Post #40 – Women’s Memoirs, Book Business – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
As writers, I’m sure most of you know that this past week has been BookExpo America (BEA) week in New York City. Each year, BEA brings together about 30,000 publishers, booksellers, authors, media and exhibitors. If you have never gone, I recommend you
make it a goal for the near future. In the past, the location has alternated between the east and west coasts, but it appears that BEA will be back in New York City in 2011.
I would have loved to have gone this year…both Rosie’s Daughters and the first book (Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet) published through our Riparian Press won awards. I thought about going…but I’m busy (as is Matilda) writing our new book, Writing Alchemy. We’re on a tight deadline and shackled to our desks.
Publishing News from BEA
I have enjoyed keeping up on the publishing news coming out of BEA all week…some of it quite startling. Diane Gedymin, founder of The Publisher’s Desk, gave the audience a real zinger when she reported that while writing a book is the dream of 83 percent of people in the United States, just 7 percent of the books published generate 87 percent of the sales. The other 93 percent of published books sell fewer than 1000 copies. This is a variation on the statistics Nielsen BookScan put out back in 2006–that of the 1.2 million books they tracked that year, 950,000 sold fewer than 99 copies (Note the link is not to the original story; I can’t find that any longer, but I remember reading it at the time and these are the statistics).
Do numbers like that dampen your enthusiasm and discourage you from trying? Don’t feel defeated. Stiffen your resolve to do what you need to do to build awareness for yourself and your book:
- Don’t expect your agent or publisher to make things happen.
- Don’t wait until after you finish writing to begin thinking about marketing.
- Don’t assume that a good book will naturally rise to the top like sweet cream.
- Don’t think that if your book wins a couple of awards that it’s going to start flying off the shelf. You’ve got to leverage your wins.
- Don’t put your success solely in the hands of a publicist…and sit back and wait for Oprah and the Today Show to call.
7 Things You CAN Do to Market Your Book for Success
- Start building your marketing plan when you start writing your book.
- Create a blog where you can write about your subject…but don’t post chapters of your book. I recommend WordPress.
- Get known in social networking circles–get a Facebook Fan Page, Twitter account, join online writing (and reading) forums, etc.
- Read all the most recent book award winners in your category.
- Make a list of publications and blogs where you might promote your book
- Create a PR Web account…and while you’re at it, create an EzineArticles account. Both excellent places to promote your topic and direct readers back to your blog.
- Make your own channel on YouTube and post brief videos related to your topic. And as you get closer to your publication date, focus increasingly on your book.
Above all else, given the stiff competition (both the volume and quality of books…particularly among memoirs) and terrible odds (as reported) you need a strong platform upon which to build both your brand and a following that will be interested in your book. This is what agents and publishers are looking for because they know that they don’t have the money or marketing staff to promote your book adequately. It’s up to you…you CAN do this.
By the way, if you want to learn more about what went on at BookExpo America, here is a link to articles on Publishers Weekly. And if you really want to feel as though you were there, check out the BookExpo Podcast. There is audio and video coverage of the event.
Reminder about our May Women’s Memoirs Contest
You have until Monday midnight to create your Google Search Story on YouTube and send us a link…just leave the link in a comment on this page and we’ll find it. Contest Details. And trust me when I say that using the Google Search Story video tool on YouTube is FUN AND EASY. You don’t need to know a thing about video. All you need is an idea for a story that could be searched using Google. YouTube does the rest…automatically. Follow this link to Google Search Stories, and spend FIVE MINUTES creating your Search Story. We’ll post your video here on Women’s Memoirs…and maybe you’ll win one of our original Rosie Legacy Bandanas!