Monthly Archives: March 2015

Marketing a Book #3 The Mysterious World of Publicity and Publicists

Writing a book was challenging. Bringing it to the point of being published was a matter of time and mechanics. Seeing the book as a finished product was more exciting than I thought it would be. The next part of this author’s journey was going to be a challenge. The established author with a following sets off on this part of the journey ‘with a song in his heart and a bounce in his step’. The début author has another experience altogether.

The unknown and untested author (that’s me) has a target audience in mind which he wants to reach and not much more than that in his kit bag. He takes his first steps on a path into the unknown world of ‘putting himself and his work out there’. He walks cautiously as if he is about to walk through a minefield while marching over a bed of hot coals at the same time. On either side of his path are thousands upon thousands of books on bookstore shelves and an endless array of eBooks all clamouring for the attention of a prospective purchaser. He is in dire need of some handholding and a soothing security blanket at that moment. ENTER THE PUBLICIST!

In my case, the publishing package purchased included some great materials, like posters and business cards, flyers and bookmarks. The materials I received were beautifully prepared and gave me a professional set of publicity material. Everything was printed clearly displaying the book’s title and some distinctive portion of the book’s cover in evidence along with the necessary information to purchase it. This was the beginning of branding a newly minted author, L Alan Weiss (me again), and his book Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment.

My book looked great and those publicity materials had a very professional look and feel about them. However, it is up to me to make the best use of these materials as I can. I’ll get to my adventures as a self-publicist in a bit, but first let’s talk about some serious handholding and a comfy security blanket that came my way; not for free, of course. Nothing is ever free, but some things are definitely worth the expense.

Publicists come in two flavours; one works for you and comes at a cost, the other costs nothing but the author’s time and energy. I chose to purchase the services of a social media publicist to help me make the best use of that intricate and powerful domain of human interactions. Social media has such potential, but I lack the sophistication to make the most of it. I’m just guessing, but my social media publicist is probably 35 to 40 years younger than I, which is just perfect. He’s sure to be knowledgeable about the social media domain. He sounded enthusiastic and interested in helping me as best he can.

I purchased a twelve-week package of support, including an audit of the social media elements I already use and a social media campaign prepared during the first week of our association. Over the remaining eleven weeks of the campaign, he will monitor the effectiveness of the campaign and make appropriate adjustments as we progress. In the end, I will receive a final report on the campaign. I will report on the experience, to you my followers and readers, in the form of a post on this blog.

The real adventure in publicizing my work begins as I act as my own agent, my own ‘boots on the ground’ publicist; an impossible task without two crucial happenings. The first was so unexpected that I can only use the word “kismet” to explain it. About four months ago I was meeting with someone over coffee at a local café, when a person from my past recognizes me and stops to say hello. In the course of our brief conversation, he asked me what I’d been up to since retiring, so I told him I had been writing a book which was close to completion. “That’s interesting”, he said.

This man, who was the principal of a school where I had taught in the early 1990’s, now hosted a weekly half hour show on local cable television. He said, “Keep me updated and let me know when it is in print, I’ll interview you on my show.” And so it has come to pass that on Wednesday, March 25th the interview was recorded live to tape, for broadcast on April 2nd. What a great opportunity for me to get my agent/publicist’s feet wet. See what I mean by “Kismet”. I’ll write a review of my interview in the next post in this series.

The second happening was born out of the social media endeavour. The agency that provides the service had me complete an extensive questionnaire, including many items that forced me to discuss and describe my book in a number of ways. The effort put forth in completing the questionnaire yielded enough material for me to produce a good press release document. Hopefully, that document will generate a few more interview opportunities and some local speaking engagements.

My life as an author/agent/self-publicist will certainly provide material for more blog posts at the very least. I will continue to update my followers and new readers on my adventures.

Until the next post . . .

As always, your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

Are you working with a publicist? What is your experience?

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing a book

Marketing a Book #2 – Lemony Snicket’s Great Advice

Marketing a Book #2 – Lemony Snicket’s Great Advice

Wouldn’t it be great to come up with a concept as neat as Lemony Snicket. Of course, that idea reflects the genius of David Handler. It is up to others to come up with their own ideas for a great and entertaining series of books in the genre of their own choice. There is one product of David Handler’s thinking that we might all copy without fear of copyright infringement. That idea was expressed in an article by Sarah Shaffi in the Bookseller ( http://www.thebookseller.com/news/lemony-snicket-urges-authors-connect-indie-bookshops Oct. 16, 2015)

In the article, Shaffi relates Handler’s ideas on using indie bookstores to market your book, and that’s exactly what I plan to do. Obviously this is just one of several marketing techniques planned for my campaign to sell copies of my book Through a Lens of Emptiness. In Marketing a book #1, I already discussed using Google Ads and Social Media to get my book some profile. Here’s how I plan to implement Daniel Handler’s idea.

I have already approached my local independent bookstore, Pickwick Books in Watertown, Ontario, with the idea. I have asked them to give my book placement in their shop in return for free advertising on my personal website. The plan is for me to provide a few signed copies of the book for sale in their store, and for me to share the profit on the sale with them. Since I can get copies of my book at a discounted rate, and can set the sale price for those copies as I wish. This arrangement is a win-win for Pickwick Books and for me every time a book sells.

Working with my local independent bookstore is logical but clearly only good for moving a few books. To make this a viable plan of action, I’ll need to line up as many independent bookstores in as broad a geographic region as possible. Not only will this take some effort on my part, but also some thought as to how to approach a bookstore with the idea and how to select the stores I want to approach. The number of books I purchase at a discount from the publisher is limited by the resources available to me ($$$$ + time + proximity). Because of these limitations, I need to establish some meaningful criteria to guide my choices.

These are the criteria I will apply to selecting which bookstores to approach:

1. The store needs to have a good location and regular clientele.

2. The bookstore should be relatively well established.

3. Use the post office and a phone call to introduce myself.

4. The owner of the bookstore should show some interest in the content of my book.

5. The bookstore should be within one to one and a half hours drive from my home.

That’s the plan and this spring is the launch date. I’ll keep my readers informed about the efficacy of this plan as it unfolds. I thought Lemony’s Dan Handler) idea had real merit. My only innovation re his suggestion is to provide free advertising for each bookstore participating in my plan on the web.

Until my next post, as always your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss (Larry) –
Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment

Visit my author website at http://www.lalanweiss.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing a book

Marketing Services – Books Don’t Sell Themselves

Marketing Your BookBuying Marketing Services – Books Don’t Sell Themselves

The publisher, iUniverse, has published my book. They provided all the editorial and production service covered by my publishing agreement with them and they have been most satisfactory. I have blogged regularly, posting progress reports and reflections on the processes involved as they unfolded. Now books need to be sold in a highly competitive market. An audience for Through a Lens of Emptiness is out there for sure, but the target audience for a book is both ephemeral and elusive unless an author can reach out to it. This is a daunting task for a début author, so all the support he can get in this endeavour is welcome. Unless he is particularly well connected with individuals that know the ropes, purchasing useful services are essential.

I’ve tried to build a bit of a following on my own over the last two years through blogging and the twitter-sphere. I’ll discuss that experience in the next blog post. I provide the following reflections with an understanding that which supports an author purchases are determined by $$$ available and not the desire to purchase quality services. Please note, I never name the support services purchased nor the prices paid in that everyone’s choice in services and service level will vary. The only service I will name is Google Ads, since everyone who uses the Internet knows what they are and who supplies them already.

I was informed about marketing services available to me through a marketing representative from iUniverse. These services were carefully explained to me, all my questions were answered in full, and there was no pressure or push to purchase any of them. I had time to think over the possible offerings and made my choices in my own time. The information available on the publisher’s web site provides some information about what is on offer, but direct contact with a knowledgeable individual was essential.

Google Ads looked like the best bang for the buck. This service allows me to define my target audience by age, interest, la gauge, and geographic region. The initial agreement for these ads covers the first three months of marketing. This means that for three months, informing my target audience that Through a Lens of Emptiness is available for purchase will be assured because of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

The second service selected purchases the services of an professional author publicity services to help me create a social media presence. This service is the more expensive of the two, but it is a pragmatic way of filling a big gap in my knowledge and experience. I have been finding my way through the nuance of using blogging and twitter to build an audience and establish a profile, but I still am wondering in the wilderness. Using Facebook to create an author well developed author page remains obscure. I look forward to the support I will receive and the knowledge to be gained from the experience.

The marketing ball is rolling and should gain momentum after I submit the extensive questionnaires that provide the necessary information for these service to move my marketing process along to the next stage.

In my next post I’ll reflect on my experiences with twitter and blogging.

Until my next post, as always your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness , now available through Google Books, Amazon.com, and the iUniverse Book Store.

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

Are professional marketing services actually necessary? Do you use an Twitter based Marketing services? Please comment……..

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing a book