In today's post I'm presenting an extract from 'The Frugal Book Promoter by
Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Carolyn always gives good advice, so read on - enjoy - and learn from the expert.
Exponential Promotional Expansion
New Math Adds Up To FREE Publicity
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
(An excerpt from THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER:
HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T)
The new math for free publicity is: E-book + E-gift = Promotion. Oops. Error. Make the
answer FREE promotion!
There are three magical concepts to this e-book formula
My best promotion ever, a free e-book called COOKING BY THE BOOK, accidentally
fell into my lap and it uses all three. I’ll share more about these three promotional potions
a bit later.
COOKING BY THE BOOK began when more than two dozen authors from several
countries contributed to a book that would be given away free to anyone—as a gift of
appreciation to the support teams it takes to write and market a book and to the legions of
readers who cook but were probably never exposed to our books. Each invited author had
written at least one kitchen scene in his book. Each segment of the cookbook begins with
an excerpt from that scene, the recipe comes next and that is followed by a short blurb
about the author..
This cookbook e-tool is a cross-pollinator. Each contributing author was to publicize it
any way she chose. Participants promised to promote it and not to charge for it. That way
each contributor benefited from the efforts, the lists, and the contacts of the other authors.
We had some superior promoters among us:
�� Most of us set up a page on our websites.
�� Contributor Peggy Hazelwood promoted it in her newsletter for
�� Mary Emma Allen featured it in the columns she writers for New
Hampshire dailies, The Citizen and The Union Leader.
�� David Leonhardt, (http://thehappyguy.com/ ) author of CLIMB
YOUR STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN, incorporated the cookbook
into a Happiness Game Show he uses in his presentations.
�� We gave away coupons for this book at our signings. Because it
costs nothing, it can be given to everyone, not just those who
purchase a book.
�� I use them as thank yous to people who visit my site.
�� Some include information on these feebies on the back of business
cards and bookmarks.
�� I query site editors whenever I run across another place that seems
as if our CB Book would interest their audience.
Reviewer JayCe Crawford (http://www.authorsden.com/jaycecrawford) said, “For a
foodie-cum-fiction-freak like me, this cookbook is a dream come true.” That review has
popped up in places we didn’t know existed.
Our most startling success came from sources we had no connection to. It was featured in
Joan Stewart’s The Publicity Hound, in Writer’s Weekly, on MyShelf.com, in the
iUniverse newsletter and more. I had the highest rate of interest I’d ever had when I
queried radio stations for interviews and that was in competition with a pitch for THIS IS
THE PLACE just before the 2002 games in Salt Lake City and an intolerance angle on
the same novel right after 9/11.
Wait, we're not through yet. Mother's day invites us to repeat our publicity blitzes every
year, because -- if you haven’t noticed -- mothers tend to do lots of cooking. This book
was so successful I collaborated with Sarah Mankowski on a similar one called
SEASONED GREETINGS for holiday promotional blitzes.
Back to those three magic words:
1. 1. Accidental: I don’t take credit for knowing a good thing when I saw
it. What I learned from this experience is to never dismiss something
that is placed on your desk without careful consideration-- even if it
seems vaguely hokey. I nearly did just that. “E-book indeed,” I said to
myself. I was worried that association with this concept might taint my
literary works. Hubris can be very self-defeating.
2. Free: This charmed word convinced editors to offer our cookbook as a
freebie to their readers. Usually the contributing author who pitched it
was privileged with their own promotional site’s URL being used as a
link but when some editors chose to place the entire cookbook
download on their own sites, we all benefited just the same.
3. E-book: An e-book is easy for readers to obtain. The author need not
budget for postage or processing expenses. In the invitations, queries,
and releases I sent out, I emphasized a no strings attached attack: I
assured everyone that they would not be expected to register to the site,
sign up for a newsletter nor purchase a thing. The E-book concept is
also important because—though it may not be new to you and me—the
media is still infatuated with it.
Here is a fourth magic word. Cookbook. It has universal appeal. You might find
something else that works better for you.. I’ve been thinking of doing something similar
utilizing the subject of genealogy because my novel is based on the stories of my own
ancestors--four generations of them. It is not necessary that the freebie be knitted to your
primary title; you may benefit by a theme that reaches out, draws in those who might not
otherwise be exposed to your work. Your idea may appeal to a narrower audience but
niche markets work, too.
Everyone loves something that is FREE.
COOKING BY THE BOOK and my other e-books are like hospitality gifts. Only better.
That's because they promote not only my work, but that of others. Those who are
interested in how these books work can download samples at
www.authorscoalitionandredenginepress.com. Click on the free e-book link.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the award-winning This is the Place, Harkening, and
Tracings . She is also the author of the How To Do It Frugally series including The Frugal Book
Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t, the winner of USA Book News' Best
Professional Book 2004 and the Irwin Award and the soon-to-be-released The Frugal Editor: Put
Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. The author was honored by
members of the California Legislature as Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment and was
named outstanding woman of the San Gabriel Valley in California for her "literary activism" by the
Pasadena Weekly. Learn more about the author at: http://HowToDoItFrugally.com.
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