KEEPING A BOOK MARKETING LOG
Publishers want their authors to get involved in marketing. I understand this and do all I can to promote my books. Despite detailed marketing plans, I couldn't keep track of all of the marketing steps I took. Then I had a "light bulb" moment. I could track my steps in a book marketing log. Although my log entries are short, they document my marketing efforts and are paying off. According to my publisher, sales are picking up. Keeping a log is helping me to sustain and vary my marketing efforts. Some days I do more than others and that's okay. The total book marketing picture is what counts.
So far, I have accumulated two months of entries, and they reveal some important truths.
One: Participating in social media is crucial. I post on Facebook and Twitter every day. Most of my posts are about my personal life. When circumstances warrant it, I post about a book in production, a forthcoming book, or a surprising sale. Many authors have responded to my posts with likes, retweets, and follows. I follow some other authors, but not all of the ones who send me tweets.
Two: Paid reviews can be helpful. Most professional reviewing services charge a hefty sum for their efforts. Since I don't have the money for this, I looked for affordable alternatives, and Midwest Book Review was one of them. I followed the submission steps-business letter, two copies of my book, and $50 for the reviewer. To my surprise, two books in my family caregiver series were reviewed. According to Midwest Book Review, I may use these reviews as I wish.
Three: Giving books away is one of the cheapest marketing steps. My husband is disabled and he was recently hospitalized for pneumonia. After three days in the hospital, he was sent home, and a Nurse Practitioner followed up on his case. At the conclusion of her visit I gave her copes of the three books in my family caregiver series. When the Nurse Practitioner checked on my husband the following week, she said she was going to tell people in her department about my books at the daily staff meeting. That's great publicity for three give-away books.
Four: Book marketing isn't a sprint. It can years to achieve name recognition and boost sales. So I'm going to keep up my marketing efforts and continue to make entries in my log. You may wish to keep a book marketing log too if you're an author. Do it for a year, or half a year, or a couple of months. Read your entries and see if any patterns emerge. What is working? What isn't working? Book marketing isn't for wimps, that's for sure. We have to work at marketing as hard as we worked on our books.
Harriet Hodgson, BS MA
Health & Wellness Writer