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Posts tagged with: author marketing

Indie, Are Ya?

So, you’ve decided to be your own boss. Not an easy decision. Kudos to you for grabbing the entrepreneurial reins. And as you look ahead into the future with excitement and determination, despite knocking knees, the Rubies want you to know we’ve got your back. In the coming months, we plan to post information that’ll help you build a fabulous career.

On the second Tuesday of each month, Katie Graykowski and myself (along with a few other Rubies backing us up with current information), will be chatting about the Indie business of book publishing. Our blog will be in two parts, directed at both new indie writers and those who are part of the indie world and need help in certain aspects, such as marketing. We fully admit, we’re not experts, but we do own our own businesses and we’re always on the lookout for new information. We’re also willing to host guests who are experts, so if you’re an industry professional please contact us.

If you have specific topics you’d like discussed, please email me at autumn@autumnjordon.net or Katie at katiegraykowski@me.com and we’ll do our best to address the topic in our next blog.

 

DON’T KILL YOUR CAREER BEFORE ITS STARTED

by Katie

The indie market is an everchanging beast. What works today may not work tomorrow. I’ve met indie veterans and total newbies who all have the same issues.

 Five years ago, when I published my first indie book, it was an OMG-is-this-the-right-path-for-me moment. In the early days of indie publishing, established authors and traditional publishing companies alike, balked at the idea of self or indie publishing. Thank God readers didn’t and still don’t care how the books that they buy are published.

Now, I know that everyone wants to jump to marketing so that they can sell a bazillion books, retire to Grand Cayman, and day-drink on the beach, but you can’t sell a bazillion books, if you’re manuscript is crap.

Let’s be honest here. If all it took were words on a page to make a good read, then the IRS tax code would be on the NYT Bestsellers List. You need to write a damn good book and then, you MUST have it edited by a PROFESSIONAL EDITOR.

Hear me world, a professional editor is NOT your cousin Sally-Jane who loves to read, your son’s third grade teacher, your mother, your next-door neighbor, or your coworker who has a blog on pet grooming. Or, and this is the worst possible case, your readers.

A professional editor is someone who edits books for a living. You pay this person. They have references that you contact to make sure they are in fact, an editor. I know what you’re thinking, that you can’t afford it. But you can and here’s why.

Let’s go back to letting your readers edit your books scenario. I know what you’re thinking, I’m just being overly dramatic, but no, it’s a real thing. I met a writer at a book signing. We started talking because if you’re not Nora Roberts, James Patterson, or Gandhi, no one comes to a book signing. We had three hours to chit chat about writing. It’s important to tell you that this particular signing was at a bar which is a great gig—free drinks in exchange for sitting at a table behind a giant stack your books, and smiling to people who refuse to make eye contact.

I asked my new writer friend how many books she’d sold and she proudly told me thirty. I was like that’s awesome … thirty thousand books … respect. Nope, she corrected me. She’d only sold thirty. In an effort to pry my foot from my mouth, I then congratulated her on her new release. Guess what, the book had been out for a year and a half. She told me that she just couldn’t figure out why she hadn’t sold more books.

I opened my laptop, pulled her book up on Amazon, and mashed my lips together to keep from gasping. She had ten reviews which for thirty sales is awesome, but her overall rating was a 2.4. Every single review said basically the same thing, she needed an editor. Her grammar was terrible, her story didn’t make sense, and her characters were flat.

I asked her who edited this book thinking that she either needed to ask for her money back or she needed to find a new editor. She told me that she lets her fans edit her books. Unfortunately, I’d just taken a gulp of my Mexican Martini (it’s a top shelf margarita on the rocks with a splash of olive juice). Martini spewed all over my laptop. To this day, my keyboard is still a little sticky.

I can’t stress enough the importance of a good editor. There are line editors who look at grammar, content editors who look at the overall story, and global editors who look at both. You can afford.

I have a global editor who charges $0.0045/word. My last book cost me $378.14. Yes, it was short, but you do the math. You can afford it. Give up online shopping for a month. Don’t buy that new purse you want from Coachonline.com (which is actually cheaper than the Coach Outlet Store). Paying a good editor is just the cost of doing business.

If you like writing and want to do it full time and still be able to eat, HIRE an editor.

As Autumn mentioned, I’m no expert, but I have published 20 indie books, quit my day job five years ago, and still manage to feed my family. BTW-I am an expert when it comes to eating brownies, avoiding people I don’t like, and correcting the misuse of I vs. me. Come on people, I before the verb, me after. It’s not that hard.

 

WE ALL WANT TO MAKE GREAT ART,

BUT UNLESS OUR ART GOES TO AUCTION IT WON’T PAY THE BILLS

By Autumn

 

Indie authors wear many hats and unless you are willing to wear them and are capable of switching them out several times a day, maybe Indie publishing is not for you. You are the President and VP, secretary, accountant, editing department, art department, marketing department, production department, etc. etc. etc. of your company. Even the janitor, as your office probably needs cleaning like mine.

Now, depending on the funds you have, you can hire someone to do some of the jobs, but most likely, initially, you’ll wear most of the hats. Keep in mind, every decision you make will affect your business.

With over 4500 new books reported published each day, it’s no wonder marketing is the topic of most interest to indie authors. Without it, your book is lost and all the hard work you’ve done will never be appreciated.

Over the next several months we’re going to share marketing tips which we’ve used ourselves in order to grow our reader base, along with any new information we’ll learn.

To begin, let me echo the advice of the many marketing experts I’ve listened to over the last year. There is no magic bullet that will propel your book sales to stardom.

There are six steps, however.

  • Write a damn good, emotion infused story.
  • Hire a good editor and copy editor.
  • Have a professional cover made and write intriguing tag lines and blurbs.
  • Have a professional website and landing pages on social media and venues.
  • Know your target audience.
  • Know your strengths and limits of ability.
  • Be consistent with your marketing!

Marketing plans are not done and over within a month or a year. They’re ongoing and take time, research, decisions and funds. Research is where marketing begins. You need to know who are your potential customers. This step is very important and will lay the foundation of your marketing plan. It will also keep you from throwing your hard-earned money into the firepit.

Know your target audience. Take the time to research who your readers also buy and read. You can do this by looking at what other books they’ve bought on different platforms and listed on Goodreads. Look at reviews. Find ten authors whose books are similar to yours. These readers will be who you’ll target through Amazon, Bookbub, Goodreads, or Facebook ads.

If you don’t have your first book out yet, start with who you like to read and whose works are the same genre as the book you’ve written. It’s never too early to start researching and cultivating your fan base.

When starting ads, set a budget that wouldn’t break you. Watch which author camp is giving you impressions and clicking on your ads and then following through with sales. Delete or pause those who are costing you money. Keep in mind, it can take three impressions, or more, before your ad will catch a reader’s attention.

Your goal is to whittle your list of core reader camps down to five or even three. And as you get results you can add more funds to your campaigns.

Beware! Keep an eye on the changing scene. Take ten minutes a day to review your ads.

Next, Know your strengths and limits of ability. Watch where and how the targeted authors are using social media. We all have favorite venues of social media, but it’s nearly impossible to be everywhere effectively. Could you reach more readers on another platform than the you’re currently using? And would you feel comfortable to use that venue?

Okay. That’s enough information to start our discussion on marketing.  Any questions or advice on learning a target audience?

 

 

 

 

Pinterest and You

I’m a visual person. I learn, imagine, and write visually. So it might come as no surprise that I love to whittle away time on Pinterest. Of course that might just be an oxymoron, as I don’t have much time to whittle.

The images and photography I have seen on Pinterest are amazing, breath-taking, heart-wrenching, useful, arousing, and inspiring.

But Pinterest is another social media site. And like all social media sites, there are opportunities for authors to market themselves.

Here are a few tips for making Pinterest work for you.

 

Indentify yourself! Fill out the About Me section. Don’t forget to add links!

Mine reads:

Author of dark, steamy, and adventuresome historical romance.

www.jbrayweber.com

Visitors to my page will discover who I am and where to find out more.

 

Optimize driving traffic to your page by using keywords and board categorization.

Ex: Board Title: Pirates

Categorization: Film, Music, Books

This narrows down searches, making it easier to find images. Go one step further and use keywords for individual pictures.

 

Title and describe boards to segment your target market and/or audience.Pinterest_Logo

Ex: Romantic Suspense, Fashion, Holiday Ideas, Recipes, Books on Writing Craft, Movies That Inspire Me, etc.

These different boards likely have different audiences. Take it further and describe the boards.

Ex: Board Title: Gothic, Steampunk, and Fantasy

Description: Images encouraging the fanciful illusions of my paranormal muse.

 

Pin imagery that reflects you, your personality, and your brand.

 

Use boards to your advantage – generate storyboards for WIPs, create boards dedicated to each of your books, add music videos that inspired books or characters, develop boards of your favorite authors; the possibilities are endless.

 

Link book covers to your website or directly to buy sites like Amazon. Back link pins to your website or blog.

 

Use Pinterest widgets on your blog and website. Find various, nifty widgets at the Pinterest Goodies page.

 

Engage – repin, like, comment, respond, and follow. It’s a social media golden rule.

 

Welcome and Encourage comments – Ask users a question or comment about your pin to generate interest.

Ex: Tell me what you think about this book cover?

 

Cross promote using social media integration. Pinterest has made it easy to like, tweet, and share pins. Plus, it is a great way to build an audience.

 

rf getty camera pushpinsPin what’s trending. The reasoning? More exposure, of course.

 

Quality over quantity – don’t pin for the sake of pinning. Oh, it’s easy to do. Pinning can be quite addictive. But as authors, this goes back to what defines you and your brand. Besides, I’m quite sure there is not a Pinterest Anonymous group available…yet.

 

Collaborate with others  – create (or join) boards that allow other users to upload to, as well. These boards might include Great Romance Novels, Paranormal Books, Author Blogs, Books I Love, etc. The options are infinite.

 

Think out of the box – from your blog, website, or other social media sites, hold scavenger hunt, a best photo caption contest (be sure it’s your photo or a royalty free photo), or other fun method to bring and engage with fans to your Pinterest page.

 

Practice general social media etiquette – Avoid blatant self promotion, always be polite, and credit the sources.

 

Visit Often!  It’s all about exposure and engagement!

 

Want to connect with Rubies on Pinterest? Check out these Pinterest-Loving Rubies!

 

Jennifer Bray-Weber  http://pinterest.com/jbrayweber/

Anne Marie Becker  http://pinterest.com/annemariebecker/

Jeannie Lin  http://pinterest.com/jeanniexlin/

Dianna Layne   http://pinterest.com/dianalaynebooks/

Laurie Kellogg http://pinterest.com/kellogglaurie/

Vanessa Barneveld http://pinterest.com/discordandrhyme/

Elizabeth Essex http://pinterest.com/elizabethessex/

Lindsey Brookes http://pinterest.com/lindseybrookes/jimmie-joe-johnson-manwhore/

Autumn Jordan  http://pinterest.com/autumnjordon/ 

Hope Ramsay http://pinterest.com/hoperamsay/

Cate Rowan http://pinterest.com/caterowan/

Louisa Cornell http://pinterest.com/louisacornell/

Darynda Jones http://pinterest.com/darynda/

 

Do you Pinterest? Got Pinterest tips you’d like to share? How about Pinterest questions? Let me hear from you!

Note: Portions of this blog originally appeared on MuseTracks.

 

The Latest Comments

  • Autumn Jordon: You’re very welcome. I learned a lot.
  • Bev Pettersen: Such a helpful post, Thanks Autumn. And also thanks to Vivi, Rae and Judy!
  • Autumn Jordon: Everyone of these cover designers is so talented. I wish I had their eye for detail.
  • Autumn Jordon: I totally agree, Kate. I think it takes a certain eye to make an awesome cover.
  • Autumn Jordon: They did a amazing job answering my questions, didn’t they. I also learned a lot.

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