Launching Romance into the stars.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Do You Have a Marketing Plan?

Author Website
Congratulations, you've just contracted your first book. Now what?
Writing your book is the easy part. Getting your name out there takes a plan and valuable time that is best used wisely. These items should be included in your marketing plan. They are tips to help you get the news of your new release out there and build an audience.
Who is my target audience? (Think outside the box) Your readers could potentially be people who frequent Renaissance or science fiction fairs, or perhaps they are gamers who play D&D and have clubs where they play. Maybe they go to comic book conventions? You might find them in the library, in book clubs.  How old are they? What places can you find them? Go there. Hand out business cards and promotional materials if possible.
The best way to sell a book is through word of mouth. The best way to get word of mouth is to get your book into as many hands as possible. Consider giving your book away as a freebie for 3-5 days, if the publisher is amiable toward it. Remember, the more hands you get it into, the better chance you will get word of mouth sales. This is your biggest seller.
Are there any book clubs or readers groups in my area? These too are often untapped areas you can explore. Your local bookstores and libraries are the best place to start. Also watch your local paper. You can often find news of them there. If not, start one of your own. Talk not just about your books, but books you love.
Do you have a blog? No? You can get one for free through Gmail. Set one up and start blogging about topics that relate to your writing. Not every blog post should be about your book. Actually, that can be tedious for readers. Posts on medieval dress or customs ,and various other topics relating to research and what you write about, are a great place to start.
Do I have a website? If you don’t, and you’re serious about pursuing your career as an author, this becomes a must. Visit it weekly and update one thing on it. Neglected websites lose readers. Don’t neglect it. Changes bring them back to see what is new.
Do I have links on my blog or website to other blogs and websites of interest, including my publishers? Being published online requires that you build a network. A reader visiting one author’s site that loves their books, may visit another author if they are recommended or linked. Go out and find authors who write similar stories and ask them to do a link exchange. Most are willing to post your link if you post theirs on your sites. This includes review sites. Places like Night Owl Reviews will set up a free author’s page if you link back to them. Make sure to set up on Kindlegraph and other places readers may frequent. The more links back to your blogs and pages, the more traffic will flow to your books and the bigger your sales.
Make your blogs and websites reader friendly. Keep it easy navigate. Beautiful graphics don’t hurt either. You can go to places like Fantasia Frog, to find banners that are very reasonable if you don’t make them yourself. Make sure you have a tag line for your site. You can go to authors websites and blogs to see how they write theirs. It should reflect what your write. Whatever you do, make sure your blog or website looks and sounds professional.
Keep it simple and don’t clutter. If you can make separate pages for different topics, do. Make sure a link is always attached to a cover. I call it one click find. If they can click and it takes them directly to where they can purchase it, it makes it easy. Readers won’t write down titles, no matter how intriguing, but they will click on a cover and they will buy if you make it easy. When you have your blog or website up and running, invite friends to check it out and provide feedback. You can catch glitches that way.
Which brings me to one of the most critical things you can do. Your blurb is one of the most important things you will write. Rinse and repeat. Your blurb is one of the most important things you will write.  It should be less than 150 words, pull the reader in and leave them wanting more. A well penned blurb will sell books. A poor one will do the opposite. Spend time and perfect your blurb. I can’t emphasize enough how important that is. You can also help boost interest in your book by asking authors you admire if they will provide you a blurb about your book.
Are you on FaceBook? No? Get on it.
Are you on Twitter? Get on it and follow others who write similar books.
Are you on the multitude of other places you can meet potential readers? Social networking is a huge tool, especially for authors who are e-published. Just remember, don't make everything about your books. This is a chance for your readers to get to know you--the author and what makes you tick.
Do you have a blogging schedule posted? Will you be a guest somewhere? Make sure you schedule to guest on blogs or websites of authors who write similar books. Post your schedule and keep it up to date. If readers see a schedule that is out of date, they won’t bother coming back to check where you’ll be and when. Make sure when you post blog schedules, you also post any live visits you might be making to local book clubs or stores. If you are doing such an event and it's open to the public, consider taking out an ad in the local paper.
Do you have promotional items to give away? You can go to sites like Vista Print to order items like pens and tee shirts at a reasonable cost. Make sure you have some on hand to give away at book club meetings, or for any online contests you might have. Your readers will love you for them.
Last but not least, keep writing. Your next book will sell your previous book. This is especially important if you decide to write a series. Most series don’t take off until book three.
Best,
Dawn
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