Tag Archives: book marketing

In Person Marketing by Christine Husom

As publishers and writers, we understand that if readers don’t know who we are, or what books we have on the market, we won’t sell many. Publishers have a number of advertising methods: memberships in writers’ groups, information tables at conventions and book fairs, advance reader copies (ARCs) sent to reviewers, email notifications to subscribers, author spotlights on websites, blogs, tweets, Snapchat, and the like.

Many authors employ most of those methods, too. Online marketing is important, but I’d like to talk about something that’s up close and personal, namely on-site, or in-person, marketing. People (and potential readers) genuinely seem to enjoy meeting authors in the flesh. When I’m at events with my books, lots of people look at me and say, “You’re the author?” I’ve even had a number tell me, “I’ve never met a real author before.” Meeting readers face to face sets you apart from those who strictly market via the Internet.

Joining the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime is one of the best things I’ve done as a writer. In addition to the valued friendships and great support I’ve gotten, we do a large number of events each year, including author panels at libraries and other venues, book fairs, and we get invitations to speak individually to a variety of groups. The networking is amazing. In 2016, I was the featured reader at one of our meetings, on five mystery author panels in Minnesota and Wisconsin, part of a holiday literary sale, at the SinC table at the MN State Fair and the Twin Cities Book Festival, and was one of the authors at a St. Paul bookstore for afternoon of readings and discussion.

Over the years, I’ve developed good relationships with bookstore owners and librarians. They’ve graciously hosted me at book signings and speaking events. I did eight this year. I’ve met people at book fairs, art and craft fairs, or other places, who have invited me to be the guest author their book clubs. I was at four this year. And presented writing techniques classes, and talked about my writing, to students in three schools. I was on the local radio station, and my articles announcing a new book release were published in area newspapers—because they want to support a local author.

Another valuable marketing tool is attending writers’ conventions. Readers, librarians, bookstore owners, publishers, editors, and others attend as well. This year I went to three mystery/crime conventions. They were Malice Domestic, Bouchercon, and a “Pitch Your Project” in Hollywood, organized by the National Sisters in Crime. I’ve been on well-attended author panels at conventions the last few years. They’re fun, and it’s a wonderful way to connect with other authors and new readers. The downside is they aren’t cheap and it’s a time commitment.  I spent twelve days, including travel, attending this year.

I am not a naturally out-going person, but I want to get my books in the hands of as many readers as possible, and I’ve learned people are more apt to buy books from a less-than-famous author they meet in person. I decided to go to more art and craft fairs in 2016, and registered for six. Two were far enough away to necessitate staying overnight. I sold a lot of books, added more names to my email list, and got new readers in different parts of the state. I’m looking forward to checking out new places next year. I already have ten events scheduled, including two mystery conventions.

In-person marketing involves a great deal of planning and preparation, especially if you are the presenter at an event. It can be physically demanding, but it’s also very rewarding. It is one piece of a complex marketing puzzle, and I’d encourage you to check out opportunities in your area. Visit libraries and bookstores, or send them letters with information about yourself and your books. Groups are always looking for speakers, and writers are a great choice. I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone many times, but the more personal marketing I do, the easier it is.

I’d love to hear your marketing stories.

Christine Husom is the author of the Winnebago County Mysteries for Indigo Sea Press

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To Offer it Free or Not – Marketing Your Work

Free BooksAs with everything to do with the art of writing, publishing and marketing books, there are different views on the worth of offering your books free.

Some will argue that you should not work for free.  And, in essence, that is what you are doing when you offer your books free.  You have spent countless hours writing, editing, perfecting, and polishing your writing.  You chose the perfect cover, formatted the book for eBook, and finally are rewarded with seeing your hard work available to the world.

Of course, you want some monetary gain from all that hard work.  Who wouldn’t?

But, unless you are already a well-known author, will the world even know you exist?  Will they (the readers) buy your book when you are an unknown quantity to them?  When there are so many badly written, badly edited, and just plain bad, stories out there, the reader needs to have a reason to want to invest their money in your book.

Possibly one of the more appealings ways to an author is the free sample chapters.  However you get that out there, through posting them on social media, allowing partial sample downloads on Smashwords, or ther means.  Free samples let the reader get sucked into the story, and just as they get hooked they are cut off with no option except to stop there or get your book.

I see offering books free as a marketing tool.  Companies do it with other types of products all the time, offering try me samples in the hope you will love it enought to buy it.  The buy one-get one free offer.  Buy that and we’ll toss this in with it.  Get one month free.  Even the grocery stores get in on the action with their free sample days.  These are all teasers to encourage you to buy or try their product.

If there is one thing everyone loves, it is getting something for free.

How many books have you passed over buying because you didn’t know if you would like the author?  The write up on the back cover looks good, the cover art is enticing, but you just don’t know.  So you decide instead to buy that new book by the author you love.

This does not mean you have to give it away free forever.  Offer it free for a limited time. With so many companies marketing other products by this method, it must work.  Otherwise, they would invest that marketing money in other ways to market their products.  You can always offer it free again if it suits your needs.

You can also offer limited time coupon codes so that those who get the code can read it free while others have to purchase it.  Coupon codes can be used in a targeted marketing campaign.  For example, let’s say you are publishing a humor book suitable for grade school kids about survival while camping with scout groups.  Offer the coupon code to your local scout groups, giving the kids the eBook free.  If they read it and love it, they’ll tell their friends about it.  Target book clubs for your genre.  If your book is about gardening, offer the coupon code for free limited time download of your book to a few garden clubs.

Knowing they got something free that others have to pay for makes people feel special.  They feel like they got a prize, they feel superior, they feel a small sense of empowerment.  They feel like they matter just a little bit more.  They feel like someone cares.  Each feels special in a different way, depending on their personality.  It doesn’t matter how they feel special, you made them feel that way and they like you more for it.

The hardest part of selling books is getting readers to know it exists. If free offers help, then it is worth it.  The first job of selling your book is getting someone to read it.  If you did your job right in writing the book, then they will do your second job for you – getting them to talk about it.

People talk about books and share information on them for three reasons:

(1) They loved it,

(2) They found it controversial and it got their blood boiling,

(3) They hated it.

Nobody talks about the book that isn’t noteworthy.  They also won’t talk about it if they haven’t read it or even heard of it.  If they loved it, they will talk about it, and they also will want to read more.

Another way to get free samples of your work into your potential readers’ hands is short stories.  Offer short stories for free eBook download.  Blog them, Facebook them, share them.

Consider this:  work together with another author who writes similar stories in the same genre.  You both offer a free short story written by the other with the purchase of your book.  Both authors have a vested interest in promoting the books, one to earn the royalties and the other to get their reader audience to grow through the free short story.

Always remember to plug your other work.  Whether a book or a short story, free or for a price, always remember to include a plug for other published work that is available.

Every piece has to be your best.  Whether free or not, a 100 word flash fiction or 150,000 novel; every bit of writing you put out there needs to be good.  Advertising yourself with mediocre short stories will not increase your readership.

However you choose to market your work, the goal is the same – getting potential readers and buyers to notice you in a sea of possible authors.

L. V. where the bodies areGaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are

What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions?

Watch for book 2 of the McAllister series coming soon at Second Wind Publishing, LLC:  The McAllister Farm.  The secret behind the bodies is revealed.

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Other links to purchase L.V. Gaudet’s books

Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary

https://angiesdiary.com/bookoftheweek-web/081-botwoct262014.html

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Reaching for the Stars by Sheila Englehart

As a writer, I’ve never been much of a planner. As a writer new to marketing, I’m fast learning that the art of selling a novel requires a bit of preparation. I don’t have a massive online marketing platform so I decided to find influential readers interested in my genre who did. I thought if the right person with a longer reach than mine praised my book, their fans might check it out. Ask any author who caught Oprah’s eye.

 Warning Signs is an afterlife suspense, who better to target than the people who seek out – or even talk to – dead people for a living? Ghost hunters, monster chasers, and psychic mediums topped my list. And where could I find them in the broad daylight? Paranormal conventions. October is Dead Season, when those in the paranormal field hit the black and orange road leading up to Halloween.

Paracon was holding its second annual convention in Mahnomen, MN. When I saw their guest list, I put it on my calendar and bought tickets the minute they went on sale. This event was playing host to the stars of SyFy’s series Ghost Hunters, Haunted Collector, Ghost Hunters International, and Destination Truth along with famous medium Chip Coffey from A&E’s Paranormal State and Psychic Kids. Each show had a star who had penned a memoir about their life or their show. Paracon was going to be an all-in-one stop for this paranormal novelist.

My plan? Take the books I owned by these already- famous authors, get them signed, and give them a copy of my book. No pitching, no begging them to read it, no asking for reviews.  Who is going to turn down a free book? Not the most elegant plan. But what was the worst that could happen? They throw it in the trash before they head for home? I was starting with nothing, and had nothing to lose. I told myself, “You must boldly go where you never imagined you would, or you won’t get anywhere.”

I had five specific targets: two mediums and three television stars. The first two graciously accepted my offering with congratulations. I felt awkward and silly, but I managed to create a little small talk hopefully without repelling them. The remaining three presented more of a challenge. One medium was so busy that she was impossible to pin down. I was smart enough to grab her card to contact her later. Another TV star was a no-show. The guy chases monsters for a living in the most remote places on the planet, and what took him down? Poison oak. The star I thought would be a sure thing told me that she didn’t read fiction. What? It took me a moment to recover, but when I did she shared that she enjoyed history, true crime, and genealogy. That’s tough competition.

Striking up conversation about my novel with other attendees proved even harder. Celebrities are always the big draw at conventions. Booths manned by unknowns hawking books and services were largely bypassed by the herd. People had come to touch the heroes they invited into their homes for an hour each week. Unless I was connected to one of those stars, they didn’t care about my book. That didn’t stop me from discreetly leaving my bookmarks around for people to find: in hotel rooms, seat pockets of the plane, magazines, beneath tips in restaurants. I did resist planting them in the bestsellers at the airport bookstores.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. I’ll go as far as I can reasonably afford to get my book in as many hands as I can. I wish I could have hit all my targets, but I did my best to get my book into influential hands.  Couldn’t hurt to have a famous fan. I would have loved to hit another convention before the season ended, but ran out of time. Lesson learned for next year.

As the Ghost Hunters used to say at the close of each episode, “On to the next.”

https://secondwindpub.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/reaching-for-the-stars-by-sheila-englehart/

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Naysayers and Online Promotion

There are a lot of Naysayers out there who negate the value of Online Promotion.  Particularly with using social networks to create name recognition to sell their products—books. They tout other methods, proven methods formerly used in promoting books and authors. What I say to the Naysayers, is this:  TIMES CHANGE.  The basic methods of publicity/marketing remain the same but the focus of the methods has changed. To be successful you must CHANGE with the times.  Or get left behind

These days, a great deal of shopping is done online, including books, music, movies, clothes, house wares and appliances—even cars and houses.  Online is a HUGE mall and that’s the way you have to look at it. No it hasn’t replaced concrete stores, but that doesn’t reduce the validity of online sales, or online promotion.  Why?

Face it, we’re a techie generation and the technology is there, in ever-increasing numbers, to facilitate online selling and buying. Studies track how much time the average person spends online for things other than working. While I don’t have the figures at my fingertips, it’s a huge block of time.  Computers can do about anything a TV can—provide you with the latest news, music, TV shows, movies, and books.  Cell phones can hook you to your computer and access the Internet.  C’mon.  The Internet isn’t going anywhere unless some catastrophe happens to eliminate it. Naysayers have to get with the times. Which is why e-Books, Print on Demand or digital technology, and traditional published books in e-book format, aren’t going to go away, no matter how many opinions there are on what constitutes a “real” book. 

 If online sales weren’t valid, why is every paper catalogue put out have an online store?  Why are even major manufacturers providing an online presence and a venue to sell their products?  Everyone from attorneys to roofers sell their services on line.  Manufacturers from Beer to Xanax use known personalities to sell their products. These personalities and stars are known because of their activity in sports and on the silver screen—and known on the Internet. Why? Name and face recognition. 

 Hollywood sells their products online.  Their products are stars, producers, movies, and TV shows. The music industry is the same. Just about everyone who sells something has a website.  It’s real. It’s today, not yesterday. 

For instance, in Hollywood of old, anything that got the actors, producers, and the name of the movie or show, in the paper was publicity.  It was encouraged, it was “leaked”, it fabricated. Paparazzi are still everywhere with hopes of catching something to write about and sell on the citizens of the movie and TV industry.  But now, it’s not the papers that get it first, it’s the Internet and the publicity grinders make sure their people are on the internet. It’s the same method, different focus. Actors get known on the screen by the body of their work—if that was enough we wouldn’t see them in print or on the Internet.  Personalities sell products.  People want to get to know something about the actors not just the shows/movies they’re in. 

 If you’re an author and your product is good, you are going to sell it—if people know you have a product.  How are they going to know?  Today, it’s the Internet.  Authors have to have an Internet presence. Social networks (no doubt there will be other ways in the future) provide a way for the authors to become known and to build a readership base. If the author is a known presence, then readers will know who these authors are, may have even chatted with them online. Readers will know the books, the storylines, and release dates.  Consequently, authors will have better sales both online and where ever books are sold. 

 I’m not discounting the other avenues such as book signing events, speaking to book clubs, newspapers, radio, and TV, but, unless you have an existing platform for it, unless you already have name recognition, this may not increase your sales appreciably. Local, versus the World Wide Web. This is especially so given our present economic situation and the money spent to do this physically. The old ways vs. profits made? Getting known on the Internet can increase your sales. It’s free. Will it give you over night success?  Pfft, not usually, in fact rarely

 It takes time and work to garner success. It may not seem like you’re getting anywhere in the beginning, but this is a long-range goal. The amount of publicity also depends upon how you promote yourself as an author and it depends upon how soon you start with gaining name recognition on the Internet before your book is released. It takes a lot of focused time and work.  

 My thinking on it this is if you go to all the trouble and time to write a book what’s the point if you’re not going to take the time and work to sell it?  Or ignore the new ways to gain name and face recognition. 

 To the Naysayers, I again say, times change and either you change with the times or get left behind. 

Welcome to today.  

Sia McKye

 

I’m married to a spitzy Italian. We have a ranch out beyond the back 40 where I raise kids, dogs, horses, cats, and have been known to raise a bit of hell, now and then. I have a good sense of humor and am an observer of life and a bit of a philosopher. I see the nuances—they intrigue me.

I’m a Marketing Rep by profession and a creative writer. I have written several mainstream Romance novels one of which I’ve out on a partial request.  I’ve written and published various articles on Promotion and Publicity, Marketing, Writing, and the Publishing industry. 

Aside from conducting various writing discussions and doing numerous guest blogging engagements, I write a blog, Over Coffee, http://siamckye.blogspot.com/  Each week I promote and share authors’ stories, on the laughter, glitches, triumphs, and fun that writers and authors face in pursuit of their ambition to write—Over Coffee.

 

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