So, you’ve decided to write a book. You have an idea, you’ve started a draft and you’ve engaged a publisher who is eagerly anticipating your manuscript. Your mind is full of the content that you need to get down on paper, but now is the time you need to consider your readers too; both in terms of what you are writing for them and how you are going to tell them about it. Too many books have been written without the reader in mind, and they simply don’t sell.
Now is also the time to start your marketing plan. Work out how you are going to drip-feed your contacts; little and often is best.
When you are engaging in a marketing activity consider whether your audience will be more likely to buy a paperback copy of your book or the ebook version. Much of the time this won’t matter, but occasionally (for instance, if you have your book on the home page of your website) you will be able to offer personally signed copies, which will obviously need to be your paperback. You should always, however, include words similar to: ‘also available as an ebook’ or ‘also available in paperback’ depending on which version you are initially talking about.
Your paperback should be made available through the main wholesalers, Gardners and Bertrams, who then supply the majority of the retailers. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, but providing your book is of excellent quality and design you should be able to find a distributor, like SRA books, who holds accounts with these wholesalers. Without this you will probably only be able to sell your book on your own website and at the back of the room if you are a speaker, or hold seminars etc. Your distributor should also be able to offer you a complete package with Nielsen BookData, which will mean a synopsis of your book will appear on websites alongside an image and technical data. This synopsis is similar to, or could be the same as the back cover of the book, which is designed to entice readers to buy. Without it a lot of potential customers could fall by the wayside.
With regards to your ebook, there are a plethora of websites who will be offering it for sale providing you have it listed with the main ebook platforms and distributors: KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), Kobo, Apple, Google Play, Nook, eGardners.
A few sites (Amazon, Google Books, Hive) will feature both paperback and ebook versions of your book, but many others will focus on either just paperback or just ebook. KDP offer marketing opportunities if you offer your ebook for sale exclusively with them. This can seem attractive, but you have to weigh up the pros and cons of having your ebook only listed on one site.
In my next blog I will discuss the different ways that you can market your book.
Maria Waite, SRA Associate