Monday, December 10, 2012

How to USE this site - as a Checklist and a Workbook

Your AUTHOR PERSONA is the Dynamic Core of Your Marketing Plan TO USE for Advertising, Promoting, And Selling Your BOOKS.

Authors get stressed and frustrated when they try to promote their books without having FIRST developed an Author Marketing Plan
Therese says: Morgan and I are confident that 2013 will dawn and writers will continue to need "The 7 Primary Points to Your Author Marketing Plan" for developing a Seamless Self-Promotion Strategy. We hope you will take the time to review our site and all these FREE pages as part of your New Year career goals. To assist you, Morgan and I have chosen not to post new content to this site through the end of the year. We will be monitoring email and comments so feel free to ask any questions!

This post is so you can USE this AM101 site as a Workbook and Checklist of those 7 Primary Points. Our intent with this site was to place the Magic Wand of Marketing into your hands FOR FREE. You don't have to pay for our insights, but YOU DO HAVE TO WORK FOR IT - FOR IT TO WORK FOR YOU. 

Consider how long it took to write your book. Invest 10% of that length of time into your Author Marketing Strategy. Get together with some Author Friends and Help Each Other Invest in Your Author Selves.

So here's the Checklist!
  1. Review the definition of terms on our Push-Pull-POP page.
  2. Get a piece of paper and some crayons. Now go to our Persona page. Read, pause, discuss, and draw at each of the exercises. Take 15 - 30 minutes for each exercise. Do this even if you've attended one of our workshops because the magic of crayons should always be honored!
    • Did you draw clothes on your Author Persona that already exist in your closet?
    • Do you want to chat with the readers you drew?
    • Can you see yourself in your readers' chosen habitat?
  3. Now draw your books. 
  4. Now draw what you wish the book cover looked like. 
  5. Add some other cool images (people, places or things) you loved creating in words on those pages of your stories.
  6. Read the Blurbs for your books. Write separate blurbs for those other images you just drew. 
  7. Now go to your website. How does it reflect the images you just drew?
  8. How can you make your pages easier and more engaging to your readers? (This may be a month long process...)
Website Review: 
POP and Promotions:

  1. POP Marketing: Book Fair and Author Signing at ECWC
  2. Cross Marketing by Teaming Up: Free Read Anthology
  3. Cross Marketing: Help a Sistah (or Brotha) Out
  4. Social Media is NOT All You Need

AND Lots of other stuff:

We know December is a busy month for many with holidays and all types of activities. We also know it is a time when many pause to assess the year in review and plan for the year ahead. That's why this post will remain on top here all month - so you don't have to go searching for it - whatever your schedule may be.

When you create a solid and seamless Author Persona and Marketing Plan THEN you can assign 10% of your Author Career Time into Promotions - With Confidence - AND HAVE FUN!

Also take time to review the previous post (The Power of FREE requires Effort) regarding the 90% of your Author Career.

Let us know what you think. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Power of FREE requires Effort

There's so much FREE information available online that the brilliance we need can flash past so fast we don't notice. Today's post isn't a Marketing one, though we invite you to bring any AM101 insights to what you are about to review. As Authors, marketing and promotions should equal 10% of your writing life.

Journey through and add value to the 90% of your time and energy - your writing craft and career. Reassess that old adage, "You get what you pay for..." because if You Are Paying With Your Own Time and Energy - You Are Paying Yourself.

THE AUTHORS ROAD is a FREE online journey across the country to interview notable authors. The initiators Salli, George & their dog Ella have made an extensive investment of energy into:

We are doing this to honor one of America’s greatest natural resources — its writers. 

Invest in Your Author Self with this FREE opportunity to listen and learn from AUTHORS.
Enjoy the wisdom of professional storytellers and know you are investing in Your career. 
 AUTHOR MARKETING from the 101 to the EXPERT level is only effective with a great STORY.

For more information about the creators of The Author Road, George and Salli - check out their world travel adventure at: The Slaughter-Mason Family Sabbatical  One Family, One Year, One World.
To all our Readers: Have Fun becoming a Great Natural Resource - a writer - first, then come back to us for help with your marketing.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Workshop #6: Website Basics - Content for Pre-Pub & Published Authors

So, you've been told by any number of folks: "You gotta have a website."  But no one has bothered to tell you what your website should contain.  In today's workshop we will provide some pointers on basic web content for both pre-published and published authors.  (Note: We are providing recommendations.  It's your website.  You can add or delete content at your discretion.)

With regards to web content, we looked at several author websites and paid special attention to their navigation tabs (actual content pages).

Basic Web Content for PRE-Published Authors:
  1. Home Page - This page is your landing page and home base for your website.  While the other pages can be more static, your home page should always contain the most up-to-date information.
  2. Author Bio / About Me Page: Here is where you provide some background information about your author PERSONA.  Content can include: why you write a specific genre, what inspires you, quirky facts, etc.  Whatever you put on this page should provide some peek at your voice / writing style.
  3. Contact: Either as a separate web page / tab on your navigation bar or prominently displayed on your home page, give interested parties a means to contact you.  Here is where you put your links to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. in addition to your email address.
  4. Something About Your Books: Give your future readers a peek at what you are writing, BUT don't give away your plot - don't give unscrupulous writers a jump on your potential best seller idea!  We also recommend that you do NOT post mock covers of your books....readers always seem to miss the fact that the book isn't published.  They will head to the store only to be frustrated when they can't buy your books.
Here are some examples of how pre-published authors have structured their websites:

Notice how Remy Stone has four navigation links: 'My Books', 'Bio', 'A Bloody Mess', and 'Find Me.' Her 'A Bloody Mess' page includes fun information for her readers.

Gina Fluharty gives you just a flavor of what her books have to offer...very well executed!  The photo with the wolf shadow also gives the reader insight into what she writes and the mood of her books.

Basic Web Content for Published Authors:
  1. Home Page
  2. Author Bio / About Me
  3. Contact
  4. Books: Here's where you have your BUY links for all the outlets you want.  Make sure the links are directly to the purchase page - you want to be able to accommodate a quick, impulse buy.  Don't make your readers work to find a way to make a buy.
  5. News & Events: Where you are going to be for book signings, blog tours, conferences, workshops, etc.
Beyond these basics, published authors have also included:
  • Media Kit: Contains high-resolution images of your book covers and author photos for media use; links to published articles; multi-media content like taped interviews and books trailers.
  • Multi-Media: As stated above, here is where you can post your book trailers, video journals, interviews, etc.
  • Book Club Info: Reading guides for book clubs complete with questions and themed party suggestions.
  • Bibliography / Library: Some authors include this page to list their books and series chronologically.  This page may also include the back cover copy for each book listed.
  • For Fans: When these pages were present, they were a catch-all for everything from character profiles to world building glossaries.  JD Robb includes a story arch synopsis for the 30+ books in her In Death Series.
  • Blog Link: If you maintain a blog, why not promote it on your website.  Pre-published authors should also link to their blogs, if they have one.
Here are some examples of how published authors have structured their websites:

Kristina McMorris has a great example of a Media Kit and 'For Book Clubs' content.
Darynda Jones includes a search function and a link to her blog.
Sabrina York is newly published <congrats!> and has her navigation on the left side.  Anyone new to her site immediately knows they are in for a fun and steamy experience!
Morgan says: As a pre-published author, my research for this article has inspired me!  I'll be taking a hard look at my own web content over the holidays.

Let us know what you think.  Feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Never Judge a Book by its Cover - Just Click on it

Book covers are supposed to represent the story in a single image and entice a browsing reader to pick that book off a shelf and read the blurb, quotes, first paragraphs, and then buy the book.  With the advent of digital books and millions of competing book covers in massive catalogs, a great book cover is even more important! It is the first click of connection between the author and reader.

You want your book covers and blurbs well presented on your website but you should not feel limited to only that cover and short blurb as the best representation of your book. Excerpts are nice but there's other options to engage a reader in the story of your book at first glance.

Multipubbed authors are re-releasing their back-list books with new covers and making it known how much they hated the original book cover. The authors' vision of the story is now represented in new graphics and colors. The author is thrilled with this new cover, and that this book-of-their-heart-when-it-was-written finally has the cover it deserves. The author is creating more marketing enthusiasm than the story ever tasted in its former time on a bookshelf. Potential readers are willing buy a pre-pubbed story with a new cover by an author who is thrilled with the new cover art - even if it is not a book the reader intended to buy.

Consider this brief story about this book as presented in Trish MacGregor's blog post:

"I wrote this book during my pregnancy in 1989. Ballantine gave it the absolutely most grotesque cover ever. The premise of the story is based on Rupert Sheldrake’s book, Presence of the Past, in which he introduced his theory of morphic resonance – that nature has a memory.

Ballantine labeled the novel “horror,” and while there are certainly elements of that, it’s actually a story about what happens to ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. The cover didn’t do much for the sales of the book, which was published in 1990 and went out of print a few years later.
 When I got the rights back to the book some years ago, the rights reversion letter sat in a file. There are 20 or so back list titles in that reversion letter and now, with the advent of ebooks and e-readers, I’m bringing those titles into digital form, one by one, and I’m using my own name. What a concept! Talented Katrina Joyner did the superb cover:"

Did those above three paragraphs entice you to learn more about something related to this 23 year old novel? 

Morphic resonance may have been a radical theory then. Now those two words could be the search words for the audience to find this book. 

As a reader, I am now curious about this story and I will explore more because not only is it a novel written by an award winning writer but I also expect to LEARN SOMETHING NEW.

Therese says: Our recent workshop author, Jessa Slade, was pleased with the rippling abs of her bare-torso-hero book covers - except - these rippling-abs-repentant-demon stories were set during Chicago winters. Aside from some steamy sex scenes with the kick-ass heroine, Jessa's heroes were clothed in many layers of cloth and leather. For the one hero who's story took place during the hot summer months, the cover artist draped a t-shirt over the rippling abs. We call this an artistic foul.
I also had issues with only the heroes on the cover as the heroines truly deserves equal billing. Jessa had issues with the weapons displayed, like one hero is holding the knife that never left the heroine's hand. This opens a can-of-worms debate over the potential of artistic license vs. good marketing. We're not going into that can since we're not into worms.
What if Jessa included a little bit about the mythology laced through her stories - and that her demons are desperate for redemption? 
 The Indie-Digital-Books arena is the new kid on the block and here to stay. An author can actually build a career with little cash investment. Be aware that there are many authors who remain anonymous to the general reading population but still make a good living writing books, and have tons of fun as an author.

Now an author can have more freedom and control over the book cover. A cover designer is required because those skills are different than the ones needed to write a good book. But the days of potential sales of good stories being sabotaged and blocked with a lousy book cover will end when authors can choose the book cover that best represents their story - which will stay "in-print" now.
Deborah Cooke/Claire Delacroix is also working through the dilemma of new covers for her backlist novels, and only recently figured out how to use her sidebars as point of purchase links.  She also shares her knitting projects!
When an author is enthusiastic that the book cover really does represent the story, a potential reader is more likely to want to know more about that story and the author. It's one more fun aspect of seamless self-promotion. You might not feel comfortable with pushing your story - but - hot damn - YOU LOVE THE COVER ART.

Have fun with it!