Sunday, May 16, 2010

Book Tour Postponed

I'm am dismayed that I must postpone an all-out book store blitz, yet I must. Finances dictated that I accept two contracts offered to me for technical writing. The income earned will enable me to clear my books of virtually all debts. Taking this step will mean that I will have more resources available for the future book tour.

However, I will continue to do what I can to promote the book, while working a 75 hour week (for a period of 7 weeks) and then working 9-hour days until September 2010. But my initial plan of proceeding ahead on all fronts simultaneously has not worked.

Up to this point here's what I've discovered about the book promotion business:
  • Independent book stores are open to selling the work of independent authors, but it takes a lot of work to get to each store, talk to the decision maker, provide promotional support, and see books begin to sell from that one store.
  • The additional promotional materials required include book/author posters, shelftalkers, "local author" foil labels (for book covers), and scheduling author readings/appearances.
  • I contacted local newspaper editors and got one reply by an editor who might be interested in reading and reviewing my book.
  • I contacted local school (colleges/high schools) English departments, offering to make a presentation to students about the craft of technical writing and my experience writing a 400 page novel. I got no replies.
  • I'm Tweeting weekly, and while that has increase some website traffic to http://www.timeoftheheathen.com, it has not generated any sales.
  • My BLOG about my book writing and book promotional efforts provides a historical record of my efforts, and has sent some traffic to my book website, I have not seen any Internet sales from this effort.
  • My initial YouTube videos of my book promotion efforts have also sent some traffic to my website, but have not (as yet) been otherwise beneficial.
  • My writing articles on Ezine.com have been read by about 170 people, and generated some traffic to my book website, but provided no other discernable result.
  • My Ebook versions on Smashwords have experienced about 50 sample downloads, without any actual sales.
  • My Kindle Ebook on Amazon has sold one copy to a family member.
  • My Website has sold one trade paperback copy from CreateSpace.

I can conclude only this: writing a 400 page science fiction fantasy novel, delivered in a literary style, took a little over a year of time. Promoting and selling the book without benefit of a national distributor will take years.

It seems clear that promotional efforts must establish individual sales from independent book stores first, then build upon evidence of a sales history for the book.

But I am emotionally prepared for that. I have determined that my tombstone will contain the following epitaph:

"Here lies James E. Matteson, author.
Buy my book
Time of the Heathen
on Amazon today."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Promo Attempts to Ponder

I've been trying to stir up any interest in my book by several e-mail messages.
  1. I've sent a press release to all of the book editors I could locate an e-mail address for in my local community. I did receive a response from one editor for the six I sent. That editor invited me to meet with him at noon the next day. Unfortunately, I was out-of-town. I hope to see a message agreeing to a meeting next week.
  2. I wrote all the college English professors I could find for the local colleges, stating I was available to speak to their students about technical and novel writing and sending links to my work. I sent seven requests, heard no response.
  3. I wrote ten Christian schools, stating my availability to speak to their students and heard one enthusiastic response from a secretary, who needed to run it by the pastor. Haven't seen a follow-up yet.
  4. I tried to contact an author by writing to his publisher and requesting an address so I could send him a book, if he was willing to look it over and provide a comment. The publisher wrote back saying the author wasn't interested in commenting on another's literary work.

These are my attempts last week to ping some folks and promote the work. If you have tried some other connections, let me know. I did get 2 responses, 1 of them from a newspaper editor. So I'll say, maybe that's not so bad.