If You Build It, They Might Not Come — Promotional Realities Part 3

Guest Post by Jo Ettles

Public speaking and networking
I often speak at events both big and small. Some events are local and some of late have been interstate. This is an amazing way to get your books and your message out into the world. It takes a lot of energy to do this though so I tend to really only participate in events and networking opportunities where I know there will be genuine interest in my work. For obvious reasons, if you are asked to speak at an event to showcase your book, make sure it is a good fit!

Website
Invest in a good website. Create a beautiful website or blog and sell signed copies of your books from it. My website is actually a Wordpress blog combined with website design. I am lucky my husband is trained in this area so I can add and subtract information at any time. I post articles to my blog, I sell my books from my blog, I recommend other authors books from my blog and I also obviously promote my other services.

Your book is important and your website/blog should capture the essence of your work as well as who you are so invest some time and energy into this platform.

Keep going   
Recently, my publisher went into receivership. This was a devastating blow for not only me but also around 200 other authors, editors and talented designers. It would have been very easy to just call it quits but I decided that quitting would have been too easy. 

My thing is to write short, easy to read books that will inspire people to make positive life changes instantly. That desire has been so strong that I am now starting my third book. Imagine if I let my first publisher take that dream away from me through their miss management?

I was lucky enough to get picked up by another publisher recently and so the journey to get my work out into the world continues. 

Here is the thing though...

If you believe you can, you are halfway there. There are always going to be challenges, obstructions and hurdles that will set you back. If success was easy, well then everyone would be successful! 

Henry Rollins said, “You must do what others don’t to achieve what others won’t”. For that reason I am relentless when it comes to marketing my books. I make the time every-day to find a way to reach another reader, to connect with another person who may want to hear my message or share it with someone else.

If you have created a beautiful book that you are proud of, take steps every day to get it out into the world.  Think outside the square, take action and be consistent. Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen.

If You Build It, They Might Not Come — Promotional Realities Part 2

Guest Post by Jo Ettles

Social media
I love social media and it has worked well for me. There are so many options though, so my best advice is pick one or two social media platforms and then do them really well. I use Facebook and Twitter only.

Facebook – I have a personal Facebook account but I keep this for family and friends and a few colleagues that I have connected with. Off to the side of my personal account, I have a business/ author page which I post on daily.  Because I write self- help books, I post quotes and tips, wellness information that I hope will encourage people to take action towards having a better day.  To me, it is fantastic a way to instantly connect with people and it also reflects the way I write.  

I have used Facebook adds as a way of selling books, and I have had good results. If you are not familiar with marketing using Facebook advertising, the guidelines are strict and you need to be mindful on how to do it well to make it work.  It is trial and error and maybe that is another post down the track if anyone wants to know more about that as a way to market their books.

Twitter
You can actually connect your Facebook page to Twitter and when you post on Facebook, it automatically reposts it on Twitter- killing 2 birds with one stone (no pun intended!!!). Twitter is a phenomenal way to connect with the world.  I once connected with two amazing coaches in London via Twitter and I sent them a copy of my first book. When they received it, they took a photo of it and then shared the photo and some information about my book with all of their followers. It definitely generated interest in my work and resulted in an increase in sales.

Here is another way to look at Twitter. If you follow someone on Twitter, they automatically receive notification via email that you are following them. It is a perfect way to connect and introduce yourself to all sorts of amazing people who might want to follow you, connect with you and even share your work.

Review copies   
When my first book was released, I had a publicist that actually got me a few radio interviews and a couple of good reviews in magazines. For my latest book, I have no publicist. I am my own publicist! 

I wrote my own press release and sent a copy of my latest book to a few media publications. So far, I have had a few radio interviews, a great full page write up in a newspaper magazine and it is early days. I have only just started doing this.

I don’t have any real influential media connections so this method is a bit hit and miss for me, but I have nothing to lose. I think if you want to really get your work out there, be fearless. What is the worst thing that can happen?  They don’t respond?  Take a chance. You may be pleasantly surprised. 

Send review copies to journalists in your local paper or any papers and magazines for that matter. There is a great website called Sourcebottle and it is a free online service that connects journalists with sources so if you sign up, you get daily emails of upcoming opportunities to quote or feature in stories. I have found a couple of great opportunities via this website to promote myself and my books. 

If You Build It, They Might Not Come — Promotional Realities Pt1

Guest Post by Jo Ettles, author.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you right? I had no idea when I wrote my first book in 2012 that it would be such a challenging experience in more ways than one.  Ever the eternal optimist, I do believe self-belief is a huge part of achieving success. BUT it also takes real work, determination, dedication and commitment to marketing yourself and your books continuously to make it in such a competitive world.

I have a strong background in marketing and it is second nature for me to recognise that you need to actively market yourself as an author and promote your work consistently.  You know that old line from the movie — Field of Dreams — “If you build it, they will come”? 

Well, it may have worked for Kevin Costner, but if you take that approach, your amazing book might never reach anyone.

I recently connected with some gifted authors who have released incredible books.  Each and every one of them wanted to know how to improve their marketing and share their work. Here is some of the information that has helped me get both of my books out into the world.

Author Profile
I think everyone needs to have a professional headshot for their author profile. It is amazing how people respond to a professionally taken image as opposed to one that was just taken randomly at a party or family dinner! Present a professional image to the world and invest in a decent author photo.

When it comes to writing your bio, keep it short and sweet but always write from the heart. Readers want to really connect with you. Be uniquely you.

Goodreads
Goodreads is a phenomenal way to get your books seen all over the world. Create an author profile and list your books as soon as you can. Goodreads runs a giveaway competition for readers. I normally giveaway 3 signed copies of my books every few months and it generates a lot of interest in my work. I highly recommend it. 

There is a section where readers can review your work and also give it a star rating. Try not to take it too personally if a review isn’t as great as you had hoped. Not everyone will get your message or your writing but don’t let that stop you from moving forward.  

I recently had a review of one of my books and the reader said, that it had motivated her to clean up but I had rehashed a lot of self-help stuff that was already out there and generally, my book would only appeal to an Australian audience. At first, I got my back up! In my book “The Shed” I share a very personal story so it is definitely not rehashed. After a couple of wasted hours trying to make sense of her opinion, I just accepted that my work is not for everyone and if I was going to continue writing, I had to respect everyone’s opinion and take it on board. The following day, I saw a post on the internet by an American man. He had recommended my book on a reader’s forum saying it was full of good ideas and it was a very decent entry into the self- help genre. Balance restored! 

See Post 2 for more promotional suggestions from Jo.

Amazon Set to Open Non-Virtual Bookstores

After spending the last decade laying waste to the bookstores of the world, it now seems vaguely possible that Amazon is about to build a few of its own. That's right: physical bookstores, with actual books on actual shelves. And actual customers, one assumes. Amazon doesn't do anything without a plan, and without a preternatural understanding of their customers, so their business model must be pretty robust. As this blog post points out, the massive number of print on demand titles that Amazon hosts gives it the ability to tailor store offerings in a granular way without having to maintain huge warehouses of stock. And no-one does logistics and fulfillment as well as Amazon. Lovers of books may find it reassuring that Amazon evidently subscribes to the view that print books will be around for the foreseeable future.

Children's Book Council Reviews

Best known as the organisers of the CBCA awards, the Children's Book Council of Australia also offers (but does not guarantee) to review childrens and YA books sent to them at this address: 

Reading Time Online
PO Box 216
Kallangur LPO   QLD   4503

The reviews are published at  readingtime.com.au

The overwhelming majority of reviews are of books published by mainstream publishers, but independent authors should still give it a go. The criteria for inclusion genuinely seems to be quality rather than origin.

Getting a Title Removed from Amazon / Reassertion of Copyright

Recently, a local publisher (Jo Jo Publishing) went into bankruptcy owing authors, printers and suppliers a great deal of money. The liquidators indicated the authors were free of any contractual obligations to the now-defunct company. Many of the authors published by Jo Jo wished to remove their books from Jo Jo-badged online listings (with Amazon in particular) so they could re-upload their titles with new ISBNs. As Jo Jo was now unstaffed, they had to take matters into their own hands. Amazon has a facility for authors in this kind of situation:

If you believe that your digital content is being sold by a publisher no longer authorized to sell your copyrighted content, please provide Amazon.com’s copyright agent the written information specified below. This procedure is exclusively for notifying Amazon.com and its affiliates that your copyrighted material has been infringed.

Amazon's requirements / contact details continue as follows:

  • An electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright interest;
  • A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed upon;
  • A description of where the material that you claim is infringing is located on the site;
  • Your address, telephone number, and e-mail address;
  • A statement by you that you have a good-faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
  • A statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf.

Amazon.com 's Copyright Agent for notice of claims of copyright infringement on its site can be reached as follows:

Copyright Agent

Legal Department
P.O. Box 81226
Seattle, WA 98108-1226
Fax: (206) 266-7010
E-mail: copyright@amazon.com

Australian Society of Authors looks out for Self Publishers

The ASA has compiled a compact PDF booklet with practical advice for self publishers. Of particular note is their discussion re. pricing a book by factoring in production, distribution and bookstore costs, and a rather short list of distributors who may be willing to take on self-published authors (especially those with active promotional plans). The Arts Law Centre of Australia has also compiled an in-depth discussion of self publishing from their rights/legal perspective.

Kids Book Reviews

Kids Book Review is an attractive and frequently updated Australian book review blog. Apart from thoughtful reviews, the site also features interviews with illustrators and authors. Due to the sheer volume of review requests, the volunteers who run the site will not review self-published work. The site also has an excellent list of writing awards and events, plus links to related blogs and services.

You Go, Books!

Printed books seem have unexpected staying power. The growth of the ebook segment of the market has slowed dramatically, and independent bookstores have experienced a modest expansion, both in terms of the number of stores and overall sales. Readers cite the tactile aspect of the printed word, along with the aesthetics of a good bookshelf. Not that the digital revolution hasn't changed the book trade — at least 40% of all book sales are now online.