Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel


Murder Must Advertise
Sponsored by Jeffrey Marks

Tips for E-Book Authors
from author Todd Hayes

I can identify with "The Nerves" problem, Christine :-)

Although the "celebrate and relax" scenario, as recommended by some other well-adjusted writers on the board, is a Heavenly prospect, I am personally unable to unwind when a new release has hit the open air. If you are still restless, like me, here are nine things you can do to occupy the anxiety-ridden expanse of your post-published psyche, and to help your eSales :-)

In theory, a new eBook has a much longer shelf life in its market than a new printed release, so the time factor should not be as pressing with respect to reaching your market.

1) Take your time and gather more information on your market, your eReaders. I've found that surfing the newsgroup boards is the best way to find readers, reviewers and new eZines. The list is endless, and will continue to grow. Join the groups, make friends as you've done here, and subtly mention your title whenever appropriate. Via the Net, authors now have the luxury of direct contact with their readers--take advantage.

2) Gather reviews from anyone and everyone. Send inquires to all eZines and topic boards. Ask other authors to review your book. Make a web page showing off your reviews and include one or more in your signature (see below). If you really want a review from a certain publication, send them a CD of your ebook with a hand-written note and follow up in a few weeks (following up is key). Show an interest in their work or publication--everyone on the Net is a fledgeling entity, no matter how large their website, and we all need feedback and encouragement.

3) Read up on the eBook industry and keep current. Join eBook and eAuthor newsgroups to network. Some authors are pooling their resources and marketing dollars to reach markets together. Many libraries are starting to offer eBooks on loan to their patrons. Find out if those libraries know about your book.

4) Prepare yourself for the evolving technology. You want your eBook to be available in all electronic formats. eRocket, SoftBook, Palm Pilot and other hand-held readers already have a captive buying audience. Next year there will be more. Make sure your book is ready for each new wave of eReaders, and that the proper online vendors, i.e., Amazon, B&N, Fatbrain, etc. will have access to your title. Before long, you'll see eBooks promoted in physical bookstores. Be ready.

5) Attend conferences. Meet your peers face to face. Pass out cards, bookmarks, or whatever other inexpensive materials you can think of to promote your book. Don't be shy. You want the world to read your words and the world starts with one person.

6) Promote your publisher. The more hits your publisher gets, the more exposure you get. Let your publisher know that you are spreading the word so they will improve your book page and feature your title. Forward your reviews to your publisher and your retailers. Ask people to link to your publisher and your personal site. Look at other publisher's sites and see if your page measures up.

7) Make a database of your contacts and readers. Include them in a newsletter, or in any updates you have to your title and your writing career. People are interested in your progress and will want to be affiliated with your climb to success.

8) The rule of advertising is to entice your market seven (7) times before you can expect an impact. The human skull is thick. Pretend that we are all children, who have to reminded to wash our hands seven times before coming to the table. Eventually, your promotion will stick through repetition.

9) Most importantly, make a schedule for what you are going to do on a regular basis, so you won't drive yourself nuts:-) Contact 5 new reviewers/authors/eZines per week. Schedule a time to do it. Make a list of activities and schedule an hour or two per day to complete them, so it won't interfere with your writing. Whether you are published online or in print, it takes years to establish your name and to acquire a loyal following. Think of it as a long-term investment. You are steering an elephant across Asia. China is really there and the silk is as beautiful as you have imagined--you just have to stay on course until you see the Great Wall.

Personally, I sleep much better when I feel like I have taken a step forward in spreading my name. An hour of marketing a day is enough to sooth my spirit and reinforce my goals. Best of luck, Christine! Feel free to eMail me directly (via my webpage) if you need some moral support :-)

Best, Todd

Todd Hayes is author of THE HOLLOW, c. 1999 Gypsy Books
"Spine Chilling! -The Midwest Book Review
"Interesting characters and very well-crafted." -Writer's Digest
"Read this book!" -Cotworld Online Magazine



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