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Marketing for Success 101: Bronze

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+


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

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
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.


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Marketing 101: Essentials

I’m getting pretty used to opening my front door and finding a package waiting for me.  What did I order this time?  Sometimes I can’t go to sleep, so I stay up and entertain myself with shopping sites.  It’s amazing what I think I need at 2 AM versus what I think I need at 2 PM!  
So there’s this huge package on my doorstep, evidentally dropped by a drone since I never heard a delivery truck.  The heavens dropped this here by magic. Must be something great inside. And. It’s. FREE!!!
Hours later…
Um, I have all these nice little colored boxes of various sizes.  It was quite thrilling to open each one, but all I see are some weird pieces and paper with tiny printing on it.  Oh no!!  I have to read INSTRUCTIONS.  It probably looked good in the ad, but now I have to put it together?  Really??  
My favorite expression right now is expectations versus realities.  This box EXPECTS me to assemble the parts–ha!  Not my forté.  However, when I ordered this, I must have believed there was some real component to it that would have a REAL impact on my writing career.
So, let’s unwrap each box together and simplify the assembly.  You will not need any special tools unless you need some special tools.
The Copper Package
There are essentials to marketing anything today.  The book industry is tough.  If you think you have just written the Great American Novel, maybe somebody but you should know about this revolutionary piece of literature.  How do you get the word out?  Open the box and start with #1.
#1  You must have a website.  No website=pretty much nothing.  Don’t expect to be acknowledged as an author or sell any books without one. Brick and mortar is going the way of dust.  When a client of mine described what the closing of a Barnes and Noble did to her community, I was shocked.  Yes, I can and do, obviously, order online, but when it comes to books, I’d like my experience to be in a store.  That is exactly how many authors gauge their success:  I got into B&N!!  Yeah! Get a website.  If you know what you are doing, you can go to Wix, Weebly, use Apple templates (Sandvox)–anything to get you started.  Minimally, you should have a page about you, a page about your book, a way to contact you and order the book, and a blog so you can stay in touch with fans.
Price: minimum is free
#2  You must have a domain name appropriate for your site. GoDaddy or other websites will offer you the opportunity to purchase one there.
Price: $100+
#3  You must have a professional email address.  If you are currently using slutty909 or cock#1, get a new one.  These look like you are immature or don’t take your writing seriously. Yahoo and gmail addresses are usually accepted, but rather than take the chance, change to one that reflects you as the professional writer you are.  This will be included in your website hosting or domain name.
Price: free as included
#4. You must have a Facebook account.  Whether you like it or not, there are millions of active people and groups on Facebook.  You can control who sees what, but remember your goal is to get your name out there and sell books.  Authors survive and build reputations based on exposure. I do agree that FB only targets people over 30.  There are similar ways, but different methods, to reach the under 30 crowd.  If you are Facebook shy, ask someone to set you up.  You will need a profile page and a post page.
Price: free although you can purchase FB ads
These are just some groups I have found lately that look very promising: 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.  More pop up every day.
#5  You must have a professional headshotDo not use a selfie.  Those things you have hanging on your wall that you don’t really notice get quite the attention when they look like alien antennas or something sticking out of your head.  Maybe you know a photographer or can watch for specials.  Conferences generally offer free or very inexpensive headshots.  NOTE:  you do not own that photograph even though you paid for it.  The photographer owns it.  You will need a signed release.  Most photographers have the paperwork.
#6  You must have a business card that advertises you as an author or writer.  The best ones I have seen are very simple:  a cursive or printed name of the author with “author” below it.  Detail information can go on the reverse side.  This is your job, not a hobby or something you do when time affords it.  Take your writing side seriously.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the bronze plan.  Obviously, that package has more to assemble and may require some outside assistance.  Just saying…