MARKRTING AND PROMOTING
- Start early, plan a marketing strategy well before your print run
- Prepare postcards, business cards, bookmarks, leaflets, and posters
- Website set up website using a ‘do it yourself’ business e.g., Bounce Interactive™, or WordPress™ are low cost ways to get started. In your website, use colour pages, include pictures, relevant to your book. Linkages: cross link within your website and also provide linkages to other useful sites. Make your site have useful pages to encourage people to visit your site. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): obtain information from your website provider on how to set up SEO, which is basically to provide relevant keywords for search engines such as Goggle™ to find easily. Understand how Goggle™ revises its search algorithms. Getting your site to the top page found by an internet search may take a few months. You will find that there are literally thousands of businesses from all over the world who want to improve your SEO at a price – so expect a few emails. Regularly update your site – its surprising how quickly parts become dated. Link to Twitter™, Facebook™, and your blog site. Take out likely domain names and link them. Owning several domain names is not all that expensive.They should cover your name and the name of your book. This will help ensure that your site is found easily.
- Blog site (widen your exposure by doing this separately from main website), use WordPress™ or similar – these are free; link each new blog you publish so that it gets notified on both Twitter™ and Facebook™; try to do a new 500 word blog every month
- Twitter™ account
- Facebook™ account, also set up open Facebook™ page
- Prepare talks on your book and related matters to give to historical and genealogical societies, U3As, Rotary, Probus, CAE Groups and book clubs. Most clubs and societies are always on the lookout for new speakers and new topics. Most will expect you to present with a slide presentation (e.g., Powerpoint™, Keynote™). Most will encourage you to offer your book for sale at the talk. I have found this is a really good way to sell multiple copies of your book. An added bonus is that some organisations will offer a payment or gift voucher to a speaker.
- Book Reviews – ask newspapers, radio stations (Local Community Radio, ABC Radio Stations), societies, bloggers
- Awards and Competitions – enter all eligible, but be realistic. The major awards call for multiple copies of your book and have quite high entry fees – you may want to avoid these unless you feel you have a real winner.
- Donations – donate books to key selected institutions and societies (ask them to do book reviews too)
- Family Reunions – if you are lucky enough to have many relatives nearby, this can be a real way to sell books
- Book Launch – find a prominent speaker, attach it to a local literary series/ festival. These are often organised by local libraries. Libraries can be really helpful in not only providing a ‘bookish’ atmosphere but also giving your launch widespread publicity.
- Press Releases – ‘Leader’ newspaper, The Age newspaper, Seniors newspapers, CAE News, ABC RN and 774, local radio, SBS. Include photos of your book cover and yourself in your press releases.
DISTRIBUTION & SELLING YOUR BOOK
- Register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) its free (you need this in your book, but you do not need to register for GST as a hobbyist).
- Pricing – more difficult than you think (allow for GST, commissions to bookstore; commission to distributor (if any); consignment conditions, postage)
- Basis of pricing – try to cover the costs of out of pocket expenditures (printing, cover setup and design, overall setup fees, purchase of images, ISBNs and barcodes at the very least.
- Selection of booksellers – specialist (Museum, Historical Society (RHSV), Mechanics Institutes) and local bookshops. It is hard to make money selling to the big outlets, but useful for getting high sales volumes. Your local suburban independent bookshops will usually take self-published books on consignment as they like to support local authors
- Libraries – send details to all relevant libraries
- Colleagues, family and friends – work out good family rate
- Own Website – have your order form as a pdf file, sell by cheque /cash/ PayPal? (GST-free if you are under a certain volume – ask the tax office or an accountant)
Printers Website Bookstore (e.g., BookPOD™) – small commission, but has credit card facilities
- Postage and packing – this can be a real killer. Simplify by having three rates only e.g., Victoria $10, Interstate $13.40; UK (by sea) $22. Weight of book is critical. Try to keep below 500g packed weight. The above prices are for up to 1kg in 2013, My book was 640 g so I was stuck with the 1kg postal rates as above
CONSIGNMENT CONDITIONS – EXAMPLE
Print this on the rear side of your Book Release Sheet
‘ON CONSIGNMENT’ WHOLESALE PRICES AND CONDITIONS (Melbourne only):
(BOOK TITLE) is available to bookshops under consignment, but conditions apply and these are stated below.
Wholesale prices (EXAMPLE): $22.00 cash on delivery; $25.00 on consignment
A maximum of 6 copies at one store will be supplied on consignment at any one time.
Payment in full is due at three / twelve months [delete one] after supply date, or the return of unsold books in saleable condition. The Publisher retains ownership until books are sold, and they remain as Publisher’s property until paid for.
A purchase order must be supplied in order to receive books on consignment. (OPTIONAL)
The Publisher is not obliged to supply books on consignment.
Contact: YOUR NAME HERE to order books on consignment (tel: YOURS; email: YOURS or by post at the address overleaf.
I agree to the above conditions. (BOOKSHOP)
Keep a copy for yourself as well as the bookseller.
In my next blog I will give an example of the details of setting up a typical A5 book on an historical subject. Until then, good wishes Martin