Talking to a friend this week, she mentioned that lace was coming back in the quilting world. She was off to get certified in a special type of product lace this week and it came up how trends come around. Thinking about this, I wondered if there were any old trends coming back in book marketing. Then I found this...
Simply amazing! LOL! But I also looked up other things too...
Here's my findings:
ACTION ITEM: Time to look at the past to see what works and what doesn't.
My greatest latest marketing ploy was something of a team effort!
You see, I'd been wrestling with one of my authors about a particular method she uses in writing that heightens curiosity but drives me nuts.
Of course if I were such a person that takes everything personally, I'd believe she did it on purpose to drive me out of my mind. In reality it's just her writing style...and it's 'fricking perfect for an idea I had because of this thing she does.
I can't begin to explain so I'm going to show you. I've included an exclusive passage from the book Hers to Claim as it is the passage that inspired my marketing ploy.
“Lord Ramsey, I would like you to go with Adonia.” Fleur glanced across the room to Ramsey DeKieran, and Adonia disguised a laugh with a cough when he abruptly straightened after a hard poke from his wife. While the rest of the party sat in the comfortable sofas and chairs around Ari’s office, DeKieran and his new wife had remained lounging, side-by-side, against the wall by the door. Adonia had caught the intense stares and occasional murmurs Ram and Steffania had exchanged throughout the past hour. From the blush that crept up Steffania’s cheeks when Ramsey fingered her exquisite choker of beaten gold, Adonia doubted that either had heard much of what had transpired in the last few minutes.
ADONIA ISN'T THE ONLY PERSON THAT'S WANTS TO KNOW WHAT DORAL SAID!
Am I the only one with the burning curiosity? No--apparently not! See for yourself:
Speaking of cameos and awesomeness - Patricia A. Knight included a feature I'd not seen before (but appreciated the wisdom of) a live-linked Easter egg embedded in the dialogue. Doral whispers something in Ari's ear... The reader clicks the link (and is asked to sign up for Patricia A. Knight's newsletter) and the page reveals the secret whispered.
Well, thank you! But it was something that came naturally. While I am the publisher, I'm a huge fan of Patricia A. Knight! I'm into these characters and think about them. I think about what they might be doing now *dirt thought* and want the best for them. I even wonder how their children might carry into the series.
You see sometimes the best marketing tactics come organically. When you think of marketing as a fun way to let people know about your product it's not icky. I wanted to know what Doral said and PAK gave her readers a way to find out!
ACTION ITEM: What imaginative thing can you do to make marketing fun?
Another session during #RWA14 was with Laura Kaye dealing with promotions. She describes the difference between Marketing and Promotion as...
Marketing = paid stuff you do
Promotions = Free stuff you do
She focused on FREE this session and explained the 6 things you want to achieve to promote your book.
Now if you're looking at this list and thinking, "huh?" then you might need a bit more explanation. Take a look at each social media outlet. These are the places you'll find the six different types of promotions where most authors find success. For instance, most authors find that Pintrest is a great way to 1) Get exposure for their book, 2) Get Recognition as an author and 3) Can build relationships with readers.
Now look at the chart again. Make sense?
What this does is tell you that maybe your promotion of finding new readers should be concentrated on Triberr, Group Blogs, and Blog Hops, but not Twitter, Facebook or Pintrest. Want sales? Concentrate on your blog, blog tours and Group blogs.
ACTION ITEM: Build a promotions strategy based on this knowledge.
To Blog or not to Blog: Really? Think about what you just said. You’re basically saying, I don’t know what to write.
Writers spend a lot of time writing stories. Some say, I don’t have time to blog. I don’t know what to blog. Blogging is just so overwhelming.
Let’s take a close look at each of these excuses and determine if they are valid.
1. I don’t have time to blog.
Either you don’t see the value, you don’t know how to write short, sweet and fast or you have the issues of thinking what you have to say isn’t worth reading. Let’s look at subject A:
a) I don’t see the value in blogging.
*Sigh* You might have heard about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is one way readers find you. Remember, you write for a variety of reasons, but you PUBLISH for only 3 reasons. Those are:
- To inspire
- To entertain
- To solve a problem
Yes, you PUBLISH for one of those 3 reasons. Guess why I’m writing this post. If you said all 3, you’d be right! Back to "I don't see the value in blogging". The value of blogging is to reach readers. They don’t always search Amazon for your key words or specific title. They may type in “Free stories” or “Free money” or “Free sex” – whatever. If you had a title like that, I wonder how much SEO you’d get. The more eyes on your writing, the better. Sometimes you get people who want your books because you write well.
b) I don’t know how to write short, sweet and fast.
That’s okay. You know the recommended amount of posts are 2 – 3 a month. That’s because you can promote the post everywhere. Sure I do once a day but they are mostly short 300 – 500 word articles. You don’t have to write fast. You don’t even have to make the posts long.
c) What I have to say isn’t worth reading.
Okay. I’ll come out and say, if that’s how you feel, then don’t publish. Stop the bullshit “I’m a horrible writer” crap excuse to prevent from blogging. If your ego is so low that you’re constantly asking for an ego boost by way of compliment, you don’t have thick enough skin yet to publish. If this is the excuse you use for not blogging, don’t publish yet. Get your boot straps laced and pull your pants on first—then blog.
There’s a theme here—there is only one good reason not to blog. If someone tells me they don’t want to—that’s a good reason. They think it’s a waste of time, blogging is dead. Well, I say, it depends. Thirteen year olds aren’t allowed to go on social media yet and therefore, they interact with blogs because it’s the only social thing they can do. Maybe your audience isn’t thirteen year olds. Maybe your audience are people that can’t discuss the kind of things on social media platforms because it’s a hot button. Those adults will find your stuff if you present it on your blog. Politics for instance—for some they don’t want to discuss it with friends on Facebook, but they would on another forum if they felt safe enough to.
Through out this, the point that’s most important is the 3 reasons why you publish. When you don’t know what to write, think about why your write. It’s 1 of the 3, or maybe all of them. So blog about your writing inspiration, blog to entertain people, blog to help other people. But don’t think you have nothing to blog for.
ACTION ITEM: Find your reason to blog: to inspire, to entertain or to solve a problem. Remember that helping a reader find your book is under the "solving a problem" and the "to entertain" category because being bored and not finding the right kind of entertainment is a problem. :)
After going to the Writer's Life Conference in Provo, Utah I came home with copious notes!
Every conference I like to come home with one thing. I came away with a few on this one and in the marketing department I came away with wattpad.
I almost feel this is a Tuesday Tools or a publishing platform post, (where I post about tools you can use as an author) but I'm looking at wattpad as part of creative fun marketing. One of the presenters, Jenni James, is a clean writer for children, teens and adults so I'm thinking what I thought about wattpad years ago--not for a romance fiction author that drives steamy up to the line of acceptable. Which is half my writers.
However, the writer sitting next to me said there is stuff for adults on wattpad so I've decided I might give it a go! If you are unfamiliar with wattpad here is what they say about themselves:
Wattpad is a place to discover and share stories: a social platform that connects people through words. It is a community that spans borders, interests, languages. With Wattpad, anyone can read or write on any device: phone, tablet, or computer.
Find Any Story, Write Any Story. With thousands of stories added each day, there’s always something you want to read. Want a story about a daughter smuggling her zombie mother to safety? We have that. Want a story about a time-traveling frog with super powers? We don’t have that, and we’d be happy to see you write it.
Free Reading, not eReading. Wattpad stories are free. Whether you’re online or off, use the devices you already own to carry an entire library wherever you go.
Stories Made Social. Join the conversation about the stories you read: message the writer and interact with other people who love the story as much as you.
Live Story Updates Get notified the moment your favorite writer shares a new chapter.
ACTION ITEM: Sign up and put your stories up on wattpad! (Only for the brave! This may not be for you!)
More and more I see authors frustrated with their marketing efforts. I've had many claim they are "just bad marketers". It breaks my heart.
I too struggle with marketing--I struggle with what to do, how much to spend, how much time I can afford, how to measure the results and how to balance my time.
It is a balancing act, but I don't give up on it because I come back to my self proclaimed definition of marketing.
Marketing is never a noun to me because you are always practicing your marketing.
From here I'm going to give you some options. If you need:
1. A pick-me up: go HERE.
2. Inspiration: go HERE.
3. How to balance your time: see below.
4. What the hell to do: go HERE.
One of the complaints I see is: "I spend so much time on marketing that I don't get writing done."
I'm going to be harsh here so weak-minded please turn around and pick a link above.
Yes, you have no time for writing because YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.
Yes, that needed a meme.
If you're complaining that you're not writing, spending all your time on Facebook, then why are you not making writing the first priority? Why are you not timing yourself, making word count goals and setting reasonable time limits? Why are you not doing something fun when marketing? By all means--go write.
Now I wrote about balancing your time and here's my secret. It's called--self control.
I have a stop watch on my phone set to 90 minutes and every time that sucker counts down to zero, I get up, walk around, get water, walk the dog, do yoga and go back for another 90 minutes.
It's so easy nobody does it. Except me. Because I'm all for easy. Easy is my middle name. Just ask my boyfriend. Wait...that sounded better in my...never you mind.
I think one of the real problems is writers don't think about writing as a priority. Yes, marketing is a priority. Talking to fans is a priority. You also have to think about how much time you can afford and also, you need to think about where your marketing efforts should be spent. Five hours on Facebook isn't necessarily marketing time. Retweeting on twitter isn't marketing--it's promotion. Which is a whole other post you can find HERE. (The difference between marketing and promotions)
ACTION ITEM: Really you should have it all. Promotions, writing, spending time with family. Cruise through my marketing and promotions lessons by using the Marketing and Monday Marketing and Promotion categories to get some ideas.
Having lunch with one of my authors, we discussed the importance of community. An author without a community might as well be a book never read.
Author's are connectors, idea makers, thought provokers, and sometimes the town weirdo. Author's are commonly successful through innovation and determination. But, we need an audience. We need feedback. We're writing this stuff down AND publishing it for heavens sake. If we didn't want your feedback, we would keep the stories locked in the basement.
Many authors don't realize they are the motor that drives community by their thoughts written down on paper (or a monitor). They draw community in by their ideas. So many authors are asking, I know community is how you gain readership, but how to you gain a community?
It's heart breaking.
And...I'm working on the very idea of how to build that community with an author cohort. But for now, I do it through a tweet team that promotes my freebies that you can only get by giving an email. If you like the community you find yourself in you stay--if you don't you leave. Simple. Yet it takes a little know-how to set up.
Here's a tweet I use:
Become an author's accountable police and get "But For You, Yes" #free #romance for joining SNMcKibben! http://ow.ly/wGSPo
I use hashtags and a URL shortener and I get at least 1 new person every time something like this goes out.
That URL link goes to my author website where you will see this:
Subscribers get sexy, informative emails that includes them in my writing process...join and get a free story!!
That will in turn take them to the Mailchimp double opt-in confirmation email. When you click the confirmation you go to a welcome email with the link for the book to download. Three days afterward, I send another email asking if you liked the book and if you could put in a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I provide links to both so it's easy one touch stuff.
I have a built a community by this means--but slowly. Slowly isn't a bad thing. You can be personable, you can grow in a way that doesn't have you scrambling. But it's also easy to forget to be involved in your community so set a schedule to talk to your readers. They may like once a week, once a month or maybe if you're lucky, they want to see every selfie you post on facebook. Go where your readers go, but have a source you can connect with them first.
This is the best advice I can give you on how to build your community. Perhaps later, I can give you something more. But without a doubt, know that you are the ring master. Others may be spinning their circles for you, but it's you that must get the ball rolling.
ACTION ITEM: Set up your email list procedure. Even if you have no book! If you have the time, do it.
One of my authors pointed this out to me and I have to agree with her:
Interview with a Master author, Jason Luke, did the MOST brilliant thing I’ve seen in a long time. For several weeks, he appeared on Facebook pages (groups) and wrote live scenes based on the suggestions of readers -- scenes that used characters from his book. At the end of the Facebook tour, he had 30 brand new scenes that he then posted, one at a time, thanking each group. THEN, he put them together into an e-book for readers waiting for him to write his sequel. How brilliant was THAT?
And before you think he had a following..."Interview with a Master" was his debut novel. Very interesting stuff!
ACTION ITEM: What creative ideas does this give you?
Okay I realize this is another post about the SPP (Self Publishing Podcast), but Johnny, Sean and Dave are innovative guys that you should really be paying attention to.
Take their kickstarter project - it's not about getting money to write another book, it's about getting as many people involved in the process of writing their book, thus involving the readers.
They know that involving the reader in the process creates true fans. Sometimes it's the way you present your book that gets attention.
They've inspired me to do something I wanted to do but was never able to have the time to do (but I'll make time now). Which is integrate my readers into my writing. Yes, I'm literally going to take readers off the street and make them into paper...eww...or maybe I'll just re-enact scenes of books with them (yay!)...bow-chick-a-bow-bow. No! I'm going to email them. (Hey! I heard that disappointed awwww....) reminds me of that Morrisey song ♫This will be the last time I sing...(YAY!) ♪No wait, I've changed my mind again...(awwww)♫
Yes on to emailing them, but I've got ideas. My readers are my accountable police. I report to them. And soon, they will be getting weekly progress reports or monthly--I have to decide.
But back to innovation. The main point is to surround yourself with people who like your stories and love what you do. You create a community and through that community you have an obligation to them. To make their lives better. I think that is one of the goals of writers--to make lives better. What better way than to use innovative concepts such the likes of what these guys are doing!
ACTION ITEM: Watch the video below to see what kind of inspiration the SPP guys give you! If you'd like to help fund their project (starting at $1) and would like your name in a book, here's the link:
Sean Platt of SPP (Self-Publishing Podcast) expressed his disappointment about how the market under-serves writers. But it wasn't marketers that he was disappointed in--it was writers...here's why:
When you try to look for things for writers for marketing, there is nothing there. But it's not because developers are behind the times, it's because writers themselves don't spend money on marketing. Marketers know this so they don't bother creating the tools that would help writers market themselves. In my own attempts to sell books, I've often turned to marketing tools from different types of businesses and apply them to my own business as a writer and publisher. Some work, some don't.
Writers spend so much time writing, honing their craft, that marketing is thought of that necessary evil. What writers forget is that marketing is fun. They forget marketing can extend their creative muscles and bring their book more to life in the real world. They forget that without marketing they don't sell books. Without marketing, they can't live the dream of being a full time writer. A large majority of writers think marketing is bad, it's disgraceful, it's desperate, it's evil.
These writer's forget what marketing really is. Marketing is the ASK. You do not receive without asking. It feels like begging. It's not easy to ask, asking makes you vulnerable. But, if you feel like your words, work and effort are worth nothing, you will get nothing. But if you ask for an exchange, you receive.
Artists are connectors, thinkers and create bonds in the community. How can you think that is worthless? Why is this less important than financial bankers? Why do you have no trust in your readers? Are you thinking no one will come? Have you tried being the communicator, the connector the bond-builder of your community? And if no one comes, while disappointing, might be a clue as to what you need to work on.
Does asking=weakness? I also like to put it this way. If you have a friend that wants to pay for your latte, do you refuse? Look at why you reject your friends generosity. Does it make you feel like a beggar? Do you feel guilty? Do you feel now you have to owe that person?
What about taking a look on the other side. You've just refused your friend the warm fuzzy feeling they get when they help or gift a present to someone. You've just rejected them and their desire to feel good about having the capability to lift you up with a simple gesture. In fact, turning down a gift like that damages their trust because you've just told them I don't trust you enough to be vulnerable.
But, Stephanie, giving a gift from a friend is not the same as asking.
You'd be wrong. It's the same vulnerability. Actually you're more vulnerable because you asked. What if they say no! Some might. Others will give and feel the double fold of being able to help you while receiving a book or CD or a gift from you. People say the things we make are the best gifts. Well, fuck, you wrote the goddam book with your own fucking hands, what more of a hand-made gift do you need??
I'm going to redirect this conversation to Amanda Palmer's TED talk about the ART of ASKING. Because asking is an art form. Asking is not demanding. It's not begging. It's accepting "no" as an answer but also, it's accepting "yes" as an answer as well.
ACTION ITEM: Watch the 13 minute TED talk and you tell me what the ask is all about.
My efforts are to make this a learning blog where writers can see the flip side of publishing. If you have comments that will improve your experience or have a certain topic you'd like discussed, please contact me through email - HERE.
~ Sincerley, Your Editor
Troll River Publications
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