Tuesday, November 22, 2011

10 things I've learned in one month of marketing my book

This is my first post for "Writers On The Move" and I am so thrilled that I was invited to contribute to this blog. I am sharing one of my more popular posts from last month. I have learned that indie writers are always looking for marketing tips. If you see anything useful please take it and good luck. And if you know any helpful marketing tips; please leave a comment share with other struggling indie writers. I hope you enjoy.

It's my one month anniversary. I began this blog a little over one months ago; September 17 to be exact. I feel like a whiny girlfriend wanting to celebrate every little milestone. But I think it's important to note any noticeable achievements I've made in regards to my marketing plan so all of us small indie authors/publishers have at best a road map on what to expect when marketing our books.

So, here we go and I'll do it like David Letterman, just probably not as funny. Note: this information is assuming you already have your book published and available to the public.

10. Keep a journal. Its important to have some documentation for reference of your daily activities so you can better keep track of what you're doing. Mine is this blog.

9.Connect with other writers for moral support. It's important to surround yourself with positive people, like-minded artsy people; not folks that are going to tell you to get over it and try to convince you that what you're doing is just a pipe dream. I don't tell "regular" people my business because "regular" people are buzzkills. I don't even share too much of what I'm doing with my own husband because he's not an artist and doesn't get it. "Regular" people don't share my passion for writing, it's all dollars and cents to them and the last thing I wanna hear is, "so, how many books did you sell?" or "Is there any money in that?" Ughhh, get the hell away from me dude. So, I only talk about this to fellow writers.

8. "Big" magazines are willing to negotiate. Don't be afraid to contact an ad rep. I Googled, the top ten teen magazines and contacted the kind folks over at Girl's Life magazine. My hands shook the whole time wondering if they would even talk to a small fry like me. But, not only did they talk to me, they were willing to throw in a lot of extra sweeteners for my business; more than they advertised online. They want your business so they may not be as out of reach as one might think. I'm considering advertising with them the first of the year or early spring.

7. Be prepared for the giveaway. I purchased 10 books this month for giveaways. To date I have given away 8 books with two left to go. For me 10 books a month is manageable. Maybe for someone else, it's 5 books a month or 20 book. And don't forget to budget for postage. Ask for the book rate at the Post Office, it'll take 7-10 days to get to the winner instead of 3-5 days but its way cheaper than First Class.

6.Connect with book bloggers in your genre. This is crucial. Find a blog directory in your particular genre and start working your way down the list. I made it my job to send out 10 emails a day asking YA bloggers if I could participate in a giveaway, interview or guest post in exchange for a review of my book. Out of 10 emails I'd might get one response. Some of them didn't have time for reviews but agreed to a giveaway. Book bloggers need giveaways to maintain their site. It's a two way street, they need the giveaway and we need the exposure. I would have at least one giveaway going per week.

5.Get a website and book trailer. It's a no brainier. I have a website for the book series but not a personal author's website. There are plenty of do-it-yourself sites where you pick a template and just add photos and information. The one I have cost only $9.99 per month and is super easy to use. If it's possible try to create a book trailer and place it on Youtube. I created my own trailer using stock footage. And don't forget to connect it to all of your social media as well.

4.Social media is a must. I'm not a fan but its a must. I got a Twitter account for myself and a separate one for the book. Don't forget a Facebook "Like" page for the book and make sure to connect everything to your website, your e-mail, your book trailer, your FB account and the Twitter account.

3. Just go ahead and pay for a Facebook ad. A Facebook ad is inexpensive, simple and easy to create, just make sure you have an attractive ad and able to sell it in about 50 words or less. If you've ever had to create a classified ad it's similar to that. I went through a couple of ads before settling on the one I'm using now. You can connect your FB ad to either your website or your "Like" page. Pay attention to the demographics as well. Mine were United State, ages 14-18, male and females interested in literature and reading. They have demographic choices down to the zip code and personal hobbies and activities. The bids for cost per click is negotiable and can be changed at your discretion as long as it falls within the "bid range". On the weekends where user activity was high, I paid $0.40 per click but on for example a Tuesday where user activity was low, I only paid $0.19 per click. You're allowed to set your own budget, dates and even time of day the users will see your ad. Super useful for exposure, not sales. To date with a two week ad; over 70,000 people have seen my ad at least 3 times. The first week I sent the ad directly to my website and the second week I sent my ad directly to the "Like" page. I prefer the "Like" page because I know exactly who's interested in my book and I can vet them later as potential customers. I've had 4 sales as a direct result from my FB ad. So, again, its good for exposure, not sales.

2. Goodreads.com is another must. I didn't know about Goodreads.com until I received my first review from one of the bloggers. It's like FB but for bookworms. You can create an Authors Page where you can upload your books, write reviews, find friends, join groups, upload your blog, excerpts from your book, participate in giveaways for your book, and of course connect to your FB and twitter account. I spend a good part of my day managing my Authors Page. the resources are endless.

1.Be productive everyday to keep yourself inspired and focused. Hey, guys if you like this; sign up and take the one year journey with me. http://vicihoward.blogspot.com or http://www.thechickfriendsrules.com

10 comments:

Rosanne Dingli said...

Look - I stuck with this because of the information, but it's a pity it was not broken up properly into paragraph and bullet points.

It was also not edited properly - there are irritating errors and distractions in the writing, which are not a good ad, at all.

Making an effort to write a blog for promotion purposes means making an effort to present a particular image without putting off even one reader.

Karen Cioffi said...

Vici, Great information. It's always helpful when writers share their marketing experience.

Rosanne, Yes, the post would have been easier to read if there were paragraphs, but writing, as with anything, is a learning experience. As we go along on our journey we pick up the dos and don'ts. Thanks for your input.

Karen Cioffi said...

To make it easier for other readers, I broke the article up a bit. It's great information and deserves to be read. :)

Donna McDine said...

Vici:

Great marketing tip! I especially like the one about print magazines for ads.

Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

Regards,
Donna
Award-winning Children’s Author
Write What Inspires You Blog
The Golden Pathway Story book Blog
Donna M. McDine’s Website
Author PR Services

Heidiwriter said...

Wonderful tips! I made notes of things to try on my own. Do you (or anyone) have tips on how to really buzz your book on Amazon?

Heidiwriter said...

BTW, I didn't even notice formatting etc. The content surpassed my editor's red-pencil instincts! :)

Magdalena Ball said...

Great tips Vici. I've never actually paid for an ad, but I'm going to seriously consider taking out a facebook ad when my new novel is out next year. Am also considering taking out an ad in Shelf Awareness as I've heard that their ads get great coverage (haven't researched how expensive they are).

Magdalena
Literary Wordsmith

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Lots of great tips. Thanks Vici. The idea of an ad is interesting idea that I haven't considered.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Super content. Thanks Vici, I'm most interested to follow you on your journey.

D. Jean Quarles said...

Great information! Thanks!

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