According to Penny Sansevieri, an adjunct professor at New York University and CEO of Author Marketing, a publicity firm, there are 1,500 books published daily in the U.S., including self-published titles. "To get noticed," she said, "you have to throw more at people than just your book."
Web-savvy authors point to the myriad opportunities provided by social networking sites.
Ayelet Waldman, author of "Red Hook Road," was eager for lightning to strike and began working the Facebook rolls before last summer's publication of her novel. Those who preordered (or sent an email explaining their lack of interest in preordering) were entered into a drawing to win an iPod loaded with music thematic to the book. "I find the process of self-promotion excruciating," said Ms. Waldman.
Admittedly more tame, but frequently effective, are ploys like twofers and giveaways. Authors of genre fiction, like crime or romance novels, may, at a bargain rate, buy up similarly themed books that their publisher has decided to take out of print. Then, via Twitter, blog or email blast, they'll offer their new book at the retail price and throw in the remaindered book for a dollar, selling the pair for a round figure like $20.
The expense incurred by giveaways is often money well spent.
Such freebies generate reader goodwill and provide an author with more Facebook friends as well as a larger email list (useful for publicizing the next book and giving the author's agent a bargaining chip when negotiating a new contract with a publisher). Most important, they may goose preorders. Particularly for up-and-coming authors, advance purchases "get the attention of publishers, which may get them to put more muscle behind the book," said Anne-Lise Spitzer, the creative marketing director for Knopf.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2011