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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What works and what doesn't with marketing books

 The re-release cover of my cozy mystery novel, Starke Naked Dead!

Best thing about this new publishing world: No longer do authors have their books pulled from the shelves after a measly 3 to 6 months. All the marketing authors do online stays online and continues to market.

Worst thing about this new publishing world: No longer do authors only have to worry about a book's release for the three months before and after the release date. Books remain published and available for years and the pressure is on to promote each title all the time they are available. Plus, authors are always grinding out "content" for all the social media and other online sites, while reading the arguments pro and con for this site or that strategy, on and on. When do we write?

So what's an author to do? Relax, there's help for us all! I've found a secret through the marketing maze. And it's simple, if three different steps.

First step is to do what you enjoy. Okay, I can hear you all saying, "Yeah, right." But there are numerous social media sites that all provide a different approach and will get your name out there. You can't do them all, trust me, I've tried. If you choose one that you enjoy, you're much more likely to visit, post, comment, whatever more often and get more followers, views, whatever. For example, I adore Pinterest and so visit it daily. Daily I repin and pin (it's like having hundreds of great teapots, all for free and none that need washed, ever!). As a result I have 1300 followers and more people follow me all the time.

Second step is to provide content that is pertinent to your interests (see teapots above) and not only around writing or selling product. Yes, I have writing boards on Pinterest, but most of my boards are about my interests, jewelry and jewelry making, recipes, fitness and of course teapots. Some of these are tangential to my novels, I have a main character who is a jeweler, for example, but not most. This avoids the dreaded "Buy my book!" syndrome as well. People will "discover" you as an author instead of being annoyed by endless pitching.

That brings me to the third step, which is think outside the promo box. It's a different world because of eBooks, so don't be trapped inside of "you must belong to Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and post daily, etc. etc." My example? I love writing reviews, all kinds. I have over 80 reviews on TripAdvisor. So what, you ask? So I've had 19,000+ people read my reviews. Since I've placed one of my book covers on TripAdvisor as my profile photo, that's 19,000+ people who've seen my name and cover. If only a tiny portion of them register this ...

What do you think, dear readers? Useful ideas? Or?

12 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I picked blogging as my social media, with Twitter and Google+ as extras. It's made the difference in the sales of my books and I've been able to help other authors. With over 2000 followers, plus another 3000 following through Google+, I can really get the word out. It's all about finding what works for each individual.

Conda Douglas said...

Alex, so true and you went right to the crux of what I was saying, that all authors need to stop endlessly trying to figure out how to do all of it and focus on what works for them.

Carol Green said...

Thank You! Definitely something to ponder while trying to navigate the social media waters.

Conda Douglas said...

Most welcome, Carol! And watch those waters, they can be treacherous.

Bonnie Dodge said...

I think the first thing you said holds true. Do what you love. This business changes daily and if you can't change with it, you are going to be unhappy and frustrated. Focus on the positive and ignore the negative and enjoy seeing your work in print, regardless how many books you sell. Try to enjoy the process.

Conda Douglas said...

Bonnie, wise, wise words! And I think that we need to keep as a touchstone that we all started doing this because of a love of writing. The rest is just ways to drive ourselves crazy. Of course as authors we already are!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Conda,

Great post! Your advice is true and useful. I chose my sleuth to be a librarian and a teacher because that's what I did for a living and what I know best. It's important that our outside interests are connected with our characters. Kim Reynolds is not me but we share some of the same knowledge and interests.

Cindy Sample said...

Conda, terrific post. I also tell people NOT to do what I did which was try everything. I've been debating spending more time on Pinterest so you've encouraged me in that direction. For me, the most effective form of promotion is via fun blog posts which are also contests. When I mention them on Facebook I receive so many comments as well as great ideas.

Conda Douglas said...

Thanks, Jacqueline, and you really stated well what I was trying to say--our characters will of course share some of our same interests and readers will find us through those interests.(And readers, as you know, LOVE to discover authors themselves!)

Conda Douglas said...

Cindy, you and me both have tried everything--and then's there's no time to write!

And I adore Pinterest--it's a fun break for me.

Blog posts are fun too, although sometimes I spend too much time writing a post when I should be working on the next novel!

Susan Coryell said...

Oh, boy, is this ever me! I'd love to find some venue for Civil War fiction buffs. Also paranormal and Southern Gothics. I think I'd gather many more readers that way than I do via the "usual" social media outlets. Sigh. Anybody know of such sources? Thanks, Conda,. You've piqued my interest.

Conda Douglas said...

Susan, instead of Civil War FICTION I'd think Civil War--there is a wealth of groups out there around that subject matter, on Google+ and how about a board on Pinterest? I get a lot of play on my "jewelry" board and it links into my main character, who is a jeweler ...