Today, I’m going to save you more than $100,000! Seriously!! The combined total of the services below would cost you WELL over $100K. Save your money and your sanity. Better yet, don’t even work with a publisher who upsells authors on these kinds of (bleep).
Our competitors are VERY good at upselling authors on garbage promotion services. Today, I’m going to tell you what NOT to buy when shopping for products and services to promote your book.
BOOK FAIRS / BOOK EXHIBITS / CONFERENCES
These make money for the book fair/exhibit/conference organizers, NOT for authors. Your book surrounded by thousands of others? Don’t waste your time or your money.
BOOKMARKS, COFFEE CUPS, MAGNETS, STICKERS, ETC.
Nobody is going to buy your book after seeing it on one of those “free” giveaway products…unless it’s your grandma. Trust me on that.
PAID BOOK REVIEWS
When people find out you PAID for book reviews, your reputation will be toast. And, with the proliferation of scam reviews online now (including Amazon), nobody trusts them anymore anyway.
BOOK SIGNINGS AT BOOKSTORES
You might sell three or four copies…or none. After all of the time and effort you went through to arrange the bookstore signing, it’s highly doubtful you’ll turn a profit. Not even close. Rather, you might be embarrassed while sitting at a small table surrounded by your books while people walk by, trying to avoid making eye contact with you.
MARKETING TO LIBRARIES
This has even worse prospects than marketing to physical bookstores. While bookstores might sell their copies, and order more, a library is unlikely to do so because, of course, their loaned copies get returned to them. You can spend hours or days negotiating with a library and you might sell one copy. Two if you’re lucky. Or, none at all.
CATALOGS FOR BOOKSTORES AND OTHER RETAILERS
Your tiny ad will be competing with larger ones and, when the retailer sees that your book is self-published, and who published it (if you used one of the author meat markets), they’re not likely to stock your book. Author meat markets are firms that publish anything and everything.
SMALL, FEE-BASED RADIO SHOWS AND PODCASTS
There’s no shortage of radio and podcast hosts who will happily charge you hundreds or more to “appear” on their show. You’ll very likely end up spending far more than you’ll earn in resulting book sales. The host may claim to have a specific number of listeners or subscribers but…how can you prove they’re being honest about that? You can’t.
HOLLYWOOD SCREENPLAY SERVICES
If you see the word “Hollywood” in any ad your publisher is running, RUN AWAY AS FAR AND AS FAST AS YOU CAN! In my opinion, this is the most predatory “service” offered in the industry (which can cost well over $10K). They are preying on your hopes and dreams of being a celebrity some day. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
NOBODY reads press releases anymore! Do NOT pay someone to spend out spam, junk faxes, and junk mail for you.
ADS IN MAGAZINES, NEWSPAPERS, AND EVEN AT THE MOVIES!
Since the publisher gets a portion of each sale, if these ads were really selling books, don’t you think they’d at least pitch in for part of the cost? They do NOT because they know the ads will cost far more than any resulting book sales. In other words, the publisher will make far more on ad money paid by each author than they will on any resulting book sales.
When they say your ad will run on TV, they’re probably referring to a late night cable show that nobody watches.
In my opinion, this is another egregious, predatory practice in the industry. If making your book returnable was really likely to sell more copies, don’t you think publishers would be offering this service for free? Amazon outsells all bookstore chains combined. If you want to work with a local bookstore, offer a consignment deal to them. Do NOT pay your publisher hundreds of dollars to make your book returnable.
WHAT DOES WORK?
Good old fashioned hard work! THAT’S what works! The best part of this is that you don’t even need to leave your laptop! And, you’ll save so much money that you won’t mind the extra time at your computer!
THIS EBOOK IS FREE FOR WRITERSWEEKLY SUBCRIBERS
55 Dos and Don’ts of Book Selling: If You Can Write, You CAN Sell Books!
THIS EBOOK IS $9.99 (BUT IT’S FREE FOR BOOKLOCKER.COM AUTHORS)
90+ Days of Promoting Your Book Online: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan – THIRD EDITION
SOCIAL MEDIA INTERACTIONS
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the others are all free! Anyone can set up accounts on those sites, and start promoting their books. See the 90+ Days book above for detailed advice.
SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING
You’re more likely to earn back your advertising dollars if you purchase ads on Facebook and other social media platforms than you will if you buy expensive ads in magazines, newspapers, etc.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING SERVICES, SEO SERVICES, AND KEYWORD/CATEGORY OPTIMIZATION SERVICES
If you don’t have time to do it yourself, you can still turn a profit if you hire someone to do these types of services.
YOUR OWN WEBSITE
Having your own website is imperative but YOU must register and own the domain, AND control it yourself. Don’t be like Dog Ear Publishing’s authors, who paid for websites, and then lost them in one fell swoop when Dog Ear’s owner abandoned his authors.
BOOK SIGNINGS AT SPECIALTY RETAILERS AND EVENTS
W.W. Brock shares excellent advice on his success with book signings RIGHT HERE.
These come in handy for bulletin boards you find around town, like at your local coffee shop. And, they’re cheap. Don’t buy your publisher’s expensive ones. Go with printingforless.com instead. That is NOT an affiliate link. We’ve used them. They do great work and they are fast. If you need help designing business cards for printing, CLICK HERE.
NATIONWIDE RADIO SHOWS
If your book is of interest to their readers, you can contact them about being a guest. And, they’re not going to charge you! CLICK HERE for the a list of the most-listened-to radio programs.
Designed for social media, YouTube, and even your own website, a book trailer is a short promotional video (a commercial!) featuring videos, graphics, and music, intended to catch the attention of potential readers, and compel them to buy your book. Book trailers are far more effective than text or even graphic stand-alone ads to get someone’s attention! You can get one for as little as $125 (only $99 for BookLocker authors). See lots of Book Trailer samples RIGHT HERE.
HIGH-PROFILE BOOK PUBLICIST (maybe!)
Do NOT hire your publisher to be your publicist. Hire your own, and make sure it’s someone with an excellent reputation, and one who has driven past clients to best-seller status. And, I mean REAL best seller status. Amazon does NOT count. The New York Times DOES.
YOUR OWN PODCAST
Do NOT pay your publisher to set this up for you! If they go belly up, your podcast will instantly disappear. Create your own podcast. It’s not hard.
Don’t hire your publisher to do this. Do it yourself. Billboard ads can also give your book LOTS of exposure. Aim for an area that has lots of stop and go traffic. Commuters will see your ad repeatedly, making them more likely to buy. Read more RIGHT HERE.
So, there you have it. I just saved you a LOT of dough! And, while some of the items in the “What Does Work” do cost money, they are affordable.
If you’re on a budget, simply get the two books I listed above, and be a D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) book marketer. It’s FUN! 🙂
- How to Go Broke AFTER You Publish Your Book! (Hint: Buy your publisher’s worthless marketing products and services…)
- 55 Dos and Don’ts of Book Selling Has Been Published! – Get Your FREE Copy TODAY!!
FEEDING ON YOUR VANITY – OR IGNORANCE – HOT AIR ON PUBLISHERS’ WEBSITES IS INSULTING!
SELF-PUBLISHING IN 2021? – How Many Book Sales Needed to Recoup Your Investment?
HELP! MY PUBLISHER IS GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!! How Can I SAVE MY BOOK Without Going Broke?!
POD SECRETS REVEALED: Book Contests for a Publisher’s Authors? Pppfffttt!!!
How Much Do Some POD Publishers Profit from Ingram’s “Channel Distribution” Fees? Plenty!
Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
ANGELA ON TWITTER https://twitter.com/AngelaHoy
BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!
ANGELA ON FACEBOOK
ANGELA ON LINKEDIN
Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE
90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy
Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it - a lot more.
We know what you're thinking. You're an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts and we're going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online...and almost all of our techniques are FREE!
Online book promotion is not only simple but, if you have a step-by-step, day-to-day marketing plan (this book!), it can also be a very artistic endeavor, which makes it fun for creative folks like you!
Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90...and beyond!
Thank you, Angela. You are a straight shooter in a business full of people helping writers to shoot themselves in the foot, for a fee.
Very helpful, as always! Thanks for this!
I agree with most of your points. However, I’ve had good luck participating in local or regional book fairs/festivals with modest entry fees ($25-85) for a booth or table space for 3-8 hours (depends on the event). Even at events with dozens of authors, I usually sell enough books to break even or make a small profit.
And the benefits of networking with area authors often pay dividends in invitations to other events such as library presentations which cost me nothing but often result in 5-10 sales after a one-hour talk; speaking on panels at local and regional festivals (free publicity!); and referrals from fellow authors (ex: An author colleague of mine might say, “Thanks for buying my romance novel, Mary. You mentioned your husband likes thrillers. Well Chris over there (ME!) has some really good ones that I’m sure your husband would love.”) Bingo, instant sale.
I also like to do bookstore signings but only when I have a new book to promote. I agree, the bottom line is often negative when time, travel, and other expenses are factored in, but making local connections with bookstore owners is valuable.
One owner of a store in my area has become one of my biggest sellers. She’s great at handselling books from local authors to her customers. My two signings in her store resulted in maybe 15 sales at the time but probably close to 100 cumulative sales over time by her to customers after those events. Plus, she’s organized some other signing events for her local authors (for free) and promotes us during a local art & book festival (also for free).
Not every bookstore owner will be a super seller like her, and not every signing event will be profitable, but getting your name circulating in area bookstores is long-term advertising that has staying power.
The keyword here is LOCAL. Unless you’re a national bestseller, it’s much easier and more profitable to market to readers who live near you and can get chances to meet you in person. I’m always amazed at how many people are THRILLED when I offer to sign the book they just bought from me. They feel special to be able to say they own a signed copy and actually MET the author. Those customers are far more likely to be repeat buyers down the road. And to me, that’s savvy, cost-effective book promotion.
The problem is many publishing services companies team up with conferences (or create their own), and then charge authors $1,000 or more to display 1 or 2 copies of their book.
Good Stuff! If you write it, they will buy it!