Food for Thought: Resolutions for a Fruitful New Year

by Cynthia Olsen

originally published on the Independent Publisher web site

Publishing and writing have been central figures in my life for the past 20 years. Before that, I never imagined that I would be a published author and self-publisher. Throughout my lifetime, my focus has been to live a full and bursting-with-health lifestyle. So in some ways it made sense that the books would be created around that genre. Truly, if we follow our hearts and listen carefully to our inner voice, we do find life’s passions that sustain and fulfill us. 

Throughout 2012, I discovered that some of my original marketing tools to promote my new book weren’t as effective as in the past. I would like to share some tidbits and hope they give you “food for thought” for the New Year. 

A strong word of advice would be to submit book reviews at least three months before publication. Consider sending (according to their submission guidelines) to Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Review, and Booklist, as some examples. Then the reviews can be printed inside and on the back cover. Readers like to see professional reviews. They add credence to the author and to the body of work. I did not do this. I did get some reviews and had my foreword contributed by Dr. Norman Shealy. 

I now understand that independent bookstores do not always buy your books outright. The stores will set up three-month consignment terms first to see how your book will sell. If the book does well, they will put you on 30-day terms. I announced where my book was available locally by sending out email notices to friends and colleagues. People could also purchase the book on the store website. Don’t be stingy about giving away books. I have given away over 75 to begin with. It leads to more exposure and sales. 

I had a professional press release designed by Jenkins Group. It became an excellent tool to email to prospective clients. It’s chock full of concise information about the book you can wave in front of radio shows, reviewers, and anyone in the book industry. 

My website was updated with new information. It is vital to have it designed in a professional manner. The site contains my new book information, backlist books as well as secure online ordering. I keep the website current with new reviews, articles and publicity. I also have a Facebook link for Kali Press. 

I submitted articles to local newspapers with a short bio, my website address and where the new release was locally available. I discovered that the Vail Daily had let some staff go and welcomed new articles for their daily newspaper. 

Set up a marketing budget and try to stick to it.
I wrote down a marketing plan with costs. Then the challenge came: Where should I invest the money? I have been fairly conservative thus far. Local book signings, published articles and the website have helped to get more exposure. I have my current book listed on Amazon with my backlist books. I asked people in the health field to consider doing a review. I called and walked into libraries in my region to sell them the book. 

I wasn’t prepared for the massive follow up with the radio, TV, and reviewer marketing list I purchased. In retrospect, I would first build up recognition of the book at a ground roots level. Many bestsellers started out this way. Some writers have lived on the road selling their books. Each day consider how you can add more exposure by entering national book awards, staying positive and connecting to organizations that support your genre. 

I paid two representatives to display at the Frankfurt Book Fair for foreign rights and distribution. Since I had foreign rights for some of the previous books, I felt it would be a worthwhile investment. 

Resolutions: What I will create in 2013
Publishing has changed. Be prepared to inform and educate yourself on the changes and create a more modern version of yourself and your book. The Internet provides a wonderful source of information. 

I will continue to write more articles for local newspapers and set up speaking engagements and book signings. I will have an eBook version available. 

When the time feels appropriate, I will hire a reputable publicist company that doesn’t ask for major money up front to help set up radio and cable TV show interviews. 

I will create videos on YouTube, which inspire others to live a healthy and youthful life. I will display my book abroad and at national shows. I will become a member of the Colorado Publishers Organization and American Booksellers Association. 

And if I need an extra helping person, I will hire a college intern for special marketing projects. Don’t feel like you have to do everything by yourself! 

Lastly, if timing seems right and creative juices are flowing, write a new book, and definitely enter the IPPY Awards again!