Tag Archives: promotion

Mister, Can You Spare the Time?

I haven’t gotten my head around the right ways to promote a book, or how to find the time. I barely have enough time to write. But the truth is promotion deserves equal time to writing, if a writer has any interest in finding readers. Which I do, or I wouldn’t be putting in the effort of multiple drafts to get the story right. The time has come to consider hiring one of the hundreds of promotional services vying for my few dollars—one that comes recommended. Goodreads forums for indie authors provide some insight, though a bit of digging is required.

I have learned something about timing from my mistakes. So here’s some advice to my future self: don’t release a book during NaNoWriMo in the heat of cram-writing a new one. Also, don’t bookmark the time immediately following a first draft spew for promoting the previous book—you will be too exhausted with burn-out to bother.

I’m still grappling with the promotion of the last book, and what happens to it when I move my focus to this new one. I hate how I feel like I’m letting my characters down when I abandon the old book for the new (I hate how I miss them sometimes). It’s been a year and a half since I let that book loose on the world and I’m lost as to how to do right by it. Is there a promotional time-limit after publishing? The book doesn’t feel new anymore, and yet it would be new to most people, as few have read it. Common advice seems to dictate letting the previous book(s) piggyback on the promotion of new reads, and as the time to promote the new book is fast approaching, that role is already set.

Meantime, during the day I’m designing train cars for a TV series and at night I sit down to 18th century London. I’m lucky if I get an hour a day in London gin joint times, but at the moment I am in the back halls of a Covent Garden theatre trying to find a little privacy. I know what happens there but I’m not telling…

 

 

 

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Readers, Where Art Thou?: Blog Touring Pt. 1

After seeing the catch phrase “blog tour” many times, I figured I should find out what the term meant, since “blog touring” has been a heavily touted avenue for successful independent book promotion. I did some digging and discovered that Blog Touring is not what I thought.

I thought a blog tour meant roaming around the super highway searching out book readers (in my specific case, Romance readers). In effect, a search for blogs is part of a tour, but nailing that list of romance blogs happens long before the “Blog Tour” ever launches.

The aim of an efficient Blog Tour is the same as any mass promotion: hit the target market with as many instances of the new product as possible, making it familiar—and therefore friendly—and ultimately, desirable. If something is everywhere, it must be good.

The key proponent of a Blog Tour is to line up a number of book reviews and author interviews, or any other vehicle for author/book visibility like guest posts, such that all of those posts occur within a limited time frame. Each of those posts are blasting readers with the well-designed book cover you chose, so that when they see the cover for the third or fifth time they will click on the link to your purchase page and buy the book. A blog tour is a virtual book tour.

There are now exclusive blog tour companies who will organize the above, who have done the legwork and made the connections with the reviewers. They also charge plenty for the opportunity. For most start-up indie authors on a limited budget, paying someone else to set up a blog tour is out of the question. This is precisely why there is plenty of sage advice about establishing connections and drumming up interest before publishing occurs.

The shiny new novelty of blog touring has lost its sheen of late, likely due to the above, not to mention the huge number of self-published authors slamming small-time book bloggers with their wares. I don’t blame bloggers for taking a bit of cash in exchange for reviewing and promoting. However, I’m not a publisher and I don’t have the means.

I’ve missed the boat on blog touring for the first book (and for those twelve people out there who have read it… pun intended). However, I have every motivation to seek out readers by requesting reviews wherever I can, even with the publishing date behind me. My tour will be slow and therefore more of a fizzle than a blast.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the process of seeking out Romance readers, something I should be doing regardless.

Here are some of the Romance reviewers I have come across this week on WordPress:

https://romance4thebeach.wordpress.com/

(She only reviews books that one would take to the beach. Perfect. She also has a Twitter feed.)

https://tinyobsessions.wordpress.com/

(She reviews books, movies, TV, and loves travel. Perfect. Also on Twitter, etc.)

http://naughtymomstorytime.com/

(She’s a mom who likes naughty romance. Avid Reader. Big following. Great!)

http://onlyonemorepage.com/

(She reviews Romance, Fantasy, and Thrillers. Good coverage. Yes, pun intended.)

https://bookreviewdirectory.wordpress.com/fiction-book-reviewers/romance/

(And finally… a link to a bigger list of Romance-specific review sites.)

I have begun the long process of review requests, and should I be lucky enough to have my novel reviewed I will either link or re-post the review here. If anyone reading this has a decent following and wants to review, let me know.

Next week I won’t be posting as I am going away for the Easter weekend.

Save the Date: Tempt the Ocean will be free for Kindle readers to download on March 31st . Read and Review the book!

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Official Author Page!

I have struggled a little (mostly with schedule) to publish an official author page for Agnès de Savigny. The work has interfered with blogging, editing, writing, active promoting, and the occasional book read.

But I’m happy to say that I’ve finished the work, and Agnès not only has her own menu tab (above), but I can now link back to a proper dedicated page from anywhere on the web.

This is so much better than making the blog feed her author page which, while it did bring readers back to the blog, did not demonstrate any sense of professionalism. Promoting the book (and therefore the author of said book) with absolute professionalism is a must for independent authors.

The resulting page is simple, incorporated into the blog, and carries all the key links for publicizing both the book and the author—everything I wanted from it.

Have a look.

If anyone would like to share their own author page in the comments, please do.

This week I hope to embark of some romance blog tourism, and plan to share my experiences when I get back.

 

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Visibility

Now that Tempt the Ocean is a published book, who will to read it?

For an author whose superpower is invisibility, marketing a new book that no one has heard about proves a serious challenge. I could panic, but all solid wisdom suggests that building a following takes time. There is no shortcut (short of pre-established fame). Hence, the only answer is to find a way to enjoy the building process, and embrace the adage of journey over destination.

Branding and social media are huge concepts that can’t be conquered overnight. However, I thought I would present a short whirlwind tour of where I have set foot on the information superhighway—aka the tubular express—as a map to others, and talk a little about how I am using those sites to spread the word. Some of the sites are still works in progress, so bear with me. All of the sites either come up frequently in marketing discussions or have been recommended by other authors. All of them offer some variation of cross-pollination.

WordPress

If you are reading this post you are probably familiar with WordPress. There are other great blogging sites as well, but WordPress is where I started and where I’m comfortable. I use my WordPress Blog as my official site. My biggest challenge is to post regularly and consistently, at which I am not always successful. I am now adding two dedicated author pages to my site, one for each of my writing identities. Since publishing, I have added visibility by including a direct link at the top of the sidebar to Tempt the Ocean (remember: PROMOTE YOUR BOOK wherever possible), and every new blog post shows up on both my Amazon author page (see below) and my Facebook author page (see below).

Facebook

Before publishing, I created an author page for Agnès de Savigny on Facebook.  I can post directly to the Facebook page, as with my personal Facebook page, while followers (readers!) and other guests can post to a visitor’s tab. I can pin any post to the top of the feed, which I have done with the announcement of Tempt the Ocean‘s release (remember: make your book as EASY TO FIND as possible). The site includes a bio, and a link back to my WordPress blog as my “official” site. Through Facebook I created and shared my Tempt the Ocean launch event. All of my WordPress posts and Twitter tweets (see below) show up in my feed as well. Facebook has now added a Goodreads tab for those who have a Goodreads account (see below).

Twitter

I swore the attraction of the 140 character post would fizzle out. In a sense I was right, but my own determination to not be a party to it fizzled out, too. As Agnès de Savigny, I posted my first tweet this year, and unlike my nasty blogging habits, I continue to tweet almost daily. Twitter is a perfect avenue for following and conversing with other authors on the fly, as well as publicizing little moments to readers. My Twitter page features a mini bio and a link to my home page (for now, my author page on Amazon, where my book is listed). To boost my visibility, my Twitter feed appears on both my Facebook author page and my Amazon author page (see below).

Goodreads

Goodreads, a popular site built for and fuelled by readers, has become an essential site for independent authors. The site provides a great place for authors to connect directly with readers, and to share ideas with other writers (via forums and groups). Only published authors are eligible to create an author page on Goodreads—and now that Tempt the Ocean has published, Agnès de Savigny is a Goodreads author. The Agnès de Savigny Goodreads author page includes a forum to respond to reader questions, a blog, a link to all editions of all my published book(s), and a link back to my WordPress site. My author photo remains a white silhouette for now. The unstifled howls of laughter from the boyfriend at seeing the photo I used on Amazon have inspired me to hold off until I acquire a better image of myself as Agnès. Goodreads also hosts a dedicated page for Tempt the Ocean, inviting Goodreads users to post their own ratings and reviews.

Amazon

Amazon, through which I chose to publish, offers a home page to each of its authors on each of its mothership sites (i.e. UK, US, Japan, Germany, etc). The author pages are not linked to each other, making it necessary to build a new page for each host site. I built an author page for Agnès de Savigny on both Amazon.com and Amazon UK. (The Canadian branch of Amazon does not host author pages.) Besides a bio, a link to Tempt the Ocean, and a forum for reader discussions, the American site includes the feed from my WordPress blog, plus my Twitter feed.

Whew! That encompasses a lot of internet and social media flow, with the goal of picking up traffic at each site like a lumbering stage coach. Time will tell as to its success as a strategy.

Sticking to online publicity alone is ill-advised all over. Authors, especially new ones, have to get out and meet people and do book signings and speaking engagements and book talks, etc to really build a following—a frightening prospect for those of us who suffer from stage fright and/or anxiety and/or depression. Ultimately any means of spreading the word is useful. Jane Friedman recently re-posted an interview with literary agent April Eberhardt that concludes with the above advice, noting that “authors carry copies of their books and show them to people.” What a novel idea.

Next week: An excerpt from my current work-in-progress, the sweeping 18th century melodramatic epic Servitude.

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