Friday, August 28, 2015

Attracting Readers Part 2

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Take a moment to think of the last time you watched a CSI, true crime, or some other crime investigation television show.  Did you note how many commercials for insurance policies and home security systems are aired during these shows?  Aaaahhhh - those sneaky marketing monkeys are at it again - playing on our emotions!

This week's field trip can be conducted in the comfort of your own home.  In this  assignment, we would like for you to watch television.  No mindless TV watching here, though... specifically, we want you to pay close attention to the commercials.

You will need a pen and paper to do the following:

·                     While watching your favorite TV show, note the brands and types of products promoted in each commercial (cereals, cosmetics, restaurants, services, etc.)
·                     At the conclusion of each commercial, quickly record any emotions or thoughts you may have felt while watching the advertisement (were you happy, sad, amused, scared?)
·                     When your program resumes, note the most memorable commercial and specifically what made that ad pop into your head first

It is important that you conduct this exercise during your "favorite" TV show, because commercials aired during this show are targeting YOU demographically.  At the conclusion of the show, think about ALL the commercials aired during your show.  Do you see any over arching trends or similarities with regards to the types of commercials aired? Take a stab at producing a demographic profile for your favorite show based solely on the commercials shown?  (Age, hobbies, lifestyle, income, etc.)

Now, think about your books.  Try to find ways to use the emotions expressed in your stories in your marketing pieces.  For example, if your stories focus on 'hearth and home' are you using these images in your marketing collateral?  If you book includes a thrilling chase or fight scene, think about invoking the same emotional energy in a book trailer.  If you write edgy, contemporary works, is your website 'edgy'?

Are you making emotional connections to your readers in your marketing?  

Field Trip#8 : Attention Grabbers

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Paty Jager's guest post (03 August, 2012) onBlending Genres and Attracting Readers was a HUGE hit!  Many thanks to Paty for being so engaging with her comments!  And many thanks to you, dear reader, for your comments, too!

The first part of Paty's post, detailing how she set up her table for book signings, made us think about point-of-purchase (POP) displays.

In this week's field trip, we want you to observe and examine POP displays in a retail setting.  

Visit your favorite clothing store and:
·                     start with the outside of the store and / or the store window displays - what caught your eye first? What items (signs, mannequins, props) are being used to draw you into the store?
·                     Notice the 'flow' of the outside / window display - how did your eyes take in the information being presented?
·                     once you are inside the store, note the "in store" displays (merchandising) - how are they positioned in the store?  What messages are being conveyed? (back to school, fall is coming, etc.)
·                     note the colors, images, and textures used to draw you 'in' to entice you to buy products
When you are doing a book signing:
·                     think about how you can integrate what you've observed into your displays
·                     how will you use your PERSONA to convey the content of your books?
·                     how can you integrate some of these techniques into your website (online store)?

Find ways to GRAB your reader's attention, ENGAGE them, and watch your sales bloom!

Friday, February 8, 2013

So, you finished your book and sold it - hooray!  With your release date in hand, you decide to do a blog tour as part of your marketing activities.  Still smiling with the afterglow of a sale, you pause and think, "How in the heck do I do a blog tour?"

In keeping with this month's theme of PULL marketing, today's workshop will focus on tips for designing a blog tour.

Tip #1: Know your readers.  Who are your readers?  Are they kite surfers, swimmers, and other water sports fanatics?  Do they quilt and / or knit?  Are they businessmen with an interest in international travel and thrilling adventures?  How old are they?  Where do they live?  Why would they buy your book?  Remember, you are trying to SELL your books by PULLing readers to your content.  Understand your target audience (readers) and then seek them out in their natural habit - which brings us to....

Tip #2: Seek out blogs that cater to your readers.  The common misconception about blog tours is that you have to hit as many blogs as you can in a relatively short period of time.  This notion is only partially true.  Yes, you want to connect with a variety of bloggers, BUT the blogs you choose should be blogs that attract YOUR readers.  It really is a quality over quantity decision.  One of our dear friends found herself posting on an erotica focused blog and she doesn't write erotica - in fact, she writes 'closed door', sweet romances - almost the exact opposite of erotica!  Yes, erotica readers read MORE than just erotica...but when you have precious little time, focusing your efforts by getting the most 'bang for your buck' <pun intended> is the best use of your time. :D

Tip #3: Spread the love. You don't have to hit 20 blogs in one week, marketing is a marathon - not a sprint, sprinkle your blog posts out over time - some before, some on the release day, and plenty after release.  In short: 1) Tell them (your readers) your book is coming, 2) Tell them your book is HERE (with buy links), 3) Remind them your book is released. 

Tip #4: Manage your time well - don't overextend yourself. Question: How many blogs constitute a blog tour?  Answer: What does your schedule permit?  Consider designing a blog tour that spans six months or an entire year.  It can be done, if you hit one or two blogs a month.  Have prepared posts written ahead of time to balance your blog tour demands with the time you spend writing your NEXT book.

Tip #5: Use your network. Talk with your writing friends to see which blogs they've toured.  What were their results?  Which bloggers are easy to work with?  Were they clear as to the content they wanted?  Were they able to tell you when your content would post?  Take heed of your network's advice, especially if they write similar books.

Tip #6: Visit the blogs, prior to dedicating your time and energy. Review how they present authors with introductions, pictures of them and their books, links to their website. Pull Marketing is the package and presentation of your book, while your persona engages your readers.  Is your persona and voice compatible with the blogger's voice and content?  Bloggers have an audience to attract and maintain, too.  Do you really want to be the author who submitted bawdy humor to a conservative, Christian blogger?

Tip #7: Pay it forward - Thank each blogger, touch base with them at conferences, send them chocolates, reTweet their posts, etc.  If you are nice and professional they will continue to promote you even after your blog tour is done - and you may be able to come back when your next book comes out.  Remember you are working with people who are passionate enough to blog.  People promote the people they like.  Nurture this relationship, as you would nurture any customer relationship.  In the end they are readers who buy books, too, and they have a ton of sway withtheir readers (who are also your potential readers).

If you are a pre-published author, start scoping out blogs for your future blog tour, now!  Follow them.  Load up your Google Reader with a variety of blogs - not just book blogs.  Chat with the bloggers at conferences, buy them a drink. 
Start building your blogger network, today.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Attracting Readers Part 1

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
We are bombarded with well planned and orchestrated marketing campaigns daily.  Everything from the ads that we see to a store's floor plan is designed to entice us to buy more products.  If large corporations had their way, we would receive marketing messages twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  To be honest, they are coming pretty darn close to that goal. 
What is an author to do?  
Work the system....

This week, we want you to go back to your favorite bookstore.

If you are pre-published:
·                     Examine how the books are shelved.  Maybe you'll decide to pick the pen name "A. Aardvark" to ensure that your books are alphabetically first on the shelf.
·                     Talk with the store manager to find out when the new books arrive.
o                  How do they decide which books are 'faced out' and which ones are placed on end caps?  (If it's a small bookstore, there's a good chance that the store displays (merchandising) are determined by the local staff.  If it is a national chain, they may receive specific display set up instructions or kits.)

If you are published:
·                     Chat with the store manager and try to find out the following:
o                  How do they set up / schedule in store book signings?
o                  How far ahead of time do they design their seasonal displays? (Maybe you have a book that takes place during Christmas or would work well for Halloween or Easter.)
o                  For a regionally based or local store, find out who the buyer is for the types of books you write.
·                     If your books are already for sale in the store, ask the manager if you can sign their stock copies.  (Autographed books can't be returned to the publisher....)
o                  If you do sign the books, be sure to have stickers for the front cover that say "Autographed Copy" - you'd be surprised by how many people prefer to buy signed copies!
o                  While you've got the book open, shove in a book mark, trading card, or other promotional piece to drive traffic to your website.

Learn the rules of the game, then WORK THEM to your advantage!

Field Trip #6: CyberSafari

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

As with any profession, a quick way to gain new skills is to study successful practitioners.

In this week's field trip assignment, we would like you to take a "Cyber Safari" and examine the websites of a few successful authors.  Specifically, we would like for you to examine the three sites listed below:

·                     Charlaine Harris
·                     J.K. Rowling
·                     Kady Cross

·                     What do these sites have in common?
·                     What are some ways each author is connecting with their readers?
·                     What types of things are included in each site's content?
·                     How are they allowing the reader to further experience the world created in their books?
In this week's Finer Points Friday post, we will include some answers to the questions above and point out some highlights on each website.

Please note: By no means are we suggesting that any website is absolutely perfect or that you have to spend tons of money to have a great web presence.  What we are merely trying to illustrate is that there are a wide variety of things you can include in your web content.  Remember, your ultimate goal is to keep your readers coming back for more SELL MORE BOOKS!

Therese Says: I'll also add links to this "Cyber Safari" because all these authors, linked above and below, and their books are very different from each other in the type of stories, the target audience, and the author experience they present online.  

·                     Jane Porter
·                     Elizabeth Boyle
·                     Trish and Rob MacGregor
Feel free to examine other author sites and ....happy hunting!  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Like most avid readers, I'm sure you've lost count of how many books you purchased and never finished reading.  Often the author's writing style or subject matter just didn't click with your reading preference. It doesn't mean that the book wasn't well written, it just means that book wasn't your cup of tea.

From the author's perspective, a book was sold.  BUT, if the reader doesn't connect with your work, you won't have a repeat customer or a raving fan.  The reality is that it is impossible to connect with every reader on the planet, however by better defining your target audience you will increase your chances of finding your readership (customers).  One tool to help find your readership is a Free Read Booklet.

Free Read Booklets are a great way to:
·                     widely promote your book before it is published (to build buzz and interest)
·                     allow your readers to 'try before they buy'

·                     provide a signed and personalized memento for readers

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
So far, we've covered business cards, bookmarks, and free read booklet designs and best practices.  Here is an example of another way you can promote your work:
Eye Catching Brochures and Pamphlets

Christine McKay's promotional booklet takes the term "bodice ripper" to a whole new level!  For this brochure, Ms. McKay combined a dark coral colored, cardstock paper with a corset graphic.  She then used a hole punch and black ribbon to tie the brochure closed.