A Country Girl Novel


Marketing and Selling a Self-Published Erotic Novel
June 10, 2011, 5:57 pm
Filed under: erotic novels, publishing | Tags: ,

Part 1

You’ve written your book, and now it’s time to find a publisher. If you can’t interest an agent in your novel or non-fiction book, which is the most likely scenario in today’s competitive market, what next? In my case, my best selling erotic novel, A Country Girl, was out of print, and with the demise of Blue Moon and other publishers, my only option was to self-publish. But before you commit to a print-on-demand publisher, compare packages and contracts. Stay away from the extra services–that’s where they make their money. You can write your own press release and build an email list that is specific to your target audience by researching the web. All the information you’ll need is there–it is basic and costs you nothing. 

What is your marketing plan? I began with no knowledge of marketing. However, I did have a website for my book. A website gives credibility to your book and you can show your writer’s skills with a synopsis, biography, and an excerpt from a chapter. Offer the rest of the chapter as a free PDF to the reader who sends an email request. Then you can capture email addresses and further entice the reader to buy your book. Although, to date, I have not had a single request for a free chapter, in spite of many visitors to my website. If you are selling your book on your website, don’t discount to compete with bookstores. 

Do your homework. Who is your audience? How are you unique? What is your niche, or selling point? Maximize your target audience. When you target a specific market, you can build a list of readers who are potential buyers of your next book. You want to develop and maintain a close relationship with your readers. 

Know and target your audience. Sell the benefit of your book. A given for non-fiction and fiction is accurate research (life experience for fiction), organization, quality of writing, attention to detail, and editing. If your book is a niche market, research that market. I checked sex-oriented magazines, websites, sex therapists, tradeshows, sex shops, and bookstores. Send a press release. Ask if they review books. Magazine and specialty websites (in my case erotica) usually have a book section. If you can afford it, do selective print ads, or online. 

What are your options? This will depend on how much time and money is available.

What marketing is cost effective? Look at the different methods you have to reach your audience and what is the cost? You can target your audience in print, on the internet, and in person. Print and the internet are complimentary. Explore the no cost options first. Your goal is to do more for less money.  

No cost options

  • Give away books as promotion; enter contests; write erotic stories, articles, anything to get your author bio and website out there.
  • Keep an online presence by writing articles, blogs, and newsletters. Ezinearticles.com and Selfgrowth.com are examples from the Article Directory Lists, also referred to as Article Banks.  
  • Review books on Amazon.
  • Find book reviewers–online or print (copy of book to reviewer).
  • Keep up-to-date on writers’ groups, authors online, and news groups.
  • Consider listing your book on Powells.com. In order for a book to show up on their site, it must be stocked at one of their stores.
  • Contact bookstores, book clubs, and affiliates.
  • Subscribe to free newsletters for writers and independent publishers.
  • Do book signings locally, or when you travel.
  • Give interviews. 

When you write articles, write on your book’s subject. Have a hook, a selling idea. Think of the title of your article as a headline. How are you different? What is in the news now? Time your marketing. Take advantage of any news events or special occasions, for example, Valentine’s Day or the month of August, which is Romance Awareness Month.

The goal is to get the attention of your reader, who on reading your compelling, well-written article will go to your website to learn more about your book and you. Promote year-round. Sell your story, not your book. 

In Person

  • Book launches, writers’ conferences, tradeshows, and bookstores
  • Bookstore signings and readings
  • Workshops
  • Talk at your local writing club
  • Radio and TV (local and national)  

Marketing in person at book signings, writers’ groups, and speaking engagements is rewarding because you meet potential readers. These personal appearances can represent a huge percentage of the total sales of a book. 

Being there in person definitely makes a difference. Show up is a networking golden rule.  But when you can’t be there in person, your book can travel for you. To trade shows like BEA. Follow-up your contacts with an email, and then keep in touch as the occasion presents itself. Be generous—I can’t stress this enough. If you come across good information that would be of interest to your new contact, email them. You are building a relationship. You share a common purpose of selling your product. 

What I learned in my marketing was that personal contact, whether in person, email, or on the phone was the most effective. From the 100s of press releases that I sent out to a carefully crafted list of potential markets, the only replies I received were from a few friends. Yet a phone call to some of the same markets elicited an interest and a request for information. I followed up by emailing my press release and a positive review. Any unsolicited information is usually ignored. Don’t waste your time. Make contact first.

Marketing and Selling a Self-Published Erotic Novel was originally published in the March 2009 edition of the Erotica Readers & Writers Association.

 

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