I asked my Facebook friends for blog ideas and got some terrific suggestions. Here are a few that I will be tackling over the next few weeks.

Ace Collins asked: What marketing really works in the information age? What can writers do to get the word out without spending a great deal of money? [for this, I may ask a marketing expert I know, probably in the middle of August when I return from a conference]

Jane asked:Should you edit one manuscript while writing a different one?

Pam Farrel asked:

• editors view on common errors in manuscripts
• reliable research (wikapedia not:))
• changing genres (can a trade book author write fiction, children’s books, etc– if so, tips)
• the ups/downs of self publishing– what are reliable self-publishing companies?
• what makes a great gift book? [For this, I may have a guest blogger answer]• writers of the Bible, what can we learn from them?

Trisha asked: I have been struggling with my writing for some time now. I really struggle with creativity after a trauma occured in my life. Things are easier now, but I was wondering what other writers do in similar circumstances when struggles squelch out that creative vibe, and how they get back on a productive path.

Marilyn asked: I’ve often wondered how you feel as a writer yourself who wants to get your books published, and as an editor, making choices about whether someone else gets published. Seems like that your feelings would conflict. You might want to blog about that sometime. I’d be interested in your answer.

I hope to get to most of those soon, but in the meantime, my long-time friend, B.J. Bassett offered to do a guest blog about her experience when she pubilshed her novel Lily.

Take it away, Bunny….

Promote! Promote! Promote!

The buzzword for retailers is location, location, location. For writers it’s promote, promote, promote.

Before my dad became a successful building contractor he was a carpenter seeking a job with a well-known contractor in Beverly Hills, California. Every week Dad knocked on this man’s door seeking employment and each time he was turned away. Dad didn’t give up, but persisted. Finally he was hired. It was a great lesson I learned from my dad and especially helpful as a writer.

While marketing is selling your product, promoting is publicizing or encouraging someone to buy your product and there are countless ways to do it.

When I published my novel, Lily, I discovered that most of my sales generated from friends and family as the result of a book launching and speaking at a women’s retreat where I was known.

Book Launching

I planned my book launching event for Lily as an open house. I designed a flyer with my book cover, date, time and location and included my contact information and website. I invited from mailing lists of family, friends, neighbors, members of organizations I belong to, co-workers, and my church family. I provided light refreshments and had someone else handle the sales, so I could sign books and visit with those who came to celebrate with me. I sold 40 books that day.

When we’re unknown we need to find readers. One way to do that is to contact your local library. My local library placed my novel on the “New Books” shelf. As a result, Lily is consistently checked out at my local library. You can check your library’s website and see how often your book is in circulation. Libraries are a great resource for finding more readers. Recently a library patron asked the librarian if I had any other books in print. Now I wished I’d been more persistent in getting my next novel published.

Promote to Libraries

Search the Internet for county library websites in any state. The contact information is on their websites. Write a cover letter to the Acquisitions Librarian and include a flyer. The flyer needs to include your book cover, the back of the book blurb (book description), a brief excerpt from a book review, a brief author bio, book distributor’s info (where they can purchase your book), and your contact info.

While a book launching event, speaking at a women’s retreat and the library worked the best for me, you may find other promotional ideas are more your forte. Once you find your readers, make them your cheerleaders, influencers.

How can readers find you? Your book? Always be looking for marketing ideas to build awareness of you and your book. If you can’t do it yourself, hire an expert. Realize, however that you are the best person to promote your book, because you’re motivated.

A Marketing Plan

One must-do is to create a marketing plan. My plan consisted of contacts with bookstores, libraries, speaking, teaching, book reviews, book distributors, book signings, social media, radio and TV and thinking outside the box. One example of the latter is that was able to sell books to a restaurant with the same name as the title of my novel, Lily, as well as to gas station/mini-marts, a conference center gift shop, a video store, and an RV resort. I also had a tote bag made with my book cover printed on it as a promotional item.

When we are unknown we need to get known. Another “must” is a website. Hire a professional or do it yourself. I used Intuit; they provide an easy template for me to use. Include brief info about yourself, your book(s), a calendar of events, a counter of visitors, monthly blog, book cover(s), contact info, endorsements, guestbook, and a free giveaway. Visit other authors’ websites for ideas, and update your website often.

Social Media

Check out the following and pick the ones you think will work best for you: Shelfari, Goodreads, Facebook profile, Facebook page for your book, Library Thing, Twitter, and Squidoo. Create a monthly blog on a subject that will interest readers who will keep coming back to your blog.

I’m thankful I inherited my dad’s perseverance, if I hadn’t I’d never be where I am today—enjoying my life as a writer, speaker, teacher and promoter of my book.

Guest Blogger
B J Bassett

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