6 Reasons to Add Postcards to Your Author Arsenal

There’s no doubt that book marketing can be challenging.  And giving advice or instruction on how to market a book is also not without its challenges. What works incredibly well for one author with one book may not deliver nearly the same results for a different author with a different book.  That is why the best recommendation of all is to start deliberately, slowly, and small – with measurable steps that produce measurable results. Then, once you find something that works, ramp it up.

postcards

For instance, some authors have a wide variety of branded and customized promotional materials at their disposal: business cards, publication announcements, postcards, posters, etc.  These are typically best suited for the extrovert author – the type of writer who loves the public eye and attends book fairs, book signings, and author events. At these events, every person you meet is a potential recipient of a branded piece of collateral, especially a business card.  Posters, too, are obvious in their purpose (book event signage to make your space stand out). But what about postcards? Well, stay tuned! If you are an extrovert author (or even if you aren’t), here are six great reasons to add branded, customized postcards to your book marketing arsenal:

  1. Invitations. If you’re attending an author event or book fair, postcards are the perfect way to notify everyone in advance. Sure, you should post the notice on Facebook and your other social media platforms, and email everyone you know, but in this day and digital age of electronic media, there’s still something about receiving a postcard in the mail that makes it stand out.  And standing out is what good book marketing is all about.

  2. Solicitations.  What if there is an event or conference that you want to present at? Same rule applies from number one.  An inquiry into a speaking engagement will literally speak volumes if said out-reach arrives in the way of a branded, customized postcard with your (eye-catching) cover on the front.

  3. Influencers. Speaking of out-reach, a successful book marketer never stops promoting themselves, their book, and their business (with diplomacy, of course). If you’re looking to catch the attention of influence-makers (other authors, experts, bloggers, and book reviewers), a handwritten custom postcard will certainly increase your chances.

  4. Media Chow.  Members of the media get bombarded with interview requests from self-publishing authors all the time, but most of those inquiries come in the form of email, Facebook, Linked-In, or Twitter.  Imagine the impact you would have on a local journalist or DJ if he/she actually received a handwritten postcard from you in the mail, with your eye-catching, full-color book cover on the front and a short pleasant note on the back introducing yourself and asking for a short meeting to pitch your story (remember, you pitch stories to the media, not books, and not yourself).

  5. Follow-Ups.  Many of the people you meet as a published author will present opportunities. In fact, you may not even realize what the opportunity is until later that day or even the following-week.  Sure, you exchanged business cards with them, but so did everyone else. Which author is going to follow-up with an email and which author is going to follow-up with a custom postcard in the mail?  And of those two, which author do you think those influence-makers are going to take the time to contact?

  6. Thank-Yous.  With all these book fairs and author events you attend, and all these media contacts, influencers, and writers you meet, eventually it will be time to thank someone. And that’s a great time for a personalized, branded, customized postcard. You can’t give a free book to everyone you want to thank, and a business card isn’t a “thank you” (it’s a gimmee), so postcards are the perfect compromise!  People typically only receive postcards from loved ones on vacation (if that anymore!), so postcards still possess a degree of intimacy while being entirely professional and appropriate.  And for that, not coincidentally, your recipient will thank you, also.

brent sampson
In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.
In his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including the bestseller Sell Your Book on Amazon, which debuted at #29 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

5 Pinterest Marketing Tips for Self-Publishing Authors

When used appropriately, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be effective tools for book marketing.  The hottest social media trend right now is Pinterest! Like the other social media sites, it can help self publishing authors  facilitate communication with current and potential readers, generate sales, and increase awareness of their books.

This photo sharing site enables users to “pin” images and videos to virtual pinboards, or “Boards,” and share them with others.  Users can organize their pins based on their interests; a few popular examples are food, books, travel, and style. When other users see a pin they like, they can repin it onto one of their own Boards.  Think virtual word-of-mouth marketing!

The visual and social nature of Pinterest make it a perfect fit for book marketing.  Here are a few ways you can use the site to promote your self published book.

1.  Become active on Pinterest and begin networking with people who are pinning in your areas of interest.  People are more likely to want to support people that are active in the community versus people that are just pinning to promote a product or service. You can search on Pinterest for topics related to your interests and your book and start following Boards you find “Pinteresting.”
2.  Create your own Boards.  Keep in mind, Pinterest was created for people to share images and interests.  Your Boards need to be visually appealing, contain lots of images, and they should give potential readers some insights into your interests and why you wrote the book. If you have a poetry book, for example, you may choose to Pin graphics with quotes from your favorite poets, thus allowing you to begin connecting with other Pinners who also like poetry.
3.  Upload images related to your book.  These may include cover images, illustrations, locations that were featured in your book, and/or people that provided inspiration for your characters.
4.  Pin quotes from your book or short selections to entice people to learn more about your book, spread the word and purchase their own copy.
5.  Include links to your website, your publisher’s website or book retail sites so people know where they can purchase your book once you’ve got them “pinterested.”

Pinterest is gaining in popularity, so now is the time to get active, have fun and start promoting your self published book if you haven’t already.

 

 

Guest Post: Self-publishing Books & Novel Writing

Self-publishing advice guest post – the Book Doctor on Education & Novel writing.

Q: Is it more difficult to have a novel published if I don’t have a university education?

A: No, indeed! Even a few sixteen-year-olds have written good books that got published. Most universities teach us how to pass tests, not how to write novels. Even graduates with an MFA in creative writing tend to teach creative writing rather than sell their novels to publishers, and here’s why: It’s darned difficult to sell a novel, no matter how educated you are. The odds of winning the lottery sometimes seem better.

Instead of (or in addition to) a university degree, successful writers must acquire a great deal of knowledge in the craft of writing. They gain that knowledge by studying the masters, joining critique circles, getting feedback on their writing, taking classes in creative writing, and practicing, practicing, practicing and then revising, revising, and revising.

While it doesn’t take a university degree to get a novel published, it does take good writing skills and the ability to create a strong plot, believable characters, and realistic dialogue. It takes knowledge of point of view and how and when to use it. It takes a good foundation in grammar, punctuation, and syntax. It takes organization and determination and even a bit of personality to get your foot in the door with an agent. All those skills aren’t acquired overnight and rarely are acquired by writing a first novel. Many consider writing their first novel a good exercise, and afterward some go on to write marketable novels.

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