Tag: book marketing
Book Promotion on a Budget
Your Book Was Reviewed – Now What?
Reviews are an author’s lifeblood. At best, they can strongly influence new readers to buy your book. At worst, a slew of poor reviews or low numbers may lead your publisher to think twice about accepting your option book. The quantity and ratings also affect your promotional opportunities since some ads require at least 10 reviews with a 4.0 or higher average. For a writer, getting reviews is paramount.
When a reader goes to an online bookstore site to scout out a potential new read, she’ll read the story blurb, look inside for a taste of your writing, and then read the customer reviews. Editors and agents may also look at reviews of your prior titles when considering which author to take on. Like with any business, we want to make a good impression.
This discussion does not involve how to get reviews. We’re going to talk about what you can do with a review once you receive one.
Here are some steps to take:
Create a subfolder labeled Reviews under your book title in your word processing program.
Copy and paste the entire review to a blank page and name the file. Put it in the Reviews folder.
Add the reviewer’s social media links.
Pull out several quotes. Add these quotes to your page of Tweets for this book title.
Add the review to your website’s book page.
Make a meme with a quote and for a featured book review. Examples:
Share the review on your social media sites. Tag the reviewer.
Leave a comment on the reviewer’s site thanking her for the review.
“Like” reviews for your book on Goodreads and BookBub.
Add it to the editorial reviews on Amazon if the reviewer didn’t post there.
If you are self-published, add the quotes elsewhere, such as IngramSpark and Barnes and Noble through their publishing platforms.
If you are trad published, copy the review to your editor.
Keep a personal list or spreadsheet with each reviewer’s name, contact info, social media sites, and links to your reviews. This will give you a head start for your next release. Don’t forget to add how they’ve acquired your book (i.e. you sent them a file/link or they got it on NetGalley) and the dates for all correspondence.
Send out a reminder letter after the book goes live with buy links to reviewers who have downloaded the book but have not yet posted a review.
Send thank you notes to reviewers who have followed through.Your Book Was Reviewed - Now What? #BookPromotion Click To Tweet
Keeping meticulous records will show you who to approach for your next release. You’ll know who responded and who didn’t and where they posted reviews. This list will be fluid, changing for each book. Just remember to always be courteous, thank the reviewers for their time, and share their posts on your social media sites to show your appreciation.
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I am honored to have an essay in Promophobia: Taking the Mystery Out of Promoting Crime Fiction. Edited by Diane Vallere. Publishing a book can be scary. Figuring out how to promote it can be straight-up frightening. When the seas of book promo make you feel adrift in unfriendly tides, keeping your head above water can be difficult. Enter PROMOPHOBIA, a collection of essays by Sisters in Crime authors who share their advice and experiences.
Divided into categories: Identifying Your Niche, Book Community, Social Media, Online Promo, Publicity, Connecting With Readers, Going On Your Own or Participating with a Group, Events, and Thinking Outside the Box, PROMOPHOBIA will open your eyes to the opportunities around you. The contributing authors share their personal experiences about what’s worked for them (and in a few humorous cases, what didn’t) to provide a beacon. You’re no longer in the dark. You’re not swimming alone.
If you’ve ever wondered if you could have done more for your latest book launch, then this book is for you. If you’re tired of relying on the same old strategies release after release, then this book is for you. If you want to readjust your sails and angle for a fresh gust of wind to carry you farther on your writing journey, then this book is for you.PROMOPHOBIA - Taking the fear out of book promotion #bookpromo #Promophobia Click To Tweet
The First Draft of Your Novel is Finished – Now What?
Your book is not done just because you typed The End. Now begins the hard work of taking your raw material and honing it into a page-turning story. This will mean several rounds of revisions, intense reading sessions, and submitting to editors and beta readers for additional input.
This work happens before you prepare the book for publication, especially if you are self-publishing your novel. Regardless of the route you choose, you’ll still need to prepare a marketing plan.
What are the steps you’ll need to take next?
Here are some ideas from my list:
Complete Chapter Outline.
Prepare a One-Page Synopsis (required by some writing contests).
Make critique group spot corrections.
Do at least one full read-through for continuity and repetitions.
Double check list of Loose Ends to make sure all are resolved.
Send to Professional Editor.
Hire Cover Artist.
Hire Blurb Writer. Assemble tag lines, log lines, long and short book descriptions.
Write blog posts.
Select excerpts for possible blog tour.
Create reader discussion guide.
Write launch party posts.
Search Royalty-Free Photo Sites for pictures that illustrate your Suspects. Purchase these photos. Use them for a Pinterest Story Board or for a book trailer.
Compose book trailer text and match photos. OR hire someone to do a trailer if desired.
Do edits from editor.
Do another full read-through for final editing.
Send to beta readers. Make their corrections.
Assign ISBNs and prepare copyright page if self-publishing.
Send to formatter.
Read through pdf for final corrections. Look for formatting issues.
Set Pub Date.
Book a Launch Party (See https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty/ for examples of posts).
Book a Blog Tour.
Prepare Metadata including Key Words, Book Descriptions, and Author Bio.
Upload to online distributors. Copy Buy Links.
Book NetGalley co-op dates.
Query reviewers and send arcs via BookFunnel.
Write a page of Tweets and FB Posts.
This may simplify the Revision phase and the subsequent Marketing push, but it gives a general outline of what needs to be done. Obviously, if you are traditionally publishing your work, some of these steps may be omitted.You've Finished the First Draft of Your Novel - Now What? #amwriting #writetip Click To Tweet
For more tips, read these previous posts:
12 Steps for Revising Your Novel
Preparing for a Book Launch
Back-to-Back Book Releases: Yay or Nay?
Launching a series all at once can be a daunting task. You have to plan the promotion campaign with tight deadlines. This release schedule was a new venture for me. With two backlist trilogies, it made sense to book the releases close together. This meant getting all the titles ready before the pre-order dates.
Once I’d completed my revisions, here is what came next:
- Assign individual ISBN Numbers and add to Copyright pages (optional but recommended).
- Mention this title was previously published by your former publisher if it’s a reissue.
- Add new front and back material.
- Complete formatting for each book.
- Add updated book covers to website.
- Convert book into digital and/or paperback formats.
- Set release dates.
- Add book to vendor sites and schedule as pre-order.
- Create memes for series as a whole and for each individual book.
- If running a sale, create memes for sale book(s).
- Write tweets for each title and for overall series.
- Schedule a newsletter.
- Book ads if desired.
- Write blogs for Cover Reveals and Reissue dates.
- Add distributor links to scheduled blog posts and website.
- If a reissue, decide if you want to link to earlier versions to retain reviews.
- Claim your titles on BookBub, Goodreads and Amazon Author Central.
I decided to run a pre-order sale. With the titles respectively at $.99, $1.99 and $2.99, this would give readers a saving of $6.00 over the regular retail price of $3.99 each.
There appeared to be a spike in sales for each book on their release dates, presumably due to preorders. The first book in each series had the most sales. I’m experimenting with these books on Kindle Unlimited and will evaluate the results once the royalties start coming in.
Would I do this again? Not for original titles. You’d have to write all three of them first and then promote your books to the next millennia. It gets tiring fast. There’s a reason why publishers produce one book a year in a series. You need time to contact reviewers, plan a promotional campaign, schedule ads, write copy, and so much more. It’s easier for backlist titles when you already have reviews, but you still want to attract new readers with fresh covers and added bonus materials.
In conclusion, a back-to-back publication schedule may work for more energetic writers, but I wouldn’t do it for my original works. I need more time for advance planning. In this case, though, with all three books in each trilogy already written, it was easier to get them ready for a fast launch.Back-to-Back Book Releases: Yay or Nay? #bookpromotion #pubtip Click To Tweet
Have you ever rapid-released several books in a row? How did that work for you?
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A Writer’s Job is Never Done
Authors have all sorts of administrative tasks, from answering emails, to fielding workshop requests, to creating book ads, to keeping up with social media and writing blogs. These behind-the-scenes duties can keep us busy from morning to night.
When I’m in a creative phase, the writing comes first. But right now, I am taking a moratorium from writing to get these other jobs done. Yesterday, I spent the morning updating all the buy links on my website. This was necessary since I’ve added my full-length Bad Hair Day mysteries to Ingram. Readers should be able to order the entire set in print at their local indie bookstore. The paperback editions are also available at Barnes and Noble, but they have to be ordered online because they’re coming from another distributor.
Meanwhile, I finished the final proofing for my first futuristic romance trilogy that required substantial editing. I’d written these traditionally published books years ago and needed to bring them up to my current standards. These will need new covers and reformatting. Hiring a cover designer is next on my agenda. If I have to help search for images, that could take hours. At least I already have a concept in mind for each series. I’ve also asked ACX for my audiobooks to go non-exclusive so I can put them “wide” in terms of distribution. Once I get the rights cleared, I’ll kick this project into gear.
Price promotions and box sets are on the horizon also, but these will involve a learning curve. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but had to get all my books uploaded first.A Writer's Job is Never Done #amwriting #writingcommunity Click To Tweet
As you can see, these are full-time tasks. Once they are completed, I can move on to new works. Or maybe by then, this virus will be gone and I’ll want to enjoy life and being a grandma. Who knows? At the moment, we have to take things day-by-day.
Thankfully, as a writer, this doesn’t mean much in the way of adjustment. Our normal routine is to stay home in front of the computer. Since we are in forced isolation, we can get even more done if we focus on our work and not the daily news. So batten down your hatches. Make a list of all these nagging tasks you’ve been meaning to do as a writer. And get to work! Use this time to your advantage. What will be the first item on your list?
7 Tips for Goodreads Authors
Goodreads is where readers go to share their reviews and to discover new books. As an author, you want readers to add your book to their TBR (to-be-read) shelf. Shelvings can lead to Sales that can lead to Reads and hopefully Reviews. Your goal is to raise awareness of your book and entice readers to buy it. Goodreads should be a part of your book promotion campaign.
1. Sign in as a Goodreads Author or Librarian, so you can click the Edit Details button on your books and make changes. You can combine editions, choose a default edition, add a book cover, link your series books, or manually enter a new title if it’s available on Amazon. With an author page, you can list your books, link to your blog post feed, create events, and more.
2. Search for Goodreads author promotions so you can take advantage of them. Or run a Goodreads Giveaway. These cost money but can be effective to raise awareness of your upcoming release.
3. Followers, and not friends, get notified when you have a new book launch. So ask people to follow you on Goodreads. If you’re doing a Rafflecopter contest, add Follow Me on Goodreads as an option. Add this link to all your social media posts and sites.
4. Since Goodreads is primarily for readers, contribute reviews for each book you read so that other readers accept you as one of their own. It’ll also help get your name out there when it shows on your update feed.
5. Join special interest groups and participate in discussions, but be careful to promote your book only in the sections allowed. Read the guidelines before you post about your own books.
6. Utilize the Ask-the-Author feature. It allows readers to ask you questions in a Q&A format.
7. On the Home page, click on General Update and add your contest news, book release info, or anything else you wish to promote.7 Tips for Goodreads Authors #bookmarketing #bookpromotion Click To Tweet
Goodreads is another site to have an author presence. Use your author dashboard and manage your book editions and author page. This site can be a valuable tool in your promotional arsenal.
Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/nancyjcohen
New Book Release Dates
I have release dates for my next two books. A Bad Hair Day Cookbook will debut on November 19, 2019, and Easter Hair Hunt will arrive on March 10, 2020.
First, a bit of news – I am excited to share that my blog is #29 in the Top 40 Florida Blogs from Feedspot. Isn’t that awesome? Go here to see the list: https://blog.feedspot.com/florida_blogs/
Back to the launch dates. Why so far away? Because launching a book takes more than polishing your manuscript to perfection. It means soliciting reviewers and giving them time to read the book. It means planning a book launch party, writing blog posts, scheduling a virtual book tour, creating memes, reserving ads, ordering print materials, and much more. A lot of work and time goes into marketing a new book. This is also the reason to allow some space between releases. After a book is launched, you still need to promote it on social media, continue your guest blogs and in-person speaking engagements, collect and post reviews. You might run a sale on a backlist title or offer a giveaway. So it’s wise to allow for some breathing space between book release dates.
A Bad Hair Day Cookbook will be ready for pre-order soon, and I’ll be sharing the awesome cover with you in an upcoming post. This would be a great gift for your holiday gift bags, and remember to order one for yourself as well.
Be sure to follow me at BookBub or Amazon to be notified when my pre-orders become available: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/nancy-j-cohen and/or https://www.amazon.com/author/nancyjcohen
I will have a limited supply of digital review copies for the cookbook. Please notify me if you have any interest in being added to my list of potential reviewers. I ask for reviews to be posted on Amazon, plus BN, Apple, and/or Goodreads. Spotlights are also welcome on your blog site, in which case I’ll send you an info sheet alone. If you’ve reviewed my books before, you’ll get priority. Please add these release dates to your calendars.Author Nancy J. Cohen announces the release dates for her next two books. #newrelease Click To Tweet
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Writing Contests for Published Authors
Is it worthwhile for published authors to enter writing contests? That depends upon your goal. Here are the pros and cons for you to consider before entering your book in a contest. These are paid competitions, where judges actually read your work, and not the ones at conferences where people vote on their favorite books or authors.
Gain exposure for your work to new readers
Potential to call yourself an award-winning author
Placement as a semi-finalist or finalist will provide a sense of validation
A winner’s badge will add prestige to your credentials
The contest fees can be high
Entering contests may be time-consuming
Winning awards won’t help you sell books
Low scores, if feedback is provided, can be demoralizing
Prestigious awards are offered in every genre. In the mystery/thriller field, we have MWA’s Edgars® and the International Thriller Writers contest, the Thriller Awards Competition. These books are read by dedicated judges. Mystery conferences like Left Coast Crime and Malice Domestic have contests, but your book has to be nominated and voted on by attendees.
States also have writing awards you can enter, and so do smaller regional or chapter conferences. For example, there’s the Florida Book Awards competition in my state.
How do you decide which contests to enter? Consider these factors:
• Sponsoring Organization: Will readers or fellow authors recognize this award? Do you care?
• Judges: Are they readers, booksellers, librarians, or other authors?
• Prize: This is a prime consideration since you’ll be spending money to enter the contest. Is it worth the entry fee and effort merely to get a certificate if you win? What types of publicity come along with the award? Do the promises of cash and exposure to industry professionals ring true? Will you get a plaque, medallion, lapel pin, or trophy? Do you have to be present to accept your award, or will the sponsors mail it to you? A digital badge is useful, because you can add it to your book cover and website and use it in your promotional posts. Are printed award stickers available for your print books if you don’t want to redo your cover?
• Cost in Entry Fee: These can range from $25 to over $100 to enter. See if there’s an early bird discount and try to get your book in before then.
• Book Requirements: Does the contest require physical books, which will cost postage, or digital entries?
• Competition: Are there multiple categories so your subgenre is represented, or is one general category applied? For example, can you enter for best cozy mystery or amateur sleuth novel rather than best mystery novel? You’ll have a better chance with narrower categories.
• Categories: Some contests tempt you by offering additional categories with your submission for a reduced fee. Be careful of your spending as costs will add up. Is this to your benefit or more to the contest organizers who make money from each submission?
• Past Experience: If you’ve entered a contest two or three years in a row and your books never place in the finals, or reach the finals but never win, it might be time to save money and move on. Perhaps their judges just don’t appreciate your subgenre or style.
Here’s a watchlist that will help you make an informed decision: Watchdog Desk of the Alliance of Independent Authors
Keeping Track of Entries
How do you find these lesser known contests? Follow your author colleagues and see what contests they’re entering. Look on Facebook at your author friends sites for announcements of contest wins. Also check your local writing organization newsletter. Make a list for your book title of which contests might be appropriate to enter. Be sure to check for your work’s eligibility, entry deadlines, fees, judges and prizes.
When you enter, make a note of the contest name, the sponsor, the costs, the categories you’re entering, the date of submission, the format or number of copies sent, and the dates when finalists and winners will be announced.
Making the semi-finals or finals of a contest where your book is evaluated against other works is an ego boost. It’s not easy to place against potentially hundreds of other authors, so consider it a well-earned reward if you do place in the top tier. Here are some of the badges I’ve earned and can proudly display on my website book pages.
If the award doesn’t come with a badge, hire a graphic designer to create one for you or make your own.
Be happy to accept your kudos where you can get them and post about your successes. We want to celebrate with you.Are writing contests for published authors worthwhile? #bookmarketing #pubtip Click To Tweet
Authors, what do you think? Have you benefited from entering writing contests?