Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Marketing Versus Promotion

Being new to the publishing industry can be quite confusing. I recall having a million question marks hovering over my head but having no idea how to formulate the words to ask what I needed to know. I'm certainly not the 'queen of facts' but perhaps I can share a little information that helps clarify two terms that confused the heck out of me.

If you consider you have a product to sell, the first thing you want to do is PROMOTE it. Promotion is about getting people interested in your work...sharing excerpts, posting teasers, garnering book reviews. These things all speak for you and allow people to acquaint themselves with said 'product.' It's sometimes hard for some of us to sell ourselves. I know I have a hard time praising my own work, so if I can garner good reviews, the words of others can be shared to my benefit. Most promotion costs nothing but time and energy.

Once people know about you, then you need to find ways to sell your product. MARKETING is often more expensive than promoting because it can entail paid advertising and mass mailings. Beware...before you spend a ton, expect that you might not get a great return on your investment. The first year I marketed myself, I spent three times more than I made. I've backed off since then, purely for financial reasons. For example. When I published my first book, I took out an ad with some other authors in The Romantic Times Magazine. The cost was prohibitive to doing it frequently, but I felt it would get my name out, and connected with the review done on my historical novel, it was money well spent.

I've consistently ordered postcards featuring my book covers from Vista print, and I have exchanged them with other authors to create a packet of different promotional items. This way, more than one of us is marketing the works of several. We mention them on loops and mail them to whomever requests them. I do the same with bookmarks. Vista print always has quite affordable sales...sometimes free items with paid shipping and handling. There isn't a big demand for these items, but they are also pieces you can leave in doctor/dental Offices, banks, restaurants, anywhere there's a counter. I also carry pens with my name and website on them and usually leave one with each waitress or waiter I meet when I dine out. You know how people love to steal pens. *smile*

I know several authors who have done mass-mailings to libraries and press releases to local newspapers. These are two more ways to market your work. Another innovative friend held Book Parties, similar to Tupperware, where the hostess earns gifts for hosting and more for sales. Just put on your thinking cap and see what ideas you can concoct.

Participation in local street fairs, craft shows, car shows, any place where people gather can be a great marketing experience. It's often fairly cheap to purchase a table or booth where you can set yourself up to display your books. For those who do only ebooks, then purchase downloads and put them on CD for sale. You just want to make sure you don't infringe on your contract in any way. I've not done many personal appearances, but I have compiled a notebook that holds categorized copies of all my reviews, interviews, and any sort of testimonial to my work. I'm prepared when I do attend an affair. Like I said...I have a difficult time tooting my own horn, so I prefer to let my notebook do my bragging for me. :)

I hope this was helpful to some of you. If you can think of other things to share, please leave them in the comments. I'm always happy to learn new things.


Bekki Lynn said...

As I was reading this, I felt like I was reading a conversation I had with my husband a few weeks when we were doing our income taxes.

I, too, have issues tooting my own horn and avoid public appearances for this reason as well as others.

I love the notebook idea. I was thinking of something along the lines of a brochure or pamphlet, but a notebook would allow for easier browsing and reading. Or maybe a scrapebook.

I use Vista for most of my items, but I also have shops set up at zazzle and cafe press in the hopes one day, someone might want something. I do order things for gifts. I the love the fact that I can do one of kind designs for people through zazzle.

I'd also thought about getting tables with other local authors at various functions and all. I think it's a very viable option.

Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

Hey, just want to say hi. I'm new here.

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