Saturday, August 25, 2007

Book Marketing Tips

I threw this together for a group I'm in. They thought it was good, so I decided to share it with you.

This was ten minutes work, off the top of my head. ;)

Start marketing before your book comes out. Most books are on the shelves for three months at the most. If you wait until your book is out to start marketing, you lose.

Get a website and a blog, and network your butt off. Get your name out there so people know it. Offer the first chapter free if they sign up for your newsletter. What newsletter? Start one! Collect all the email address you can. These people have read the first chapter, they're interested. Make sure you send them an update at least once a month. Remind them who you are, and let them know when the book will be out. Tell them something interesting about your life, so they get to know you. (And will remember you.)

Right before your book comes out, you push. The main page of your website is a sales page, simple and quick to load. No fancy flash programs, or people on slow connections won't be able to load it and will click away. Another lost sale.

The sales page has a big, bright picture of your cover. The pic is a live link to wherever they can pre-order your book. Beside the pic are blurbs from your best reviews.

Below, a link to a free excerpt. Probably the first chapter. Draw them in. At the top and bottom of the excerpt page are direct links to the pre-order site.

On your blog, you post the pre-release reviews. Every post has a link to buy.

Start visiting other author blogs in your genre, the more popular the better. Contact the blog owners, and work out a swap. They post to your blog about their book, you get to post on their blog about yours. Gives you both a fresh audience. Get your schedule together so you will be posting on a different blog every day for three weeks. Start writing up 6-800 word posts about your book, your experiences writing it, etc. Slant each one to fit the audience for that blog. Make them interesting. PUT THE LINK TO YOUR HOME PAGE IN EVERY SINGLE POST, AT LEAST TWICE!

Research online chat groups, radio shows, etc that feature books and authors. Schedule as many live chats as you can. (Keep a calendar, so you know where and when you are to be. You don't want to mess this up.)

The book is out! Update your website with buy links. Immediately email your newsletter list. Give them the review blurbs, a list of links to the blogs you will be visiting, and the schedule. Best to do this in 3 weekly newsletters. That way, the second and third weeks, you can tell them stories about what happened the week before. Make it interesting. You're a writer, aren't you?

Start your blog tour. Send each submission out promptly, and get that author's return post up on your blog right away. Remember, this is your reputation. Show them that you are reliable and will do what you promised. Be sure to forward any comments to the appropriate blogger. Check back on each post to get comments left for you. If the commenter has a blog, visit it and leave a comment thanking them for commenting on your blog. YOUR COMMENT HAS YOUR LINK IN IT.

Meanwhile, post to every group, forum, bulletin board, etc that you are a member of. Let them all know that your book is finally out. LEAVE LINKS.

Guest in as many chats/radio shows as possible. Be entertaining! Give your link often, if the moderator doesn't. Have your links (website, blog, myspace page, etc) in a side file so you can cut and paste quickly.

After three weeks, take a deep breath. Look at what worked and what just didn't fly. Figure out where you got the most interest, and find more places like that. Take three days to just relax and read something. Do your laundry, eat a meal that wasn't microwaved, and check to see if your family still lives with you.

Vacation is over! Get back to marketing. ;)

That's only some of your online marketing. Around all this, you should have been getting a write-up in your local paper, doing local book signings, guesting on the local radio stations (TV too, if you have it). You do have bookmarks that you're handing out everywhere, right?

Ahem. I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Excuses, Promises, and Random Thoughts

Blogs 08/18/07 Word count: 528

I’m ashamed to say this: I haven’t written much since springtime hit.

This was our first planting season in the new house. (It’s new to us, but not a “new” dwelling.) Husband Michael and I have taken the exterior on a wild ride from ugly-dirty-yellow-with-brown-everything-else to vibrant barn red with avocado and cream shutters and doors.

We’ve painted, papered, built shelves, and decorated until we only have three rooms to go on the interior transformation. We’ve moved cabinets around in the kitchen, turned a tiny, dismal, master bathroom into a little piece of paradise, and even run the water line for the refrigerator twice because we changed our minds on its location.

As we’ve gotten to know our neighbors on either side we’ve learned more and more of the history of our home. We now understand why the flowerbeds have recurrent ten-foot-long weed tubers that never seem to get completely dug out. We know why the lawn is more like a thistle feeding frenzy than a grassy bare foot-friendly stroll.

I’ve been taking full advantage of all those allergy shots. I’m actually spending time outdoors and enjoying it! And, I’m learning the names of all the perennial flowers as we’ve planted them in the new beds. Today, we actually “planted” a big white metal headboard in our new shade garden under the twisted, artistically and symmetrically-challenged tree next to the little creek that meanders through our property. (We’re going to tell the grandkids that that’s where our flowers take naps.)

Yep, I’ve managed to make all of my deadlines as a freelance writer because no matter how much my muse has dawdled and dinked around, the thought of disappointing my editors is not something I’m willing to do.

I’ve written epistles to my children and a few friends. I’ve congratulated my friend Ronii on the birth of her eighth child. Yes, eighth! I’ve forwarded funny emails with my comments added.

I’ve written many emails to potential guests for The Writer’s Chatroom, and I’m proud to say we’re booked through the end of 2007! And, former beauty queen and debut author Tosca Lee has agreed to be our first guest of 2008.

We’ll also be heavily involved in the “launch” of debut author Jordan Dane. She’s got three books coming out back-to-back next spring. For a writer, that’s the equivalent of launching a 40-foot sailboat you’ve just spent every available moment building in the back yard for five years.

I’ve honored my commitments. However, my fiction writing seems to have gotten buried in the “back 40” right along with my resolve to write every day.

I’m also ashamed to say that my website hasn’t been updated in so many months I’m embarrassed to give out the address. My blogs have become strangers.

So … Renee Barnes (Trailer Park Gazette and The Writer’s Chatroom fame) and I have committed to writing every day—to get ourselves back on track. And just to keep us honest, we’ve also committed to sending each other what we’ve written every day!

So, here it is Renee! And this was after spending 7 hours outside with dear husband—planting and digging. I promise to do better tomorrow!

Oh … and today would have been my Daddy’s 76th birthday. Happy birthday Dad! I sure do miss you.

Linda J. Hutchinson