Notes from An Alien

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Tag Archives: book marketing

Still More Conversation about Book Promotion . . .


This discussion began on November 7th and continued on Nov. 9th… Book Promotion

We’ve talked a bit about the book Be the Gateway and dealt with having no idea how to promote a book and Book Fairs and Book Talks; and, here we are with the following comment (which is letting us continue the conversation) from an accomplished author from Australia:

“I think that true promotion requires reaching out to other people – it’s not bashing them over the head. As Dan says: ‘…It means we have to engage with other human beings…’

“I think ‘engage’ is an important word here.

“My first publisher, who was mainstream, insisted that folks needed to hear about (be bashed over the head about) a book eleven times before they remembered it properly and they would then buy it. Apparently this method meant that the publisher thought it would be a good idea if I spoke on the ‘Overnight Racing Channel’. You can imagine the scene:

“‘…and here’s Roadrunner going down the strait; a length away from Black Caviar; and, here’s Jane Watson, who has just written a novel. Thanks for coming in, Jane’.

“You need to engage with other like-minded people who may want to read your book.

“A book is not a bar of soap… or, a racehorse…”

I must restate that last Truth:

“A book is not a bar of soap… or, a racehorse…”

Though, there are those authors who treat books as mere commodities; and, sad to say, there are mere commodities that try to pretend they’re real, honest “books”…

I know our Australian author; and, just to make the publisher’s lack of professionalism clear, her book has absolutely nothing to do with horse racing…

BTW, the publisher was Picador / Pan Macmillan Australia…

Now, I’m compelled to share the Etymology of “Engage”, since our author emphasised it

“early 15c., ‘to pledge’ (something, as security for payment), from Old French engagier ‘bind (by promise or oath), pledge; pawn’ (12c.), from phrase en gage ‘under pledge’, from en ‘in’ (see en- (1)) + gage ‘pledge’, through Frankish from Proto-Germanic *wadiare ‘pledge’ (see wed). It shows the common evolution of Germanic -w- to central French -g- (see gu-).

“Meaning ‘attract and occupy the attention of’ is from 1640s; that of ’employ, secure for aid, employment or use’ is from 1640s, from notion of ‘binding as by a pledge’; meaning ‘enter into combat or contest with’ is from 1640s. Specific sense of ‘promise to marry’ is 1610s (implied in engaged). Machinery sense is from 1884. Also from the French word are German engagiren, Dutch engageren, Danish engagere.”

I must admit, there are a few historical meanings of engage that don’t fit our author’s use of the word: “bind” [though, “promise” or “oath” could apply…], “pawn”, “employ”, “combat or contest” [though, too many folks feel they do apply to book promotion]; yet, “promise to marry” does have a bit of pertinence here, if taken metaphorically…

I believe an author’s choice of the “inappropriate” meanings of engage comes from their feeling that other folks need to be forced into making a decision to buy a book; and, if not clearly forced, then heavily coerced…

Yes, the number of books being published is large and constantly growing; but, most of them won’t sell well; so, why try to engage with an attitude of force—it is still true that honey attracts better than vinegar…

So

My interpretation of Engaging people to consider your book is quite similar to traditional engagement vows—it’s a two-way deal—the author is making a vow that their presentation of the book is true and fair; and, the reader is vowing to give the book a fair chance…

Or, you can beat them over the head until a few succumb and buy the book and never finish reading it because they have a hangover from your selling them a commodity…

And, what about your second and further books—don’t you want a truly enthusiastic reader?

Naturally, you must tell them the truth when your promoting—nothing worse than comparing a book to famous authors’ works when it’s far from them; but then, it’s so easy in our culture to absorb the ploys and gimmicks of advertisers…

So

What have you done in the way of Book Promotion…?

What do you already know for sure about Book Promotion…?

Who could you recommend who knows how to promote books…?

Why do books need careful and devoted promotion…?

Where should books be promoted…?

Does it takes a lot of money to promote books…?

Does an author have to hire others to successfully promote a book…?

Care to share some of your experience with Book Promotion…?

Want to be the first to share a comment so this conversation can continue…? :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Blog Conversations are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—the rest of the week, I share valuable posts from other blogs
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send me a free Voice Message
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More Conversation about Book Promotion . . .


Book Promotion

Click for Info…

This discussion began on November 7th

The comment that let this conversation continue came from a writer, poet, and artist living in Belgium:

“Well, I have yet to finish a book, so I have no idea. But will be reading along!”

I couldn’t have had a better first comment if I’d paid someone to write it :-)

First, I’m glad this writer was able to admit they have no idea how to promote a book—eight years ago, I also had no idea; but, I was fully aware I’d be self-publishing so, while I was writing my novel, I used Uncle Google to guide me to no end of bad advice about promoting, though one invaluable tidbit seeped through—begin a year ahead of publishing

The most important thing I did—having no other clear and rational idea of what to do—was to begin this blog; though, I didn’t start it until four months before publication…

However, I had done something earlier…

I was a regular in a virtual world and I organized a reading of my “final” draft, one chapter a week, to audiences of two to five folks—it was my first chance to probe a very few readers’ minds in the after-reading ultra-short “discussions”…

Those sessions helped me get used to “working at” promotion—this blog has been a constant, seven-year adventure of learning how to create a Space that has drawn attention from around the globe—not riotous or feverish attention; but, a steady stream of people arriving here, mostly by putting a few words into Uncle Google’s search bar…

And, after more than six years of struggling with what to do about social media, I finally have a regular routine that I like doing—>Tweeting—>sharing articles about writing and a few tweets about my book and this blog, every day of the week…

I’m starting to see a bit of “stickiness” happening—folks hanging out here…

I did have a bit of Synchronicity this morning, just before doing this post, my being aware of needing to respond to our Belgian writer—I received an alert in my email of a new post from Dan Blank—You Have to Ask

My eight-year schooling in becoming a Gateway has led to a few simple conclusions that I feel Dan Blank could call good—the most important being that I learned to Ask folks to come here, read my posts and these discussions, and, perhaps, notice my writings in the left-side bar…

I’m grateful I didn’t cling to any of the other “cheap” advice I read—best summed-up by “egregiously yelling at folks to notice my writing”…

I’ll share just a bit from Dan’s post:

“If you want the world to discover your work, your talent, your vision, don’t wait for people to magically discover you. Reach out to them. Ask.

“But asking is super difficult, right? It means we have to engage with other human beings. It means they could say ‘no’. It means we could be rejected. Judged. Laughed at.”

He then shares the experience of three people who worked hard at Asking; and, eventually, learned how to evolve groups of enthusiasts…

As Dan says it:

“…they consistently reached out to like-minded people. They asked. They collaborated. They created meaningful connections that developed into trusting relationships.”

The second comment that will move this discussion forward comes from one of our regular visitors, an author from the United Kingdom:

“Now you’ve started something! Our most recent effort at book promotion was a book fair organised by a local writer. It was her second attempt and she had fifty authors, many of them self published with their works on display and, in spite of advertising online and in the press, had fewer members of the public. Our talks had audiences in single figures and many of the participants sold no books at all.

“Our next effort will be our Charity Gig on 23rd November with music and readings but we are beginning to believe folk no longer want to buy actual books. Personally I sell more at talks; but then, folk are as interested in the author as the stories, aren’t they?”

I must alert you to a past conversation we’ve had about “Reading Print Books or E-books“; yet, I can completely agree that many people are as interested in the author as in the stories…

I find it fascinating that an organized event with so many authors was such a flop; but, as I learned back in the sixties, the times they are a changin’

And, to avoid being remiss, I’ll share one stanza of the lyrics of that linked-to song:

“Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'”

Plus, our U.K. author seems to be Asking for enthusiasts by giving talks—offering something of value that might reap a return of interest in her work…

So

What have you done in the way of Book Promotion…?

What do you already know for sure about Book Promotion…?

Who could you recommend who knows how to promote books…?

Why do books need careful and devoted promotion…?

Where should books be promoted…?

Does it takes a lot of money to promote books…?

Does an author have to hire others to successfully promote a book…?

Care to share some of your experience with Book Promotion…?

Want to be the first to share a comment so this conversation can continue…? :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Blog Conversations are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—the rest of the week, I share valuable posts from other blogs
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send me a free Voice Message

A Blog Conversation about Book Promotion . . .


Book Promotion Our last discussion here ended due to a lack of reader comment; though, it broke a local record—longest conversation since this blogging format began back in late February.

There were ten posts in that record-breaking conversation about “Rules of Writing

Plus, we’ve already had short discussions about Book Promotion which you can find here, here, and here

I’m attempting to get another conversation going about promotion because I’ve personally, and many others I’ve read have also, suffered greatly trying to do Book Promotion; and, even if you don’t self-publish, the big publishing houses are notorious for (unless you’re riotously famous) doing little and/or poor promotion and letting a book wilt in stores for a few months, then quietly die…

I would be a poor blogger if I didn’t mention a particular book called Be the Gateway by Dan Blank.

I share that book because, if you have no idea what book promotion entails, and you go looking on Uncle Google’s search engine, you could be led to hell and back by tons of writing “gurus” who think they know what promoting a book means…

Naturally, searching Google might lead to a few bits of good advice; but, in my seven years of attempting to develop a program of activities to promote my writings, Be the Gateway gets it all Right

Another reason I mention that book is because one of the most important guidelines I’ve discovered about book promotion is to begin at least a year before the book is published.

This may sound completely hare-brained; but, there is deep wisdom in that axiom…

Especially wise to start early with promotion if it isn’t some form of brazenly beating people over the head with blatant screams of BUY !

Especially wise if you want to engage folks in the process of creation so that, when it’s born, there’s a family to share the news…

Yet another reason I tout the virtues of Gateway is that it isn’t a list of Rules for promoting—it deals with the broad ideas that underpin a solid method of inviting people to share your dream; yet, you must take the ideas presented and craft them into Your program of invitation…

But, to be rock-bottom honest, I’d rather some of the readers of this discussion share comments about other methods of book promotion that may not have worked very well, since it seems humans learn best by either suffering from their mistakes or by reading about others who suffered…

And, it may be helpful to consider the Etymology of the word Promote:

“late 14c., ‘to advance (someone) to a higher grade or office’, from Old French promoter and directly from Latin promotus, past participle of promovere ‘move forward, advance; cause to advance, push onward; bring to light, reveal’, from pro ‘forward’ (see pro-) + movere ‘to move’ (from PIE root *meue- ‘to push away’). General sense of ‘to further the growth or progress of (anything)’ is from 1510s. Related: Promoted; promoting.”

So

What have you done in the way of Book Promotion…?

What do you already know for sure about Book Promotion…?

Who could you recommend who knows how to promote books…?

Why do books need careful and devoted promotion…?

Where should books be promoted…?

Does it takes a lot of money to promote books…?

Does an author have to hire others to successfully promote a book…?

Care to share some of your experience with Book Promotion…?

Want to be the first to share a comment so this conversation can continue…? :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Blog Conversations are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—the rest of the week, I share valuable posts from other blogs
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send me a free Voice Message

Continuing Our Conversation about Traditional vs Self-Published Book Promotion


book promotion Our current conversation began on June 27th

You may want to take that link to see what was said…

And, I’ll break my usual pattern of posting to share the questions I asked at the end of that post:

> Have you had a book traditionally published?   Was the marketing for that book sufficient?

> Have you self-published a book?   What promotional strategies are you using?

Or, do you have a book nearly through the revision and editing stages and you’re considering which form of publishing will help your book end up in the hands of a “sufficient” number of readers?

Just before I share the reader comment that let this conversation continue, I’ll share my own basic views of traditional and self-published book promotion:

Traditional — Some promotion — at first — usually quickly withdrawn (especially for a first book…)

Self-Published — Completely up to you — only stops when you stop it — certainly can be wildly creative…

The first part of this conversation was responded to by an author in the UK:

“My first self published book sold over 200 copies and, although I was new to promoting I did all the usual things, local radio, local press, a website, offering talks etc. Any approaches to national papers or celebrities came to nothing. I built up a local following of about 50 people who then bought every book I wrote ( now seven) and poetry books I edited. They supported me, rather than the books. This may be the secret to marketing – self promotion. I don’t know. I’m still waiting to be discovered by the public at large.You know me, I write for fun, not money.”

Do take note what was “usual” for her—local promotion tasks…

And while she said nothing came of national efforts, many folks consider the normal first approach to be International, via blogging and social media—quite often with scant response, at First, since it seems to take awhile for any promotion to take hold…

And, I can’t find a thing wrong with going local first—having 50 local fans is something most writers never attain…

I find one statement from this seasoned author utterly critical:

“They supported me, rather than the books.”

All the promotional methods I’ve checked out that make rational sense and come from folks who know exactly what they’re talking about bring up the idea that you need a promotional strategy that embraces people, first and foremost — if folks like You, there’s a great likelihood they’ll like your books…

In traditional publishing, when the writer relies completely on the publisher to promote their book, the factor of human connection is invariably lacking; and, many traditionally published authors only got real promotion going when they took the reins into their own hands…

In case you didn’t read the first post in this conversation, here’s one book every self-publishing author needs to read:

Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience

To further encourage you to check out that book, here’s some of the blurb:

“As writers and artists, we feel the drive to do meaningful work, but we get overwhelmed by the process of connecting with an audience. We follow best practices in marketing that never seem to pan out, don’t produce results, and make us feel lost and frustrated. But creating doesn’t have to feel this way. Be the Gateway offers practical, insightful ways to build real relationships with your audience.”

And, while reminding you that it takes only one reader’s comment to continue this conversation, I’ll pose the same questions I started this post with:

> Have you had a book traditionally published?   Was the marketing for that book sufficient?

> Have you self-published a book?   What promotional strategies are you using?

Or, do you have a book nearly through the revision and editing stages and you’re considering which form of publishing will help your book end up in the hands of a “sufficient” number of readers?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send me a free Voice Message

Blog Conversation about Traditional vs Self-Published Book Promotion . . .


book promotion Our last conversation—Choosing What to Read—was only one post long, due to no reader comments…

So

I get to start a new discussion about traditional vs self-published book promotion :-)

I prefer “promotion” rather than the more common term “marketing” since promoting sounds less aggressive—to me, “marketing” means “business” and “promotion” means “relationships”…

Some of you may want a bit of background reading before the conversation really gets rolling; so, I’ll choose just a few appropriate past posts:

The Various Flavors of Publishing . . . (interesting comments on that one)

Will Traditional Publishers Survive? (two authoritative comments there)

Indie Authors Are Learning How To Act Like Publishers

The major issue I know about book promotion with traditionally published authors is lack of significant marketing help unless you’re already famous

Traditional publishers rarely have the generality of authors squarely in the sights of their all-consuming nurturing and care…

Also, even if there is a splash-bang beginning to a traditionally published book, low initial sales can instantly stop all promotional efforts as well as removing the book from the market…

So far, I’ve been saying what I’ve happened to learn; so, perhaps I should let Jane Friedman say a few words…

She’s joyously freelancing now but was working with F+W Media (which included Writer’s Digest) and “…oversaw the transition of what was a predominantly print-driven business to one centered on digital media, being responsible for the business strategy and financial performance of a brand that generated $10 million in revenue each year…”

She has an article where she discusses, 3 Things Your Traditional Publisher Is Unlikely to Do:

Send you on a national book tour
Invest in your book as much as their lead authors for the season
Market and publicize your work after the initial launch period has passed

So, there are the main failures of traditional publishers when it comes to promoting a book…

If you’re willing to self-publish, the promotion never has to stop as long as you’re alive and kicking (and, if your will spells it out, for much longer…).

Here’s a link to a discussion I started back in May, that never got off the ground—A Blog Conversation about Book Promotion

One mistake I made with that post was not specifying that it was only about self-publishing book promotion…

So…

Here’s a bit of what was said:

“‘As writers and artists, we feel the drive to do meaningful work, but we get overwhelmed by the process of connecting with an audience. We follow best practices in marketing that never seem to pan out, don’t produce results, and make us feel lost and frustrated. But creating doesn’t have to feel this way.’

“That quote is from the book Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience, by Dan Blank.

Dan’s blog has this to say:

“‘Too often, writers and artists rush into marketing without first finding clarity on what they want to create and who they hope to reach. The result? They flounder, jumping from one marketing trend to the next, each one with results that leave them feeling disappointed.’

“In my own forays into book promotion, I’ve met many folks who had plenty of decent tips and tricks to snag a few folks’ attention; but, until I read Dan’s book, I hadn’t come across someone with a complete philosophy of how to engage others…

“Over the seven years since I published my novel, from a sentence there and a treasured paragraph over there, I pieced together the plan I now pursue to promote my writing…

“When I read Dan’s book, I met a kindred soul, since he was laying out everything I’d labored to learn over all those years…”

> Have you had a book traditionally published?   Was the marketing for that book sufficient?

> Have you self-published a book?   What promotional strategies are you using?

> Or, do you have a book nearly through the revision and editing stages and you’re considering which form of publishing will help your book end up in the hands of a “sufficient” number of readers?

Perhaps you’d like to share a few of your experiences or problems…

It only takes one comment to have this conversation continue; though, leaving a comment with topics from the realms of Reading, Writing, or Publishing, that you’d like to see discussed, is just fine, too :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send me a free Voice Message