Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why Don't We Throw Some Money at It! Like, 5 Bucks! (or, Book Marketing)

Last week, I got some very interesting responses to my post about the New York Times article on author advances. The point that seemed to stick out to people the most was this one:

I wish more agents pressed for marketing commitments than high advances.

You can follow the correspondence to see people have come down with valid arguments on either side of the issue. But I want to go ahead and point out some things we haven't talked about here yet.

I've done some soul-searching about practicing (as an author) what I preach (as an editor). Say, hypothetically, I were in the future to write a book and get a book deal. Honestly, if I were suddenly to be offered a huge book advance for my debut novel, would I turn it down? Umm. Turn down money? [Frantically checks credit card bills, etc, searches soul further, etc.] Probably not. I wouldn't turn it down. Ok. But let's revise the scenario a little. Say I get two offers, one of which is for a larger advance, the other of which is for a smaller advance but includes a marketing commitment. Now here I would think very, very seriously. After all, I don't want this to be the last book I write--I want it published well, to lay the groundwork for a brilliant future career.

So let's talk about this very sticky area of book marketing, and how you as an author can strategize with your agent to try to capitalize both on your publisher's abilities to come through and on your own (ostensibly limited) resources. There are ways! By "marketing," I mean specifically where money can be spent on your book to make it go as far as possible. I don't mean publicity, which is a different thing; publicity is free, but marketing often leads to publicity.

(Caveat: I'm assuming, going into this, that you are a dynamic and dedicated author, meaning you're willing to commit time and energy to marketing yourself. I don't mean you have to quit your job to do this or anything, but I do mean you have to throw yourself in. Please be one of those authors; they're my favorite.)

First, nothing, no amount of money or luck, guarantees publicity. Remember that Jesus, despite his professed connections to The Big Guy, didn't really get publicized until he was hundred of years dead. However, money and luck both make it much more likely that publicity will happen.

To cover their bases, publishers allocate a marketing budget for each title. In order not to go bankrupt, this budget is usually 5% of billing, meaning the company plans to spend 5% of the dollar value of what they anticipate shipping of that particular book. (The net worth is more than 5%, often much more, depending on the percentage of returns on a book, but that's a whole other story.)

Now it's generally agreed that the one thing that is far, far more important than anything else in the world in selling a book is that said book be present and available in bookstores. Bookstores cleverly figured this out awhile back, and now charge for the privilege of increased bookstore presence. This is called co-op. See the stacks of books on the "new fiction" table? Or the pretty Mother's Day endcap display on your local bookstore's aisle? All that placement is paid for by the publisher, and we compete for the honor of paying for those slots. There are so many books that want to be co-oped that vendors get to pick and choose.

Co-op costs an arm and a leg--on average, a dollar a copy. If you do some quick math, you'll see that co-op basically eats up the entire marketing budget for any given book. Yeah, unfortunate.

What publishers tend to do is "borrow" marketing budget from the books that aren't anticipated to "need" it, meaning books that won't score co-op. What YOU want is for your book to be one of the borrowers, not the borrowed from.

What this also means is the belt has already been tightened for marketing, and we haven't even started yet (although phew! at least we're available in bookstores). What is traditionally thought of as marketing--that is, ads, etc--are just way, way too expensive for book publishers. There are some exceptions, but generally, in the real world, ads are not even worth talking about. So let's think creatively.

I hope people don't get angry when I say an author advance helps the willing author commit to publicity on their own. Of course, you worked hard on your book and deserve to get paid for it. But a little investment back into the book on your part might make it have longer legs and make you more money in the long run. Nora Roberts, who one might say has a knack for making money in publishing, recommends authors recommit 1/10 their advance to their own marketing efforts. I like her number, although I'll say it varies on your specific scenario and the amount of your advance. But that's a good starting place.

What this means is that there are ways you, the author, can allocate money of your own to help the book as much as possible. But there are also ways that a little money spent by your publisher can go a long way. So do have your agent get on the phone with the publisher and ask for a marketing and publicity call with the entire team. Be forthright about what you're willing to put in, and also, be ballsy about asking for some reciprocal commitments. Squeaky wheel, etc. Knock, and the door shall, etc. You'd be surprised.

A couple specific ideas for opening up the conversation.

The Internets!! Does it sell books? It's hard to say. It certainly makes or breaks your presence as an author, although as of yet only about 5% of book sales happen online. In the meantime, it's still crucial to be accessible on the internet so people (and reviewers) can find information about you, follow your news, look up events if you have them, etc. (Preaching to the choir here--is there anyone reading this, ahem, blog who thinks the internet doesn't matter?!)

A little dinero down to make sure your web presence is accessible, pleasant, and fresh is worthwhile. This does not have to be much dinero at all, but probably even the cheapest routes are going to involve a couple hundred bucks changing hands (unless you're an HTML wizkid yourself). Alas, this one's on you. Your publisher is probably not going to offer to pay for your website, and if they do, they're going to want to put it under their own domain name so they can control content, which frankly isn't as much fun for you or your fans.

But for marketing online, your publisher also has a number of options for complementing your presense, ranging from very cheap to rather costly. For amounts of around a grand a piece, there are book club servers like bookreporter.com, which helps target book clubs around the country by providing newsletters, reviews, and reader guides to make books more accessible. There are also industry-targeted newsletters that essentially act as internet coop, and author write-ups that are distributed to indie booksellers around the country. These are internet options that might contribute to mainstream store placement.

The book tour! So about that old adage that the author tour is basically useless--it's totally, perfectly true. It's also totally, perfectly untrue. You just have to do it right.

First, as an author, you hopefully have a community (you've joined facebook already, right? that will really help you figure out where, geographically, your friends are). You should "tour" the places that would automatically love to have you no matter what--your local bookstore, library, and/or school, or the place where you grew up and where your parents/aunts/neighbors have 15 zillion friends who want to come pinch your cheek cuz you've done such a good job and gone and gotten your book published, wooja wooja. Don't underestimate the power of proud relatives/neighbors. They should be mobilized. Should your publisher pay to fly you there? No. That's a waste of money that would be better spent elsewhere. But they sure as heck can help you coordinate your next family visit, or your next vacation to wherever, to see if they can't hook you up with an event that's relevant or will sell books. You can't always score an event, but if your publisher realizes you're not asking them to shell out to take you somewhere, you'll be surprised at how many strings they can suddenly pull.

To be noted about events: you must (must must must must must must) be prepared for the possibility that not a single person will show up. That's why it's best to plan events in places where you have at least a modest fan base, or some kind of occasion at which to speak on whatever your topic is. If you accept that going in, any actual book sales will be gravy. Also, reinforcing community participation makes you beloved, and don't underestimate how powerful grassrootsism and communityism can be. So converse with your publist about this.

Also, it's nice to remember that book tours need not involve your entire corporeal self. You may also astroproject your spirit! Or just your voice, for example. Your publisher can choose to cough up for a radio satellite tour--which doesn't involve travel and silly hotel and air expenses, but there is a small chunk of change--usually about three thousand dollars--associated with booking these events. Radio is rather a big expenditure, especially since it may lead to zero book sales, but this is often a commitment worth fighting for. The reason? Tape. Tape of a teensy radio show--you in an awesome interview--might inspire bigger radio shows to pick you up, and heck, maybe that will lead to TV or other media commitments. And not that it necessarily makes sense, but... TV sells books. Yes it does.

I suppose I've written enough for today. But I wanted to get the conversation started. May we all journey together toward better and more cooperative publishing.

42 comments:

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Wow, I'm firsties?

I think you're right on all counts. One thing I've heard of lately is simply driving around, as far as your beater will take you, and signing stock. Go in, meet the manager of the bookstore, buy a coffee, shake hands all around. I've heard signed books are less likely to be returned and more likely to be endcapped. Thoughts?

Amber Lough said...

Good to know! You deserve that 7K for writing this post, btw.

jimnduncan said...

Man, this is a hard one. It's not an area I have much knowledge in at all, since I'm yet to be published. I suppose it would depend (doesn't it always?) on what sort of advance we were talking about, and what exactly the publisher would be willing to do with sacrificed advance money. The good marketing stuff is expensive. This is basically saying that you are willing to turn over part of your paycheck to hire the publisher as your marketing person. Would the money be better spent on hiring a publicist? These can be spendy too from what I've seen. The co-op thing sounds like the biggest marketing aspect the publisher brings to the table. Am I wrong? Would I forego a chunk of advance money to ensure some co-op? I honestly don't know. Probably? Are we talking about giving up 20k out of a 25k advance? Is there some cutoff point where giving up advance money to the publisher just isn't worth it, say if your advance is under 10k? I just don't have enough information to make any kind of informed decision on this.

moonrat said...

Sex Scenes--absolutely. I mean, all that co-op is set by the national franchise, but I've worked in a bookstore (and for a long time), so I know how things really work. If the staff know and like you, they're likely to slip your book onto an empty endcap. They're also likely to push your stock with customers. Seriously, grassroots loyalty--a real thing.

Kristan said...

Wow! Long, but really, really informative post. Thank you! I'm glad I took the time to read it. And I adore Nora Roberts - she's part of the reason I hate when people say genre fiction is crap - so I'm all about following her advice. And you're right, maybe we shouldn't just scream "ADVANCES = EVIL!" - because we're free to spend that money ourselves on marketing!

(Wow, lots of !s... Sorry!)

JES said...

Such level-headed, comprehensive advice. Thanks!

I really hope someday to have a contract with a Wooja Wooja clause. I'd even sacrifice part of an advance to get that.

acpaul said...

I think that I would far rather have the money that would have been an advanced used for marketing instead, at least on the first book.

I didn't write the book with the expectation of making a lot of money from it, and I have a day job that pays tolerably well.

What I want is a second career as a writer. That means my first book has to do well enough that I can sell the second one, and the third.

Money spent in marketing gets the book out there and seen. If I had to, I would personally mail copies of my book to reviewers who specialize in my genre.

After that first book, if it's marketed well enough that the publisher buys the second book, then maybe you can look at the larger advance.

Just some random thoughts from another unpublished author.

Tyler said...

Awesome post, thank you for taking the time to write this all out.

This is interesting, I always assumed those books houses gave big advances to would be the same books they spent more money on to market. I figure since they've already made the big investment, they might as well go all out so that they'll earn their advance back and then some.

Sooki Scott said...

Amazing post. Did I say amazing? I meant fabulous--brilliant.

I've been combing blog after blog for just this information. Talk about luck and timing. Thanks so much.

Confucius says, "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

Jo said...

Thank you, Thank you for this! Once I was on the other side of the fence- the big record executive shelling out the moola for marketing- so I totally appreciate and understand the value of supporting your artist/writer- CD/book with marketing dollars. I too would have a hard time turning down a big advance however I would if it meant there was no money left to market the book. I used to tell my music groups: you can make the best album in the world but if no one ever hears it, it won't mean a thing. I'm totally down too with contributing what I can to my book's visibility. Readings, signings, workshops, interviews, whatever...I'm there. After my book was published I decided to always say 'yes' to whatever request came my way.

Charles Gramlich said...

About what I was thinking on the subject. Glad I'm not that far off.

clindsay said...

Something to consider here is this (coming from another publishing type): A publisher may commit X number of dollars during the negotiations for your book, but unless that dollar figure actually makes it into your contract, your promised marketing dollars have a very good chance of going away, especially during the fourth quarter, when budgets are tight and publishers are starting to scramble to cut costs to make their end of year budgets.

Every span (approx. 3 months), publishers reevaluate their budgets. Some publishers call these slash and burn meetings. S&B meetings were the ones that we, as marketing & publicity folks, most dreaded, because it meant that cities got cut off bookstore tours or tours were canceled altogether, etc.

So make sure that the dollar amount is actually in the final contract and non-negotiable.

=)

Colleen

Kim Kasch said...

Money...?
Marketing...?

Marketing...Money?...

I think they go together like
Peanut butter and ....
jelly

coffee and . . .
cream
:)

BuffySquirrel said...

Do I really have to go back to where I grew up? I honestly thought I'd put all that behind me....

joshua said...

i think that as an author arming yourself with as much knowledge of the publishing industry probably pays off in spades when it comes to marketing yourself.

it just makes sense. now, my question is this: what role does your agent play in all of this?

- josh

Pamala Knight said...

That was an awesome post. You've laid out the strategy clearly and with alternatives, which is always key in any successful campaign. I also want to congratulate you for explaining the difference between co-op dollars and marketing budget because there is a huge difference.

So, let's hope that once we all become part of the Professionally Printed (with our very own Robert the Publisher thrown in for good measure), we'll be able to whip out a copy of this post to guide us in the murky waters.

Thanks.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Thank you for such a great post! I'm still digesting it.

Breanna said...

Really nice post on an important topic. I think that no matter how a book is published (self, indie press, or Big Time Publisher), authors should always expect to invest their own time/resources into marketing it.

One question I have: where did you get the 5% statistic for online book sales? I've seen percentages ranging up to 10%, but then, stats in the publishing world are never absolute. :)

Anonymous said...

I've noticed there are many - many - blog posts about marketing/pr/advances, etc.

However, this post stands out: it synthesizes all that information and opionating more effectivel than any other I've read or come across.

Pointing out the variables of a marketing budget i.e., a dollar per unit and "borrowing" (from Nora to push Grafton) are two facts I didn't know. Congrats, MoonRat, you're now also a citizen journalist - who knew?

The bullet point list that follows is excellent, too. Esp. what you point out about book tours. I was recently in residence at an artist's colony and after I left, stayed in NYC for a week - met with my agent and a beloved writing teacher, visited the Strand and went to hear Cloris Leachman (crazy as a fox) read at Barnes and Nobel.

The sum of that experience brought into focus all points of my publishing experiencd: the teacher who opened me up to the notion of "voice" (I'd been writing, doggedly, in third person but then, when I switched over to first, everything fell into place), the agent who took me on the basis of the book that I wrote in that class (a ten week university extension course).

Cloris Leachman's reading / performance brought home the value of publicity / marketing: the publisher has, to their credit, sent her on tour but it's what she does - sang, danced, badgered ("Have you bought my book?" she asked one side of the audience. "NO?" she replied, turning away. "Then I'm not talking to you."), told stories, answered questions and then, finally, played several concert quality pieces on a stand up piano. And guess what? Crowds lined up, copies (plural) in hand, to get her autograph. And she signed every single one one of them.

I saw the marketing budget right there - the cost of (setting up the event, publicizing it, getting her and her entourage there) and the value which all came from her willingness to engage the audience who'd schlepped from all points of the tri-state area to the Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Center.

So when I read about (theoretical) marketing budgets - and book tours - I think about what the writer/author/personality brings to that experience. If you're a dud, who cares? All the money in the world can be thrown at something but it's not going to compell people to buy your book.

Lastly, I'd mentioned The Strand. It is, for readers who don't know or haven't experienced it, basically a giant, three (four, possibly) story warehouse filled with books. Acres of books: advance reader copies, new hardbooks, slightly damaged paperbacks. Basically, Amazon in a physical setting. It SMELLS like books. It's a book addict's worst nightmare/biggest fantasy come to life.

I always make of point of going there and hitting my favorite sections (the front tables, the fiction aisles, the upstairs YA section and the basement review copy bins). This time, what The Strand made me realize was that I was, in a sense, inside the book business. This is how, on the most basic level, people buy books (see, writing teacher, agent, book tour): we browse, we ponder, we take our purchases to the counter and acquire a stack, spinal injuries and twisted ankles on travel be damned (do I buy the lighter but more expensive paperback Hotel de Dream by Edmund White or the less expensive but beautifully bound hardcover? The latter, natch.)

For me, The Strand became the end point mecca for all these discussions and blogs and advice. A harbinger of where, hopefully, my book (out on submission) will eventually find itself, at the end of a very long tail.

The Strand however, wasn't the "that's all there is" moment I'd thought. On the bus (there's something called the Carey Limo from Grand Central: a comfy bus I'd encourage anyone leaving NYC to take) to Kennedy, I sat in front of a couple travelling to Spain and talking about ... books. I couldn't help but overhear him describe a recent book event at the Westbeth Center, comparing it to his extraordinary efforts to get author blurbs. On the latter, he said, "I don't know if I sold two copies for all the time I put into getting those blurbs." On the former he observed, "There's nothing like a book tour. If you have people who are interested in your book, they'll come out and buy books." He went onto the described how a seventy seat room was nearly filled with people eager to hear the author read and ... buy her book. He said, finally, and this is what has stayed with me ever since, "It all comes down to word of mouth."

Great post, MoonRat. I've bookmarked your blog.

Anna Claire said...

Your blog is freakin' awesome, Moonie. I read your blog at work (shhh) so I e-mail myself links to your advice posts and label them in gmail so I can go back and reread one day when my situation applies...fingers crossed that one day I'll have a book that needs marketing so I can come back to this post!

You've given us concise, relevant, easy-to-grasp information, as always. Thanks :)

Maureen McGowan said...

Fabulous post, Moonrat!

But I've heard lots of authors say that it's not really possible to get any like a legal commitment from publishers re marketing when they're negotiating the deal... And have heard stories about the house promising lots or marketing to win the book at auction, and then not following through.

As you said, publishers have to compete for the co-op spots so can't guarantee them.

Can an author really get a firm commitment re marketing in a contract?

If yes, I totally agree that's more important than a huge advance. (For anyone wanting to publish more than one or two books.)

Mr. Snark said...

Mooncat:

Here's something I've done on my own.

I created hoax web sites for the fictional companies in my novel. There's some decent traffic, wikipedia pages and a few discussion threads where people tussle about whether or not "this thing is for real". One site even lets you apply for a job using a big long annoying corporate application form, capping it all off with the traditional "thank you for your application" response e-mail. Cruel in these uncertain times, I know.

Nowhere on these sites do I mention that they were created to promote a book. First off, it isn't a book yet. It's just a manuscript. Second, I'm not really sure where an author's efforts to promote a book cross over from helpful into overzealous. I can see PR types bristling at the idea of some presumptuous author going rogue, but I've also heard that publishers like authors who can handle a lot of the PR on their own.

My question for you is whether or not my approach strikes you as a good thing and if so, when is the right time in the submission process to let people like agents and editors know about it. I hesitate to include any reference of it in queries, because it might come across as presumptuous. My thought is to pitch the story and prove I can write before getting into all that.

What do you think?

Melanie Avila said...

Great information here, thanks!

Mark Bloomfield said...

There is no marketing in book publishing! Publishers have a privileged relationship with retailers and media - and even that is eroding quickly. Authors have a privileged relationship with the reader. What that means is that the publisher is responsible for the sell-in to stores and retail BUT authors need to 'own' the responsibility for sell through. No ad, no endorsement, no jacket design will make anyone buy a book. People buy books because their friends tell them to! People buy books to give to other people to relate to them. So - yes - 'marketing' yourself, authors (or, as I prefer to say - motivating your fans to become advocates for your books and giving them the tools to do that) is the name of the game.

Anita said...

I write a book recommendation column for my local paper and I get soooo many people tell me they've bought books based on my recommendations. When authors write to me, I check the local library to see if their book is there. If it is, I check it out. Otherwise, they can send me a book. (Or if the book sounds completely awesome, I'll buy it myself). This is a great PR piece...not quite the same as spending marketing $s, but an avenue I think authors should consider when putting together a plan.

Samantha Clark said...

Great post, Moonrat. Thanks for all the info. Good thoughts for authors at all stages. I've linked to this from my blog.

moonrat said...

Maureen--yes! An author can get a firm marketing agreement as part of a contract negotiation. However, publishers are very, very cagey about letting these happen, for all the various reasons discussed. Obviously, the more competitive a bidding war is going on, the more likely one of the publishers is to cave. The "problem" is that advance money is (in theory) recoupable, since the author has to earn it back with royalties, whereas marketing dollars are expenditure out the door with no compensation.

I think this is a little short-sighted, since a book is more likely to make a publisher money if some money is put down on it. That said, these are two different kinds of risks, and publishers are more used to one kind than the other. We just have to ease them out of that habit.

moonrat said...

Mr Snark--all interesting and creative ideas. It's great to see people thinking outside of the box.

As for time frame, I'm not sure I have a correct answer. But I'd say there's nothing wrong with sharing everything with a potential agent at any point. The challenge is picking the perfect moment when all your ideas are coalescing.

Pamela Turner said...

This is very, very helpful. I'm planning to sink a good deal of my novel's advance (should I, um, sell it) into marketing in the hopes of getting to that tipping point where I don't HAVE to sell it. Bravo, Moon Rat!

Lee Wind said...

From another industry entirely came a great piece of advice: When doing a store visit and no one shows up, take it as an opportunity to really win over the STAFF working there. Each one of them will become your biggest fan, and by proxy, connect with the customers who will come to the store LONG after you've left. I almost think THAT'S more important than how many people show up, because they'll be hand-selling your stuff 'cause you're so awesome and they feel they like you!
Okay, haven't done this in the real world yet, but the theory works for me!
Love this advice,
Namaste,
Lee

Robin L said...

I am coming very late to this party, but I wanted to say how incredibly helpful and clarifying this was! Thanks for taking the time to explain how this all works!

Mike Lindgren said...

Astonishingly incisive and informative post. You're amazing, Moonrat.

moonrat said...

Mike, Robin--thanks! yay!

Lee--SUCH good advice. I worked at a bookstore for 5 years, and I can't tell you how much a hand-sell counts for. I forced my personal tastes on SO many people over those years. And a lot of readers do want suggestions, so buttering up booksellers is really not a bad idea on any count.

Christa said...

Excellent post as usual Moonrat!!

I've done quite a bit of thinking and reading on this topic. I have my own consulting company, so writing is a hobby that I hope to turn into a full-time career. I try and be realistic in that I'm not expecting to make millions, but enough to pay the bills and love what I do.

My understanding is that advances are just that, money given up-front against what is expected based on estimated sales. So, I don't view the advance as money given up for marketing. I do believe that you have to spend money to make money.

I decided last year that I would forego money in my pocket in the form of an advance. Instead, I would work with my agent and editor on the best route for making the most of that advance.

One scenario is going back to the publisher and accepting half of what they offered as an advance. The caveat being that they take their half and apply it to agreed upon marketing strategies. Then, my half would be put toward other venues the publisher won't be pursuing.

Some of the things I'm toying with are as follows:

AuthorBuzz
popular genre blogs
genre conventions
book tours*
website/blog**
genre book reviews***

*I am willing to do weekend travel to specific locations for signings. These would be set up by myself -- beyond what the publisher may do. I have already begun researching give-away items for book tours, basically trinkets specifically designed from my fantasy novel.

**I intend to hold lotteries on my site for free signed books and/or trinkets related to my fantasy novel. I will also arrange with the pulbisher to allow at least part of my novel available for free, via e-book form, on my site. An ideal scenario to me, would be to post the novel in full version, free for download, for a limited time (say 1 week after publishing date). I realize this will be difficult, if not impossible to achieve with the publisher. However, my rationale is that people who read it in soft copy and like it will not only buy it in hard-copy, but will readily tell others because most authors don't give their stuff away for free.

***I will research and send to genre based book reviews free copies as well some give-aways.

I do not plan on pocketing any money from the sale of my first novel. Instead, I intend to invest as much as I can in marketing the novel and getting my name and my novel's names in the minds of as many as possible. I intend to build a career, not sell a book. I think the investment in the first book will easily pay-off in books 2, 3, 4, etc.

I intend to market each book, but I fully expect most of the effort to be given to the first one for obvious reasons.

Vacuum Queen said...

And if there's an illustrator involved...for half the book obviously...do we expect that they are also marketing to their friends/family and beyond? Do we cross our fingers that they are doing the book justice?

moonrat said...

Vacuum Queen--I used to work at a Borders, and in the next town over lived a very well-respected but kind of midlist children's illustrator. He would pay us an in-store visit every couple of months, chat with the staff, etc. We sold HUNDREDS of his books. Basically he won us all over and we pedaled his stuff like crazy to every mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, babysitter... etc.

That said, illustrators are often contracted for-hire, no royalties, no particular concrete incentive in the commercial success of the books they illustrate. (If the artwork is beautiful, I guess the book doesn't need to be a bestseller; they still have it in their portfolio.) So I'm not sure you can necessarily count on them to be as energetic. But what do I know? (Very little about children's books, is the answer.)

Vacuum Queen said...

Moonrat...thanks for the info. It would sure be ideal to score a well known artist to go along with my story. I will dream that it will be that way. I thought I read on some pub site that the illustrators actually DO split the royalties. We'll see. Fine by me...Must get book picked up first. :)

Amber Argyle-Smith said...

I know you posted this a couple months ago, but it's exactly what I needed to hear.
Thanks!

moonrat said...

my pleasure!! i'm glad people are reading it :)

MJRose said...

Insteresting comments but your numbers are all off. 10% of new books are sold online with as much as 20% of all books sold online and 51% of readers saying they hear about books only online! So the internet is the place to market book and let people know they are out there. 76% of people get their news online and everyday that increases.

Services like mine (authorbuzz.com) are set up specificallly to let the people who buy and read and sell your book to hear about it for reasonable prices. Even if your sales don't come from online sales -there is no more afforadable way to get the word out about books.

Rai said...

interested

Za said...

Good article. You might also look to Ursala Vernon, much of her success is luck, and the fact that she can make the most mundane thing hilariously absurd. She does like sex_scenes said, visiting local stores and signing books is a great idea. IIRC, she's also offered to do signings at local stores, just tell her when, and she also sells her books at conventions she attends (furry, and i think sci-fi, not sure on that last one). None of this really costs much, yes the conventions do, but at least in the furry one's, she's already planning on selling her art, so the book is just one more item to sell.

(I so need to learn to right better, that's one ugly block of text there, not that this tiny box makes it easy to judge)