Monday, December 1, 2014

Buy My Book!

"There are many different ways for promoting a new book. Which do you feel is the most effective?"

This is a harder question to answer than it might seem.

What format is the book and is there a publisher seriously supporting it? ? Hard cover from a major publisher? Trade paperback? Self-published? E-book only?

What about the author? Is it her first, or does she have a string of books under her belt? Is she well-known or seeking to build some name recognition?

What does the book have going for it? Is it getting lots of national buzz? Winning awards? Limping along at the margins? Is it part of a series or a stand-alone?

What research there is seems to show that connecting with the readers by personal contact (bookstore readings, fan conventions, library talks, etc) is a great way to promote a book. It’s clear that many readers want to know something about the author, to feel that they have some kind of bond that stretches beyond the page, and that’s lovely. But unless the author has a private plane or an unheard of publicity budget, there’s a limit to how many readers one can meet. So, the next best thing is that someone who did meet the author recommends the book to his friends, a kind of chain linking contacts between authors and readers.

If it’s a hard cover book, the bookseller and publisher are asking readers to pony up serious money, made more so by the advent of cheap or free e-books. And that’s another promotion tool that authors are discussing in online forums: giving or selling lots of copies (hundreds, thousands) in the hopes of creating demand for the author’s other books. For that to work, there need to be other books ready for the eager readers who, one hopes, got hooked on the teaser book.

There’s more – much more – that authors spend oodles of time chewing on, but I’ll leave that for other Minds to tackle all week.

- from Susan 
(author of Murder in the Abstract, The King's Jar, and (coming in the spring) Mixed Up with Murder - see, that's one way to promote books!)


Meredith Cole said...

Such a complicated issue, Susan! But you're right. Having readers tell other readers about your book is still the best way (but it's very hard for publishers to make it happen!).

Kristopher said...

Word of Mouth will always be the best way to sell a book. For that to work, you need lots of people to read the book.

I do think that fan conventions such as Bouchercon and Malice Domestic (for mystery/thriller) should not be overlooked. They provide a large number of targeted fans (unlike regular book signing events) and those who attend are often the frontline of promoting books they love.

RJ Harlick said...

You're dead on about an author needing to connect with readers, Susan. The author who is a master at connecting with her readers is Louise Penny. From the outset she strove to meet and charm her readers through store signings, conference attendance and daily missives. And look where it has got her.

Susan C Shea said...

R.J., you highlighted the most successful example of connecting with readers. Louise's warm, almost loving, relationship with everyone who comes within her beaming presence is certainly part of the incredible, loyal, and huge fan base she's built. Of course, writing good books is important!