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11 - Never Enough Marketing
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Never Enough Marketing !
Each writer, whether published or self-published will find it necessary to partake in book sale promotions. Since I have delved primarily in self-publishing with 14 books under-belt as of this writing, in addition to having one book published, sales promotions are most vital. When I was in the computer business I found that Nothing Happens until a sale is made!
I have found that marketing support by publishers for their stable of authors varies, and in my situation, my one and only publisher was quite limited with marketing support which I found rather insignificant other than that they sent promotional book copies to a list of media that I had supplied to them. It consisted of the same media list that I have been reaching out to for the past eight years. Be assured, not a single media representative will call after receiving a free sample copy. You must do your own follow up.
I will discuss three media types Newspaper, Television and Radio and I can only give you my own personal experiences.
Newspapers: Since most of my books center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, local news publishers consist of: one daily one that distributes two days a week and three weekly newspapers. The daily newspaper renders a particularly fine book review that most often includes a photograph of the book cover and because of my approaches, they have published a writeup on each of my books when presented by me. The Weekly newspapers by virtue of being more local rather than coast-wide coverage, will only treat those books that pertain to their readership geography and because they are short on staff personnel, it is customary that I submit a sample book review that they can use or at least that will stimulate them to take the time to flip through the book and create their own book review. This is fine, because it works. The newspapers will also list dealer locations where my books are sold providing I furnish the information. Therefore, the more you include in your profile, the more they will include in a book review even supplying your telephone number and email address. But, and several Buts! Be sure to find out who is responsible for receiving book copies. Be sure to visit them or call them to introduce yourself. Be sure to follow up to confirm that they received your book copy if you didn't hand-deliver to the responsible party. And, if you find no coverage after four to six weeks, Be sure to make a reminder call to check the stacking order. Remember, you are dealing with people who are always working on deadlines and your book is not a top priority even if there is a Book Review Department. Newspapers may also post your book-signing dates when you get ready to schedule them.
Television: The Mississippi Gulf Coast has only one local television station to cover the area and they are in competition with a Mobile station and four that beam in from New Orleans. Of course we are not referencing the oodles of cable and other such channels.
Initial contact with your local broadcast station is by calling the News Room and asking for the name of the person who handles local news stories or more directly for the person responsible for interviewing book authors. Get their name, number, email, and mailing address and send them a copy of your book with a note about yourself. They will not call you so don't sit waiting. After a week, call the responsible person and ask if they have had a chance to review your book. Be apologetic if they hadn't then, ask if you can call next week.
When you call the following week assume that they have checked your book by asking for an interview appointment. If you don't get an appointment scheduled, ask if there is more information that you should supply. If you were not successful in getting an appointment, monitor their channel to seek out another TV news personality as an alternate for you to contact.
In other words, BE Persistent! You won't hurt anyone's feelings by calling back again in two weeks or by trying another person to speak with. Most local stations have two or three time slots that offer feature stories of local interest for their viewing public.
Radio: Call all of the local radio stations listed in the Yellow Pages for your area. Inquire of the Answer Desk as to whom you should speak pertaining to discussing your book on the air. They will require a copy of your book not necessarily that they will read it, but to verify that you are a writer -- and when you are on the air they may flip through it to prompt you with questions.
Some station reporters may ask you to speak from their station broadcast, others may offer a telephone interview. In either case, both are effective.
In the case of Television and Radio interviews, dont hesitate to put forward your own statements even if not asked to do so. In both cases, you must learn to be open, informative, and somewhat aggressive.