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 How much do you spend on promoting?

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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

Number of posts : 3795
Registration date : 2008-05-04
Age : 93
Location : Akron, Ohio

How much do you spend on promoting? Empty
PostSubject: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 11:00 am

Certain people, especially those on another website, claim that marketing a book should be the sole responsibility of the publisher. Not true, of course. If it were true, why does the monthly magazine of Mystery Writers of America always include a Marketing column by Jeffrey Marks? To be an active member you must have been published by a major publisher or one of the two major mystery magazines, which is more difficult than finding someone willing to publish a book.
Here are three sentences plucked from his latest column: "That's the reality of publishing. You'll need to promote yourself. No one is as committed or concerned about your career as you are."
Marks spent his entire advance promoting his first book. He advises writers to set up a promotional budget for the year. He mentions businesses that charge $1,000 or more to promote and warns that if using one you must be certain it remains within the budget you have set for yourself. "Never spend more than you can afford to lose," he cautions.
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thehairymob
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thehairymob

Number of posts : 890
Registration date : 2008-05-05
Age : 52
Location : Scotland

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 11:16 am

I wish I had the money to promote my books more than just the website that I have. Sadly though this is a far as I can go unless you count all the free promotional things I do. These free thing are of course the forums I'm a member of and of course Authonomy. Maybe that is why I'm still an unknown or maybe it is because I'm not as good as I keep telling myself. Laughing
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15671
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 71
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 11:25 am

I don't count author forums as promotional opportunities.

From what I have seen authors are far too busy promoting themselves and their book to concern themselves with much else.

I thought Dick's Normandy would be a slam dunk for everyone to get behind and promote--I never foresaw the jealousy that would arise.

I still have not recovered from the shock.

Oh well--live and learn.


Last edited by Alice on Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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thehairymob
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thehairymob

Number of posts : 890
Registration date : 2008-05-05
Age : 52
Location : Scotland

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 11:28 am

Well I suppose you are right Alice but that would only leave me my site so I need to make myself believe I'm doing more. Very Happy
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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10684
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 11:38 am

Alice,
I remember that incident well. It was condemned before it was given a chance, but you had the grit to fight back.
When someone needs help and asks, I try to oblige. Sometimes it appears that a friend can use some help, and that's what friends are for.
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dtpollard
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dtpollard

Number of posts : 636
Registration date : 2008-06-08

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 11:51 am

I did a ton of initial promotion spending on my second book Rooftop Diva. It gave me a feel for what works and what does not make much difference.

For books that are not in stores, general promotion like direct mail is less effective as the tendancy would be to go to a bookstore and get it. Paid ads on book club sites proved to be mixed as my amazon numbers would move, but really only a few book sales resulted. The ad costs are hard to recoup in real numbers.

My best promos came when two radio book clubs selected the book and gave radio mentions of the book and their next meeting dates. Getting those clubs to select my book was a fight but only required submitting a book off at the station. Two local NBC tv appearances in my home town market were great and free.

My greatest spending got the least results in a tangible way but created a 'I've seen that book before response' when I did events. Free reviews with web postings and two in community newspapers were great.

My best marketing is direct internet to libraries, book clubs and discussion boards. I really don't spend that much anymore on marketing and it has been more effective.
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15671
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 71
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 12:21 pm

Abe,

You are a great friend. Thanks--it is almost funny

To Everyone,

Beng on line has been good for me.
In real life I am respected and treated decently--online has been a different story.I have been soundly told off for anything and everything.

I can see the problem.
Accounting got me very keen on profitability. People were complaining their books were not selling.

I love to organize and promote. Dick wrote a marvelous book., and by the way if you don't own it--you should.

Here I go again---I bought 10 of them!


Last edited by Alice on Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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A Ahad
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Number of posts : 1102
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Age : 50

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 1:23 pm

Dick, another great topic.

I have always wondered if spending money to advertise my books somewhere would increase their sales, but have been too chicken to even give that notion a try. I think DT has answered my question really well with his vast experiences.

With at least 15 million published books sitting on Amazon and, if an average authors has 2 books published, then that makes 7 to 8 million authors in the world looking for readers!

(And this number would be going up year by year, as more people choose to write and less to read)
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Malcolm
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Malcolm

Number of posts : 1504
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : Georgia

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 2:01 pm

Authors have always been expected to help promote their books, but the idea that promotion is mostly the author's responsibility is bogus and is simply a reaction to the fact that midlist authors and below aren't getting any help from their publishers.

Though I've been asking for some time now, I have yet to hear any Internet book promoting firm give me any examples whatsoever of an unknown author of fiction who sold enough books through blog tours etc etc to pay for the promotional costs.

To me, it's patently absurd to think that an author with no platform, no celebrity status and no media or other high-profile contacts and a only few scarce dollars or so out of the family's household budget can possibly compete with the full-time, contact-rich, professionals at HarperCollins in getting his/her name and book title out there.

Boy, do I ever want to be proven wrong about this!!!

So far, it's like the gold rush game: the only people making any money here are the people selling the shovels.

Malcolm
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12588
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 2:09 pm

Alice wrote:
I don't count author forums as promotional opportunities.
Well, you should, Alice. If you read the top post on this thread that has been read 9467 times (many times by the same members who have followed this thread since June 10th 2004), you will see that posting on forums can be beneficial:

http://forum.leylandtown.info/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=644&whichpage=11

The thread was set up for me before my book was published, before I even submitted to PA. Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine will be serialised in a matter of weeks almost five years since the thread was initially set up.

I would never have bought your book if I hadn't met you on a forum. I have made dozens of bookmarks for promotional use by forum members at no cost. Forums are excellent places to promote at no charge.

Jenny met Brenda through posting on forums and both have benefitted from sharing information. The benefits for members who are prepared to share are endless.

_________________
How much do you spend on promoting? 41ZdcL0lV7L._SL125_ How much do you spend on promoting? 41C9GeFDNWL._SL125_ How much do you spend on promoting? 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SL125_ How much do you spend on promoting? 51eDGllZXhL._SL125_ How much do you spend on promoting? 41y7VHKoszL._SL125_ How much do you spend on promoting? 51Zs4N4T4eL._SL125_
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15671
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 71
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 3:22 pm

Shelagh,

Thank you for buying and reading and furthermore reviewing my book--I am very grateful.

What I meant to say is that I have spent more buying other authors books than I have gained promoting my own book.

If I were trying to make a living on my book I'd have died long ago.

Book writing in general is a very hard way to make a living. I did much better on a magazine article

I love this forum and do not depend on it to make my living.

Can you imagine trying to promote your book somewhere else--on that unmentionable forum?

First quesition:

Who was your publsher?
Why didin't you write a better book?
You lazy thing you don't like to write and rewrite?
You are supposed to paper your walls with rejection notices.
I will not buy your book--it costs too much .
Your book should be in a bookstore.
Don't you like to be paid for your work?

This forum is unusual--you are unusual. My remarks do not apply to you or your forum.

The friends I have met have been very worthwhile. However they do not feed me. .

I am talking net profit here. Sure post on forums, but hire a professional to promote your book.
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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

Number of posts : 3795
Registration date : 2008-05-04
Age : 93
Location : Akron, Ohio

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 3:29 pm

Malcolm, the readers of the column I mentioned are published by firms such as HarperCollins. They include the biggest names in the mystery field including Stephen King, Robert B. Parker, Lawrence Block, Marry Higgins Clark, Sue Grafton and many others. They don't need help. Other published by HC do because those big companies no longer do the promoting they once did.
In the Vital Signs column, here are some of the companies that published books by MWA members last month: St. Martins (7 books), HarperCollins (2), Delacorte, Doubleday, Putnam, Henry Holt, Ballantine, Berkely, Dutton, Simon & Schuster . . . well you get the idea. Robert B. Parker and James Patterson are on the list and they won't need help on promoting. The other 29, all unfamiliar names to the reading public, definitely will. It has become an accepted part of the business. It's a reality, not a bogus claim.
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E. Don Harpe
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E. Don Harpe

Number of posts : 1979
Registration date : 2008-01-17
Age : 78
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 4:10 pm

Doing a lot of self promoting is not bogus, Malcom, it's something that every author should be doing as much of as possible. I too would like to think that the publisher should and would accept the responsibility for all of the promotion, and would do it on a national stage, spending as much on my books as is required to find out if they will be successful or not. However, for the most part, that just doesn't happen.

I have and maintain three websites. At http://www.donharpe.com I have an overview of all that I have done with links to all of my books, all of my stories, and to many of the authors that I have met on line in forums such as this one.

At http://www.southtownrinkydinks.com, I have details about the book, as well as pictures from the days that I have written about. I get a lot of hits on the site, and it has helped me to sell quite a few books. I also went back to Tennessee for a national book release and signing, which was very successful, at least from my standpoing. Nearly 300 people attened the signing, and we not only sold out of books, we got well over a hundred pre orders and laid down a solid fan base for the book. Word of mouth from that signing has resulted in a lot more books sold, so it was well worth the time and expense. Of course, we more than made back all of the money we spent on the trip, and as I got to get back on a Nashville country music stage while I was there, the trip was a lot of fun as well as being successful. The subsequent heart attack I had in late September has just about halted the rest of the promotion for the book, but I hope to resume this spring.

The third website, http://www.redneckrivieraonline.com is an online site for an imaginary newspaper, The Cottondale Daily News. Cottondale is the fictional town in Tennessee where the characters from my Redneck Riviera live, and the paper is filled with lies, strange tales, funny stories, ads, and other things that are there to let people have some fun, as well as to promote the Redneck Riviera series.

After spending so much time in country music, and especially after my wife owned and operated her own record promotion company, I understand the reasons for promotion, and try to all that I can. It isn't as much as it would have been 20 years ago, but still, I don't miss many opportunities.
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dtpollard
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dtpollard

Number of posts : 636
Registration date : 2008-06-08

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 5:17 pm

Message board participation has paid dividends in books sales and maybe more. I have had people on boards tell me that they read my book. People on boards have requested that their library order my book, that's how I ended up in the Detroit library.

I have been able to expose thousands to my site, sample reads and sample audio by participating in message boards. It is time consuming, but I think it is worth it.

Now the difference in marketing power between my efforts and that of my audio publisher, Recorded Books, is striking. They have all of the contacts, circulate a quarterly release catalog to thousands of libraries and have a set subscription base for multiple series of books that buy every quarter, I can't match that, but I generated enough noise to attract their attention.

On Worldcat.org, it shows my paper book in 21 libraries and the audio in over 320, by that math the audio publisher was over 15 times more effective than I was.
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dkchristi
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dkchristi

Number of posts : 8594
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 5:20 pm

Very simply, a recognized name associated with a quality product sells. If the publisher puts the author's name out there in bright lights, so much the better. If not, an author who wishes to sell books needs to be branding his or herself for recognition. That applies to any product; books for sale are products. Now, if one is a hobbyist and writer for the pure joy of it; then, sales might not be important. In that case, the author may wait for the big break, fate, or a lightning strike. It is the word itself that matters, not sales.

McDonald's is a household word as are many other brands; yet, they continue spending millions, perhaps billions, to be certain the brand is on everyone's mind. An unknown brand? It needs to be everywhere possible. If I could, I would hire a publicist just like the "names" do. I can't.
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Betty Fasig
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Betty Fasig

Number of posts : 4334
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Age : 76
Location : Duette, Florida

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 5:54 pm

I have spent money that I do not have on buying Wooffer and going to authorthons out of town, book signings where I bought the books, libraries, schools, and news events. Almost every time it cost me close to 1000 dollars. I can no longer do it. I have done that since 2004. I gave it my best for promotions. My purse is empty. I am not angry. I feel that I gave it the best shot with the money I had. Now, if no one ever knows my book or my name, I am going to go on living and doing and enjoying my life without the fame. Wooffer agrees. He is old, too, and we both agree that fame would be a bother.

Love,
Betty
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alice
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alice

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Age : 71
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 7:30 pm

Betty,

I hope you broke even.
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alj
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alj

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 7:33 pm

That's a lot like my trips to Greenville for AM Days. I sell and autograph a lot of books, but it comes out to just enough to pay my hotel bill.

Ann
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Phil Whitley
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Phil Whitley

Number of posts : 907
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Age : 76
Location : Riverdale, GA

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 7:45 pm

I went to a homecoming reunion in my old home town where Keechie was
set. I sold over twenty signed copies. On the way home with almost 400
dollars cash in my pocket, the engine in my truck blew up.

But I had a great time...
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 7:56 pm

Hi Betty, I hope you don’t feel like a failure for your
efforts not paying off. There’s no way
anyone can market a book entirely on their own. Commercial publishers have sales
forces that consist of people paid respectable salaries, bonuses and benefits,
whose full-time job is to aggressively market books. They have catalogs of offerings
and relationships with retailers. How can you compete with that? How can
anyone?






Even if a person without this support has funds to hire a
publicist, what realistically is a publicist going to do? Retailers are not
going to talk to dozens of publicists a day, each representing one or two books.
Plus, dozens (even hundreds) of copies of a book must be given free to people
of influence in an effort to get them to review it (with results not
guaranteed).


Of course sales are boosted if the author gets out there and
hustles, and that’s always a good idea, but such efforts are supplemental. With all due respect to Dick’s original post, I suspect that the
prominent authors recommending that the author promote all have commercial
publishers behind them.
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15671
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Age : 71
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 8:11 pm

Who wants to be famous anyway?
I love my privacy. No one follows me around clammoring for my autograph.
The news media is not beating my door down. No one kidnapping me--what bliss.

I am an unknown book writer--suits me.
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dtpollard
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dtpollard

Number of posts : 636
Registration date : 2008-06-08

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 8:16 pm

LC, in a later post Dick mentioned that the lesser known authors of that group needed to promote. I can back that up with reality. I have been involved in events and authors with traditional deals are out there elbow to elbow with self-published, POD and other lesser known writers. I have also met authors dropped after their 2-book deal ended when they did not sell enough books. The advances some of these authors are paid is all they get and any promotional spending has to come out of that pot.

Any author that is not promoting, unless they are established, may not get their next book picked up.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 9:08 pm

dt, I'm not saying that authors shouldn't or don't need to promote.
I'm saying that without the efforts of a publisher behind them, their solo efforts are largely fruitless. Of course, they may still not reach their
target sales number even with publisher support. It's all a flyer.

About not being picked up for a second book. Even authors with books
that hit their goals may not be picked up again due to
other reasons. Such as being perceived as difficult to work with,
having unrealistic financial expectations or the pub thinking the book
is not marketable enough. At the end of the day decisions are made by
marketers. Well at least that is my experience, based on my contracts with three
commercial publishers, one small and two giant.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyThu Feb 26, 2009 9:17 pm

<< I am an unknown book writer--suits me. >>

Alice, I bet you'd have a shot at fame with another book. I think your posts are funny as hell. Laughing
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12588
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Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: How much do you spend on promoting?   How much do you spend on promoting? EmptyFri Feb 27, 2009 1:49 am

Alice funny? Go on, you're kidding me.

_________________
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