Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas. God bless us, everyone. (Dickens)
In this time for renewal, reflection, and joy, we wish everyone joy and peace -- now and forever.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Book Marketing

There is a lot of information on the Internet about book marketing. If you have your credit card paid off, in a matter of hours, you can charge thousands of dollars on paid marketing services and other stuff that you really-truly [don't] have to have.
In general, book marketing companies do much better with non-fiction than with fiction. Depending on the topic, the non-fiction audience can be quite large and sometimes long-term.
Since Cactus Rain Publishing is only interested in fiction, I'll focus on fiction.
Anyone looking into marketing ideas for fiction, especially those who self-publish their own work, really needs to put a sticky on their monitor with the question "How does this apply to fiction?"
As best as you can, do a cost effectiveness study; how many books would have to sell to recoup that money? Can you do something less expensive and smaller that would be more likely to recoup the expense (quicker)? Does this marketing plan fit your personality (Are you really going to follow through with this idea?)?
Over the past 10 years, I've realized that the best marketing tool is an enthusiastic author.
Number One on my list, and this is simply my list, is to arrange reading/book signing events. It is not uncommon for book stores to charge hundreds of dollars for a one hour slot to sign books in their store. And there is a lot more to it than simply showing up in your limo with a supply of good pens. However, there are plenty of venues that are free for readings and book signings.
  • Practice on your friends and family. Put together a gift basket for the hostess, have her get her friends and family together and away you go... Oh, and take books with you to sell and sign on the spot.
  • Libraries will sometimes host author events.
  • It is more effort to find them, but reading/book clubs sometimes host author events.
  • If you live in a setting that has a clubhouse or a newsletter. Talk to the person in charge and see how you can utilize these resources.
  • Get business cards with the book cover and your contact info on them. I like them to be in vertical (portrait) format. Keep the contact info simple.
  • Give out at least three business cards at a time saying, "One for you and a couple for your friends." Don't be annoying, but get those cards out there.
  • Use the business cards as bookmarks. That saves buying two items -- business cards and bookmarks.
  • Check into opportunities to be featured in a local newspaper or television show. That item might not sell many books, but it can lead to other opportunities, such as speaking to writers groups, clubs, and who knows what else.
  • Attend local or web marketing seminars. Watch the cost of these, though.
  • Basically be creative and stay alert to inexpensive opportunities to market, read, sign your book.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): (When you think of  techy people, I'd better not be the top of your list or you are in big trouble.) There are rumors that lit agent and publishing house interns spend the day on the Internet looking for the next bestseller to take to their boss. Probably not.
  • I'm a fan of having a website. I've been fortunate to have a great web designer for 8 years. I've learned a lot from her, such as spiders (the things that crawl through website looking for content for the search engines such as Google, Yahoo, you name it...) only read text, not images. I learned about sitemaps on webistes and I have some hidden content on one of my websites that I access with the sitemap. She stays on top of things, such as changing the copyright date after the first of the year. Anyway, a good web designer is worth their weight in gold. I love this website, which was also done by my web designer: (see below)
  • (I do love my site as well.)
  • If you have a website, give a great deal of thought to your domain name or consult a web designer before you select and purchase the domain name.
  • Blogging is free and gets you on the map. Take some time and think about the topic and the name of the blog; make sure you are attracting people who might have an interest in your book as well as your fabulous blog.
  • Twitter and facebook are linked together in my mind. They are two things to consider to attract a crowd. I find them time consuming and don't do either, but about once a year there is a story about a writer who skyrocketed their book by using social media. If you can commit to building a web presence and stay focus on that when you are on social media, then go for it.
  • I liked this article on SEO, but there are lots of others. (see next line below)
Give a great deal of thought and do a cost effective annalysis before spending money. Regardless of the amount, spend wisely. 
I hope this was helpful to the person who asked me about marketing. It is only the tip of the iceberg. Leave your ideas and experiences in the comments section below.