Marketing for New Authors

I’ve been asked quite a bit about marketing for authors since I have a marketing background. Please note, before reading on, that I’m nowhere near the success level I want to be. But, if you look at the time it’s taken me to achieve the results I have, you’ll probably see why I feel I can speak on this subject a bit.

tumblr_npwk3jeYHz1rdb769o1_400

I began writing my first novel November 2012. It is now June 2015 and have had three books that have reached top 100 on Amazon (as paid) in their category. I have over 3500 fans on my fan page and over 2000 followers on Twitter. My work has been recognized by an award winning film director for one novel and a producer for another and I’ve been a paid guest author.

The most important thing is that my sales and readership is on a steady and continuous upward growth. So, I want to share (candidly) what I’ve tried and my opinion on it as someone who has a marketing and business background.

Conventions:

I’ve probably attended about a dozen conventions in the last 3 years (perhaps more). Everything from the uber small to the mega size (Phoenix ComiCon) Each convention has truly been different. Here’s my take on it, they’re fun to attend to, but I wouldn’t pay for a booth as an author. My recommendation is to find a book seller to have your books at and try to arrange book signing times only if you are a panelist at said convention. The more panels, the better – for both you and the convention.

tumblr_np9fw7NUn91tul9ago1_400

If you’re a small-time author like me and you’re at a larger convention (like Phoenix ComiCon or San Diego Comic Con or B.E.A.) then prepare to do a ton of giveaways to get your name out there. Figure, for every 500 free items you’ll receive about 10 responses. This is where you want to promote social media as a priority and your book as secondary.

This sounds weird, right? Here’s the thing. At a large convention, you’re in a sea of celebrities and important people and a mess of a crowd. Postcards — you might as well throw away your money. Things that work are things people can use. I had Team Zombie stickers made up with my website in small print on the sticker. By the end of the weekend I saw several people with my stickers on their phone and iPads. I also created excerpts booklets and slid them inside a plastic sleeve with a free pen. Something like this is more likely to get pulled out of a mess of the freebie postcards and stuff that make it to the bottom of the bag.

All these things cost money. Especially when you factor in parking, food, hotel in some cases, etc. If you’re on a tight budget, this is probably something that should go to the bottom of your list. If you’re a tie-in author with role playing games, etc – this might be a little better, but I’m speaking strictly on fiction authors like myself.

Book Signings

There’s a world of difference between a book signing in a big city and a book signing in a small town. If I get invited to a book signing locally I’ll most likely attend because it doesn’t cost me anything, but I don’t actively pursue them. I’ve had more success in small towns than larger ones because a small town is limited on activities they have and their residents will be looking for events… like a book signing.

Every new author seems to want to do a book signing at a Barnes & Noble – but if you’re a new author without much of a following, then this can hurt you. Nothing is worse than sitting at a table at Barnes and Noble watching people walk by looking at every book in the store except yours. I’ve had authors boast about their book sales of 10 books at a B&N but this isn’t a good thing. You’re devaluing yourself and you won’t grow a loyal readership that way.

Book Launch Parties

If you have a great sphere of influence and a large circle of people that will attend, then go for it. However, this isn’t the case for most people.

Online Book Launch

These are free and anyone can attend. It also takes less time and dedication to do one of these and I highly recommend it.

tumblr_inline_npxdfi6Zzz1qaqvtr_500

Blog Tours

Blog tours are a great way to get reviews and quotes for your book. It also creates a back link which will boost your Google rankings. Why? The more sites that are linking to your website and/or blog the higher you’ll rank in Google search. This is always a good thing.

The most important thing about marketing is you can’t expect all the results to look the same. Most authors go into marketing with one thing in mind ; book sales. You need to go in thinking — how is this gaining exposure and is it worth it? 

Facebook and Twitter

Facebook, finally, has become more helpful in the marketing department without paying an arm and a leg. 1. you should have a fan page. I’ve had authors ask what’s better, a personal page, a group, or a fan page. Without a doubt, you absolutely need a fan page. A Facebook group is not meant for promotions – it’s meant for discussions around a subject matter. Now, there are groups on Facebook specifically for an author created by fans – but if you’re at that point, then you shouldn’t be bothering with my blog post here.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.25.00 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.21.27 AM

A personal page is very limiting – (I’m hoping you’re aiming for more than 5,000 fans? Because your personal page has a friend limit of 5,000) Also, a fan page lets you view algorithms and how your page is doing. Everything from the demographics of your fans to to when they’re online and which one of your posts get the most views and likes. This is all included and you should be using this.

tumblr_npytowDJgo1rkallao1_400

Twitter is a great place for authors because authors and book lovers are always tweeting and retweeting their favorite books, quotes, etc.

Email Marketing

We talked about Facebook, Twitter, blog tours, etc – but what about people that aren’t attached to their social media account or even those that just don’t see everything you post? You need to be able to reach out to them. I try to send an email once a month to my list, but I would never send more than one every two weeks.

I try to include free ‘after the The End” in my email newsletter so that my readers have an incentive to sign up. Something extra that they aren’t getting normally. (think interviews, FAQ, Q&A, Cover release, etc)

There’s a lot of email marketing companies out there but my favorite is AWeber. You can try it out for free using the banner right below. And then, of course, you can subscribe to my email list through http://www.theaccidentalwriter.com

Powered by AWeber

Do you have any specific questions regarding marketing I haven’t covered? Post them in the comments!

Marketing checklist:

  1. Have a fan page on Facebook, post regularly
  2. Have a Twitter handle (optional)
  3. Have an email marketing campaign (through AWeber)
  4. Set up a blog tour (You can Google blog tours in your genre and then email authors that hosted on that blog tour to see what their review of said tour)
  5. Have a media kit (in both print and digital)
  6. Host an online book launch (look at how other authors have done this)
  7. Follow your favorite authors to see what they do!
  8. Reach out to other authors to see what they’re doing
  9. Be courteous!
  10. Don’t ignore your readers. If you receive fan mail, thank them. If someone helps market your book – thank them! If a reader comments on your fan page how much they adore you, don’t just *like* their comment, respond!

Marionette by T.B. Markinson

mar-kindle

Synopsis:

Paige Alexander is seventeen and has her whole life in front of her. One day her girlfriend comes home to discover that Paige has slit her wrists. Paige isn’t insane, but she acts like she is. Why?

After the incident, Paige agrees to go to therapy to appease her girlfriend, Jess. However, Paige doesn’t believe that therapy will help her. She believes she’s beyond help. Paige doesn’t want to find herself and she doesn’t want to relive her painful past in order to come to terms with it. What Paige wants is control over her life, which she hasn’t had since her birth.

During her childhood, Paige is blamed for a family tragedy, when in fact, her twin sister, Abbie was responsible. Abbie doesn’t come forward and Paige becomes the pariah of the family.

To add to Paige’s woes, while attending a college in a small town in Colorado, the residents are in the midst of debating whether or not gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Tension is high and there’s a threat of violence. She isn’t out of the closet and pretends to be straight at school since she fears what will happen if her parents find out she’s a lesbian. Will she end up dead like her best friend, Alex?

 

Become a fan of her on Goodreads here. Author’s Blog
Author’s Twitter
Author’s Fan Page
Purchase on Amazon – A Woman Lost

Sun Gate Cover Reveal

942569_10151592355913991_241693608_n

One of my favorite things about indie authors is that everything you see, from the cover art to the the editing to the blurbs – is under their thumb. The book is a complete creation from that author. With a traditional publisher this isn’t always the case and as a reader, I’m often left wondering how much of the book is still from that writer.

It’s one of the main reasons I chose to independently publish the rest of the Bohemian Grove trilogy. I wanted complete control over it and the design. So, this is one why I’m so beyond thrilled about the cover of Sun Gate. Although the Bohemian Grove cover was my design as well, it was something that happened at the last minute. There’s something about having a book be completely yours that changes things –  It has become my baby.

Jason Vollario, my go-to guy for awesome graphic designing, and I have been chatting about this cover for a few months now and yesterday we hit the drawing board. 8 hours later, and after many drafts, we got our cover. I can’t imagine working with anyone else on this. He is not only a brilliant designer, but he is a brilliant business person who listens and is super patient.

I was a little concerned about revealing Carter’s face. As a reader, I’m not a fan of covers that show a real person because it sort of takes away from the experience of imagining a character for me. But, Carter is such an integral part of the story that it would almost be blasphemous not to have her on the cover. After all, we get a sneak peak of her silhouette on the Bohemian Grove cover. Now, we get another teaser with more of her face. But, enough of her features are hidden that we can still let our imaginations have some fun. Besides, seeing those green eyes is really bad ass.

Carter and friends do a lot of traveling in this book and you see two of the main locations on the cover; Alaska and Egypt. (The book starts in Peru). However, it wasn’t just a matter of throwing some locations in there and a face – there was a lot of manipulation with colors and placement. Her eye is directly over the pyramid tip, giving a subliminal illusion of the all-seeing eye. The tips of the pyramids glow golden. (For those that follow the theories of the Anunnaki will appreciate the ‘gold’ symbolism.)

The colors lend an air of mystery, darkness, and adventure to this book – all of which will be found in the story itself. All in all, the cover turned out better than I hoped and imagined. I really hope you, my readers, love it just as much as I do.

As for the story itself. Bohemian Grove took me 4 months to write and Sun Gate has taken me 15 months. Granted, it’s nearly twice as long – but there was a lot of pressure I put on myself to make sure I did the story justice. Bohemian Grove was a simple story with a simple plot. Sun Gate becomes more complex as more elements and enemies are introduced to the story. I found myself constantly balancing between over-doing it and under-doing it. The balance was hard to find and that’s what took me so long to write.  I’m predicting that Nibiru will be somewhere in between Bohemian Grove and Sun Gate as far as difficulty. Mostly because I already know where I’m going with it, but it will also most likely be even longer than Sun Gate.

Anyway, off to write! Oh – and we have a trailer coming out soon too! WOO HOO!