Saturday, March 7, 2009

Marketing Tools For Cheap Writers

The Tools for Finding Your Market

Somewhere out there, your topic of expertise is being discussed in newsletters, e-zines, magazines, newspapers, radio shows and TV shows. Scads of people, hungry for new information on your topic, eagerly tune into these publications/broadcasts to learn more about your topic.

Wouldn't it be great if, rather than trying to drum up interest in your book among people who don't care, you could instead take your book to those who are looking for materials on your topic? How can authors/publishers introduce their books to the venues that are eagerly looking for their writings?

Directories are the GPS systems for book marketers, showing us where to find the niche writers and publications that want to freely expose their readership/viewership to our books.

How to Access These Tools

The three ways to access this information seem to be:

1) Ask your publisher or publicist to print off information for you. They're likely to have a paid subscription to online services that give the latest information in a searchable format. Typically, this would be a bit expensive for individual authors to access personally, without going through your publicist.

2) Go to a regional library or university. Small library may carry only very dated versions. I don't have time spend long hours researching this stuff at the library, since I care for my 103-year-old granny next door. I do my work in two-hour stretches.

3) Buy hard copies yourself. This way, you can pull them down during those 15-30 minute free moments (I get a lot done in 15 minute segments.) But who can afford to purchase these huge sets? This morning I found a better way.

Library Sales

My wife and I cherish our bi-yearly date to the Cobb County Library Sale. Since I have a book coming out this month, I was in a marketing mode. It didn't occur to me until I arrived that large libraries must replace their dated marketing directories each year. Sure, some are a year or two out of date, but I can always update the names, phone numbers and e-mail contact information by going to websites.

I was so excited with my success that I wanted a picture with my prize acquisitions. (If only books had antlers!) Here are some of the great reference books I got:

$1 per volume: Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media (2008, 5 vols.). The cost for a new one is over $1,000, or used at Amazon for $75 + shipping. ("the definitive media source," including newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations, cable systems, names of key personnel, etc.

50 cents per volume: Literary Marketplace (2007, 2 Vols). Costs $300 new. Get it used on Amazon for $20 plus shipping. ("The directory of the book publishing industry." Includes publishers, literary agents, awards and prizes, calendar of events, books and magazines for the trade.)

$1 per volume: Ulrich's Periodicals Directory(2008, 5 Vols) Get it used on Amazon for $235 ("...the premier serials reference source in the world." Find over 200,000 magazines, e-zines, newspapers, newsletters, contact information, circulation, etc.)

So, I saved well over $1000 compared to new prices or or over $300 over the used ones. I got invaluable reference tools I'll use continually over the coming years for $11.

Next year, show up at the library sale!

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