Sherry Woodcock is a spiritual writer who turned her blog into a book and uses her personal experiences to shape her writings. She talks about using a launch party as an element of her marketing campaign and why writers must “get out there” to create awareness of their books.
1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?
My books took life from a blog I started in January of 2010, called Daily Spiritual Tools. The first one took the name of my blog as the title. The second one is only available as an e-book and is called Daily Spiritual Tools, Learning How to Forgive and Let Go.
These books and my blog are focused on spiritual practices I call “tools.” I’ve always been a voracious reader and spent hours reading spiritual and metaphysical books. From these books, and clairvoyant training I pursued in the nineties, I gathered countless ways of connecting on a daily basis to that inner consciousness that many call God. I began writing about them, in what my readers say is a clear and easy to read style. The truth is I wrote for me, to find my voice.
2. How have your sales been?
Since October, when I released Daily Spiritual Tools, I’ve sold 75 paperback copies and six e-book versions.
3. You have not been published by a traditional publisher. Why?
I went with non-traditional publishing because my topic is popular with a small group of readers. Targeting spiritual but not religious
readers is not something that most traditional publishing houses would take a risk on. I did send out query letters and letters to agents, but had little success.
4. You’re relatively new to self-publishing. How have you liked it so far?
I like non-traditional publishing. It keeps the author in the driver seat. I went with Amazon’s CreateSpace and found it simple to use, cost effective (free if you are a do-it-yourselfer), and timely. Traditional publishing takes a great deal more time from manuscript to proof copy.
5. What sort of marketing techniques have you used to sell your books, and which ones have been most successful?
I’ve spent a great deal of time reading about marketing your own book, and one of the most critical aspects is to develop a strong author platform. This is your “brand.”
You have to have a “platform,” developed early on, from which to jump-start your marketing campaign. I was fortunate to have a pretty strong web presence with my blog and website, but I needed to beef up my platform with social marketing like Facebook and Twitter.
So far the best marketing tool was my book launch party. I waited until mid-December to have a formal book launch and signing party and that paid off in immediate sales (Christmas was right around the corner) and a group of prospective readers for future books.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
There are some I haven’t tried, like a virtual book tour, library book signing, and speaking engagements, but none I have intentionally avoided.
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
Writing the book was the easy part; marketing is the hard part.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I would publish several smaller ebooks and offer the first one for free. I find that I look for free books myself and if I like them I buy other books from the same author.
9. Independent authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie author just starting out?
As soon as you think you want to write a book get on the Internet and make yourself a fixture in that field. Qualify yourself as an expert. Whether it be a blog or a website, or guest blogging on the blogs of others, get out there and become active.
In addition, there is no better marketing than word of mouth. Call in all the favors you have and get all your friends and family excited about your book. If possible, offer to do speaking engagements for free and offer your books for sale at the end. One strategy that worked for me was to speak at a church with the understanding that I would share the profit as a donation to the church (added benefit: tax deductible).
10. What projects are you currently working on?
I am working on the second volume of Daily Spiritual Tools. It will be seven weeks of Daily Spiritual Tools, one for every day of the week.
11. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
As humankind moves from a truth of spirituality “out there” to one of God expressing as each of us and in all things, these tools I write about help us accept that new truth and know it as our own.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?