Robert Reid takes the most practical and common sense approach to marketing books I’ve read so far. In the article below he describes how planning and personal promotion have been central to his success. It’s a great read and the really good news in Robert’s own words – “marketing is simple”.
“I use a simple technique to market and sell my books. It’s called direct action. First of all I engage the media – print, radio and television – to promote my latest book. If that book is aimed at the local market, the response is usually positive, and interviews are organised, resulting in contact with the book-buying public. Also, I “talk up” the book wherever I go. This, too, is very important, as word of mouth is a powerful tool, spreading the message.
I market and sell my books through my website, use a business card, give talks wherever possible, and set up signings at the best bookshops. For the first days and weeks after publication, it is extremely important to hit the ground running.
Unfortunately, authors have a reputation as shrinking violets, but we should treat our profession as a business and act accordingly. Otherwise, as good as a book may be, it will slumber if not personally promoted. I use my label, Blue Heeler Books, as an important face of my small publishing business, and people tend to remember it as a catchy label.
If my book is published by a mainstream company it is, of course, distributed nationally, and the marketing and promotion is handled by that publisher. However, I still do my own, as outlined above. The difference is, I don’t own the book. So, in order to sell them, I am required to buy them off the publisher at a reduced rate. That means I don’t make much profit, but the books help to market my other titles, and add to my profile. The more books you have, the bigger your profile.
In conclusion, marketing is simple – yet time-consuming, and reliant on careful planning. Nobody will buy my books if they don’t hear about them. So, if I publish them under my own label, it is all up to me to make the noise!”