"Now what?"

One of the most thrilling experiences for any author is opening the first carton of books delivered to their door. But the adventure doesn't end here, and inevitably our authors come to us with the question, "Now what?" How do you move books out of their cartons and into readers' hands?

Whether you're a self-published or a traditionally published author,  there's no magic formula for converting marketing into sales. The simple truth is there's no better way to sell books than through recommendations and hand-selling, one book at a time. As Joel Friedlander, award-winning book designer, blogger, author, and self-publishing advocate, puts it, this is "the holy grail of book marketing, the 'word of mouth' influence that travels from one individual to another." Word of mouth is buzz. By getting more people to talk about your book, you're creating buzz, and building buzz sells books.

So how do you create a positive buzz for your book? There's no doubt that traditional marketing and promotion plays a role, and having an author website is essential, but engaging with online communities, such as blogs, forums, and social network groups that are specifically dedicated to your genre and supportive of your themes is where you'll find, and be able to connect with, your ideal readers.

As bestselling author John Green put it, "It boils down to this: Find a book's ideal readers, whether there are 10 or 10,000. Press the book into their hands. Empower them to share it. Hope that they do."