Publicize, promote and market your book with little or no marketing b…

Your book is about to be published, and now it’s time to talk about the facts of life: marketing and promotion.
STORY MERCHANT BOOKS is proud to have gotten your book into print, and will focus at this point on marketing it in two ways:

1)   Opportunistically—meaning when we see an opportunity in our wide web of experience and contacts, we will work with you to take advantage of it.

2)   Now that we have your book to give to our network of television and motion picture agents, financers, and fellow producers, we will be intent on finding a way to the screen for it. That is the primary reason I founded the imprint, to get books into the hands of Hollywood storytellers desperate for stories to tell.

That leaves the selling of books, for the moment (until you have a feature film or television series at your back), squarely in your hands—exactly, by the way, as it would be if you had chosen traditional publishing.
The American marketplace, nearly 300 million strong, is the most lucrative market for books in the world—and the gateway to the global marketplace. Amazon now has websites in United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil—and is adding more each year. Your book’s reach can truly be GLOBAL—
          —IF your BOOK is VISIBLE.

One book in a million launches to instant sales while the author does absolutely nothing. It’s the most common fantasy to think you’ll succeed without promotion or that the media will cover your book with little effort on your part.

The other 999,999 books require MARKETING (promotional) efforts to become VISIBLE to the American and global marketplace.
And promotion is an ongoing thing that never stops.
          But before I discuss those efforts, you need to know this formula by heart:
o          PROMOTION has no direct relationship with sales.
o          Without VISIBILITY there can be no sales.

Consider BMW, Veuve Clicquot, Victoria’s Secret, and many other brands that are embedded in the American consciousness. They know that spending millions of dollars a year in the big slick magazines with sexy ads has NO direct relationship with sales. But they do it because it keeps their brands in the forefront of the browsers’ awareness.

 They don’t dare NOT spend the money. For one thing, they know if they don’t spend it, someone else will be spending it and that someone else may take their place in the buyers’ awareness.

The same is true of the massively crowded world of books.

So one way or the other, you must PROMOTE YOUR BOOK as fervently—maybe with even more fervor than as you wrote it.
I suggest setting aside a minimum amount of time EACH DAY. Time upon time produces results.

One last preliminary: Make it a principle from now on, NEVER to give an interview in ANY media without having something to sell. That means until your book is available for purchase, hold up any potential interviews—internet, radio, television, print—until you can give the audience the information on how you can buy this book!


What are some of the best ways to market your book? From years of trials and errors, both my own and those of my clients, here’s what I suggest:
1)      Come up with your own marketing plan, and monitor it as you continue forward. Send it to us for our feedback and suggestions.

2)      Put time into it. Nothing happens unless you invest your time and/or your money (money buys time). 
3)      Get help. If you don’t have the time or desire to do it yourself, use help—ours or someone else’s--to make your book visible. That’s Story Merchant Book Marketing recently brought on Cindy Villareal Hughes as our new director of marketing. Cindy is happy to provide an initial free consultation and can be reached at cindy@storymerchant.com or at 512-659-2268
        Focus by promoting exclusively for your listing on amazon.com—which has over 100 million subscribers. Get that “Author Central” page up as soon as your book is launched. Amazon is the 500-lb guerrilla, so set the other monkeys aside until you’ve sold 100 million books.

5)         When in doubt, build a Facebook page instead of a blogsite or website (if you can’t do both). With 1.3 billion users globally, where can you find a better marketplace? Maybe you’ll find that limiting when your book has sold a billion copies. Then you can expand beyond Facebook. Meanwhile here’s the biggest market imaginable—nearly 250 million in North America—right at your fingertips. The service offered by Chi-Li Wong helps you address this.

6)          Focus on book reviews. First aim for 30, then 100, then 300. Magic happens when the Amazon computer’s algorithm starts paying attention to your book, and reviews make that happen inevitably.
7)          Send out a press release about your book through a service that reaches Internet reviewers. You will surely receive requests for review copies—and at least half of those will end up as reviews on the Internet. We have a service for that purpose.

8)          Social networking is where it’s all happening today: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked-In, YouTube, and Tumblr. Set up accounts and send out postings regularly until you grow your following. If you want help with that, we can do it (see attached menu of services).
9)            Report to us anything that’s working for you so we can share it with your fellow Story Merchant authors.
10)         It’s invaluable to get endorsements for your book–authorities and/or well-known people who will say great things about your book to display on the jacket.


Let’s break down some of the above steps.


 There are numerous ways to request endorsements (aka “blurbs”):
      Ask your colleagues! If you are a professional, it’s always a good idea to ask your colleagues for their endorsements, or to recommend you to well-known others, especially those who are writers too. Busy people often have good hearts but not enough time. We’ve found the most effective way to approach them is by composing the endorsement on their behalf, sending it to them with a sampling from your book, and asking, “I’m wondering if you could see your way clear to saying something on behalf of my book, something like,  xxxxxx.” You’ll find that many people will tell you to use what you’ve composed, while others may decide to read the sampling first and write their own. Either way, you’ve got the endorsement!

      Does your topic deal with a timely issue? Can you think of anyone in entertainment who may relate to your topic? Try and seek out celebrities (actors, best-selling authors, athletes) to endorse your book (it never hurts to have a famous name on the cover!)

      STORY MERCHANT recommendations! Being a part of the STORY MERCHANT family includes you in a circle of writers and creative people. We have many authors in our pool who can give you endorsements, in return for one from you. 

      Brainstorm with your editor. Check out the STORY MERCHANT BOOKS website, and suggest writers who might appreciate your book. We’ll let them know about it.

Hire a Publicist!

It’s rarely a bad idea to hire your own personal publicist to help spread the word about you and your book, but focus on visibility not the expectation of sales-for-dollars spent. A publicist can help you land radio or TV spots, get you interviewed in newspapers or magazines, and much more.
Costs for a publicist range, depending on what kind of service you’re looking for.  Generally $2500-$5000 per month is the going rate. 

STORY MERCHANT has contacts with several publicists we’ve used over the years to great success. If you need a recommendation, contact us. Otherwise, contact the following publicists and tell them you’re an STORY MERCHANT client:

Rick Frishman, Planned Television Arts


Devon Blaine, The Blaine Group

Robyn Spizman, Robyn Spizman Literary Works
When it comes to promotion, think outside the box. 


      Whether you do it through your publisher, your publicist, or your own personal sweat equity, make sure “galley copies” (aka “Advanced Reading Copies, or ARCs”) go to book review editors at these trade outlets, as appropriate:
         Kirkus Reviews
         Publishers Weekly
         Book List
and these consumer outlets:
o            NY Times Book Review
o            LA Times
o            SF Chronicle
o            B & N.com
o            BookReporter.com
o            Salon.com
o            American Way Magazine (in flight Magazine for American Airlines)
o            Esquire
o            GQ
o            Giant Magazine
o            Book Page
o            Entertainment Weekly
o            People
o            FHM Magazine
o            Hollywood Reporter
o            Men's Journal
o            UAS Today
o            Washington Post
o            Chicago Tribune
o            Chicago Sun Times
o            Washington Post
o            Wall Street Journal
o            Pages magazine
o            Time
o            Time Out NY
o            AP
o            Atlanta Journal Constitution
o            Boston Globe
o            Creative Screenwriting
o            Dallas Morning News
o            Denver Post
o            LA Daily News
o            San Diego Union Tribune
o            San Jose Mercury News
o            Miami Herald
o            Minneapolis Star Tribune
o            NY Daily News
o            NY Post
o            Orange County Register
o            Philadelphia Inquirer
o            Variety
o            Seattle Times
o            Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel
o            Deadly Pleasures
o            SciFiHaven.com
o            Locus
o            Fantasy & Sci Fi
o            CFQ
o            Starlog
o            Interzone
o            Cinefantasy
o            several major freelancers such as Tom Nolan, Merle Rubin, Dick Adler, Harriet Klausner. Story Merchant Books has a service that gets your book in front of them.
o            Others as appropriate to your particular title—e.g., Today’s Black Woman, Black Star News, Black Reign magazine, Ebony, Black Essence, etc.


Teach a class at the Learning Annex, STORY MERCHANT Client

 The Two Things Your Book Cover Design Must Do | RachelMcWrites

Does your nonfiction book have something educational to share?  The Learning Annex is always looking for new teachers.  This avenue is a great way to share your knowledge and contribute to the world.  There are Learning Annex locations in many cities across the U.S., and their bi-monthly catalog (a good place for ads!) reaches 2 million people.  But please note, only the serious need apply.  If you are scheduled to teach a class and do not show up, that’s it.  All ties with you and this association will be severed.  This policy is strictly enforced.

          What we need to make this happen: 
(a) You study the most recent Learning Annex catalog (call us if you can’t find one on your own); and
(b)                         Construct a 1-page “catalog copy” proposal that can be forwarded to Learning Annex program directors.  Note that the title of all successful classes is 90% of their success.  It must be crystal clear, focused on what the student will get out of the course, and practical. 

Go after Corporations

Corporations have deep pockets, and it’s easier to make sales to them than you might imagine! They’re always looking for ways of endorsing or sponsoring worthy messages—and multiple copies of an innovative new book often fill that bill.

But nothing can take the place of your own associations, ideas, and efforts in this regard. One recent client got a major corporation to advance-order 25,000 copies of his book—which led to a much more favorable publishing deal than we might otherwise have made for him.

Keep Us in the Loop

Please make sure that you, and your publicist, copy us on all email and news about your book (atchity@storymerchant.com and Chelsea@storymerchant.com ). We will, for starters, post the latest developments on our sites, and link our sites to yours—but we will also look for synergies that can advance the cause of sales.

Other Suggestions

      Writers’ Conferences—Get yourself invited, and they will automatically order your book to sell at the conference bookstore.
      Place products in your book and make a deal with the company that makes them to cross-promote your book (see attached story, “Product Placement Deals Make Leap from Film to Books”). See http://money.howstuffworks.com/product-placement.htm for great detail.
      Make personalized postage using your book cover, and ask all your friends to use them as stamps (available at stamps.com among other places on the Internet).
      Make decals for your car—and all your friends’ cars--of your book jacket. 
      Put ads on buses and subways in cities where you think your book has its most likely audience.
      Buy billboard space.
      Print up fancy bookmarks and send 50 to every bookstore you can get the address for.

Exploit the Internet

The Internet is chock full of opportunities to get attention to your new book—and you can do it from the comfort of your desk. But start at least six months before your book comes out. Contact websites such as the following:

http://www.dearreader.com --“the Oprah of the Internet”
http://www.imdb.com (especially if you want to get film attention)
http://www.pennyterk.com – sign up for your own web page!

Social Media

Do you find “social media’ confusing or overwhelming? Are you unsure how to get started, or wondering if the time you spend on Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms is worth it?
Networking on Facebook is one of the most important ways to meet and develop relationships with thousands of potential customers as well as other authors, experts, and key influencers in your field or genre. But it can be a real challenge to figure out how to take advantage of Facebook's full potential.  Chi-Li Wong (clw@aeionline.com) offers a service to help you with this.

The Story Merchant Book Marketing team will build, activate or update your Facebook page and implement our trusted and proven strategy tailored specifically for the needs of authors to stay competitive, current and cool. By expanding your fan base through increasing “LIKES” you will gain more potential customers on a daily basis. Let us do the work that gets you results! Our social media strategists offer the following services:

• Set up your Profile and Page for maximum marketing
• Add book covers and other images to Facebook
• Run ads for new friends on Facebook
• Use Facebook Events to promote your book
• Get your status updates noticed by your friends and fans
• Import your blog posts and tweets


What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is one of the hottest new social sites! Think of it as a giant online bulletin board that people "pin" images to. As a user, you create "boards" geared to different topics or interests. As you're cruising around the Web, you see an image that you'd like to share with others and you "pin" it to one of your "boards." When someone clicks on the image, they will see a description of the image and they can be directed back to the website that the image came from. Everyone's buzzing about Pinterest, a rapidly growing social site that's all about creating and sharing collections of images that you find around the Web or create yourself.

Why does Pinterest matter to you?

Pinterest is gaining nearly 12 million monthly unique visitors, and Shareaholic says that Pinterest is driving more referral traffic to websites than Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. Referral traffic means more visitors who land on your book website through a link from another site!

STORY MERCHANT BOOK MARKETING, under Executive Director Cindy Villareal, has built a team that knows how to master this hot new site and leverage your Pinterest account to promote your books. We provide the services that will:
• Set up your account and create your profile
• Manage Pinterest terminology
• Create Boards
• Pin images to Pinterest
• Re-pinning images to your own boards
• Interact with others by sharing and commenting
• Attract followers on Pinterest
• Promote your books and products through Pinterest
• Find buttons and other tools to enhance your Pinterest experience

Networking on Twitter is terrific way to meet and develop relationships with potential customers as well as other authors, experts, and key influencers in your field or genre. But, Twitter can be baffling at first and most important need you will ever have to reach broad customers similar to texting!

STORY MERCHANT BOOK MARKETING will create an action plan that is tailored to meet the unique needs of authors to master the power of Twitter.
• Attract the right followers on Twitter
• Configure your profile page for maximum marketing effectiveness
• Properly use Tweets, Re-tweets and Mentions
• Choose the right user name
• We use multiple Twitter accounts to your advantage
• Manage tweets, re-tweets, hashtags and Follow
• Write effective tweets
• Twitter contests to increase your followers
• Link tweets to Facebook
•Weekly Growth and Status Report
•Weekly Conference Call
•ACTION “To Do” lists coordinated with your personal Social Team Manager.


EBook Marketing Strategies

Hashtags: If used correctly, they can help you gather more attention. If they relate to your book, using current trends can also help gain awareness. For example, if your book is a political thriller, use real-life events with similar tones to your story as points of connection.

Interaction: There are millions of different types of people on Twitter. Search for people looking to read new books and interact with them. Don’t exclusively talk about your book though; discuss the things they’re talking about. When you talk with them, they’ll probably check out your profile and hopefully click on your book’s link.
Giving advice, interviews, and writing tips away for free can also increase awareness.

Pinned Tweets: When users click on your profile, you want to make sure that your most relevant tweet is at the top.

Promoted Twitter: If you’re willing to spend some money, you can pay to advertise on Twitter and have your tweets, your twitter handle, or your trends show up more often.
You can set your own budget and you are only charged if someone were to actually click on your profile.
You can set very strict or very loose keywords and demographics that you want to target.

Facebook :

      Using either Facebook pages or a business Facebook page is a great way to get more exposure. Being the biggest and most popular social media outlet, this is where you’d attract the largest audience.

      You can do a lot of activities similar to Twitter with pinned and promoted messages, but Facebook gives you another way to connect with your fans
and gives you a chance to send longer messages.

      Most of the social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have a “stat page” that allows you to track what posts are doing well and see what changes you should make in an attempt to get more attention.

Other Social Media:

      Other social media sites, such as Pinterest and Youtube, have promotional ads and other advertising methods that can be used to promote key abilities.

      There are a ton of social media sites out there that have very different demographics and strengths. You don’t need to use them all, but taking advantage of the key ones such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn would be very beneficial to you.

      You can schedule your posts in advance so you don’t have to remember to log in multiple times a day to stay updated.

      It’s very important to update each of your social media pages. You don’t have to update all of them every day, but make sure you update each one at least a few times a week. Facebook and Twitter should probably be updated at least daily; a few times a day would be even better.

Don’t use auto-follower or auto-responder services, as those are not user-friendly. If someone follows you and you want to send them a message thanking them then take the time to send them a personalized message.


      With so many people using the internet from their mobile devices it makes a lot of sense to create a mobile site for your personal website. If your site is not accessible people will just get frustrated and move on.

Google Adwords:

      Use Keywords to put Ads on certain Google Searches.

      Pay Per Click.

      You can target specific areas or ranges.

      Google Analytics allows you to track your ads so you can see what exactly is working and make necessary adjustments.


      Using contests is a great way to help promote your book.

      Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook can launch promotions to a lot of people at once for free.

      Don’t always give out free copies of your book, other items such t-shirts, coupons, autographs, etc. can also get people very excited and curious about your book.
      Craiglist is also a great place to give away your book for free.

Book Readings:

      Book readings are useful for people not on social media and the Internet (and these people do still exist!).

Sending Free copies to famous writers, politicians, and talk show hosts:

      Sending books to famous people could attract attention—if it’s a great book, they might mention it on their social media sites and other networks.


      Using a blog can give people personal insight into you as an author and a person. The more people know about you the more accessible and intriguing you become.

      You need to keep it up to date on interesting things. Don’t just talk about items and events relevant to your genre, but expand to include things that truly interest you and others.

      Using keywords is very important to help draw people to your blog, which will ultimately draw people to your books.

      Comment on other blogs that are similar to yours. That will help draw people to your blog and books.

      Try to respond to everyone that comments on your blog. It will help you keep your followers and promote yourself better.

      Keep your messages short.

      Do reviews of other authors’ books. Not only will it help you get viewers for your book, but it could send that author’s fans to your blog as well.
      Chi-Li Wong has built blogs for many of our authors.


      Appearing on other’s writers’/authors’ shows is a great way to find other potential consumers. Talking about similar topics is a great way to attract attention.

      There are many different podcast and radio stations, the more you help them the more they can potentially help you.

      Unfortunately people have short attentions spans nowadays, a quick book trailer could draw a different audience.

      Keeping it short and to the point is very important as people unwilling to take time to watch even a two minute video.

      There are many free sites out there such as Vimeo, Youtube, and Dailymotion that can be used to upload your videos.

      You can also use videos for interviews, speeches, and other things that you think might be interesting to your potential consumers.

      Hosting a video contest with fans submitting videos they made is also a great way to interact with your fans.

      When you send out a press kit, make sure you attach any important videos to it. All media is important.

Special Holidays:

      There are many holidays that gather national attention. Use these to help promote your books.

      Holidays such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Groundhog Day, Grandparents Day, and Employee Appreciation Day are neutral holidays that gather national attention but won’t offend people if you advertise on those days.

      You have to be very careful when using holidays to advertise. One wrong comment could offend some people.


      Networking is very important, just like any other industry or situation. The more people you know and help, the more likely they want to return the favor and help you.

      Using sites such as LinkedIn is very beneficial to promoting your brand and your books.
      Giving people a face and personality beyond the pages of your book could be very beneficial. Of course if you use a pseudonym, then you need to more extensively plan hour you’ll achieve your face-to-face networking.

Permission Marketing:

      You can send mass emails to prospective readers with incentive for them to buy the book by a certain date.

      Use a mailing list that you have and use frequently, or create one in order to target a lot of people at once. Contacting people you don’t know will cause the emails to be ignored or spammed.

      Add a signature to the end of your email with your name, book title, and website for easy access for your potential consumers.

Tips for Creating a Mailing List:

      On your website, it should be very easy for consumers to sign up for you emailing list.

      Don’t require an address or occupation from them, just get their name and email.

      Make sure you have interesting content; don’t just spam your list with repetitive, unhelpful information.

Second Life:

      Second Life is an online virtual reality that allows you to interact with many different people in a 3-D virtual world.
      It allows you to do whatever you want to advertise including organize events, virtual book signings, and host conferences.

      There are a ton of different groups on Second Life that enable you to try and sell your book to many different kinds of people.

      Many companies, such as Overstock.com, Careerbuilder.com, and IBM have online stores in Second Life, where you can list and purchase products.


Library marketing is an effective way to help make your book visible—one library can mean hundreds of readers. Effective library marketing is essential to ensure success in publishing. Public libraries and university libraries often order in bulk, require little or no discount, and always pay on time.

We offer mailing lists of public libraries and university libraries. Our library mailing lists can be an important piece in helping you solve the book marketing puzzle.

Our highly targeted lists of public libraries and university libraries include libraries with the largest number of volumes and the largest acquisition budgets. Our lists of librarians are those that buy the books for thousands of branches. You will not be wasting your marketing budget on public and college libraries that are unlikely to purchase your books.

Now that we’ve discussed the how’s and why’s of marketing your book, allow us to lay out the packages that we offer to help you get started!

If you’d like our direct assistance, take a look at MENU of the PROMOTIONAL SERVICES offered by Story Merchant BookMarketing to assist you in making your book more VISIBLE.

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