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446 Posts tagged with the marketing tag
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

 

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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: Offer to Send a Book

Marketing Tip: Encourage Your Fans to Spread the Word

 

1,033 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

 

829 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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Book Marketing via Email: Blind Copy and Newsletters

Book Marketing Tip: Apply for Awards

922 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, email_marketing, email_blasts
1

     Social media is a wonderful tool to use for brand building. It gives you a unique opportunity to expand your reach beyond your physical community, and it gives you that opportunity for the low, low cost of nothing more than an internet connection. The only real investment it requires is your time, and that, my friends, is a bargain. Here are the three best practices to keep in mind as you use social media to build your author brand:


  1. Be active: Joining a social media site is a huge step toward building your author brand--if you are an active presence on the social media site. If you're not posting multiple times a day, you are essentially wasting a brand-building opportunity. No one is expecting you to write updates that rival the length of War and Peace. On the contrary, short, concise messages or links to material on the internet you find interesting will better suit your needs.
  2. Be interactive: Comments from friends and followers are gifts. It's someone in your community reaching out to you and giving you the opportunity to make a deeper connection. Do not let comments go without a response. Interact with them, and strengthen your community.
  3. Be careful: Sharing is a good thing. Oversharing, on the other hand, can do some pretty serious damage to your brand. You're an artist, which means you have a little more leeway than a corporate brand has as far as what types of things you can share, but that doesn't mean you want to inundate your fans with post after post of bad news. On the flip side, you can never spread too much hope. Keep it real and keep it positive to create a brand with a solid foundation.


In 2016 it may be unnecessary to say, but I'm going to say it anyway, social media is your gateway to book sales. Use these best practices, and your investment of time will be well spent.


-Richard

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


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5 Tips for Promoting your Facebook Page

Social Media Advertising vs. Social Media Marketing

4,382 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, advertising, social_networking, social_media, author_brand, marketing_strategy
1

Last fall I had an interesting encounter with an indie author, and it inspired me to write a post for this space. At the time of our meeting he gave me a little postcard about the book he had written, so after I finished the blog I fished out the postcard so I could send him a link. The postcard, however, didn't have any contact information, so I went to Amazon to find his email address or website link on his author page. Unfortunately, he didn't have an author page, so I did a search to see if he had a website. Again, nothing. All I could find was the listing for his book, so I included that in my post. Not knowing what else to do, I moved on to my next blog topic.


 

The other day I received an email from him. Somehow he'd stumbled across the blog post and wanted to let me know how thrilled he was about it. I was thrilled too, because I'd felt bad that I hadn't been able to reach him.


 

Are you easy to find online? Take my experience and extrapolate to a much larger stage. Let's say that instead of just writing a post about this man, I'd wanted to invite him to speak to an audience of hundreds--or even thousands. Or what if I'd wanted to order a large amount of signed copies of his book? Or what if I'd wanted to interview him on TV?

 

 

If you don't have an author website, at the very least you should have an author page on Amazon. (Here's how to set one up.) There you can write a little blurb about yourself--and include your email address!

 

 

 

To give you an example of an Amazon author page, here's mine. It's a simple, easy way for your readers to find (and contact!) you, so take advantage of it. You never know who might be looking for you!


 

-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--Business Cards

 

 

 

 

1,319 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotion, writing, internet_presence
0

I was perusing Facebook one day, and a meme popped up on my newsfeed. It was an image of a smiling man accompanied by a quote. I knew both the man and the quote. I knew the man because I'm friends with him on Facebook, and I knew the quote because it came from one of his books, a book I had read and enjoyed.


 

He meme'd himself, and I loved it. Technically, I liked it on Facebook and shared it. Creating a meme to build your author brand is an excellent strategy. I don't know if this particular meme caught on, but he should do more. He should create as many memes as he can--his author photo with a quote from his book, his brand with his product. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.


 

You should do the same. If you don't want to use your author photo, I can understand that. I don't think it's a bad thing if you do or if you don't. Use an image that fits the quote. If you can find an occasion to create a meme that is relevant to current events, all the better. Be sure to identify the source of the quote, which is your book.


 

Memes are made to be shared. They can help spread the word about your brand perhaps better than an email newsletter, a personal video or just about any other marketing tool. The key is to create a lot of them, and share them as often as you can. Repetition is crucial.

 

 

-Richard

 

 

 

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

 

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Social Media Advertising vs. Social Media Marketing

 

The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect

 

 

1,177 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, advertising, branding, social_media, author_brand, social_post
0

Picture This

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 20, 2016

This is "generation share." That is the crux of marketing in a world dominated by social media. If you want to build a brand today, you have to create share-worthy content to do so. That's not to say your book doesn't matter. It does, but you'll have to lead them to your book by building a brand first, and you do that with your blog, writing original posts about whatever you feel passionately about. Your posts will be as engaging as your books. They will be inspirational, and they will generate interest.

 

They will, that is, if your blog post is accompanied by an image. Without one, there's a likelihood no one will discover your blog post because it won't be shared as often. An image is your hook. It is the face of your post, the spark that can ignite interest and do more than prompt someone to read your post--it can lead them to share your post.

 

The problem is coming up with an image. Paying for the use of images every time you write a blog post would be prohibitively expensive. Paying a professional photographer or graphic artist to provide you with original images would be even more costly. You have a couple of options. You can create the images yourself if you possess the desire and aptitude, or you can do an online search to find resources for free stock images or public domain images.  Take care to read any user agreements before you download them. You don't want to violate the rules, particularly if the images are being made available for free.

 

Don't let your share-worthy original content go unnoticed. Give it a face, and start building your brand.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Building an Author Brand: You are What You Share

Social Media Swap

1,166 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, promotion, blogs, author_brand, social_post, auhtor_image
2

The word "said" is the most common dialogue identifier. That is to say, authors use it to break up a conversation and apply a character name or the appropriate pronoun to help the reader keep track of who is saying what at any given time. It can be overused. It can be underused. The trick is finding the right balance.

 

"Said" is declarative. Technically. In the strictest sense. But to an artist, strict is not always applicable. With that in mind, I've had a debate on a number of occasions about the use of the word "said" beyond its declarative nature.

 

By declarative, I mean "said" is usually applied thusly in a novel:

 

"Mike is coming over this morning," I said.

 

The declaration is that Mike is coming over this morning. Simple. So, how do we use "said" in a non-declarative sense? We use it when a character says something in the form of a question--but in a situation when it's not necessarily a question. Primarily, it can be used to convey disbelief, as in this example:

 

We all saw her enter the room, but I was the only one who saw her destiny. The entire rest of her life flashed before my eyes, and I couldn't stop grinning. Without thinking, I said, "I'm going to marry that girl."

 

"You?" Brian said. "You can't even talk to girls."

 

Not my best writing, but quality aside, to use the word "asked" as the identifier for Brian seems inappropriate to me because he's not really asking a question. He's making a statement of disbelief. His friend just said something that completely goes against his character. In essence, Brian is declaring his skepticism.

 

So, what say you, fellow writers? Can you say a question when it's not really a question but a statement of disbelief? Is "said" the appropriate identifier in this case?

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Does Grammar Matter?

"Not adverbs," He Said Angrily.

1,075 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, dialogue_identifier, declarative
3

I am going to make a claim that will undoubtedly make a lot of folks groan and roll their eyes. I speak from personal observation, and I'm willing to concede that my conclusion is not universal in nature. In other words, I may just be really weird.

 

Like many of you, I get marketing emails all the time. They come from all sorts of organizations and individuals. I ignore 99 percent of them. I've been conditioned to do so. The one percent I don't ignore come from an e-tailer that sends me about three to four emails a day. I see their name under the "From" column over and over again. The name of the company takes a subliminal hold in my subconscious. Even if I don't actively follow the links in the emails they provide, they are definitely my go-to resource for online shopping.

 

On the flip side, I am on a couple of email lists for authors. I get emails from them at most once a month. Given the volume of marketing emails I get, these messages from authors announcing a new book or some other development go unnoticed. Beyond missing the content of the email, the subliminal effect of seeing the sender's name on a continuous stream of emails is also absent.

 

My point is that email marketing works, but not if you use it infrequently. In a supposition that admittedly defies what we've been taught, I believe email marketing works when it floods into your inbox. Some call it spam. Some call it junk mail, but it works on the premise that has served the advertising industry well for as long as there has been an advertising industry. Repetition is the key to creating top-of-mind awareness and increasing sales.

 

You may agree or disagree, and I'm not advocating using such a strategy, but I am curious to know how you use or view email marketing.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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A Marketing Calendar

Competency

1,235 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, self-publishing, promotion, social_media, email_marketing
1

It's that time of year again: the beginning! Why not start yours and join me in making the following resolution?

 

In 2016 I will do (at least) one thing every day to promote my book(s).

 

I know that marketing is a foreign language to many authors, and even those who are familiar with it don't usually enjoy it. But if you want people who aren't your friends and family to buy your book, it's something you simply have to do.

 

If right now you're saying to yourself, Okay I'm on board with the resolution, but what specifically should I do?, here are some suggestions--some broad and some granular--that should get you going:

 

  • Create or update your Amazon author page
  • Craft or update a short, compelling bio
  • Create or update a snappy description of your book
  • Check all of the above for grammatical errors
  • Update your headshot
  • Create a website
  • Create a Goodreads profile
  • Insert a hyperlink to your Amazon page or website in your email signature
  • Send a signed book to your college alumni magazine
  • Research local alumni chapters of your alma mater and reach out to them--many have monthly newsletters
  • Research book clubs near you--then offer to attend the meeting if they choose your book
  • Put a few copies of your book in the trunk of your car--you never know when you'll need them

 

Asking "How do I market a book?" is kind of like asking "How long is a ball of string?" You get out what you put in, but over time hard work and persistence can (and do) pay off. You just have to keep at it and try to keep a positive attitude. Remember, you wrote a book! That's an incredible accomplishment in and of itself. Happy New Year!

 

-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: Make It Easy for Your Readers to Contact You

Marketing Tip: Show vs. Tell in Your Book Description

2,301 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, promotions, marketing_resolution
3

So, this isn't the first time I've floated this idea out there, but it's something I like to touch on from time to time to remind indie authors what an author brand really is. Using the word brand suggests that there's an artificial construct involved. That you as an author are being directed to create a persona that you think meets readers' expectations.

 

Every time I get into this discussion with people I'm reminded of a scene from the classic television show Seinfeld. When Jerry and George are pitching a show to the television network executives, they're asked what it's about, and George excitedly proclaims that it&'s about nothing. The network executive is confused because it can't be about nothing. It has to be about something, but George insists that it's not. Jerry interjects that even nothing is something.

 

That exchange encapsulates what an author brand is. It's nothing. That is to say it's nothing false. It is you. It is your interests, your opinions, and your personality. It is everything you love. It can even be everything that drives you crazy. Wherever your passions lie, that's your brand. There is nothing to do to build a brand other than to be yourself, genuinely, fervently, and openly.

 

Building and maintaining an author brand is, at its core, you being honest about who you really are. If you are, your brand will thrive and help grow your community. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen as long as you stay committed to that principle. In turn, your community will help grow your readership.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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Evaluating Your Author Brand

Building an Author Brand is Easy

5,713 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, selling, branding, author_brand, marketing_ideas, author_tips, author_advice
0

I have a book that will be released in July of 2016, and it's a bit of a different experience for me than my previous publishing adventures because I have no immediate plans to release it in print. Long story short, this is a team project, and I don't have the final say on the format. Hopefully, I can expand it into print, but for now, I have to think strictly eBook.

 

That is a bit of a mind shift for me. For a number of years, I have been doing releases in both eBook and print formats. The print copies have always been an easy marketing tool for me. I could take a number of copies with me to appearances or events and devise giveaways to boost enthusiasm for a new release. Online marketing is great, but the personal appearance is still king when it comes to connecting with readers.

 

I have committed to doing a book launch for this new eBook release that involves a personal appearance, and it has presented me with a bit of a puzzle. How do I get people excited at an appearance when I won't have a book to appear with?

 

At a recent workshop for playwrights, as I watched staged readings of other writers' work, it hit me. I don't need the book. I just need the story. I went home and hammered out a plan for an appearance that involves short dramatic readings of chapters using local actors. I will involve other writers I know to adapt and direct the material for these staged readings. I'll incorporate door prizes that fit the theme of the book for the audience. I'll make it an invitation-only intimate affair with a number of nonprofessional social media savvy friends in attendance. I have to say it is the first of my appearances that will be more about the people attending and performing than it will be about me, and I'm so excited by that. They will take ownership of my story, and the marketing of the eBook. My hope is that it will translate into a frontloaded wave of word-of-mouth buzz that will grow over time.

 

Don't ditch the personal appearance if you're planning an eBook-only release. Find a way to get attendees at the event engaged and enthusiastic, so they will spread the word via their social media platforms.

 

-Richard

 

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

 

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How to Make a Personal Appearance a Success

How to Make an Author Event Eventful

1,570 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, selling, book, print, kindle, ebook, craft, online_marketing, book_launch, book_launch_party
2

Author-signed books make great gifts. Your biggest fans, however, might not have any idea that they can buy them from you, so why not tell them? You can do this via email, Twitter, Facebook, your newsletter, etc. How much you charge per copy is up to you, and you can even offer to wrap the books yourself and mail them directly to the recipient of the gift.

 

With the holidays just around the corner, I decided to email a couple of friends who are also fans of my books to see if they wanted to buy any signed copies as gifts for their friends. Within an hour both replied with orders for a total of 10 signed books--or $200 payable to me.

 

I think I'm on to something.

 

Today I plan to look through my contacts list and reach out to other friends who are also big fans of my books. I'm not talking about a mass email to everyone I know--I mean personalized, tasteful messages that are more than just sales pitches. Yes, that's time consuming, but book marketing is time consuming. There's simply no way around that.

 

As for physically mailing the books, I strongly suggest going to the post office and asking for the book rate. It's much cheaper than regular shipping, and it includes tracking! I often receive emails from readers of my blog asking if they can send me copies of their work--and if I say yes, the book usually arrives via FedEx or some equally expensive method. Each time that happens I feel bad because that's a double expense for the sender (the book itself and the big shipping fee). The only downside about the book rate is that you can't request it at the self-serve kiosks, so you have to wait in line, but the money you'll save over time is well worth it.

 

-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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Hold a Holiday Contest

Two Easy Ways to Save Money in Your Book Promotion

907 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, author, writing, promotions, signed-copies
0

I recently received an email from an author named S.J. (That is a purposefully androgynous pen name.) S.J. was doing a blog tour to help promote the launch of his/her first novel and wanted to know if I would consider letting him/her do a guest post on my personal website.

 

I'd never had anyone do a guest post, but S.J. mentioned that he/she had read all my books, so I wanted to help. Why wouldn't I? S.J. had supported me, so I wanted to support S.J. in return. (S.J. is also a loyal reader of my blog and even mentioned his/her favorite post in the message.)

 

S.J. had been writing professionally for many years but was a first-time novelist, so I thought my readers would appreciate some thoughts on what he/she had learned from the process. Here's the post on my website.

 

The same week I received an email from another debut author, whom I won't name. He asked me if I wanted to interview him on my website. I asked him if he'd read any of my books, and he said no. Then I asked him if he'd ever read my blog, and he admitted that no, he hadn't. I never heard from him after that.

 

Do you see the difference a personal touch can make? S.J. took the time to personalize his/her outreach to me, and it resulted in a guest post on my blog. The other author used a copy/paste/generic approach, and it resulted in nothing. If he had opened his message with "Hey, I haven't read any of your books, but I just ordered a couple for my sister..." our interaction would have been very different. Keep that in mind that next time you reach out to a fellow author for help!

 

-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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The Power of a Personal Connection

Use a Personal Touch When Reaching Out or Following Up

872 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, author, writing, promotions, personal_touch
1

There are few things I enjoy more than getting fan "mail"--in whatever form it arrives. This morning I received a wonderful tweet from a woman named Yasminda that made me smile. I replied with my email address and asked her to send me a note. When she did, I checked her address in my database and saw that she wasn't subscribed to my newsletter. I also realized she wasn't a fan of my Facebook page or my Goodreads page. I asked her if she was aware I had those things. She said she was not aware but that she was happy to sign up, like the pages, etc.

 

This was a good lesson for me because I'd always kind of assumed that the fans I have on Twitter are the same fans I have on Facebook, etc. And while I imagine there is a significant amount of overlap, it's not comprehensive. Case in point: If I didn't have a Twitter profile, I might never have heard from Yasminda.

 

In our email conversation I told Yasminda how much I would appreciate her help in spreading the word about my books, and she jumped to action! Within minutes she posted a nice note about my books on Facebook (with a link to my fan page), and she also ordered signed copies from me as a gift to her mother. How cool is that?

 

There's no magic formula for connecting with your readers, but having a presence in more than one place will make it easier for fans to contact you. If all you have is a website, make sure the contact tab is easy to find. When it comes to book sales there's nothing more powerful than word of mouth, so the more you can do to interact directly with your biggest fans, the better!

 

-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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Ramping Up Facebook Activity for the New Year

Your Fans are Your Brand

2,971 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writing, promotions, fan_interaction
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