Monday, April 30, 2012

When should I start promoting my book?

As we are out and about teaching people the finer points of Author Marketing 101, we are often asked: "When should I start promoting my book?"  The short should start promoting your book as soon as you have a publication date from your publisher....  

If you don't have a publication date (or a publisher), then start marketing your author PERSONA.  Get your author website up and running; start a blog (if blogging is your thing); create an author page on Facebook; or post a few of your PERSONA's favorite things on Pinterest.  Start to build a web presence for your author PERSONA, BEFORE you get the book deal.

We've chatted with agents and editors during writing conferences.  Most admit that if they like the pages you submit, one of the first things they will do is a web search for your name (or pen name) to investigate your web presence.  Why do they do a web search?  Well, they want to know how committed you are to your writing career.  If you aren't actively promoting a PERSONA online, they may question your ability to market your books.  (Stay tuned for future posts on how to market your PERSONA online.)

WARNING: unless you plan on self-publishing your book, don't post any preliminary or working titles, mock covers, or other artwork for your manuscripts.  If you do post these items, readers may search for your work only to be frustrated when they learn it's not available for purchase.  Or worse - some unscrupulous writer, and there are more than a few, may 'borrow' your ideas, copy your cover, or otherwise steal your thunder.

If you do have a publisher and a publication our critique partner, Mercer Addison, would say, "Getta cracka-lackin'!"  Approach your target market / readers in their natural habitat and start getting the word out that your book is coming!

Friday, April 27, 2012

When you're ready for Business Cards

Today the topic is business cards and the first point is; they should be a miniature version of your website.

Remy Stone is an aspiring novelist, a fellow writer, and marketing professional. (We marketing geeks love playing with how we will market ourselves!) She has a graphic design business and created her website and persona after completing her novel, as part of the process of marketing it to publishers.

 The two versions of her business card are with image, or without image. A small image of you is a good reminder for the holder of the card. The red type in the bottom corner says, “sex, murder & mayhem”  and when she's actually promoting her books, that font should be bigger.

The myth to bust today is how much personal information is needed. According to literary agent Lauren Ruth of BookEnds, LLC, she tosses all business cards. However, what made a big impression on her recently was the author had included the pitch for her novel on the back side of the business card.

Read through the comments on Lauren's blog for even more insight into how best to create and use business cards. Then check out the Part 2 of this topic. How much personal contact information is needed on a business card? Your website and email. Your website is the first glance impression, and is reflected in the persona of your business card. Your professional email address is for direct contact. 

Make your business cards reflect and promote your website, which reflects your author persona, which reflects the awesomeness of your books. Then provide the best way, and only one way, to contact you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Field Trip Topic #1: Continuity Study

We are big believers in learning from the best, especially with regards to successful marketing.  For this reason, we will often use retail chains and brands as examples to hit home key marketing principles.

So, here is your first marketing field trip assignment....

Pick up your favorite fashion magazine and select one of the cosmetics ads. Go to the cosmetics aisle at your local drugstore. (Take the ad with you, of course.)  Find the brand of cosmetics in the ad in the store.


1) How easy or difficult was it for you to find the cosmetic product featured in the magazine ad?

2) If it was easy for you to find - why? 

3) Did the images in the store match the images in the ad?  What about the colors? Text? Messaging statements?

4) If you didn't find the product, how did you feel?  Were you in the right store for the brand of product featured in the ad?

How easy is it for your readers to find your books?  Do the images and messaging on your website align with your author PERSONA? Does your author PERSONA align with your writing?

Comment and let us know what you think.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What it costs

The “Marketing is Expensive” MYTH is rooted in the cost of PROMOTING your product through TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, and all kinds of traditional public media. These ADS are expensive, because the income from advertisers is what funds the publications and broadcasts. However, the CONTENT is what PULLS the customer/reader to that specific show or print media. It is the articles, sitcom, or story that advertisers feel will help them reach the target audience for their product or service.

When a publisher tells an author to do their own marketing, they really mean they want them to create a persona and put together a marketing plan for their book. If an author creates a persona and plan, then hands the publisher a really great advertisement targeted for specific publications, the publisher may then say, “Great!” and put some funds into the promotion. Maybe. Even so, once the marketing 101 process has been completed, creating advertisements and funding promotions is a lot less expensive.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Glance Factor

We've got advice, tidbits, and examples to share so we're going to begin posting them weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So let's begin!

On Wednesday, April 18th, KGW TV ran a short on Romance Novels Bloom in the Rose City featuring two local authors Janelle Denison and Cathryn Cade. This news segment was probably a first glance at these two authors for many romance readers. Janelle has been published since 1993 with a whole lot of books and a very professional website. Cathryn is newer to the romance scene, published in ebooks, and designed and maintains her website personally.

Questions to review:
1.  Which author did you remember when the short was over?
2.  Why do you think that is?