Things are changing as quickly in the publishing world as they are at your local phone store. The old model of an author writing a book and then handing it over to an agent and then publisher to do all the marketing are long gone. Unless you are a big-name seller guaranteed to bring in the bucks (even though your writing may not be the greatest) you’ll get a marketing budget. If you are a first time author, or someone who is not internationally known, well then baby, you’re essentially on your own.
Which means that if you publish a book (e-book or hardcopy) you’ll need to be smart about how you get the word out to your audience. You’ll need to have a solid platform.
And you need to be Social Media savvy.
I recently sent a query to an agent for a book I’m working on. She was interested. Not only did she want to see a 50 page sample, but she also wanted to see my proposal. She included this note in her reply:
“Also, it would be great if you can make sure the proposal includes specific information as to how you'd use your platform to promote this book (this part frequently gets left out...it's the only reason I bring it up).”
And there it is. She wanted to know if I had the wherewithal to be able to promote my book myself. She wanted to know how I was connected to my audience and what tools I could use to reach them.
Oh sure, I can say that I would be available to go on a book tour but let’s face it, traveling from book store to book store is only going to burn up a lot of gas and reach just a few people in my audience (the ones who are not at work, or driving their kids around – in other words, not the ones I really want to hit.)
It’s better to try and do as much as possible online. In my proposal although I mentioned that I would continuing doing presentations and workshops, I also said that I would work Facebook and Twitter to help with promotion. I’d comment more on like-minded blogs, I’d guest post on other’s blogs that held relevance, I’d get press releases and interviews out to various publications.
In essence, from my chair located here in New Hampshire, I was going to do my best to reach a worldwide audience using Social Media tools.
An example of a recent book being rolled out on the internet is Jonathan Fields' new book
“Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brillance” (currently #10 in motivational books, #17 in Business Life, and #17 in Entrepeneurship) Jonathan is brilliant, everyone loves him, but even he needs to get the word out in order for people to buy his product.
When the book was released, he held an online book launch party. For four hours he had streaming video of himself with others talking about his book but also talking about and giving tips on valuable information. There was laughter, there was fun, I learned things, and I honestly had a good time.
Jonathan also had prizes that could be won by using Social Media to promote the event. One prize went to someone who had the funniest tweet about attending the event. Another went to someone who submitted a twitpic and lastly the big prizes (a Kindle Fire and a Nook) went to two people who submitted a video and then tweeted with the tag #Uncertainty.
(Disclaimer – I won the Kindle Fire and I am so PSYCHED.)
It’s a new paradigm, a new way of looking at book marketing. Jonathan didn’t need to travel for his book launch party, he didn’t need to book a hotel conference room and serve wine, and yet he still got hundreds of people attending and thousands of people noticing on Twitter that something about Jonathan Fields and #Uncertainty was going on. (hmm, I think I’ll click on that link and find out what all the buzz is about.)
Jonathan also helped his book launch by pre-selling a bundled package (including some of his previous work for free) and lining up interviews with blogs and publications. He was ready to hit the ground running the day his book came out.
Oh, that Jonathan, what a smart guy.
The publishing world is on its head right now, literally not knowing what is up or down. It’s going to be tough getting anything published. But if you can utilize your internet and Social Media connections and if you can target your specific audience convincing them that your book holds value, you might just get a proper shot at it.
About the Author:
A features writer, interviewer, and columnist, Wendy Thomas has been published in national magazines, newspapers, e-zines, and blogs.
Her current project is to blog about life living with 6 kids and a flock of chickens.