As you may have heard, your book is not likely to sell itself. Marketing and publicity is hard work. The whole secret is to determine who your target readers are and how to get in front of them (in a non threatening way, of course). So, even if your book isn't out yet, you should start promoting now.
As I blog about marketing and publicity, I'm going to share everything I've learned in my experience over the past few years. I’m far from an expert, but I know my efforts have made a difference in the success of my novels.
The first thing you should do is sit down and brainstorm. Make a long list of things you’d like to do. Website, postcards, bookmarks, T-shirts, influencer copies, etc. Take your time and keep this list handy so that you can add to it when you have new ideas and refer to it when you have a new novel coming out.
Once you feel like you have brainstormed everything you possibly can, go through the list and separate the ideas by what your publisher is willing to do for you. Sometimes your publisher is willing to print up bookmarks or postcards, but you have to ask. And most publishers will create press releases and send out influencer copies. Find out how many influencer copies they’ll send. Anything above that number you will likely have to pay for yourself. So figure out what you can get help with so you know what you don’t have to do.
For the remaining ideas, go through and write down an estimate for how much each one might cost. Then take some time to pray and talk with your family about how much money you can afford to spend on your own marketing. It’s important to set a cap so that you won’t go overboard and starve!
Once you know your budget, prioritize your list of ideas. Figure out what will be the most important and start there. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what might be the most important when you’ve never had a book out. It’s different for everyone. A website is necessary. And you should have postcards or bookmarks that you can give people wherever you go, but you don’t have to have both. Depending on the costs, a postcard might be the better choice because you can send it through the mail and use it as a bookmark.
Here are two places that I purchase most of my paper products. You can get some good price estimates here:
Vista Print: http://www.vistaprint.com
I purchase all my postcards here. I also get letterhead, pads of paper with my book cover on them, business cards with my book cover, magnets, car decals, banners, signs, pens, and all kinds of fun stuff.
Next Day Fliers: http://www.nextdayflyers.com
I order my bookmarks from here. I also order glossy fliers here if I need a lot. Next Day Fliers has higher minimums than Vista Print.
Making wise choices is part of being a smart businessman or woman. And authors—whether we want to be or not—are entrepreneurs.
So what do you think? What would you put at the top of your list as the most important priority for marketing your new book?