When my initial publisher went out of business, leaving me with the final book manuscript, I decided that I was going to try and get signed by another publisher. I trawled websites and spoke to a number of them wanting to find out exactly what they required when it came to submitting a proposal why they should sign me as an author. Besides the usual; synopsis, sample chapters, about the author and genre etc, the one thing that stood out was that they wanted to know how I was going to market the book. Market the book? I mean come on I’m the author, I write, I shouldn’t be the sales person responsible for selling the title! Oh how wrong was I….
Gone are the days when a publisher looks at a title and the author and decides to produce the book expecting that the marketing be left up to them. Publishing is a business about the bottom line and everyone owes their pound of flesh. They will definitely do their bit but who better than the author to market the book?
A marketing strategy is important which should include, who will review the book and expose it to potential readers. There are so many books published on a daily basis that getting the word out there, that your title should be read, is crucial. There are different avenues to explore. Social networking, book launches and mainstream media like; radio, tv, magazines/newspapers and portals such as websites through which renowned reviewers express their opinions pertaining to recently released titles.
My latest title, The Journey that’s Ours was recently released (about 2 weeks ago) And I feel very proud. But, I knew that if the book wasn’t exposed it wouldn’t be bought, and if it wasn’t being bought then nobody was reading it. If nobody was reading it then my message wasn’t being received, and that would be a huge blow to my ego.
So what did I do? (I mean, who likes a deflated ego!)
For the last 7 days I’ve been phoning and emailing all of my contacts, which include; magazine/newspaper book reviewers, literary- promoting radio and TV shows and reviewers that have their own websites. I told them about my book, about me and about the message that I’m trying to get across. I then told them to expect a review copy of my book and the 1Sheeter and then I begged them for some exposure. (It’s really OK to do that – beg, when no one can see you on the other side of a telephone or computer.) I then couriered, posted and hand delivered the books to all the said parties. And that’s what it takes plus some, to get the word out that the book is available in hard copy and EBook format. Whether being published by a mainstream publisher or as an independent publisher, the groundwork has to be done to get the word out there. No one else is going to do it and there’s nothing worse than a pile of books taking up space in the lounge, dining room, bedroom and bathroom.
And the returns…?
In one short week The Journey that’s Ours has been reviewed on Bookchat, one of the premier children’s book review sites in South Africa which reaches a global audience. The reviewer is honest and to the point – no bells and whistles, but the title is recommended. I have also been asked to be part of the Franschhoek Literary festival for young readers, one of, if not, the biggest book festival in South Africa. And this is what it’s about. Getting exposure.
The behind the scenes work might be tedious, but I’d rather do it for myself knowing that if I had a mainstream publisher I’d be doing it anyway…