You may have noticed from what I've written so far that I've had many books pass through my hands in the last few months. Lever is produced by Taegais Publishing LLC, a newly-formed independent publisher. OK, I'll admit it, this is me. I can get as many books as I want directly from the printer, as long as I have the money to purchase them.
If you have a well-established traditional publisher, you may only get ten, or twenty, or fifty books. If you self-publish through a book packager or self-publishing company, you'll probably have to buy books at a possibly significant mark-up, since many packages only give you a certain number.
Through my studies of book marketing techniques, though, I've read that starting word of mouth is much easier if you have LOTS of books. I knew I'd be buying books, so I've been budgeting for this for a long time. During this enterprise between August and December I went through nine (!) boxes of 22 ARCs (198 books), although remember many were sold through that wonderful book signing at Curves, that then paid for more books. I've sold more, at the August conference and to friends-of-friends of people who'd read Lever. I passed many books out to reviewers (which you've already heard about), and to other groups such as endorsers, the blog tour, home-schooling companies, Christian bookstores, schools, librarians, and a few to contests. I sent a book to a woman collecting reading material for soldiers in Afghanistan. And another fairly large group I passed books out to was influencers.
What are influencers?
Influencers have been a wonderful group, people I've so much enjoyed meeting! If you participated in my contest in December, for example, you may have won one of my books -- this was the last gasp of the 9th box of the ARCs that I had, and you were among my final group of influencers. I found other influencers through asking on the ACFW loop, or through directly finding reviewers and bloggers and asking if they might want to review my book. BTW, a great link to find top amazon reviewers is HERE.
Influencers have a platform, and are so named because they can influence others if they like your book. The platform can be a web presence, but the way I look at it EVERYONE is an influencer. After all, if your friend tells you he's just read the most wonderful book, isn't that a platform? For each book I sent out, I stated that if the person didn't like the book, then I greatly appreciated their time and consideration and I didn't expect them to promote something they didn't believe in. (I had three of these). However, if they DID like the book, there were a number of things they could do if they wanted to to help. Some of the most important things were to tell their friends and book clubs, ask their local library to order it, and write an amazon (or other site) review. Lynn Rush yesterday sent me a wonderful list of things influencers can do, put together by an author, and I'd like to contact her to see if she'll let me post it. Thanks Lynn!
Thinking back on the avenues I've explored over the past few months, I have to say that the influencer pathway has been the most rewarding -- not just because many people have given me valuable feedback and have facilitated further sales, but because it's been great to meet so many wonderful people!
I look at marketing as picking up one grain of sand at a time. There is no shovel; you've got to just keep going, one small thing after another, and before you know it you've made quite a bit of progress. Then again, though, isn't that how most things in life work?
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