Not so with small presses and other independent publishing, of which so much is digitally based. In this environment, a book is not expected to take off right out of the gate. It is given time to grow. Consider a newborn. While a new colt or kid can stand up and walk within minutes of birth, and start fending for itself soon after, a newborn human develops in phases. A newborn baby grows and becomes stronger every day, with a grand celebration at the one-year milestone. Think of your book in those terms and it only makes sense to celebrate The Book Birthday!
Last year, around this time, The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything was born. It entered the world with a somewhat soft launch, a few interviews here and there conducted to announce that it was out there and available. Reviews started coming in slowly, and, slowly, the book began to grow.
During the infancy of the book, I also began to grow-- as a marketer. I branched out and made new friends. I joined wonderful, supportive Facebook writers' groups. I built a strong Twitter following (then lost most of it to a virus, then started to rebuild it). I learned how to retweet for others. To share good news wherever I could for author friends. I even launched a live event with author pals Samantha Stroh Bailey and Meredith Schorr called BookBuzz--a fun, meet-and-mingle "social" between authors and readers at a bar in NYC, which was sponsored in part by Diversion Books. I participated in online group promotions, and started to see my sales numbers grow.As the first year in the life of Girl came to a close, I chatted with Mary Cummings and Angela Craft, Editorial Director and Marketing Manager at Diversion Books respectively, about doing something grand for Girl's 1st Birthday. I had seen other indie authors do this kind of thing, and I was sure with Diversion behind me, we could create an unforgettable Birthday Bash.
Did we ever!
I started a Facebook Event and Angela and I reached out to bloggers to advertise our 99 cent sale. That, followed by a week of interviews and reviews fueled the fire. Guests posts energized the effort, and also provided the virtual publishing universe with something it always needs: Content. Engaging content, helpful advice, which can be shared and re-shared long after the party ends:
Sad. Scary. Tragic. (But Funny!) - How there can be humor in even the most tragic plots
Having a Threeway...Indie Style - 3 authors chat up creative marketing tips
Teamwork and the Indie Author - We're all in this together - how to help each other!
Love Me? Review Me! (And Even if Don't!) - Why all reviews matter
Writing in a Tsunami - Why there are no excuses why you can't write!
I tell you all this because whether you're an indie author, small press, or even a large publisher reading this, I think there's value in not giving up on your book. You need to keep being creative in how you spin it. You need to keep trying to sell it, without "selling" it. But as long as you're behind it, you can help it thrive.
Did it work? The morning of November 1, The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything ranked about 97,000 in overall Amazon.com Kindle sales; at its peak this week, it hit the #100 mark.
Put as much creativity and love into the marketing of your book as you do in the writing of it. You may be surprised at the magic you can do!
FRANCINE LASALA has written nonfiction on every topic imaginable, from circus freaks to sex, and edited bestselling authors of all genres. She is now actively taking on clients for manuscript evaluations, editing services, copywriting (covers, blurbs, taglines, queries, and more), website and blog creation, and developing kickass social media campaigns. The author of novels Rita Hayworth’s Shoes and The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything, and the creator of The “Joy Jar” Project, she lives with her husband and two daughters in New York. Follow Francine on Facebook and Twitter.