Getting Your Self-Published Book in Stores and Libraries – Marketing for Authors

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One of the most thrilling things for an author is to see their book out in the wild. We dream of the day we walk into a store or library and there’s our book! We all like to say we write for the love of it, but let’s admit it, we’re all a bit vain and enjoy seeing our little book becoming famous. But how do you get your book into stores? Well, if you’re a traditionally published book, your publisher usually handles these things, but if you’re self-published than you are your own publisher. If you want a store to carry your book, you have to work for it.

Barnes and Noble:

The end goal is seeing our book sold in Barnes and Noble, but the thing is, it’s almost impossible to get into Barnes and Noble as an indie author. You can sell your book through their online store through expanded distribution on Createspace, but they usually won’t sell the book in stores. You can sometimes manage to do a book signing at Barnes and Noble, but it’s all about known the right people. It took me two years before Barnes and Noble finally let me come in for a signing. (Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to learn how to arrange a book signing at Barnes and Noble!)

Indie Book Stores:

Indie book stores are your best friend. They love doing events and signings and they will usually sell your book in stores as well. When you sell your book at an indie book store they will usually do it on consignment meaning you leave your book there and they’ll give it a certain amount of time to sell. When it sells they’ll give you a cut of the sale and possibly ask you to bring in more copies. (PS- always sell signed copies, they’ll sell a lot faster!)

The downside to selling through any bookstores is that they do get a pretty large cut. You’ll end up having to sell your book for a discounted rate for them to hold it in their store and they’ll get a cut of the sale at the discounted price. The bright side? Your book is in a store! The downside? You don’t really make money…

If you do bookstore consignment, here is the information you want to file away:

  • Bookstore’s name and address
  • Store owner’s name and contact information
  • Consignment contract (price and cut agreement)
  • Title and number of books left at the store
  • The date you dropped them off along with the date you will pick them up if they don’t sell.

Libraries 

It’s easy to get your book in libraries. Keeping in mind libraries are not for selling, they’re for reading, I always donate my books. I may not be making any money off of it, but I’m gaining readers, and that’s all that matters right?

You Can Get Your Book Anywhere

So here’s the exciting part. If you have expanded distribution through Createspace, than any bookstore will sell your book as long as someone requests it. Sad for us, they usually only buy the one copy that was requested, but someone still bought it! Book stories don’t order indie books because we usually come from a print on demand publisher. This means a book is only printed as it’s ordered. If a book store doesn’t sell a book, they send it back to the publisher, but if the publisher does print-on-demand, they can’t send it back. Which is why places like Barnes and Noble just don’t want to deal with books that come from publishers like Createspace.

 

Create an Author Website – Marketing for Authors

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It’s time for another marketing lesson! This is my third video in my Marketing for Authors series, so if you haven’t checked out the first video, The Basics, be sure to do that now.

Today we’re going to be talking about the thing every author needs, and that’s a website. Your website will be your home base. All roads (social media outlets) lead back to your website. Today I’m going to cover three things for you: finding a host for your website, creating a domain name, and what type of content you should be putting on your website.

Find a Website Host:

The first step when creating a website is choosing your website host. There are a lot of options for website hosts, but two I recommend most are WordPress and Wix. Wix is great for beginners but it’s very limited in what you can do. The website you’re on right now is a WordPress site. I love it because it’s still easy to use if you’re a beginner, but there’s a lot more tweaking you can do if you’d like. If you really know what you’re doing, you can also upgrade to WordPress.org (as opposed to WordPress.com) that let’s do use different plugins that make your options almost endless for your website. Both Wix and WordPress have a free version and paid version. The difference between free and paid is your domain.

Claim Your Domain Name:

Your domain is your website address. For this website it is mandilynn.com. If I had a free account through WordPress my domain name would be mandilynn.wordpress.com. That’s not very professional, right? Using a free domain name is fine when you’re first starting out, but when you become more serious about your career you’ll want to claim your own domain name. To do this you’ll have to find a third party to register your domain. I use GoDaddy, but I’ll admit that I’m not sure what the differences are between all the different website registrars are. When you’re choosing your domain name, make sure it’s something that will be easy to find when people search for you, such as your name. Don’t use your books in your domain name, because that means you’ll have to make a different website for each book. Keep it simple and use your name. If your name is common, throw in the word author.

Website Content:

Now that you’ve got your site up and running, what do you put on it? When I was designing my website for the first time I looked to other authors to see what their websites looked like. Here’s a list of what I think are must haves:

  • Blog feed and easy to find subscribe button (if you have a blog)
    • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to subscribe to a blog but been unable to find the subscribe button.
  • About you page
  • Social media
    • Have a list of everywhere you can be found on social media.
  • Book page with all info of each book you’ve written:
    • book cover
    • summary
    • links to buy
    • chapter excerpt
    • book trailer
  • Contact form 
    • Make sure people can get in contact with you easy. Start building bridges!
  • Events
    • Doing a book signing soon? List it on this page! I also like to make a log of all past events I’ve done. PS- I’m doing a book signing at the end of this month!

Here are some pages that are nice to have, but not totally necessary:

  • Press
    • Keep a log of everywhere you’ve appeared in the press (newspaper, TV, radio, blog interviews/guest posts). This is a great thing to have in your back pocket in case anyone ever asked about your media appearances.
  • Photos
    • Have any photos of book signings that you want to show off?
  • FAQ
    • This is a great place for people to get to know you more.

Overall, remember your website is a place for your author career. Be professional at all times. Inspired to start making your author website? Let me know!

Inspired to start making your author website? Let me know!

Finding Your Social Media Platform – Marketing for Authors

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Last week I talked about the marketing basics, but this week we’re going to delve a little bit deeper. In my last video/post, I said you needed three things: a product, a home, and a presence. Today we’ll be talking about creating your presence on social media.

Being Present:

Social media is a dream and a nightmare for marketing. On a bright side, it’s free! On the down side, you’ve got a lot of competition. These days everyone is on social media, which is good because that means there will be a look of eyes for you to catch. This key is figuring out how to make yourself present. To do that you’d think it means going on every social media site ever, right? No! Of course not! Do you realize how many social sites there are? Here’s a list:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Goodreads!

And that’s just a small sample. It’s impossible to be present on all these sites, and if you are, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin and you won’t get anywhere.

Finding Your Niche:

So now that you’ve realized there’s no way to be everywhere, it’s time to come to the realization that you have to choose just a small handful. If you’re a new author, start with three or four social sites. As you build your presence online, and you feel more confident, you can start posting on other social sites as well. PS- Goodreads is a must as an author (enroll in the Author Program!).

Where is Your Audience?

The whole point of being on social is so people will know who you are and know that your books exist, right? But what if you choose, say, LinkedIn, which is great, but you’re writing young adult. LinkedIn is typically an older demographic. You need the audience of your social accounts to match up to the audience of your books. If you write young adult, go where the younger audience is: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Really any of the social sites but LinkedIn.

Develop a Post Plan and Socialize!

So now you’ve got your social sites chosen, so upload your profile picture, write a short little bio, and let’s get going! The point of being on social media is to develop trust among your followers. Present yourself as someone they can come to, talk to, and rely on. This is a great place for you to post updates on your writing, what books you’re reading and your latest blog post. But you can also share other blog posts you may find helpful. Build relationships with other writers and share their work. Social media is a community. We are here for each other. If you share or re-tweet someone’s post, they may do the same for you.

Is There More?

Yes. There are loads more. THere’s a lot of tools and resources and ideas I have to share with you, but that’s for future posts, so subscribe and stick around!

Where am I?

Since I don’t consider myself a “new author,” I’m present on a lot more than just three or four sites. Here’s where you can find me: Goodreads, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn.

 

Marketing for Authors: The Basics

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A little while ago I was on Twitter and asked some of you if you’d be interested in some videos on marketing your novels and you guys screamed loud and clear, YES! So this will hopefully be the first of many videos/blog posts about book marketing.

Recently I’ve become more and more familiar with the in’s and out’s of the marketing world because I’ve acted as a marketing and PR intern at three different organizations, all of which had different ways of marketing. Through these internships, I’ve been able to accumulate a ton of ideas to help me market my novel, and while haven’t been able to implement them all just yet, I’m hoping to take you guys along for the ride as I do this.

I’ll be giving you a step-by-step guide to implementing different marketing ideas that I use for myself. Marketing is essential, traditionally published or self-published. You have to sell copies of your book somehow, and this is how you’re going to do it!

Today we’re giving to start off with the basics three things you’ll need before you start any marketing and that’s a product, a home, and a presence.

Develop a Product 

If you’re a writer, your product is your book, but sometimes your product can be other things as well, but I’ll get into that topic in future videos/blog posts. All the marketing that you do should revolve around your book. Every decision you make will be whether this will benefit your book. And course course you also want to ensure that book is well written. Don’t rush through writing your novel just to get it done and move onto the publishing stage. You can have great marketing but the novel won’t pick up unless it’s good.

Find a Home 

Create a website. This is your home base. Everything you do will be linked back to this. All social media accounts will go back to your website. You only have so many characters for a Twitter bio, so put the full bio on your website. If someone wants to contact you, make sure they can do it from your website. Your website should capture who you are as a writer and it should encourage the reader to buy your book. Make it easy for them to find information on you and your books. If you’re first starting out it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but as you grow as an author, make sure your website reflects that.

Create a Presence 

Social media! The free form of marketing! In order to sell books, you have to make sure people know you exist and the easiest way to do this is to be on social media. Now there will probably be a whole series of videos/blog posts about marketing with social media, but today keep this in mind: be professional, be relevant, be you.

Be the lookout for more marketing videos! If you’re looking forward to them, please let me know! Or better yet, let me know if you have a topic that you want to be covered!