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34 Posts tagged with the marketing_strategy tag

Setting goals

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 6, 2017

Before you set out on a journey, it's a good idea to know your destination, otherwise you'll never know when you've arrived. The same can be said about achieving your goals. You're never going to know if you've achieved your goals if you don't know what your goals are. It's just simple logic.

You can't develop a marketing strategy until you define what will make your marketing efforts a success. Well, you can, but you shouldn't. Not defining what your marketing goals are will leave you frustrated and unfulfilled. Marketing should be by the numbers. Meaning, decide how many friends and followers you want in your social media circle. How many books do you want to sell? How many views do you want for a video? Know how to define your success so you can celebrate and improve.

Don't choose arbitrary goals. As an example, don't simply declare that you're going to sell a million books and then design a marketing plan that you think will achieve that goal. That's not how it's done. Set numerous goals. How many friends and followers do you want to connect with in the next three months? How many groups can you join and promote your book over the next three months? How many videos can you produce and post over the next three months? Set a goal for every platform and segment of your marketing strategy. You have at your disposal a world of information. I am, of course, talking about the Internet. Do your due diligence, and find realistic goals. I repeat, don't set arbitrary goals.

Set your goals and know what you can count as successes along the way.

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

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Setting Goals for Your Brand

A Marketing Calendar

973 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, marketing_strategy, setting_goals

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.

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

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Repeat, repeat, repeat

Book marketing is a numbers game

1,156 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, author, publishing, brand, author_brand, marketing_strategy

     You can promote your book without spending your life savings. Think locally. Design an ad that highlights both your book and its local author (you). Now find outlets around your community to promote your book. That's it. It's that simple. Okay, see you next blog post...I guess I could make a few suggestions on where to promote your book. Here are five businesses to approach about promoting your books:


  1. The Stage: Communities large and small have at least one playhouse that produces four to six shows a year. Each one of those shows has programs with bios for the cast and crew. They also sell ad space in those programs, and it's quite affordable.
  2. The Silver Screen: Find the nearest independent movie house and look for promotional opportunities. You may be able to create a slide for those pre-show images that cycle through on the screen, or you might even be able to hang a flyer/poster near the concession stand for a nominal fee.
  3. The Weekly: Metropolitan areas in particular have weekly alternative papers that offer advertising space at a reasonable rate
  4. The Coffee Shop: Independently owned coffee shops and/or bakeries may let you hang a flyer/poster in their establishment. If not free, the cost would most likely be negligible.
  5. The Farmers' Market: The Farmers' Market has become a staple of most communities these days. Horticulture artisans and craftsmen of every ilk set up tables and sell their wares. If you don't want to set up your own table to sell your book, perhaps individual vendors would rent out a corner of their tables for you to display your flyer/poster.


That should give you a head start in finding inexpensive local promotional opportunities. I'm sure you can think of even more on your own. Don't forget to share your marketing efforts on your social media accounts.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

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Small marketing steps: alternative newspapers

Coffee and books

1,998 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, self-publishing, promotion, marketing_strategy

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 Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


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The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect


Have Fun with Marketing



1,168 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, book_release, marketing_strategy, marketing_plan, grassroots, fan_base


Onward we march in our "taking inventory" strategy. Last time we discussed developing an Author Declaration so you can easily identify your guiding principles as you develop your brand. Today let's get a bit more practical. Let's prioritize your platform.




Your platform is your base of operations. You will engage, entertain, and educate fans with original content via your platform. Now, your platform consists of several online outlets. It's rare these days for an author to use one online vehicle to build a brand. You want to be versatile, but you also don't want to spread yourself too thin. My suggestion is to find three of these conduits you feel comfortable with and make them your platform mainstays.




You are not going to divide your time equally among all three. That is as ineffective as just using one to build your brand. This is where the prioritizing comes in. One plank in your platform is going to be your primary launching point, while the other two are support planks.



I know one author who has a tremendously successful blog, and about 70% of his time and efforts go into maintaining the blog as his primary brand-building tool, while Twitter takes up approximately 20%, and the remaining 10% is spent on Facebook. Another author has a wildly popular YouTube channel, and that's where most of his efforts go, but he still uses smaller portions of his time utilizing Twitter and Facebook.




Pick the online tool that best plays to your strengths and throw yourself into it, using two other tools as secondary planks that support your brand.




-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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




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Social Media Best Practices



The Short and Long of Blog Posts





1,443 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: author, promotion, blogging, publishing, media, social, marketing_strategy, marketing_advice

     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 Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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

5,445 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, advertising, social_networking, social_media, author_brand, marketing_strategy

The word of the day is "portable." It's a word you wouldn't think has much to do with the marketing world, but it's a concept that fits with the way people communicate today. Whether it's social media or texting, people are primarily using volleys of short messages to communicate. If you want your book to be part of that conversation you have to develop a marketing message that is portable enough to fit into this environment.

Today, more than ever, the one-sentence book description is essential to spreading the word about your book. Impossible, you say? There's just no way you can convey the complexity of your multi-layered story into one sentence, you insist? I'm here to tell you it can and must be done, and you do it by ignoring the complexity of your story. You want to concentrate on the main theme and the main theme only. Forget all the layers but one--the surface.

What is your story's hook? What was the "What if" question that compelled you to start writing? That is what you will build your portable marketing message around. The intricacies of character don't matter. A hint of a possible plot twist doesn't matter. There are only two things that you want to make clear in your one-sentence description: the main plot and the genre. Identifying the genre in such a small window may prove to be tricky, but it's just a matter of finding the right adjectives.

To be frank, making your marketing message portable enough to fit into today's world of texting, tweeting, and updating isn't easy, but it is well worth the time and the effort. Be concise. Be informative. Be portable.





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




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Grab Readers' Attention with Your Hook


I'm Sure Your Book Is Wonderful, But Don't Tell Me So





1,527 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, publishing, writing, media, promotions, social, hook, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy, writing_tips, marketing_advice

Expand Your Brand

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 30, 2015

Your author brand is dynamic. By that I don't mean flashy or animated. I mean that it is in a constant state of change--or at least it should be. You want to present a brand that reflects growth. If you let it stagnate, it will become ineffective, and you will lose readers.


Here are three ways to keep your author brand ever-evolving and fresh:


  1. Use your author platform for more than just promoting your books. Use it to promote all your interests. The more interests you highlight, the larger your community. The larger your community, the more opportunity for engagement and growth.

  2. Step outside of your comfort zone. As well as your personal interests, document your attempts to expand into other interests. I'm not suggesting you take up skydiving to appear more exciting, but maybe you have phobias you want to get over. Conquering those fears can add to your brand and inspire others.

  3. You are becoming a master of your craft. That is part of your brand. Mastering a craft isn't easy. You will experience a lot of failure. Share those failures with your community, so they can see that it's part of succeeding. Adding a mentoring through example element to your brand can not only make your brand dynamic, it can make it accessible.


While it is true that consistency can help your author brand become more popular, that doesn't mean your brand shouldn't evolve. Grow your brand gradually by documenting your interests and sharing your struggles to surmount professional and personal challenges.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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





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Branding 101: The Keys to Successful Branding

Evaluating Your Author Brand

3,697 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, self-publishing, writers, publishing, branding, social_media, author_marketing, author_brand, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy, marketing_advice

Why are you marketing that novel you published ten years ago? The continuing cost of storing inventory must be outrageous. All those books just sitting in a warehouse. That must wreak havoc on your marketing budget--Oops. My bad. I thought it was the nineties for a second.


It's time for an "evergreen" reminder. What do I mean by evergreen? Indie publishing is as close to magical as you can get. You can publish without editorial or financial hindrances. You can sell books without inventory, and if you wish, you can do it all from the privacy of your own home. Before the rise of print-on-demand and eBooks, publishing was a much different proposition. Most striking was the astronomical capital investment it used to take to publish and sell a book.


Comparatively speaking, you are the indie author of a book that has very little cost associated with it. Your time is the biggest investment you've made in it. It comes without one of the most costly outlays of cash that was once associated with publishing, the warehousing of inventory. This frees you up on so many levels. Once you publish, your budget, both in money and time, can be devoted to marketing.


Here's the evergreen aspect: unless you say otherwise, your book will never go "out of print." It will be a product you can promote and sell until you decide you no longer want to promote and sell it. If your book is not time sensitive, why would you not continue to market it and drive traffic to your sales page?


So, why are you marketing that novel you published ten years ago? Because you can, and it makes good business sense.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


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The Evergreen Era of Publishing

The Grassroots Marketing Ripple Effect

1,968 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, promotion, promoting, book_marketing, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy, marketing_advice

You aren't just an indie author. You are the head of a community. You have a responsibility to cultivate and grow your group. Here are five points to ponder as you examine your role as head of your online community.


  1. I get by with a little help from my friends: Your online community isn't a fan base. At least they shouldn't be treated like fans. They are your friends. They are supportive, responsive, and happy for you. You should treat them in kind.
  2. Community and culture: Every community on the planet has its own culture. Your online community of readers is no different. Since you are the founder and manager of your community, you have a sacred duty to identify that culture and develop parameters for engagement that won't diminish it. As an author, your culture is likely to be tied in large part to your preferred genre, but your sense of humor and personal belief system will also come into play.
  3. If you're not engaged, your community isn't engaged: If you let comments go without a response, you won't get many comments. People want to have a discussion. Give them what they want, and let them know they are being heard. Engage, engage, engage.
  4. Community outreach: Participate in other communities and allow other authors with their own communities to piggyback off your success. You need a community of readers, first and foremost. Those can be found by connecting with other authors. Remember, authors don't compete with other authors for readers. Readers devour books like potato chips. There are more than enough of both to go around.
  5. Manage squabbles: I have found that sometimes even the most innocent of comments can be misconstrued and escalated into hurt feelings. You have a responsibility that disagreements in your community are kept below fever pitch. Lively conversation and debate is not just okay, it can be a good thing, but watch closely so lines don't get crossed. When things get personal, draw the line and insert civility. Sometimes all it takes is a voice of reason to end a dispute.


Essentially, your goal is to grow your community to the point that it's so large it can't be handled by one person. That's when you'll have one of those problems that's nice to have.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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





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Community Engagement Prompts

Selling Others Sells Yourself

3,854 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, selling, promotion, writing, community, online, social_media, outreach, marketing_strategy, author_advice

It's reminder time. We discuss author brands on this blog quite a bit and strategies on how to build that brand. There's a lot of focus on social media and creating a community. We talk about personal videos, book signings, fan interaction, etc. There are numerous ways to build brand awareness.


But perhaps what we don't talk about enough is what the foundation for your brand should be. True, there are numerous considerations to take into account when you look at building your brand: genre expectations, reader demographics, the core of your platform, etc. Those are all things that will help you shape the message on which your brand is built, but they aren't the foundation of your brand. There is one simple factor you must use as the foundation for your brand. This one element is indestructible. If you put your artistic heart and soul into this one component, everything else you do is window dressing that simply complements it.


What is the one thing? Good writing. If you commit to perfecting your craft each and every time you sit down to write, your brand will be as solid as Mount Everest. Good writing--or better yet, great writing--is the key to giving you the will to put all the other pieces of a brand into place over the course of your career. If you find your voice as an artist, you will find your voice as a brand, and you can only find that voice through committing to becoming a better writer each time you set out to write.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


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Branding 101: The Keys to Successful Branding

Branding vs. Marketing for Authors

2,483 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, book, author, self-publishing, publishing, brand, branding, platform, author_brand, marketing_strategy, brand_awareness

Today's post is a bit different than ones I've done in the past. It's a request to my fellow indie authors. I know the struggles first-hand that you experience trying to bring attention to your brand and generate sales for your book. It's hard, relentless work that takes stamina and sustained energy to find success. We authors are constantly looking for angles to increase sales and find our marketing groove.


The one angle that I highly recommend staying away from is utilizing a tragedy to shift attention to your book. I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about without naming names. A gentleman has a talk show where he frequently interviews people who've undergone unspeakably horrible events in their lives. On occasion, when a particular event fits the theme for a book he's written, he will overtly suggest that the audience should buy the book on his website. I have no doubt that he generates sales this way, but it is the grossest form of marketing. And, in my view, it stamps his brand with a severe lack of tact and ethics.


You most likely don't have a TV show to compete with this gentleman's outreach, but you do have a forum. You have your social network. If you plug a book in a thread about a national tragedy because you feel the subject matter fits your book's storyline, you invite a string of moral indignation and run the risk of severely damaging your brand. So, my request is that you don't do it. Avoid the temptation to grab that kind of marketing opportunity. You will feel better about yourself for doing so.


-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

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


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How Not to Market

Use Common Sense in Book Promotion

3,086 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors, book, author, promotion, book_marketing, promotions, branding, social_media, marketing_strategy, marketing_tip

The Author Press Kit

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jun 10, 2015

The media - that entity that exists to bring the public news and information has grown in scope and membership over the years. It's no surprise that technology has drastically changed what we consider to be media. The term used to be reserved for an elite few that dominated the airwaves and print domain. Now, anyone with a computer and access to the internet has a chance to be a major voice in the media.


As much as things have changed, things have remained relatively unchanged in one aspect. When you're an author looking for media coverage, you need to eliminate the leg work for members of the media, and direct them to a ready-made press kit that gives them all the information they need. Here is a list of five plus one items for your online press kit. I call it a five plus one because five of the items are essential, while the plus one is a bonus item that is bound to capture the media's attention, if done right.



  1. Press release for the book: There are a number of tutorials online that show you how to write a press release, but if it's something you don't want to take on yourself, you can always find a press release writing service.
  2. Sample chapter: It doesn't have to be your first chapter. It should be your strongest bit of writing.
  3. One-sentence pitch: If you can sum up your book in one concise sentence, I think you'll find that it will be your strongest selling tool.
  4. Author bio: Make it relevant to your role as a writer. If you don't have a lot of writing experience, demonstrate your writing talent by coming up with a unique and clever bio that will put a smile on the reader's face. My first bio simply said, "R.W. Ridley lives in Charleston, SC with his beautiful wife, a hyperactive dog, three arrogant cats, and one ugly mortgage." I got a lot of great responses to that particular bio.
  5. Author Photo & Book Cover Image: Make sure that both your author photo and your book cover are professional-grade in quality. The media will judge you by the appearance of both.



Plus One - Video Pitch: Today's online media craves video content. If you are comfortable in front of the camera, clean yourself up and record a media pitch. Talk about the book and yourself, and show them that you've got personality. If you're not comfortable in front of the camera, practice, practice, practice until you are. It will make your life that much easier in an online world increasingly driven by video content.



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





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Build Your Brand with Video Readings

Lights, Camera, Smile!

9,288 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, self-publishing, promotion, video, writers, publishing, writing, pitch, press_release, promotions, social_media, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.




Book Titles That Sell, Productivity for Authors and Marketing for Introverts with Tim Grahl - The Creative Penn

Book marketing expert Tim Grahl discusses strategy with Joanna Penn.         


Measuring Social Media ROI by @nblackburn01 - BadRedhead Media

Tools to help calculate your social media return on investment.         




Lights, Camera, Athens: The Art of Filmmaking - The Red & Black

How a small town fostered a filmmaking community in its midst.       


Indie Filmmaking - Making Money vs Passion Projects -Flickering Myth

How working on both will help you keep your sanity and pay your rent.




How to Engage a Live Music Audience - Bob Baker's

Advice on how to make your live performances audience-friendly.  


The Best Way to Learn Guitar - Guitar Coach Magazine

For beginners just learning and masters wishing to hone their skills.   


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


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Weekly News Roundup- April 24, 2015

Weekly News Roundup- April 17, 2015

1,247 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, marketing, selling, music, filmmaking, film, author, writing, plan, guitar, films, musicians, social_media, audience, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy

Here's a small marketing idea that could lead to expanded exposure on a global scale. It's not groundbreaking, but it won't break your budget either. It's a long-haul plan, so don't expect an immediate return on your investment. Think of it as a side project that has the potential to grow your brand in a big way.


I live in a community that has a fairly large number of bed-and-breakfasts, small inns not affiliated with national chains, and vacation rental homes. The amount of amenities varies from establishment to establishment, but virtually all of them have a bookshelf filled with books. The titles usually cover a number of different genres and categories to match the variety of tastes of the different guests that stream in and out throughout the year. Why can't some of those books be written by you?


These places are either independently owned or run by small rental companies. It would be easy to find contacts and offer to send signed books for them to place in their properties. You would, of course, include a personal note in each copy inviting guests to join you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Presumably, these guests could come from all over the globe. This could be a real opportunity to make contacts far and wide.


I've stayed in a number of these establishments myself, and even though I have an electronic reading device, I always end up going through the book collections made available to guests looking for a physical book. Who knows? Maybe next time I'm staying at a bed-and-breakfast, I could be reading your book.


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

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Marketing Tip: Set up an Author Page on Amazon

The Brand and the Pseudonym

2,802 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: books, self-publishing, promotion, book_marketing, craft, social_media, author_brand, marketing_ideas, marketing_strategy, book_exposure
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