(Click here for a PDF version of the following.)
Here are the main ways that I have successfully marketed my father’s books that I want to share with you. These are just a few of the marketing strategies Kim and I cover in more depth in our book titled Shoot To Sell: Make Money Producing Special Interest Videos. While its focus is on producing and selling videos, the marketing information we share applies very well to promoting and selling books.
Have an Author Website
I have an author website PatrickSmithOnline.com which is a key tool in selling Patrick Smith’s books. I sell directly from my site, handling the process from taking payment to shipping. You may not wish to do that but having an author website is key to having readers find you, learn about your book(s), and contact you.
Here is what you need to set up a simple website. Buy a URL through a site such as Godaddy.com which is the one we use. You’ll also need a place to host your website. We like Hostgator.com. We recommend building your website in WordPress, a free blog tool offered through WordPress.org (available with a Hostgator account) You can also go through WordPress.com but you do not get the ability to customize your site and add functions you may wish to have in the future.
An important tool on your website is to collect prospects email addresses so that you can start a relationship with your prospects and communicate with them. The best way to get them to sign up is by offering a give away and the best give aways as an author is to give free chapters of your book.
The give away is at the heart of what is called permission marketing. It would be wonderful if the majority of the people who visit your site buy your book. Unfortunately it doesn’t usually happen like that. People like to shop around and yours may be just one site they stumble across. Once a visitor leaves your site you don’t know if they’ll return, and there’s a good chance they won’t unless you give them a good reason to do so. With all the websites available, they may have the intention of coming back but may lose your web address, type it in wrong, forgot about it, etc.
If you are able to capture their name and email address, you don’t have to just hope they’ll bookmark your site and revisit. Now your visitor doesn’t even have to remember to come back to your website again to buy your book. They have given you “permission” to communicate with them and now you are in control of the sales messages they get from you, when they get them, and how often.
You have brought them into what is called in marketing lingo, “the funnel.” Of course, you should also subtly promote your product and service in your give away so make sure you have clickable links and sales copy as to how they can purchase your book.
When you combine this strategy with an autoresponder system where you automatically send them emails at ongoing intervals, you will get exciting results. Email software programs such as ConstantContact offer autoresponder systems. You will also want to use an email program versus your personal email because the larger your list, the more your server may think you are spamming and will shut down your account.
Get Active in Social Media
Secondly, I promote on social media. You want to go to Facebook, YouTube and other social media sites and create a page for your book or book tour. Take a look at our Facebook page and YouTube channel for ideas.
You can create a store on Facebook using programs such as Shopify.
Also set up an Author Page on Amazon and Goodreads. You can post your websites, images, videos, and other social media pages there as well.
Then you need to get active and post and encourage sharing on each of these places.
Selling From the Stage
Selling from the stage, using a projected program, has been our most effective marketing tool recently. We generate a large portion of our income by doing live presentations at locations such as libraries, schools, universities, historical societies, museums, festivals, etc. Public speaking may scare you at first but with practice, a good script to follow and a good presentation to rely on, you will be amazed at how effective this can be.
I love the Apple Keynote presentation software but unfortunately it is only available on Apple computers only. Keynote For iCloud (in iWorks) for PC is an option to try but you get limited functionality. There is also Microsoft PowerPoint for PC users.
Incorporating your videos (see above) into a live presentation has much more power than a static PowerPoint presentation or a talk. Make it interesting! I like to take an exciting excerpt from a book and then bring it to life with audio, video, narration and images. It gives people a taste of what the book is like.
While I am an experienced videographer and editor, you don’t have to be to create powerful videos about your book. You can easily create animated movies through Animoto.com. Click here for an example of a video created on Animoto. The images were in public domain and I hired the voice actor on Fivver.com for $5.00.
I get a LOT of video clips at Videoblocks.com. There is a cost involved but the variety and amount of videos you have access too – and they add new clips every week – more than makes up for the cost.
I also find their sister site Audioblocks.com is a great source of music, stingers, and sound effects.
There are a few places where you can get free images that are in the public domain. One million images are available at Openculture.com. Also check out the British Library Public Domain Collection at Flickr and Getty Images open content.
For voiceovers, graphics, creative services, I like the VERY inexpensive creative services offered starting at $5 at Fivver.com.
Even if you don’t plan to do live presentations you can find ways to use a video for promotion, such as on Facebook, Youtube, blogs, Amazon.com and your own website. Be sure to include a call to action, i.e., what you want the person to do next as in order your book, go to your website, book you for a show, etc.
In Shoot To Sell: Make Money Producing Special Interest Videos, we also show you how to produce several types of videos along with editing tips on how to make them look professional. If doing a video is still daunting, we can help. Email me at Rick@ALandRemembered.com or call 1-888-744-9381 and we will be happy to discuss your ideas and we can even create your videos for you for a reasonable fee.
Final Notes on Presenting
Having “leave behinds” is a great way to keep your name in front of your audience. In our shows we give out programs, which function as sales sheets. We also print custom bookmarks which are sales oriented and have a reference to our website and phone number so our customers can always find us. We use and recommend the printing services at Printplace.com who printed our bookmarks and programs for the A Land Remembered show. 123Print.com and VistaPrint.com also offer a wide variety of marketing materials.
So where can you speak? Just about anywhere! You aren’t just restricted to book stores. Think about the message of your book and how you can entertain as well as educate your audience. That will expand your possibilities. I present my talk to possible venues using the following description.
The presentation is called a “show” rather than a talk or lecture because it is an audiovisual experience including videos, music, sound effects, photos and live narration by Rick Smith.
It provides a brief background of Patrick Smith and some of the events and influences that led him to write his books, with particular emphasis on his most well known novel, A Land Remembered.
Although A Land Remembered is well known, his other novels played important roles in his evolution as a writer and the program introduces a few of them with narration provided by a video of Patrick Smith.
This program is a sensory delight and is a media intensive show unlike anything you’ve seen before. It is suitable for all ages.
The audience will come away with a deeper appreciation for Florida’s history and a desire to know more about your own family history. Rick Smith narrates live throughout the show, answers questions and will happily sign books.
My father would be invited to all sorts of places in Florida, from libraries to festivals, cattle organizations to bank boards of directors. He used the theme of Old Florida in his speech, weaving in the story of how he came to write A Land Remembered. I picked up on that as well and have spoken at museums, retirement communities, schools, environmental groups, etc. You can get a list of all the places and the contact information from where I’ve spoken at AlandRemembered.com/list-of-shows.