Generating Buzz – 4 Tips for Self-Publishers

Marketing, Networking 4 Comments »

One of the best marketing strategies for a self-published book (or any product) is to generate buzz. In a nutshell, you want to get people talking about your book. I just read an informative question and answer post on The Art of Generating Buzz. I really have no experience yet in this area (at least not enough to know if what I’ve done will be effective or not), but I thought I’d list some of the steps I’ve taken toward this end:

1. Create an e-mail list of friends and other interested parties to keep them informed about the progress of your book. I’m just using a free list software that works in conjunction with my free website software (find out more about these options here). I imported my personal e-mail address book, and then add new contacts as people express interest. About once a month I send out a personal update letting people know how the progress is going and what new developments have taken place since the last update. This generates good feedback – both via e-mail and when I visit with people in person.

2. Involve others in the process. As much as I like to think that I can do everything myself (that’s why we’re self-publishing in the first place, right?!), I cannot express strongly enough how much it has increased the quality and value of my book by tapping into the expertise of friends to help me with various aspects of the project. I also implemented a unique idea I’m really excited about that involved 26 close friends (more on that another time, though!). One of the benefits of this is that more people have a vested interest in the book and thus their desire to see it succeed is increased even more. Plus, they have a greater level of confidence in the product and are more eager to talk about it and recommend it to friends.

3. Solicit endorsers and reviewers liberally. So far I’ve sent out 23 Advance Review Copies (ARC) of Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate. Eleven of those are for potential endorsements; nine have been sent to bloggers who have agreed to post a review and host a giveaway of one or more copies of my book. My goal is to hit my target market from a variety of places and hopefully start to create some buzz. I’m still hoping to find some more homes for my remaining ARCs – my Marketing Manager is hard at work in that department. The books certainly won’t accomplish anything sitting in a box in my basement!

4. Maximize Social Networking Utilities. I know I could do much, much better in this area. But I do have a Facebook Page that imports notes from the Pajama School Blog. And I just recently started Twittering – I’d love to have you come Follow Me! I’m also in a couple of self-publishing e-mail groups (that I haven’t done a very good job of keeping up with lately!) that have helped me connect with and learn from some wonderful people.

No doubt there are many more ideas for effectively generating buzz, but these are four primary steps I’ve taken in regards to my book so far. More ideas are always welcome! I’m trying to be more alert to what’s buzzing in the world around me, too, so that I can learn from the effective strategies of others. Now if I could just figure out what the secret is behind Twilight… πŸ™‚

I think I’m going to have to buy a house…

Shipping, Thinking 1 Comment »

Last week this large box of 200 bubble mailers arrived. It fits just fine under the table in the back corner of my studio.

But there’s a problem. That’s where I was planning to store the cases of books. 2,500 books to be exact. I think I have a problem. The bubble mailers are 1/4-inch thick. My book is 3/4-inch thick. Now I know why my business-savvy friend raised her eyebrows when she asked me where I was planning to store my books and I said “a back corner of my studio.” I don’t think I really have any concept of how much space these books are going to require. But I’m starting to get the picture that maybe I should formulate a Plan B.

So, Plan B – Please, everyone go pre-order Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate so that I don’t have to find a place to store 2,500 of them!!! Do you think that will work? πŸ™‚

In case it doesn’t, uh, help!? Anyone have any brilliant suggestions for storing an inventory of this many books?


Endorsing, Printing, Shipping 1 Comment »

All the bubble mailers and labels arrived at the end of last week, so I designed a shipping label template and printed off several dozen. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been contacting people (and people who know people!) to line up potential endorsers for my book, Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate. I printed off all the letters yesterday, wrote names and addresses on the shipping labels, and got the packages ready to go.

Now all I have to do is…wait. The short run of books should arrive today or tomorrow. When they do, I’ll be ready to drop them in each package, and run them over to the post office. Then, all I’ll have to do is…wait. I’ve set a deadline of March 15 for the endorsements. Whatever I receive back by then will be incorporated into the final design, and everything will be off to the off-set printer. Then all I’ll have to do is…wait. About one month, to be approximate, until the books are all printed and ready for distribution. I really want everything to be done right now. But instead, I’m working on developing patience. I’m learning that successful self-publishing requires lots of praying, lots of working, and lots of…waiting. πŸ™‚

The moment we’ve all been waiting for…

Announcing 1 Comment »

…the arrival of the very first printed copy of Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate! This is the proof copy. Lord-willing, the real thing will be ready for distribution by mid-April! You can even pre-order your very own copy in one of three ways:

1. Pre-order Pajama School at

2. Pre-order Pajama School through Sibro Publishing. In fact, as a special way of saying thanks to all of you for following along as I’ve traveled this journey, I’m offering a special on-line discount of 20% through the end of February. Just enter the coupon code: FRIEND when you checkout.

3. Download and print a copy of the Pajama School Order Form, and send it to me, along with a check or money order. If you make a note to this effect on the form, I’ll even autograph your book(s) for no additional charge! :-)

Oh yeah, I’m going to have to have a way to ship all these books…

Shipping 4 Comments »

Just think, as a self-publisher, by the time you finish all the writing, editing, re-writing, proofing, designing, laying out, securing endorsements, developing a marketing plan, and generating publicity, the work has only begun! Next comes the day-in-day-out job of processing all the orders and making sure that you provide prompt and excellent service for your customers. Since I have never had any involvement in a product-based business, I am pretty clueless about how to set all of this up for the greatest level of efficiency. I’ve met with several friends who have experience in this area, and received some helpful tips, but I have a suspicion that the bulk of my learning will come from actually doing it. (Why do so many things in life have to be that way?!)

For starters, I just finished ordering bubble mailers and labels. I still don’t have an actual book yet, so I determined what size to order by perusing my bookshelves until I found a book that is the same dimensions and has approximately the same number of pages as my book. Then I dug through my Dad’s stash of mailers (the ones he has received over many years and saved for reuse – I guess being a pack rat does have some advantages…) until I found one that seemed like the ideal fit for the book. Plenty of room for it to slide in without bending the cover, but tight enough so that it won’t get beaten up during the delivery process.

I did some price comparing on-line at different office and mailing stores, and eventually ended up at ebay where I ordered a case of 200 #2 Poly 8.5″ x 12″ Self-Seal Bubble Mailers. While I was checking out, I also decided to add a package of 200 mailing labels that were considerably less expensive than several other outlets I checked. I really have no idea if these items are going to best meet my shipping needs or not, but I’m eager to give them a try in a couple of weeks when I start sending out the Advance Review Copies of Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate. Hopefully I’ll get the system tweaked at that time so that I am ready to roll when all the other orders start pouring in! πŸ™‚

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