Monthly Archives: November 2006

Tuesday tips 9

Practical up-to-date advice for book marketers.

Got a tip to share? Email me.

Media: Feeling you could make an impact on your book sales if only you could talk to more people? Ask your publisher about doing a ‘Meet the Author’ recording.

Events: Are there any Christmas fairs in your area where it could be worth selling books?

Promotion: Consider organising a competition or giveaway with a magazine, on the radio or online: here’s the service I run for targeting UK readers, and here’s one aimed at U.S. readers.

Reviews: Getting reviews can be really tough, but one thing is essential: have your ARCs available at least 12 weeks before publication date. Otherwise, you simply will not have enough time to meet publication deadlines.

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New Amazon cover upload procedure

I was a bit dismayed to discover last week that Amazon had a new cover upload procedure involving FTP. I’m not sure how many people outside of business will be familiar with FTP. However, after following the new guidelines to the letter on Friday the cover I sent them has appeared today. Hurrah! So, while the technology has got a bit more challenging for authors, at least it looks like the days of having to wait months for your cover to appear after you’d emailed it in are over.

So, here’s a quick guide to getting your cover on Amazon.co.uk. (Amazon.com also uses FTP but check their guidelines for specific instructions rather than using the links here).

  • Read the guidelines in the help section about adding images to books
  • The four important things are to save your cover image as:
    • a flat image, no borders etc
    • as a tiff or jpeg file
    • measuring 500 pixels on its longest side
    • named exactly as its ISBN. e.g. 12345678901.jpg
  • Then, email Amazon to retrieve the FTP username and password information. Email address is here. You will get an automated message back with these details.
  • If you’ve not got ftp software, you’ve got two options:
    • Download it for free, or a free trial version. e.g. I’ve used SmartFTP before and it can be downloaded for a free trial within 5 minutes.
    • Ask a friend to do the next bit. Most businesses will have FTP, and certainly anyone who is working with graphics, from designers to marketing people.
  • Finally, upload your image into the amazon upload file. You should not create a subdirectory or do anything, simply upload it. This shouldn’t take you more than 20 seconds, although once it’s uploaded in the directory you can’t see it, so there is a bit of the leap of faith involved.
  • Wait five days as Amazon say that correctly uploaded images should appear on the site by then.

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Sunday interview: Fabrizio Poli

As an author, you are the best person to sell your book, says Fabrizio Poli, self-published author of Your Attitude Determins Your Altitude. And treat your book as a business.

1. What kind of marketing have you done as an author?

With the help of a publicist I got two press releases out and as a result got two interviews on BBC Radio, one on ITV television and a few interviews in local papers and magazines.

I have also done some networking and spoke at some conventions. I put together a website and also undertook an email campaign which got my book from the rank of 351,000 to 52 on Amazon.co.uk in 24 hours.

2. What essential things about marketing did you wish you had known from the start?

Not to waste time putting leaflets through doors.

3. What marketing difficulties did you face as a self-publisher?

The main difficulty is time and not have the funds to hire a team or marketers/sales people. This is where networking has come in handy and organising co-op marketing campaigns.

You also have to transform yourself from author to sales person to be convincing as you are not a mainstream publisher, and treat your book as a business.

4. What did you learn from your experiences of trying to market your book?

The main thing is that as an author you are the best person to sell your book. I sold 12 copies during a book signing in Borders, purely because I would stop people in the store and ask them to have a look at my book.

5. What is the most successful piece of marketing you have done?

This was definately my Amazon email campaign. I sold 88 books in 24 hours and one person from Australia liked the book so much she ordered a further 96 copies for her business coaches.

6. What advice would you give to authors thinking about self-publishing?

First of all, before you even write the book, think about the marketing. There has to be enough content to get the press interested.

Second is to send your manuscript to 7-8 people you know with an evaluation sheet for their honest opinions. Take onboard their feedback and make changes.

Third, get yourself a good editor and proofreader. Once the book is ready, send out a pdf to 30-40 people to get reviews to incorporate these into the book for print.

Fourth, hire a publicist.

Fifth, be prepared to give away 200-300 copies to movers and shakers. These are the people who will talk about your book to others and generate sales.

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10k

£10,000 (20,000 US dollars) is apparently the cost of being Offer of the Week at Waterstones. (From The Bedside Crow) .

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A fine art

I typically end up going to the Post Office at least once a week to post out books etc. It’s a chore – a bit like doing the ironing – and therefore I have it down to a fine art.

I manage to locate correctly-sized envelopes, write my little notes, paperclip the slips, and print off the one real letter on headed paper the right way around first time. All while I am also on the telephone getting out of the way a couple of calls. Have to wait until I was off the phone before doing the masking tape bit. Then, chuck assorted packages in glamorous carrier bag, grab handbag/mobile/coat and I’m off.

The optimal time to hit the Post Office is about 20 minutes before closing. And today I am rewarded: a one person queue. Before I sharpened up I’ve been there with 30-40 people in front of me in the line and that means a half-hour wait.

5 minutes later, all done. Hurrah. Until next week.

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Book trailers

The film industry has trailers. Music artists have videos. The internet now allows us to host such things easily online – whether it’s on websites, blogs or MySpace. So why are there not more book trailers, I found myself pondering after watching the trailer for Roger Morris‘s novel, Taking Comfort?

Answer: cost.

Then, quite by chance at a business breakfast yesterday I met a guy from a creative agency, had a chat and the upshot is I’m hoping that the costs will come in ok so we can do a trailer for a book I’m promo-ing next year. Fingers crossed…

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Tuesday tips 8

Practical up-to-date advice for book marketers.

Got a tip to share? Email me.

Media: Do you write chick-lit or contemporary women’s fiction? Reviews and author feature opportunities at Trashionista.

Research: Check out these blogs for insight into life behind the scenes at independent bookshops:

Retail: Online bookseller Alibris has launched a retail website in the UK. (From Publishers Weekly)

Inspiration: Need some ideas to pimp up your MySpace profile? Look to the film industry, such as Borat. How can you make your MySpace visitors’ experience engaging? (Thanks to Danuta Kean for the heads up).

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