Self-Printing Promotion: Thinking Ahead


As promised, throughout the month of June I’m going to continue my self-printing story with a focus on promotion.

It’s hard to believe, but Mousetrapped has now been on sale for three months. Three whole months! It feels like only yesterday I didn’t sleep for two days because the book launch was on Saturday and it was Wednesday and due to the volcanic ash there was still no sign of my books… (And breathe.) Although that was at the beginning of the May, so that might explain it… Anyhoo, I’ve been keeping track of my sales – data I will foolishly be sharing with you all in September – and I’ve seen what has clearly led to some, what hasn’t and what has been a bigger waste of time than me buying a bag of decaf coffee.

(I don’t know why I bother. Good intentions and all that, but I never drink it.)

Occasionally it may sound like I’m repeating myself – I’ve blogged before about things like book trailers, using Twitter, etc. – but keep in mind that this time round, I’ll be blogging about them with my Promotion hat on (along with, if today is anything to go by, my PJs) and evaluating whether or not the thing was worth doing. As for the effectiveness of certain ideas, the jury is still out.

I will say this this, though – before I released Mousetrapped, I made a list of sales goals. Copies sold in first month, in first three months, six months, etc. and while these were realistic figures, they weren’t achievable by staying in bed. (If you ask me, there aren’t enough things achievable by staying in bed.) I’m happy to say that three months out, my sales are right on the mark of those goals.

To begin with, today we’re going to talk about thinking ahead. This is the promotion work you should do before your book goes to print (or, in my case, you click the ‘Publish’ button on CreateSpace’s website). The beauty of a self-published book is that you can put anything you want in it, and you should use this to your advantage.

My book – as you’re probably sick of hearing, at this stage – is about the eighteen months I spent working in Walt Disney World. How did I get the job? Through a recruitment company who act on behalf of Disney and other US companies in Ireland and the UK. They have a website, visit universities and hold information days in London on a regular basis, and although they offer placements throughout the United States, they specialize in sending young people to work in Disney World.

I’d written the book I wished I could’ve read before I left for Orlando; I needed to get it into the hands of the people headed there sometime soon. But how…?

I contacted the recruitment company when the book was nearly finished and asked how they’d feel about getting their own ‘information page’ at the back of the book. Although they couldn’t officially endorse it (Disney lawyers strike again!), they were happy for me to put it in. We agreed on the relevant information, and in it went. I hoped this would encourage the staff at the company to read the book and perhaps spread the word, and it would also be useful for readers who were thinking of doing the same thing; they’d know where to look.

To help my cause along, after publication I sent them some books and a stack of Mousetrapped postcards.

When it comes to the content of your book, think outside the box. An idea that I eventually abandoned (because I, er, couldn’t be arsed, basically!) was having advertisements at the end of Mousetrapped for things related to Disney and Orlando. If they were carefully chosen, they would have provided my readers with pertinent information, and if I got the advertisers to pay for the privilege, it would have helped me with my costs.

Effectiveness: Hard to tell, yet. They were very excited to read the book and I think they appreciated being included, so we’ll see.

Would I do this again? Absolutely. Three books and some postcards in exchange for potentially reaching the core of my target audience? Why ever the hell not?

See all self-printing posts or read about Mousetrapped, the book I self-printed.

Next up: Blogging and A Book Site (this afternoon)

3 thoughts on “Self-Printing Promotion: Thinking Ahead

  1. Bridget Whelan says:

    Can’t wait until this afternoon…seriously. Love your can do attitude and I am sure a mainstream publisher would as well. How are things going on the agent front?

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Thank you Bridget! The novel went out into the Big, Bad World last week so just settling in for long, excruciating wait for news now and trying to concentrate on writing novel no. 2!

      • Bridget Whelan says:

        The waiting is agony….only sensible thing to do is write, write, write and forget all about it until the phone call. I won’t mention it again….

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