Indie Book Collective discussion

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Seeking promo advice: Start promoting now or wait until publication?

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message 1: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments Seeking promo advice. I will be publishing an e-book about the disappearance of an old friend of mine by Aug 1 at the latest. Just working out some final kinks & waiting for ISNBN.

Originally, I have been waiting until I publish the entire book until I start promoting, make website public, getting the word out, etc. I've got part 1 of a 4 part book converted to epub. As part of promo, am planning to give this out for free.

Am I better waiting until the entire book is available for purchase before I get all these things public and give out Part 1 of book, or starting early and building up momentum? The tutorials seem to indicate you are better to start earliest as possible. Any thoughts?


message 2: by Sue (new)

Sue Owen (bysueowen) | 30 comments I'm by no means an expert but from my limited experience people want to have it now. If they see a book they are interested in, they want it right then. Considering how may books come on the market in a day, the chances of someone remembering they were going to get your book last week, or even yesterday, are pretty remote. For me, I advise waiting for any hard promotion until you have a finished product.

Only authors that have a solid following and a dedicated fan base can get away with pre-selling...

But that just my opinion for with its worth.

Cheers


message 3: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments Sue, thanks! I appreciate your input! It makes a lot of sense. Yes, I am back and forth on how to do things - seeing positives of both approaches. But I am learning a lot in my few days so far here on Goodreads!


message 4: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Secara (maggiros) | 8 comments From my experience in the past few months, I think what you do have to do is get out there and make yourself visible, make connections, comment on blogs, post reviews, and so on. Because it's hard to arrange a "blog tour", say, when you're a total stranger to everyone. No reason not to talk about your forthcoming release date, to generate buzz (and I apparently have no knack for that) but otherwise, I suspect Sue is right.

Maggie


message 5: by Sue (new)

Sue Owen (bysueowen) | 30 comments I'm gunna agree with Maggie, too. Promote yourself when you can as an author. Facebook, Twitter, and here on Goodreads are excellent forums. Then, when you have a finished product someone will recognize your name at least and be more willing to look at what you have. Promoting yourself is important. (Yeah, I'm buzz-less too Maggie.)

Cheers.


message 6: by Aimee (new)

Aimee Laine (aimee_laine) Absolutely start now. Think like a publisher ... they start promoting a book 6+ months BEFORE it 'hits the shelves'. You can be talking it up, showing it off, etc. LONG before it is released. And remember, people want what they can't have. ;) So the longer they can't have it, the more they want it. Talk it up! Good luck!


message 7: by James (last edited Jul 11, 2011 03:40PM) (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments hey thanks to everyone for your input!

This all makes sense. I would be more than happy to start reviewing and things (though I don't rock a blog... maybe I should). I think my biggest challenge from my few days on here is finding authors of literary or contemporary/mainstream fiction. It seems a lot is genre based. Am i missing a forum or something where I can find lit or contemporary fiction as I think those are the people who'd be more interested in swapping reviews w/ me?

thank u so much again for the input. everyone on the indie forums has been so helpful!


message 8: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 133 comments I'd also recommend you spend $4.95 on Amazon to buy novelist John Locke's how-to book, How I sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months . It is a bit info-mercially written, but the approach and "system" he advocates has made him rich, and it is tailored to promotion in the new media for Indie Authors. Even if you don't adopt his whole plan, there are LOTS of ideas and smart suggestions every author should think about.

By the way, I wasn't paid for that promo blurb!


message 9: by Colin (new)

Colin Andrews (tpg_rising) | 3 comments Don't forget..don't just promote your book... you as an author/writer should also promote yourself.. get yourself out there on twitter/facebook and any other social websites... if you have a blog site..start promoting that.. I would leave the the main book promotion until you have fully finished it and it's ready... a lot can change between now and then...especially release dates.. ;-)


message 10: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments thanks! i also heard the Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-publishing Success (link: http://www.amazon.com/Dollars-Sense-D...) is good. does anyone have experience w/ that?

Richard wrote: "I'd also recommend you spend $4.95 on Amazon to buy novelist John Locke's how-to book, How I sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months. It is a bit info-mercially written, but the approach and "system" he ..."

@ Richard hey thanks! i al


message 11: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments Colin, I'm trying to start doing that. I just started a blog http://dttla.posterous.com to start integrating into the community more and so forth. Haven't put much of the book online yet, though, and the stuff I've put online no one seems to be reading (or at least commenting on). Anyone got suggestions in that realm?

Colin wrote: "Don't forget..don't just promote your book... you as an author/writer should also promote yourself.. get yourself out there on twitter/facebook and any other social websites... if you have a blog s..."


message 12: by Lorhainne (new)

Lorhainne Eckhart (lorhainneeckhart) | 8 comments James wrote: "Seeking promo advice. I will be publishing an e-book about the disappearance of an old friend of mine by Aug 1 at the latest. Just working out some final kinks & waiting for ISNBN.

Originally, I..."


James,
Start early. Get your website up. Sign up for blogs, start all your social media. That in itself takes a while. Build up your followers, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, so that when your book's released you'll then need to get word out about your novel. You want the interest in your novel before it's released.
Hope that helps. This is my blog I started, but you don't have to start your own. http://lorhainneeckhart.blogspot.com/ I am doing guest spots.

Lorhainne Eckhart
www.LorhainneEckhart.com
The Choice, available June, 2011
What would you do for someone you love?

Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook


message 13: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments Hey thanks for the advice! I'm working on getting myself up there - i think I'm making progress. Hard to know these days for sure. But you are very very right. I've spent the majority of the last few days just getting myself established. I started a blog (http://dttla.posterous.com) but haven't done much in the way of getting word out about the book ,etc. But all in time. I will keep it up and be sure to check out your blog!

Lorhainne wrote: "James wrote: "Seeking promo advice. I will be publishing an e-book about the disappearance of an old friend of mine by Aug 1 at the latest. Just working out some final kinks & waiting for ISNBN.

O..."



message 14: by Esther (new)

Esther Jno-Charles (estherjnocharles) | 63 comments James wrote: "Seeking promo advice. I will be publishing an e-book about the disappearance of an old friend of mine by Aug 1 at the latest. Just working out some final kinks & waiting for ISNBN.

Originally, I..."



message 15: by Esther (new)

Esther Jno-Charles (estherjnocharles) | 63 comments Hi,
I wrote and published The Talking Palm around June and then focused on promoting it after publication. That was a big mistake because now I am trying to stimulate public interest in the book and build up a following and it is taking a lot of time.
Follow your peers' advice. Make the world know that your book is coming through some of the means others mentioned- tweeter, facebook, blog, goodreads and so on.
Build up an expectation, an awareness, an anticipation of your book, and water that goodwill when the book is finally ready.
Success to you.
Esther Jno-Charles


message 16: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments There is certainly no harm in promoting yourself as a writer before you have a product available and you can start name-dropping the book before it's actually ready, but I wouldn't start really promoting it until people can actually go and get it. As Sue said, people have short memories.


message 17: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments Yep, I've done that too. Great minds :D


message 18: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments How do you start setting up blog interviews ahead of time? I haven't met any reviewers yet in my time on good reads and on blogs. I feel bad to go to someone unsolicited and just ask them. :-/


message 19: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments Twitter is the best place for this kind of thing. You just go and chat to people and sooner or later you meet the right people. It's best to take it slow because that way you get to know people as friends, rather than primarily as writers. No one wants to be harrassed for what they can do for another person but I've had people contact me asking if they can review my book or interview me. I started doing interviews on my site, which helps. Think of what you can do for other people and they'll reciprocate.


message 20: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments thanks so much! yeah, that's exactly it. I feel so uncomfortable to ask others for things. But that makes sense. Over time it'll feel more natural as I am able to continue to integrate into the community. I'm also working on reviewing, though that's a slow process of course as with my schedule it takes me a few weeks to finish a book. thanks again!

Anne-Mhairi wrote: "Twitter is the best place for this kind of thing. You just go and chat to people and sooner or later you meet the right people. It's best to take it slow because that way you get to know people as ..."


message 21: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments Personally I don't review books, at least not on my website. Sometimes my off switch gets stuck and I don't want to make any enemies in my field! I focus on re-tweeting links, commenting on others' blogs (this is a big one, by the way, very good for building community) and just talking to people online - NOT necessarily about writing. We're all writers - people will be friends with you for who you are, not what you are, i.e. they want to be friends with the person, rather than the writer.


message 22: by Mhairi (last edited Jul 19, 2011 06:54PM) (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments James wrote: "thanks so much! yeah, that's exactly it. I feel so uncomfortable to ask others for things. But that makes sense. Over time it'll feel more natural as I am able to continue to integrate into the com..."

This is a good example of what we were just talking about.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/6...

Go to messages 97-99 where Scott and I are talking - illustrates my point perfectly :)


message 23: by Colin (new)

Colin Andrews (tpg_rising) | 3 comments Anne-Mhairi wrote: "Personally I don't review books, at least not on my website. Sometimes my off switch gets stuck and I don't want to make any enemies in my field! I focus on re-tweeting links, commenting on others'..."

Excellent advice... Just go out there and make friends, don't try too hard just be yourself. here's my twitter... TPG_RISING come and say Hi and join in on some of the conversations...have some fun.

Col.


message 24: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments @Anne-Mahiari hmm.. very interesting thread!

@Colin - btw, follolwed you on Twitter. I'm @DTTLAblog

Everyone's points make very good sense to me. I am trying to take the approach of being helpful to people and just being the person I am. And in that way, I think it is helping me meet people. It is actually a big relief to hear your perspectives not to be a P.T. Barnum on here as that's not in my nature. Thank you all for being so helpful!


message 25: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 133 comments Here's another suggestion, from an old adman. You're about to launch a product. Think about how manufacturers set up launch campaigns to send out "teasers", small ads designed to get people thinking about benefits of the product, associating the product with their lives and retaining the product name, before the "BUY THIS NOW" part of the campaign begins.

Working with groups your target readers are known to frequent, send out small posts with questions or other connections to your book. One at a time4, with a book "logo" image closing. a few weeks before launch. I'd do it daily in as many venues as you can. If you also want to generate a buzz among local readers, start putting up small -- post-it size color teasers on bulletin boards at libraries and other reader venues.

The whole point is to create pre-cognition among your market target, so that when your launch announces, and they read the PR releases you'll have sent out (for print, that's six week advances with follow-ups)in articles in print, they will have small "eureka!" moments as the recognition kicks in. This can help turn a general interest into an immediate sale.


message 26: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments That's an excellent suggestion - thanks for that!


message 27: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Buike (authorjess) | 2 comments I think these were excellent suggestions - I took some notes and hope to use them to promote my newest eBook. Jessica Buike


message 28: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Rozzlynn (TracyRozzlynn) | 10 comments Richard wrote: "I'd also recommend you spend $4.95 on Amazon to buy novelist John Locke's how-to book, How I sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months. It is a bit info-mercially written, but the approach and "system" he ..."

It's worth the $4.5 just to understand how to ulilize twitter to promote and sell books. Here's a hint it's not by Tweeting that your coffee being too cold :)


message 29: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments i've heard of that 1 but haven't put down the money yet to move on it yet. I'm planning on reading the indie authors collective ebook first as I've heard lots of good stuff on that. Anyone checked that out yet? I think its called "dollars and sense"? After, I'll check out this Locke book. thanks!


message 30: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Rozzlynn (TracyRozzlynn) | 10 comments James wrote: "How do you start setting up blog interviews ahead of time? I haven't met any reviewers yet in my time on good reads and on blogs. I feel bad to go to someone unsolicited and just ask them. :-/"

Try this site - it has a link to a book blog seach that should help.

http://fyreflybooks.wordpress.com/abo...


message 31: by Colin (new)

Colin Andrews (tpg_rising) | 3 comments Tracy wrote: "James wrote: "How do you start setting up blog interviews ahead of time? I haven't met any reviewers yet in my time on good reads and on blogs. I feel bad to go to someone unsolicited and just ask ..."

That looks a good link.. just had a quick read too... thanks ;-)


message 32: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments Tracy, - great resource. thanks so much!!!

Tracy wrote: "James wrote: "How do you start setting up blog interviews ahead of time? I haven't met any reviewers yet in my time on good reads and on blogs. I feel bad to go to someone unsolicited and just ask ..."

hey - great resource. thanks!


message 33: by Philip (new)

Philip Athans (philathans) | 5 comments Sue wrote: "I'm by no means an expert but from my limited experience people want to have it now. If they see a book they are interested in, they want it right then. Considering how may books come on the mark..."

I agree with Sue: Get out there and talk about yourself wherever and whenever you can. Any time some new detail is added, that's an excuse for a Tweet, a Facebook update, an email, etc.: Things like: Release date has been set. Price has been set. Even stuff like: First draft complete! Make your potential readers a part of the process.


message 34: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments Hey all - I finally got a website together for my book and am taking your all's advice. I splurged and bought the URL. I've been blogging recently but didn't have a book site. I'm trying to get the word out there best I can so here's what I've done:

Created the site & launched it today: http://discontentsbook.com
As part of getting the word out, I created a book trailer and added it to YouTube and embedded it in the site.
I am also giving away Part 1 of my e-book for free as part of the launch in hopes to bring attention to the story.
I created an email list where people who sign up to the email list will get a free advanced copy of the ebook.

I am wondering if there are other pieces of advice anyone has in terms of if this seems like a good strategy? I know I need to get out there and connect w/ people, but just in terms of promo materials and things.

thanks so much for everyone's feedback!


message 35: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments James Wallace wrote: "Hey all - I finally got a website together for my book and am taking your all's advice. I splurged and bought the URL. I've been blogging recently but didn't have a book site. I'm trying to get the..."

I think it's all great. I personally would have said make your name the URL but that's done now, so don't worry about it. As long as someone can Google your name and find your website, that's fine.

Right now you just want to get yourself out there so that people get to know your name. Promotional materials can probably wait until you've made some income from the book. You don't want to spend masses and not get it back.


message 36: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments thanks!

ah!! why didn't i think of that for the URL. I labored over the URL too and didn't even think of it! :-/
i'll go into the metadata and on the page and make sure my name is well represented.


yes. now i need to start finding the right places to interact w/ people and so forth. I'm working on that. That seems to be the slow part :)

i'm glad u think the site looks ok! i haven't spent any money. that's all stuff that I did myself free of charge (except graphics done free by a friend), sans the URL buying.

Anne-Mhairi wrote: "James Wallace wrote: "Hey all - I finally got a website together for my book and am taking your all's advice. I splurged and bought the URL. I've been blogging recently but didn't have a book site...."


message 37: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments James Wallace wrote: "thanks!

ah!! why didn't i think of that for the URL. I labored over the URL too and didn't even think of it! :-/
i'll go into the metadata and on the page and make sure my name is well represented..."


Ack, now I feel bad. I hadn't actually seen the site, just meant what you'd written looked find. NOW I've gone and looked at the site :)

It's kind of hard to read the text at the top: Published after the disappearance, etc, etc and that sentence doesn't actually make any sense to me! Apart from that, the graphics do look good, but currently it's just selling your book. You need to put some other content up there so that it's not just "BUY MY BOOK".

You would probably do well to check out http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb is the Go To Girl on social media for writers. She's written two books about it and she knows what she's talking about. Seriously, as far as social media goes, she's the best I've found. Check out her blog and then seriously consider buying at least one of her books. The one she just released is Are You There, Blog? It's Me, Writer.


message 38: by Andy (new)

Andy Rane | 4 comments Having recently jumped in at the deep end, I recommend establishing your blog, developing twitter relationships, and focusing on the people who are going to matter most when it comes time to sell your book; the readers. Authors tend to be eager to cling to other successful authors, which is great for when you need advice. However, they're out for the same thing you are...to sell their book. I spent time developing a decent size following on Twitter, only to realize my mistake a little too late. Such is life.


message 39: by James (new)

James Birch (jameswallacebirch) | 37 comments Andy, thanks! That makes sense. Yes, I think the hard thing is finding who the potential readers are and then beginning to connect w/ them. I've got a lot of followers on Twitter but Twitter is sort of annoying. I don't get much 'interaction' on there. mostly a stream of other people among whom to push books. it is frustrating. I am going to keep plugging away though :) I try to give my book away for free, and that's all well and good, but I got to get people to my site first. You'd think people would want something free... but it just isn't that simple unfortunately :)

Andy wrote: "Having recently jumped in at the deep end, I recommend establishing your blog, developing twitter relationships, and focusing on the people who are going to matter most when it comes time to sell y..."


message 40: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments James wrote: "Andy, thanks! That makes sense. Yes, I think the hard thing is finding who the potential readers are and then beginning to connect w/ them. I've got a lot of followers on Twitter but Twitter is sor..."

The book pushers are the bane of Twitter. I usually unfollow anyone who sends me an auto-DM as soon as I follow saying "Nice to meet you, buy my book". There are a lot of great authors on there. I'm sorry I haven't interacted more - following too many people and I still haven't got my head round lists so I miss a lot of stuff. But seriously, unfollow all the people who are just pushing their stuff and talk to the people who are actually having conversations. I'll give you a hint to get you started: I'm one of them. I spend far too much time on Twitter having real conversations with people. It is handy to make friends with other authors for advice and so on, as Andy said, but also for support. No one else knows what you're going through!

Writers are also readers. They want to sell their books too and the good people understand what you're trying to do. It's good to get in with them because when it comes time for publicity you can ask if you can do a guest post on their blog, if they can do one on yours, etc, etc. Cross-pollination helps and you can also get ideas for promotional activities from other authors who have done things before and can tell you what does and doesn't work.

Phew. Rather long post. My Twitter handle is @AMhairi_Simpson. Come and talk to me.


message 41: by mountainmama (new)

mountainmama (jcallenbooks) | 60 comments Anne, that's one reason I've avoided Twitter. I've found so many good forums to talk to other authors and readers - here and on Amazon - that I can't see adding another venue and keeping up with it.


message 42: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments Ah well, if you're getting everything you need from other areas, then fair enough. Personally Twitter saved me but it does take some time to build up and maintain.


message 43: by mountainmama (new)

mountainmama (jcallenbooks) | 60 comments Anne-Mhairi wrote: "Ah well, if you're getting everything you need from other areas, then fair enough. Personally Twitter saved me but it does take some time to build up and maintain."


Anne, don't get me wrong, I think anything you do - any way you get your name out there is good for your sales. I simply do not have the time to do anything else! I work a full time job and come home and work another 8-10 hours on editing/publishing/promoting. I'm just exhausted!! I keep trying to talk my grandkids into doing the twitter thing, but haven't gotten any of them interested yet!!


message 44: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments I'm sorry, I didn't mean it to sound sarcastic or anything. I really did intend it as my personal take on the situation. It really is fine by me if people don't use Twitter! Like I said, it requires time to build up and maintain, so if you don't have time it's probably not a good idea. There are other methods :D I'm not one of those people who says you HAVE to be on Twitter. It's just one more string to the bow.


message 45: by mountainmama (new)

mountainmama (jcallenbooks) | 60 comments Anne-Mhairi wrote: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it to sound sarcastic or anything. I really did intend it as my personal take on the situation. It really is fine by me if people don't use Twitter! Like I said, it require..."

I totally agree Anne. I'm such a techno-idiot that everything takes me twice as long. I thought for sure the kids would want to do Twitter - they sure love to be on those phones for everything else!! Darn. Back to the drawing board.


message 46: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 12 comments Hahahahahaha!!!


message 47: by Agent (new)

Agent S.D. | 9 comments So, is it a good idea to start promoting maybe a month before the release date of a book? Or do you think it's good to start earlier?


message 48: by Dorothy (new)

Dorothy **Book Reviewer** | 1 comments Tracy wrote: "James wrote: "How do you start setting up blog interviews ahead of time? I haven't met any reviewers yet in my time on good reads and on blogs. I feel bad to go to someone unsolicited and just ask ..."

Great link! Thank you for sharing Tracy.


message 49: by Laekan (new)

Laekan Kemp (laekanzeakemp) I see a lot of people suggesting establishing a following or some kind of internet presenece before publication. But what about the writers who are a little bit more reserved? I use forums like this to engage with other writers and get advice but I could never see myself talking to complete strangers on the internet just for the hope that maybe they'll buy my book when I eventually publish it. I know some have said that they use forums and social networking not just for promotion but also to make connections but is creating genuine freindships online really necessary? Maybe it's just me but while I do plan on doing promotion and connecting with readers after publication, I'd feel more comfortable having my work speak for itself rather than growing my group of friends in order to generate more sales.


message 50: by Brittany (new)

Brittany Weidenfeller (brittanyncory) | 3 comments I was hoping to maybe get in touch with a few new authors or even loyal fans of authors who might pass on my link : ) I make quality Hip Cap Book swag with your book covers as keychains, magnets and even necklaces to give out to your fans at giveaways, book signings, contests, conferences, etc.! Keychains and necklaces are $2.99 apiece and magnets are $1.99 apiece. I offer special discounts for larger orders plus you get FREE shipping on orders of $20.00 or more ; ) This is a link to my facebook store's book swag portfolio album for the last two jobs I did for two paranormal romance series by two INCREDIBLE authors : ) Thank you! B.  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...


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