on a Budget
After I wrote
my two articles on author promotion, Promote Like a Parrot 1 and 2, (Musings February and April 07), a writer contacted me
with her problem. She liked some of the suggestions in my column, but worried that others were beyond her budget. Although
a publisher had not yet accepted her novel, she wanted to begin getting her name out there. She was particularly interested
in discovering low-cost tips from other successful writers.
(http://www.jillmcdougall.com.au/ ) has published almost 100 books for children, and a delightful book for writers, Become a Children’s Writer: Insider
Secrets. Jill stresses the importance of school visits for a children’s writer. These can have an added bonus, when
an author is paid for her appearance! A visit to libraries to introduce herself usually results in her books being ordered.
Jill also supplies articles to suitable sites, including the link where her book for writers can be found. After her articles
appeared on Writer’s World and Absolute Write, Jill noticed a leap in hits at that address.
successful writer willing to share low-cost tips is C. Hope Clark, (Editor, FundsforWriters,
www.fundsforwriters.com Writer's Digest 101 Best Web Sites for Writers - 2001 through 2007). Hope stresses the importance of using an
email signature. She says that even in a list group, where she is well known, she still uses one. Underneath where she signs
‘Hope’, she has a signature block containing her website(s).”Writers who do not use them are saying they
have no pride in their worth and aren't capitalizing on an easy freebie means to self-promote,” Hope advises.
web tools to check, Hope has determined that she gets even more hits at her website than to her newsletters. To her, a website
“means credibility” and she warns writers not to even consider one of the free sites. “It's too cheap to have a domain name for the author or book title to let that ripe opportunity go by.”
herself as an expert has worked well for Hope. She recommends that writers consider submitting columns or articles about the
writing process to suitable publications. A bio at the bottom of an article brings traffic to a writer’s website.
writer decides to put out a newsletter, Hope says, “…nothing sells
better than good customer service, respect for the customer and consistency in delivery. If the customers know what you are delivering, and when you'll deliver it, they'll support you forever, because so
few people respect the customer anymore.”
Kim McDougall is a rising star on the writing horizon, with several publications to her credit and more due out next
year. Here are Kim’s favourite budget promo ideas:
Newsletter: Newsletters and mailing lists are easier than ever to create and
maintain. They are valuable tools to reach readers and keep their interest over extended periods, if done properly. Newsletters
can take the form of websites, email updates or blogs. I transformed my website into Between the Cracks Digest, an ezine that
highlights my own achievements among the padding of fun articles, reviews, interviews, contests and fiction. I recently added
a serial novel, in an attempt to lure readers back month to month. This ezine is a lot of work--so much so that most months
I consider giving it up at least once, but I think its benefits far outweigh this downside. I could send a simple newsletter
each month tooting my own horn, advertising my latest story publication, but how many people would subscribe to that? The
digest is the sugar that makes the medicine go down. Read Between the Cracks Digest at www.kimmcdougall.com
Freebies: Everyone loves freebies. As a writer and self-promoter, it’s
important to understand the value of the freebie and its limitations. Is giving away your book really going to help you sell
more books? I don’t think so. Done properly, freebies and contests can generate interest in a book or be used to thank
faithful buyers. Many authors put together fun give-aways of dollar-store items to readers who can answer simple questions
about the book. This works best, of course, in conjunction with a blog or newsletter. For my upcoming picture book, “Rainbow
Sheep” I illustrated the text with felt “paintings.” I plan to make mini rainbow-colored sheep out of felt
to give away at readings and over the internet for contests. I think it’s important to keep the freebies fun and relevant
to the story. You can see some samples of my fiber art at www.kimchatel.com (this website will be the eventual home for “Rainbow Sheep” as well.)
Write, write, write: This might not seem like a promo idea, but I believe that
the single best tool in a writer’s promotional kit is her ability to write. Just like any other product, your writing
can benefit from name-branding. A person who is browsing in the bookstore or online is more likely to pick up a book with
a name that is familiar. So how do you brand your name? Write, write, write. Submit, submit, submit. Not as easy as it sounds.
I’m terrible for overloading myself with the whole business of writing. We all do it: the writers’ groups, chat
groups, blogs, newsletters, conventions…it goes on and on. Take time away from those lures to write everyday! Never
turn down an offer to write for somebody’s newsletter, blog or website. Write flash fiction and short stories and submit
them often and repeatedly. Even non-paying markets have the benefit of advertising your name. If you have a hobby or particular
skill, find magazines that specialize in your interest and write for them. Even book reviews on Amazon and other sites can
help get your name out there. In the past few months, I have written articles for Michael Geffner’s newsletter, two
articles on needle-felting for Craftbits.com and flash fiction for Pen Pricks, Flash Shot, Twisted Tongue and Drabblecast.
Some of these are paying markets; the others top notch advertising of the Kim McDougall brand name.
from All about Marketing Online - http://advertizeyourbusiness.com
agrees with Hope,
Jill and Kim about the value of article marketing. Jan adds that she is “…an active
participating member of several online groups and networks. I often give them links and ask for referrals or offer them various
incentives to purchase my information or join my marketing list.” Jan also stresses the importance of maintaining
that marketing list, “…a list of targeted visitors to my website, who are interested in reading
my work over the years, and that list will often buy about anything I put before them. I'm very careful to maintain that
trusting relationship. Marketing to my list offers a venue for putting my work out there, and getting reviews and referrals.”
editor of Infinite Space, Infinite God, suggests using media releases as
a low-cost way to promote a writer’s work. "For, say half an hour’s work (finding addresses and writing
the media release), I can potentially reach thousands,” Karina says. She also advocates sending sell sheets (a single
sheet with cover art, blurb, review and ordering information) to bookstores, or taking them to conventions and book-signings. Karina believes
virtual book tours, while time-consuming, “…pay off in terms of exposure… but it’s hard to tell exactly how
much (income) they generate.” She offers a virtual book tour mini-class at her website, www.fabianspace.com
be little point in discussing frugal tips for writer promotion without consulting the Frugal Guru, Carolyn Howard-Johnson.
Carolyn, author of The Frugal Book
Promoter and The Frugal Editor, (www.HowToDoItFrugally.com ) shares her three favourite frugal ideas for promotion. Don’t miss
her special offer for readers below!
The number one idea is to
edit well. That means everything from your first query letter to your manuscript. First impressions are important to branding.
Learn my hard-won secrets in The Frugal Editor: How To Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success.
I love Amazon! I would carve
that into the sides of trees if I weren't a tree-hugger. They offer all kinds of perks that help authors not only target readers,
but also focus in on the specific reader who might find your book fits them to a "T." Learn more about that in The Frugal
Book Promoter, the chapter on Amazon, of course.
Make book fairs and other
events work for you. These kinds of things are going to cost you a little money so from there it is up to you to make
sure you do enough promotion around them to make them worth the money you spend. Go to www.AuthorsCoalition.blogspot.com for my bookfair-focused blog on making a humdrum event into one that is sizzling hot. If you want to know
more about promotions offered by Authors' Coalition to help make book fairs better, e-mail me at HoJoNews@aol.com. Be sure to put "SUSAN'S MUSE MARQUEE ARTICLE--Book Fairs" in the subject line.
You don’t need to adopt a life of crime before becoming a successful writer, but you do need to promote your
name and your product. When money is tight, a writer needs to work hard and think smart. Every chance you get, seize the opportunity
to write and chat about your book, hand out bookmarks and cards, send emails to friends and colleagues. Start a buzz with
your website and expert articles. Above all, write and edit well, and soon you’ll reap the rewards of budget promotion.
Have you been to these sites?
InkSpotter Publishing's newest anthology, Holiday Writes, is now available
Holiday Writes is an eclectic
mix of essays, poetry and fiction. It features a host of international writers tackling the various holidays celebrated throughout
the year and around the world. Look out for Susan Stephenson’s essay, Australian
Christmas Holiday inside.
Interesting article by author Marion Cuba about what worked and what didn’t with her book promotion.
Line 2008 Fall/Winter Contest
(due March 1, 2008; no entry fee; win $500)
An online database for writers with
current markets for short fiction, poetry, and novels/collections. You can search for publications by: genre, length, pay
scale, media, submission by post/email, themes, country, word/phrase. You can sort by alpha, payscale, response time and accept/rejection
rate. Frequent updates. Access to the database is free.
*Flash Fiction Online* is a new venue
stories up to 1000 words in length. Pays: $.05/word
for first electronic rights and non-exclusive one-time
http://www.flashfictiononline.com/submit.html for more
Between the Cracks Contest
Free to enter.
Big Love, Big Humor.
winning entry will receive $10 by check or Paypal and a free ebook, The Cross of Tarlis by Julie Darcy (Eternal Press). The
winner and runner up will be published in the February issue of Between the Cracks. Entries must be received on or before
will be judged on original use of the prompt as well as Between the Cracks qualities.
Until next month, write on!