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Showing posts from September, 2015

Five Unique Marketing Opportunities

Our theme this month has been unique marketing methods to promote your book. Promotion does not come naturally to me, but I have marketed books in several unusual ways. 1. Charity Events I was approached by the local Optimist Club fundraisers in my neighborhood when they heard I was an author. The first book in the Mythikas Island series was put up for the silent auction, then they mentioned that I would have additional books for sale at the end of the event and would be happy to sign the book for the winner. The selling of books after the auction was their idea. I did not sell a large volume (less than 10), but did gain a few fans. The second year I overhead someone asking if the author would be back because they wanted the next book in the series. I have been asked back every year since. Several people have approached me because they would like to write books. I have cards advertising my Story Building Blocks series on hand to give them. Seek out local charity events to se

Taking It to the Mainstream

Once your book is released, how can you reach readers? Getting noticed by the mainstream audience isn't easy, and can be costly. No longer can we rely on social media sites to do the job. Facebook has cracked down on posts which include links, which means if you do post about your book, many of your friends won't even see it. Belonging to a Facebook group devoted to books appears to be a good solution, but don't be surprised if you notice the other members are also authors. Yes, authors do love to read, yet what about readers who aren't authors? Where are they hiding? Here are some suggestions to ferret some of them out. Yes, an exchange of money is involved, but almost everything seems to fit that description these days. Perhaps one of my suggestions will work for you. Place an ad in a newspaper. You'll be charged by the size of the ad and what length of time you want it to run. The charge may also depend on whether or not it's running in a metropolitan pap

Word Painting III: Measurement and Metaphor

Photo by Biking Nikon SFO , via Flickr My husband and I were recently editing the first draft of his latest Y/A comic fantasy novel. 1 Because these books are being published in Britain, one of the minor, but besetting issues has to do with conveying measurements like height, width, depth, weight, and distance. When Britain entered the EEC in 1973, the government agreed to adopt the metric system. Since then British children have grown up using millimetres, centimetres, metres and kilometres in place of inches, feet, yards , and miles ; milligrams, grams , and kilos in place of ounces, pounds , and tons . The metric system works brilliantly in modern scientific and industrial contexts, including contemporary and futuristic fiction. However, if you’re writing a fantasy novel, the use of metric terminology seems incongruous, not to say anachronistic. When I read a sentence like The dragon stood twenty metres tall or The golden sword weighed three kilograms, the effect r

Targeting Readers with a Traveling Show

On my book tour, friends invited their friends to parties and threw me into the mix as an attraction. Photo by Cara Lopez Lee Before I landed a publisher, I established a platform for my memoir, They Only EatTheir Husbands (Conundrum Press, 2014). In fact, my original publisher said my platform was part of what decided him to sign me—on top of my killer manuscript of course. My book was about my life and loves in Alaska and my solo trek around the world, with a theme of moving from dysfunctional relationships to self-actualization. Successful entrepreneurs have taught me the importance of focusing on a narrow target market rather than trying to appeal to everyone. My goal for my memoir has been to target readers interested in: travel, women’s empowerment, alcoholism, and abusive relationships. I’ve sought to achieve that goal through less conventional events and tours. In that vein, I started Girls Trek Too, which was both an adventure blog and a series of independent-travel

May the Force be with you!

A few years ago, the local volunteer library called: Would I be interested in signing my books at Barnes and Noble to raise funds for the library? The store would donate a percentage of all sales. It sounded like a win-win, but I’m cautious by nature—usually. “Tell me more.” Just a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon, and the local Star Wars re-enactors would be there to draw people to the store. Not just publicity and sales for me and money for the library, but fun. “I’d be happy to do it,” I told them. So I turned up at B&N at the proper time and there were Darth Vader, Princess Leia, a nice selection of troopers, and a Wookie, standing around a table holding my books. I sat myself down, Darth Vader wheezing through his mask at the back of my neck. We chatted about their organization, licensed by the Star Wars franchise to make charity appearances, provided their costumes were really authentic-looking. The customers came. Well, “customers” is the wrong word. A s

Dream Chaser: Taking Chances

I’ve always been adventurous. Skydiving, hiking, mountain climbing, exploring strange places, and much more. Often, I stray from the beaten path, venturing into unknown territory. Even though I do these things from an educated approach, there are always risks and dangers. They say it’s the ones who know better who often find themselves in the most trouble. I don’t know who ‘they’ are… but they are right. Let’s start with a true story: As I said, I am adventurous but I know all the rules, precautions, protocols, and I’m a firm believer in being over prepared. But, I’m not perfect. Not long ago, my girlfriend and I decided it was a good day to drive to the mountains. We loaded two dogs into our 4x4 and headed up Rampart Range Road. We didn’t pack hiking gear or supplies since we only intended to drive. We came across Rampart Reservoir. Wanting to walk the dogs, we stopped. We had water in the trunk, but since we were just taking the dogs for a short walk, we left the water behind.

7 Creative Book Marketing Suggestions

Every writer must think about marketing. Why spend all that time, effort, blood and sweat on something which no one (other than those you emotionally blackmail) will read? You need to think outside the box. So why not… 1. Don’t do the normal postcard advertising your book launch. How about a postcard in the shape of a triangle and something about ‘getting the point’?  2. Start a blog/Pinterest account/whatever featuring recipes your main character would love. People love recipes. Pictures of food stops people scrolling down the screen. 3. But so do cute pictures of animals. Does one of your characters have a pet? Post pictures of the beast. Also a scroll-stopper. 4. Non-writers are curious about the Secret World of the Writer. Make this shadowy world a feature of your marketing. Why not make a list of music that helps you write? Is there a certain genre that you listen to when you’re writing a first draft? Editing? A romantic scene? A cliff-hanger? Don’t forget about write

Go Local with Your Book Marketing

There’s a saying: Go big, or go home . That’s great to say if your goal is to pump someone up, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with “going small.” Going small can actually help you in many activities, to include marketing your book. Buy Local image by Stuart Miles with FreeDigitalPhotos If you want to market your book, start in your own backyard. Why go local when marketing your book? Well, you know the area, you more than likely already know people who could be a benefit to you and your book, and you might find yourself paying little to nothing for the endeavor! Where do you start when “going local”? There are several places, depending on your hometown: Contact Local Media, Big and Small Newspapers When I first moved to SW Louisiana to pursue my MFA, I didn’t tell people that I was a published author (long short story). When it was discovered, almost immediately, I was being interviewed for our local newspaper. The press would be good for not only me a

DIY Look-Inside for Picture Books

I Own All the Blue , illustrated by Bess Harding My publishing project for this year is a short picture book for ages three to seven . As a parent, I’ve bought picture books and chapter books online, and I’ve discovered the frustration of attempting to gauge the content of a short book using the Look-Inside feature that Amazon offers. I say ‘discovered’ because Amazon’s flaw (i.e., the 10% rule means you get to view maybe one or two pages at the most) has given me an idea for promoting my own book. I decided to offer my own Look-Inside-the-entire-book to the subscribers of my mailing list. I know parents want to vet books before their children read them (I certainly do). Sometimes a book might seem great, only for the last page to go against the message a parent might want their child to learn. I want people who buy the book to do so knowing exactly what they’re going to get. But this is much more than a mere Look-Inside. It also: Works as pre-launch content Offers an ince

Fun With Marketing

This month we are exploring unusual marketing venues and strategies. With the Internet and social media, the opportunities for promoting are increasing, and it is possible to do a lot of that side of the business without leaving the comfort of your home office and your PJs. But if you do venture out, please change your clothes, unless you look as good as this lady when you drag out of bed to your computer. Whether you are going to do your marketing strictly online, or go out to real places where you will see real people, you might want to consider this list of things in the DO NOT TRY THESES category. As you read, keep in mind that it is my job here at The Blood-Red Pencil to keep us amused, which I try valiantly to do. Do not put a banner about your book on the side of the garbage truck. Moving advertisements can be effective, but... Do not schedule a book signing at a nursing home. I did this once and the results were less than successful. Unless you count a sing-along. Detai

Marketing: Writing the Pitch

Marketing a book starts long before the book itself is more than a gleam in the author’s eye. For me as a writer, the toughest part of the marketing package is one that comes early on: the pitch . This is the teaser that will hook an agent or an editor to read the manuscript. Or, if you're publishing your work yourself, the pitch is what goes on the back of the cover, or in the description on the e-book websites to hook readers. A pitch isn't a summary, but it does need to give a sense of the writing and the story. It also needs to explain why the book matters. And it should be short: certainly less than a page. What works for me in writing a good pitch is to step back–way back–and focus on the essentials: why the book matters and what makes it unique. The pitch below is the draft I wrote on a recent weekend for my memoir, Bless the Birds . Let me know what you think! Bless the Birds is part of a national conversation that is happening quietly and privately, but nee

Marketing & Selling in Unusual Venues

For us “creatives”, putting on a marketing hat may be the most difficult part of the book process. Many people mistakenly think that selling and marketing are the same. They aren't. Selling is the “instant gratification” we all like—you hand someone a book and they hand you money. Marketing is a little like planting seeds in your garden. You put them out there and water and fertilize and you hope they will bear fruit (or vegetables.) With marketing you are putting your name or your books out there and maybe some people will buy it right away and maybe two years from now, someone will come across your name and decide to buy. You may not be able to tell how many sales you make from a website or a virtual book tour until you receive a royalty check from your publisher. Global management consultant Alan Weiss says, "There is no music if you don‘t blow your own horn." Like it or not, these days authors HAVE to get involved in the business side of publishing. And I’

Author Cross-Promotions

This month on the Blood-Red Pencil we’re taking a look at unusual forms of marketing that you might be able to implement to give your sales a boost. Who doesn’t want to see their sales go up, right? Well, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all my years of publishing, it’s that the old adage “Writing is a solitary profession” isn’t as true as it sounds at first. In fact, the biggest boost to my career that I’ve had yet has come from working with friends. Me and some of my author friends. I swear, they told me not to smile for this picture Working with and cross-promoting for your fellow authors can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. First and foremost, it’s important to have a network of writers who write in your same genre. Whether you write Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, or Literary Fiction, you need to have a like-minded group that you can go to for help and support, for beta-reading and feedback, and for help with promo. The easiest way that authors can cros

Step Out of Your Story by Kim Schneiderman

An excerpt from Step Out of Your Story by Kim Schneiderman: Every life is an unfolding story, a dynamic, unique, purposeful, and potentially heroic story with bright spots, turning points, and abounding opportunities for personal growth and transformation. From the day we’re born, we become the star and spin doctor of our own work in progress, with the power to tell our stories as triumphs, tragedies, or something in between. Our story has supporting characters who provide love and assistance and antagonists who cause us to realize the substance we’re made of and what’s really important. Like stories, our lives are filled with suspense. Our personal decisions, both big and small, affect our storyline — the relation- ships we choose, how we spend our day, and how we nourish ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Yet few of us take time to explore the character we’re playing. We don’t stop to discover what our story is about, who’s writing our script, and h