Authors: Want Sales Traction? Get Out Your Wallet.

Guest Blog by: Cara Landi Buckingham

Authors everywhere please take note. If you want to make writing a career, you might need to pay for it, and not just in blood, sweat and tears. My friends, you are going to need to set aside some cold hard cash to support your book sales, because while it is an honor to be published, it’s even better to be read.

My amazing author-husband (or husband-author), Royce, and I have come to this conclusion after 12 years of watching his books win awards, become bestsellers, get movie deals…or not. We also recently read an informative article about Author James Patterson’s brand-building method.

Writing books is a business, and part of running a business includes effective marketing and promotional efforts–hopefully with backing from the publisher. Reality check: the vast majority of the time (unless written by a celebrity or an author who is already a top seller) publishers don’t put a lot of money or effort into book promos. Support depends on the publisher. It might include a minimal amount of PR and, if you’re lucky, some point-of-sale items for book stores to use. If your book is lucky enough to be a lead title of a new imprint, you will definitely get more support.

I can say this with confidence, because some of Royce’s work has received fantastic support and–surprise, surprise–hit best seller lists, while others were released with little fanfare, resulting in fewer sales. Because of this reality, in one case we hired a PR firm to do a print/radio media and blog campaign to support his book, The Dead Boys. It was effective. Stay tuned for a blog entry with the clearly positive results of that self-funded campaign.

There are all sorts of articles advising authors on marketing strategies and tactics, with a range of costs associated with them. Understandably, in most cases authors take a DIY approach and opt for low to no-cost options. Here are some of the most popular suggestions:

  • Get reviews
  • Do a book store reading/signing
  • Send press releases to local media
  • Create a website
  • Send newsletters
  • Get on social media – you must devote all your waking hours Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, etc. etc….
  • Do school visits
  • Attend writing conferences
  • Present at writing conferences

These are all great, but the ROI on them individually is small. And collectively…don’t get me started. They take a TON of time to do and do well. How are you supposed to get any writing done? Let alone raise kids, have a day job, golf, garden, shower, etc. Additionally, some of them require networking and connections to which authors just don’t have access. Let’s face it, you are an author because you want to tell stories, not take random pot-shots at promotional efforts that might or might not move the needle on sales. And sales is what anyone in the industry cares about when you start pitching your second, third, and fourth books for a deal…if you get to book two.

So here is what Royce and I wish we had done years ago and have committed to as we move forward. We are creating a marketing fund with advances and royalties to consistently build audience and sales. This is essentially a dividend reinvestment model. Our efforts will be targeted and involve partnerships with industry professionals to create effective and coordinated campaigns that get his stories the exposure they need to sell.

Have you had a marketing revelation for your books? We’d love to hear them. Otherwise, stay tuned for the next blog exploring the possibilities of partering with your publisher.

 

Contribute to the Die Klinge des Waldes Wiki Site

“Royce Buckingham creates new worlds in his books as I would have imagined as a child. With attention to detail, very exciting and entertaining – I’ve rarely been able to put it out of my hands.” — Karateka, Reviewer

German fantasy fans love the world building in my newest epic fantasy novel, Die Klinge des Waldes (The Blade of the Forest). Now there is way for English readers to join in exploring it too–the Die Klinge des Waldes fandom wiki site, built by the fans themselves.

Here’s the coolest thing I found out about about the Die Klinge des Waldes wiki site. Anyone can contribute. For German readers, write in your favorite quote, storyline, district–you name it! For English readers, check it out, add your thoughts and questions and tell my agent John Rudolph why you would love to have the novel available in the United States. 

The wiki site includes facts about all of the major or minor districts in the far off City of Filth, including primary character bios and quotes, as well as an entire page dedicated to all of the story’s characters. I loved creating this world and am gratified to see that readers love learning about it. Their comments (translated from German) speak for themselves:

“Each district is like a small kingdom with its own laws, customs, festivities, and methods of execution (Royce Buckingham is extremely creative, which is amazingly intriguing in a macabre way). In the course of the plot, you get to know quite a few districts such as the carpentry or the carnival district, but also over the other districts information is scattered over and over again, which I personally found incredibly exciting. This city looks like a mini-universe to itself…”  Miss Page Turner

“With “The Blade of the Forest,” Royce Buckingham reveals a fantasy novel set in a very different world from his trilogy for “The King’s Will” and his followers. And that’s exactly where the great power of the novel lies, you can completely explore the strange world and explore numerous different cultures, locations and connections.”  Poldis Hörspielseite

“World-building really succeeded in this novel. The map on the first page already gives an interesting insight about the individual lands. Among other things, there is the forest kingdom of Strata at the beginning, which impresses by the fact that the rich live in towers, which were built around trees and the simple people, who lives on the ground, are called Grundlinge (Grounders).”  Steffi R, Reviewer

“Let’s get to the world Buckingham created: it’s fascinating. Partly an ancient variant of our world and yet somehow different. On the other hand fantastic and yet not so fantastic that it could not have been that way.”  Daisy D

I’m excited and flattered that fans have created this site, and I’m eager to share it with you! Visit at: Die Klinge des Waldes Wiki.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑