Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Little Help Here?

This is a message from Claudia's blog "On a Limb with Claudia". I've reposted it here because maybe someone out there (published/self-published) might be able to help her out.

Claudia writes:

After posting about some interesting movements in the music industry, Colleen at Loose Leaf Notes asked me to look into book publishing.

Inspired, I set out to answer her question.

At little background first. Book publicity has changed drastically in the last seven years. When we started the Open Grove in January, 2001:
In-house publicists from hundreds of publishers sent dozens of copies of books. I received 12+ books a day. I heard that Oprah received over 50 books a day. Yikes!

Almost every author went on some form of a multi-city book tour.
I received telephone calls, letters, and a few emails (2001) from publicists hungry to get their clients on the Open Grove.

Within two years:
publishers began to merge into multinational conglomerates,
the tide of books became a trickle, (Thank God)
authors financed their own book tours,
some savvy best selling authors began publishing their own books, and
small book presses were growing.

By 2007:
many of the major book publishers had closed their publicity departments,
authors whispered that they spent their entire advance on a publicist - some where helpful, most were not, and the publishing industry lost 17%! Book publishers closed left and right.
Walt Whitman sold his book door to door.

What’s an author in 2008 supposed to do to sell his or her book??
What works?
What doesn’t work?
What are people doing to promote themselves?
What was the data? Which marketing endeavors increased sales?
What had no effect at all?
Self publishing? Big New York Publisher? No advance publishing? E-book publishing?

I asked my favorite Marketing forum and came up with some good ideas, but no data. I sat through ridiculous seminars run by sharks and charlatans. (No, Janet, I didn’t kill them, I only WANTED to kill them.)

What sells books in 2008?

No one knows.

I mean, I have some ideas? But I’ve already written about them.

Unsure of what to do, I did nothing. Then I noticed a little project of Brad Feld’s (Liz, he’s the venture capitalist I was talking about). I decided to steal his idea.

I’m sending out an SOS.
Let’s collect our information and experience. We don’t have to toil alone. Together, we can create a resource for authors. With information, we wrestle our creative efforts from the mouth’s of sharks.

(100% of these proceeds will go to Wounded Warriors. )

What I’m looking for:
Direct experience marketing a book, selling a book or even getting a book published.
What is working for you?
What hasn’t worked for you?
What do you believe is the single most important factor in selling your book?
You book can be a self-published book, an e-book, a New York publisher.
Did your book tour work?
How much publicity help did you get from your publisher?
What sells your book?
I’m thinking a short (100 - 300 words) this worked, this didn’t.

In return for participating, you will receive a free copy of the book. I’m hoping to collect 100 authors to participate in this project. If you are interested, please send me an email at: or leave a comment at On a Limb with Claudia. If you know a published author, please let them know about this project.

1 comment:

On a limb with Claudia said...

Oh gosh, thanks so much for posting this! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your efforts and thoughts! YES!!

Thanks for your comment too - it's nice to "meet" a new face!