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Friday, October 30, 2015

Promoting Your Book is as Important as Writing It -Days of the Dead blog tour Gail Z. Martin

Promoting Your Book is as Important as Writing It

By Gail Z. Martin

Congratulations! You’ve finished your book. Maybe your work will be released by a big publisher or a small press, or maybe you’ve decided to publish. The harsh truth is that regardless of how you publish your book, without ongoing, effective marketing, few people are likely to find and read it.

Around one million books are published in the US each year—counting big publisher, small press, micro press and self-publishing. That’s a whole lot to choose from, and it all shows up in Amazon. How do you make your book stand out? How do you convince readers to go looking for your book and part with their hard-earned cash?

The first step is quality writing. The best marketing in the world can’t make up for bad quality, and while promotion might win you one sale, a shoddy product will kill future sales no matter how many ads someone sees. Before you think about marketing, be sure your manuscript is error-free, edited professionally (by someone other than you), and formatted to look exactly like the ebooks or print books readers buy from the big publishers.

Second--People do choose a book by its cover, so be sure your cover is as good as you can afford to make it. If your publisher sends you a terrible cover, push back and give specific recommendations on how to fix it. Remember—creating a book that sells well is a win for you and your publisher. If you’re not much of an artist or don’t know how to use programs like Photoshop, get someone to do it for you. A bad cover will kill your sales.

What makes a bad cover? That’s a whole conversation in itself, but a few big red flags are: 1) typography, layout and spacing that does not look like anything put out by one of the big major publishers; 2) Muddy colors and unoriginal graphics that don’t grab the eye or draw readers’ attention; 3) Too much type, type that’s too crowded or hard to read or too small. Spend an hour in a bookstore or library. Get fifty books in your genre by top authors from big publishers. Lay them all out on a table and compare them. Make notes, take measurements, look up type fonts. Now put the same rules to work on your cover.

Now for the third point: Use your cover everywhere and on everything. See why I emphasize making your cover as good as it can be? It’s the foundation of most of your marketing. Most authors I know use a discount online printer like Vistaprint or GotPrint to create bookmarks, postcards, posters and signs, banners and other promotional items. Watch for sales—the discounts are plentiful and deep. Use the front of the card for the photo of your book cover, and put your website, your social media links and perhaps a QR code to a ‘buy’ link on the back. These sites make layout pretty easy even for a layperson, but if it’s just not your skillset, you can easily find a good (and likely inexpensive) basic graphic design skills to help you out.

Remember, people will judge the quality of the book itself by the quality of your materials, so make sure those bookmarks, business cards, etc. look professional.

Four—Now that you’ve got materials, take them everywhere you go and give them to everyone. If you’re going to a convention—even if you’re not on programming—take your business cards and bookmarks. Put them on the swag table, give them to people you meet, hand them out if you have a reading or a signing. If you’re on a panel, have the cards on the table in front of you and hand them out if people come up to ask a question afterwards. People have short memories, and cons are busy places. If they liked your panel and they want to find your book, make it easy by giving them a business card or bookmark reminder.

Five—Have a consistent, ongoing social media presence and don’t always talk about your own books. It’s essential to be present on social media. Readers want to connect with you and feel they have gotten to know you. Facebook, Twittter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and your blog are all key ways to keep readers updated on what you’re doing, and to share funny pictures, pretty photographs, snapshots of conventions and other bits and pieces of your life. Be polite to everyone. What do I mean by ‘consistent’? You need to be updating your sites at least a couple times a week, and sites like Twitter reward daily (multiple) posts.

These are the five key elements to a successful book marketing outreach that every author must have to rise about the clutter. Once you have your foundation built, watch what other authors are doing and borrow great ideas that work for them. Be willing to share what’s worked—and not worked—with other authors. Building great supportive relationships with other authors is really the sixth tip—and one that will not only make your writing life more enjoyable, but much more successful in every way.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here:

Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! Grab your envelope of book swag awesomeness from me & 10 authors before 11/1!

Trick or Treat! Excerpt from my new urban fantasy novel Vendetta set in my Deadly Curiosities world here Launches Dec. 29
Trick Or Treat w excerpt from The Truth Of Betrayal

Trick Or Treat w excerpt from The Big Bad II anthology

Trick Or Treat Double-Dragon Publishing sampler #6

Gail Z. Martin is the author of the upcoming novel Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Dec. 2015, Solaris Books) as well as the epic fantasy novel Shadow and Flame (March, 2016 Orbit Books) which is the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga. Shadowed Path, an anthology of Jonmarc Vahanian short stories set in the world of The Summoner, debuts from Solaris books in June, 2016.

Other books include The Jake Desmet Adventures a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) from Orbit Books and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities from Solaris Books.

Gail writes four series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures, The King’s Convicts series, and together with Larry N. Martin, The Storm and Fury Adventures. Her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Realms of Imagination, Heroes, With Great Power, and (co-authored with Larry N. Martin) Space, Contact Light, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens.


  1. Fantastic post. I so agree with the cover! I am a "cover girl". :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

  2. I'm with Sherry. I'll sometimes grab a book just because of the cover art. This series is right up my alley!