A few words of questionable wisdom from author Al W Moe - you can leave questions on each blog or go to my profile for direct email.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Local Launch for Your Book Marketing

If you like movies you might have read that Walt Disney Pictures spent several hundred million dollars making The Lone Ranger. You also might have heard they spent $100 million marketing it. The film hasn't had $100 million in ticket sales yet.

I've seen several different styles of advertisements for the movie, some making the movie look more serious than the others, some pushing the idea that it might be a comedy, and the film has been pushed on TV talk shows, in advertisements, in magazines, billboards, and certainly on the Internet. So were did the marketing do wrong? Maybe it didn't.

There is every chance that if only $20 million had been spent on marketing the movie would only have grossed $40 million in sales instead of the $80 million it has achieved. What's the point? You have to have marketing to get the word out about any product, but there are three things that are true in book marketing:

  1. You have to balance your marketing between different media to get good coverage and attract readers from a wide spectrum of the population.
  2. You have to spend cautiously so you can actually bank some money from the sales you get after your initial push to tell the world about your latest work.
  3. No amount of marketing will sell a bad book.
Local Marketing

Unless you actually have a $100 million budget for marketing your latest book, consider starting with a local campaign. This will involve more of your time than your money, but the results can be quite extraordinary. And, books (and movies) sell because of word-of-mouth. If nobody knows about your book, how is anybody going to find it and buy it?

Your plan is to be on the phone and in your car every day for the next month. Can't commit? Don't expect to sell many copies. Follow this list of ten things to do and you'll get a great start on selling your book. I'm going to assume your book is available somewhere on the internet, Nook, Amazon, your own website (all, if possible), but even a book that comes out in softbound and is sold only locally can start well, but with no other sales outlets it will wither on the vine and die. You have to have a way for people out of your local area to buy your book!

  1. Call every radio station in town and tell them you are a local author with a new book and you want to bring in some copies for the DJ's and as giveaway's for the station's listeners. The promotions department or a sales associate may arrange for you to do an interview, probably over the phone, and you are on your way!
  2. Call every newspaper or print media outlet in town and tell them you just finished your book, you are a local author, you'd like to bring a copy to the entertainment or book reviewer. You might do this in person, but it's tough to catch these people actually at their desk!
  3. Go to every bookstore in a 100-mile radius and introduce yourself, maybe even buy a book, and bring a copy of your new book for the store owner or manager. And, ask about doing a book signing. The store may be willing to accommodate you, and it might even pitch-in to pay for part of a snappy ad in print that you use to announce your book signing. Nice posters that can go in the store's windows will help. When you do the signing, bring a friend who will stand by the table and talk with you, holding a copy of your book as though they just had it autographed - this greatly increases the chances that other people will stop by. People are a bit intimidated by meeting an author and don't want to be the center of attention when they stop to look.
  4. Talk with everyone you know at work or in your social circle. These people are your first link to book sales in other areas and in different groups. You may want to give away a dozen or more copies of your book to these people, and if you are lucky, you may be able to set-up a short talk about your book with a church group, gardening club, women's club - whomever you can connect with through your first circle of friends. This is a great chance to sell lots of books directly to buyers.
  5. If you have gotten some mentions on radio stations, in local print media (oh, maybe even TV news shows), you've gotten a great start on marketing your book locally. And, while you may have spent the bulk of your marketing dollars, you hit a wide spectrum of the population. Now, your book has to go to the next step on its own merits. If it is a good read, your friends, neighbors, and buyers from local book stores will spread the news about your book and new sales will come from outside your local area. Good for you!
You can accomplish all of these steps in just a month, and you can sell a good number of books, many at full retail price directly to buyers. That makes a big difference. I remember selling two cases (96 books) to a plumbing supply company because the owner's wife liked the story and she wanted to give the books away to their best customers. And, she insisted on paying full retail. Selling $1500 worth of books to a single buyer is a nice rush!  You can have similar success.

By the end of the month you want to make sure your book is easily found online, so new customers referred to your work can buy copies. For new authors it's tough to turn around and spend 50% or more of your earned income to start marketing in a new area (the internet), but that's the next step! Balance what you are earning and what you are spending. Although a book launch may lose money, you've got to start earning a profit after six or eight weeks, so start banking some of your income.

Your internet launch will probably include a free giveaway, especially if you go with Kindle and KDP. Don't worry, it's a good thing.

Thanks for reading - Al W Moe

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