Thirty people attended “How to Market Your Book,” a panel discussion sponsored by Write by the Rails on Sept. 8 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Old Town Manassas.

Among other advice, here are five free tips that were offered by our writing pros:

1.        Bristow resident Carol Covin, author of Who Gets to Name Grandma,
detailed how social networking on websites such as Facebook.com and
GoodReads.com can build a platform and a fan base for your books
(http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15745659-who-gets-to-name-grandma-the-wi
sdom-of-mothers-and-grandmothers.)

2.        Lake Ridge resident Nancy Kyme set up a blog, Campfire Memories
(http://campfirememories.wordpress.com/), that both complements her book,
Memory Lake: The Forever Friendships of Summer, and drives traffic to it.
She landed a phone interview with the editor of the newspaper in the town
where she grew up, and now uses the article he published as a clip to
promote her book to others.  She also has an elevator speech to describe her
book that is attention-worthy of Twitter.

3.        Bristow resident Tee Morris talked about the value of producing a
short, compelling video trailer that will ‘show, don’t tell’ a scene in your
book.  He ran three video trailers for his novels, including Phoenix Rising
and The Janus Affair to demonstrate.  Morris also explained how recording
your short stories on Podiobooks.com can easily pay a bill or two
(http://www.podiobooks.com/title/tales-from-the-archives-volume-one).

4.        Manassas resident Ross Murphy is both an author of You Will Never
Dance Alone
and Dancing with the Devil and the acquisitions director for
Aberdeen Bay Publishing (www.aberdeenbay.com).  From a marketing standpoint,
Murphy warned “nobody cares about you, nobody cares about your book and
nobody wants to buy your book.” After that splash of cold water, he advised
authors to create a marketing plan that casts both a wide natural market
(family, friends and a growing list of everyone you know and meet) and a
narrow target market (specific readers hungry for your specific subject
matter).  He also advised first-time authors to polish their product with a
professional editor before finding a mid-size press to publish it.  Don’t
approach a mainstream publisher until you’ve sold at least 5,000 copies of
your book.

5.        Each attendee was given a handout of marketing tips from Claudia
LeFeve, author of Parallel, Paradox, unDead Dixie Debs and The Fury.  In the
handout she explained how running a free promotion for Parallel, the first
book in her series, on Amazon.com brought her 401 paid downloads of Paradox
in one week, landing her in the #2 spot in Hot New Releases in Sci-Fi on
Amazon.  Her formula for great success is limited to these essential things:
a. Write a good book; b. Have a great cover and c. Start writing your second
book.

Dan Verner, Biscuit City blogger (http://dverner.blogspot.com/) and Manassas
Observer
columnist, served as moderator of the event and Leigh Giza, author
of Found and Lost,
(http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000468173/Found-and-Lost.aspx) coordinated the panel.

Our next meeting is Saturday, Sept. 15 at 2:00 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal
Church, 9325 West Street in Manassas.  Our guest will be June Forte,
President of the Virginia Writers Club.

For photos, visit our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Writebytherails.

For more information on Write by the Rails, email writebytherails@gmail.com

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