Friday, July 31, 2015

Product Families, Placement, & World Building

Therese Says: These two Field Trips are short and included in entirety. However, Morgan's World Building Workshop is a must see so be sure to click the link on the title or TO SEE MORE link.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What’s your favorite breakfast cereal? Hot or cold, there are a plethora of products to choose from on the grocery store shelf.  Brightly colored boxes from various brands and manufacturer’s tout the nutritional value and healthy benefits of these products.

If you haven’t guessed, this week’s field trip takes you to the cereal aisle of your local grocery store or corner food market.

Here are the questions I would like for you to consider:

Note the different kinds of Chex, Cheerios, and Quaker Oatmeal that are on the shelf…
·              How are the different kinds of Chex (or Cheerios, or Quaker Oatmeal) tied together as a family?
o               What do the boxes have in common?
o               What’s different?
·              How are the different families of products grouped together on the shelves?
o               Are all the Chex (or Cheerios or Quaker Oatmeal) group together or spread out?
o               Where are the children’s cereals placed relative to the adult cereals?
If you are self-publishing a series of books, are you using common visual cues and layouts for the series covers?

If you are traditionally published, how did your publisher connect your series of books together for readers?

For Everyone:  How are you marketing your series of books?  Do your pieces show them as a “family” of products?  

If your audience has to read your books in a specific order, is the correct order clearly stated or illustrated in your marketing campaign?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Ok, so your latest work-in-progress (WIP) features a new spin on an old fairy tale, danger, adventure, and all manner of mayhem.  It is completely different from anything you have ever written before and you really aren't sure of where it is going, let alone how to market it.

Today's field trip takes you to your favorite bookstore.

With an eye for marketing, I want you to take note of the following things:
·                     How is the bookstore organized?
·                     Where are the YA books placed in the store relative to the adult fiction? Inspirational? Home decor?
·                     How are the latest books positioned in the store?
·                     Which books are placed at eye level versus being placed lower on the shelf?
·                     How are the end caps structured?  (End caps are the displays at the end of each row.)
·                     What other non-book products are placed on the book displays? (These are the 'pull through' products.)
Where will you books be placed on the shelf?  Now that you are aware of your product placement, how can you use this information to design a better marketing campaign?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Morgan, here, with another workshop to get your creative juices flowing.  One of the things I love about writing, is world building.  Some authors use giant poster boards to collect images, scraps, and pictures for inspiration.  Since my day job requires tons of travel, I decided to combine my love of scrapbooking and collage to create a portable world building journal.
Morgan says: My latest WIP is a steampunk novel.  I plotted the story and started writing.  After consulting with some of my dear writing friends, I came to the conclusion that my story would fit well in YA.  This decision on product placement will help me formulate my marketing strategy.  Since writing steampunk YA is such a HUGE departure from anything I've written before, I've decided to take a new pen name for this project.  My product placement decision will have a ripple effect on other aspects of my writing career.  Note:  I started by plotting and planning a story that really got my blood pumping,  THEN I investigated where it would fit with regards to audience and genre.  Always start with a story you LOVE and everything else will eventually fall into place.  [ TO SEE MORE of"My Steampunk World" journal ]

Friday, July 17, 2015

Going Back to the Basics....

In June of 2012, we began actively posting tips and articles to this site. It was a simple and sustainable plan and held true to our core AM101 message. On Monday our topic was busting Marketing Myths, Wednesday was tips and tricks, and Friday was for finer points. 

By June of 2013 we had posted so much great information we agreed to create our book that encapsulated our seven primary points into an easy to use guide. This meant we could offer more guest posts, and multiple articles, by industry experts. Then we realized that while We Were Having Fun Helping Our Author Friends – and having even More FUN on our own journeys as novelists – this site had become information overload.

The next few months we will make it easy for our readers, especially the new ones, to mine our site with links to those initial Field Trips and Workshops.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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. [READ MORE]

  Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Would you put a guy all decked out in hunting camouflage gear on the cover of a fashion magazine?  Your answer would probably be a resounding “No”, unless camo is the hottest trend from Versace!

This week, your assignment is to venture to your local mall…we know, we are REALLY twisting your arm on this one….  Specifically, we want you to visit Macy’s, Dillards, or some other large retailer with a huge perfume department. [READ MORE]

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

So far, we've provided you with a series of field trips to help you discover and explore marketing in your everyday world.  It occurred to us that we haven't given you any workshops!

Today's workshop will focus on bookmark design.  Why are bookmarks still relevant in the ever growing world of e-readers?  Well, when used properly, they are a handy promotional tool.  They also provide a means for an author to give a signature to a fan who may only read books on an e-reader. [READ MORE]

Friday, March 15, 2013

We touched on the topic of newsletters at the end of our Friday, 01 March 2013 post: Push Marketing - Make it Seamless.  As much as we all love to talk about social media and blogs, there are some readers who still get a warm fuzzy from a newsletter popping into their email inbox.    Collecting a list of reader email addresses and sending them the occassional note or newsletter is a tried and true PUSH marketing method. 

Never created a newsletter? No worries, here's one method to create your own...

Friday, July 3, 2015

Using Quote / Excerpt Boxes by Christy Carlyle

Morgan & Therese say: Here at Author Marketing 101 we are all about recycling and reusing your work in a variety of ways to market your books. (We are Oregonians, after all. Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse are in our blood. Ha!) Our favorite Graphics Guru - Christy Carlyle - is back with her second post on how to reuse your cover art and design elements in quote boxes to build buzz and promote sales of your book. Thanks, again, Ms. Carlyle, for sharing your skills and knowledge!

Christy Carlyle says:

One of the big challenges of book promotion is figuring out how to let people know about your book without boring them, irritating them, or simply saturating them to the point that they skip any mention of your book in their social media streams because they’re tired of hearing about it. How many of us have skimmed past fellow authors’ repeated tweets about their new release?

As a writer with artistic tendencies and a former book cover designer, I know the power of combining words and images. Images are the most basic forms of information we process — symbols, logos, colors, and shapes. These aspects of graphic design can then pull us in so that we’re interested in reading more. I know I never mind seeing an appealing book cover or reading a beautifully written or intriguing excerpt from a book. In many cases, a few lines can hook me to the point of clicking the buy button.

In the last few months I’ve noticed several authors combining words and images to create what I call excerpt boxes. These simple graphic images include the author’s book cover or some aspect of their cover art and a brief excerpt. Sometimes these excerpts raise questions. Sometimes they’re just beautifully written sentences that make me want to read more of the author’s work. My anecdotal evidence tells me that these quote boxes are effective. Recently, bestselling historical romance author Elizabeth Hoyt produced several excerpt boxes prior to the release of Dearest Rogue. Each box I saw in my Facebook feed gave me a little more of the story. She didn’t simply post the same excerpt over and over but created a variety. Each snippet drew me deeper into her characters and her plot. By the time her book came out, I had to have it. Isn’t that the kind of anticipation we’d like to create in potential readers?

How can you design an excerpt box? Well, beyond Photoshop and GIMP, two programs that I’ve used to create these marketing tools are and an iPhone app called Word Swag. With, you choose a square dimension for your design such as 600 x 600 pixels, and then add your excerpt and upload and position your cover. With Word Swag, you’ll need to save your cover to your phone and then you can use it as a background image on an excerpt box. If you can obtain a version of your cover without any fonts and just the art, it will make it easier to use with an option like Word Swag.

Tips for an Effective Excerpt Box:

  •  Keep the excerpt short. More than three or four short lines and you’ll lose the effectiveness of a quick, intriguing excerpt that folks will stop and read.
  •  Use background and font colors that harmonize or effectively contrast with your book cover design or the overall feel of your book. A good rule of thumb is to choose a secondary color in your book cover design for your excerpt box background color.
  • Be sure to add your author website address somewhere on your excerpt box.
  • If your book is currently available, include a buy link when you post your excerpt box on social media. You may entice a reader into an immediate purchase!

Here are two examples of excerpt boxes.

This box includes cover, excerpt, and web address
It was created with Photoshop Elements.

This box uses a portion of the cover art and an excerpt.
It was made with Word Swag.
Why a square? Square images are favored by Facebook, Google+, and Instagram. In order to create an excerpt box for Twitter, you’ll need to create a flat rectangule in the dimensions of 440 pixels by 220 pixels.

Here’s an example of a rectangular image that would work for a Twitter upload.


A word of warning… Creating these boxes can become enjoyably addictive. Not only do they provide you with an appealing marketing tool, but they force you to pick out blurbs from your story that will capture readers. Be sure to reuse those blurbs in tweets, blog posts, or on swag you create to promote you book. Have FUN!

Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings. Her new series, Accidental Heirs, debuts from Avon Impulse with One Scandalous Kiss in September 2015.