DIY Book Promo
Dan Klefstad (@danklefstad)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“My advice is geared toward un-agented authors like me, self-published authors, and even those published by the Big Five who are shocked at how little the company budgeted to promote their book.”
As an author, I can vouch that the world is stacked with a wealth of scoundrels who promise to help promote your book and bring you vast sales, all you have to do is erm, pay them and then sit back and become both famous and rich…
It does kind of beg the question as to why these folks are still sending unsolicited emails and messages to authors and not kicking back and enjoying the millions they must have earned in order to be able to prove their methods work?
You might even be wary of those publishing self-help books that will revolutionize your sales I hear you cry, and that’s fair, but amidst the ton of charlatans and opportunists, there are occasionally good folks actually trying to help. I believe Dan Klefstad is one of the good guys and DIY Book Promo is a tome that might just change your life as a writer if you’re prepared to put in the work and try some of the advice proffered.
Is Dan a millionaire, world-famous household name? Not yet maybe, but his friendly, fast-paced book is worth a read as he shares all he learned during his 30-year broadcasting career, plus the three-year campaign for his novel, Fiona's Guardians (Darkmatters Review here).
Authors can be shy at doing the promotion for their work, some might dabble with a little social media, others might arrange a book signing or the like but in this book, Dan gives quality advice about pitching media interviews, performing well in front of the mic, and how to share interviews so as to get wider exposure. He also talks about co-branding with indie bookstores, and which reviewers to pitch and which ones to avoid, it’s good stuff, even if you’re doing OK in sales I firmly believe that there is always more you can learn.
My own promo journey for Complete Darkness has included getting artists to come up with their interpretations of the characters which I put on art cards and handed out at events. This strategy isn’t free but it did yield hundreds of pre-orders so proved very cost-effective – and led to the book now being turned into a graphic novel (but that is another story)… But we’re here to talk about Dan – and it’s great to read him share how to get your book adapted, pull off the right stunt, and how to grab surprise opportunities and best of all perhaps - never pay for promotion again. I know Dan as we share a publisher – the mighty Burton Mayers Books – so I got to ask him some questions that will help you get to know the man whose advice is being offered here.
Dan says “In DIY Book Promo, I aim to help you find readers using free tools like email and social media. I share everything I've learned during the three-year marketing campaign for my novel, Fiona's Guardians. DIY Book Promo is also the title of my speaking engagements (in-person and virtual) at writer's conferences and with author groups.”
And you know what – I really enjoyed reading his thoughts, his experiences and I’ll certainly be putting a lot of what I read in DIY Book Promo into action!?
"would you buy a book from this man?"
Here’s the background interview:
Matt: Biggest joy so far as an author?
Dan: Definitely seeing my vampire novel get adapted. For those who don't know, the all-professional acting company, Artists' Ensemble Theater, adapted my novel, Fiona's Guardians, for their Mysterious Journey podcast. It's available everywhere and it is excellent. (https://open.spotify.com/episode/1y0LNMg3zhHSi1ZdjKmkaB )
This podcast made it easier to imagine further adaptations, and I've been working with a director/screenwriter to produce a short film based on my book.
Matt: What's the best marketing of someone else’s book you’ve ever seen?
Dan: That's a tough one to answer because I've seen so many examples of lost or squandered potential -- including for books published by the Big Five. One, however, stands out for me and that's the campaign for Gone Girl. The trailer really pulls you in and makes you ask, "What is the book about? What IS this book?" Haven't seen a better one before or since that novel came out in 2012.
Matt: What does success look like to you as an author?
Dan: You mean something other than a villa on Lake Como, Italy? Ha ha, just putting that out there. Manifesting... Seriously, I think it's not too far-fetched to imagine another adaptation of Fiona's Guardians. I want a streaming series. I want it to be high quality, and beautifully shot and acted. I'd like to see it in my lifetime but will die quite happy knowing it's in the pipeline for others to enjoy.
Matt: Building on that, how many sales do you think is a good achievement for an indie author?
Dan: Allow me to suggest that the number of copies sold is less important than who reads your book. Do you have readers who enjoyed your book so much they took the time to write you a note saying they can't wait for the sequel? Do you have readers who recommend your title for their book club? Do you have one fan willing to walk around a book festival waving a copy of your book, telling everyone they should read it? And let's not forget: There's always a chance that someone will recommend it to a film or TV producer. That possibility may be low but it's never zero. I don't care if ten copies get sold or 10,000. What matters is who opens it and who stays with it to the final page.
Matt: So what is your favourite vampire book and film?
Dan: Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. He also wrote the screenplay for the 2008 film version, which is one of my favourite vampire flicks.
Matt: Thanks Dan – all the very best with DIY Book Promo!!
If you’re interested and want to preorder the book you can here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/diy-book-promo/dan-klefstad/9781739367541
AND – if you’ve got a question you’d like to ask Dan, or just hear him explain some of the promo itself he will be speaking at the Society Of Authors Hertfordshire Group which I Chair on 13th Feb – here’s the link to register for free: https://www2.societyofauthors.org/event/hertfordshire-writers-hybrid-meet-up-130224/