Top 5 PR tips for new indie authors

New indie author and PR agency owner Melissa-Jane Pouliot

New indie author and PR agency owner Melissa-Jane Pouliot

By Melissa-Jane Pouliot

I am a new indie self-published author, as well as the founding director of PR firm mp|media solutions, which I established in 2000 after leaving my hectic deadline-driven world as a newspaper journalist. I work with businesses of all shapes and sizes, new and old, successful and extremely successful. Here are my top 5 PR tips for self-published authors at the start of their journey.

1. Treat your foray into the brand new world of publishing as a start-up business

You’ve dreamed the dream, you’ve finished your book. But wait, before you go any further you need to set up yourself as a business. After all, the ultimate goal is to sell books for money and hopefully one day give up your day to pursue your ultimate goal of being a world-famous author. So the first step is to set up your new business. You’ll need a tax file number, bank account, a marketing plan, an accounting program to keep track of bookshop orders if you are printing paperbacks and so on and so forth.

2. Hit publish, then make it happen

You’ve got an awesome cover, you’ve got it laid out and have hit the publish button. Phew, job’s done. No way girlfriend (or boyfriend!), writing and publishing is the easy part. But your friends and family have told you it’s brilliant so the rest of the world will think the same! Wrong again. Your book is one in millions and millions so you can’t just sit back and wait for people to buy it – whether it’s sitting in a virtual or real bookstore. It’s up to you to make it happen. You are in control of your marketing and you need to cover all bases.

3. Be realistic about what you can achieve
Just because you have written the best book ever written, doesn’t mean you can make a living from it. Don’t expect to be an overnight success – yes, this does happen but for the majority of people in business, including the book publishing business, you need to really work at it. Remember to be realistic about what you can achieve – the whole time you are marketing this book you need to be writing your next one and planning the one after that. Recognise that you are only one person so try not to get too overwhelmed when the overnight success takes more than one night.

4. Adapt to change
Embrace new technology! Always look at ways to streamline, be more efficient, maximise sales – just because you’ve done it the same way since day one doesn’t mean that’s the way you should do it on day 100. Look at what other successful self-publishers are doing and see what works for you. The important thing is to be adaptable – your product will not change but the way you market and sell it needs to.

5.Know where you’re headed and don’t get sidetracked
Okay, so I’ve told you to adapt to change, but you need to be careful that you don’t spend all your time adapting and no time reaping the rewards of being so adaptable! Every day new technology hits the market but just because it’s new and hip and happening, doesn’t mean it’s for you. Know what your business is all about and stick to your goals while testing new ideas along the way. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t bother with it. Also, don’t be adhoc. Build social media into your business plan so that it has a purpose and you’re not just pissing about on the Internet/Facebook/twitter/Instagram/Tumblr/Wattpad/Wordpress/Pininterest and so on and so forth!

6. Talk to people about who you are, the world famous author, but always remember to K.I.S.S.
I needed an extra one! This one is vital. Whether it’s online, face to face or over the telephone you need to tell people who you are, what you do, why you do it and how well you do it. You are your best form of PR and you will need to give up a bit of yourself when you’re promoting yourself as the next big thing to hit the book writing world. But you need to Keep It Simple Sally – you need to have clear strong messages that people can quickly and easily understand and connect with. Be consistent, clear and interesting while being true to yourself.

People will feel so inspired that they will go out and buy your book, review it on Amazon and GoodReads, tell their friends to buy it (and not lend it) then send copies to Ellen and Oprah on your behalf!

 

 

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Write About Me moves bookshelves into mystery, thriller and crime

One of the best parts about publishing your book on Amazon is the incredible opportunities it provides for self-published authors. As Amazon aims to keep pace with the ever-changing book publishing world, authors and writers can stay on the front foot and be continually finding new opportunities to sell more books.

As a new self-published author I am learning every day and one thing I’ve discovered is the importance of which category or shelf your book is on in the biggest bookstore in the world.

After seeking advice from other authors and doing my own research, Write About Me has now changed shelves. These are its new categories which align more closely with the type of book it is.

I will keep you posted about what happens from here as I roll out my new virtual marketing strategy – stay tuned!

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Number 1 tip for selling books

Following my high praise for my best book stockist yesterday, today I have experienced the other end of the scale – my worst.When I sold out of Write About Me books over a month ago at this particular bookstore, I was quick to replenish supplies. As part of my regular follow up to my stockists when some get low I found out today that the books were still sitting behind the counter. It’s impossible to sell books if they’re under the counter.

So although it is bleedingly obvious, my number 1 hint for bookstores to sell more books is: Put them on the shelf.

bookstore

 

The art of selling books – hints from an author and her best stockist

I am still new to the fiction writing market. Although I’ve been writing my whole life through my journalism career and media business, I am a debutante self-published author. Since launching my debut novel Write About Me last year, I have stumbled and raced at rapid speed around the steep learning curve of selling books.

Today I had an enlightening conversation with my most favourite stockists of Write About Me as I hand-delivered their 8th order of books in 6 months. This has prompted me to share with other bookstores and stockists of books the art of selling paperbacks for new authors. 

Selling books is not rocket science, but the reality is that books don’t sell themselves unless of course you are Jodi Picoult, J.K. Rowling or Hannah Kent. But until an author reaches global domination, they need to be continually working with their stockists at how to best reach their target market – readers.

MJP_FB header Feb 14Hint 1. Just because you are stocking a fantastic book which is a #1 bestseller, has been seen on television, in newspapers, magazines and every social media platform known to man (as is the case with Write About Me) – doesn’t mean your customers will have heard of it. Talk to your customers about the book, let them know you have a #1 bestseller in your store. This will immediately get their attention.

Hint 2. Ask the author for signed copies. If a customer knows it is personally signed they will be more inclined to purchase.

Hint 3. Keep in touch with your authors. Know what they’re up to. Follow them on Facebook, twitter, Instagram or whatever social media platform is your favourite. That way you can share with your customers all the excitement that’s happening around that book and any future books they’re working on.

Hint 4. Read the book. Know what it’s about so you can tell your customers a little bit more about it. Share some of the highlights and pass on what others are saying about it. Write a review and stick it to the shelf in front of the books. Invite your customers to submit reviews and stick them to the shelf.

Hint 5. Be realistic about how many you can sell. If you’ve genuinely made the decision to stock the book, it is in your best interest to sell as many as you can so you can collect your commission. But don’t expect every book to sell out on the first day. Just because your author is not Bryce Courtenay or Stephen King, doesn’t mean their book is not a great read. It just takes a little more effort to spread the word.

It makes sense for stockists and authors to work together to sell books – it’s a win win for both. You never know, your debut author might be the next big thing to hit the book scene. And you can be rest assured, it will be the stockists who went the extra mile to sell 50 books that your author will remember when she’s selling 50,000.