Book Marketing Tips From A. F. Stewart

A. F. Stewart is a writer of fantasy stories and poetry. Stewart has been writing for several years, periodically interrupted by those pesky events called life. Stewart has three published books: one volume of poetry, a short story collection and a non-fiction booklet about action movies. All are currently available at Lulu.com.

Here’s what Stewart has learned (the hard way):

A quick how-to guide on book marketing, for those who have no funds for professionals.

The Must Have Items:

1. A Website
2. A Press Kit (online and/or for mailing out)
3. A Media Kit for individual books
4. A Press Release

* A Website:

Find a webhost. There are free hosts out there, (Geocities and Bravenet, for instance, and of course Squidoo), as well as inexpensive ones. Just make sure they are reputable.

You will have to decide whether you are going to use CSS or HTML; either way it is a good idea to become familiar with both forms. (Just use Google, there are a lot of tutorials out there). I recommend CSS, it is more confusing to edit, but it gives a nicer website.
As for editing, it can be done in notepad.

Use a website template. It will make creating a website far easier. Some webhosts provide you with free templates, but there are other places to find them as well.

Meta tags. Use them: title, description, keywords. They can be useful for search engines, and they don’t hurt.

Add webtools. Whether you get from your webhost or another source, they are handy things. You can add a newsletter, forms (for surveys, contest entries, etc.), a guestbook, a message forum, polls.

Add your books to your site. Post pictures and weblinks so people can see and buy your books, or if you can, use a widget (Some publishers have widgets that link to your books). Also add any links to reviews or other sites that have your book info. Put book excerpts on your site, plus any book freebies such as brochures, flyers, media kits, etc. And list any future books; you never know who will be interested.

A link page. Now you can add one or not, but I’ve found a lot of free directories want a reciprocal link, and it makes it easier if your links are on one page. Also, you may wish to offer a link exchange with other writing sites, or other authors.

To see what I’ve done go here:
Afallon Website
Enter Afallon

* A Press Kit:

This is for promoting yourself as an author. You will need:

* A short Biography of yourself, written in the third person.
* A good quality photo of yourself. (Although I did use an icon in my online press kit.)
* A list of your books, with all their information and a good synopsis. Also including any good reviews won’t hurt.
* A list of any awards or accolades, if you have any.
* A list of your writer’s groups
* A contact list; email, websites. (If you are mailing a press kit, you may wish to include a phone number.)
* For an online press kit, add a link to your blog.
* Freebies such as flyers, brochures. (Hard copy for mailing , downloadable for the online kit). And if you are mailing your kits out, throw in a business card.

You can have a separate site for your online press kit, or simply make it a page of your website.

To see what I’ve done go here:
My Press Kit

* A Media Kit:

I use this as a press kit for each book. I include:

* A fancy cover page. A pretty design, with the name of the book, my name, the date and where I published.
* A cover sheet. It includes a short descriptive blurb about the book, and a list of the media kit’s contents.
* A photo of the book cover
* A fact sheet on the book. It includes a description of the book, the publisher, where it is available, the price and the product details. (such as copyright, page length, binding, etc.)
* Any book reviews
* An Excerpt from the book
* An sample author interview, in the form of a Q and A. (This is only for the online version.)
* The book’s press release

You can find my media kits on my website or at my online press kit.

* A Press Release:

I use the free online press release services like Sanepr and PRlog. You will need a press release for each book, and you can also send out releases for book events, the launch of your website, for winning awards, etc.

For a how-to on writing a press release go here:

Press release tips
OR
Write a proper press release

A Sell Sheet 

(also called a tip sheet)

A sell sheet is a cross between a flyer and a fact sheet. It is usually one page, designed to catch the eye and promote your product, in this case your book.
It can be used for promotion at events, sent to bookstores/libraries, or added to press kits.
It most often consists of:
The book title and book cover thumbnail
Book Facts
Book Synopsis
Reviews
Marketing strategy such as book tours, appearances, book signings, advertising, etc.
Contact and buying information
Author Biography

You can have your sell sheet designed for you, or you can attempt your own using Microsoft Word or Powerpoint. I recommend using Microsoft Office Powerpoint.

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5 Responses to “Book Marketing Tips From A. F. Stewart”

  1. Bookmarketing Noob Says:

    These are great tips, and I’ve followed them. Let me tell you, they work. The one key that I didn’t see mentioned is that once you have done all four steps, keep submitting press releases for anything that is related to your book and is newsworthy: book signings, speaking events, sales milestones, etc. You need to keep the buzz going.

  2. patbertram Says:

    Thank you for the information. There is so much competition, we need to do all we can!

  3. BiblioScribe.com Says:

    BiblioScribe.com provides a place where authors and publishers can still market their books in the same place that they can be purchased. BiblioScribe.com allows members to use free article and Press release tools that embeds their book as part of the article, and readers have the opportunity of locating and buying the subject book directly from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, as well as corresponding UK and Canadian online booksellers. Additionally, the Biblioscribe.com members’ public profile provides links to multiple books specified by the member, as well as the member’s own website. BiblioScribe membership is also free as well as an account on the BiblioScribe Blog.

  4. Pat Bertram Says:

    I found this on the BiblioScribe site:

    10 Tips for Writing a Great Book Press Releases

    1. Start with a great headline that grabs the reader’s attention.

    2. Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it as well as read your book.

    3. Make sure the information about your book or book event is newsworthy.

    4. Start with a brief description of the book or your book event, then distinguish who announced it, and not the other way around.

    5. Ask, “How are people going to relate to this?”

    6. Make sure the first 10 words of your release are the most effective, as they are the most important.

    7. Avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language.

    8. Provide as much contact information as possible: Individual to contact, address, phone, fax, email, website address.

    9. Make sure you wait until you have something with enough substance to issue a release.

    10. Make it as easy as possible for media publishers to understand your press release as they will be the ones helping you to present your news.

  5. Dana Clerkin Says:

    Thank you for this great advice. I am in the beginning process of writing all of this material for the two books that We The Peepres is publishing. While I have done all of this media promotion for the non-profit I worked for in a previous profession, it is a bit different now writing it for books. Thanks so much!


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