Sunday, November 6, 2011

What are Your Promotion Goals?

I recently read Carolyn Howard Johnson's The Frugal Book Promotor. I loved the book, but I came away slightly dizzy thinking about all the things I could do to promote my books. Like most of us, I have a limited time for marketing, if I want to eat, sleep, clean house, and most importantly – write, so I can't do them all. Helpfully, Carolyn pointed out that I don't have to try them all, she's already done that for me. That's great, but how do I decide how to focus my energy. The answer, difficult as it is, is that I have to set goals.

Goal setting is constricted by several factors which make it both harder and easier to set goals for yourself.

  1. Where you live – I happen to live in a very rural area. Book signings are great, but we only have one bookstore. With only a few thousand people in my immediate area, I'm not got to get many sales unless I branch out. Therefore, I have to rely primarily on the Internet.
  2. How much money you plan to make – The sad fact is that unless you have a blockbuster novel, tantalizing non-fiction, or are a celebrity, you're not going to get rich. On another group, someone quoted the statistic that a really successful writer without a publisher, or with an indie publisher, can expect to make $300.00 a month at the high end. Probably more realistically it's less than a $100.00. Those kind of numbers mean I can't send a lot to advertise my book unless I want to use income from another source to subsidize it. So I need lots of free advertising.
  3. What sort of a book have you written – Most of us are, I suspect, writing genre novels: romance, mystery and scifi. Therefore, we have to get to where the readers are. Other writers are one source of sales, but probably not as great as fans of the genre. Therefore, we need to be involved in groups devoted to the type of fiction we want to sell. We may not be able to do crass marketing there, but we can get out names in front of readers. On-line retailers are another source. Amazon does a good job identifying the types of books their customers are buying and making suggestions. Plus there are Amazon lists and other tools for getting your work noticed.

As a result of this analysis, I decided to concentrate on on-line activities: book reviews, yahoo groups, and on-line marketing. Or course, I have a website and blogs, but these are areas I have branched out into.

What are your thoughts about your goals for marketing? I'd love to hear your plans.  

Nancy Famolari
          Nancy Famolari's Place
Latest book: Winner's Circle available on


Margaret Fieland said...

Nancy, I'm one of six authors of a poetry anthology that's about to come out, so I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Poetry is a hard sell, but I plan to approach my local library about a reading. I emailed some I know who has a poetry blog, and when my copies of the book arrive, I'm going to ask a poet friend of mine if he'd review it.

Karen Cioffi said...

Nancy, great post and good timing. With the end of the year closing in, we writers need to take stock of what we're doing to promote our books and ourselves.

I doing a kind of 'spring cleaning,' by analyzing what's working for me and what's not, and trying to focus on my major goals. I tend to get sidetracked a lot. :)

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Nancy Famolari said...

Maggie, good luck with your poetry book. I hope the book signing goes well. I've had great fun doing them at a local library.

Karen, I agree. It's a good time to take stock of what we're doing. I have another book coming out, so I'd better take my own advice!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Nancy, firt of all I'm glad that The Frugal Book Promoter was helpful to you. And I'm glad that you understood that no one should use every path I listed in the book for their own book. I did. That made it easier for me to tell folks what works best and what doesn't, but I wrote the book--in part--so no one else would have to go through everything to find what is right for them!

I'm sure you found the chapters on the basics, though. Writing a great query letter and putting together a great media kit, etc. Those are the tried-and-true aspects of marketing that no author or publisher should be without! (-:

Good luck with the campaign you've set out for yourself.


Nancy Famolari said...

Thanks, Carolyn. The basics are important and well described. I hope everyone reads the book and decides what's best for them!

Rebecca said...

I have that book on my shelf. Bought it many years ago when I say Carolyn at the UCLA book festival in Los Angeles, Ca. It's very informative.

Nancy Famolari said...

Rebecca, it is a great book. It certainly helps those of us who want to promote our books on a limited budget.

Donna McDine said...

I too have Carolyn's book and need to purchase the updated version. I'm in the same boat as Karen, I'm in the midst of reviewing my efforts and tossing what doesn't work and expanding on what does.

Magdalena Ball said...

I love Carolyn's book. I've written a whole detailed marketing plan full of specific goals around increasing buzz and generating interest in my upcoming novel Black Cow, but being traditionally published I still have to wait for my publisher to give me timing parameters, which I have to admit, is frustrating, since the plan is there and I want to work it! Fortunately there are a few things I can do without a defined publication date, but it's still hard to wait on the others!

Nancy Famolari said...

Donna, good luck with reviewing your marketing plans. It's definitely worthwhile.

Maggie, you sound so organized. It must be hard to wait. Good luck with Black Cow! It's a terrific book.

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