Marketing for Success 101: Silver

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Today you should have the essentials of marketing started:  a good email address, a good domain name, a website (and hopefully there’s something on it!), and you’ve looked at business card designs.

Your head may be swimming after looking at the Copper Package, but it will eventually make sense.

So, today we’re racheting up our skills with simple extensions of what you are already doing.

Today’s theme is Join, Have a Presence in the Writing Culture, and Get Out There!

iu-4.jpegFacebook Groups:  There are quite a few FB groups out there for all skill levels.  Some will provide beta-readers, some have editors or proofreaders, some will write reviews, and others will even allow you to advertise your book on their site.  These groups have rules.  Please read them.  These are very good opportunities for writers.

Note:  your publisher cannot do this for you.

Writers’ Group, Children’s Book Reviews and Promos, A Place to Promote Children’s, Reviewmates, Writing for Children: A Community for Kidlit Writers, Writers Helping Writers, Fiction Writing, Writers Assembled.

Price:  Free

wip.jpgGo to conferences.  Writing is a very solitary job.  How often do you get to sit around with inspirational writers who will help you.  How often do you get to practice pitching, talk to agents, learn what’s new in the industry?  And the industry changes.  If your books aren’t selling, maybe something doesn’t relate to your audience.  Stay current.

If you follow me on FaceBook, I post regional conference notices every time I see one.  If you are in the Rocky Mountain area, I highly recommend Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, NOCO Writers Conference, Print for Paws, Wyoming Writers Inc.  Every region has some kind of writers group or book group.  Start looking around your area and participate. North Texas schools have book fairs where the students run around for a weekend, talk to authors, and buy books.  Millennials read, and they like hard copies.  Our local library is hosting 50 authors next weekend.  Events pop up regularly so stay flexible.  Some of these cost a lot or you need to schedule a year in advance.

Let’s say your book may be coming out in January.  That means you will miss all the great holiday opportunities to sell books (October-December).  Scout out the event, see what you can do to attract people, and schedule for next year.

Price:  varies from Free to $$

Unknown-2.jpegMake public appearances.  I know.  It’s that talking in front of a group of people, isn’t it?  Put that fear aside because at this point it’s a stuck point.  If you can’t get up and talk about your book, who is?  If you don’t introduce it to the world, who is?  I’ve been to one too many launches that were not thought through, and I’ve watched the complete devastation reflected in the authors’ eyes.  Nobody is coming to your launch if they don’t know about it.

Guys, I can’t speak for you, but I know women have a group for everything!  I just found a new one called Her Story.  A great platform to reach a female audience.

Price:  Free and sometimes they pay you!

Unknown-1.jpegFairs and festivals usually celebrate something once or twice a year.  You can sell books there.  Sometimes they support a cause.  Donate some of your profit and build relationships.  If you have a Halloween book, now is the time to move.  Get it to every Halloween place you can think of.  Put it in raffle baskets.  Go to the libraries and bookstores and see if you can read to groups of kids.  Holiday books aren’t great sellers because you have such a narrow period of time where it is applicable. Use that time well.

Price:  Free or basic table charges

images-1.jpegReviews, reviews, reviews!!  You can’t have enough.  It’s nice that your sister will take the time to read your book.  Maybe she even bought a copy.  BUT what is important right now are the reviews.

There are different kinds of reviews: unsolicited and solicited.  You want both.  An unsolicited review is from a friend, relative, reader, or fan.  Always ask for them to leave you a review on Goodreads or Amazon.  They can even post a review on FB.

Note:  if you are going to use an unsolicited review on the cover of your book or notably at the beginning of the book, identify the reviewer.  Just don’t put “alkdj;akd;akjd;alkj” — Joan. Who is Joan?  Why should we take her review seriously?  Even something like “Joan, an avid reader” is better.  Also make sure you get written permission to use someone’s words or identity.  Of course, if they are reviewing on Goodreads or Amazon, you won’t have to worry about that.

Solicited reviews are professional reviews.  These will cost you, but they are important.  Do you want to see your book in Barnes and Noble or some other large chain?  You need reviews.  Do you see yourself on The New York Times Bestseller List?  You need reviews.

Note:  if you are self-publishing, these reviews may not yet be available.  That is supposed to change, but right now, the publisher usually requests the review. The review can take up to a year.  Plan accordingly.  If your publisher is in a position to buy reviews, rejoice.  Because aside from the price, the paperwork looks like something from the IRS!

A Kirkus Review is gold.  After that, you read the fine print.  Don’t just buy reviews.  Find out which ones are acceptable and/or influential.  So now you can gulp, hold your breath, or scream!

Price: $300+

iu.jpegVideo everything you can think of.  Take pictures.  Audiences respond to visuals.  Use these to advertise your book.  Great openers for blogs. Say Snapchat!

Price:  Free

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Comicons. They are everywhere.  Probably happening in a place not too far from you right now!  They do let you sell books.  Some genres, admittedly, aren’t going to sell here. Sci-fi and fantasy–great opportunity.

Price:  65+

 

And tomorrow is the GOLD!

 

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Marketing for Success 101: Bronze

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Yesterday we put the Copper Package together.  Or at least, I’m assuming you did that because the Bronze package is built on top of it.  If you haven’t put the Copper Package together, then stop reading and go back to that task.  You must have the essentials or foundation before you can build up and out.
The following 5 marketing strategies are free, but could be a bit daunting at first.  Don’t aim for perfection.  It will come.  Just practice incorporating these new strategies into the platform you have built.

  • Blog
  • Virtual blog tour
  • Podcasts
  • Book trailers/picture story
  • Press release

iu-2.jpegOnce you get your website together, you should have the option of adding a Blog. I use WordPress and have it integrated into my website. WordPress also links to FB, Twitter, SnapChat, Tumblr, etc.

The most commonly asked questions about blogs address content. What do I want to say? The easiest way to get started with a blog is to simply tell the story of your writing experience.  Maybe you have a cover design. You can post that. A blurb of the story.

NEVER, EVER throw anything away.  Yes, your editor may have just cut 100 pages of your favorite action scene, but it’s not over yet. When you become rich and famous, you can pull out those cuts and publish an uncut version. Save your doodles. Save. Save. Save. Even if you want to trash it: SAVE.
Write one blog per day.  Respond to people who make comments or ask questions and follow as many as you are comfortable following.

Price: FREE

iu-3.jpegOh dear. First a blog, and now this?  What is a blog tour, anyway?  Generally, a tour lasts about two weeks. An author “visits” a new blog every day, while promoting each stop on social media. Whether an author chooses to hire a publicity professional to book a tour, or decides to go it alone, a virtual book tour is increasingly an important part of the publication process.
You may need help getting this together.  Plan it about 6 months before your release, or use it to promote an online release
Many different companies will design a plan for you.  Just Google virtual blog tours, blog tours, or book tours.
Price:  $300+

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A podcast can be an audio or an audio with video.  You will need a means to capure audio and video, like FB Live.  And what do you talk about?  Put together a list of interview questions.  Maybe a friend could ask the question for you.  Then you just talk about what you know best:  your experience of writing a book.

Price:  Free

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A book trailer is like a movie trailer.  You will see them on FB and YouTube.  They are short videos.  Microsoft’s Photo Story is good for this.  You will need some pictures, music, and a script.  I tried doing this without a script.  Total waste of time unless you’re really good at talking on the fly.  Watch for copyright notices on pictures and music.  Go to the Public Domain if you are worried.
Price: Free
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Press Releases should be written by your publisher for immediate release.  If you want your publisher, PR agent, editor, etc. to send out press releases on your behalf, be sure to provide email addresses.  Don’t just say I want a press release in the Baltimore Sun. It is hard to find email addresses for a lot of firms.  Do your research.  I’ve spent an entire day looking for one newspaper’s email address.  I have given up on several others.  Remember:  there is a division of labor here. Whoever writes the release should not have to spend more time researching addresses (or reading your mind), unless that is part of your contract.

Price:  Free

Do some playing around and see what works for you.  Tomorrow we move on to the Silver Package, which means you must have the Copper Package under control.  It’s always going to go back to that one.

 

Cyber Monday Book Sales

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Cyber Weekend Sale, all CP books 40% off at lulu.com!

Donate to Dogs

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If you’re an animal lover, what better way to enjoy the holidays than giving back to those cuddle balls that provide so much love in our lives? #crystalpubs2014

All proceeds from Sparkles goes to animal rescue.  We have donated $1000 to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and we are now working on a $1000 donation to Big Bones Canine Rescue in Windsor, Colorado.  If you have a rescue, you’d like us to consider next, please contact us.

Cyber Weekend Sale, all CP books 40% off at lulu.com!

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