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A Few Marketing Tips...

Discussion in 'Writing Wiki' started by Carol Rose, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Carol Rose

    Carol Rose Venerated Member Founding Member

    56 (427 Banked)
    We have questions on here from time to time about how to market your book, so I thought I'd share a few of the things I do, in the hopes it might help others. None of these are specific to romance novels. You should be able to use them no matter what you've had published.

    Social media - using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets to promote your book can be tricky, because if you're like me, the first people you follow/friend are going to be other authors. And while those authors can and might be your readers also, the last thing you want to do is fill your posts or tweets with nothing but promotion.

    In the case of social media, take it slow. Get to know people as human beings first. Other authors are fabulous about sharing promotion opportunities with each other, especially on Facebook, and from there you can build your friend list and widen your circle into actual readers, bloggers, PAs (personal assistants), etc.

    Join Facebook groups of other authors. They will often band together and do mass promotion in the form of a giveaway or a blog hop, as well as other giveaways that bloggers sponsor. For instance, right now I'm in the middle of a giveaway that includes over two dozen authors. All we did was donate less than $10 toward the over $300 Amazon gift card the winner will receive, plus we each donated an ebook. Simple, easy, inexpensive, and because everyone entering has to either follow us on Twitter, like our author page, or sign up for our newsletter, it's driving new readers to check us out.

    I'm fortunate in that Evernight does a lot of mass promotion for their authors in the form of Facebook events and other coordinated marketing efforts, but anyone can organize something like this. There are readers out there with blogs who LOVE doing this sort of thing. Once you find them, hang onto them.

    Blog tours are a great way to get the same promo spot on multiple blogs, usually within a week or two. You can time it around a release date. If you're really ambitious, you can tweak the post for each one so it's not the same excerpt or content, but don't worry if you don't have time for that. And don't worry about how many readers the blog has. In the case of doing something along these lines, it's all about exposure. Word of mouth sells books, far and above anything else we do. That, and writing the next one. :)

    My backlist still sells very well, so building one will ensure you longevity in this business. That, and building a reputation as someone approachable on social media, as opposed to someone who does nothing but promote their own stuff.

    As for your own blog, you don't have to stress over what to write on it. I rarely write anything on mine. Once a month or so I do a post called Saturdays in Indy (Indianapolis, IN, where I currently live), and all I do is ramble on about something personal going on in my life. Near the holidays I posted the pictures of the dozen or so Christmas trees we put up. Stuff like that. Readers love it because it's personal, and because they get a glimpse into my very ordinary life. :)

    But the bulk of my website is promotion of other authors. And that's easy-peasy to do. They send me a post and I put it up. Nothing to it. Then I pimp it on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. If you look at my cloud tag, Evernight Publishing and Guest Bloggers are the largest ones. There's a reason for that. Not only is it great karma to give my fellow authors a boost, but it drives people back to Evernight Publishing, and to my website. This is not a business where you can go it alone. You will sink. And, it's not a zero sum game. There is room for all of us. When one of us succeeds, we all do.

    There are all sorts of sites springing up where you can pay to have your book featured for a day on their email list. Some of the costs are astronomical (in the high hundreds), and some are modest (under $100). Stacey, the woman who owns Evernight, isn't shy about trying them all. She and I recently talked about which ones currently out there give an author the most bang for the buck, because I was thinking of doing one with a more moderately-priced site for my latest release. Right now, BookBub has the best distribution in terms of an email list, and gives the most return on the promotion in terms of sales. BUT... it's very difficult to get a book approved to feature, and it costs a lot of money.

    However... they now offer ads, and anyone can take advantage of them. Here's how it works. You set the budget, the price you want to pay per 1,000 impressions, and how many days you want the ad to run. You control what it says, and where the click-through button takes readers - in other words - which buy site for your book. I chose Amazon because the bulk of my sales come from there.

    Introducing BookBub Ads - Promote Any Book, Any Time

    You need to have an author dashboard already set up, and I'm not sure if this is available in every country. I used it recently for the first time, and had a 3% click-through rate. That is VERY good for cold marketing. I watched my Amazon ranking while the clicks were tallying up, and it did go down (meaning books were selling) during that time, so those clicks were equalling sales. And I only paid $2.99. :) The best part was I didn't have to do anything in terms of promoting this ad. Bookbub took care of that. All I had to do was sit back and monitor the progress, so I could judge whether this was worth it for future books, and whether I needed to tweak anything in terms of money or time the ad ran.

    Visit MailChimp and set up a newsletter. Then put a sign-up button on your website and your Facebook page. Mine is growing slowly, and that's the name of the game in this business. Things will build slowly, but they WILL build. Then of course, don't forget to actually send out a newsletters once in a while. :) Oh, and offer something different in it than your readers can get anywhere from you. Otherwise there's no incentive for them to sign up in the first place. Simple contests are easy to do and don't take much time at all. You can get inexpensive swag from places like VistaPrint to give away. The cost of the item plus the shipping of it to the winner is tax deductible as part of your writing business.

    As you can see, yes this is all extra work. Do you have to do any of this? No. But in this day and age, when publishers no longer have the budget or the desire to do lavish launch parties, when the days of massive press for one book are long gone, and when we're all competing with literally anyone who can use a keyboard and upload a book to Amazon, we have to do something to get the word out that we have a book for sale.

    How much time does all this take me? Not a clue. I work full time outside the home. And with 88 books now between the three pen names, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that means I'm not making enough from those 88 books to live on. :) I'm actually making the average of what most novelists today make. It's that one percent that we all aspire to, but that's one percent of literally hundreds of thousands of authors out there, if you count all the self-published books on Amazon and other sites. So all in all, making anything is fabulous. It means you're a published author, earning royalties. :)

    If I had to put a time stamp on it, I'd say the marketing/promotion part takes me roughly ten hours a week. No more than that, and some weeks is far less than that amount of time. I spend far more time writing each week than I do marketing and promoting. Time is my worst enemy. If I didn't have a day job, I'd be quite a writing force. :) :)

    So, now that we've talked about things you CAN do, here is a short list of what NOT to do.

    DO NOT send direct messages to followers on Twitter with a "Check me out on Facebook!" or "Here's where to find my books!" message, including links. For 99% of us, that is a direct about-face, automatic unfollow and block. In fact, you really don't need to send anything to followers, including a "thank you." Just do a Frozen and let it go...

    DO NOT post your promotion on others' Facebook walls - their timelines. TACKY AND RUDE. Same with instantly inviting them to "like" your page as soon as they accept your friend request. When authors do that to me, I instantly unfriend and block them.

    DO NOT tag others in your own promotion, unless they are part of it. Example: twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays, I participate in a group blog hop where we each post a short snippet from a current or upcoming work. The link to "hop" to the next blog post is also posted on each of our blog posts. When I post that link on Facebook and Twitter, I tag the other authors participating in that day's blog hop. So do each of them. It's exposure on each post for all of us, and the tag is welcomed in this case because we're giving a shout-out to our fellow participating authors.

    But to post promotion where it's only YOU, and then tag 2,745 of your closest friends so it ends up on their timelines as well, is a HUGE no-no and will earn you the wrath of those 2,745 close friends.

    DO NOT waste your money on buying email addresses. That's called SPAM and it can get your email account shut down. The only mass emailing you should be doing is to the people who have signed up for your newsletter. Anything else is not promotion. It's spam.

    That's all I can think of right now. :) If anyone has any questions, please ask. :) Or, if you have found a marketing tip that has helped your sales, please share it! :)
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  2. Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

    Katie-Ellen Hazeldine Venerated Member Founding Member

    767 (0 Banked)
    DO NOT send direct messages to followers on Twitter with a "Check me out on Facebook!" or "Here's where to find my books!" message, including links. For 99% of us, that is a direct about-face, automatic unfollow and block. In fact, you really don't need to send anything to followers, including a "thank you." Just do a Frozen and let it go...

    Tedious and annoying, and sometimes they even ask directly for money for their chosen cause .
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  3. Marc Joan

    Marc Joan Venerated Member Founding Member

    377 (0 Banked)
    Great post! Thanks.
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  4. Kitty

    Kitty Distinguished Member

    291 (0 Banked)
    This is an excellent post, thanks @Carol Rose.

    I was wondering - since there have been several really useful posts like this one recently, whether it would be possible to create some sort of writing advice archive or sub forum where posts like this could be moved to, otherwise in time they will become lost further down the forum pages. @AgentPete ?
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  5. Carol Rose

    Carol Rose Venerated Member Founding Member

    56 (427 Banked)
    Glad you found it helpful, @Marc Joan and @Kitty. Great idea about the sub forum! :)
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  6. AgentPete

    AgentPete Capo Famiglia Staff Member

    539 (49 Banked)
    Nice piece of cake
    Yes, that's a really good idea.

    I'm wondering whether anyone would like to volunteer to maintain it, i.e. select posts to be included there. really, more of an editor role than a moderator...?
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