Reposting for anyone who lives around San Antonio who might have missed it the first time.
You’ve spent weeks, months, maybe even years writing your book. You’ve revised and edited so it is polished. Your editor has torn it apart and made more changes. You’ve designed an awesome cover, written a compelling synopsis, composed your author bio, and have e-books and paperbacks ready to go on sale. So now what?
Marketing my book is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t know very much about this aspect of the writing business and wish now that I would have taken Marketing 101 in college. I have been soaking up advice from other authors to gain more knowledge and hopefully discover creative ways to accomplish this herculean task.
I learned a great deal from my first book signing event, which was during the San Antonio Indie Book Fest back in July. This book fest was beneficial in many ways. Aside from the experience this event offered, I also gained membership in the Texas Association of Authors and had the opportunity to meet and network with fellow writers to see how they go about marketing their books. The first thing I noticed the minute I walked in the door was all of the authors at this event had banners and posters and business cards and bookmarks to promote themselves and their books. I’m not one who likes to toot my own horn, so all of this was a bit overwhelming at first. Being the new kid on the block, many authors offered their advice and I left this event with a few valuable insights.
- Eye catching displays draw people in.
- Be accessible through social media.
- Give away free stuff.
- Think outside the box as far as book signings go. Check out holiday bazaars, church bazaars, and local library events.
- The more books you have published, the more books you will sell.
Since this book festival, I have invested in a banner, poster, and business cards, all of which are color coordinated and have information about my blog site, Facebook page, and Amazon author page. I have recently set up a Twitter account as well, and all of my social media sites are connected with each other. I follow several writing blogs and writing pages and am the member of four different social media writing groups.
Fellow authors and marketing experts post articles offering advice about book promotion, social media, and author’s platform. Since all of this marketing stuff is new to me, I heed the words of those who know more about it than I do. I’ve read many articles about this topic, and through my reading several things stood out.
- Be consistent. Use the same profile picture on each social media site. Post consistently and post similar content throughout.
- Promote other authors, like their pages, and follow their blogs. Contribute to the writing community.
- Don’t post the same thing 24/7. In other words, don’t shove your book in their face. Not only is that annoying, it also makes you look like an amateur. Focus on your followers and give them interesting content they will want to read.
- Connect with your followers, but be mindful that you will never keep up with every post, comment, or e-mail. Respond when appropriate and comment on things that interest you. As an author, you need to update your readers and followers regularly, but you should not be spending all of your time on social media. Your time should be dedicated to writing.
- You will not increase book sales by advertising through social media. Social media is a platform you use to sell yourself. If you sell yourself well, book sales will follow.
All of my social media sites contain similar content — I write, post, tweet, and share jokes, advice, quotes, and articles about writing and books. I share other things too but that it my theme, so to speak. On Twitter, I make it a point to retweet other authors and promote their books, websites, and blog pages for them. This has led to them doing the same for me. I am following other author’s Facebook pages, which has resulted in a few of them following mine. I’ve made many connections with fellow writers and authors and have gained advice from them. In return I have offered some of my insights and thoughts to them. As writers, we need to learn from and promote each other.
Book signings are a great promotion tool. They help you gain exposure and connect you to potential readers within the community. I recently set up my second book signing at a local book shop that supports indie authors. Not only is this book shop (The Twig) sponsoring this signing for me, they are also promoting the event and selling my book in their store on consignment. The Twig Book Shop has advertised the event on their web page, in The Current (the local San Antonio events calendar), and on Texas Public Radio. I had to do some promoting myself as well, so I e-mailed every local newspaper, magazine, current events calendar, and creative arts magazine in the city and added my book signing event to their calendar of events. I queried Get Creative San Antonio who also added me to their upcoming events calendar. I have sent out personal e-mails inviting people to this event and have spread the word through social media and word-of-mouth. I am hopeful that I will sell at least a few books during this event and maybe gain a few new followers. If nothing else, I will meet and connect with interesting people within my city.
Other marketing avenues I have pursued or am pursuing:
- A potential interview with Texas Public Radio.
- The possibility of putting my book in circulation in the local library.
- Library book fests.
- Attempting to get independent Texas children’s authors into my school and school district.
- Once I get my second book out, lowering the price of the first one and offering free or $0.99 days. I will have to discuss that with my distributor.
- Constant word of mouth.
- Handing out business cards to family and fiends, who in turn give them to their friends.
- Renting a booth at a holiday bazaar or local flea market.
- An article about my book in the Arts section of the local newspaper.
With millions of books out there, making your name and your book known to others is a trying task. And since I have a full-time career, finding time to do all of this is often challenging. I’m learning and discovering new things as I go and am always open to suggestions. My first novel has been a learning experience on many levels. Things can only go up from here.
One of the things I do when I’m not writing is read. I read magazines, educational articles, poetry, and books from many genres, both fiction and non-fiction. I hate to admit this, but I am a book hoarder. I have tons of books on my bookshelf, many of which I haven’t read yet. They are on my ‘to be read’ list and I have every intention of reading them eventually, and being a teacher, I have quite an extensive collection of children’s books as well.
We all had favorite books as children and teens. Even as adults we have books we love than we can read over and over again. Books that, even after we’ve finished reading them, stick with us for various reasons. I have many favorites. I won’t list them all, but I will list a few that still stand out in my mind years after I’ve read them.
My all time favorite book as a child was Never Tease a Weasel. I’m not sure why I liked this book so much, other than the fact that I enjoyed the rhyme. I distinctly remember “Never tease a weasel, this is very good advice. A weasel will not like it, and teasing isn’t nice.” This was a book I asked my parents to read to me over and over again. I still own the original copy I had as a child.
Put Me in the Zoo. This book is fun. How many things can this animal (to this day I’m not sure what kind of animal he is) do with his spots? I own a copy of this book. It has been in my classroom library for years and I have had to replace it several times. My students read to younger children during the school year and this particular book is one that gets well-used. “They would put me in the zoo if they could see what I can do.”
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. This picture book makes young children laugh. Throughout this book, the pigeon is trying to convince the reader to let him drive the bus, even though the bus driver specifically tells the reader not to let him. The pigeon comes up with every possible reason why the reader should let him drive the bus. At the end, the bus driver comes back and thanks the reader for keeping an eye on mischievous pigeon.
Middle Grades/ Teens:
Witches. This is one of the books I read aloud to my students every year. It’s a fantasy story by Roald Dahl where an average boy gets turned into a mouse at the annual witch meeting being held at a hotel in England. It makes kids think twice because the opening chapter describes witches as ordinary people, stating that even their teacher could be a witch.
Trumpet of the Swan. One of my favorite children’s books. Even as an adult I love to read this book. This is another one I read aloud to my students. The main character is a swan who learns to communicate with humans by going to school and learning to write. He experiences many adventures and befriends one particular human boy.
The Outsiders. I first read this book back in Junior High and loved it. I have read it several times since then, recently in fact, and it’s still one of my favorites. Even my son, who’s not a huge fan of reading, likes this book. I think I like it because the characters are real and memorable. The novel tells the story of two weeks in the life a 14-year-old boy, Ponyboy Curtis, and his struggles with right and wrong in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider. This book was made into a movie, but I have never seen it.
Fear Nothing. I think I can safely say that this is my favorite book simply because I love the characters — Christopher Snow, Sasha, Bobby, and Orson the dog. Christopher has a rare disease called XP in which light could potentially kill him. So he lives in a world of darkness. In this book he attempts to unravel a mysterious and seemingly endless conspiracy centered around a military compound called Fort Wyvern. He experiences the death of his father, mysterious murders, and strange monkeys that seem to be out to kill him. This book was later followed by a sequel called Seize the Night. I have read both multiple times.
Rachel’s Folly. This is a debut novel by Monica Bruno and one of the best suspense books I’ve ever read. A serious and thoughtful book that takes a serious look at the consequences of adultery. Definite plot twist. This book did not turn out at all the way I thought it would. Kept my attention throughout and left me wondering what was going to happen next.
The Notebook. A love story told from an 80 year-old man’s perspective. He tells the tale of Noah and Allie, two kids from opposite sides of the track, who fall in love. She leaves at the end of summer, but they reunite many years later. This novel is emotional, especially for Noah, and is a moving portrait of love. This book was also made into a movie, one I actually watched recently.
Books have a wonderful way of tugging at emotions and taking readers into worlds they wouldn’t otherwise experience. As a reader, you fall in love with characters, laugh at funny things they say or do, get angry over their bad circumstances, and sometimes cry along with them. Different books touch people in different ways. A book that touches one reader may not affect another. Reading is an individual experience. That’s the magic of books.
What books did you love as a child or young adult? What books have you read that left an impact or moved you for whatever reason? Share your thoughts.