I mentioned a few days ago that I loved By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson. I’m not always into asking story questions in an interview, though. Sometimes there are other things I want to know! Such as…
VC:You sold your novel to a small press with very limited marketing budget. What does Marcher Lord Press do for their authors?
JW:Marcher Lord Press is constantly experimenting with its marketing dollars, trying different things and enjoying the great fan support and growing word of mouth awareness. Marcher Lord Press was very up-front with me about how limited the marketing would be. However, they were very willing to let me experiment with ideas. Owner/editor Jeff Gerke worked with us to create advanced reader copies to send to select review magazines. Mine was reviewed in Library Journal, which was fabulous. Jeff also supported getting our books available on Amazon Kindle. So if you own a Kindle, look up our books. They are a great deal.
Another neat thing about Marcher Lord Press is that Jeff promotes our books when he attends events. An editor from a large publishing house might take his two or three favorite novels to the events he speaks at, but it wouldn’t be possible for him to take his entire line. Jeff can do that for us, so we get the benefit of his platform to add to ours, which is nice. Jeff has two Web sites, Marcher Lord Press and Where the Map Ends. Both have a readership that he can connect with to market our books. He also travels around the country to speak at writer’s conferences.
VC:What was the first thing you decided to do to supplement that? The second? The whole package?
JW:Because they need to go out three-four months before the release date, the first thing I did was researched publications to send our advanced reader copies to. After the release date, I asked for volunteer influencers. These are people who are willing to spread the word about my book by telling others about it. I have a monthly contest on my Web site for my influencers. Anyone is welcome to join. I also did a blog tour with FIRST Blog Alliance. I speak at writer’s conferences, and as Randy Ingermanson says, a speaking platform is the best marketing because people get to see you in person. If anyone would like to have me come and speak to their school, youth group, book club, or writer’s group, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I try to do anything that is free marketing. I am on all the online communities: Facebook, Shoutlife, Amazon, MySpace, LibraryThing, Shelfari, GoodReads, and Twitter. For the most part, all I’ve paid for is copies of my books for the blog tour and influencers and printed materials. I printed up bookmarks that I always have with me. I also printed up postcards with my book cover on them and the Library Journal quote on the back. I intend to mail these to libraries of Christian high schools to start.
Marketing is all about word of mouth. How can I get people to talk about and recommend my book. So that means that I need to connect with people. It also means that I have to wait. Word of mouth takes time, so it might be a year before I’ll know how successful I’ve been in this endeavor. By then, I’ll have book two out and will be marketing them simultaneously.
VC:How about your book trailer and your interactive website? Do you personally have the skills to create those, or how did these come about?
JW:Oh yeah. I forgot about those.
I built my Web site using WordPress. It was really easy. I uploaded my header, which I designed with Adobe Photoshop. I own the donaim name www.jillwilliamson.com, so I simply forwarded it to the WordPress donaim. I built the clickable map myself. I bought the scroll image at iStock Photo and used Adobe Photoshop to design it. Then I used Adobe ImageReady to make the image map.
VC: (Check out the interactive map!!)
JW: I also designed my book trailer. I bought almost all the images from iStock Photo except the wooden sword and river ones. (Those are taken in my backyard!) Then I used Windows Movie Maker to build the trailer. I bought the music online. It wasn’t too expensive. The whole trailer probably cost me about $150.
Anyone else have any thoughts on book marketing with a small press?