Friday, January 28, 2011

Guerrilla marketing and the publishing battle

DIABLERO is kind of a modern-day adventure/horror novel about a group of people chasing a demon-possessed Blackbeard the pirate from North Carolina to Virginia to South Carolina and then to the Caribbean hoping to prevent him from literally opening the gates of hell. There’s a lot of great character development in there, so it’s not just plot driven. It’s getting five-star reviews on Amazon and selling pretty well online and in some independent bookstores mainly in the southeast.

The number one thing is to write a book that people will want to read. Everything else you do hinges on that.

Even if you have a publisher, if they’re small like mine, they will have limited resources. But even large publishers can’t do everything. Your book is only going to sell as much, or as little, as you want it to. Besides obvious things like e-mail and advertising, there are tons of things indie authors can do to promote themselves.

I think one of the factors that help sell my book is having the endorsement of bestselling author Steve Alten who wrote the MEG series and the apocalyptic GRIM REAPER: End of Days. Favorable reviews on Goodreads, and a few blogs don’t hurt, either. If you can get reviews on websites that are relevant to your particular genre, that really helps make people aware that your book is out there. You really should figure out who your core audience is and focus on them.

But a writer’s best friends are social networking sites like Facebook, because you can go on there and search for people that have similar interests and friend them. You can also create a page for your book and an ad campaign that will reach thousands of potential fans for a couple of dollars a day. Facebook can be linked with Twitter, MySpace and a host of other sites that will post any messages you put up on Facebook.

Another great tool is a blog. You should try to blog about subjects related to your book, which in my case would be horror, sci-fi, fantasy, Blackbeard, pirates, writing and things like that. That gives people a reason to stick around plus you’re not always talking about your book all the time. You’re giving people something that interests them. Guest blogging on other blogs is a great way to spread your name around, too. Oh yeah, and podcast interviews!

Besides Facebook and Twitter, there are also writer’s websites like Writer Face, Filed By, Authors Den, Book Hitch and tons of other places where you can hook up with readers and other writers. If your book has local appeal like mine does, you can also get on some message boards. Try to get interviews or reviews in your local paper, as well, because lots of people will support local authors.

Get your book in some local book stores, set up some author signings and talk to people who come to the store. Being nice and talking to people will sell your book faster than anything. The introverts who sit at the table waiting for customers to come to them are usually going to be disappointed. Build a local following that can eventually branch out into a bigger following.

Also, most computers have built-in video editing programs like Windows Movie Maker and I highly suggest creating a book trailer and putting it on YouTube. You can find plenty of free music, photos and videos online to create your own video. Or pay someone to do it. I’ve had over 1,300 hits on my YouTube channel in the last month alone.

But all the promotion in the world can’t sell a bad book. If you don’t get good word of mouth, you’re sunk before you even set sail.


  1. Toby, I really appreciate the scoop. I have four books published through iUniverse (POD house). I think I may have sole twenty of each book. I have a blog, fb, Youtube "Music to write thrillers to" channel, a website through Go Daddy, and I still can't get people to come to my blog. Now I am going to try your advice and see what happens. I'm not in the writing biz for money but it would be nice to get recognition.
    Thanks my friend

  2. very sound advice. I was nervous to start blogging but now I have a blast doing it. That whole book trailer's a lost art on me

  3. Hey Toby,
    I've chosen your blog for the lovely blog award. To accept visit this link: