Thursday, March 31, 2011


On this, the final day of Small Press Month, I celebrate all of those who have voluntarily embarked on the journey of self publishing in your own small press. We are gaining ground in changing the way self publishing is perceived, but it takes all of us to demand excellence. Forget the detractors and cynics. We know that quality self publishing affords flexibility of timing and editorial content; but with that comes the responsibility to produce quality products that deliver value in a more timely fashion than a traditional publisher can do.

As an advocate for self publishing, I pledge to continue the quest to help you, the independent author, share your stories to a proper and realistic audience with the highest quality product possible.

I ask you to pledge the following for the good of the entire self publishing industry. One bad apple CAN spoil this bushel, so stand tall, self publishing comrades -- and demand excellence of yourself and others!
  • I promise to never consider self publishing as a step down, or a last resort, and to always celebrate the vital role self publishing plays in the world of books.
  • I promise to not let my ego get in the way of producing useful and entertaining products.
  • I promise to strive to learn and to improve my writing every day of my writing career.
  • I promise to listen and accept the advice of a professional editor and other book professionals I hire.
  • I promise to use quality production techniques.
  • I promise to use professional business practices in my publishing endeavor, from concept to distribution.
  • I promise to learn the wholesale and retail side of the book business and to conduct myself correctly when in this environment for the good of the whole industry.
  • I promise to lift up and support other self publishers that produce exceptional products, and try to help those who aren't quite there.
Happy Small Press Month, my friends.

Here's a valuable article from Penny Sansevieri in the Huff Post:
How to write and publish the (almost) perfect book

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 30

March 30 - Participate in trade shows that are RELEVANT for your platform. Book fairs aren't the only game in town for authors, but there are some very important rules to follow. It can be expensive, time consuming, intimidating, and ultimately, disappointing if you don't choose wisely and plan ahead.
  1. The Biggie: Select shows that have a relevant audience -- your reader is not just a book buyer. Think TOPIC and INTERESTS. Just because 20,000 random and diverse people are going to a book fair in Miami doesn't mean they are your buyer. It also doesn't mean you'll be exposed to 20,000 sets of eyes. Sometimes a smaller show is better. WARNING! There's math involved. Two of you are in your booth for a two-day show, and say it takes nine minutes on average to present your spiel to a guest in your booth. You are only actually talking to 213 people if both of you are talking every single minute of the show! That's
          16 hours x 60 minutes x 2 booth staffers
                 Your average presentation time
  2. Participate outside of the exhibit floor in any available and affordable way. Try to be helpful to the organizer (and be nice to them), buy an ad or sponsor something if you can. 
  3. Budget wisely. Be realistic. Read the show information and know what costs money. Don't sabotage yourself with rush fees or other fines by not reading the show rules and missing deadlines.
  4. Set measurable goals and objectives; develop your strategy; be flexible. Trade shows are where trends are discovered, news is revealed and major things happen. Be prepared for that.
  5. At the show, STAND UP in your booth. Engage the people that pass by your booth. Give something away. Talk to the guests in your booth. (No chairs are ever allowed in CMI booths!)
  6. Have a professional-looking booth, without clutter.
  7. Create talking points, practice them, and use them at the show...same spiel guest after guest.
  8. Collect leads. Write down all information because you will not remember it later.
  9. Follow up on leads. Plan your follow up before you even leave for the show. Over 80% of trade show leads are shamefully never followed up.  
  10. Debrief right after the show. Measure your return on your investment at intervals three, six, nine and twelve months. It's tempting to do it right when you get home; but the real measure is four to six months later or more. Look for lifetime value of a customer gained at show.
Summary: Participate in trade shows that are relevant to your topic. Plan. Budget. Participate. Follow up. Measure.

Small Press Month - Tip # 29

March 29 - Plan marketing with a full understanding of the relationship between Reach and Frequency. Let me start by giving an example. Have you ever noticed how an advertisement may seem familiar a few times, but it doesn't really capture your attention completely? You've seen it, sort of noticed it in parts here and there, and then all of the sudden (you've probably actually seen the ad eight or ten times) you put the whole message together in your mind ...and then WHAM! you realize the benefits of owning the thing advertised and buy one? That's the epitome of Reach and Frequency -- they identified a prospect (you) and then found vehicles to show you the message often enough to break through the noise of your busy life.

With previous careers in marketing, I've found that book marketing is one of the purest forms of niche marketing there is -- it should be just you (the author) and one person who is totally interested in your book (your reader's profile). Since "everyone" clearly is not your audience, and budgets are rarely unlimited, the terms Reach and Frequency are more than just two simple words -- they are critical concepts to know when planning your marketing.

Reach and Frequency apply to any promotional activity you undertake: broadcast or print, direct mail, direct selling, trade or bulk deals, special sales, and even in your social networking. Reach is the number of people exposed to your marketing message. Frequency is the number of times you touch each person with your message. The most important rule in these concepts is that Reach without Frequency is a pile of wasted cash.

While intuitively most business people really do understand the concept of Frequency for successful promotional and sales campaigns, when it comes to actual implementation of the campaign, most small businesses opt to sacrifice Frequency for Reach. Most often, this occurs because we are a culture of immediacy. If something doesn't have a return on the first ad, we assume it isn't working. Without question, the biggest waste of marketing dollars is when promotional activities are implemented without adequate frequency.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 28

March 28 - Participate in blog promotions and contests. A great way to spread the word about your title (as well as a relatively free or pretty cheap way) is to participate in blog giveaways. I don't mean enter to win a prize for yourself -- I mean offer YOUR book as the prize! There are many benefits to your book being "the prize". The blogger will mention your title multiple times in their posts: 1) to announce the giveaway, 2) to keep readers up-to-date on the entries, and 3) to announce the winner, at the very least. And more likely than not, they will link to your website...and we all like backlinks.

There are several ways to find blog giveaways in which to participate. The most obvious way is to search for blogs that cover your topic and then contact them to say you are interested in doing a giveaway of your book to their followers. They might say yes, but they might say no, too.  Move on to the next one and thank the blogger for their time. A more sure-fire way to get your foot in the door is to subscribe to free sites like and, which will send daily requests to your inbox from reporters and bloggers looking for sources and materials. You can tailor your results to fit your interests, whatever they may be. Bloggers will often get the word out this way when they are looking to do a giveaway, and you sure as heck want to know when they are asking!

When you receive a request that fits your topic, you simply contact the requester (however the site requires you do it) and let them know you are interested in being a part of their giveaway. Be sure to send them all the information they will need about you and your book. It is also a good idea to send them a link to your website and your online press kit if you have one (which you should!). If all goes well, they will let you know that they would love to do a giveaway of your book! The blogger will tell you what to do next -- some will want you to ship them a copy of the book for them to keep, as well as a copy to send to the winner. Others will want you to directly ship the winning copy. Either way, you have successfully done your first blog giveaway and added yet another great way to spread the word about your book to your toolbox.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 27

March 27 - Always carry your book with you. You never know who you might be sitting next to on the subway or a plane, or the Jiffy Lube or even in a cafe at breakfast. In 1995, I was at breakfast in LA with a couple of publishing friends. We were talking about the books currently being produced at the fledgling publishing company with whom I was employed. A woman next to us overheard our conversation and wanted to see the books or our catalog, which I had with me in my briefcase. She made a purchase for her bookstore right then and there, and continues to be a valued customer to this day. In all, the lifetime value of that customer, after spending $5.00 on a bowl of oatmeal at breakfast one day, has amounted to over $50,000 in lifetime sales to that single customer.

Keep your eyes and ears open and your mind on alert. Always be aware that your behavior and attentiveness counts, no matter where you are or who you are with. If you are at a conference on your topic area, or regarding publishing, wear your badge in and around the hotel. Don't be obnoxious about it, but don't hesitate to find an opening and engage in friendly conversation with people.... "Excuse me, but I couldn't help but overhear. So you are interested in _______, I just finished a book on that subject and I'd love to talk to you about it."  This is when your elevator speech comes in really handy!  (See the post from March 2.)

One more important hint: Your printed book is important, of course, but also have your book loaded on your Kindle, android phone or another device and have it with you at the ready!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 26

March 26 - Book more radio interviews by being a great guest. Every author dreams of being on Oprah first, every other media second. Yes, it's a pipe dream for most everyone. The big question is:  Are you even ready to do a show with Oprah...or any other radio or television program?

Most authors are not as ready as they think they are for even a local show. But how do you get ready? How do you do a great show? What makes you a good guest that will be invited back?  As with many of life's questions, the answer is Preparation, Courtesy and Understanding. 

Before the interview: Make it easy for the host/producer to book you. Have a phone number that actually reaches a human voice and answer your phone (it's difficult to call them back sometimes). If the show is right for you, agree to a time and then keep it. Rescheduling your life is often easier than a producer's job of rescheduling everyone on their show and making room for you. When scheduling, get the producer's email address and send them a confirmation email, plus any of your information that they need (including your bio and introduction, canned questions they can ask you, unique sound bites about your market, etc.)  Finally, ask them to record your interview and provide a link. (They don't always record, so ask ahead of time.) Practice (out loud) the talking points that you always want to make sure you say clearly and completely. 

During the interview:  If you are supposed to call in, make sure you have the number with you and call five minutes prior to your interview -- don't get miffed if the start of your interview is 5-10-15 minutes late. That's normal. If they are calling you, provide the producer a good phone number, preferably a land line, but if you use a cell phone, stay put in one place for the duration of the interview -- not in a coffee shop with noise! During the interview, answer the questions the host asks and don't be too "familiar" too fast.  Stop talking occasionally and let them ask another question or engage you in a conversation that they think their listeners would enjoy. Your job is to understand your place with this interviewer. REMEMBER: He has the listeners and the audience, and with that comes a promise to THEM, not you. His job is to bring guests that will engage, entertain, educate or inform his listeners -- his obligation is to them, not you. Your job is to make him look good to his listeners for bringing such a great guest on. Be sure you tell them where the book is available in their area, and give them your website.

After the interview:  Let them know if you are okay with follow up questions and how best to reach you. Send the host/producer a written thank you (email is fine, but handwritten is better), and anything else you promised them. Post a link on your website and on Facebook and download the podcast to your server. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 25

March 25 - Create a list of discussion questions for book clubs and other groups. Make sure the questions are not leading ones...and make sure they relate to many aspects of your book. You want readers to think and discuss your book, but sometimes you have to "guide" the group along without leading them to the answers you think they should come up with.

Think about how you want people to view your characters, or how you want them to behave after reading your book. Create your questions from those thoughts, but keep an open mind when doing this. Ask people that have read your book to review the discussion questions and try to have a discussion based on the questions. Listen to what they say and adjust your questions so you are not leading the answers by how you ask the question.

Plan on having 10-15 questions of varying lengths and topic areas. Focus on scenes, characters, emotions, thought processes, outcomes, metaphorical references, and time periods. Try to stay away from educationy-sounding questions -- you don't want someone criticizing you for being too "didactic". (Which I hear a lot these days. It means "intending to instruct" -- which is kind of ironic, because it's usually people in the education field telling me this. How can something for an educational environment be not intended to instruct?... but I digress.)

EXTRA TIP: We now put a little seal on the back cover of the book that says "Includes discussion questions," and that helps schools, libraries and book clubs select your book over another one because you have made it easier for them to utilize your book in groups.

Discussion questions also do one more thing. They really help the group leader understand your thought process, and that helps them see the relevance of your book to their group.

(Oh yeah, have some fun doing this!)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 24

March 24 - Ask well-known authors or public figures who are relevant to your topic to endorse your book. This may seem like an impossible task, but really all you need to do is ask -- you never know what they'll say. It could be yes (more often than you can imagine)! You might be met with resistance sometimes -- maybe they'll tell you that they don't want to put their name on a competing product, but just kindly remind them that they are putting their name out there again as well -- you'll simply be supporting each other for the same cause.

When do you have enough endorsements and testimonials? Never. Never stop asking for feedback (which is what an endorsement is).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 23

March 23 - Price your Kindle book competitively and carefully, so you can make a decent profit. I see a lot of Kindle books priced above $9.99; but guess what, your sales are probably affected more adversely in the Kindle world than in any other distribution channel by price. When your book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, your percentage royalty is 70%. Pretty much outside of that, you make 35%.  

Basic math, you price your book at $9.95, you make $6.97. 
You price your book at $19.95, you make $6.99. 

There are some other caveats on which you must educate yourself, but for nearly all books, this pricing is true. As always, do your research to make sure the size of your book fits the specs, and your distribution plan is in line with their requirements.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 22

March 22 - Only a few years ago, it was atypical for a company not to have a website.  Back then, if a company was not on the web, customers might still have found them through more traditional methods and may have opted not to hire them, worried that they might be behind the times a bit. Even now, who wants to hire a company that can’t even get a webpage pulled together?  (Personally, we think GoDaddy has the easiest platform on which to build simple websites.)
Today, however, the same goes for a professional Facebook page. That is the first place many people will go now to check you out, and some companies have even gotten rid of their websites and replaced them with Facebook pages. They’re free (for now), so why not?  Facebook pages are super easy to update, and if you want a quick promo or announcement of an appearance -- presto!  It's up in seconds and out to your fan base.   (Don't have a fan base yet? That's another post.)
Oh.... and if you have a website, by golly, make sure to link it to your Facebook page! You’ve got to be where your customers are looking for you and the services you offer.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 21

March 21 - Call your local business paper and tell them about your book and your platform and why you should be considered an expert in the topic area of your book. Pitch a story idea to them. Make it short and sweet, relevant and helpful. Once you get an article about your book (or you) printed in a publication, you have something on which to start building your platform and publicity portfolio. Save a copy of everything. Ask the publication if you can link to the article. If you reprint the piece, make sure you get permission and pay the fee to the paper. Don't "Do first and ask forgiveness later." 

Key - Start small, but start somewhere!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 20

March 20 - Re-read your book cover to cover. Know the contents. I'm always amazed at how surprised people are with their own book after it's been out there for a few months or a year.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 19

March 19 - Sell direct to your consumer whenever possible. Sales that go through bookstores, distributors, retailers, wholesalers, etc., always have fingers in your profits. Participate in events where the consumer is right there so you don't have to worry about paying anyone else from those profits.

Craft fairs, art shows, museum events, trade shows, exhibits, book fairs, vendor fairs, wine tastings -- do what fits with your book and charge a rounded amount for your book. If your book is $17.95, offer it at the event for $15 -- but don't cut too much off. 

Have fun -- stand up and engage people. DO NOT sit in your booth and read a book in the corner and expect sales! (In fact, we don't even put chairs in our booths.)

Sell direct hand to hand every time you can too. When someone tells you "I went into the book store the other day and they said they don't have your book!", say "Good, thank you for looking for my book. I happen to have one in my car. I'll get it for you and even sign it. It's $20, and that includes tax."  (Don't forget to figure out what tax is due when you do this.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 18

March 18 - Create a printed Terms and Policies statement outlining how you will go about the sale of your books. What is it? It's a one page form stating your business policies and sales terms, including the following:
  • Your logo, phone, fax, email and address
  • Desk copy policy (For books that may be used by schools or organizations)
  • Your discounts for different types of distribution channels (Bookstore, specialty retailer, library, catalog, distributor, wholesale, association, etc.), and different quantities (for example, Bookstores --1 to 200 copies-40% discount, 201 to 500 copies-42%, and so on.) If you have a distributor with an exclusive agreement, you need to include that information.
  • Consignment Policy or "Guaranteed Return" Policy (do you accept returns)
  • Return policy (how to return items)
  • Shipping terms
  • Payment terms 
  • Ordering information
  • Barcode and book cover
If you don't have your terms and policies in black and white, expect to negotiate terms on the fly (and then have to remember and enforce those ever evolving policies). Actually, you'll protect yourself legally too -- you can't offer one reseller a deal and not offer that same deal to the next reseller, giving the first a competitive advantage.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Small Press Month - Tip # 17

March 17 - Use your business card as your main marketing piece. There is no other marketing piece that has the staying power of the business card. It is cost effective, durable, easy to use, and I believe it has one key feature -- "keepability". Hand a business card to someone and they put it in their purse or wallet and will keep it indefinitely. Hand them a tri-fold brochure that costs three times as much and it gets tossed in the nearest trash can when you are out of sight.

  • Make your card two sided -- don't waste the real estate on the back of that card!
  • Spend a little extra money for full-color on both sides.
  • Side one: Include your company logo, your name and title, phone number, email, website. Don't put your home address on this piece - use a PO Box or a business address.
  • Side two: Include the front cover of your book, ISBN, price, binding, release date, and how to order.
As soon as you have a logo and a book cover, design your business card and get it printed. Start using them immediately! Keep a stack with you all the time, and keep a box in your glove compartment, purse, and laptop bag. Don't hold back in handing these puppies out, people keep them and they use them.

My goal is to use 1000 cards every three months. If you aren't handing out that many, you need to get out more!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Small Press Month, Tip # 16

March 16 - Start marketing early. Don't wait until you have books in your hands to start building a following for your book. Keeping your book a secret is not going to protect you -- in fact it is the most dangerous thing you can do. There is little risk to most authors of someone stealing your idea - everyone wants to write their own book with their own idea.

People aren't going to just line up when your book comes off the press -- you have to get their attention and their buy in. Make it a book they anticipate and look forward to. 

If you are doing non-fiction or children's books, it's not too early to start chatting up your upcoming book 12 to 18 months prior to your book coming out. 

If you are self publishing fiction, start building social media and other vehicles 8 months to 2 years ahead ahead of it's publication.

Actively market during this time. You can't get the time before your publication date back. Once the book is out, it's out!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Small Press Month, Tip # 15

March 15 - Create a lecture or short talk about your topic and call venues to ask if you can give the lecture.  Make sure you are giving your audience some value -- not just blabbing about your book, and that "everyone who has read it says they could not put it down." Audiences won't want to see that, and you are more likely to turn off a sale than turn it on.
  • Carefully craft your talk, so that it gives them information about your topic, but makes them want to read more by buying your book. 
  • Give them something they can't get anywhere other than at one of your talks. 
  • Call libraries, retirement centers, universities, groups, chamber of commerce offices, historical societies (whatever is appropriate for your particular book) within a radius of where you might like to travel to give your talk.
  • Ask the organizer how long they want you to speak and who will be in the audience. If they give you 20 minutes -- strictly adhere to that, as they probably have other plans or more knowledge about the activities that day than you do.
  • Reserve your spot for a speaking opportunity at least two months in advance to give them time to promote and build excitement.
  • Show up on time and be prepared.
Have fun!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Small Press Month, Tip # 14

March 14 - Do a direct marketing profile study of your target reader. Call or email a few people who are in your target audience and ask them to save their physical direct mail, catalogs, magazines and other material they commonly read or refer to for two months (longer if they will do it).  Also ask them to forward you any blogs, listserves, websites, Yahoo! or MeetUp Groups, or emails they receive from other marketers about the subject -- make sure they understand that you want emails that target the part of their profile that matches your book (in other words, ask them not to forward spam). HINT: You are likely one of these people, so save your materials for this study too!  (Make this easy for them and don't bug them too much - just give them a paper sack and thank them each week for remembering to save their stuff for you.)

EXAMPLE: Your book is about the history of toy trains. You probably are an enthusiast or you would not have cared enough to write the book. A fellow train enthusiast is also a business owner with three children, a house, recent experiences purchasing online, two cars, an eclectic art collection, a yearly vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in addition to his fascination with toy trains. This guy probably gets a lot of mail and email. You want to see everything he receives related to his hobbies in any way. Sometimes they aren't overtly direct, and you want those too, because this is what your profiled reader is trusting for information. 
What you gain from looking at this material is an understanding of your target reader, but also the messages that work and don't work, price points, trends and marketing strategies.  It also gives you insight into experts for future endorsements, marketing budgets of competitors, and collaborations and partnerships. All very valuable to a person marketing a product to the same audience -- like you!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Small Press Month, Tip # 13

March 13 - Enter your book in award programs. The worst thing that can happen is the judges, who are usually appointed because they specialize in a specific genre or sales channel, will see and have to read and examine your book. A nice thing that happens is that the judge loves the book, provides excellent feedback, is a librarian at a large library system and places an order. The best thing to happen is all of the above, plus the award organizer sends out press releases of their winners, buys ads to celebrate their competition and markets the heck out of winners and finalists for that season. Really, no bad things happen.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Small Press Month, Tip # 12

March 12 - Watch for news events and be ready to act. Keep a press kit handy at all times for a quick reaction to items that appear in the news, like announcements about new research related to your topic, or watch for ties between you and people that might influence sales of your book. Put your topic area in Google Alerts for up to the minute postings, and watch for upcoming stories and other postings. Send a press kit out to the person that reported the story, or the organization mentioned in the story AS SOON AS POSSIBLE -- that day if you can. Make yourself available to answer any questions that might arise.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Small Press Month, Tip # 11

March 11 - When publishing your book, figure in the costs of marketing for at least a year - two or three is even better. Leave some real money for marketing. This weekend, take a couple hours to write a plan for you and your book that includes all the regular elements of a business plan:
  1. Finance and cash flow
  2. Production and manufacturing
  3. Sales, order fulfillment and distribution strategy
  4. Publicity
  5. Marketing
  6. Visibility
Money being only one factor, evaluate if you can support your book and your projects for at least three years through your energy, creativity and resources. You might find that if you consider your vast selection of publishing models, one may stick out as a more viable option for you personally. Ask yourself: Is this a hobby or a pet project, or does it have a good size niche market? If your book is just for you and your family, or just a hobby, make sure you plan accordingly for that, too. Planning will keep you from changing your mindset midstream, and that will help you control costs and start off on the right foot from the beginning. 

When that beautiful book is handed to you for the first time, it's tempting to throw your plans out the window and change course right there. I've seen it happen many times! Stay on course and make sure your brain is segmented into two parts: One side that can celebrate the excitement of having your creative work in tangible, printed form and the other side that should be counting beans for everyday good business decisions.
Have fun!  Plan AND share your story.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Small Press Month, Tip # 10

March 10 - Professionalism. Have a professional editor proof your book, your promotional materials, your letters and even your emails before you send them out en masse. What? You don't think this is part of promoting your book? Think again. Marketing materials and books sent out riddled with errors have the opposite effect of whatever you are trying to achieve.

I recommend against employing editors who were/are your former high school English teacher, spouse, or people with whom you share DNA. They are likely not qualified--nor are they trained--in marketing, publishing, or your specific subject matter. And even though you are saying to yourself (I heard you all the way over here) "She/he would be brutally honest with me," they won't, and can't, give you the best advice you need for your book. Hire a book professional to edit your book. Hire an editor, marketing professional, or production manager to proof your marketing materials. Read emails out loud to yourself (I mean it! It works!).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Small Press Month, Tip # 9

March 9 - Market your book to your special interest groups. Who is specifically interested in your book?  I've got news for some of you... "Everybody" is not a person and they are not easy to find and persuade. On the other side of the coin, YOU are one of "Everybody"... Do YOU buy "Everybody" else's books?

Identify your audience. Develop your products to serve the needs of your audience. Focus your efforts on them (like a laser beam). Aim your message at that characteristic of your audience that your product fills, and keep firing messages at them over and over. Frequency pays off.

Most non-fiction books, children's books and a lot of theme fiction books have a specific audience that IS reachable. Do you know who they are? (Hint, you are probably one of them.) Can you find them easily? 

For example, is there an association or society that is specifically related to your topic area? Look at the Encyclopedia of Associations. I always find interesting little tidbits within the pages, but here are my most important words of advice:
  • Don't pigeon hole your search. Cast a wide net and you will find the most ideas.
  • Give yourself a good amount of time to go through and read what the associations do and what is their main focus.
  • Make sure they have multiple locations or affiliations, so you have more than one place with which to target your promotion.
  • Use your library's reference desk like they are your best friends. (There is an online version of the EA, but I really like the books best.)
  • Rinse and Repeat often.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Small Press Month, Tip # 8

March 8 - Update your email signature. Change it now to indicate your book title, any awards you might have won (or even been a finalist for), a short (and I mean short) description of what your book is about OR who would love it. Be sure to have your website, your email, how to order, and any other contact information you are willing to share included in your signature.


Anne Fuller
Fuller Minds, LLC
Author of Belle Boy: A Sister in the Rebel Ranks.... How far would you go for your loved ones?
Nominated for the 2011 Montaigne Medal for the most thought-provoking book of the year.
Available from Amazon and your local bookstore.

Small Press Month, Tip # 7

March 7 - If your titles are set up for sale through Amazon Advantage, make sure you take advantage (no pun intended) of all of their bells and whistles, including their Search Inside feature. It's a great way to allow people to search within your book to get to know it a little better before making a purchase. No need to worry about potential customers reading the entire book online and then not buying it -- this feature only allows viewers to see the front and back covers, as well as the first few interior pages. It's well worth your time to set this up, and it's free!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Small Press Month, Post # 6

March 6 - Create a sell-sheet (some call it a bibliographic data sheet, tip sheet, one-sheet).  Make sure you have information included that not only shows that you understand the industry, but that gives a buyer vital information about you and your book. If you have market information about the topic area that may spur sales later, mention it. (i.e. pending legislation, a controversial pending research study, forthcoming books that contradict yours, etc.) Your one-page sell sheet should include:
  • Your book cover
  • Your title and subtitle
  • Complete description highlighting reader benefits
  • Author bio and picture
  • Marketing summary and audience information
  • Endorsements, reviews, awards
  • Book metadata: ISBN, Pub Date, BISAC category, page count, features (pictures, index, resources, etc.)
  • Distributors/wholesalers
  • Your contact information - phone, website, email
  • Ordering information
Some experts recommend including competitive titles and their sales information.  If you know facts about this, share them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Small Press Month, Post # 5

March 5 - Send your book to your state's film commission. They are often looking for reference material, sites and other information for producers and film crews -- you never know what might catch their attention!  This is not for possible film rights... this is to sell lots of books when a film is being shot in or near an area mentioned in your book. (I've made nice clean sales of 500 books to film companies this way!)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Small Press Month, Post # 4

March 4 - Participate in silent auctions. Don't just donate a signed book -- put something related to your book with it. For example, when we donate the collection of books for a former war correspondent, we partner with a local restaurant and make the auction item "Lunch for two with John Hlavacek" or for our Las Vegas Mafia expert we call it "Cocktails and Mob Stories for you and three friends with Steve Fischer."  It's worth more to the auction if it is not just a bunch of books, and it gets your name out there with a little mystique.

Watch for events everywhere (should be 4-8 weeks away so you can be in the program), and do deliberate searches too. Google the words "Silent Auction" along with the topic, town and a month at least 1-4 months away. For example, my search today was "silent auction" teachers Orlando May 2011. Weed through your results, and you'll find ads for events that include silent auctions. Simply email the coordinator listed on their event information with your auction item, a snappy description and a value.

Yes, it's a little work, but lots of people will see your book during the auction, it will be in the program for the event as an auction item, you can tell your story to the winner AND you are helping a cause. Take pictures and post them on your social media sites. Remember though, the buyer is looking to be entertained, not bored to tears! (Oh yeah, your donation is tax deductible!)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Small Press Month, Post # 3

March 3 - If you've written a memoir, family history, biography, autobiography, history book (even for historical fiction), or any other type of book that notes people, places or things related to a geographic area: send a copy to the historical society in any and all cities, counties or states you have mentioned. They will usually send you a letter telling you that the book has been officially entered into the historical records of that entity. Then in your marketing materials, make sure you mention that it is included in the historical collections of the state (or county or city).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Small Press Month, Post # 2

MARCH IS SMALL PRESS MONTH: Here are 30 days and 30 ways to promote your book:

March 2 - Create an "elevator speech." When someone asks you about your book, don't start with "Well, it's a long story..." An "elevator speech" is a sound bite that you can give quickly in the time it takes you to go from one floor to the next in an elevator! Make it clear and concise -- and short! And then SHHHH

Small Press Month, Post # 1

MARCH IS SMALL PRESS MONTH: What follows will be 30 days and 30 ways to promote your book during Small Press Month. Here's yesterday's:

March 1 - Make sure your Amazon product listing is up to date. You should have: Search Inside, an author page, reviews and testimonials, and a book video trailer (if possible).