When I got my first book published in 2006, I was completely and totally naive. Much like the premise of that book (marriage is less about roses and kittens than it is about compromise and hard work), no one told me about the realities of life as a published author.
No one told me that the responsibility of marketing the book pretty much fell on my ignorant little shoulders. No one told me that non-fiction writers need a platform and have to actually leave the house and speak to groups of people a couple times a month.
No one warned me about that sad little acronym OOP (Out. Of. Print.). And just a couple years after publication, two of my four books succumbed.
Rather than blame publishers or editors or agents or my next door neighbor for the failures of my books (well, I did that at first), I determined to quit my crying and step up my efforts to keep the other two alive and kicking. Here’s my (I-wish-I-could-say-this-was) fail-proof plan for making that happen:
5 Unconventional Ways to Keep Your Published Book from Languishing in the Land of OOP:
1. Write an e-book that’s a companion to one of your “real” books.
Four years after husbands started asking me when I was going to write the men’s sequel to my book, Is That All He Thinks About?, I finally did it. In e-book form. Guys, meet the answer to your prayers. The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky. And I did a not-so-sneaky (but hopefully not obnoxious) job of plugging Is That All He Thinks About? throughout the pages of the e-book.
Yes, The Husband’s Guide took lots of time to write, and no, I didn’t get a big advance, but it’s also “free” advertising for my other book. And it’s also a really fun, helpful resource for dudes. Win win.
2. Give that e-book away for FREE.
My absolute favorite thing about e-books is that I can give one away to whomever I choose whenever I please, and it doesn’t cost me a dime. I’m always getting in trouble (hi, Gabe) for giving my books away instead of selling them. But in this case my husband’s cool with it, because it’s not costing us money.
And LUCKY YOU. Today, August 2, 2011, I’m giving away The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky ALL DAY LONG FOR FREE. All you have to do is trade me a tweet or facebook status update, and the book is yours. It’s easy as pie. Just click the blue button below.
3. Pair your living books with your dead books, and give people a rocking deal.
I bought out the remainder (all the copies the publisher had in stock) of my OOP books for about $1 each. And every once in awhile, I’ll sell them in combination with my other books for dirt cheap. Like, say, Is That All He Thinks About? costs you $13, or you can get Is That All He Thinks About?, From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife, and Changing Your World One Diaper at a Time for $15. And I’ll throw in a free e-book.
(And, by the way, you can get that sweet $15 deal today too. Just e-mail me if you’re interested.)
4. Find a really cool author to team up with.
I have several author friends who market my books along with their own (and I do the same for them). Here’s a sweet example.
5. Get people to donate your books to a really awesome cause.
Over the past two years, my friends and blog readers have donated 562 copies of my book, Expecting, to crisis pregnancy centers around the world. I generally don’t make any money off these books (in fact, I usually lose a little), but it feels really, really good to know that I’ve played a small part in blessing some pregnant mamas in need of some real encouragement.
And these sweet women give me the motivation I need to keep the book in print, so we can keep on giving. (Click here if you’d like to help.)
And there you have it. For more awesome book marketing ideas from some of my writer friends, check out this post from my agent, Rachelle Gardner.
And for a chance to win a 4-pack of all my books, tell me the best book you read (or wrote!) recently.