Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Steps to Indie Publishing - Step Three: Promotion Plan

How do you intend to promote your work? 

This is where your budget comes into play. I have almost no money in my advertising budget. So, it comes down to grunt work. Why am I bringing this up here and not after the book is in print? Because the best time to start growing your followers is now before you have a product on the market. Hype it up. Grow expectations. Get out the word.

Promotion struck fear in my heart when I first considered self-publishing. Most of us writers are introverts. It is the nature of the typical writer to not wish to draw attention. I prefer to watch the world, interact when I am comfortable, and retreat when I am not. By all means, I do not want to pressure anyone into doing anything they don’t wish to do even if it means buying my books.

Thanks to the internet age we live in, the introverts among us can promote via the web and never actually look our customer in the face. How? Social media.

Facebook, Twitter, blogs, email, and websites now drive our society. Yes, there are many who are not online, connected, or just have no internet presence at all. To reach those people, a writer needs to employ the traditional tactics: book signings, speaking engagements, book conferences, and the like. I have little to no experience in the traditional venues. The electronic arena is the area where I can help you. I don’t have a magic formula for sales, but I can point you in the right direction.

Facebook - Set up a page for your book/writing. Seek out other authors to learn from, groups who allow promotion or places to learn more about the industry, and spread the word to your friends and those who follow your writing. Collect "likes" any way you are comfortable with. I am not a big campaigner, but I do try.

Twitter - Set up an account, seek out people of similar mindsets and interests, and link your account to Facebook so that you can update both at the same time. (I link my Facebook writing page to Twitter so that my Facebook status updates Twitter.) What to tweet about? Your writing, quotes about writing, interesting facts, articles you have read, or friend’s blog posts.

Blog - Choose a blog format you are comfortable with, set up a blog, and start writing. Talk about writing, books, other’s work, promotion, art, whatever you would like to focus your posts on. Work on drawing a following. Offer ways for them to to follow the blog (be notified when you post something new): email, NetworkedBlogs, Google Friend Connect, etc.

Website - This would be focused on pulling readers in, informing them about your writing, selling your work, and driving for a sale. Offer excerpts, blurbs, information about where they can buy, and more information about you are all good ideas.

Email - Set up a signature in your mail that promotes your Facebook/Blog/Twitter/Website, etc.

Book Trailer - Gather images, music, and a teaser few sentences and you can build yourself a decent book trailer to put on your website, Facebook, and many other websites all over the place. I even have a blog I am trying to use to promote the medium because I really enjoy creating them and watching them.

I use Windows Live Movie Maker, which came on my laptop, to compile the videos. Just like with covers, the images and music need to be royalty free with the proper licenses. I use for most of my trailer music. There are other options out there.

I think I could probably write a whole article on how to make book trailers. However, here are some guidelines.

- Shoot for one to two minutes in length. - Don’t just use the blurb; write a new tease for the trailer.
- Keep images and/or text moving to keep the audience’s attention
- Be careful to keep text clear and visible against the image backgrounds.
- Try to coordinate the music, images, and what is happening in the plot.
- Work hard at representing the feel, story, and genre of the book.
- Ask yourself, does the trailer make me want to buy the book?
- Be sure to credit your sources and direct the watcher to a buy link and feature the cover image.

For some examples, you can visit my YouTube channel:

Next week, Step Four: Go For It!

- Rachel Rossano

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