Posts tagged with: publicity

How to Prepare for a Book Release

Hello Ruby Readers! Hope you had a fantastic holiday weekend if you were lucky enough to have Monday off. Even though I went to the beach with friends and family, my mind was ticking away on all the promotion details I need to remember for my upcoming book release.

The first book in my new Highland Roses School series, A ROSE IN THE HIGHLANDS, comes out September 24th! I’m so excited about this new series. It deals with women empowerment in a time when women were often abused and/or treated like powerless chattel. But at the Highland Roses School, English sisters, Evelyn and Scarlet Worthington, are determined to teach their students how to stay educated, elegant and alive.

In preparing for this release, I have a list of promotional should-dos. Every author develops a list of actions to be ticked off the closer their release date comes. Today I am sharing my list with you. Feel free to use it yourself, adding and subtracting from it as pertains to your book release.

Book Release Should-Do List

    1. Decide on your budget for promotional ads, free copies of the book, materials, and swag.
    2. Create publicity graphics for FB, Twitter and Instagram (I use Canva, a free, online graphics generator). My publicity team at Entangled Publishing sends me graphics of the book and background with and without text. Then I can post their graphics and create some of my own by putting in teaser quotes.
    3. Order post cards with the cover on one side and a brief blurb on the other with room for addresses. I will mail these out 2 weeks before release to my paper mailing list.
    4. Order swag for prizes that have something to do with your book. Ideally, the swag should be something a reader can use everyday and has your book and name on it (post it notes, calendar magnets, pens, mouse pad, playing cards). But I’ve also ordered sgian dubh (black daggers) letter openers and tea cups and rose-scented soaps that have to do with my book.
    5. Order print copies of the book as soon as it is available. Luckily my publisher has made them available to me so that I will have paper copies on hand for release day. Don’t use them as prizes at first as it may stop someone from buying the book, but it is nice to have one to hold up to show.
    6. Consider Reader Events around the time of your release. I’m attending Shameless Book Con in Orlando in October. 

      Shameless Book Con

    7. Sign up for local author events. I’m attending a book festival in the town next to mine and I participated last month in a library author event where I talked about my upcoming book.
    8. Keep your eyes open for free advertising places through other authors and networking sites. You can list the book on Book Bub for free.
    9. Submit ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) to those who have reviewed your books before or online reviewers.
    10. Make sure you have an Amazon author account. Add the new book and any reviews you’ve already received.
    11. If you use Pinterest, make sure to clean up your board for the new book. I keep mine “secret” until after the release. To keep generating enthusiasm, open the secret Pinterest board so readers can glimpse what inspired the story.
    12. Contact other authors in your sub-genre about swapping new book information in your newsletters. Write and schedule a newsletter for release day.
    13. Be active on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), but make sure not to bombard with promo pitches. Just be yourself and talk about life most of the time. Leave the big promo pitch for release day.
    14. Sign up to blog around release day so your name, face and book are out there.
    15. Ask your local libraries to order your new book. My library has a form online to request this.
    16. Make sure your web site is up to date.
    17. Post a countdown widget on your web site. Luckily, my publicity team creates this for me, and I just insert it.

18. Set up a Facebook party for release day. I’m planning to host (for the first time) a FB tea party and will live stream a segment on the day.
19. Have fun on the big day and capture it in pictures or live streaming. On my last release day, I wore a tiara while doing errands around town and took pictures with local people. I think I might do the same this time, but I’ll also ask them to hold my book. And then I’ll live stream my tea party.

Whew! No wonder I’m tired! And I still have so much to do on this list. So, what have I missed? Please add your advice and tips. Have a wonderful, mark-everything-off-your-to-do-list kind of day! Heather


For more information about Heather, please find her here:



Love the One You’re With

The, ahem, older song “Love the One You’re With” was always one I liked, but the message wasn’t one I really cared for. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with? Well, that sort of encourages cheating, doesn’t it? And, of course, a man wrote it. I think.

But I’ve been thinking a lot about readers here lately. Now I know some of you may be unpublished as of yet, but I think this post can apply to anything you are involved with, especially if that thing is aimed at getting new people to climb on board with something, whether it’s reading your books or attending your dinner party.

I’m the president of NOLA Stars chapter, and here lately we’ve had a huge slide in membership. All those people who were so eager to learn 5-6 years ago bolstered our numbers and it was good. We had critique groups, gave bootcamps, and threw pretty darn good conferences. But over the last 2 years, those people have fallen off the bandwagon and we’ve watched our size decrease to half. When I asked people why, they inevitably say, “I’m just not getting anything out of it anymore” or they’d say “I’m indie publishing and I can get what I need without paying dues.” Ouch! And I’m not going to lie, it hurt. It felt like a reflection on me as the President. And I stewed about it.

One day at a meeting, where I was pretty visibly upset because we didn’t even have enough people to vote on an important bylaw, someone said something to me that was like a baseball bat to the head – why worry about the people who don’t want to be here. Shouldn’t we worry more about the ones who are actually here?

Uh, DUH!

And suddenly I got it – you have to love the one your with.

Translating this to readers also makes sense. In this industry, we’re constantly chasing this or that…or our tails. Add more newsletter subscribers, creates a FB page for readers, sell more books, do ads to reach more people. Visibility, Visibility, Visibility! But what if you just loved the ones you’re with?

Think about it. You have people who like what you do. May not be a ton, but you have some, right? Love those people. Tend to those people. Write the words for those people. And you might find that before long, those people grow. And they tell others about you. And pretty soon you’re doing organic building of your readers by simply focusing on them…and not on all the other people who aren’t reading you. It’s something plenty of successful people have done. In fact, my husband who is a huge fan of KISS (yes, my dentist husband loves to rock out to “Lick it Up.” Irony?) tells me they owe their success to the few who liked them. They grassrooted that ride all the way to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.

So instead of feeling frantic about the readers you don’t have, perhaps you should love the one you’re with.

You’re welcome for the earworm 🙂

What I’ve Learned About Book Bub

Book Bub (BB) is a subscription service, which offers daily e-mails recommending free and discounted e-books to readers. Recently I was fortunate (after three rejections for my YA books) to have my Scottish Historical book featured on BB. With the feature coming up, I took the free RWA Webinar given by Carolyn Robertson of BB. Here is what I learned from her and from experiencing my first Feature Deal as a fairly unknown author. Please note that if I got anything wrong from the seminar, it is totally my fault.

Book Bub has ten million subscribers (okay, very impressed here). Most subscribers are over forty years old and tend to read a lot. Many are willing to read unknown authors. BB has about 1,620,000 historical readers who subscribe.

Book Bub has three opportunities for authors to have their books on their site. Featured Deals, BB Ads and Author Profiles. They are all very different beasts.

A Featured Deal (FD) is an ad sent out to subscribers in a one-time e-mail. Featured Deals go through a stringent selection process. Only 10-20% of submissions are accepted. There is a flat rate fee for being featured, based on the discount for the book and under which category it falls (Historical Romance on sale for $0.99 costs $604). The featured deal goes out to all subscribers in the book category.

Featured Deals Books:

Must be full length

Free or discounted for a limited time (lower price is better for selection)

A specific book can be a FD once every 6 months.

An author can have a FD once every 30 days.

Submit one month before your scheduled discount.

Authors can submit the same book over & over. It may be accepted at a different time & depends on what else has already been accepted.


What helps your book to be selected?

Good reviews – BB reads them

Author accolades

Multiple buy sites

Good historical performance

Content Fit – this can change based on trends. At the time of the seminar, historical trends for selection were Regency, Mistaken Identity and Marriage of Convenience. Infidelity and drug use did not fit well and were not selected.

Take seasonality into account – Christmas book in November

75% of selected titles are Indie Published, 25% Traditionally Published

In the Notes box for submission, say hello to BB reviewers.


Book Bub Ad Campaigns are ads placed at the bottom of the daily e-mails to subscribers.

Any author can promote any book at any time.

Author determines bid, budget and schedule – the bidding process is somewhat complex and is better described on the BB Partners web site.

Ads should be 300X250 pixels.

A URL for each ad should be distinct for a particular retailer.

Authors can choose their audience.

Running low budget tests ($10 – $20 each), to figure out best audience categories, is suggested.

An author can set up an audience who targets another author’s fans (similar books). can help set up these creative ads.


Author Profiles is a place for all authors to showcase their e-books on BB for free.

Log onto BB and claim your Author Profile for free.

Put your new releases under your Author Profile before release or within 7 days after release to take advantage of BB’s free New Release e-mail to your BB followers.

Authors can only list e-books on BB’s site.


So, how about my FD? My book, CAPTURED HEART, is a Scottish Historical Romance published in 2012. It is 100K words and is the first book in a five-book series. My publisher discounted it to $0.99 for a two-week period. My book takes place in the 16th century and involves a mistaken identity. It has 75 reviews on Amazon (4.4 star average), and overall it has 455 ratings.

For the last year my poor book has been languishing around the 300,000 ranking number of paid kindle books on Amazon. At my request, my publisher submitted it to BB, and it was selected to be a Featured Deal (much jumping up and down at my house). My publicist created some ads I could use for the sale on social media. I also decided that I would pay to advertise the sale before and after the BB Featured Deal. My publicist thought advertising afterwards could keep the Amazon numbers up longer. The day before the sale started, it sat at 523,965 on Amazon’s list. (yeah, rock bottom). Here’s a table showing what happened after that.





Amazon Paid Kindle Books Ranking

Jan 29


Before my $0.99 sale


Jan 30


$0.99 sale, advertise through social media


Feb 3 (Friday)

7:00 AM

Author Billboard Ad


Feb 3

9:00 PM



Feb 4 (Saturday)

10:30 AM



Feb 5 (Superbowl Sunday)

8:42 AM

BB Featured Deal


Feb 5

11:29 AM



Feb 5

2:08 PM



Feb 5

7:30 PM



#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 6 (Monday)

6:37 AM



#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 6

12:00 PM

Book Sends Ad went live at 11AM


#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 6

9:39 PM



#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 7 (Tuesday)

10:25 AM

Book Sends Ad ends at 11AM


#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 7

4:55 PM



#1 Scottish Historical

Feb 9

3:06 PM



#4 Scottish Historical

So, it looks like the small ad didn’t help, although it could have given some people a first glance at the book, so that when they saw it on BB, they bought. BB was indeed amazing for me, sending my book from 231,934 on Paid Kindle Books to 67 in one day. The Book Sends Ad (which cost me $90) may have helped my numbers stay up longer. I also ran a small ($10) FB ad on Sunday with the BB Feature Deal, and my publisher featured my book sale on their Steals and Deals page. It was a combined push, but BB was the main player.

What does this mean for my sales/royalties? I don’t know yet, but I will let you know if I see a good or bad ROI. Plus, the other four books in the series moved up significantly on the Amazon list (300K up to 14K).

Have you had a BB ad or Feature Deal? Did you have a good ROI? Where else have you run successful ads?

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