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Promotion, Marketing & Random Actions to Sell my Book – Part 1

Promotion, Marketing & Random Actions to Sell my Book – Part 1

promotion

First up, folks, let me say a couple of things

  1. I am not about to give you the secret to selling thousands of copies of your book (because I don’t have it) – nor will I claim to, just to get you to read my post (in the hope you are inspired)
  2. I do not claim to be an expert, in fact, I’m a newbie to promoting books
  3. I do not claim my strategies work because I haven’t been able to track exactly how they are working due to unavailable sales figures, or it is too early to tell or I have not been able to get data. I am working on this – a marketer should be able to track and measure effort
  4. What I will say is, I am a writer – a dedicated writer, with one foot in the traditional publishing arena and one foot about to be stomped in the indie camp
  5. I say this loud and clear: YOU must believe you are a WRITER, be passionate about, you the author, and your books. If you are not passionate about them no one else will be
  6. Work with your publisher if you have one – they can do things for you. You just need to ask or insist if they are resistant or get permission to go it alone
  7. I have a Bachelor of Management, majoring in Marketing (a bit out of date, but I guess the principles haven’t changed much) and a BA in Professional Writing and Communication which included Public Relations subjects
  8. I am determined to make a successful, financially viable career out of writing, so I am also a dedicated promoter of my books

I want to acknowledge and give credit to:

  1. Jonathan Gunson for his courses on Blogging and Twitter which I found extremely useful being a technology backward baby boomer. BestsellerLabs.com
  2. John Kremer with his book 1001 ways to Market Your Books
  3. Various internet sources – either long forgotten sources or lost in the volume

Anyway enough background trivia

  1. My first thought is – if you don’t have your book in both e-book and print you are behind the eight ball immediately because 40 to 50% of people still want to buy a ‘real book’
  2. My motto is to ‘think globally, act online – think locally, act personally. (a twist on an environmental quote)
  3. If you are inexperienced I strongly suggest Jonathan Gunson’s courses: value for $ – I learnt all I know about twitter and blogging from him

So Globally

www promotion

Social media, of course: Blog, Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+  etc

From my experience:

Blogging & Website

  • To write interesting, readable posts; it takes time and thought – time away from writing, but it holds people’s attention and gets them interested in you when they find you
  • Getting traffic to the blog can be slow and challenging for the time put in
  • Yet to see evidence of increase in sales
  • Ask your publisher if you have one – to write a guest post for you or get you a guest post request
  • Ask other writers in your genre to write guest posts
  • There is lots to blog about – go for it.

 Twitter

  • Limited on how much to say at one time so need to be succinct – good for improving your prose if you tend to be long winded
  • To me it seems like every one is yelling from their soap box – promote, promote, promote. Is anyone listening – look for something to respond to from your followers and those you follow
  • Getting followers and suitable people to follow is time consuming – must source and filter
  • Direct messages can be frustrating – I personally don’t really like them and when you right one back only to find you can’t send it is frustrating.
  • Auto responses even more so – need to filter followers
My thoughts on this is;
  • Write really interesting, funny or controversial tweets every day – not always just promoting your book or directing people to your Facebook Page – Hey, I want to connect with you, the person behind the tweets, not just have a promo line shoved in my face and I hope you feel the same
  • Add images to your tweets
  • Find quotes – people often respond to meaningful ones
  • Respond to others who also have interesting tweets – some of them have nothing to do with books either – it might even be a meaningful quote and they might return the favour and retweet or favourite you, increasing your exposure without having to increase your followers directly
  • Retweet those with interesting tweets, again they might be nothing about books, but a ‘connection’ can be built – pay off might come later – like a guest post request.
  • With Twitter I often feel like I am standing in the middle of the Super Bowl or MCG, 10 minutes before the final siren of the grand final hoping to be heard and nobody gives a damn because they are all too busy yelling. Twitter is a very noisy crowded place for the newbie – hang in there, tweet interesting

Facebook

  • Lots of pictures, promoting your book – can be a bit more in your face about promotion here – many things you can do though, on your blog. Drive visitors from one to the other.
  • Still working on getting more traffic
  • Not sure of the value of likes – yet to see evidence of ‘likes’ turning into sales
  • Always ask people to share on their page if they like your book or do a review (Amazon, Goodreads also) – not everyone will do a review but most will share or allow you to share a promo for your book on their page.

 Goodreads, Google+ etc

  • Write a fascinating profile, keep checking in, link to all your other social media sites – good to get you out there on as many sites as possible – even the less prominent sites – look them up on the internet and if they allow a free profile or add, go for it. All exposure is good.
  • Ask readers you know personally to do a review – not everyone will though.

You Tube, Guest Posts, Book Bloggers

  • I have done some guest posts – fun, and had them returned, but not sure of the value other than to build relationships with fellow writers – it depends on how much traffic they have to their blog.
  • Book Bloggers – yet to have any success here probably need to spend more time commenting on these to get my name known. So much to do – so little time
  • YouTube – is for later

Please take what you can from this post I hope to help someone out there trying to make a go of it and I welcome feedback and other ideas about promoting your books from those more experienced than me. There are lots of ideas out there to try. As John Kremer’s book states – 1001 ideas.

Let’s share our knowledge and give a leg up where we can, but remember, you are the writer – it’s your book. Be proud, and passionate, of your creation. Communicate that passion to your potential readers without hesitation or doubt.

Please leave a comment  and your details so we can start a conversation about book promotion and build each other up.

Ignite passion – Read a Romance

More to come on getting your book out there.

 

Will Publishing Market Glut Scuttle Your Writing Career

books

 

Will Publishing Market Glut Scuttle Your Writing Career

A post by Cindy Dees, ‘The Publishing Market Glut and What it Means for You’ appeared on my Face book page.

Cindy Dees’ post

It was a thought provoking read so I decided to do some further research in an attempt to clarify my own thoughts on the matter because I was very aware I was sitting on the fence.

I was a little taken back by the volume and ferocity of the debate between believers of self publishing and those who think only traditionally published books are worth the read. Self- publishers vigorously defend their right to publish what they want, when and how they want and those sitting on the other side of the fence say these author – publishers are destroying the chance we all have of getting noticed and making sales that ultimately lead to a living.

As I read I asked the question: what does it mean for me, a relatively new author who has one foot in each camp. Is there actually a glut of books on the market and could it scuttle my chances of making a living as a writer?

Will I have to promote and market my books ever more aggressively to make them noticeable in the crowd? Is yelling more loudly through social media the answer? Will I even be heard?

The market is now huge and Cindy Dees quotes figures of 450,000 + e books are self published and 300,000+ self published print books were released in 2014. I am totally gob smacked at the size of the figures. That is a lot of books. I don’t doubt the accuracy because I see thousands on twitter every day selling their wares. I have been trying to read a few each month as a writer supporting other writers and have found it is a bit like a lucky dip: with the beautifully written, the mediocre and the downright unreadable.

Previously I believed to self publish was only vanity – if the manuscript wasn’t good enough for a traditional publisher then it shouldn’t be published. But I have learnt a few things in the last 12 months. Firstly being bitten by a publisher going broke and then trying to get new publishers for my books and ending up with a drawer full of rejections for 3 out of the 5 manuscripts has made me re-think my options. I know my stories are good stories so self-publishing is looking a good option.

It wasn’t all bad though because I got to work with several brilliant editors learning so much about editing, improving my writing skills and discovering my own little faults. It was an experience for free that would have been a significant cost otherwise.

If you are considering the self publishing path get a professional editor, the best you can afford. Don’t let yourself down by putting up a half assed book, or publishing a story with great potential if only it had a good edit. This stands regardless of whether you self publish or go the road of traditional publishing.

Closer to home I also work with a group of women who have published – 3 of us by large traditional publisher and smaller independent publishers and 3 more who have self published. It has been an eye opening experience.

I have read each of these books with varying degrees of enjoyment and recently had an interesting discussion with one of these women. She is self published and currently facilitates other writers to get their books up and published believing strongly that as long as a writer does their best it is okay to publish.

I am not so sure and remain a little concerned self-publishing authors are short changing themselves and their readers by publishing stuff that is unpolished, not edited, lacking in finesse or perhaps even having chunky gaps in the plot which leaves the reader wanting more and unable to fulfill need.

Within this group there are also those who believe that a book should never be published unless it is perfect – grammar, punctuation, plot, characters and all that, but even traditional publishers have produced books that fail to make the grade in these areas. Many a brilliant story remains unpublished because of financial restraints of the big publishers and the misguided opinion of an editor – JK Rowling and Bryce Courtney’s first books for instance.

I consider myself a professional writer and I am willing and able to make the hard decisions to edit, cut, re-write, quash completely, polish, polish and polish. To craft my words to say as passionately and as succinctly as possible what I want to convey and to provide the maximum enjoyment for my reader. Reader enjoyment should be the goal for all.

I think the pendulum in favor of self publishing has swung high but that it will swing back again as our readers – they are discerning people after all – start to look for writers who produce quality work, who have credentials, who are not one book wonders.

As Cindy Dees says ‘Readers are going to be looking for clues of who the “real” writers are and who the pretenders are. In the matter of supply and demand our readers will demand a higher quality story.

And from Chuck Wendig’s post, “Slushy Glut Slog: Why Self-Publishing Shit Volcano is a Problem”

Wendig’s post

As authors we want the absolute freedom to publish what we want. We have that, and nobody wants to see that go away. But readers — readers want the freedom to buy books that meet a professional standard, stories offered that contain passion and power but that are also presented by someone who treats publishing as a business decision and not an amateurish, artistic one. It pays to surround ourselves with those who will check us and our work and who will help ensure that what reaches the readers is the very best we can produce.

And I think that is it. We must, as writers, respect, not only our readers, but ourselves and our creative efforts by producing the best books we can. To be aware that our best may not always be up to the standard that is able to be appreciated by readers and work to improve.

I think if we become, and remain, aware of this, and always demand higher quality the noise of bad books will fade gradually to a low hum through ‘natural selection’. The reader might buy one book, but if it is shit they will refuse to buy any more. For those of us who are ‘real’ writers – it might take time, but we will rise to the top, above the flotsam and jetsam, to be easily identified as worthy of a read.

Ignite passion – Read a Romance

Try my books – they are worthy of a read

Demolition of the Heart

Deathly Embrace

 

Inspiration Should Start at Home

People often ask me where I get my ideas from and I say it is difficult to explain for they are all around me. They jump into my head without warning and lie there waiting to ambush me and when they do I have to get the words down on paper or they torment me ruthlessly until I do.

I was inspired to write Demolition of the Heart because of a very passionate and vocal demonstration  against local government in my hometown of Port Lincoln in South Australia, Australia back in the 1980s.

Almost the whole town turned out to fight a council decision to build the new Civic Centre on Pioneer Park, a 20 acre site of natural bush land that had been donated to the people of Port Lincoln by a member of one of the pioneering families. Miss Amy Bishop’s intention was that this land should stay in it’s natural state for the people’s enjoyment in the present and the future.

Hundreds gathered with gaudy placards and loud chanting to howl down the Mayor as he tried to sell the project. Descendants of the family came and lodged their objections to the plan. After a heated debate the council backed down and Pioneer Park remained untouched in its pristine beauty for all to enjoy.

pioneer park plaque          pioneer park trees

At the time I wondered what would happen if the hero was on one side and the heroine on the other and Demolition of the Heart is the result of my thoughts on the subject with a generous dollop of literary licence.

No real people were murdered, set adrift at sea or have a house demolished around them in the plotting of the book.

I worried a little that readers would crave an exotic location with some red carpet glitz and glam, but as I figured I lived in Australia and to everyone besides the twenty odd million living here it was an exotic location.

Besides Port Lincoln, located on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia is famous in its own right:

  • It calls itself the Seafood Captial of Australia because of its tuna, crayfish, oysters and other seafood delicacies.
  • Claims to have more millionaires per captita than any city in Australia
  • Owner of famous racehorse Makybe Diva – she won the Melbourne cup 3 times – is a tuna fisherman in Port Lincoln.
  • Hometown to famous Australian Football League players, Lauren Nourse, netball player, and Paralympic cyclist Kieran Modra
  • the home of Olympic gold medal winning weightlifter, Dean Lukin

270px-Port_Lincoln

I hope this is enough glitz and glamour for those who need it.

mill cottage

The original Bishop family home, Mill Cottage, was puchased by council to establish a city park – Flinders Park.  It is used as a gallery and museum for historical artifacts and the beautiful water color paintings done by Miss Amy Bishop. Flinders Park surrounding the cottage is a favorite place for weddings to be held.

My Grandmother was housekeeper for Amy’s brother Miles Bishop and I spent many hours playing with his grandchildren. I actually own a couple of Amy Bishop’s paintings and they hold pride of place on my walls.  The only problem I had was that Mill Cottage was really suitable to fit the story so I chose another historical home just outside Port Lincoln called Boston House as my actual house. I called it Ainsley House.

boston House

Buy Demolition of the Heart and see what goes on in a small seaside town in South Australia. You might be surprised.

demolitionoftheheart_800 (1)

https://www.totallybound.com/demolition-of-the-heart

 

Are you one of them?

 

Ignite Passion – Read a Romance

 

Are you one of them?

If you are reading this blog post you probably are.

And what are they?

Readers of romance in its various forms of course: sweet and tender, raunchy and hot, LGBT or science fiction to name but a few.

Admit it or not people are reading them by the thousands with 75 million people admitting to reading at least one a year. Romance books make up 21% of all books sold and is worth $1.08 billion p.a.(source: Bookstats)

girl reading book beach

That’s a lot of romance books.   So who is reading them?

Now stats are easy to quote and there were plenty of statistics around for the taking and interpretation; the Bookstats Report, The Romance Writers of America and plenty of others.  The Romance Writers of America has developed a profile of the general romance book reader. She is female, aged 30-54, in a relationship and earning at least $55,000 a year. Of the books sold each year sales figures would suggest 84% are purchased by women and 16% by men.

My question here is: are these men reading them or buying them for the woman they love? Or are these figures including gay romance purchases?

As I don’t know the answer to that I will focus on the heterosexual romance book and the suggested premiss of why women read romance novels?

Some have said it is because they are dissatisfied with their real lives. Are the lives of 75 million so boring or empty or do they feel unappreciated and unfulfilled in their real lives that they need the fantasy of a strong hero falling madly in love with a stunning heroine? Some try to say women read romance because we are unhappy with our lot – that we crave to go back to the good old days – that the freedoms, expectations and responsibility that comes with our assumed equality to men has lost its shine. But with the modern romance novel featuring smart, savvy, intelligent, independent, educated heroines who are not afraid of their sexuality, and not afraid to enjoy their sexual encounters one can easily discard this premiss.

In the past romance novels have been written within the restriction of the time in history in which they were created; Pride and Prejudice, Pamela and many others. Until recently romance novels were often called bodice rippers in which the heroine was captured by the hero and subject to passionate encounters with ‘dubious consent’ on her part. In modern times romance books have been described on a number of occasions as porn for women. But the romance novel is not that and never was, although in modern times many have become steamy in line with modern values.

Maria Bustillos says in her essay: Romance Novels, The Last Great Bastion Of Underground Writing

‘Romance novels are feminist documents. They’re written almost exclusively by women, for women, and are concerned with women: their relations in family, love and marriage, their place in society and the world, and their dreams for the future.’

While this is a possibility to make  the premiss fit we need to take out the unknown quantity of the 16% of male purchasers and LGBT romance books of which today there is a growing number. There are also a number of male romance writers published now too.

 And this slant begs the question: If Maria Bustillos is correct, on what terms are LGBT readers engaging in current LGBT romance books?

 Is it important for the romance novel to have a ‘meaningful’ role in our lives, other than pure enjoyment?

 lovers books

We know it is love that makes the world go round and romance novels remind us of this. They tell us that true love and real romance are possible assuring the overwhelmed heart and soul that life holds love for all of us and a HEA. The stories remind us that we are loving sexual beings capable of far more than the demands of work, housework, and childrearing.

A reader can just sink in to a romance book and enjoy sharing the heroine’s success in finding happiness; riding the highs and lows of her struggle to find the HEA ending. Readers can recognize and celebrate the heroine’s personal growth and achievements, how she finds herself, and comes to understand better who she is, what she needs and what she is truly capable of.  The romance book is an opportunity to see our world once again, even for a short while, through rose colored glasses that fade out the hardships, the uncertainty, suffering and pain we are presented with everyday not just with those closest to us , but the whole world’s pain as reported in the papers, on TV and various forms of media.

Most women underestimate themselves, their strength, their appearance, their intelligence, and their street smarts. They allow a negative slant to color their view of themselves. In a romance novel the heroine is just who she is.  Although she has her doubts to overcome there is no talk of dieting, needing more education, or other self improvement strategies because the hero loves her just the way she is: with her quirks, weaknesses and strengths.

Life is busy, everyday stresses, employment, sports, money, TV and many other things hold sway over a man’s attention. Communication is often through social media, text or Facebook: pickups, breakups, meet ups arrange in a few typed words. Emotional needs and a connection or focus on each other is often overlooked or lost in the real modern romance. In a romance book the hero is wholly focused on the heroine and a woman can enjoy, for a short time, the fantasy of the hero providing the heroine with all the emotional support she needs.

When a woman begins to read a romance book she can let herself slip away and relax, knowing the happy ever after ending is assured and she can go along on the heroine’s journey and leave the  everyday stresses and demands on her person behind.

This post has raised more questions than answers so leave a comment and get me thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not belles-lettres maybe, but the romance novel is ‘fine reading’ nevertheless.

I love being a writer, and in particular, a writer of erotic romance. Even though there are those who would disparage the romance genre by saying it is not ‘real writing’, I would strongly disagree.

Romance novels have a long and rich history beginning in the 18th century, one of the first being Samuel Richardson’s Pamela published in 1740. And of course we have Jane Austen with Pride and Prejudice in 1813, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre in 1847 and Georgette Heyer published The Black Moth in 1921.

Who could be disappointed in being in such good company? Although the ‘romance genre’ is a much more complicated beast these days as it metamorphosis’s to meet a rapidly changing society and views on romance, love, relationship, marriage and sex. Despite these changes the core of the romance novel has not changed – a story focused on the development of the romantic relationship between two people usually with a happy ending either ‘for now’ or ‘forever’.

And despite the focus on the developing relationship many romance novels are well written with great dialogue, complex interesting characters, inspiring locations and intricate relationships between the characters. And there is plenty of choice for the discerning reader; intriguing romance, sweet romance, Christian romance, erotic romance, horror and thrillers or even paranormal. Tastes for all, with the certainty that the hero and heroine will have a satisfactory ending. And we all want that.

We all desire to find ‘true love’ – an opportunity to find a soulmate with whom we can build a sustainable, rewarding relationship; a person to share companionship, friendship and intimacy.

And I, as a writer, feel privileged to be able to share the joys of falling in love with you, my readers. To provide an enjoyable platform to allow you to dream, fantasize, and hope for what might be or to refresh your perception on what you might already have.

I say to people believe true love can appear at any moment, and if you are lucky enough to have already found true love, invest in it and treasure it. Read a romance regularly and ignite that ‘loving feeling’ to add, a drop at a time, enrichment to your relationships.

 

Ignite Passion – Read a Romance  

Romance novels can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime.

Romance novels can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime.