Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What is the best promotion?

A book only becomes old, used or second-hand by the person who has already read it. To anyone who hasn't read your work, it's new, no matter how long ago it was released. For each book you write, promotion should be constant, because there will be more readers out there who haven't read your book, than readers who have. And books are in circulation for a very long time. Libraries are full of unread books.

There are various types of promotion to choose from and it's great if you can do them all. But as we know, writing is our first priority. However, what is the point of writing a great novel if your promotion doesn't meet the required standard? By standard, I don't mean quality. In this instant, it is quantity over quality. Although quality is just as essential.

As an author myself, I know how writing can be a difficult market to break. Promotion can become demeaning and time wasting. Without a doubt, the best person to promote an author, is someone who knows what is required for a good book promotion, and who your target market is. Having been a published author myself, who withdrew her books from her publisher for reasons best not publicly discussed, I know exactly the kind of promotion a book and its author requires, and I would now like to dedicate my time to the time you most likely haven't got. The literature market has millions of authors, all with the same dream. Each one of those authors should have the chance to succeed in this big world of literature, and I would like to help make some of those dreams come true.
*Types of promotion:
This is what we enjoy the most. The self-pride that comes from self-promotion, for you or your book, is invigorating. It allows you to sit back and pat yourself on the back for making part of your dream come true. But if you sit back for too long, your promotion also sits back with you.

Ask yourself - do you know where your target market is? Who is reading your promotion? Are readers going to purchase your work? Is your promotion only being read by other authors who are doing just the same as you? Author circles usually contain a vast majority of authors only. So where are the readers? Is it true that they come back for more, or is it just wishful thinking on our part?

Self-promotion will work if you have a fan base already made. And if you want to make a living out of writing, then that fan base has to be massive because readers like a variety of genres, authors and story lines. So if you want your fans to come back for more, you need to keep that promotion going, and where they can see it.

Subscriptions to your work will benefit your self-promotion greatly, but you need to keep finding a new audience. For every new fan you make, another author has lost one and vice verse. Readers come and go and if some are leaving, then its best to make sure they keep coming.
Conclusion - Self-promotion works if you keep updating your fan base. It has to be constant promotion if you are to gain, and not lose, readers.
Promotional Services
Now, trust me, I've been there. No one wants to give away cash they've earned through writing and pay someone to promote them. I've asked the same questions - what if the promotion fails? What if they don't give you the promotion you desire? What if they don't actually promote you? I've been left very disappointed with promotion before, which is why I went down the self-promotion path myself. But is it enough? Finding that target market isn't as easy as it seems. To be honest, I found myself surrounded by other authors all trying to do the same thing. It was like a roundabout of authors, spinning fast with their promotion, yet with the readers out of reach. We need the readers as our playmates and we need to invite them into our playground. But we need to find them first. That is what I have found to be the difficult part.

Readers could be anywhere and anyone. We rely on them visiting our publisher's web page and we hope that when they scour the books on Amazon, Kindle and any other similar web sites, we hope they choose our books. But what are the chances amongst thousands and thousands of other books? And are ebooks just as popular as paper/hard back books?

Promotional services was not an option I would have chosen, merely because I didn't want to part with my earnings. I was disappointed with the sales I made with my publisher. Even though I made it to the top of the best selling list, my sales did not add up. This made me withdraw my books three years later. So to risk using money I had earned for a failed promotion, was not on my agenda. Self-promotion wasn't that successful either. I was in a vicious circle. That's when I came up with the idea of a newsletter in 2009 where I could promote myself and other authors together. It was then that I realised that an army of authors were stronger than one single author on their own. Together we made a library of our own.

The Ebook Sales & Promotion Newsletter is a promotional service. It will promote more than one author but I'm convinced more readers will visit a library with more choice. And who knows, a reader who never came on to buy your book, may just buy yours instead, POW! A new fan.

All books connected to this newsletter will have a direct link to purchasing details, as will all Author Spotlights. All promotions have unlimited viewing, and as always, purchasing details and links to your web pages are as simple as the click of a button. We are a service waiting to serve you.
Conclusion - Promotional Services will do all your promotion, therefore giving you quality time to write your next book. They know who your target market is and will create a new audience of readers for you. Ask for recommendations to secure your trust in them.
Publisher Promotion
This goes without saying. A publisher's job is too create books and sell them. They rely on you, the author, to promote their publishing company while you promote your own books. Promotion for your book brings readers to their web page. You are the promoter for your publisher. They rely on you. So if you don't promote your book, then no one else will.
Conclusion - Don't rely on your publisher for maximum promotion.
Promotional Circle
Promoting with friends, family and fellow authors can give the wrong impression if you're not careful. It is far better to branch further beyond the circle of family, friends and fellow authors to build up your reader base, or it could come across as just a 'favour for a favour' gesture. You have to widen your horizons to a much wider circle - a circle where readers will, and can, find you and your books. Readers need to believe in you, as an author. And they need to have faith in purchasing your books.
Conclusion - Break away from the 'favour for a favour' gesture. It will give off the wrong impression.
What do you need from a promotion?
This is a good question, and having been a published author myself, a question I know the answer to. An author requires promotion in the right places, a promotion that is constant, and a promoter who cares 100% about them and their work. A good promotional service should give you all of that, and more. Once you find that promotional service, you will benefit greatly from it - especially if it is unlimited promotion. A good promotional service will do their best to give you a good service. They want you to recommend them, so they do not want to let you down. It takes years to make a good reputation, and seconds to destroy it. They will not want that to happen. You put your trust in them, and they put their trust in you. It is team work at its best.
Conclusion - A good promotion will promote exactly what you want, find your right target market, find you a new audience of readers - and keep them coming back for more.
What do your readers need from your promotions?
The answer to this is simple. If your promotion is in the right place, at the right time, then it will be seen by the right people. But now it has been seen, will your promotion do you proud? That next step is down to you as an author. Your promotion needs to jump out at your potential readers, excite them, and make them curious - so much so, that they will want more.
Keep it simple, yet enticing. Some people respond to covers first. Others will respond to the title, and others, the blurbs. Some will only stick with one genre. Your audience is huge. However, it's their choice whether to sit down and watch the show, or simply walk out and leave. So what can you do to make them sit down, even if it's only out of curiosity. Engage their minds. Let their imagination run with yours. Give them what they want - and that is simply, a good read.
Conclusion - A simple promotion in the right place will work better than a hundred in the wrong place. Readers just want a good read, and a good library of books to come back to should they enjoy it. They want your imagination - so give it to them.
Reviews and Excerpts
I have mixed feelings about reviews - mainly because a reader cannot be certain that your friends aren't your reviewers. It raises that 'favour for a favour' gesture again. I'm not certain that I believe in reviews that much - but that is just my opinion. A review doesn't sell a book for me. An excerpt does, along with the blurb, the cover and the title. However, all my reviews were good, and I promoted mine. Each reader has different attractions and if reviews is one of them, then you can't go wrong.
Conclusion - cover all your corners regarding promotion, as every potential reader is an individual with individual aspects of what makes a good book.

1 comment:

  1. While I agree witht he majority of your blog post- I have to say (as a promotions director and review coordinator for a publisher) that publishers are realizing the need to assist authors promote. We schedule blog hops, reviews from start to finish, track analytics on social networks, find viable and reputable locations online for authors to be guests, schedule promotional workshops (mainly for ourselves to maximize our abilities), set up various chats, etc- the list goes on and on. So to blatantly say 'not to rely on your publisher' is incorrect. Now, I know not all publishers offer such services for free to the authors.