Tag Archives: book promotion

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.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00015]

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00015]

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

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


Follow L. V. Gaudet:

Facebook author page







Filed under How To, L.V. Gaudet, marketing, writing

The Making of a Video Trailer

As a recently published author, I am still learning the ins and outs of the promotional side of this business. When I received my author’s packet last fall, I developed my Facebook page, started a Twitter account, joined Smashwords and Goodreads. I slowly began to use them. Okay, I don’t use them like I should, but I do use them.

Sometime around Thanksgiving, my publisher, Second Wind, talked to me about doing a video book trailer. I realized immediately that this was going to be a little more complicated than posting a tweet @hvpurvis. This was going to be a major undertaking, kinda scary even. We talked and I, having a theater background, had an idea of a scene to do. Mike liked it. I called my son, Adam, who has just started a video graphics company and had built my website, hvpurvis.com and explained what I wanted to do. His response? “Yeah, we can do that. I’m really swamped right now, but I’ll give it some thought.”

Adam and I talked about the video several times. He had a different idea than mine. It was a good idea and the one he wanted to use, since his name would be on the credits. .

In early January, I get an email with an attachment, Storyboard. He laid out the action in still drawings complete with descriptions. Another attachment contained the voiceover dialogue for each of the scenes. Adam wanted to film it with an iPhone to give it that “I just saw this happening and filmed it” look. He thought using a “real” video camera would take away some of the realism. He arranged for my daughter, me, two of his long time friends, who are almost like my children, and himself to film one weekend. Friday evening they shot the interior scenes. On Saturday, a dreary over-cast day, they arrived at the barn. (I write in my barn loft.)

Adam explained what each scene would entail and we shot one for practice, just to get the feel of it. We shot each scene five or six times with slight adjustments or small changes to see what worked best.

He spent the next two weeks putting it together, tweaking, and getting it like he wanted. I had seen drafts at each stage and offered suggestions and comments. Then the finished product arrived in an email. I was amazed, and it was posted at http://youtu.be/K2SvcqSgs4g

Although making the trailer took time, the experience was exhilarating and fun. Now, I’m working on scenes to film for my forthcoming books—with much anticipation!

H.V. Purvis
Author of Extinction and it’s soon to be released sequel, Survival. Also due out this spring is the murder mystery, Death In A Small Town.


Filed under books, marketing, writing

To Vid or Not To Vid

What sells a book?

It is obvious that people are not going to buy something they don’t know about. We are told the best way to inform people in this cyber age is with a website, a blog site and be on every possible social network. I have a website and blog site and I’m on Facebook and Twitter. To be very honest with you I don’t quite yet have Twitter figured out. I’m also on Linked in, but that’s another one I haven’t figured out yet.

Having done all those things, my question is, “When they come to your site what is the more effective sell; an excerpt or a video?” If you want to share your opinion the comment tab is open.

So here is a picture of the cover, and a brief description of The telephone Killer. I will also post a brief excerpt and a short video. What I’m wondering is if the video really does something or is it just fluff in the selling process.

Someone said of the video, “Well it lends credibility.” It seems to me it is the writing that has to be credible. So if you would read the excerpt and watch the video I would love I if you would let me know which, if there was only one or the other, is more likely to get you to buy the book.

OK. Here goes.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00024]

Who will he kill next? A local television station is the link between a murderer and his victims. When the unknown killer calls the station, misleading clues cannot help his intended targets.

But why is he killing seemingly random people? An insurance salesman, a police officer and a hitchhiker; the police cannot connect the victims to each other much less to the killer.

The questions haunt Vince Williams as he takes charge of the task force set up to stop the serial killer. When the team comes too close to answers, the killer makes a bold and very personal move against Vince. 

As Vince races to find the killer and rescue his fiancé, he is haunted by the killer’s calm promise to destroy the woman Vince loves. Vince will do anything to save her. – Anything.

Excerpt for Telephone Killer

‟KWBD newsroom. Andrea Becker speaking.”

‟I have a news story for you.” The voice was quiet, but was easily heard and had a calm and soothing quality. ‟I would appreciate it if you did not interrupt me with questions until I have finished what I have to say.” He paused. ‟I have just killed a police officer. After determining there was no one else in the area, or anyone in his car with him, I shot him in the head. The bullet entered the left temple and exited on the right side. The killing took place at precisely ten forty-seven this morning. You will find his body in his car located at the end of Harmon Place. He did not suspect a thing. I imagine he thought I was going to ask for directions or something of that nature. He was in car number seven, twenty-six and his badge number is eighteen, twenty-one. I hope as a public service you will make the most of this news opportunity. ”

The phone went dead but still Andrea said, ‟Hello. Hello.”

* * *

Harmon Place rose up the gentle hill to end at a barricade beyond which there was some tall grass and scraggly brush interspersed with a few scrub oak trees. The street was paved with curbs and sidewalks in place and sloping driveways leading to bare dirt lots that were beginning to fill with weeds. From the end of Harmon Place, at the top of the hill, one could look down on Falcon Heights and beyond it to the city. At night, the sight of the city lights was spectacular and the curbs of Harmon Place, and other streets like it, were dotted with the cars of young lovers. Officer Remke had never parked there at night himself, but often in the middle of the morning, he parked at the end of Harmon Place to catch up on his reports so he would have that much less to do back at the station when his shift was over.

The KWBD crew from the senior citizen center, which was two miles away, got there a few minutes before the first patrol car. In that time the KWBD crew were able to get pictures of the dead officer sitting behind the wheel of his car with blood on his cheek and neck and splattered all over his uniform and the car seat. So much of the right side of his head was blown away it would have been hard to determine it was a human head if it were not for the neck and then the uniformed body below it.

More patrol cars arrived, and the police started stringing up yellow tape to keep people back. Unmarked cars with detectives and professionals from the homicide division arrived. Five minutes later, the Live-News truck arrived. Although the crew from the truck was prevented by the police from getting close enough to the crime scene to get any good pictures, the video George Patton had taken before anyone else got there was transmitted by the Live truck to the station for broadcast.

Here is the video for Telephone Killer


Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing will be out in December, 2012.

Please feel free to re blog any of my posts.


Filed under books, writing

Scorpion Bay Book Launch

I didn’t realize it at the time I wrote the novel, but product placement, also known as embedded marketing, would become important in promoting Scorpion Bay.  A few tweaks to a manuscript could impact a writer’s novel in positive ways as well.

Next time you’re at a movie notice how many times you see a box of Dunkin Doughnuts or a Coke product.  Product placement is common in movies, but novels? Sure, specific products are often mentioned but how can they be turned into tangible product placements to benefit a writer’s book promotion?

I named my mystery/suspense novel Scorpion Bay two years before the Scorpion Bay Marina was built.  I had to create scenes based on the existing marina at the other side of Lake Pleasant in Arizona.  Once the new marina was built at Scorpion Bay, I realized the deli I described didn’t exist.  The only eating establishment was a wonderful restaurant called Dillons.  Writing about a real location, I wanted to be accurate, so I contacted the owner, Rich Dillon, who welcomed my inquiry like I was a long lost brother.  He not only gave me permission to use his restaurant in the story, he asked if he could sell the book, once the novel was published, at his store where boaters come up for supplies. Many of his customers spend half the year on the water.  They need something to read right?  He didn’t have to twist my arm.

When I asked whether I could have a launch party at his restaurant, Mr. Dillon said, “Absolutely. How can I help?”

Armed with a date and location, I approached the media.  The media rarely does stories about a new novel being released, except by literary superstars of which I am not yet a member.  However, the local weekly, Peoria Times and the state’s daily newspaper, The Arizona Republic , said yes to stories about the launch of Scorpion Bay the novel, at the real Scorpion Bay.  I also approached the state’s highest rated morning news program, Good Morning Arizona.  Two years earlier, one of their newscasters had been helpful in researching my story; the main character is a newscaster.  Good Morning Arizona jumped at the chance to interview me in studio because they were the story, their newscaster helping an author.

In studio interview

When you read the articles, notice the stories are not about me or Scorpion Bay.  They’re about Dillons Restaurant and the Scorpion Bay Marina.  Those were real places mentioned in the novel.  The locations give scenes authenticity and they became product placements like Coke or Dunkin Doughnuts. They resulted in tangible benefits to the book promotion efforts of my book release and more specifically the book launch.

The restaurant and the marina not only benefited from media publicity, but they profited from my promotional efforts through social media such as my Facebook page, twitter page, Goodreads and my website.

During the launch party I made a point of asking attendees what brought them there.  Several had boats at the marina.  Some had come for the food. Half said they came because they read about the event in the newspaper or saw it on television.  I sold twice as many books at the launch party than any event I had for my six prior novels, because the launch party for Scorpion Bay was at the real Scorpion Bay. The title itself is product placement.

Writers whose manuscript involves a real location should look for ways to not only add authenticity by using real locations, but they should look for locations that potentially offer produce placement. Partner with businesses, obtain their approval and the author should see how a relationship can work to their advantage.

My main character, Parker Knight, road a high tech Harley Davidson.  Maybe I should approach them and surprise my wife by riding home on a black gleaming Harley…naaah. 

Dillons RestaurantPlenty of signs along the pierIt got busy!


Filed under writing

Staccato: Novel Tie-In – by Deborah J Ledford

Continuing with how my upcoming suspense thriller Staccato came to be, I thought I would discuss how important the music element was to the overall aspect of the novel.

Countless hours were spent selecting the piano pieces featured in Staccato. It was my full intent to implement the ideal classical musical compositions that would convey the mood of each scene where music was indicated. The highly-charged scenes were ideal for crashing concertos, whereas the scenes of reflection feature soothing sonatas. Each and every piece was selected to emphasize the mood, setting and characters’ feelings as this psychological suspense thriller progresses.

In writing the novel, the music became a motivating factor as well as a subplot—as if composing a complicated piece of music…with words.

 Because of this, I’ve considered adding a CD tie-in to the novel which features the classical music I have showcased so that readers have the full impression of what I have presented to them.

Would this be an endeavor worth pursuing? I would be very interested to know what you think about this idea.

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel Staccato, scheduled for release by Second Wind Publishing, September 15, 2009.


Filed under books, fiction, marketing, music