I listened to a marketing Webinar today given by the Authors Learning Center that I found illuminating. The lecture covered the following topics:
1. The back cover of your book
2. The sales sheet for buyers and industry decision-makers
3. Your Amazon description and Author Bio
4. Your website and social media platforms
5. Submissions to potential reviewers, journalists and endorsers
The presenter was Amy Collins, the President of New Shelves Books, a best-known book sales and marketing agency. Amy is a sales consultant for some of the largest book and library retailers and wholesalers in the publishing industry. In the last 20 years, Amy has sold over 40 Million books to bookstores, libraries, and chain stores for small and mid-sized publishers.
I'll hit the highlights, starting with her introduction:
Marketing is not writing the plot of your book.
Your writing must match what the receiver wants -- a reader wants to be entertained, book-buyers want to make money, Amazon marketing should be rewritten every few months to attract more readers, editors want copy to entertain readers, etc.
This is your most valuable marketing space. Don't waste it on the synopsis of your book (except for a brief sentence or two) or your bio. No one cares where you live or what pets you have. (gasp!)
Instead, use previous successful books as comparisons to tell the reader why he would want to read your book ie., "John Grisham style but about teachers instead of lawyers," or "Star Wars meets Steel Magnolias." If they like what you've compared yours to, they think they'll like your book.
Quote what others say about your book. (Send your manuscript to a well-known author to ask for an endorsement you can quote.)
For back covers and Amazon descriptions, write the way people now like to read: use headlines, plenty of white space, bullet points, and design elements.
Ask questions to set the mood -- "Are there scams in art galleries on cruise ships?" an ex. for one of my books.
Answering a question at the end of her talk, she advised that self-published writers should have their books printed to 5" x 8" or 5.5" x 8.5" size to look more professional, the sizes that traditional publishers use.
If you want to know more about Ms. Collins and her tutorials, go to her website at newshelves.com, or go to AuthorsLearningCenter.com for information on more of their webinars.