Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Emlyn Chand & Novel Publicity
4/25/2011 8:22:54 PM
Learn about the pros and cons of book marketing!
LTS: During the last Tuesday of each month, rather than the author interviews I like to feature on my blog, I will usually post something about the writing process. This time, however, I have a special treat for you: guest blogger, Emlyn Chand!
Emlyn is here to discuss the difficulties published authors, whether traditionally published or self-published, encounter after the book is released in terms of marketing/publicity to promote sales.
But what happens when our best efforts fall flat?
For writers, especially the traditionally published debut authors, this can mean being back listed if sales targets are not met or worse, being dropped completely by the publishing company. What some authors seeking traditional publishing donít always realize is that if their books do not meet sales expectations, a traditional publishing company can break their contract with the author, even if it is a multi-book deal. This can be the death knell of oneís writing career, for now, every publishing company out there will know the authorís book did not sell in the numbers anticipated.
Today, my special guest will discuss some of the ins and outs of marketing and what her company, Novel Publicity can do to help the author struggling to get noticed when there are thousands of titles vying for the same readership.
Welcome, Emlyn! First of all, why donít you start by introducing yourself to our readers?
EM: Hi, Iím Emlyn. Like you, Iím a writer. I finished my first novel about one year ago and then began to navigate the turgid waters of securing a traditional publishing contract, agent and all.
After my initial round of queries didnít go quite as I liked, I became frustrated. I was spending so much time chasing agents, that I was achieving little else. Around Christmas 2010, I decided to make the agents come to me. I started my own blog (www.emlynchand.com) not sure of what to expect.
Within a week, I was over 100 hits per day, just like that. Other writers began looking to me as an expert in the fieldóIím not sure if they realized I had only been blogging and tweeting for even less time than they had! Being an overachiever, I decided to post new content each day. Since my blog began as largely a review site, I had to come up with inventive ways of posting new reviews day after day. But who has the time to read that much?
I came up with the twitterview format, and that was really the beginning of Novel Publicity. The series became hugely popular. I eventually realized I could expand upon the concept and turn it into a business.
LTS: When and why did you begin Novel Publicity?
EM: I saw a gap in the publishing process, and I wanted to fill it. Most new authors have no idea how to promote themselves and their works. They expect their publisher to go to bat for them, but it usually doesnít work that way. Traditional PR firms charge insane amounts for mostly face-to-face marketing, which just isnít feasible for most indie or self-published authors. Novel Publicity has an ala carte service catalogue, offering prepublication services like editing and cover design and marketing services like book trailers, blog tours, social media set-ups, and, yes, the service that started it allóthe twitterview.
LTS: I noticed on Twitter that you are always giving helpful advice for free! What else makes Novel Publicity stand out from the others out there?
EM: Well, I think the free advice blog is a huge part of it. Iíve found that giving away ďour secretsĒ doesnít cause us to lose out on business; it actually serves as a great advertisement. If someone finds our advice useful, they feel grateful for it and they learn that they can trust us to do a good job.
I also love interacting with writers on Twitter and Facebook, becauseódonít forgetóIím a writer too. This is another thing that makes Novel Publicity stand out, the fact that most of us are writers ourselves.
LTS: From personal experience, I know how hard it is to get noticed in a sea of thousands. Even with my first three novels being optioned for a major motion picture trilogy and pre-production underway, Iíve found it very difficult to convince potential readers to invest 99 cents for an ebook when many writers are giving away their works for free. How can Novel Publicity help an authorís book stand out from all those other titles out there clamoring for readership?
EM: We work with the author to determine the best marketing plan for their budgets. Some books naturally lend themselves to certain mediums, like the book trailer. For others, this service wouldnít accomplish much. We speak candidly with our authors about which techniques they should utilize. We donít aggressively push all of our services on them, trying to squeeze out the maximum profit for ourselves.
We also set our authors up to maintain their PR campaigns on their own once our work together is complete. Weíre creative and pursue multiple platforms, each of which has its own unique advantages. The combined force of a website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube campaign is hard to ignore. Our work also has a more professional appeal than a DIY blog, which I think gives the author street-cred.
LTS: Unless youíre a NY Times bestselling author with name recognition, it is next to impossible for the books to sell without some kind of marketing. Unfortunately, with the economy the way it is, the money used by even the big publishing houses for book tours and other promos are allocated to these bestselling authors, not the debut author struggling to meet sales and build a readership. Is there anything an author can do first to help promote their works at the grassroots level?
EM: Absolutely, and really thatís what we do. The internet is a strange and wonderful thing; it brings the entire world to your doorstep, making it easier than ever before to find that exact audience who has been waiting their entire life to read YOUR book.
If an author is willing to put in the time and learn to do social media marketing effectively, they will reap major benefits.
Aside, Iím currently in the process of developing a service offering of one-on-one guided social media instruction. The aim is to teach the author exactly what he or she needs and wants to know about various mediums in a compact lesson via Skype.
LTS: With the availability of the Internet and social media in the form of Facebook and Twitter becoming the norm, what is the biggest mistake an author can make in using social media to promote their works?
EM: The biggest mistake would be becoming a sales robot. Weíve all seen the authors on Twitter who tweet 20 times per day ďbuy MY BOOK, just $9.99 on Kindle. Itís a great read Ė link.Ē And weíve all probably unfollowed them too. Use social media to build real relationships; thatís a far better strategy.
The second biggest mistake is in putting forth an unprofessional front. If you have an amateurly designed blog rife with typos, you lose credibility. Any poor design or formatting choices can really come back to bite you. Several of the articles from our blog cover this wide-ranging topic. One day I also plan on writing a social media pet peeve post. Spoiler alert: I HATE Twitter bios that say something along the lines of ďreader, writer, father, cat person, but not necessarily in that order.Ē Ugh, be original already!
LTS: When should an author turn to Novel Publicity for help?
EM: You can turn to us at any stage really. Ideally, we will begin working with you before your book is published so that we can do some anticipatory PR (and you can also consider using our editing and cover design services). We can also work with authors whose books have been published long ago to service their books with an enthusiastic wake-up campaign.
LTS: Your fees are very affordable. Can you tell the readers what they start at?
EM: Sure! Our services start at $25 for things like 100 targeted Twitter followers and query letter critiques. Our most expensive services are book trailer and website creation as well as audio book adaptation. Many of our services are priced upon consultation to help us keep our rates down (starting prices are listed for all of our services as well, many times the starting price is the one we offer to customers).
LTS: For the authors who are not sure how to approach publicizing their novels, can you recommend a package to meet their specific needs?
EM: We donít offer any packaged services just yet, but this is a direction we plan to venture in the future. For now, we determine which services best fit the authors promotional needs via a phone consultation. We also work according to each authorís set budget.
LTS: Which of the promotional packages that Novel Publicity offers has proven to increase traffic to the authorís website, and hopefully, increase book sales?
EM: Again, we donít offer packages yet. Remember, we are a very young company. We only launched on March 1 of this year. We measure our success by each individual authorís definition. I do know that our Twitter follow package and blog design services have been especially well-received by our clients.
LTS: Is there a different strategy implemented to best promote a non-fiction book as opposed to genre fiction?
EM: Our strategies donít just vary by genre; they vary by author. Some basic services (like social media set-ups and outreach) are useful across the board, but some arenít a perfect match for each of our clients. We make sure to create the maximum promotional bang for the buck J
LTS: Thank you so much for taking the time to share in your knowledge and for making us aware of what we can do to increase our visibility out there, as well as sharing information of what Novel Publicity can do to help us! Catch you twitter, Emlyn!
You can follow Emlyn on Twitter at .EmlynChand
To visit the Novel Publicity website, click on this link: http://www.novelpublicity.com/category/advice/ --
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