Dee Power is the co-author of several projects from traditionally-published books to self-published books to e-books. I've interviewed Dee during a live interview on my old BlogTalkRadio show on the subject of writing and marketing e-books, but in this interview I had a chance to pick her brain about marketing all three of these types of publications. Find out how she does it and what she recommends.
What niche(s) do you write in, and do you self-publish, e-publish, work through publishers, or some combination (if through a publisher, who is your publisher)?
I've covered all the bases. Three books have been commercially published through two different houses, John Wiley & Sons, and Kaplan. One book was self published, meaning I did everything from getting the cover and interior designed, hiring the printer, setting up the distributor, writing the sell sheet, distributing the press releases, and getting reviews. Four books have been e-published.
What books have you published to date, and are you working on anything new at the moment?
In chronological order:
- Inside Secrets to Venture Capital
- Attracting Capital from Angels
- The Making of a Bestseller
- Over Time, a novel
- Business Plan Basics
- 58 Ways to Find Money for Your Business
- The Publishing Primer
We're working on a screenplay, a niche book, and a new novel.
You write with a partner (Brian Hill). How does working with a partner affect you when marketing your books? What are some of the benefits, and are their any drawbacks or things that become more difficult?
Truth be told, I don't think it affects the marketing of our books. It's nice to have someone to fall back on if one of us gets overbooked with work, or has a conflict.
The challenge when writing with a partner is during the actual writing of the book.
On one occasion Brian and I worked on the same chapter, so the changes, edits and additions I made were overlaid when Brian saved the same file after I did, so my input was lost. Now we have a bulletin board and make sure each of us knows what the other one is working on.
You have published both fiction and nonfiction titles. What are some of the differences in how you promote a fictional book as opposed to a nonfiction book?
Promotion is more difficult with a work of fiction. In theory you should be able to use the same promotion efforts.
If you could offer one tip for effectively promoting e-books, what would it be?
Get as many reviews as you can pre and post publication. Pre publication because the reviewers will tell you what's missing, what needs more emphasis, and what they liked. Post publication because good reviews of an e-book lets people know it's a quality product.
I'd add one more tip. You can't page through an e-book, so offer potential buyers the next best thing. Make sure you have the table of contents posted at your website and a sample chapter. I know, I know, lots of people will say that you can't do that because you don't want to give away the 'secrets' in the book. My opinion is that if a potential buyer sees what they're getting, they'll be more likely to buy and not refund later.
How does e-book marketing differ from traditional book marketing? Can you use a lot of the same promotional tactics, or do you look at them as entirely different ballgames?
The major difference is that you don't have a physical product to give people. You can't send a book to a reviewer or newspaper editor. There is a bias against e-books, that somehow they're not of the same quality as physical books. And there is some truth in that belief. Anybody can publish an e-book.
The difference can work for you in some ways. When you send out a press release you can give the link to download a review copy. The reviewer can download and see if it's something they would be interested in reviewing without committing to the review by requesting a copy.
I have tried printing a copy of an e-book and sending that, but I don't like doing it. If you just print out the pdf file, the book looks amateurish. It looks more like a manuscript. You could put "uncorrected page proofs" on the hard copy I suppose. If you use lulu.com to get it in book format, I think it misrepresents the product. People may think you're actually offering a hard copy book, rather than an e-book.
When it comes to marketing something that you've self-published as opposed to a book released by your publisher, do you find yourself marketing in different ways? Do you spend more time or resources marketing one type of project as opposed to others?
We have always believed in marketing our own books in any way we can to assist our publisher. So there isn't a much of a difference in the efforts. There is a difference in the expenses. Obviously we have to pay for review copies and to have them sent. We also have to package the books as well. Our publisher paid for us to go to New York and give a speech at Book Expo America in 2005, when you self publish you have to pick up those expenses.
If you had to pick just one book marketing or publicity tactic or tool that you've used to promote your books and e-books, which would you say has been the most effective, or which has been your favorite and why?
Tie in your book to what's happening in the world and use that as a hook to get publicity. For example: Our novel, Over Time has a football theme, so we came up with a press release that asked the question What is the Most Literary NFL Team of All Time? as the headline. That release was distributed to sports editors and book review editors. It did get us some nice coverage.