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496 Posts tagged with the marketing tag
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For the record

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 18, 2017

Do you have all the tools of the author's trade? Sure, you have an endless stream of creative energy to get you from the opening line to the last page. And, you have your writing instruments: pen, paper, computer, etc. You have a social media presence that helps boost your author brand. You participate in public readings and author events. You have a professional grade video camera and/or DSLR camera...Wait, maybe you don't have the last item on the list. If you don't, my advice is to invest in one.

 


 

Photos and video are highly effective ways to build your brand. Record your journey with images, and people are more likely to tag along with you. I'm not suggesting you replace written journal entries, tweets, or status updates with photos and video. These images will simply supplement your written posts.


Image quality matters, so don't skimp on resolution. In today's world, high-end smartphones can deliver beautiful pictures and video. Personally, I'm a DSLR man. There's something about the heft of a camera with an interchangeable lens that makes me feel more confident with the final product.


You'll want to move beyond the selfie. Certainly don't bypass the selfie, but don't make it your only means of branding. If you're doing a reading, making a presentation, or contributing on a panel, bring a family member, friend, or assistant to record the event.


At the end of every year, do a compilation video that incorporates all the images you collected from event to event. Do it to help build your brand. Do it so your author journey has a visual record.


-Richard

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

 

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Picture This

 

The Marketing Tool Many Authors Neglect

 


 


1,294 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, video, author_brand, marketing_plan, author_platform
1

Recently I received an email from an indie author asking a question about securing reviews from bloggers. Then, in the same email, the author sent me a link to his book's Amazon page and told me I was more than welcome to read it. And review it.


I didn't read his book, but I'll tell you what I did read--his email, with my mouth agape.


For one, I don't review books, which I've said many times in this space. But, if I were a book reviewer, it would take more than a link to get me on board. Book reviewers are well aware that they can buy and review any book in the world. So if you want them to review yours, offer to send a copy.


When I was self-published, I spent countless hours contacting book reviewers asking them to review my novel, Perfect on Paper. I also spent countless hours at the post office sending out review copies. It was an investment of both time and money, but I did it because I wanted people to review my book, and I knew they weren't going to do that if all I did was send them a link to Amazon.


Here's the thing: Book reviewers and bloggers expect you to send them a book. These people are voracious readers, and while they might not come out and say it, many of them review books just to get free copies and save money. You can always offer to send an electronic version, but in my experience reviewers are purists and prefer to read print books.


A good rule of thumb for book marketing of any kind is to put yourself in the recipient's shoes. How would you feel if someone asked you to review their homemade cookies but expected you to buy a dozen first?


-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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Why you should give away (some) books for free

Get reviews for your indie book

1,808 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, writing, promotions, book_reviews
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I have advocated for indie authors supporting indie authors many times before on this blog. The general idea is to reserve a day of the week to promote the work of a fellow indie author. The question is what day of the week works best for this type of activity.


The vehicle to promote an indie author is clear. You will be using social media. Which social media outlet is up to you. There are a lot to choose from, and many of you probably use several social media sites to make connections with readers.


There is data out there that lets you know when the most active times are for all the social media sites. Because there are so many of them and because some of them service very specific demographics, it's hard to find a consistent day of the week and time of day that will be best to promote your selection for indie author of the week. Rather than try to force a square peg into a round hole by finding a time that caters to all of them, here are the best times to post to get the most views for some of the more popular social media sites. Choose the one that best fits your social media strategy.


  • Facebook: Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Twitter: Wednesdays at noon and between 5:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Instagram: Mondays and Thursday are the best days of the week, and the best time is between 8:00-9:00 p.m. Specifically, folks say to avoid posting between 3:00-4:00 p.m.
  • LinkedIn: Tuesday through Thursday from 7:00-8:00 a.m., at noon, and from 5:00-6:00 p.m.


Remember: creating buzz for other indie authors can build credibility for all indie authors. Get out there and share the indie author love.


-Richard


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

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


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Supporting Indie Authors

Living the Indie Author Dream

947 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writing, promotions, social_media
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I'm on the distribution lists of many indie authors who occasionally send out promotional emails about their books. Marketing is a lot of work, so I respect the efforts of these individuals to boost their sales. Unfortunately, however, many of the emails I receive are peppered with errors, and that doesn't instill much faith that the books being promoted are going to be good. The books might in fact be excellent, but if people don't want to read them because of errors in the marketing emails, that shows the power of a negative impression.

 

We all make mistakes, which is why it's important to proofread your messages several times before sending them out. My brain plays tricks on me when I write, especially after I've been cutting and pasting and moving things around. Sometimes I simply don't see mistakes because my brain sees what it thinks should be there. To help counter that, I have my mom read my newsletters before I send them out. If you don't have someone like that to help you, try reading your content out loud to catch errors.

 

If you were promoting yourself as a dentist or a mechanic, errors wouldn't be so detrimental. But, you're a writer, and you're promoting your writing! So think of your messages as a way to showcase your talent, to give the recipients a taste of what you can do. If your content is engaging, well written, and free of errors, it is more likely to encourage potential readers to pick up a copy of your book.

 

Note: I prefer to use a newsletter program instead of email. Mailchimp is free if you have fewer than 2,500 subscribers, and it's easy to use. If your distribution list is smaller still, bulk emails can also work fine. Just be sure to use the blind copy feature for the recipients.

 

-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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Watch for Errors in Marketing Materials

Book Marketing Is a Numbers Game

612 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, marketing, self-publishing, writing, promotions, writing_tips, grammar_advice
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Book events aren't the draw they used to be. There is too much in the way of entertainment out there: movies, concerts, musicals, plays, comedy shows, etc. You have a lot of competition. The best way to generate interest for your book event is to spice things up a little. Here are three ideas to make your next book event an actual event.


  1. Treats: Doing a book signing? Would you like people to stop by your table? Put out a bowl or tray of treats: candy, brownies, chips, etc. If it's sweet and/or savory, it will draw people to your table. People rarely grab a free treat and run. Once they're standing in front of you, they are more than likely going to inquire about your book. Make your pitch. Snag a reader.
  2. Entertainment: Have you scheduled a public reading? Do you play a musical instrument or do you know someone who does? Why not come up with a set list for the reading? A little acoustic guitar or even a small jazz ensemble could be a great draw and turn a reading into a bona fide event.
  3. Actors: Got some killer dialogue? Then don't do a reading. Do a series of short plays featuring your best dialogue. You will find actors in practically every community across this country of ours. They are eager to perform. Make a connection at a local theater, and you can combine a fundraiser for them with a night of short one-acts featuring themes and characters from your book.


The key is to make your "event" as eventful and inviting as possible. Do whatever your budget will allow to build excitement for your next book event.


-Richard


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

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


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Participation required

 

Do you need swag?

506 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, promotion, writing, book_events
1

    Mobile apps are all the rage, and as screens continue to grow smaller, and cellular streaming grows to deliver more and more data, I think it's safe to assume they won't fall out of vogue anytime soon. The question is, can an author utilize a mobile app to create buzz about a book? As of this writing, mobile app development can be costly, so if it's an avenue you want to pursue, consider your options carefully. Not every genre is a mobile app fit. Here are three I think make sense:

 

  1. Science fiction and fantasy novels: These types of novels are natural fits for mobile apps. First, the demographics skew younger than other genres. Young people live on their phones. Their heads are down and locked on their screens. Secondly, the nature of the genre lends itself to expand beyond the pages of the book. A space odyssey has a universe of possibilities that make for perfect content on mobile apps. Fantasy novels are based on mythologies that can be explored via mobile apps. Characters can be turned into emojis. There is so much you can do with a mobile app to engage your readers.
  2. Historical Fiction: On the other side of the demographic spectrum, historical fiction could be a great fit for a mobile app. Let's say you do a novel about Charleston during the Civil War. You could create a travel app that coincides with the historical sites mentioned in your book. You can give facts about the site and how you incorporated those facts into your story.
  3. Romance novels: These have potential in the mobile app world, too. Readers can send sweet nothings via text using a mobile app designed after your romance novel--a romantic line, a flirtatious emoji that looks like your protagonist and his or her love interest. The possibilities are endless.

 

There are undoubtedly more than the three genres I included here. I'm curious to know how you would utilize a mobile app for your own book. How would you harness the power of a mobile app to create buzz about your book?

 

-Richard

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

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

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Mobile marketing for authors

Don't say it unless you meme it

1,414 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, book_marketing, genre, social, social_media, social_media_tips
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Do you have a mailing list of readers who enjoyed your writing? If so, good for you! Whether it's through a newsletter program or email, reaching out to your fans is a good way to keep a connection with them. The question is, what do you tell them?


In my semi-regular newsletter I include one piece of "news." Here are some examples:


  • Photos of my events such as book signings, book clubs, speeches or panel discussions
  • News about upcoming translations of my books
  • News about sales milestones
  • Promotions for signed copies (this is good to do around the holidays for gift ideas)
  • Photos of fans holding up my books at home or at stores (they send them to me sometimes!)
  • News about distribution agreements, e.g., in certain bookstores or wholesale clubs
  • Awards my books have won


In each newsletter I also include links to my recent blog posts as well as a note about my consulting services. I also encourage my fans to tell their friends about my books, so I can afford to keep writing them.


While I like to keep my newsletters strictly about my professional life, some author friends of mine have chosen a more personal route. One recently sent out a message about her engagement, while another tackled her feelings about the presidential election. Yet another addressed with humility how hard it was proving to be to get people to buy her book.


There's no magic formula for any of this, and every author's pot of potential "material" is different. So play around with it and see what works best for you. And if/when you begin working on a new book, include your fans in the process! I once had my fans vote on two cover options for a book, and it worked out so well that I'm considering asking them to vote on the title of my next one.


-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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Make it easy for readers to find you

The power of a personal connection

1,140 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, marketing, writing, promotions, newsletters
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Keep it simple

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 14, 2016

 

    When you sit down to outline your marketing strategy, there is one thing above all others that you want to keep in mind. Keep it simple. Don't feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. The tried and true work; otherwise, they wouldn't be tried and true. Here are three reasons why keeping your marketing strategy simple makes for more effective results:


  1. Keeping things simple offers the least number of obstacles. If you try to overthink it and come up with something never seen before, you are creating impediments that will likely frustrate you and could lead you to not follow through. Study what others have done before you and repeat.
  2. Overcomplicated planning usually makes for overcomplicated outcomes. Being creative with your marketing strategy isn't bad, but being too creative can confuse the readers you are trying to reach.
  3. Keeping things simple most likely means you are incorporating strategies that have been tested before, which means you most likely have data to justify your strategy. It worked before. It will most likely work again. The hard work has been done for you. Most of the obstacles we discussed earlier aren't there. You can just plug in your book and go.


Of course, keeping things simple with your marketing strategy doesn't mean it will be easy. You are still going to have to do your research and determine what will work for you, but the good news is that the research is usually just a search engine away. Good luck, and keep it simple.

 

 

 

 

-Richard

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

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

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Exclusive versus inclusive

 

The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect

 

 

 

 

1,574 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, writing, author_tips, writing_tip
2

 

Previously, I talked about the importance of setting your author brand apart from others. What makes you different from the author brands out there--particularly those who share your genre? Today, I'd like to talk about the opposite strategy. What makes you similar to other author brands, or what makes your book like the best seller that was at number one for ten weeks?


Back in the "long time ago land," I wrote screenplays. In fact, I wrote twelve of them. I only talked to various production companies and studios about two of them, and neither were ever produced, but enough of the sad part of the story. The relevant part of the journey is that what I was asked most consistently by these companies was, "What current film does your script resemble?" This was important for a number of reasons. Primarily, they wanted to gauge what kind of box office they could expect. But they also wanted to know what kind of interest they could expect from financiers and A-list actors. I always tried to stress the originality of the screenplays, and that turned them off. The word "originality" connotes risk. Risk is not something Hollywood is really known for.

 

In the indie publishing world, originality is expected. It's cherished. It's rewarded. But, I maintain that it's also OK to compare yourself to other authors and your material to other books. Don't emphasize it, but make it a part of your pitch to give readers a taste of what they can expect.


-Richard

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

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

 

 

 

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Brand modeling

 

Building an author brand: the author brands you promote

 

 

 

 

1,520 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, author_marketing, author_brand, author_tips, author_platform
1

We are approaching 2017, and we still don't have flying cars and food replicators. Nope. The utopic Jetsonian future has yet to become a reality. And yet there have been advancements in the last 10 years that have been truly inspiring--a lot of them in the publishing industry. We can now read books on our smartphones. We can carry devices that weigh less than an average sized children's book that hold thousands of titles. We truly are living in a golden age of indie publishing.


The one thing that hasn't changed is that the best way to sell books is through word of mouth. Recommendations from friends and other trusted individuals is the number one way readers discover new books to read, and it's not likely to be supplanted by another method any time soon.


Your job is clear. Engage your readers. Find the influencers in your group and let them know about new reviews, upcoming events, awards, etc. The more information you feed them, the more they have to pass along to their spheres of influence. You're not bragging or begging for attention. You're keeping highly persuasive members of your volunteer sales force informed.

 

Your goal is to find as many of these influencers as you can. The best way to do that is to be an active member within your genre's community. Find groups online and even locally that discuss other books in your genre and/or films, and be a valued member of that community. Once you get to know all the personalities, you'll know who to enlist in your volunteer sales force to be crucial cogs in the word-of-mouth campaign.


-Richard


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

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

 

 

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What Ignites Word of Mouth?

 

A Marketing Tool You Control

 

1,964 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, self-publishing, writers, genre, social_media, engage, influence
1

If you want to raise your marketing game, you have to be a leader. I'm not talking about leading in sales. Sales come as a result of your leadership role. Your aim is to be a leader in your community in the arts, and more specifically, in writing groups.

 

I've talked frequently about getting involved in the local arts scene to broaden your networking. You can more than likely find groups in your area for various artistic disciplines just by searching online. I was surprised by the number of writers' groups in my area, and I don't live in a big booming metropolis.

 

Once you join a group, be an active participant. Writers' groups in particular often involve members bringing in their latest work to read or have read by others in the group. They are there to get your opinion, so give it. Be gentle. Be constructive. Be encouraging. You know how sensitive we writers can be.

 

The strategy here is to become a regular participant in the group and even volunteer to help with whatever events the group has planned. Work your way into the inner circle and position yourself to take a leadership role.

 

When you do become a leader of the group, you are seen as competent and confident, and your networking circle will expand exponentially. That circle will include not just fellow writers but readers as well.

 

Raising your marketing game means putting yourself out there in real-life social events and showing your worth as a member of the arts community. Show your value, and you will be valued.

 

-Richard

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

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

 

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Mingle Marketing

The Marketing Maze

1,733 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, promotion, author_brand, author_platform, writer_group
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Elections can excite voters. They can enrage voters. They can disgust voters. They can inspire voters. Elections are orchestrated chaos that remind most of us that nobody really wins when we talk politics. That's why I don't want to do that here, but I would like to try to do the impossible. I would like to talk about the elections while avoiding the political nature of elections.


    You see, I think elections provide us mega-sized examples of concentrated brand-building efforts, and we, as authors, can learn from them--both from the successes and the failures within an election season. Here is a list of successful tactics by candidates that authors should keep in mind as they build their own brands:


  1. Consistent messaging wins the day. Forget the substance of what any politician says. A message that is repeated over and over again influences hearts and minds. It's an old advertising strategy. Seeing an ad once doesn't move a consumer to consume. Seeing the same ad/message over and over again moves a consumer toward consumption.
  2. The more you're seen, the more you're heard. Politicians who succeed are politicians who get the most coverage. They seize every opportunity they can to own the narrative of an issue.
  3. Frequent contact is essential. Politicians are not shy about reaching out to their followers for either financial support or help in spreading the word. Email lists, social media platforms, and good old fashioned real world glad-handing keep supporters enthused and engaged.
  4. Personal appearances are crucial. No politician sits in his or her basement making YouTube videos, forgoing the opportunity to be seen in public. They get out and speak to groups of people. They literally put a face, style, and voice on their brand. They encourage the dissemination of these appearances far and wide via the internet and mainstream media outlets. They make themselves a product, and focus on the most optimal placement of the product so it can be seen by as many voters as possible
  5. Speak to your demographics. Politicians know their typical supporters inside and out, and they spend a lot of time and energy making them happy and getting them fired up.


Not everything is a lesson worth learning from a politician building a brand, but there are a lot of proven strategies that authors should modify and adopt for their own brand-building efforts. You never want to lose yourself in building a brand. You just want to showcase yourself and your work. Whether you agree with them or not, that's exactly what successful politicians do.


-Richard

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

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

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Repeat, repeat, repeat

Book marketing is a numbers game



940 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, author, publishing, brand, author_brand, marketing_strategy
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In developing a marketing strategy, you may have overlooked two approaches that could help you create a more effective plan. Is your book better suited for a marketing campaign built around the concept of exclusive or inclusive?

 

Exclusive: The word is pretty scary when it comes to marketing. In fact, it sounds counterintuitive to the purpose of marketing, which is to raise awareness about your book and move as many people as you can to purchase it. But the truth is, you may benefit greatly by having a book with narrow appeal. Remember, in a country with over 300 million people, "narrow" is a relative term. Even in the narrowest of terms, we are still talking about a lot of people. If your book focuses on fringe material, you have a book that is better suited for an exclusive marketing strategy. If you have a book that caters to one political or social viewpoint, you have a book that is right for exclusive marketing strategies. If you have a book that is about cats...you get the point. Singularly themed books about topics that have well-defined supporters and detractors are tailor-made products for exclusive marketing strategies.

 

Inclusive: Books with wide appeal will do better under an inclusive marketing strategy. Believe it or not, books that fall under this category are fairly rare. Mass market books are actually few and far between because they usually all fall within the guidelines of a genre. A genre by definition is a narrowing of the market. But in the world of publishing, genres can have broad appeal. If you've written a book that fits under the umbrella of a certain genre, but doesn't really belong in any of its sub-genres, you've got a book that has the potential to sell more copies under an inclusive marketing strategy.

 

Frankly, exclusive marketing strategies are easier to manage than inclusive marketing strategies, and I suggest, in the beginning at least, to find something about your book that gives it narrow market appeal and focus on building your reader base with an exclusive strategy, even if you think it's a mass market title. You can always change your strategy and move into more inclusive marketing strategies later on.

 

-Richard

 

 

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

 

 

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Mingle Marketing

The Marketing Maze

1,305 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, promotion, book_marketing, marketing_campaign, book_advice
1

The will

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 5, 2016

I don't know if you're ready to hear this, but I feel the need to tell you the hard truth. There is no magic marketing formula that will make your book a bestseller. You've probably seen ads to the contrary, and some of the strategies you've read about may even make sense to you, but I'm here to tell you, absent a huge marketing budget that gives you access to advertising agencies, media strategists, and high-dollar branding gurus, becoming a bestselling author isn't something that will happen over a four-day weekend.


That doesn't mean you can't become a bestselling author. You can, and I know the best strategy to make it happen. It's not complicated. It's not necessarily easy either. It takes one very important element to achieve: will.


Will is a short word, which is remarkable, given the power it possesses. Will gives you the endurance to carry on even in the face of self-doubt. Will gives you the strength to be persistent, to keep writing and honing your craft, and to keep building your brand. Will gives you the confidence to keep striving to reach your goals.


 

It's not a glamorous strategy, I know. Some people expect the riches to follow simply because they wrote a book. On the rare occasion, a single book will deliver such an outcome, but those occasions are so rare they are newsworthy. They do not reflect the reality of most authors who make it in the publishing industry. A majority of both commercial and indie authors achieve success after finding the will to put in the effort to establish a brand based on good writing and persistent marketing effort.

 

-Richard

 

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

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

 

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Is Marketing a Talent or a Skill?

 

Marketing Based on Content

 

 

1,750 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, self-publishing, promotion, branding, marketing_advice
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     For your next release, assemble a crack team of book enthusiasts to help you get the word out. Here are five tips on putting together a book launch team.

 

  1. Know your strategy: Before you approach anyone to join your book launch team, have all your ducks in a row. Know what your strategy is and how you plan on implementing it. You are going to start working on your plan before you've even finished your book. You should have a written strategy in place at least three months before the date of your official book launch.
  2. Choose the right folks: Enthusiasm is the key word when assembling your book launch team. You are going to draw from your social networks and reach out to those friends and followers who've been most vocal in their support of your writing career. If those friends and followers have expansive social networks, all the better, but remember, that's a secondary concern. Enthusiasm is your primary concern.
  3. Communicate often: A relationship is only as solid as its communication. You are the managing member of your book launch team. As such, your team will rely on you to be in constant communication with them. Set up a schedule and stick to it. Let the members of your team know wha's expected of them. Keep them in the loop.
  4. Compensate your team: I'm not suggesting you provide them with a salary, but provide them with some sort of reward for being a member of your book launch team. They are putting in valuable time to help you out. Let them know how much you appreciate them.
  5. Prepare your team: Let them know what they will be helping you launch. Give them a copy of the book at least six weeks before you launch, so they can read it with plenty of time to spare.

 

 

 

-Richard

 

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

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Book Launch Sponsors

 

The Book Relaunch

 

 

 

 

783 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, author, promotion, promotions, book_launch, book_launch_party, marketing_team
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