Thursday, August 16, 2012

A big advance doesn't necessarily mean a big backing

I just read in an email from a fellow writer that an author received a six figure advance but still received no marketing help from the publisher.

When you get published, this is a good thing to keep in mind. If a publisher won't help an author pay back a large advance, what are they going to do with a little quiet book?


Probably nothing.

Maybe a little but more than likely nothing.

  • I admit to having spent some *cough* of my own money marketing Never Eighteen. I put money into bookmarks, buttons, and bracelets. I do my own designing, so I don't have to pay for a graphic designer which saves money. I do know a great graphic designer who has done author swag and self published book covers though if you need one.
  •  I try to always have extra books with me. I buy them at my local indie because they count toward my sales, and they give me a discount. 
  •  I've traveled to New York, as well as used gas locally to get to events. 
  •  I hired a local publicist, which for me was worth the money. Not everyone goes this route though.

I have done some things that don't cost as much.

  • Postcards. They really didn't cost that much. I sent them out to all the schools and libraries in my area to tell them about my book and to let them know I was available for school/library visits. I believe I sent out close to 200, all hand written for that personal touch. From  these I got an offer from the Tacoma public library to host my release party and a handful of school visits, which to me was worth the $30 or whatever amount it was.
  •  My publicist opened the doors to some opportunities, schools, libraries, book stores. However, this is something I can do on my own. I think I just wasn't at that comfort level yet when my book first came out. Now? I have no problem with it. I have the contacts I made through my publicists and have made new ones through other events I've done. I've done 27 author events this year (one was a Skype visit, that was fun) and have a bunch more coming this fall. I will say, eventually I will be asking to get paid for some of these visits, but for now, I'm doing them for free. I will say my publicist also got me a couple radio shows and interviews.
  • Book bloggers. Say yes to every interview, guest blog, blog tour. Some of these bloggers have thousands of followers. Is it a lot of work? Yes. But it's free publicity. You may have to try to get them an ARC from your publisher or you may have to donate swag for a giveaway, but it's a free way to get your book out across the globe (there are many bloggers out of country).
  • Apply to speak at conferences, book festivals, and the like. It will get your name out there, and hey, you may even get paid for it.
  • Newspaper events. Anyone can post an event in their newspaper's website. You just go to their events page, and they should have a link that says "post an event". So anytime you're at a library or book store, post it in that area's local paper.
  • And don't forget social marketing. Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Vlogging, Tumblr, whatever. Don't just tell people "Buy my book" though. Give them some advice, information, a little insight to your personal life.
  • Think outside the box. What's your book about? Where is it set? Find places that have something to do with your book and ask if they'll carry it, or if you can do an event there.

Okay, I think that's all I've got. Just keep in mind, once you get published, your book doesn't sell itself. Book marketing takes perseverance and dedication. If you want people to read you, you have to be ready to work.
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My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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