Category Archives: Marketing Your Book

Adrian King Writing revolution guest post headshot

Self Publishing: The Writing Revolution

Becoming an author is easier than it has ever been - we have something to say and now, with the advent of self publishing in all its forms, we are able to reach an audience through our own efforts, rather than relying on being noticed by an agent or publishing house. This week's guest poster, Adrian King, has some tips on how to take full advantage of the writing revolution.

The Writing Revolution

By Adrian King

Adrian King Writing revolution guest post headshotI consider myself privileged to be a writer living in one of the most extensive revolutions to ever hit the publishing industry. Authors have more access to their readers than any other time in history. We no longer rely on the decisions of a few publishing houses to determine the destiny of our work. Rather, we can look to our audience, and create our own success. The wide distribution of E-readers and more access to print-on-demand companies in the last ten years have transformed how our business works.

“Tweet something personal. Post a picture of your pets.”

So, how can a novice writer begin their solo journey to published author? This short guideline can help you begin a strong foundation.

  • Start by testing your work. Ask family and trusted friends to read your piece, and get it edited. If you can't afford a professional editing service, then seek out writer's critique groups. You have asked these people for their opinions, so be prepared when they offer them. Some writers become so attached to their work that they cannot accept constructive criticism. All they have done is ignored the fact that their work could be better. However, do not let anyone dilute your focus either. Keep an open mind about suggested changes and consider every option, but ultimately it is your name on the cover.
  • Build a strong author's platform.
    • Create an author's page on Facebook, and link it to your Twitter account. Once you link them, your Facebook posts will tweet, and your tweets will post as status updates on Facebook. Invite all of your friends to like your page. Be sure not to make your pages one long running commercial. Tweet something personal. Post a picture of your pets. You will be ignored if you bombard your friends and followers with commercials about your book. It is also important to grow your audience. Follow industry professionals, invite everyone you know to be your friend, and even include your Facebook and Twitter information on your printed materiel. It is common now for people to judge the reputation of artists, authors, and companies on their number of likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter. This is why many large companies have entire departments dedicated to their social media coordination.
    • Also, an author's website is a must. Have your complete bio available. Have descriptions of all of your available titles, along with a link to where they can be purchased.
    • Want to make two royalties for each sale? Amazon makes it possible.
      • First, make sure your book is available for sale on Amazon.com.
        Then become an Amazon Associates Member. This allows you to sell Amazon products on your author's page for a commission.
      • Finally, create links to your book at Amazon Associates and use them as the links to purchase your book. Now, when people click the link to buy your book, you will get paid a commission for the advertisement and the royalty for your book sale.
    • Start a blog. Your blog doesn't need to be about writing. Blog about something you love. Your family, travel, pets, anything. People who do not typically read Sci-Fi might buy the Sci-Fi title of their favorite travel blogger. You may not look forward to starting another regular commitment, but there are plenty of good reasons to get it done. You will get good practice writing, grow your audience, and provide content for your social media posts.
  • Choose your weapon. Choosing your printer and distributor is like choosing a relationship. Carefully define your budget, and then do your research. Createspace.com, Lulu.com, and iUniverse.com all have their pros and cons. You will need to choose a company that fits your needs and budget.
  • Get your name out there. When people search your name, you want them to find your book. There are many ways to get this done, but here are a couple of simple and cheap methods that I like.
    • I listed my book on E-bay. Most search engines will display E-bay results on the first page.
    • Next I created an author's bio on Amazon.
    • Become a guest blogger. Establish your blog and write enough content to show your expertise on your topic. Then, offer to write posts for other blogs similar to your own. This will not only spread your byline, but also help drive some traffic back to your own blog.
    • Finally, a blog tour is a great way to get your book mentioned on several websites in a short period of time.
“You are no longer just a writer. You are an Author”

All these things can help you build a strong base. Remember, how successful you become is completely up to you. You are no longer just a writer. You are an Author... Not to mention publicist, head of marketing, editor-in-chief, and designer. It is hard work to be your own publisher, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

Useful tips there from Adrian King - there were a few I hadn't thought of! How do you let people know about your books? Use the comments below to share your thoughts - and the handy buttons to share this post with your friends, too.

Kayelle Allen author marketing plan blog photo

Making an Author Marketing Plan

When you are an author - particularly a self published author - unless you are content to let your book languish at the bottom of the Amazon heap, there is really no alternative but to market your book.

Yet most of us have no idea where to start, once we've shared the book with our friends on facebook and twitter. We are most fortunate to have as today's guest poster, Kayelle Allen, founder of Marketing for Romance Writers and award winning Science Fiction and Romance, to give us some tips.

Enjoy!
[sendtokindle]

Making a Simple Author Marketing Plan

by Kayelle Allen

Kayelle Allen author marketing plan blog photoEducate yourself in how to be a successful writer and you will accomplish more than you ever thought possible. Today, let's look at a simple, four-part marketing plan. A plan like this is not the be-all, end-all of plans. It's the start of a bigger picture for your career, but it's as vital as the floor of a building.

In fact, marketing plans are like modular houses. You have a solid foundation and beams for support, but you can pull out one room and pop in another. Plans can change and grow, the way a family can outgrow a house.

Like anything you learn, you can't absorb the entire thing in one big gulp. Even if you could, I wouldn't be able to transfer it all to you in one big lump. I don't know of any teaching method that could - with the exception of telepathy. You must learn by steps, and those are bigger for some, smaller for others.

When you're doing a worthwhile job, don't allow the work to make you weary enough to quit. If you keep going, you will prosper and succeed. You haven't failed until you've quit. With that piece of advice out of the way, let's get started. There are four basic steps to making your first marketing plan.

Objectives

What do objectives have to do with marketing? Everything. If you don't know why you're marketing your books, why do it?

“it is more likely you'll complete a goal you believe in”

An objective is a goal intended to be attained (and which is believed to be attainable). To say that in a more blunt way -- it's something you want to do, and that you believe you can do. It does you no good to set a goal you don't think you can accomplish. Do you want "USA Today Best Selling Author" beside your name? That's a great goal. Many authors have attained it -- it's doable. If you don't believe you can do it, you are not likely to achieve it. A goal must be believable by you. Could you be surprised by attaining a goal you hadn't thought you could accomplish? Certainly. But it is more likely you'll complete a goal you believe in. Positive self-talk, the act of affirming your own goals, will help you. Ban thoughts such as "I'm such a loser" or "I know this is a dumb question" or "This will never work." Replace them with belief that you can and will do the things you say you will do.

Record the goals you set for yourself, and read them daily. This is part of your affirmation process and will help you focus your energy in the right areas.

Audience

Who is your audience? Do you write Young Adult (YA) books? Romance? Science Fiction? True Crime? Or maybe you're putting together a non-fiction book. It doesn't matter what you're writing -- you still have to know who is going to buy and read it. If you write for the YA crowd, your style will be different from that of the self-help psychology book author. You will market differently as well. Let's say you write YA and you decide to join Twitter. What hashtags will you use? Do you even know what a hashtag is? Before you decide to use a particular social media, you need to know whether your readers are going to be there.

List your target audience. Learn as much about them as possible. For example, if they are young people, what is their age range? What grades does that equate to in school? Which gender is more likely to read your work? Which social media is favored by this audience? Did you know that the majority (about 70%) of Pinterest users are women? If you write for a female audience, that means your target audience is there. How do you go about reaching them? It pays to know who your audience is so that you can find out where they are. If you can find readers, you can sell books.

Identity (Brand)

Who are you as an author? Do you have a recurring theme in your books? Do all your heroes tend to be cowboys, or pirates? Are your heroines usually take-charge women who don't take no for an answer? Do you write about alpha males, or do your heroes lean more toward the sensitive type? If you write non-fiction, what topics do your books cover?

“unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion”

This is likely your brand. I write about "unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion." Therefore, I've branded all my material with that phrase. My blog is called Unstoppable Heroes.

Record your identity and brand, and tweak it until you come up with something you can use as a tag for your writing. Focus your attention on marketing that allows you to make the most of that phrase. If you write about passionate heroes, don't spend time marketing yourself on a site that doesn't cater to readers who want that type of book. Focus your attention on a site that does.

Plan of Action

What steps will you take to achieve your objectives? Will you hold book signings, chats, blog frequently, create a fan page on Facebook, etc.? Make these plans short, to the point, and high level without detail. This is more of an outline for what you'll do than a detailed step-by-step instruction guide.

Following Up

In a five-year plan, each year will have different goals and objectives. Each builds upon the other. What you can accomplish by year three will be more than the result of years one plus two. This is why you will want to tweak your plan each year. Take advantage of strengths you develop, and you will grow more.

“Keep your audience in mind, and work to reach them”

As you begin to work on your plan, remember to read over your objectives. This will help you focus your time, attention, and money in the places most important to you. Keep your audience in mind, and work to reach them. Be true to yourself as a writer by clearly stating your identity and brand. All your marketing should underscore this important aspect. Stay with your plan. Have a plan and work the plan -- that is the byword for success.

Kayelle's latest book is Tales of the Chosen trilogy: Wulf, Alitus, Jawk, available on Amazon now.

Share your own author marketing successes in the comments below!

Sarah Bain opinion is priceless blog post graphic

Facts are Free, Opinion is Priceless

So much creativity used to be stifled by the publishing industry. Now, with self published book sales overtaking the more traditional forms, the publishing industry is being dragged kicking and screaming into a new world order for the 21st century. Sara Bain, this week's guest poster, discusses the implications for us all. When facts are freely available on the internet, informed opinion is priceless.
[sendtokindle]

Facts are Free, Opinion is Priceless

by Sara Bain

Sarah Bain opinion is priceless blog post graphicWith the likes of Amazon re-defining the concept of publishing and turning the industry on its head, more and more new authors are springing from the slush piles of traditional publishing houses to boldly go to e-book and print – a new frontier where quality is argued to be the victim of quantity.

The coming of the digital age brought many changes to many different business models. Some embraced those changes and survived, while others have come on board too late and are desperately trying to find ways to catch that proverbial boat sailing away without them.

The invention of the digital photograph didn’t kill the photography industry, it just altered it. Camera and lens manufacturers have benefited from the change and turned everyone into a happy snapper to the detriment of professional photographers. Print companies have learned to change the ways in which photographs are presented and make their profits by producing photo books, posters and fancy art boards.

“The newspaper industry has been hit hard by digital technology”

The newspaper industry has been hit hard by digital technology with many long established titles folding while circulation figures are making the shape of a depressing downward spiral. More people than ever, however, are reading the news. They are just not buying newspapers when they can find the same or similar information for free on their computers, tablets and mobile phones.

There is a similar pattern emerging in the publishing industry. E-book sales on Kindle have overtaken that of printed copies and now everyone and anyone can be a published author, much to the detriment of the established publishing houses and literary agents.

There has been a lot of recent hysterical debate over whether the absence of a quality watchdog undermines the value of the publishing industry. Many traditional houses as well as published authors, of course, believe that the quantity of poorly edited, badly written, inadequately produced books that are flooding the markets on a daily basis are somehow damaging the integrity of a business that has told readers what they should read for eons.

“In August, there were 6,000 new books produced on Smashwords alone”

For a new author, there is a virtual slush pile emerging that has already reached mountainous heights and continues to climb. In August, there were 6,000 new books produced on Smashwords alone. The number on Kindle would be considerably higher. Out of this vast wash of titles, most would never have seen the light of day had their authors gone down the traditional publishing route, for most would have been rejected: many by way of rude silence owing to the prohibitive costs of postage and time on limited manpower.

The coming of the digital era has caused a shift in the dynamics between author and publisher relationships. It is readers who are making all the decisions on what they would like to read rather than be told what they should. This has come as a shock to an industry which has played Pied Piper for centuries and now publishers are stalking Amazon to see which self-published author is selling well and offering them deals: like the mountain landing on Mohammed’s lap.

Quantity has not killed quality, it has just provided a new-found freedom of choice to readers and now every author can have a shot at glory: proving irrefutably that public opinion is dictating market trends. That’s priceless.

Sara Bain's debut novel, The Sleeping Warror, is available from Amazon now.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below - and this post with your friends, too!

Silas Champion dealing with rejection headshot

Keeping That Chin Up | Dealing With Rejection

Self published authors are truly on their own - long hours in front of the computer screen writing and marketing! Then along comes a troll and puts the boot in. This week's guest poster, Silas Champion, has a few tips on dealing with rejection.
[sendtokindle]

Keeping That Chin Up | Dealing With Rejection

by Silas Champion

Silas Champion self motivation headshotWriting can be a discouraging endeavor. A writer sits in front of a computer for months or sometimes years to create a very personal work of art. He or she then pushes this delicate art form into the wide world to face criticism. It can be a terrifying experience. It’s like an eagle pushing its baby out of the nest.

Every writer faces rejection. Publishers and agents reject our work. Self-published authors face bad reviews from readers or just difficulty getting anyone to buy their book. Many famous authors suffered a lot of rejection before they found success.

It can be difficult to deal with this rejection. Our work is personal; therefore rejection of our work feels like a rejection of us. Sometimes when we get that thirteenth vague form letter rejection from an agent, we just want to throw the laptop out the window. When we see a zero in our monthly sales on Amazon, we feel like chucking it all and living in a box under a bridge.

How can we avoid giving in to discouragement? How can we stay out from under that bridge? Well, first, we should step away from the laptop and put that big box in the recycling bin. The television reception is terrible under the bridge anyway. I think there are three ways to keep your chin up in the face of rejection.

Celebrate Small Victories

The first way is to focus on the positive. Keep that review from someone who enjoyed your book close at hand. Go back and look at a positive post about your work on social media. There are people out there who enjoy your work. This is one reason why we write. With all the rejection and discouragement, it is good to be reminded of this from time to time. I still remember the first review I got from a total stranger. Someone who didn’t even know me talked at great length about how they enjoyed my book. I go back and read that review occasionally, and some others as well. Even though some people will not like your work, others will. Don’t give in to negativity.

Find Community

Writing is a solitary endeavor. It is a very isolating activity as well. Isolation makes it much easier to become discouraged. Find some people who will lift you out of the slough of despair. Talk to a friend on the phone. Exchange emails with a positive person. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to find community. There are many encouraging and friendly writers on social media. They are facing the same struggles. You are not the only writer struggling with crippling self-doubt and discouragement.

Of course, there are plenty of trolls and negative people online as well. Ignore the angry trolls (unless, of course, it is an actual troll–then run away). Find good people and interact with them. Avoid those who constantly spew discouraging information. There are many writers out there who run down famous authors or just lament their lack of success. Reading for the umpteenth time how Amazon’s algorithms are stacked against you will drive anyone to drink. There are always complainers. Find positive people and push negativity away.

Keep Writing

One of the most exciting things that can happen to a writer is the new idea. There is a rush of excitement and energy that comes with it. A new project is full of possibilities. It is like an undiscovered country awaiting exploration. Keep yourself busy with this excitement and you won’t have time to wallow in self-doubt and pity. This doesn’t mean we should ignore older projects. Jumping from one project to another without finishing anything is counterproductive. That will lead to frustration as well. It does mean, though, that we should always be pushing forward. The new possibilities will motivate us to move past our self-doubt.

So stay out from under bridges (seriously, there are trolls there) and just keep writing. Keep going. Keep working. Don’t let your doubts and fears make decisions for you. Find positive people, explore new possibilities, and keep reminders of small successes. Go for it. Don’t give up, and seriously, throw that box away.

What are some things that I missed? How do you push past the obstacles of doubt and discouragement in your writing?

Silas Champion is author of the children's book Finbar's Fiddle, available on Amazon.

Tina Westbrook ebook vs print headshot

Ebook Vs Print | It’s a Matter of Preference

Where did all the book stores go? In today's guest post, Tina Marie Westbrook discusses eBooks vs print ... and reminisces on the joy of entering a book shop. Enjoy!
[sendtokindle] (Oh! the irony of the "send to kindle" button!)

It's a Matter of Preference

by Tina Marie Westbrook

Tina Westbrook ebook vs print headshotThere was a time, not so long ago, when a visit to the local bookstore was an adventure. But with time comes change and since the explosion of the internet the way we read and purchase books has virtually made bookstores extinct.
Perhaps my fondness of bookstores stems from my childhood. I grew up in the age of bookstores. Not only did we not have e-books, but we didn’t even have the internet! If a book was what you were looking for, you had to venture out your front door and make the trek to your local bookseller.

Yes e-books are convenient and you can take an entire library with you wherever you go, but for me nothing compares to the experience of visiting a bookstore. Walking the aisles, surrounded by thousands of titles, is enough to make any avid reader giddy. It’s practically a requirement to pick up several books, read the back covers and skim the pages for a sneak peak of the words waiting to be read.

“Within the confine of a bookstore there is a sense of community”

Within the confine of a bookstore there is a sense of community. Turn any corner and you will find people discussing books they have enjoyed and making recommendations to complete strangers. If that isn’t enough joy for one day, simply stroll over to the children’s section and discover the exhilaration on a child’s face as he/she finds the next edition of their cherished chapter book series. These are moments the internet cannot provide.

So what can the internet provide? The internet provides convenience. With the ease and speed of a click of the mouse you can be reading your new e-book in seconds, without ever leaving your couch or shedding your pajamas. If e-books aren’t your thing, you can easily have your new book delivered without the trip to a bookstore. Which brings me to the point of this post: What happens if the book you want is only available as an e-book? Where are the real books???

Let’s face it, even though many people love to shop on line, there are just as many who prefer a traditional book over an e-book. As a writer, if I were to only publish my books using the electronic format, I would automatically be reducing my reader base. This is one time when a writer can please all the people all the time. I would encourage any writer who only publishes electronically to consider traditional books. There is a definite market for both and with no additional effort you can easily satisfy any reader’s preference.

Ebook vs Print

A few advantages of e-books:

  • Size/Weight: An e-reader such as the Kindle or the Nook weighs substantially less than a traditional book and you can take an entire library with you wherever you go.
  • Price: e-books are typically less expensive than traditional books and many are available for free.
  • Speed of Delivery: When you purchase an e-book it is delivered to your e-reader instantly.
  • Storage: Bookshelves not required.

A few advantages of traditional books:

  • Warranty not required: Like any other electronic, e-readers can break; leaving you with nothing to read. Books are tangible. You can hold them in your hands and unless you drop it in a swimming pool, bath tub, or set it on fire, it will be there when you’re ready to read it.
  • Battery charge: Unlike e-readers, books don’t need to be charged. Forget to charge the e-reader or go on vacation and leave the charger behind, and you won’t be reading anything.
  • Page flipping: Although you can flip ahead with an e-reader it takes time and you can’t flip right back to the page you were on within a matter of seconds the way you can with a traditional book.
  • Autographed copies: Although many authors are now autographing their e-books, somehow it’s not as impressive to show your friends. Meeting your favorite author and watching them sign your book in front of you is an experience that can’t be replaced.

Whether you choose to purchase a traditional book or an e-book is a matter of preference. As a writer, it doesn’t matter to me. As long as you’re reading, I’m happy. Books have the ability to take us places we may otherwise never have the opportunity to visit. They provide us the ability to experience things, real or imagined, our minds have never considered. And they introduce us to people who make us think, laugh, cry and remember. A book is more than an electronic device or a couple hundred pieces of paper. A book is a window with a view; open one up and enjoy the scenery.

Do you publish in both print and ebook formats? Share your thoughts on eBook vs print in the comments below.