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    « It’s like getting a Master’s Degree on how to be a successful author! | Main | Are You Better Than iUniverse? Yes We Are (Part II)Are You »

    Are You Better Than iUniverse? Yes We Are! (Part III)

    This is the third post in a three part series answering a question posed to us at the Miami Book Fair International. "Are you better than iUniverse?"

    courtesy of GoodFre Photos

    Click here to read the first post focusing on protecting your rights and profits.

    Click here to read the second post focusing on services for authors including editing editing, interior and cover design.

    Today we'll explore our differing approaches to book marketing and promotion.



    One of the authors we met at Miami who had published with iUniverse said, “The only time I hear from them is when they want to sell me some kind of marketing service.”

    iUniverse offers a lot of marketing service. Much of it is extremely high priced. You can advertise in print media, on radio and on TV. The New York Times Media Marketing Package is $5,499 and a similar ad package in the New York Review of Books is $4,999. iUniverse will set you up to sign books and give them away at its signing booth at a major book festival. You pay your own expenses for travel and lodging. The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Book Signing Package costs $3,999 which gives you book marks and fliers, 75 copies of your book to give away after signing, 10 copies on sale in the Author Solutions Bookstore at the Festival, and inclusion in the catalog distributed to fair goers who visit the Author Solutions booths. Think your book has the potential to be a movie? The Hollywood Treatment Package, price $3749, converts your book into a movie treatment (synopsis) for review by iUniverse’s Hollywood partner 5 Minutes More. If 5 Minutes More does not choose to work with you, your treatment goes into a database to which writers, agents, directors, and producers have access. You can have a book trailer. The Standard Book Video runs $1,999.

    These services led Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, to observe, “This advertising falls into the ‘Flush your money down the toilet’ category…If you buy this service and make your money back from it, I will let you watch me rip out each page of this book and eat it.”

    A lot of iUniverse authors seem to agree. Read some of their comments on Pissed Consumers. Author Solutions, the parent company of iUniverse, has been sued by its authors largely over its sales and marketing tactics. The first suit was settled when the trial judge denied it class action status. A second has since been filed. You can read more about the suits on Writer Beware, which is sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.


    Stories To Tell

    We believe that every book and author is unique and deserves a unique approach to marketing and promotion.

    Some authors are very comfortable speaking in public and enjoy making personal appearances. Others are not. Some have wide personal networks, others don’t. Some have a well-developed author platform. Some have none. Some are comfortable and skilled with social media, others are not. Finally, almost all authors who are self-publishing independently have a limited budget for marketing.

    At Stories To Tell we begin by consulting with authors to assess the skills and resources they bring to the table. We help them develop a social media profile which identifies their existing assets, what they are willing and able to do themselves to build additional assets, as well as what they will need help to do. We help them to identify their book’s ideal reader and the online influencers whose opinions are most likely to affect that reader’s book buying decisions. We help authors explore which marketing strategies best fit them and their books. Finally, we collaborate with each author to develop a marketing plan that fits their needs and budget.

    We believe that online promotion and social media offer the best low cost strategy for independent authors. We provide social media training which help authors to:

    • Generate positive reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, book blogs, and influencer sites by using ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) and cultivating online influencers.
    • Identify where to find their potential readers online.
    • Use their personal network, contacts, and online presence to build and employ an email list to promote their books through newsletters and special offers using low cost email marketing.
    • Employ pay-per-click advertising effectively minimizing cost and maximizing results.

    Where authors prefer, we can perform these services for them.

    These strategies may not be as sexy as iUniverse’s New York Times Media Marketing Package, but we believe they offer a much better opportunity to sell books, and come with a much lower price tag. Isn’t that every author’s goal?

    We would love to hear your feedback. Have you worked with iUniverse or another Author Solutions imprint? How did that go for you? Leave a comment.

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