Book promotion services provide a wide range of services to authors including promotional tours for cover reveals, new releases, and blog tours. Many also offer publishing support features for indie authors like manuscript editing, book formatting, cover design, and book reviews. These are invaluable services to any author which may not necessarily sell books, but go a long way in garnering name recognition for an author and help build the author platform.
When it works.
Recently, a group of authors shared their most recent experiences with promotion services. The emails went from humorous to frustrated to angry quick, fast, and in a hurry.
This is not a condemnation of book promotion services in general, nor any one service in particular. Several authors using several different services all encountered similar ‘problems’ which left authors feeling shortchanged, leading them to cross the service off their list for future promotions. (Authors are not without their responsibilities either – that’s coming in part two.)
If you run a book promotion service, here are five things you might want to take into consideration:
- Equal and fair treatment – Some authors felt the service they received was less than stellar and their questions were brushed off because they were not bestselling authors or recognizable names, yet they paid the same fees. Some services do have ‘new or debut author’ packages. (Kudos to you!) But if your prices are the same for everyone, your services should be the same for everyone.
- Communication – Many services require advance bookings of three to six weeks (or more). It takes time to sign up blogs and create a schedule that accommodates authors and That being said, do not take payment from an author and disappear. A prevailing comment in our ‘talks’ was, “I haven’t heard from them.” A weekly update of a few words to an author means more than you know.
- Prompt response to emails from authors and bloggers would be appreciated. And prompt doesn’t necessarily mean fifteen minutes to an hour, but it shouldn’t mean 24-48 hours either for a current or fast-approaching event. People have day jobs, families, and responsibilities – that’s a given. But you’re still doing business and should strive for the best response times possible. A response—or lack of one—could make the difference in the timely posting of the event.
- FAQs – Most services have FAQs. Some are more detailed than others, but it’s generally stated that “a WORD doc, book cover and everything needed for posting will be provided.” What’s not stated is if the service provides HTML or WordPress HTML. This is a biggie for some authors and bloggers… and a deal-breaker.
HTML posts are quick – cut, paste, confirm, and schedule! But it takes time to build an aesthetically pleasing post, and the more files and images included, the more time it takes. DIY posts should be an option, never the norm unless the service is exclusively for Facebook pages or non-WordPress blogs. Tour hosts are volunteers and the onus of building a tour post should never be expected of them unless they know in advance what they’re signing up for.
If HTML/WP HTML is not provided, it only needs to be a simple sentence or bullet point of disclosure in the FAQ or on the sign-up sheet… but it should be disclosed.
- The Author/Blogger Chose Your Service – Whether it was your price/promotional package, seeing your work on another blog, word-of-mouth, or reputation, an author chose your business to promote their book, or blogs chose to host tours for you. If you want them to return, keep the lines of communication open and allow for some flexibility. Not all authors/bloggers and services are a good fit, and that’s okay, but the book event can still be a successful event for all parties.
If you run a book promotion service, you may already be doing these things.
Or none of them.
Does it mean you’re doing anything wrong?
However, it could explain why some authors are not doing repeat business with your promotion service. Just some things to think about.
Next week: 5 Things Authors Should Remember When Planning a Book Tour