on May 23, 2010 by Stephen L. Thompson
I recently self-published a collection of flash fiction stories, A Man of Few Words. It was a long, tiring process to get it published, but now I have the long, tiring process of marketing it to look forward to. Normally, you’d think an author would go on a book tour and have book signings across the country. That’s several orders of magnitude bigger than what I’m capable of doing now, so I’m focusing on smaller marketing ploys. The first few on the list don’t market my book, they just direct people to my website where they’ll see that I have a book for sale.
I figured that since I had a book out, I should get some business cards. I’ve known for awhile that when I finally got around to getting cards they would read “Professional Dreamer and Destroyer of Worlds.” (Here’s an explanation as to why.) So I had the words, I just needed the cards. Working on a budget, I bought a pack of print-your-own cards; you print out a sheet and then snap out your cards.
Unfortunately, my printer at home kinda sucks, so I ended up with a dozen or so cards that were slightly misaligned or had smudges. I ended up using a printer at work to get some pristine cards, but what should I do with the not-so pristine ones? Well, over the years I’ve seen various eateries put out a box with a sign saying something like, “Drop in your business card for a chance to win a free lunch.” A free lunch is always good, but you’d think that whoever empties out the box might flip through them, and a “Destroyer of Worlds” would probably stand out.
A couple years ago I bought some bumper stickers with my website. Over the years the one on my car has faded, but it was still readable. I waited until my book was out to replace it with a bright, shiny, new one.
For a couple of years now, I’ve been adding bills to Where’s George, a website that lets you track your bills by their serial numbers. Whenever I get change, I log in and add my new bills. Before now, I would then separate the bills into three piles. One pile I would mark with “wheresgeorge.com,” the second I would mark with my website, and the last I would mark with thought provoking quotes, like one of my stories, “Money Talks.” But since my book came out, I’ve been marking every bill with my website.
There were two main reasons I wanted to get my book out in May. The main reason was just to be done with it, but the other reason was that in June I was doing my 30 Stories in 30 Days challenge. This is where I drive myself nuts by writing 30 stories in as many days. How this helps market my book is that during my challenge there is increased traffic to my website. And now, after the stories – most of which are flash fiction due to time constraints – I’ll have a little blurb saying, “If you enjoyed these stories, check out my self-published collection of flash fiction stories, A Man of Few Words.”
I posted notices about my book on the various social media I’m on, but the main one I used was Twitter. Now, the good thing about Twitter is it lets you send out a message that could potentially be seen by thousands of people. The downside is that it will only been seen by those thousands if they are looking when you send it out, otherwise it will be buried by the millions of other tweets sent out each day. One way around that is to send out multiple tweets, although that can get annoying. So, to try to have fun with something that can be annoying, I started numbering my annoying tweets stating my book is for sale.
Chatroulette is a site where you are matched with a random person to chat through your webcam. If the person you’re talking to is boring or doing something you don’t like, you just hit the “Next” button and you’re matched with another random person. The upside of Chatroulette is you can talk to total strangers from around the world about your book. The downside is that if you’re on for about two minutes, you’ll see some guy masturbating. You get quick on hitting the next button, but you can also have fun with it.
Bookcrossing.com is a site that lets people share the books they enjoy with the rest of the world. How? You log in a book, they give you an ID number, you write the ID number in the book along with a note or something about Bookcrossing.com, and then you leave it somewhere people will find it. Hopefully, whoever picks it up will log it in to see where the books has been before, and the process will continue. In a few weeks I will be leaving a book at a convention in Philadelphia, this fall I’ll be sending out a book to a friend to leave someplace in Albuquerque, and I have a friend with family in Hawaii, so the next time they visit I’ll be sending a book with them. Hopefully, the people that find the book will enjoy it so much they buy their own copy.
Hoping people buy their own copy of a book they enjoy is the same reason I’m planning on donating books to several libraries, from my high school and college, to the various public libraries I’ve patronized over the years.
I’ve written blogs for when I received my first proof copy, my second proof copy, for when my book went on sale, when I received the copies I had ordered, and for my basic plan on marketing them.
If I come up with anything else, I’ll be sure to let you know.