My book was almost ready. How could I let people know about it? I needed to get my promo started.
Choice One Publishing Co. needed an Internet home, not just a snail mail address. I fiddled with the idea of starting a new website other than my author site at Morgan Mandel.Com, but decided for the time being I'd try something else.
I already had a personal blog, plus contributed to a number of group blogs, which were all Blogger/Google related. Why not try a new look to set me apart as a publisher?
I decided to go with Word Press, picked out a template I liked, and paid a little extra for the .com option. That way, if people wanted to comment they could, but the site would basically be used for advertising Killer Career, with buy links to distributors, book descriptions, news about the book, and other salient information. Later I could use it for my other self-pubbed books, if I chose to continue in that vein.
I bought stationary and envelopes with the publishing name on them and made sure that my postcards, bookmarks, brochures, flyers, business cards, etc., also contained the link for Choice One Publishing Co. Most of you probably know that vistaprint.com offers some great deals for promotional materials, but you do need to be careful to order only what you want and not click the wrong buttons.
When you're self-pubbed, your author and publisher personas at times blend. I bought books from Lightning Source at the publisher's discount, but I usually refer to them as author copies.
One thing I needed to arrange was the dropping off point for my books. They couldn't just be left on my doorstep. Not only could they get stolen, but also they could get attacked by the weather. Fortunately, my brother works from home, has an enclosed porch, and didn't mind receiving the delivery.
I made sure to order my author copies to arrive a month before my release date so I could have them in time for the book launch party. It wouldn't be a good idea to have the party without books. Book launch parties are a must, if nothing but for building self-confidence. It's a great rush to know everyone who comes wants to buy your book! Mine was a blast, despite torrential downpours outside.
Anyway, I started out with a 300 book order. A 30% off volume discount program was going on, I needed copies for reviews, family, and friends, plus upcoming events, such as flea markets and craft fairs. Also, I like to have 100 extra of each of my books on hand. That's just me. I'm a saver. It's not necessary to order that many. Order whatever you feel comfortable with.
As soon as I could, I sent out to as many reviewers as possible. The bad rap against self-publishing told me to wait until my product was as close to perfect as possible before I submitted the book. I know I missed out on the big guns like Kirkus, but I didn't feel like waiting four months for the reviews to come back before the release. Other people are more patient, I know. Also, many authors are content to send off submissions to publishers and wait for acceptance or rejection, then if accepted, wait a year or so for publication. More power to them, but I'm not getting any younger. I don't like to wait.
Anyway, I've gotten a few blog reviews back. One's at Unbound, another at The Unwriter Ron Berry. I'm quite happy with them both. Also, I'm eternally grateful for the amazing review Rob Walker gave Killer Career on Amazon.com.
On the subject of author books, I used some of them to send out to the booksellers, Barnes and Noble, Borders and AWBC (Books-A-Million), along with letters and forms, asking if they would carry Killer Career in their brick and mortar stores and put it in their database.
I just heard back from Barnes and Noble a few days ago. Surprisingly, I learned that not only would Killer Career be in the database, but it was already ordered for some of the brick and mortar stores! That was a huge thrill for me, since my prior books which were not self-published didn't make it into the chain, except briefly for book signings. I've already gone to the Schaumburg store, signed stock, spoken to the CRM about a book signing possibly in November, and dropped off bookmarks.
Get this - I can't resist a bit of BSP here - I called the Deer Park, Illinois store to see if Killer Career was in stock. The person I spoke with said it was in stock. Not only that, he remembered putting it up. He loved the cover, so he placed my books in the new mystery books bin. When he said that, I felt super good, kind of like how Sally Field felt winning the Academy Award when she gushed all over the place. If you're old enough, you'll know what I'm talking about. I added the link to her name for you to enjoy, but come back afterwards.(g)
What a wonderful feeling to know someone liked my choice. All the hard work of getting my cover together had paid off. Goes to show, covers do count. I'm hoping he'll mention that cover to a few customers and make some sales. I'll be sure to get over to his store to sign stock. I'm doing a book signing there some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I know there are copies at the Arlington Heights, Illinois store as well and will get over to sign them soon. I've already got a book signing lined up there for October 17. Next, I'll be doing more detective work to see where else my book is carried.
Presence in a book store is a great promotional plus. Other promotional matters to attend to, whether you're self-published, small press published, or with a big house are: Book signings, not just in bookstores but also at craft fairs, flea markets, wherever someone will let you sign; blogging, including doing a blog book tour such as the one I've been on for the past two weeks; e-mails to your e-groups (you better be on some); messages on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Book Place, and more.
While you're at it, be sure to help others along the way. I appreciate everyone who has helped me and will never forget them. You better believe, I pay back whenever I can.
What about you? Whether or not you're self-published, what do you do for promotion?
Don't miss tomorrow's post - Downloading, Proof, Acceptance and Publication.