Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Help for Mind Numbing Marketing

I read a lot of articles and occasionally books on marketing ebooks.  I'm just starting to get more serious about paperback marketing.  Nearly every author shares what works for them.  I guess we're kind of like the 40,000 Musketeers. What I follow most consistently is the work of Dana Lynn Smith, the Savvy Book Marketer.  Her free monthly newsletter has many tips, and I have bought a couple of her publications -- very reasonably priced.  

At my request, Dana agreed that I could reprint one of her articles here. This is one I'm trying to make myself memorize.

By Dana Lynn Smith

Recently an author asked me "How do you stage an in-person book launch with a novel that's published as an ebook? How do you autograph a computer screen?"

Here are some suggestions for doing a live book launch event for an ebook:

Plan the event much like you would any other book launch party, except you will probably need to find a venue other than a bookstore. Try to use a venue that has some kind of tie-in with the book, and offer refreshments and perhaps some form of entertainment. See this article by Tolly Moseley for creative ideas on planning a book launch party.

Do a presentation based on the book's content, not just a signing where you sit at a table. Nonfiction authors can speak on their book's topic or plan an interactive activity based on the topic. Novelists can do a presentation based on some aspect of the book's story or do a short reading. Children's authors can read the book aloud, speak on the topic of the book, and plan fun activities for kids. All authors can talk about writing and publishing and take questions from the audience. Be creative and plan something interesting!

Print lots of bookmarks and handout several to all of the attendees so they can share with others. If you print your bookmarks with uncoated paper on the back side, you can sign the back of the bookmarks. See this article to learn more about using bookmarks for book promotion.

Encourage attendees to bring their ebook reading device to the event. They can download the ebook on the spot.  You could even provide a laptop computer where people can order the book if they don't have their ebook reader with them, but you'll need to make certain that each person logs out of their Amazon or other ebookstore account after using it.

You can "autograph" Kindle ebooks by using KindleGraph to send personalized inscriptions and signatures to the customer's Kindle ebook reader.

If your ebook is available on the Nook store, you may be able to arrange an event at a Barnes & Noble store. Last year B&N announced that they were going to offer autographing services for Nook Color devices, but it's hard to find any details on how to do it. Your local store event manager may have information on autographing.

Remember that you'll need to promote your event heavily. Suggested promotions include press releases to local media, emails or evites to your friends and local contacts, announcements on your blog and social media accounts, and postcard invitations. Ask others to help spread the word.
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Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer, helps authors and indie publishers learn how to sell more books through her how-to guides, blog, newsletter, and private coaching. Get her free Top Book Marketing Tips ebook at www.BookMarketingNewsletter.com, visit her blog at www.TheSavvyBookMarketer.com, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter, and connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SavvyBookMarketer.



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Humbly Offering Freebies

There is something about going to museums that makes me want to say, "How could I even think of writing another book?  I'll never be as good as the many writers/painters/sculptors whose work I viewed today."  I do get over it and keep writing, but it's good to be humbled now and again.  Keeps me honing the craft.

Captosaurus dispar - Natural History Museum
I'm in the Washington/Baltimore area for the Thanksgiving weekend, and my husband and I made our traditional sojourn to some of the Smithsonian museums.  I am a huge fan of Eugene Boudin, who was Monet's primary mentor.  There were three of his works in a small exhibit of French paintings in the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art--the most I've ever seen in one place.  They were in the modern art wing, so it is lucky my hubby wanted to go to the Roy Lichtenstein exhibit.  It was a retrospective of his sometimes irreverent look at the world, often using newsprint to create projects. 

So, I am now humbly offering two free books this weekend.  One is Words to Write By: Putting Your Thoughts on Paper, an overview of how to organize your thoughts so you are more comfortable writing about them.  It's free Saturday and Sunday.

On Sunday, Any Port in a Storm will be free.  It's the fifth in the Jolie Gentil cozy mystery series.  Lots of humor in this one.

You might also enjoy an interview with me that author Chris Redding posted on her blog last week.  Or maybe you won't enjoy it, but most people won't say that. 

Enjoy the rest of the holiday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kennedy Library Votes for Pulitzer

Because there was no Pulitzer Prize for fiction awarded in 2012, the Kennedy Library (Muncie, IN) book club decided to read the three finalists and vote.  The idea caught on and was opened to any patron; people could vote in person or on line.  The hands-down winner was Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson. This was also my personal choice.

The brief back flap material says:  Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams is an epic in miniature, one of his most evocative and poignant fictions. It is the story of Robert Grainier, a day laborer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century---an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainer struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime. Suffused with the history and landscapes of the American West, this novella by the National Book Award--winning author of Tree of Smoke captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.

All of that is true, but what makes the book great is the vivid pictures of Robert Grainer's life as an orphan riding the train to his aunt and uncle's, his years working on the railroad, a raging fire that destroyed his home and dreams, and the rundown shack he built closer to the end of his life.  I can still see about ten of the scenes, all of them various places in rural America.When I can remember scenes from a book months later I know I'll remember it for years.

The writing is simple and deep. All of this, and it's a novella. Your library surely has it.  If not, make them buy it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pulitzer Decision Looms

Drum roll...Thursday, November 8th, is the night the Muncie Library's Kennedy Book Club will vote on which of three Pulitzer finalists deserve the honor.  Why are we doing this?  Because the committee could not decide.  Hard to imagine.  The three books are:

    Denis Johnson's Train Dreams
    Karen Russell's Swamplandia!
    David Foster Wallace's The Pale King

One I loved, one I liked a bit and could at least follow the story line, and one led me to think someone counted the votes wrong.  I know, how rude! I'll tell you our tally on Thursday.