This blog was featured on 06/17/2017
Slow Boat to Book Sales

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but If we do each thing calmly and carefully, we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.” ~ Viggo Mortensen

What more do I need to say? Viggo Mortensen's horse master had it right. That’s why I’m taking the slow route with my book promotion.

My friend Debrah Strait, the writer who helped me hone my book, and I got together recently to plan strategies to promote our books. Debrah has published three, soon to be four, books. (I highly recommend, The Sweet Trade.) She and I are kind of alike. We want to plan our own strategies for promoting our books. It’s good to read about how other people have created massive interest and lots of sales for their products, but I’ve always been a little bit of a rebel when it comes to rules. I hardly ever follow a recipe exactly as written, and I didn’t follow all the rules when I was a student or teacher. I feel the same about promoting my book.

There are so many stories of people and their “instant” success that we can get discouraged if that doesn’t happen to us. For example, hugely popular actors like George Clooney laugh when people ask about their instant success. Various reports tell of him sleeping on his Aunt Rosemary’s couch for a year or so, and/or living in a friends closet. It took ten years before he got his big breakthrough role. Or Jim Carrey who at one point lived with his family in their Volkswagen van, before getting his break as a stand up comedian. Even authors like J.K. Rowling had hurdles to jump over before their books became hits. And I’m not sure I would have had the tenacity of Kathryn Stockett. It took sixty tries before she got anyone interesting in her book, The Help.

Taking our cue from others who “made it” after lots of effort, Debrah and I will create our own method, all the while believing in our work, forging relationships and continuing to write.

Since the ebook version of The Space Between Time is finally published, I’d like to share some ways you can help promote the books of your favorite authors, and maybe even mine if you choose to read it.

I got these tips in an article “13 Ways to Support an Author Without Ever Spending a Dime,” by Florida author, Steph Post, from a site called Lit Reactor. You can read the full article for yourself. Even though other authors have shared this article, I think it’s worth sharing again because we can all use help promoting our work. I’m picking and choosing my favorites from Ms. Post’s list to share here.

Check out a book from the library

“Anyone, anywhere, can purchase a book on Amazon. A library book can give an author a sense of how far their book has traveled,” Ms. Post writes. I plan to ask friends all across the country to request that their local library carry my book. You can do that for all your favorite books if your local library doesn't already carry them.  

Review a book

You can go to sites like Necessary Fiction and Small Press & Indie Book Review and request a free copy of a book you might like to review. This can help you if you’re a new author and/or reviewer. It also helps the author. Another way to help an author is by writing a review on Amazon, iBooks, or Goodreads. I have an author page on Goodreads and have just listed The Space Between Time on it. If you follow any of my author pages throughout social media, consider writing a review. That helps me, and any author you write a review for, get more exposure. It is especially helpful for those just starting out.

Talk to your local bookseller

If you read a book, especially one by a new author, and your bookstore doesn’t carry it, suggest they stock it. This goes for any book you liked reading, even if you checked it out from the library. You can suggest they create a feature books display, or introduce it in their newsletter. I have friends in Portland, Oregon and I plan to ask them to suggest my book to Powell’s Books. It’s the largest independent bookstore in the world, so if one of their employees reads my book and likes it, they might feature it in their newsletter … That would be a dream come true.

Face a book out on the bookshelves 

When your local bookstore listens to you and buys the book you suggested, pull the book out and face it forward so the browsers can see the cover.

Take a book selfie.

Use your selfie stick and social media to promote books you have read and loved, even if they are older. It might revive interest in an older book, and will be greatly appreciated by a new author. Remember to be creative!

Nominate a book 

I don’t know about you, but it seems self-serving to nominate my own book for an award. I have a love-hate relationship with awards anyway. However, as Ms. Post points out, many sites with awards, like Goodreads, are reader driven, so nominate your favorites.

Recommend a book to a book club and talk to your friends about the books you love

Word of mouth is still the best advertising tool, so be creative about sharing the news about books you have enjoyed reading.

The Space Between Time will soon be available at Amazon. You can download it today at Smashwords and at the iBooks store. The print version is also coming soon.

This post was previously published on June 7, 2017 on Sage Woman Chronicles on Wordpress.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

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