Friday, April 25, 2014

AFTER THE BOOK DEAL – Guest Post by Jonathan Auxier



The Internet is full of great advice about how to sell a book, but what about after the sale? When my first book came out, I found it was surprisingly hard to find answers to some basic questions. Like most authors, I learned most of the answers through trial and error. And so in anticipation of the launch of my new novel, The Night Gardener, I’ve decided to write down everything I learned so I don’t make the same mistakes twice!

AFTER THE BOOK DEAL is a month-long blog series detailing the twenty things I wish someone had told me before entering the exciting world of children’s publishing. Each weekday from now until MAY 20, I will be posting an article on a different blog. Follow along and please spread the word!

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AFTER THE BOOK DEAL – Guest Post by Jonathan Auxier

The Internet is full of great advice about how to sell a book, but what about after the sale? When my first book came out, I found it was surprisingly hard to find answers to some basic questions. Like most authors, I learned most of the answers through trial and error. And so in anticipation of the launch of my new novel, The Night Gardener, I’ve decided to write down everything I learned so I don’t make the same mistakes twice!

AFTER THE BOOK DEAL is a month-long blog series detailing the twenty things I wish someone had told me before entering the exciting world of children’s publishing. Each weekday from now until MAY 20, I will be posting an article on a different blog. Follow along and please spread the word!

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Day Four - Giveaways!
Today is our last entry on things to do BEFORE your book comes out. I thought I’d talk about giveaways and contests. Keep in mind, that these thoughts are based on my personal experience with Peter Nimble and might not apply to all situations ...

ARCS: Hopefully, your publisher will have printed a whole bunch of “advance reader copies” (ARCs) to help build buzz around your impending release. In the month leading up to the release of Peter Nimble, I had regular signed ARC giveaways in which entrants had to follow me on Twitter and then tweet a link about the contest—this was a great way to build a Twitter following (plus it gave me something to actually Tweet about!). If you’re interested in running a Goodreads ARC giveaway, you might want to check out author Emlyn Chand’s excellent tips. All told, this is the easiest, most cost-effective way to build awareness about your book.






T-SHIRTS: As I got closer to the big release, I decided to print Peter Nimble T-Shirts. T-Shirts are a great way to give prizes to people who have already read your book (and likely won’t want/need another copy). I used the T-shirts to encourage those who had already read the book to post reviews—good or bad—on Amazon and Goodreads. This was effective, and it assured that I had a solid base of reviews when the book officially launched. However, it was also a hassle to create and ship shirts. I chose to use high-quality shirts designed and printed by a local guy—the result was cool, but also quite expensive. Were I to do this again, I might consider a less artisanal approach.






CREATIVE ALTERNATIVES: Take advantage of your other skills. I sometimes hold little pop-contests and give the winner a portrait. Sometimes authors are even willing to put someone inside one of their books or auction themselves for charity. The best example of creative giveaways might be AFTER THE BOOK DEAL host Shannon Messenger, who paints pictures on the covers of her books









A BIG CONTEST:  In the final week leading up to release, I decided to follow in the shoes of the brilliant Nathan Bransford and hold a big contest. Twitter followers who confessed to the awesomest thing they’d ever stolen (with the hashtag #GreatestThiefWhoEverLived) were entered into a contest to win a free Kindle loaded with a copy of Peter Nimble. All told, I added about 100 new followers through the contest, which works out to about $1 per follower ... which is crazy expensive. I am not against doing a big giveaway again, but next time, I might do a few things differently: 

1)  Set up an automated archive for all Tweets containing my #greatestthiefwhoeverlived hash tag.  As it was, I had to do a lot of tricky and time-consuming searching to compile a list of entries after the contest was over (and even one tragic mix-up.) A little work ahead of time would have saved big headache later. 

2)  Tweet the heck out of my contest. Every time I tweeted the contest announcement, I got at least 5 new entries. I should have been tweeting it 3-4 times a day EVERY DAY leading up to the deadline. (Really, the smart thing to do would be to set up a whole bunch of announcements ahead of time on Hootsuite or FutureTweets.)

3) I should have also made a practice of re-tweeting or replying to EVERY hash tag entry ... not only does that make entrants feel special, but it's a way of constantly re-tweeting the hash tag without becoming the guy who just RTs his own announcement over and over again. 

4) Um ... maybe a shorter hashtag? (What can I say? It was 2011, hashtags were still exciting and new!)  

AND FOR NIGHT GARDENER? Well, this blog tour is actually a sort of giveaway. At the end of the month, to celebrate the release of The Night Gardener (May 20!), I’ll be bundling all these posts into an e-book ... available to anyone who posts a review of The Night Gardener (details to come).

That’s it for Week one of AFTER THE BOOK DEAL! Come back on Monday, where I’ll be talking about the five things you should do before your first book signing. See you then! Please-oh-please spread the word
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JONATHAN AUXIER writes strange stories for strange children. His new novel, The Night Gardener, hits bookstores this May. You can visit him online at www.TheScop.com where he blogs about children's books old and new.

2 comments:

  1. This post is very helpful for those of us ready to launch our first book. Thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for stopping by Smack Dab, Jonathan!

    ReplyDelete