Whether self-published or traditionally published, authors today largely are in charge of their own marketing, according to Midge Raymond, an author and co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.
With experience marketing her own books under her belt, Raymond has written an invaluable guide to help authors navigate through the complicated world of book tours, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Amazon reviews, blogs, traditional book reviews and more that make up the modern book marketing landscape.
"Everyday Book Marketing: Promotion Ideas to Fit Your Regularly Scheduled Life" is a practical guide for authors on the verge of being published, already published or still drafting their masterpieces.
It's adaptable to writers who have a few hundred dollars to spend promoting their work — or tens of thousands of dollars. Perhaps even more importantly, "Everyday Book Marketing" doesn't assume that a writer can work full time on marketing, although Raymond prepares authors for the surprising amount of work that has to be done.
"Book promotion can be endless — you'll realize that there's always more you can be doing — so you'll need to be sure you do the minimum while still keeping your regularly scheduled life in some sort of order," she notes in the book.
Raymond walks writers through such basics as getting an author photo, launching a website and getting promotional printed material, such as business cards and bookmarks.
She recommends starting a blog, as well, and gives tips for being relevant and interesting.
When it comes to a Facebook author page, Raymond advises writers to post status updates often but to avoid being overly promotional. To avoid being sucked in by Facebook and wasting time, she recommends limiting yourself to 30 minutes per day.
Raymond was at first reluctant to try Twitter, but now is an avid user of this social media tool. "I didn't get why I should be, or how anyone else could be, interested in 140-character updates about people's lives," she writes.
But Twitter is useful for tweeting about upcoming events, as well as staying engaged with readers and writers, she notes.
When it comes to organizing a book tour, authors need to reach out to bookstores and libraries to request an event three to six months in advance. Plan to talk about your book, do a reading and answer questions, or better yet, teach a workshop or hold another event that will interest people, Raymond advises.
If only a few people show up to an event — and this can happen to almost anybody — turn around this embarrassing situation by really connecting with the people who are there, she writes.
"Everyday Book Marketing" features Raymond's expertise, as well as a section of interviews with authors, a publicist, a photographer, events managers and coordinators, a book blogger and a library manager (our very own Amy Blossom from the Ashland public library).
Author L.J. Sellers details how she spent 10 times more money promoting her book than she earned on royalties — until she turned to selling and promoting her book in e-book format and finally met with success.
Writer Jenna Blum's book was languishing until she hit the book club circuit, visiting more than 1,000 book clubs in the Boston area alone. She sometimes spoke at three book club meetings per day and talked to others by phone — a Herculean effort that helped her book become a best-seller.
Although writing is often a solitary endeavor and many authors are uncomfortable with self-promotion, many said they were surprised at how much they enjoyed marketing their books and making new connections.
"Having lived the life of a hermit during those writing years, I am overwhelmed with the number of friends I've made since the launch of this novel," said Zohreh Ghahremani, author of "Sky of Poppies."
"Everyday Book Marketing" is available in paperback and digital formats through independent book stores, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and www.midgeraymond.com/purchase_marketing.html.