We have a special guest post today! A graduate of the master of publishing program at Pace University in Manhattan, Erin Galloway is the Manager of Marketing for Dorchester Publishing. Erin has the pleasure of working with many talented authors, ranging from debut authors to veteran New York Times best-sellers. A romance reader for over a decade, Erin now counts herself lucky to work with her favorte books and numerous wonderful authors.
Erin was kind enough to share some amazing promo info with The Novel Girls. We asked her questions, and she gave us some terrific answers!:
TNG: What's the most effective promotion for a debut author? Giveaways, ads, etc.?
EG: I believe there are certain things that tend to have mass appeal, such as giveaways--whether gift certificates or books--and promo materials like bookmarks and chapter booklets, but the truth is that the same thing doesn't work for everyone. What is incredibly successful for one person may have absolutely no effect on another. Really try to keep your audience in mind, think about how to reach them and what they may appreciate.
Do you want to hit the very web savvy crows and have them talking about your book virally? Offer them something they can use like exclusive content or excerpts. Introduce yourself to as many reviewers and bloggers as possible and take advantage of any opportunities you are offered. Importantly, make sure to give a personal touch to whatever you are doing--thank bloggers with a personal note or email for any promo they have given you, always reply when readers write to you, meet as many people individually as you can at conferences and get the email addresses of anyone who attends your book signings and send them a thank you note for attending.
Let the reader, bookseller and/or librarian know you appreciate them. It goes a long way toward remembering you and your books in the future.
TNG: Is the promotion a debut author should do different in any way from a more established author?
EG: Yes, a debut author is just at the beginning of building his/her career, so it's important to immediately begin branding yourself and to work toward establishing an audience of readers. You can start smaller and build bigger as you go.
TNG: What should a new author's web site have on it?
EG: The vital things that a new author's web site should have are: author bio, photo, contact information, information on your newest book(s) and an excerpt chapter or two. Include any other fun things you can think of--if your book has a lot of food in it, have some recipes on your site. If your book contains something crafty like scrapbooks, have scrapbook tips on your site. It could even be in jest. Perhaps your heroine is a klutz or always getting into trouble. Include a "Top 10 Places to Avoid if You Are a Klutz."
TNG: How much should a new author focus on libraries in promotion efforts?
EG: It's always good to have a librarian in your corner, especially because some people are more likely to try a new author from the library before choosing to puchase. You may want to start locally within your area or state, particularly if the book has regional appeal. Once you've begun to build your audience you can think about expanding.
TNG: How important are pre-order sales?
EG: It depends on the kind of preorder sales you're talking about. Preorder sales on Amazon.com are no more and no less important than a sale after the on-sale date. In this case, a sale is a sale.
When you're talking about preorder sales at a bookstore, there is a potential for real impact because if the store is only planning on ordering 10 copies of a given book and they receive 20 preorder sales for that book, the amount of books they'll be ordering for the store has already more than doubled, as they'll want 20 to cover their preorders as well as additional books to have on hand. With that said, you don't need to kill yourself encouraging readers to preorder your book. Not all readers want to preorder, and that's okay. Just sending out an email to your readers you have on your email list the day the book is available saing "you can now purchase your own copy of (name of your book)" goes a long way in reminding the reader how much they enjoy your work and encouraging them to purchase.
Thank you to The Novel Girls so much for having me on the blog. I wish you and all of the authors out there the best with your promotional efforts!