Creative Writing Project: Market Your Book | Dani and Steve Alcorn | Skillshare

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Creative Writing Project: Market Your Book

teacher avatar Dani and Steve Alcorn, Authors, Mentors, Online Instructors

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Marketing Ideas


    • 3.

      More Marketing Ideas


    • 4.

      Project: Create a Marketing Plan


    • 5.

      Next Steps


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About This Class

The Creative Writing Project series helps you complete a novel, short story or screenplay. Each class focuses on a specific step in the creative process, from brainstorming to publication. The goal is to get you published!

This class reveals all of my favorite marketing tips. I’ll show you how to get your work in front of the public, through a variety of exciting approaches. When you complete this class you will have a complete marketing plan for your Creative Writing Project.

The classes in this series include:

  • Creative Writing Project: Brainstorm Your Story
  • Creative Writing Project: Create a Character
  • Creative Writing Project: Structure Your Story
  • Creative Writing Project: Write Act 1
  • Creative Writing Project: Write Act 2
  • Creative Writing Project: Write Act 3
  • Creative Writing Project: Structure a Scene
  • Creative Writing Project: Create a Setting
  • Creative Writing Project: Write Great Dialogue
  • Creative Writing Project: Energize Your Manuscript
  • Creative Writing Project: Publish Your Book
  • Creative Writing Project: Market Your Book

Meet Your Teacher

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Dani and Steve Alcorn

Authors, Mentors, Online Instructors


Steve Alcorn is the author of many novels and non-fiction books. His publications include mysteries, young adult novels, a romance novel, children's books, history and non-fiction about theme park design, and the writer's guide How to Fix Your Novel.

Dani Alcorn is the Chief Operating Officer of Writing Academy, a writing instructor, and author of Young Adult fiction, screenplays, and a screenwriting handbook. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Northwestern University, where she majored in Psychology and Radio, Television, & Film.

Steve and Dani have helped more than 50,000 aspiring authors structure their novels. Many of their students are now published authors.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to the creative writing project. I'm Steve Alcorn, your instructor and mentor. These classes air all about projects. They're all about creating your own original novel, short story or screenplay step by Step one project at a time. The ultimate goal of this course is by the time you've completed these projects, you'll be ready to publish. I'm the author of a number of novels, travel books, Children's books, nonfiction books about the theme park industry and the book How to Fix Your Novel, which tells you all about the techniques you'll use to structure and create your own original work of fiction. It's techniques that will draw upon throughout this class in order to achieve your ultimate goal of getting into print. So let's get started The creative writing project. This lesson is all about marketing your work, whether or not you're working on a book, a short story or a screenplay, these techniques will be useful for you. We'll begin with this introduction. That's an overview of the course, and then our first key concept lecture will be marketing ideas. These will be ways that you can familiarize the public with your work and get copies out there and sold. If it's a physical thing or distributed, if it's conceptual thing and then our second key concept lecture in this course is more marketing ideas, because we've got a lot of them packed into this course, and I'm sure you'll find some things here that will really help you as you look to get your work read by the public in the project section of this class will invite you to create a marketing plan, selecting from the different ideas that we've presented in order to come up with a concise approach and will be interested to hear your feedback on how that goes and then in the final lesson, will have some next steps for you to pursue to further your writing career. So let's get started. 2. Marketing Ideas: Once your manuscript is complete and published either through traditional publishing or self publishing, you're going to need to market it because traditional publishers no longer provide the marketing budgets that they used to. And if you're self publisher, you want to sell as many copies as possible. So this lesson and the following on looks at some of my favorite marketing ideas. And if you apply these marketing ideas to your own work, you can make hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month through fairly low key background efforts. And the great news is that most of them are pretty fun, too. So let's take a look at some of my favorites. First off, I love public speaking. Some people don't like it, but I really enjoy sharing my work with others. And so, in addition to these online classes, I love to go to schools or clubs or libraries to talk about my book and the writing process . Libraries, in particular, are always looking for interesting speakers to come in and share the story of how they wrote their book and what their life experiences were that led them to write that particular book. Also, make sure that you write a press release and send it to your local newspapers. If you live in a big city, you might not be able to get the big city newspaper to print your press release. But certainly all the small town and local and advertising newspapers will be happy to have content to supplement the advertising that keeps them in business. So make sure that you write a well formed press release and send it to everyone that you think might be interested. You can find templates online for how to write a good press release for books, So search for that with Google and make sure that's one of the first things that you do. I like to do readings from my book. I enjoy reading out loud, and especially when im reading from my fictional books. I like to put a lot of feeling into it. You can often arrange with the few bookstores that remains such as Barnes Noble, to do a reading of your book, particularly if the book has appealed to Children and you can also often arrange to do a book signing. This works at either small local bookstores that do some trade in new books or the large bookstores to are often interested in having a local artist come in and sign books, which they then are able to sell. That's sort of like selling your books on consignment and that they don't have to buy the book in advance, but they sell a copy to everyone on the way out the door and then give you your share. I also like to attend conferences and book fairs. Book fairs can be a lot of fun. Often there are, ah, 100 or more tables, and you get to meet hundreds of individuals during the day. You can make dozens of sales, but you'll meet a lot of interesting individuals, and you might give your book some exposure to bookstores or other outlets that would like to carry it. Um, conferences are another way you can pay for a table at a conference and talk to the attendees and sell your book there. It's a fairly dicey computation to figure out whether you Kenbrell ache, even doing that or not. But it can be a great experience, and you'll meet a lot of interesting people in the industry and doing so, make sure that you set up a website. It's easy to set up a website for free. Nowadays, you condone it through blogging websites such as Blawg Spot, where you don't have to know anything about how to manage a website. In order to create a fairly professional looking site, and also, if your book is available for sale on Amazon, Amazon offers a free authors page for all authors of books, and you can put material from your website onto that site as well. Or just use that as your only website, although I think it's worthwhile setting up your own blawg spot with the name that is unique to you that you can direct traffic to. If you want to spend a little bit more money, you can register a domain name and redirect that domain name to your blog's spot location so that your website will appear under that unique name instead of something a rather dot blawg spot dot com. And that's a nice way to do it because it makes you look like you're a little bigger and little more professional and only costs maybe $20 a year or so to have that website name registration you can do that name registration and redirected and alias it at Go daddy dot com, for example. Also, a good way to publicize your book is to print up bookmarks and hand them out as advertising . Sometimes people set the's on a counter at a bookstore as a free giveaway. They'll just take some paper, print up some artwork and the title of your book and maybe their website link and laminated and put a stack of thumb on a bookstore counter. Frankly, I doubt that that leads to sufficient sales in order to justify its cost. But I do think that handing out books bookmarks to people who have expressed an interest in your book or with whom you have spoken personally can pay off by them coming back and revisiting your Web site later on and buying a book. The easiest way to sell books on your website, by the way, is to redirect them either to Amazon or if you published on create space dot com. Send them right to your create space page because you'll actually make a little bit more money selling direct on create space. It also means that if you wish you can give people a secret code, maybe one printed on their bookmarks that they can redeem for a discount on your book. Amazon does not support that discount program, but it is supported by create space. And so that's a great way to sell your book at a slightly lower margin. But you make up for it by selling it through create space instead of Amazon, and people get the idea that they're getting a good deal because they are getting a discount on it. Another way to offer a discount is by offering your book as an e book for free on Kindle Amazon. Kindle Direct allows you to do that for limited periods of time during a year, and if you do that, you can increase sales. But you're not increasing revenues because you're giving it away. I personally never do this, but some authors do it because it increases the sales of their book on the Amazon bestseller charts at least as long as it's free. And then the hope is that when it goes off momentarily, there'll be a spike in people who will pay for it because they see it on those lists. I'm a little skeptical of that, but you can give it a try and see what happens. One of my favorite marketing techniques is to give away books. I give them away to charities, especially charity auctions, the kind of auctions not where someone stands in front and says, How much of my bid for this? But the kind of auction where it's a silent auction and they're sitting on a table around the room and people can go around and put their name down on what they'd be willing to pay for a book. It costs very little to give books away like that because you're paying less than $5 apiece for them. But it's a really nice way to expose your book to hundreds of people because all those people wandering around, even if they're not interested in your book, are going to see the book, see your name and become familiar with it. And then, inevitably, at thes charity auctions, the item ends up being sold for about it's retail value, which means that the organization that you donated it to is probably getting about $20 as a donation, as opposed to the $5 that it cost you, so you're doing good by doing well. So that's one of my favorite little techniques. Well, that's it for the marketing ideas in this lesson, but join me for the next lesson. While I'll have even more marketing ideas for how to sell that book. I'll see you there. 3. More Marketing Ideas: well, here are some even Mawr marketing ideas for how to sell that book of yours once you've published it, either traditionally or by on demand, perhaps through create space. And it's offered on Amazon and through Ah Kindle. Here are some favorite ideas of mine as to how to get that book into the hands of your readers. First off participate in Internet reading sites. My favorite one is good reads dot com, where you can join as an author, you can talk about the process that led to your book. You can set up interviews online. You can answer questions, and you can direct readers to it as an independent source of information on your book. And because Good reads is now owned by Amazon, it's a good promotional tool. Also, because Amazon is not going to miss a book bet as far as promoting things to people who visit that site, and one of them might as well be you create a blogger. As I mentioned in the previous lecture, you should have a website. A website can be static, but a blawg cannot, so you might be using Blawg spot or some other free blogging site to create your blawg, but if it's just the same all the time, it's only a website, and it might promote your book. But it doesn't generate the kind of activity that keeps people interested in you as an author, and that gets you to, ah, higher ranking on Google search results. However, if he regularly post updates to your blawg and they contain keywords, including keywords that reference back to your book, then you're going to get more traffic from Google as a result of those updates. And since Google owns block spot dot com, you can be sure that they're going to be trolling their way through your blawg looking for new information. So make sure that you keep it current, even if there's a static page that you always direct new prospective readers to before they encounter the weekly updates that you'll make to your blawg. And when I say weekly, that's probably about a good interval to keep the block up to date. Monthly would be a bare minimum, I think, and probably daily is overload because people follow it, perhaps using an RSS feed for their news. We'll get overwhelmed if you write something new every single day. So aim at once a week or perhaps once a month in order to keep reminding people about your book and your other forthcoming books and your career as an author. And make sure, as I mentioned in the previous lecture, to set up that authors page on amazon dot com. It's a little bit like a blogger as well, in that it can contain regular updates. But even just having your picture there and the bio on a little bit of a story about how you wrote your book, even if you don't keep that up to date is a great idea because it personalizes you as an author and makes people more inclined to buy your books. Do radio interviews. These might be a little trickier to set up, but you might be surprised, particularly with the smaller talk radio stations in town. They're often particularly in the middle of the day, looking at ways to fill air time, and most of these radio interviews can occur right over a telephone connection or nowadays , maybe an Internet connection, depending upon the quality of your lines, so it doesn't involve going anywhere. Putting in an appearance you just contact the radio station or a specific commentator on the radio station who deals with cultural events such as arts and books and so on? Tell them your local author and that you'd like to speak on the radio station about the experience of writing your book. They'll prepare some questions in advance and let you know what they're going to be so that you're not really blindsided by the questions. But make sure you don't write down your responses and read them verbatim. That would be very boring. You could take a few notes, though, just to remind yourself of what you want to say in response to each question. Entering contests is a way that some authors like to publicize their books. I'm not convinced that this is viable, and if the contests charge an entry fee, I think a lot of them are, frankly, just scams. Ways to collect Money on Entry Fees There have been some good contests in the past, such as the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Awards, which did not require entry fees, and if you find contests like that, then I think that they might be worth contemplating for some exposure for your books, but examine contests carefully and see what the payoff really is going to be. Because getting a certificate of honorable mention in a contest that you paid 25 or $50 to enter is really not going to sell you any books and is not going to do much other than adorn your authors militant board. So think carefully about that, and then finally, and this is perhaps the single most important piece of advice is Toe. Always carry books with you because naturally, once you have a published book, the topic of that is going to come up in conversation. When people ask what you do, you're going to mention Oh, and I wrote a book, and you'll be amazed how many people would say, Well, I'd like to read it, in which case your response should be. Well, I have some copies in my car trunk or in the cabin of my cruise ship or in my hotel room. Or what have you Would you like to buy one? And it's pretty hard for them at that point to say no. And you can even be nice if you like and say, Well, it's $20. But I'll tell you what. Um, I'll sell it to you for $10 in case you'd like to read it because you're so interested in You've been so nice and we know each other, they'll be delighted and you're still doubling your money on the book, and they'll probably also now mention that book to others. They may pass it on, and those others might like it. And if you write Sequels, then they'll know about it in the front of your book. You've probably put some contact information like what your website is. So people to whom the book is passed on will be able to find you and find out if they're Sequels and more books, and it will lead to additional sales. But if you don't have the books with you or handy, then you're not going to be able to sell them in those situations. And people, in my experience, don't make the effort to then go follow up and go to your website and actually buy a couple later on. It's much more effective to have the book right there and be able to deliver it to them on the spot, so that's my number one piece of advice for marketing. So join me in the next lecture, which is the project where you'll work at a marketing plan, and I'm anxious to hear what the results you have will be. I'll see you there. 4. Project: Create a Marketing Plan: at the end of any college course, there's always a final exam. It's where you see what you've really accomplished during the course will. In this course, it's a little bit different because the final exam is results. You've written a book, you've published a book, and now you're marketing a book. And so the final exam is How well does it sell? And so in this project, we're looking forward to seeing what your results are. So what I'd like you to do is go back through the previous two lessons and have attached Supplemental resource is to list the ideas here in this project so that you can quickly see what they are and identify the ideas that most appealed to you. If you like to speak in public, pick those. If you don't like to speak in public than cross that out and don't do the radio interviews either, but set up the websites and do the blog's. If you want to not have to write something every week or month and don't do the blawg do just the website and so on, pick the things that appeal to you the most and make up a list that's essentially your marketing plan. And as you execute that plan, I would like you to come back here to the class and share the results with us. This is not a one time shot, So if you have success with something in particular, come back to the community discussion area and tell us what worked and why it worked, how well it worked and what you're going to do next. As a result of that, working were excited to see those results. And you can do all sorts of things, like post Web links or the cover shot of your book, other marketing material, your bios, whatever it's. It's shameless, self plugging. But that's exactly what this lesson is all about, because that's what marketing is is getting books sold and selling yourself. So this is just one more avenue to do that, who knows? Maybe other students in this class will be so inspired by your results or so interested in the topic of your book that you'll make sales right here in this classroom. So let's hear what your marketing results are. Good luck with that book and your future work as well. And until I see you again, happy writing 5. Next Steps: thanks for joining me on this journey. I've enjoyed it and I hope you have to. Thing is one of a dozen different projects that are available through this series, of course, is if you follow all of these projects from brainstorming all the way to marketing, you'll be able to bring your idea for a novel, short story or screenplay to reality, step by step and project by project. In the meantime, I hope you'll follow us on Facebook and be sure to sign up for free writing tips. I look forward to seeing you there. Until then, happy writing.