Friday, February 25, 2005

Marketing II: After It's In Print

This seems worth splitting off into a topic of its own. ZZTop clarifies:
What can you do after the book is published to help the sales along? With the assumption that there will be no book tour, and next to no money [for] marketing. I've read articles from various writers that do a wide range of things, usually out of their own pocket...My question is...does it seem to be worth the effort and expense?

...Do you know what a publisher's view would be on putting excerpts on a website, say a few chapters? Or is that excluded under typical contracts?

My current thinking is that the press kits, self-funded book tours, print ads in convention booklets, expensive color postcards featuring the cover art & review quotes, etc., are a waste of time, money, energy, and innocent trees. Do signings in local bookstores, if you can -- it always helps to charm the clerks; maybe they'll plug your book -- and make sure your local paper gets a review copy and knows you're a local writer. (Never discount the value of regional chauvanism.)

But I believe the real action now is in doing all the live Internet chats, webzine interviews, and blogsite promos you can. Get plugs. Get links. Better yet, get all your friends and fans to put rave reviews on Don't try to collect email addresses and send out promotional e-blasts: I did that and found that a.) the half-life of my emailing list was about three months, and b.) a couple of the major ISPs declared me a spammer and blockaded my email account. It was a major pain getting that untangled.

Another thing I didn't recognize until it was too late is that it's good to sell signed copies off your own website. A surprising number of people will want to buy another copy of your book for their own collection, so they can give their original copy to a friend. One person bought six signed copies of Headcrash to give as Christmas presents. Selling signed copies off your own site is an easy way to turn a single sale into multiple sales.

As for putting excerpts from your book on your web site: it certainly seems to help. But I'm in no position to say what's permissable under a typical contract. Anyone else want to field this question?