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Post helpful marketing/promotion tips here

I thought it would be helpful if we posted helpful/useful marketing and promotional tips here. And maybe we can get this thread "stickied".


Okay. Here's my first. If you're having trouble marketing/promoting your book to US bookstores pull a "Jimi Hendrix" (Hendrix couldn't get a record deal in US and had to go to UK to get a record deal) and try marketing/promoting your book to european and asian bookstores. I've recently started doing that to surprisingly good success. Here is a site/link to a Bookstore guide of european bookstores that have reviews of the bookstores, website links and, best of all, email links which you can use to send promotional material about your book:


Bookstore Guide:


Send the stores you choose plot details, reviews, sample pages, etc, everything they'll need to put your book in it's best light and put it's best foot forward.


IMPORTANT. European bookstores get our books through our distributors (Ingram) european partners, so when telling the bookstores how they can get your books you have to list our european distributors. Our european distributors (Ingrams Euro partners) are: Bertrams, Gardners, Blackwell, Book Depository, Coutts, Mallory International, Eden Interactive Ltd, Aphrohead, Paperback Bookshop, Biblica UK, Argosy (Ireland), Libreria Ledi (Italy), Eleftheroudakis (Greece), Agapea (Spain)


Just copy/paste that list to your promo email. But Bertrams and Gardners are europes biggest distributors so they might be all you need to list.


Tip within a tip. I publish children's books and comicbooks/graphic novels. If this is you look to Begium bookstores to promote to. Belgium is known as "the land of the comic strip" and I've found them quite open. For children's book authors in specific look to a bookstore named "The Treasure Trove". It's owners are VERY nice. one of them (Jane) emailed me the very same day I emailed her about "Chevalier" saying that they'd ordered copies and were looking forward to getting it because they think it'll do well in their store. Can't beat that with a stick.


The Treasure Trove

email: [email protected]

Attn: Jane


So start posting your tips folks. We're a'waiting. Smiley Happy





  • Many thanks, Dee. We all owe you kudos for the kind gesture.
  • On a fairly regular basis, Lulu posts some pretty sweet coupons that can be used to purchase books at a reduced rate.

    You can find out what the current coupons are here:

    1. These are awesome for when you are buying some copies of your own book to sell around / give away. It's nice to order 10 of your own book at cost and get an additional 20% off.

    2. It's REALLY nice for your customers.

    But don't expect your customers to find out about the discount through Lulu. That's not Lulu's job, that is YOUR job.

    Whenever a 20% or better coupon hits the market, it is time to throw the promotional component of your marketing into high gear. Get out there and tell people about the discount. I post to my primary social network (Google+) that the discount is available (usually including the graphic from the promo email from Lulu), and how to get it. I also post links to my books to make it easy for readers to add the books to their carts.

    But I don't stop there. I also promote some other books in a similar vein from other people I like. If you promote someone else's work alongside your own, it changes the appearance of your promotion in the public eye from crass commercialism to semi-editorial content. And anyone with any experience in promotion can tell you how much more powerful editorial content is when getting the word out there about a product.

    I do this promotion on Google+ and on my own blog. For most of you, you would also do this on FaceBook (I sell to a market that isn't nearly as involved on Facebook as it is on Google+). Sometimes I also do this on forums where I already post regularly (but I have to be doubly sure in these situations to promote works that are not my own even more than normal - message boards are notoriously unhappy with commercial posts).

    I can link over $600 in revenue to the latest promotion like this that Lulu ran and I promoted to my target audience.
  • Good tip. I missed the last discount coupon (the 40% off one) until it was too late, but I'll be up on the next one.

  • Geraldine? I don't think you'd be promoting an audio book to a bookstore just the hard copy. But making it known in your promtional email that there is an audio book narated by a celebrity should peak their interest further because it's something that most if any POD's don't have.


    But you shouldn't feel at all squeamish about using such a powerful promotional tool to your best advantage. When I had a publisher for one of my books (for a brief moment) he made Youtube trailer videos to promote the book and I attached them to my promotional emails that I sent out. If you'r not using everything you have to it's full advantage then you aren't doing your book justice. I mean, how is it different promotion wise then sending cover pictures, sample chapters, review quotes, etc, or even Youtube trailer videos that are everywhere right now? It isn't. Especially if it gets your foot in the door. Or in this case "the store".


  • Thank you Dee

  • Thank you.  I have been trying to find ways to market, but truth be told, I haven't been focusing on it.  Really appreciate the idea.

  • You're welcome.

    I just hope more people post their tips, they helpful, and folks sell more books. That's the goal. And as self publishers we're all in the same boat. So a rising tide etc, etc, etc, is the hope.



    BTW. There's a new indy store that opened near me this summer that's big into scifi/fantasy and comics/graphic novels. They're going to be stock my book "Chevalier" just in time for Black Friday/the christams season. They are very nice folks. I'll post their contact info when I get back for those of you who publish scifi/fantasy and comics/graphic novels.

  • Thank you, Dee! Please do post as Hunters Moon: The Fae Medallion falls in to the Sci-Fi Fantasy YA genre!

  • Papi_SoñolientoPapi_Soñoliento Southern Escarpment Hill Country Teacher
  • You're welcome all. Smiley Happy

    Okay, as promised, here's the contact info on Enigma Bookstore here in NYC where I live. It just opened in the summer to several really good articles about it in our local Daily News newspaper.

    Enigma Bookstore
    33-17 Crescent St.
    Astoria, NY 11106
    [email protected]
    Attn: Claire

    Enigma is owned by a VERY friendly couple named Hugh Brammer and Claire LaPlaca (most of my dealings have been with Claire) and is a a scifi/fantasy and mystery bookstore that began selling comics/GN's because their customers requested them. They host everything from book readings (even offered me one, though I couldn't because of an injury) to D&D game nights. The owners sort of want Enigma to be a "geek clubhouse". And if they're really interested in your book they may ask you for "extras". For instance, Claire asked me for a print from my book "Chevalier" for the store to act as a sort of in-store ad for the book. I was like "Fine with me". I'm sending it tomorrow.

    So, Personalize your emails subject line to Either Claire or Hugh. Send them as much info on your book as you can, send extra material (sample chapters, cover shots, artwork) if you have it. Remember they're new so it may take them a while to order your book (took them almost 2 months to order "Chevalier"), but if they say they're going to get--Count on it.

    There's another new bookstore that opened just a few blocks from Enigma Bookstore that stocks the same kind of books (Scifi/fantasy, mystery, etc), it's called The Astoria Bookshop and it too launched to great fanfare in the local NY papers:

    The Astoria Bookshop
    31-29 3ist St.
    NY, NY 11102
    [email protected]
    Attn: Lexie

    Astoria Bookshop is run by Lexie Beach and her partner. They never returned my email so I haven't had any real "personal" contact with them. But they're a brand new shop and they talk about building an "author's community" here in Queens NY where I live which makes it seem like they're more open to indy self publishers then some small indy bookstores might be. It won't hurt to send them some promo stuff about your book(s) as well because, hey--You never know. Smiley Happy


  • Speaking of prints like the ones I just sent out, being up for providing little "extras" like prints (cover, interior artwork), etc, for any bookstore that does decide to stock your book is great promotional material.

    And if the bookstore is near you (both Enigma and Astoria bookshop are a train ride from me) offer to do a book reading in the store. As I mentioned Enigma offered me a reading but I wasn't able to do it because I have an injury right now that keeps me pretty much home bound. But when the second "Chevalier" book comes out in March you bet I'll take them up on their offer and do a reading if it comes again.

  • REVIEW SITES. Folks are always posting about how to get reviews so I did a bit of checking and there are some good ones like Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal (adult books) and School Library Journal (kids books), but here are two good ones you should try first:



    You've seen it's reviews listed on books all over Amazon, B&N, etc. It's a great review site because it only reviews books that it recommends, so you don't have to worry about a bad review appearing on your books product page. Check it's submission reqiurements here:




    If you send your book to one site for review send it to Jim Cox's Midwest Book review. They review all genre's including comics and graphic novels. AND not only will they review your book they'll post their reviews on Amazon, B&N, etc



    Each requires two review copies and a month lead in time. Though the lead in time isn't written in stone. Remember to send them all of your books info (ISBN, book size, page number, price, etc), including who your US and UK distributor (US-Ingram, UK-Gardners, Bertrams) is.




  • You have been posting great stuff Dee, I will have to figure out how to do some of these things if not most. Things get a bit confusing for me although it shouldn't be as I am sure the things you are posting are easier than I am making it.

  • Dee

    I see that you have managed to get this accepted as a permanent thread. Well done.

    I have been trying to use giving away free books as part of my marketing statergy but that has not had very good results so far. I have given away 270 ebook so far this year but have only sold 20. I will be checking this thread on a regular basis for helpful hints. Hopefully more authors will come forward to say what works best for them.


  • Daniel? Who are you giving away these copies to? If you're giving them away to people you're pretty much wasting your time. Any FREE copies should really be sent to the places where they can benefit you most like book/ebook reviewer sites (newspaper reviewers won't review self published books as a general rule) who can review your books where 1000's of folks can read about your book(s). OR, if you have print books, they should be sent out to the bookstore book buyers who can get your books stocked in the bookstores who sell your genre of books.

    Sending free books/ebooks out to PEOPLE and HOPING that they'll start telling folks about your books is putting too much of the success of your book in the hands of other people.

    Geraldine? This is the job of a self publisher. We don't have publishers with marketing staff to do this stuff for us so we have to take the time and make the time to do it ourselves. It's not hard. Split the task into sections, pick out a couple of days of the week to concentrate on each task individually. Go through the Euro book guide and find stores that deal in your genre, or send out promo emails to the stores you've found that do, send promos out to Enigma Bookstore and the Astoria bookshop, Google search for indy bookstores in your genre and email them about how to submit new books for possible inclusion in their stores, etc, etc.

    But the point is that if you don't do it nobody else will do it for you.


  • Thank you Dee
  • Dee said:

    Daniel? Who are you giving away these copies to? If you're giving them away to people you're pretty much wasting your time. Any FREE copies should really be sent to the places where they can benefit you most like book/ebook reviewer sites (newspaper reviewers won't review self published books as a general rule) who can review your books where 1000's of folks can read about your book(s). OR, if you have print books, they should be sent out to the bookstore book buyers who can get your books stocked in the bookstores who sell your genre of books.

    Sending free books/ebooks out to PEOPLE and HOPING that they'll start telling folks about your books is putting too much of the success of your book in the hands of other people.

    I give the books to whomever wants to download a copy so I still have the same battle as everyone else here in getting people to want a copy of your book in the first place.

    I was interested to read recently that Amanda Hocking had first self published on lulu where she made not a single sale so I guess hope springs eternal; I need to start working on turning things around.

  • Having viewed SEVERAL Amanda Hocking Youtube videos she only put her book on Lulu because her Mom wanted a copy she could hold in her hands. Her focus from the start was ebooks only because she got 100's of rejections from publishers.

    But what Amanda did do is exactly what I suggested to you she gave out free review copies of her ebooks to ebook reviewers. Just Google ebook reviewers and get them free copies of your books. It'll do more for you then giving folks free ebooks and hoping that they'll post reviews of your books somewhere. That's all I'm saying.


    And then try what Glenn suggested in another thread, get on Goodreads and offer the folks there free review copies. That might make THE BIG DIFFERENCE that you're looking for. Worth a shot. Smiley Happy

    Geraldine? I'll post the layout of my promo email later and maybe you can use that as a template for your own promo emails if you like it. It works for me. Smiley Happy


  • Thank you Dee, that would be great. I have been going through my Writer's Market and my Writer's Companion book(s) to see what I can find. I have also been tracking down history on my books and see if I could find out who are carrying them. So far I have tracked Hunters Moon clear to South Africa, Germany, Finland and several other places. A Ton of online stores carry it along with some well know stores with online websites. Barnes and Nobles just picked up everyone of my titles. I was going to ask a few Indie stores here, but they already have it along with A Merry Frost. I also need to check on something as one of my titles has a publisher listed called,  Zondervan Publishing. They are listing themselves as one of my publishers; but I don't remember ever going to them. I know they are a book publisher but, I have no clue. They publish Christian titles and bibles.

  • Geraldine? If you use BookFinder4u or Fetchbook you can enter your ISBN and they'll list all the sites carrying your book.




    Book Finder


    Fact is once you have Globalreach your book is searchable/orderable on any bookstores computer even if they don't have it instock.


    PROMOTIONAL EMAIL: Okay, here's how my promo email is set up.



    I thank them for taking the time to read my email, introduce myself and any mention worthy credits to my name, and then I mention that I have a new book tat they may be interested in.



    I tell them about my book and give the full plot. Make your plot as interesting to read as your book.



    I lay out the target audience for the book. If your book is targeted for the Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter crowd let them know and let them know why your book will appeal to this audience.



    If you have any reviews of your book list each and every one of them. The more you have the better.



    List your books info: Title, Author, ISBN, Price, Page number, Size, Genre, Target age group. Then list your distributor. If you're sending the promo to US stores list your distributor as Ingram and Baker&Taylor (Lulu books are available through Baker&Taylor as well), and if you're sending promo to European bookstores list your distributor as Gardners, Bertrams (they are Ingram's distribution partners in Europe).



    Tell them that you've included a sample chapter/sample pages for their perusal in the hopes they'll consider stocking your book with all the great titles already on their shelves. Make it a pdf or a link to one of those pdf sites where you can upload a sample chapter of your book. And send them a picture of your book cover. It's always your best foot forward.



    Thank them for taking the time to read your proposal. Include all of your contact info: Name, address, email, daytime phone.


    And that's basically it. I works for me. Hopefully it'll work for you as well.










  • Oh my gosh! OK, so basically its just an equerry, cover letter and summary, as well as sending the reviews and book cover and first three chapters, except you are sending the whole book. Now I feel stupid, lol. This is basically the same thing you do when sending in a submission to a publisher. Yes, I can do this. Thank you Dee!

  • Yeah, basically. It's what's been working for me. If you're sending the whole book make sure to send it to the attention of the book buyer. If you can check their website and find the book buyers name and use it to personalize your submission.


    Since my book is a small children's book I usually send sample pages by email. But I have sent the book out to a few stores with the promo letter printed out.


    Here's what my promo letter looks lke currently for my new children's book "Chevalier the Queen's Mouseketeer: The Hither and Yon":



      And let me first thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to allow me to tell you about myself and my exciting new children's book.

      My name is Darryl Hughes. I am the writer/creator of the 2007 Glyph Comic Award nominated ("Rising Star" category) alien invasion adventure "G.A.A.K: Groovy **bleep** Alien Kreatures" and the 2011 and 2012 Drunk Duck Award nominated (Best mystery/crime noir" category) mystery adventure "The Continentals", both with artist Monique MacNaughton.

      Monique and I are very proud to tell you that we have a brand new offering. A fairy tale fantasy adventure book for kids ages 4 to 10 entitled "Chevalier The Queen's Mouseketeer: The Hither and Yon", which is best describe as "the Princess Bride meets the Lord of The Rings in a Disney/Pixar film written in Dr. Seuss rhyme starring a mouse":

    created/written by Darryl Hughes
    Artwork by Monique MacNaughton
    ISBN: 9781304091604
    Binding: Perfect
    Size: 8.25 x 8.25 paperback
    Pages: 36 pages
    Price: $16.00
    Recommended for 4 to 10

    "Within the kingdom walls was a dreamer,
    who's dreams carried him to lands far away.
    Where wild imagined heroic flights,
    and thrilling sword battles with dark knights,
    were the aspirations of a blacksmith mouse named Chevalier..."

      A potpourri of the literary influences and artistic styles that inspired it's creation, and based on the exciting romantic fairy tale fantasy adventure online comic for kids of the same name, "Chevalier The Queen's Mouseketeer: The Hither and Yon" is an illustrated book that blends elements of comicbook and storybook, fairy tale and fantasy adventure, that is rendered in stylized graphic illustrations and told in a lyrical prose for young readers. Here is the plot:

      In the magical realm of The Hither and Yon the noble kingdoms of The Land Ever After and The Far, Far Away are on the verge of war. A sinister plot is in play. The young Princess Faere of the land of The Shire, betrothed to Prince Charming of the Land Ever After, has been mysteriously kidnapped. And all the evidence of the foul deed points to The Far, Far Away.

      With his kingdom on the verge of war with Ever After, Chevalier the mouse (a blacksmith who yearns for adventure and fancies himself a dashing "mouseketeer") vows to find the missing Princess, bring her back in time to stop the war between the kingdoms--And fulfill his destiny.

      "CHEVALIER The Queen's Mouseketeer: The Hither and Yon", the first in a four book fairy tale fantasy adventure series for kids by writer/creator Darryl Hughes and artist Monique MacNaughton. It's a fabled fairy tale of enor-mouse proportions.


      Monique and I believe that Chevalier's unique blending of comicbook and storybook, fairy tale and swashbuckling romantic adventure, classic picture book illustrations and popular comic/manga art stylings that broaden it's overall appeal from younger kids reading their very first book, to older kids already hooked on reading and looking for that next great book to read.


    "This book is gorgeous. Set in the magical land of the Hither and Yon and it's equally magical neighbors, Monique MacNaughton's artwork nicely compliments Darryl Hughes' tale of a young mouse who yearns to be a hero and how he gets his start, despite his tiny stature. As becomes obvious by the end, this is but the beginning of a series. Chevalier is going to have all the opportunity for derring do he ever wanted, and maybe even more then he bargained for. I certainly intend to be along for the rest of his adventures." -- Kay Shapero, Ursa Major Awards


      Monique and I have included some sample pages of Chevalier for your perusal with the hope that you will enjoy it enough to consider it as a future addition to your bookstore's shelves:

    Page 6:

    Page 7:

    Page 8:

    Page 9:

    Page 10:

    Page 11

    Page 12


      "Chevalier The Queen's Mouseketeer: The Hither and Yon" is distributed by Ingram Book Company, Baker&Taylor, NACSCORP, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and The Espresso Book Machine in the US. And distributed through Bertrams, Gardners, Blackwell, Book Depository, Paperback Bookshop, Coutts, Mallory International, Biblica UK, Argosy, Aphrohead, Eden Interactive Ltd, Libreria Ledi, Eleftheroudakis, and Agapea in the UK and Europe.

      On behalf of myself and Monique MacNaughton I'd like to thank you for your time. And I am hoping that you will consider adding "Chevalier The Queen's Mouseketeer: The Hither and Yon" to the list of fine reading already on your shelves.


    Darryl Hughes


    Darryl Hughes
    xxx-xx xxx ave Apt xx
    Jamaica, NY 11434
    [email protected]



    That's it. I change it to fit the book that I'm promoting, but he format stays the same. And like I said, it works for me. Smiley Happy


  • Thank you Dee,

    Oh, I also did some research on Zondervan Publishing. They are also a distributor for Harper Collins. Harper Collins happens to be one of the publishers that I had sent some of my manuscripts out to awhile back. Some of the reply came back saying, please revise before resubmitting and some said at this time not interested. So I thought it was cool and odd at the same time that their distributors had picked them up and had listed them on Barnes and Noble. Hmm..

  • Focus to give ultimate advantage and give more costumer to talk regulary
  • MaggieMaggie Publisher
    The best marketing strategy is to distribute widely, let the whole world see your book.
    I believe it's time for lulu to hit the Chinese and Indian market.
    I just read an interesting and extremely inspiring
    article. I hope lulu follows suit.

  • Papi_SoñolientoPapi_Soñoliento Southern Escarpment Hill Country Teacher
    I would be very leery about my books hitting the market in the PRC, as literary piracy is fairly rampant there -- the reason being in China it's often seen as good business practice to rip off someone else's work.
    Maggie said:
    The best marketing strategy is to distribute widely, let the whole world see your book.
    I believe it's time for lulu to hit the Chinese and Indian market.
    I just read an interesting and extremely inspiring
    article. I hope lulu follows suit.

  • MaggieMaggie Publisher
    You're thinking small and fearful. If I cross the street tmr I might get hit by a bus. I still need to  cross the street.

  • Papi_SoñolientoPapi_Soñoliento Southern Escarpment Hill Country Teacher
    Not really thinking small and fearful, I just have no desire to have my work ripped off. I could have a massive heart attack tonight, but it doesn't keep me from preparing for the things I need to do tomorrow.

    The Chinese have a tendency to not respect intellectual property rights, and as such any sales you might make in the PRC will be small in comparison to sales of pirated versions of your work. The Party tends to not make a fuss of IPR piracy simply because it gives people the sense they're getting away with something.
    Maggie said:
    You're thinking small and fearful. If I cross the street tmr I might get hit by a bus. I still need to  cross the street.

  • MaggieMaggie Publisher
    So only the Chinese in China rip people off? How about the Chinese in Canada? Or the US. I bet there are millions. Are they going to rip my book off? Let them have it. Distribute widely please. India, China, the world.

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