Book Launches Can Be Effective

Rosie Abbot, author of Scent of Belonging reports that the recent launch of her book went extremely well.

'The Scent of Belonging' launch at Collins in Bairnsdale last night was a huge success. An audience of about 50 on a cold week night in the country is a great attendance. I spoke for about 30 minutes, followed by terrific book sales and signings that pleased Di Johnston, Manager of Collins Booksellers. Feedback has been rolling in. An extract from the latest email:

"Your sermon to the multitudes last night was inspiring. For someone “out of their comfort zone” you did a helluva job! You were interesting, warm, and your straightforward style and honesty did you proud. I think the sustained applause at the end of your talk was the proof of the pud. Congratulations!"

An earlier launch, held in my home town of Paynesville in July, attracted similar numbers and I am now receiving very positive feedback from readers. 

The book is currently being reviewed by CAE Melbourne Book Groups for consideration in their catalogue; I have some book club 'meet the author, discuss the book' events lined up in November, and am currently arranging another launch at Collins Booksellers in Traralgon, Central Gippsland.

Collins Booksellers in Bairnsdale have devoted a full window display to the promotion of 'The Scent of Belonging' which will be pride of place for two weeks (photos attached). Let's hope sales skyrocket!

 If an author knows their market, has good local support and gets the word out, a launch can be a real financial and emotional boost.

Smashing Marketing

For those bypassing traditional publishers and going online with their ebook offerings, Mark Coker, the CEO of Smashwords has produced a handy promotional guide. Part of his collection of tips relates to promotion within Smashwords, and the other portion to online promotion in general. When you look at the vast volume of ebooks being uploaded every day, acquiring a bit of promotional nous  is not optional, but absolutely essential. The Internet booksellers do not promote accidental discovery in the same way that physical bookstores did (and still do, at least in some places). And did we mention that the guide is free?

Calling All Publishers

Though facing an uncertain future, publishers are still the preferred point of entry for many authors. The prospect of completely going it alone is daunting for all but the most optimistic and entrepreneurial. The Australian Writers Marketplace is perhaps the most comprehensive and best known resource, but the Australian Publishers' Association Directory is also worth consulting. And if your tastes are more towards the independent, risk-taking end of the publishing spectrum, SPUNC (The Small Press Network) maintains an excellent web presence for smaller publishers. As always, check each publisher's submission policies.

Cassian Brown: Content is King

Author of two classy science fiction novels (covers designed by Chameleon), Cassian Brown has put together a website to showcase his work. Apart from excerpting an exciting sequence from Baxter Mariah, he links to the many ebook and print purveyors of his work, offers signed copies, a newsletter signup and biographical information. A next step might be to link to other writers and science-fiction oriented websites, to locate himself in the online sci-fi ecosystem. A link to his twitter account (EllameinePress) might also be useful.

Author Gives Away Ebooks...

Recently received comments regarding self-promotion from Mike Dixon, author's of Curtin Express:

I'm at last having success in promoting myself as an author. I've not started to sell books. That crucial point has not yet been reached. However, people are downloading my free ebooks and they are doing so consistently.

I'm averaging over 40 downloads a day. I start by making the books available through the "free ebook sites" listed on my home page. After that, they seem to generate a following of their own.

I suspect that Facebook plays a part but not directly. Attempts to promote through my own page on Facebook have produced poor results. The same can be said for Twitter and all those other ways that the viral explosion people talk about. They will take you for a ride which can cost a lot in time and money before you realise they are talking nonsense.

My advice is "Get focused". Expose your books to people who are interested in books and forget about everything else.

My remarks apply to works of fiction. A different approach may be appropriate in other areas.

My books are currently available in PDF format.  I have started to convert them to epub via html and calibre (free on net). The steps are (i) use microsoftword to produce document - jpg images may be included. (ii) save for web (iii) convert with calibre - just three clicks on the mouse is all that it takes. Finally, don't forget to support the folks at calibre with a small payment.

The epub format allows your book to be viewed on a small hand-held device (eg iphone). I'll let you know what the outcome is. I suspect epub will greatly increase the number of downloads. There's only one way to find out.

Another Impressive Author Website...

Sue Gillou's book "The Mayan Priest" is currently climbing the Amazon charts and doing especially well on the Kindle platform. Here's a list of some of the promotional factors that have contributed to her success:

Entry Level Blogging

Many self-published authors (and other clients) have asked us for advice in setting up a website, We usually advise them to set up a blog instead of a static website. Most blogging solutions are free, they are designed to be extremely easy to use, and they invite the owner to keep posting new information, keeping things fresh and interesting for potential readers.
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