusively on driving sales through advertising, publicity and other marketing tactics. They have connections with various media and sales outlets that very few self-published authors can even begin to develop. These connections can help make a book successful.

Although traditional publishers have a staff focused exclusively on marketing books, most new authors would sell more copies of their books if they were self-published.

 Why?

(more…)


PR Tips, Part 1: How to Land an Interview

How to Land an InterviewMarketing is sharing what you love with people who want to hear about it. But, it can be tough to find your niche. Follow these five tips on how to land an interview, and you just might find marketing isn’t as daunting as it may seem.

  • Don’t always think bigger is better.  Sometimes what God wants you to do is not “big” in the ways we tend to measure success.  Sometimes He doesn’t want you to be on Good Morning America; maybe he’s calling you to reach out with your book’s message to your community or a suffering neighbor. Pray and think about what God is calling you to do with your book. Land an interview with your church bulletin, your local radio station, your archdiocese’s newspaper or with the forums or blogs you frequent. Also, try a local university that might be searching for speakers for a class lecture or guest speaker at an event.
  • Send out press releases.  TV stations and radio shows are always looking for fresh content. Send out your press release to targeted journalists, and you could gain attention.
  • Build your contact list now. Even if your book isn’t published quite yet, send a synopsis of your book to the media. You know what your book is about, so you can still talk about it and promote it before its release date. This relates to my next tip…
  • Build your author platform before your book is published. This is a crucial point many authors overlook for various reasons. In order to gain credibility, you should build a blog, set up your social media accounts and print out business cards before your book is available for sale. That way you already have a community of contacts who consider you an expert in your field. Plus, you have tangible evidence for TV, radio and newspapers that you know what you’re talking about.  
  • Set up your own online podcast. You don’t have the time or experience to do that? Hire an intern who has experience with setting up, recording and editing podcasts. Make it just a weekly, hour-long podcast, and place it on your author website. Have guests for the first 30 minutes then talk about recent events and tie in your book or read a few excerpts of your book.

Remember, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. WestBow Press can help you with your radio interview, press release, author website and publicity campaigns. How did you land your first author interview? Share your advice in the comments below.

 


Why App Publishing is Right For Your Children’s Book

You wrote a children’s book? We have an app for that.

The percentage of children who have read an e-book has almost doubled since 2010, to 46 percent. Times are changing and thanks to e-readers, the book publishing industry is too. E-books are able to be read on your computer, e-reader, smartphone or tablet, making them accessible and portable. Several of these gadgets have e-book apps that make e-books even more appealing to younger readers. In order to keep your book from falling behind the latest trends in book publishing, you must adapt your book marketing strategy to fit into these rapidly-growing markets.

What better way to keep up with the rise in e-books and e-readers than by turning your children’s book into an interactive app? WestBow Press wants to help Christian authors expand their reach through App Publishing services. With ReadPlay App you can turn your children’s book into an interactive app that is made specifically for children’s books and available on the latest Microsoft tablets with the Windows 8 operating system.

Interactive Features:

  • Read to Me – Allows readers to listen to a professional voiceover read your book’s text while they see it on the screen
  • Record Me – Enables children to record themselves reading the text
  • Color Me – Allows children to choose from a pallet of colors and “brush” sizes to color the images on select pages of your book

The ReadPlay App is just what your book needs to get children excited about reading it, and the app’s features make reading a fun and interactive experience for the children. With the Read to Me and Record Me features, your book becomes a tool in helping young children learn how to read.

In order to help you promote your ReadPlay App, WestBow Press also offers an App Launch Campaign. This allows you to advertise your ReadPlay App through banner ads on Microsoft tablets.

If you want your book to keep up with the latest technological advancements in publishing, contact your WestBow Press representative at 866.928.1240, and they’ll help you turn your book into the interactive ReadPlay App.


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