Sunday, May 17, 2009

Are you doing anything different?

Are you doing anything different to promote your books this year? Has the economic downturn caused you to think differently about what you do and how you do it?

Let's face it, authors spend thousands of dollars each year to promote their books. Usually far more than they earn on them. The idea is that if you spend a lot to get the book up and running, you'll attract more readers, the next book will get a better advance and good placement in the publisher's line up.

Of course, sometimes that happens and sometimes, you're just out of pocket on a book that never sells through on your advance. It's part of the mystery of sales. In rare cases it might have something to do with the quality of the writing, but how many bestsellers have you read that you questioned how they got published?

So in these tight financial times, how many authors are cutting back and how many are pushing harder?

From the answers to the poll I sent out to various authors, just under half are cutting their budgets this year. Some are skipping high priced conferences while other are pinning their hopes on less expensive Internet promotion.

Here are a few of the responses:

"I have been concentrating more on online promotion. I've started posting on Facebook and Twitter and I did a blog book tour the last half of April after The Surest Poison came out. I'm not doing as much travel as in the past. I'm looking for places to sell books like street fairs and craft fairs. My grandson's private school had a marketplace after a ladies fashion show and we sold quite a few books there."
~ Chester Campbell,

"The short answer is no. The expanded answer: There's always something, isn't there? I knock myself out to market (sell) my books, spending a lot more than I make on them, but it's all about building a reader base. Publishers of future books look favorably on those efforts. It shows commitment to self, and it makes their lives easier. I have a formal marketing plan, which I vary slightly with each book release. It works for me."
~ Lynda Fitzgerald, Of Words & Music,

"My favorite line lately has been 'my book costs about as much as a Happy Meal but it lasts a lot longer'."
~ Sheila Connolly, Agatha Nominee, Through a Glass, Deadly by Sarah Atwell, Best First Novel, /

"I'm getting out to conferences, events and signings, but I am also relying a lot more on Facebook announcements, book trailers, posting to online discussion groups and dropping into hospitable blogs such as yours. Certainly the level of interest in mysteries is still high. Although readers may not be able to travel to as many events in person, they are still passionate about crime fiction and it's great to find new fans and stay in touch with old friends in innovative ways. Here, have a book mark." ~ Mary Jane Maffini,, Death Loves a Messy Desk: a Charlotte Adams mystery

While it may seem prudent to cut back on what is essentially advertising for your books, read this article before making your decision:

"When the economy is faltering, advertising is often the first thing in the marketing budget that gets cut. This is true whether the business is Coca-Cola or the local car wash. But before you make the decision to scale back or cancel your advertising campaign altogether, consider the following tips."

Happy Promoting!
Joyce Lavene

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