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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Authors – Selling Your Books and Gaining Visibility is as Close as Your Keyboard


Years ago being an author meant you would write a book, get published (if you were lucky) and hope for the best when it came to selling and gaining visibility for you and your masterpiece. That is unless you had star status or were a professional speaker who could sell from the platform or to your existing client base.

Countless authors romanced the idea of going on a world tour with their book, being the star author in bookstore after bookstore with lines of eager fans clamoring to purchase an autographed copy of their book.

Like numerous other authors, with my first book I was convinced I would miraculously be discovered, appear on all the top television talk shows, be swept away by a major publisher and live happily ever after with my world famous book. The dream went as far as me living a solitary life in a rural community, on a nice piece of land, near a river or lake, a mystery to the residents of the local town.

Like most authors’ my dream quickly soured when I realized the truth of what it meant to be an author. There was little if any budget for book tours, publishers (if you could even get one) didn’t proactively promote our books above and beyond a short-lived attempt, and most authors would rather scale the side of mountain than speak in front an audience.

I had the good fortune of being a professional speaker, so scaling a mountainside was not something I could see myself doing at any point in my future. Yet, selling books was still a matter of schlepping boxes from location to location in hopes of selling out at each venue.

Fast forward to today. Having a world tour is now at close as any author’s computer keyboard and telephone. With the onslaught of teleseminars, social networks and social media marketing there are so many options for authors that certainly didn’t exist when I published my first book well over a decade ago.

Between social networks, blogging, guest blogging, joint venture book launches, web radio, teleseminars, and webinars to name but a few choices, an author can create their own very successful book tour. With a bit of ingenuity, focus and commitment, it is now feasible for an author to take a book from total obscurity to a global virtual book tour in what used to be an impossible timeframe and within a very low budget compared to what it would have cost for even one book tour in the past.

The best part of all is the playing field has been leveled due to the Internet. And even if the author doesn’t have the time, skill set or desire to host their own tour, there are experts who specialize in coordinating virtual book tours (hint – one leading expert is as close as the owner of this blog).

Myself, I do have the skill set, but I also know that at times it is actually more cost and time effective to contract an expert rather than coordinating it myself.

However, if you want to organize your own tour, here are a few considerations. One, who is your reader? Resist the temptation to say, “Everyone.” In the world of marketing, we say, “If everyone is your market, then no one is your market.”

Next, determine where your reader “hangs out”. What social networks do they belong to? What forums do they frequent? What web radio programs might they listen to? Who do you know (or could you know) who has a similar readership reach as those readers you are trying to reach who could do a feature blog posting on you or help to otherwise promote your book?

Begin now to formulate the answers to these important questions. Within the answers lie the opportunity to invest your time and efforts gaining targeted visibility and sales without having to schlep books in the trunk of your car to location after location.

Kathleen Gage is known as the Street Smarts Marketer. She is the author of four books, dozens of eBased information products and teleseminars. Kathleen works with speakers, authors, coaches and consultants teaching them how to gain visibility for their products and service.

She lives in a small rural community on what she calls her “little piece of heaven” across from a picturesque river where she is a mystery to the people in her town. She attributes her good fortune of being able to reside where she does to the power of the Internet to market her books and other products.

To learn how to effectively market yourself by way of the Internet, click here to join Kathleen’s Street Smarts Marketing VIP Club.

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