Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Marketing. Please don't yawn, I need you.

So, I've done it. Produce the book. And you can even buy it here. (If anyone can tell me how to put pictures and clever links on the side of this blog so that it looks inviting and not just gobbledegook web address I'd be grateful.)

I must, I am told, market this book.

That's business-speak. It wears the jargon of business. Which is, of course, terribly important and without it the country would be in a dreadful state because no-one would buy anything and then where would we be ... Honestly, I'm not suggesting it's not important. But, from my perspective, it's, well, a bit boring.

But I am stiffening my shoulders. Trying to behave as if I'm not at the back of the class passing notes. I must learn. I have a book to sell.

And I have friends who know about these things - and even care about them. So I've had a lesson.

Marketing, I'm told, is about product, price, place, and promotion. I must think about each in turn - without resorting to the wine and chocolate and who-really-cares-about-this-stuff option.

Product: I have the book. Well, ebook. It's in the real world now. Well, the eworld. I've done the very best I can with that, and I am proud of it. It is the right book for me. (But, whispers businessman, it doesn't matter what you think. Is it the right book for your readers? As if I know the answer to that.)

Price: I've read blogs telling me not to underprice the book; it will look cheap. I've read blogs telling me not to overprice the book; people will not buy it. There is obviously no right answer. So I've plucked a sort-of-middle price out of the air. My current plan is to leave it at that - some writers seem to fiddle around with the price. Do they not have better things to do?

Place: Amazon, and Smashwords. I must be realistic. The local bookshop might be persuaded to take a copy or two, but it's unlikely to reach the front tables of Waterstones (unless I pay them enough, and even then it may not sell unless I stand on my head and dance in an effort to draw attention to it. Maybe not dancing while standing on my head ... you take my point.).

Which brings me to promotion. Yawn. I tweet, I facebook, and I blog. I am thinking about building a webpage (note - thinking. That's enough for now). I comment on other people's blogs, though only when they interest or entertain me. Surely that's enough? No - apparently. I have read advice suggesting I should join forums - on Amazon, on Kindle, on travel sites, on writing sites - really? To say what - to witter endlessly about the book, which will surely bore everyone. To join in general writerly conversations? Which are fine for a while, but I have real writing to do. Besides, so many of them repeat themselves, and there is a limit to how many times I can recommend that writers read a lot, only to be shot down by someone with wobbly grammar insisting that he or she has never read a book and doesn't mean to stop now.

So - realistically - what do you think I should do now? Carry on as I am, or join in some sort of internet-frenzy in order to sell a few more copies? (I know, I've made it obvious what I want you to say. But if you disagree, please say so. Maybe I'm being a bit bah-humbug about all this.)


  1. Just signing in to wish you heaps of luck. I really think your book has very broad appeal and with enough of a groundswell, you could sell loads. Could you harness the travel angle maybe? I read somewhere that if you're trying to sell a book, you should blog to your book's potential audience (people with an interest in travel, women who travel alone, 'senior' travelers), while your present blog is targeted for writers. I think a website is a must so that if people hear of you, they have somewhere to go, read more about you and click on the Buy My Book link. As far as I can see, there isn't one of those here and I imagine it's essential.

  2. I have no idea how to market a book, heck I can barley market myself for a date LOL.. but your book seems fascinating and I can't wait to read it.. It seems unique enough that I dare say, in many instances it may very well market itself...

    Best of luck to you...

    {{{Cheering you on :o) }}}

  3. I've had a book published, Jo, and I couldn't agree more about marketing. Whatever you do, you'll have to have some enthusiasm for it or you'll hate doing it and probably won't do it well. That being said, I agree with Charlotte. Get a website with your name (or pen name) as the address, with an icon that people can click to order your book, and blog about travel. How do you feel about speaking to groups? Sounds as if you've had some amazing adventures that people would enjoy hearing about. Finally and selfishly: any provision for buyers who don't have Kindles? Because I'd like to read your book. Best wishes!

  4. How helpful you all are.

    Okay - I'll work on a website. (Does anyone know a good book on how to build one? For complete dummies who need to have every single step explained to them?) I can put some photos from my travels up there - and I've plenty of those.

    There is a blog about my travelling ( but I only use that when I'm actually away. But if anyone wants to see what I've been up to since the end of this book, then you can find it there.

    Rhiannon - I understand you can download from Kindle to a computer or iPad or other electronic gadget-thing, or you can wait for the real book, with real pages and real paper, which I hope will be out in the New Year. I'll certainly blog about its arrival!

  5. Right ok - marketing. Firstly, submit an extract here - you might not get it but if you do the audience is huge worldwide.

    Second, follow this blog and get involved - she is in a similar situation to you and might help.

    Third, get involved in this blog. Review other stuff and get someone (preferably more than one) to review you.

    Fourth, launch party. I'm hoping to be able to sort a date for that this week and once I have one I will book the White Horse and start inviting people properly - you will blog it on here or I will!

    Lastly, talk about it to everybody - even if someone doesn't have facilities to read kindle or prefers real books they might know someone else who would be interested now, and hopefully their interest will be piqued and they will buy it when it comes out as a real book. Use a sig block with the link whenever you send an e-mail (I will set it up next time I see you if you don't know how).

    You have to stop being all shy and embarrassed about this - your book is really good and it deserves to sell lots of copies but it won't if you hide in your corner and do nothing about it - I can do alot but I cannot pretend to be you all the time - so get on with it!


  6. Sorry second link should read don't know what happened there!

  7. Jo, I don't have any advice, never having marketing anything but I just wanted to say good luck. Also, I love Anna's last paragraph - I'm guessing that's your daughter? She's very smart :-)

  8. Sarah - thanks, and you're right, Anna is a daughter. Can always rely on her to tell it like it is!

  9. I am afraid that you will have to market it Jo. Internet marketing is easily done from home and there are websites which help you to do the right things I think. It is truly yawn making because you are going to have to tweet like mad a re-tweet like anything (so I am, told). You can direct you marketing at things like travel sites, Saga etc etc (big yawn) and you can use parts of your book, like visuals, to post on things.

    The best bit will be when you get the paper one and can come and talk about it to our book club! Also we have a lovely publisher who might talk to you about marketing in our book club.

    Meanwhile, get on that PC and post/tweet/email/ ..... zzzzzz

  10. Its not marketing its sharing. You want people to share in what you do otherwise why bother. Broaden your audience and share with more people. The more you share it the more it enables you to have more to share. Thats not marketing and its not boring but it comes to the same thing. This blog isn't marketing and I hope its not boring but it still makes us want to know more and share in what you do. We'll probably end up buying your book as well.
    I am more than happy to help you set up a website too.

  11. Mary - yes, I'm looking forward to coming to your book club (though a little daunted. Might need wine afterwards!)

    Mark - that's an interesting way of looking at it. I can certainly talk about my traveling experiences for hours. (You had noticed?). And yes, please - all help with the website will be so welcome. I've ordered an idiot's guide to websites, but no doubt will have a fit of the vapours just opening it!

  12. Congratulations are definitely in order. You must be pleased as punch Jo. I don't have much advice to offer on the marketing front as I tend to feel the same way as you - marketing to me is one of those 'has to be done' things but it's the writing I love, and seeing what I've written become a book. Also, you seem to be doing all the right things. I do think building relationships with your local bookshops is a good way to go though. Waterstone's are really keen to build good relationships with local authors, so go for it! And GOOD LUCK!

  13. This looks a fab place to start a website. You already have readership!

    Think about other areas. Stumbleupon is a good one, so is getting your website onto other travlebloggers website lists.

    Short articles and guest writing on blogs and websites too with your own signature and links.

    The thing with a site is, you have to keep it updated to keep people interested. If I leave my site for a month the hits drop, but if I add new stuff, the readership returns. Also consider Google marketing tools such as Adwords, Adsense etc...and don't forget to use plenty of words you know that people would use when just surfing and browsing the internet.

    They will come to your site, slowly at first but then you will have regiular visitors.

    I am forever getting emails from Ad companies requesting advertising space but feel that I can do it on my own.

    If you want to go down the website route, Yola is quite easy to use once you get used it and they have great support and can do packages.£40 per year for my site and the ads pay for it, so in reality it only costs my time.

    Good Luck!

    (<----another way to get noticed is post comments on other peoples blogs but don't spam them and keep your posts in tune with the thread!

  14. Oh....and don't are not just selling a book, YOU are also the product!

    I have a page to link to stuff on my site and will be more than happy to give uou space.
    Every little helps!


  15. *you* sorry for the typo!

  16. Thanks, Abi. I have a wonderful independent bookshop near where I live; the nearest Waterstones is in Swindon - will think about that.

    Tony - how very helpful. I've sent a message via the link on your site. Thanks a lot.

  17. I'm right into this Jo, but am in a hurry. I've put your blog on my reading list and will be back. I'm about to do an e-book too so am very interested in your experience.


  18. L'Aussie - you are welcome. Please don't let my 'oh help' moments put you off. It can be done - with patience, and coffee, and sometimes wine.

  19. MAny apologies for coming to this post so late. I absolutely agree with people who've talked about the importance of getting on travel sites, places where your readers are. If you can get to guest blog on travel sites with the book in your signature line.

    I also think a Wordpress or similar website where you can have "about" and "buy" pages is a must - I believe you can add pages like that in blogger, which may be the best thing to do. That said, as others have mentioned, this is a site that appeals to writers, and what you really need is to be sharing anecdotes and advice related to your book so a new site may be best.

  20. Thanks Dan - I'm into serious thinking about a website, so it will probably happen. I take the point that I need to find a space to talk about the travelling, which is, after all, what the book is about.

    And thanks for all your support - here, and on twitter and facebook.

  21. Just popping back to say that when you have your website up and running, you might want to think about doing a blog tour. You'd be welcome to kick it off at Charlotte's Web - we can do a Q&A and then I'll link to the website where people can go and buy the book. I'm sure you know enough other book and writing bloggers who'd also feature you.

  22. Charlotte - I'll take you up on that. I know a blog tour is a good idea - and someone offering me a launchpad is just the spur I need. Thanks.