Is sloppiness in book promotion caused by ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care.
- Modified Quote - Originally by William Safire
Last night I received the email that I expected, but did not look forward to reading. It was from one of my authors. The background is that I was on a mission to remind a few of the authors I publish that they need to promote their works, namely their novels.
I had made it clear from the beginning that the promotion of an author's debut novel is one of the most difficult tasks in the business world. Basically, we are talking about a product - the book - that nobody knows, by a manufacturer - the author - that nobody knows, and a quality - the writing style - that nobody knows. The simple solution is promotion, promotion, and promotion.
As a business man I am intrigued by the challenge. As a publisher - officially a micro-publisher - I need the continued support from my authors. I run a small publishing business, and the return-of-investment point comes quickly, due to a low overhead, but the passiveness of some of my authors makes even that difficult.
Coming back to the email I received, let me share the first line: "Wow! You must be having a really grouchy day today."
Okay, what is this? Phobia? Ignorance? Apathy? In the business world you call it suicide.
I wanted to respond to that person that my reminder was not an emotional fluke; instead, I write this post. His passiveness resulted in zero sales during this past month, and I will most probably remove his book from my listing.
In contrast - just as a reference of a proper response - let me quote the answer from another author: "This sounds good. I think I'll try and send you something soon." Sure enough, this morning she sent me the requested information.
The catalog of very obvious and easy-to-accomplish book promotion activities includes:
- Maintain a website and update frequently
- Maintain a Facebook account and update frequently
- Whenever you add a post to your website, mention it on your Facebook page
There is nothing special about this list, and I am sorry to disappoint everybody who expected a secret formula. Be also aware of the fact that there is a myriad of promotional activities, and there is no guarantee that either one of them will work. Damned if you do; damned if you don't. However, you can apply common sense.
One of my previous authors started to focus on promoting his novel to Hollywood movie studios and agencies, and, basically, there is nothing wrong with that. Another author concentrated merely on submitting his work to writers' contests. And yes, everybody is allowed to dream, and, heck, if the dream comes true , I, being the publisher, will gain as well. However, don't forget about the real life. The real life showed that their dream of greatness was not backed by the sales numbers. My assumption here is, regardless of whether the book makes it as a movie or wins first prize or is short-listed, that if the book has such potential, it should reflect in good sales numbers.
As a publisher I produce press releases and hire review services. In addition - and I believe, this is our strongest marketing tool - we maintain a strong web presence. Our flagship is our website, FrogenYozurt.Com including its British version FrogenYozurt.co.uk, where we promote not only our authors, but a number of external guest writers (See http://frogenyozurt.com/guest-writers/apply/). If you look at the statistics on the bottom of the sidebar, you will see that we enjoy a readership of roughly 1,000 unique visitors a day.
I give my authors the unique opportunity to post directly on this website. I provide them the opportunity to potentially reach 1,000 readers a day. Yes, this number is hypothetical, but frequent writers on this website reach easily up to several thousands of reads per year. Add to this that they are allowed, even encouraged, to include a hyperlink to their website and Facebook account. Also realize how hard it is to create such a daily readership with your own website.
In general, my business model works well. It is just sad that I need to deal with remarks like ""Wow! You must be having a really grouchy day today." Remarks like this have the potential of making it a grouchy day, but, now that I am finishing this post, I feel much better now.