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The first wave

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jun 29, 2016

 

As you devise a marketing strategy for the release of your new book, what role will your first wave play? Do you have a first wave? No?

 

 

Your first wave is your most supportive fans. In the beginning, your first wave will consist of friends and family, but over the course of your career as an indie author, your first wave will grow to include people who know you strictly through your books. They will reach out to you and let you know how much they enjoyed your work. They will ask when your next book will be released. They will spread the word about your books to their friends and families.

 

 

Do not take their interest lightly. Reach out to them and thank them. Include their contact information on your list of first-wave fans. When you start developing your marketing plan for your next book, let your first wave know about your plans. Include them in your strategy. They are essentially the first tier of your volunteer sales force.

 

 

You may even give them an action item. Ask them to let their networks of friends and family know about the upcoming release. Make sure they have all the crucial information: the date of the release, the full title, the book description, the book launch details, etc. Give them the ammunition they need to help you sell books.

 

 

Find a way to reward them. If you're doing a print version of the book, you could send them a pre-release signed copy of the book, or you could gift them a digital copy of the book as soon as it's released.

 

 

Your first wave is your opportunity to supercharge your release. Instead of you acting alone, you will have a team helping you get the word out.

 

 

 

-Richard

 

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor

 

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The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect

 

Have Fun with Marketing

 

 

741 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, book_release, marketing_strategy, marketing_plan, grassroots, fan_base
0

 

There is something about going to an event and being an active participant that makes it more special than if you're just a passive participant. When you take part in an event, you claim part ownership in that activity. You invest yourself.


As an author building a brand, you may want to keep this in mind when you're planning an event. Instead of doing a standard reading or signing, plan something that requires those who attend to participate. Gear the activity around elements of your book to create a natural tie-in of course, but break out of the standard mold and be bold.


Perhaps your book is a suspense novel about a cross-country runner being stalked in the woods. Why not get with a local charity and organize a fun run with you as the host and ads for your book on every scrap of paper and signage. Maybe a cat or a dog plays a major role in your novel. Why not organize a small un-adopted pet pageant with your local shelter to raise awareness for both them and you.


These are just random ideas, but you get the point. Find an activity and cause that have associations with your book, and create an environment where attendees have to participate. Such a strategy will create a buzz among those attending and their cadre of friends and followers online. It will give all an opportunity to share pictures and videos from the day's festivities, spreading word about your brand even wider.


Remember, people are having fun when participation is required.


-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor

 

 

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Preparing for a Personal Appearance

 

How to Make an Author Event Eventful

 

1,109 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, author, events, author_brand
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If you're an aspiring author, get ready to hear the following question approximately 10 billion times:

 

"What's your book about?"

 

As you already know if you've already written a book, pretty much everyone and anyone in your life will ask you that question, from people you know well to people you just met in the waiting room at your dentist's office. So it's really important to be able to answer it quickly.


Short and sweet.


Make it count.


Pique their interest.


You get the point.


If you start describing your book as, "Well, it's kind of hard to explain, but...there's a good chance that you've already lost the interest of whoever is on the other side of the conversation. If your pitch grabs someone';s attention, however, he or she might whip out a smartphone right there and then to order your book on Amazon. That's happened to me many times, so I'm not just saying that in a "you never know" kind of way. Trust me; I know! Every interaction you have is a potential sale.

 

While it's critical to have a concise, compelling description of your book when it's available for purchase, having one as you're writing it is also important. Why? Because it ensures that you have an interesting plot. Trust me, I know this too, because I recently spent way too many months struggling to write a novel for which I never had a clear vision. I should have realized that I was in trouble early on because anytime someone asked me what I was working on, I found myself uttering the dreaded "Um...well it's hard to explain, but..."


You know what happened to that manuscript? Nothing! Once I (finally) realized I didn't have an interesting story, I pulled the plug on it. It was a painful lesson to learn, and I wish I'd read a blog post like this one to save me a lot of time and effort. So please, learn from my mistake!


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Marketing Tip: Know When to Be Concise

How to Craft a Compelling Book Description

844 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, marketing, author, indie, pitch, descriptions, elevator_pitch
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Social media is a fairly ubiquitous term these days. It encompasses a vast array of virtual space and includes hundreds of millions of people. An author can easily get lost in the clutter of brands trying to get noticed. What you need is a social media influencer to champion your brand! That is, you need someone with their own well established brand to make their followers aware of your author brand.


A social media influencer isn't just somebody who has a large following, and that's too bad because those individuals are easy to find if you just do the smallest amount of research. A true social media influencer has the right kind of following--that is to say, one that is relevant to your author brand. As an author of a genre, you are most likely a fan of that genre outside of your own work, which means you may already be participating in a group dynamic with one or more social media influencers, and you just didn't know it.


Social media influencers pride themselves on being innovators, early adapters, and trendsetters. They want to know the newest offerings in their world. You will be doing them a favor by contacting them and letting them know about your book(s). Don't be shy. Normally, indie holds a special place in social media influencers' hearts because it gives them a greater chance of being the source influencer, meaning the word starts with them and gives them more credibility. Think of social influencers as a news agency trying to get the scoop. You are the scoop.

 

Find social media influencers who are relevant to your author brand, and who have a large, loyal following, and give them the opportunity to discover your work.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor

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Building an Author Brand: The Author Brands You Promote

 

Mingle Marketing

 

 

 

 

908 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, author, branding, social_media, platform, author_brand, author_platform, social_media_advice
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A sense of urgency

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger May 25, 2016

Limited Time Offer!

 

Offer Expires Soon!

 

Sale Ends Tomorrow!

 

While Supplies Last!


The above are examples of ad copy we've all seen before. Other than the exclamation point, they all have one thing in common. It's the ad world's version of "show; don't tell." Each slogan conveys the same feeling, and it's a feeling meant to move consumers to run to their favorite shop, virtual or actual, and buy, buy, buy. That feeling is a sense of urgency.


It is meant to leave consumers feeling as if they are about to miss out on an incredible offer. It is either stated outright or implied that time is running out. The sweetheart deals will soon be gone and those who miss out will be left with nothing but a sense of regret.


As you devise a strategy to bring awareness to your book or books, look for a way to build a sense of urgency into your messaging. Perhaps it's reduced pricing for your book. What better way to use this urgency strategy. Highlight the limited time of the price reduction, and make it clear daily in your social media circle that the time is growing shorter to take advantage of the sale price.


Or perhaps you want to give away a dozen signed copies of your book. Don't think that the giveaway is enough to entice readers. The sense that the signed copies are limited editions and will be gone soon is the real promotion. Hammer that point home.


Sometimes to sell books, you have to have time on your side. The best way to do that is to limit the amount of time readers can participate in a promotion for your book. Make them feel as if they are about to miss out on an incredible opportunity.


-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Three marketing websites for authors

 

Guerrilla book marketing tactic

 

 

 

 

1,067 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, selling, self-publishing, sales, promotions, social_media, how_to_promote
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Many debut authors don't know what to put in their bios. That's understandable! In fact, I recently met a debut novelist--I'll call her Lucy--whose bio at the end of her book was one line long. It said exactly this:


This is Lucy's first novel. She lives in San Francisco.


She laughed and said she knew it wasn't much, but she had no idea what else to write. She had't won any awards. She'd never written anything before. She didn't feel she had any relevant professional experience.


If you're in the same boat as Lucy, here are my two cents on the issue: I don't think what you write in your bio is as important as how you write it.


By "how you write it," I mean two things:


1)    You write it well. That means no grammatical errors, no crazy long sentences, and no weird syntax.


If you're putting yourself out there as a professional writer, be sure that's reflected in your bio. (For example, I've lost track of how many indie authors refer to themselves as Authors in their bios.)


2)    Your bio shows readers what they can expect in your writing.


If your book is positioned as a comedy, make your bio funny! If your bio makes me laugh, I'm much more likely to want to read your book. If your book is a mystery, write something mysterious about yourself. (I could never write a mystery, so I'm not sure what I would do in this case, but you get my point.)


Of course if you have specific life experience that relates directly to the content of your book (e.g., you were a police officer for 20 years and the book is about a detective, or if you're a nurse or a doctor and the novel is about life in a hospital), of course include that information in your bio. For the rest of us who simply make things up for our stories, I truly believe that elements one and two are enough. So stop stressing and get writing!


-Maria


 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


 

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Marketing Tip: Set up an Author Page on Amazon

Why Grammatical Errors in Your Author Bio Can Sink Your Sales

 

1,036 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, author, promotion, writing, author_biography
3

As I've mentioned before, I read a lot about book marketing and publishing. The other day I came across an article about an indie author who had recently published a novel about baseball. I love sports and thought his book sounded interesting, so I looked it up on Amazon. There were just two reviews, one of which was five stars and had the title: Great book. Among other glowing things, the review said the book was "a nice easy read for kids of all ages" and "well worth the time and money."


Then I noticed that the name of the reviewer looked strangely familiar. I scrolled to the top of the page and realized it was the same as the author! I couldn't believe someone would have the gall to give his own book a five-star review, but there it was, staring me in the face.


Needless to say, I didn't buy the book. How could I support such unethical behavior?


I've said more than once in this space that I believe asking friends and family to positively review your book is a bad idea. It puts them in an awkward position (what if they didn't like your book?), and it's just not credible. Reviewing your book yourself is even worse. Of course you think it's worthy of five stars; you wrote it! But that's beside the point. For reviews to mean anything, they need to be written by objective readers. That's the point of reviews.


The only time I think it's OK for a friend to write a review is if that person proactively tells you that he/she enjoyed your book. In that case, feel free to say, "Thank you! Would you mind putting that into a review?" Otherwise, don't do it. All you're going to do is shoot your credibility--and your sales--in the foot.


 

-Maria


 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


 

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Get Reviews for Your Indie Book

Dos and Don'ts of Soliciting Book Reviews

 

1,235 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, sales, writing, promotions, book_reviews
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You've written an engrossing mystery novel. Now what? It's time to dive into the marketing end of the publishing process and to do so with as much gusto as you showed writing the book. You are going to want to incorporate a mixture of conventional marketing strategies and…nontraditional strategies.


     Since you can use your favorite search engine to find a plethora of conventional book marketing strategies, let us focus on the nontraditional route in this blog post. Did I mention that nontraditional means fun?

 

  1. Murder mystery themed gala: Yeah, I know. Gala sounds expensive. Don't worry. All it really means is a party or celebration, but if you use the word "gala" in your marketing material, you add a little bit of panache to your event. This is a simple idea that requires a lot of planning. You're going to use friends and family to stage a murder mystery game in the middle of your gala, using characters and themes from you book. You won't follow the conclusion of your book or reveal little twists, of course. You don't want to give away any spoilers, but you do want to give attendees a taste of your story. They'll still have a blast. If you have the budget to hire a troupe of actors, all the better.
  2. Ten-minute plays: Speaking of actors, approach a local theater about renting their space for an evening of 10-minute plays based on material from your book. You'll want to focus on those passages and chapters in your book that emphasize character development. I'll be taking this route myself for an upcoming release, and I won't be writing the 10-minute plays. I'm handing material to a group of playwrights whom I know and trust and letting them have fun with it.
  3. At the movies: Thrillers and mystery films are never in short supply at your local movie theaters. Before the movie starts and before they show trailers of upcoming films, they usually show ads for local businesses. You are a local business. Your ad doesn't have to be fancy. It just has to be effective.


The mystery genre has a number of marketing opportunities that other genres don't have. Go the traditional book marketing route, yes, but don't be afraid to use your imagination and explore crazy ideas. Those crazy ideas have the biggest potential to become shared events on social media. The most important thing to remember is to have fun.


-Richard

 

 

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Should you spend money on traditional advertising?

 

Take your book to the theatre

 

 

 

 

1,169 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, self-publishing, promotion, writing, novels, mystery, promotions, writing_advice
2

Social media in 2016

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 27, 2016

     Since we are fast approaching the mid-point of 2016, we should probably examine the current state of social media. After all, it is not a static platform. People are participating in all sorts of different ways, and some approaches are more effective than others. I'm going to keep the information fairly general, but for specifics feel free to search for "Social Media in 2016," and you will find a plethora of data to support what you read here and even more detailed information on how you can more effectively utilize your social media platform.


  1. The fastest-growing group of social media users will be those who are 65 and older.
  2. The younger demographics will see the slowest amount of growth, but they will still outnumber the older demographics by a wide margin.
  3. Videos offer the most opportunity for engagement by a huge margin.
  4. Specialized social media sites are starting to emerge as significant players. If you've got an interest, who knows? There might be a social media site devoted to that interest.
  5. Live streaming is becoming more and more popular. It's as easy as downloading a live streaming app to your phone and turning on the video camera.
  6. Online marketing companies are trending toward creating mobile marketing strategies first. Consumers are just spending more time on their mobile devices than laptops and desktops these days.
  7. Social media analytics are all the rage. Tracking your social media activity means you can identify how and where to find engagement. Engagement creates brand loyalty. Brand loyalty generates sales.
  8. Social media users trend toward supporting brands that adopt a cause and devote a portion of their social media real estate to that cause.
  9. The selfie trend will continue to grow for every demographic except the fastest-growing social media users, the 65 and older crew. They will continue to hate the selfie trend.
  10. Video profiles will continue to grow in popularity. Think of it as an author photo with motion and sound.


 

For the most part, it is business as usual in the social media kingdom. I urge you all to check for trends frequently so you can become an early adopter and find much more success than a late arriver.


 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Marketing: Begin with Your Strengths

 

Social Networking Sells Your Brand

 

 

 

 

1,249 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, blogging, social_media, vlogging, social_platform
1

Be original

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Apr 20, 2016

If you've followed along in previous posts, I'm sure you've made your Author's Declaration, you've established your platform priority, you've plotted out how to use your secondary planks to support your main plank, and you've become a strident believer in developing a schedule. The last bit of brand-building inventory we need to discuss is the type of content you'll be showcasing on your platform.


In this case, when I say "type," I'm referring to the origin of your content. From where will it come? If you take nothing else from these blog posts on brand building, remember this one thing: original content is king. Material that comes from you has the greatest potential to be tied to your brand. The goal is to produce something that is worthy of being shared. When it's shared on social media platforms, friends of friends and followers of followers and so forth and so on are linked back to your brand's platform. The more share-worthy material you produce, the greater the opportunity that your brand's outreach will grow.


With your commitment to scheduling, you've established half of the consistency quotient. The other half has to do with your brand’s focus. Yes, you’ll be discussing your books, but it can’t be just about your books. You have to include other passions in your brand identity too--and I do mean passions. If you're into gardening, produce original content about gardening. If politics is your thing, jump into political topics with both feet. Sports, relationships, television, theatre, or whatever captures your interest, make room for it on your platform, and do it consistently. Give your brand depth based on your passions. It's the most effective way to give your author brand staying power.


-Richard


 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


 

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Blogging - "Why would anyone care what I have to say?"

Setting Goals for Your Brand

 

516 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, writing, branding, brand_building, be_original
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    I talked about prioritizing your platform in a previous post. By that, I mean give your platform three planks from which you operate. One of those planks will be used as your primary source for brand exposure. The other two planks will be used as support planks. In other words, they will be used in the following ways:


  1. You will use them as funnels to your primary plank. Let's say you've decided to make video your primary online plank. When you complete a new video and post it to your online channel, use your support planks to drive traffic to your video. Or if your blog is your primary plank, use your support planks to drive traffic to your latest post.
  2. Your support planks can be used to satisfy the need for immediacy. Let's say you've just sold the movie rights to your novel. Use your support planks to send out a headline-worthy announcement with the promise of more details to follow in your primary plank. Whenever you need to get out the word quickly, your secondary planks can come in handy.
  3. Your support planks can also be used to engage your readers in special Q & A chats. This is a strategy that can come in handy for your newest release. You more or less reverse your plank priority in this case. Use your primary to give a detailed account of the release and the time and date of the Q & A, then just make yourself available to respond to questions as they come in on your chosen secondary plank.

 


The structure should be fairly obvious. Your primary plank is for long-form content and your secondary planks are for short-form communications. The point is to form a synergistic relationship between all the planks and give your brand room to grow.


-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Growing and Cultivating Your Online Community

 

An Active Author Brand

 


 


1,157 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, brand, branding, social_media, author_marketing, author_brand
1

A few weeks ago I received a nice email from a fan of my books. She said she's also an author and hoped I might check out her debut novel, which had recently been released. In her email signature she included a link to her website--good for her! I'm always looking for an interesting read, so I clicked on the link to have a look.

 

What I saw inspired me to write this post because, unfortunately, it was not pretty. Here's why:

 

  1. The font was way too small: If visitors to your website have to squint to read it, they probably aren't going to stick around for long. Maybe whoever designed this particular author's website has superhuman vision, or maybe he/she wears magnified lenses and didn't realize how tiny the font is, but I could barely see it.
  2. The background was black, and the font was blue: I'm all for being different, but blue font on a black screen is not a good look. It's jarring to the eyes and difficult to read, so I highly recommend against it.
  3. The home page was way too busy: There was so much happening on the home page that I found myself physically recoiling from my computer screen. I had no idea where to begin reading because it was all such a jumble. Combine that with the tiny font and the weird colors, and it's not hard to see why I gave up and left the site without ever reading about the author's book.

 

It's hard to get potential readers to visit your website, so you want to make sure those who do visit have a positive experience. Your site doesn't have to be fancy, but it should be user-friendly. Avoid the above pitfalls, and you'll be on the right track.

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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A Few Reasons to Have a Website

 

Marketing Tip: Put Your First Chapter on Your Website

 

995 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, website_design, writers, promotions
2

I recently happened upon an interesting marketing idea that I wanted to share with readers of my blog. For a limited time the print version of one of my books was for sale on Amazon at a significant discount over the normal list price, so a good friend of mine, who is also a huge fan of my books, sent out an email to about 30 of her friends encouraging them to buy it. She also copied me on the email.


 

One of the recipients (I'll call her Annie) replied directly to me and told me that she'd already read the book but would love to buy signed copies for 10 of her friends. Would that be possible, she asked. I live in New York and she lives in California, so we decided that the easiest way to handle things would be for her to order the books on Amazon and have them shipped directly to me. She emailed me a list of names for the inscriptions, and once I received the books I signed them and mailed them to her in a single box. Using the media mail rate, sending 10 books didn't cost much at all--I believe it was only around six dollars--so I was more than happy to do it.


 

Normally when fans want to buy one or two signed copies, I sell them directly (I have a stash in my living room). I also charge more than the list price to cover my own costs, not to mention the time it takes me to go to the post office and wait in line. In this case, however, it was more important to me to get my books in the hands of 10 new readers than to make a little extra money. If those readers enjoy the book and tell their friends...well you know how that works!

 

-Maria

 

https://createspacecommunity.s3.amazonaws.com/Resources Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

 

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


 

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Marketing Tip: Offer to Send a Book

Marketing Tip: Encourage Your Fans to Spread the Word

 

1,130 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, writing, promotions, signed_copies
0

 

The other day I received a call from my friend Kristen, who recently opened her own business in the wedding-planning industry. She remembered that close friends of mine had recently been featured in the Vows section of the New York Times, and she wanted to know if an introduction to the reporter who wrote the piece would be possible.

 

While I'm still working on getting that contact for Kristen, I was impressed by her willingness to reach out to her network in order to help promote her business. As she and I were chatting, I thought of an indie author I knew who had published a book about lessons learned over 50 years of marriage, so I offered to put Kristen in touch with her to explore possible joint-marketing opportunities. Who knows what their conversation might lead to, but it got me thinking. What if that indie author reached out to her network in the same targeted (and personalized) way that Kristen had done to me? What introductions might that lead to? What doors might it open?

 

While there are some fundamental steps for promoting a book that you can (and should) take, such as creating an author page on Amazon, writing a compelling book description, etc., there's no magic formula for success. Much of book marketing is doing everything and anything you can think of to try to spread the word, seeing what works and what doesn't, and repeating whatever works--over and over.

 

However small it may be, all of us have a network, so chances are you have friends or colleagues who know people who could be helpful in your efforts to promote your book. Why not ask them? You never know what might happen, and it sure can't hurt to try.

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

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Tips for Networking with Other Authors

The Power of a Personal Connection

 

904 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, marketing_tip
2

For some reason that I have yet to uncover, over the past week I've received several emails that all say more or less the same thing. Here are snippets of three of them:


Dear Maria Murnane, I have recently come across your book, Wait for the Rain, available on Audible and on Amazon, and due to both its quality and plot, it qualifies to be promoted in our community of readers.


Hi Maria, I hope you don't mind me reaching out, but I wanted to say that I think your book would be well received with our subscribers. We were wondering if you'd like to be featured in our newsletter.


Good day, I discovered your book online and wanted to invite you to promote it alongside other similar authors.


Each of these "communities," which I imagine is nothing more than a massive list of email addresses, claims to have tens--if not hundreds--of thousands of "subscribers" who are eager for new books to read. The prices the sales reps quoted were all around $20 to be "featured," whatever that means.


I declined to participate in any of the offers because they seemed to me like a waste of money. But in spite of that, I couldn't help but wonder if maybe I should have tried just one to see what would happen. Then I realized I could ask the many readers of this blog to chime in with their own experiences, so that's why I'm throwing it out to you. For those of you who have tried one of these email blast services, do they work? Is $20 to reach 100,000 potential readers a good idea? Do these lists actually generate sales? Or are they a huge rip-off?


Please share your experiences in the comments section below. While I'm unable to respond, I look forward to reading them and hope to get a productive discussion going!


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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