Great New Writing Competition for Self-Published Authors

Winning competitions can be a great way to raise your profile as an author. The actual prize is not as important as the licence to ever after describe yourself as an award-winning or shortlisted author. But – and there is … Continue reading

Selling My Books: Fenella Miller’s Top Tips for Book Promotion

Cover of The Duke & the Vicar's Daughter

Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares a favourite book promotion tip here on Debbie Young’s Off The Shelf blog I first met romantic novelist Fenella Miller through the Alliance of Independent Authors, of which we are both author members. … Continue reading

Selling My Books: Atulya Bingham’s Top Tip for Book Promotion

Photo of Atulya Bingham with her book

Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares a favourite book promotion tip here on Debbie Young’s Off The Shelf blog I first met Atulya Bingham through the Alliance of Independent Authors, of which we’re both author members, and was impressed … Continue reading

Selling My Books: David Ebsworth’s Top Tip for Book Promotion

Head shot of David Ebsworth

Every week, for Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares a favourite book promotion tip here on Debbie Young’s Off The Shelf Book Promotions blog I first met historical novelist David Ebsworth via our mutual publisher, SilverWood Books, and soon realised this British indie author, … Continue reading

Selling My Books: Paul Connolly’s Top Tip for Book Promotion

Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares a favourite book promotion tip here on Debbie Young’s Off The Shelf blog

Headshot of Paul Connolly

Novelist Paul Connolly. author of “The Fifth Voice”

I first met novelist Paul Connolly over dinner after a SilverWood Books Open Day and was very interested to learn about his debut novel as is publication date approached. Listening to Paul, I could tell he is a natural storyteller, and I’ve downloaded The Fifth Voice to read on my Kindle on holiday this summer. In the meantime, I’m delighted to welcome Paul here today to share his favourite way of promoting his new book. 

Debbie Young: What’s your favourite book promotion tip? It doesn’t need to be the one that sells the most books – it could just be the one you most enjoy.

Paul Connolly: Seek out opportunities to talk about your book, and target relevant special interest groups. Contact groups to whom your subject matter should be of interest. In my case, The Fifth Voice is set in the world of a cappella choral and quartet singing, and there are lots of relevant associations and groups you can say hello to and even write articles for.

Also, keep adding to your email list and reaching out to new people, as well as contacting book groups and independent bookshops. I don’t believe that social media has all the answers, and I think that Facebook and Twitter are wildly overrated in terms of their ability to deliver results for the average author. So much of it seems like whistling in the wind to me. I prefer the personal approach.

Debbie Young: How do you do it? Please give brief instructions!

Paul Connolly: Wherever I go I’m armed with my book’s ‘elevator pitch’ in my head and a few calling cards in my back pocket (a tip here: create double-sided business cards, where one side is the front cover of your book, for maximum impact). Then, a couple of times a week I reach out via email or telephone to specific targets, be it named individuals, singing associations around the world, or indie bookshops.

Debbie Young: Why do you particularly enjoy this activity?

Cover of The Fifth Voice

Such a stunning cover

Paul Connolly: Once you get over the hurdle of thinking nobody will be interested in listening to yet another self-promoting author, you realise that there are people out there who are fascinated by your story, your journey as a writer, and are willing to give you their attention. The enjoyment comes from making connections person-by-person, group-by-group, hopefully building your readership steadily as you go.

You yourself (Debbie) said that marketing an indie book is a marathon not a sprint, and that’s a key lesson to take on board. You’re not shackled by the unrealistic and time-limited expectations of a royalty-hungry publisher who’ll drop you like a stone as soon as your title starts selling less than they would like. Just keep plugging away. With your e-book just a click away, and your paperback always available on demand, there’s no big hurry. Enjoy the ride, but keep working at it (no-one else will!)

Debbie Young: Which book(s) have you used it for and when?

Paul Connolly: The Fifth Voice is my first novel, so I can’t claim masses of experience! One thing I would say is that if you can afford to hire a publicist, even for a short time, it helps to build awareness early on, and I have had some success with local press and radio as a result. This then gives you some ‘marketing collateral’ that you can use when approaching bookshops, etc.

Debbie Young: If you were doing it again for another book tomorrow, would you do it any differently?

Paul Connolly in a suit

Paul Connolly getting into the zone for the National Barbership finals in Harrogate

Paul Connolly: As The Fifth Voice is my first novel, I’m finding out what works and what doesn’t as I go. I would definitely approach things in a similar way, but maybe with a few more tricks up my sleeve. While I don’t think you should rely on social media for your marketing, I’d be keen to squeeze as much juice out of those channels as possible in future. And I’d like to get my head around e-book promotional campaigns and adopt ‘industry best practice’ to maximise sales (if such exists).

Debbie Young: Which part of the book promotion process do you like least?

Paul Connolly: Despite being comfortable appearing in public (I’m a singer, and have done many a business presentation in my time), the thought of sitting in a room signing copies of my book like some wannabe literary star makes me cringe slightly. Also, I feel that the traditional book launch is overrated and is often done because it’s seen as the thing to do rather than because it has major marketing impact.

Debbie Young: Can you name one promotional activity that you’d like to try that you haven’t tried yet – or tried but not yet perfected?

Paul Connolly: I’d really like to speak at a literary event of some sort, where I can talk about the book, the writing process, and share what (little) I know. That may sound like a contradiction to the previous answer, but it’s not really. I don’t mind talking about my book if it means that the book is the centre of attention; I’m far less comfortable with the cult of the author!

Debbie Young: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers now? e.g. news of your next book or event.

Paul Connolly: When this blog article appears, I’ll be on my way back from a 10-day holiday on my favourite little island. If all has gone to plan, I’ll have the synopsis for my next novel, a sequel to The Fifth Voice, well and truly mapped out. I already know the arc of the story, and the working title, and it’s great to be planning an answer to a question I’ve been asked many times since The Fifth Voice was published: when’s the next one?

Debbie Young: Enjoy your holiday, Paul, and best of luck with book two!

For more information about Paul Connolly, visit his author website here: www.paulconnollyauthor.com

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Selling My Books: Bobbie Coelho’s Top Tip for Book Promotion

Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares a favourite book promotion tip here on Debbie Young’s Off The Shelf blog

Photo of Bobbie Coelho at book signing table

Getting ready to meet new readers

I first met the poet Bobbie Coelho at a SilverWood Books Open Day and was pleased to be invited to read and review her latest book, Reflecting the Light.

I was interested to learn that one of Bobbie’s reasons for publishing her poetry was to benefit the charity Parkinson’s UK, because she’d taken up poetry to help her come to terms with her own diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.

Bobbie’s poetry is very personal and touching, and her books look beautiful, with stunning cover photography of flowers exuding optimism and hope. I’m delighted to welcome Bobbie to the blog today to share her top tip for book promotion. 

Debbie Young: What’s your favourite book promotion tip? It doesn’t need to be the one that sells the most books – it could just be the one you most enjoy.

Bobbie Coelho: My favourite way of promoting my books has always been to talk about them to groups of people, to read some of them, and explain the thinking behind them. This is especially true now,since neither Waterstones or W H Smith will stock my book because they lose money on local authors.

Debbie Young: How do you do it? Please give brief instructions!

Cover of Finding the Light by Bobbie CoelhoBobbie Coelho:  I gauge the audience and pick poems that I think they will like and a couple of challenging ones. I am very passionate about them. Most people have been impressed by the covers of my two books.

Debbie Young: Why do you particularly enjoy this activity?

Bobbie Coelho: I like meeting people and listening to their stories too. My books are different in that they are being published for charity, in this case, Parkinson’s UK. I particularly like speaking to non-Parkinson’s groups because I can promote understanding of the condition.

Debbie Young: Which part of the book promotion process do you like least?

Bobbie Coelho: I really hate it when I ask if someone will consider putting a review on Amazon or the Silverwood site. They say yes, but don’t do it. If they don’t want to do it – be honest!

Debbie Young: Can you name one promotional activity that you’d like to try that you haven’t tried yet – or tried but not yet perfected?

Bobbie Coelho: I haven’t given books away yet as a promotional gesture, perhaps I will try that.

Debbie Young: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers now? e.g. news of your next book or event.

cover of Reflecting the Light by Bobbie CoelhoBobbie Coelho: Reflecting the Light will be my last book. It has had mixed reviews, most people liking it. some not. Whatever, I am very proud of the book and I found it a good way to raise money for Parkinson’s. Some of my poems make you think and lots of people need to be reminded that it is always later than you think, so don’t put off telling the ones you love how much you care – and life is to be enjoyed.

Debbie Young: What a lovely positive note to end this interview – thank you very much, Bobbie.

For more information about Bobbie Coelho and her poetry, visit her page on the SilverWood Books online shop.Her books are available from SilverWood, Amazon and other online retailers.

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