An Author’s Secret Weapon: Marketing Advice for Twitter

Here’s some more marketing information you might find helpful.

Nicholas C. Rossis

nnlightToday I have another guest post for you, by another one of my friends, N.N. Light. She is the author of the fantasy book “Princess of the Light.”

She’s not here to speak of her book though. Instead, she has some great tips to share about book marketing, and specifically how to best use Twitter to promote your book.

Aaaand, take it, dear Ms. Light!

Marketing Advice for Twitter

“What is the secret to marketing my book?”

I see this question a lot on Twitter and various blogs I subscribe to.  In this age of self-publishing, the world is filled with authors trying to sell their books.  Everyone wants to know the secret and to increase their sales.  I also am asked this question and as I am just starting out in this great big world of book marketing, I have to rely on my experience as a professional…

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Book Marketing 201

I’m not a marketing expert, but am proud to say that after countless hours learning about the subject, I am now the proud recipient of an Author’s Marketing Certificate.

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I’ve gained marketing advice from some of the best in the business. Through this training, I’ve learned that marketing involves three main things. 1. Creating your brand and promotion. 2. Getting people to want your product. 3. Getting people to buy it. Of all the marketing trainings and workshops I’ve attended, several things seem to be consistent in regards to book marketing, no matter who the trainer is.

  1. People say, “never judge a book by its cover,” but this statement is a lie. People do. Your book cover is the initial selling point for your book. It needs to be professionally designed and needs to attract attention.
  2. Your sales pitch. What is the one sentence that will make people interested in your book? Find it and perfect it.
  3. Book signings and readings. You must make public appearances. Let people see that you are “real.” Set up book signings or readings at bookstores, bazaars, and public libraries. Some venues are more open to this than others, so do some research and shop around. Find the best matches for you.
  4. Attend book festivals. What better way to meet potential readers than at a book festival? Readers go to these events looking for new authors. Make an appearance and get people interested in what you write.
  5. Hand out bookmarks. I’m not talking about excessive, pointless swag here. I’m talking about a useful item that has links to your social media sites or website so potential readers can get in touch with you. There is no point in handing out bookmarks if they don’t have your contact information or social media links printed on them.
  6. Speaking of social media, you must be active on social media. If you haven’t already, create social media accounts. You don’t have to have a profile on every available site, but in this digital age, you need to have a presence online. Personally, I get the most interaction from Twitter, but choosing the right social media platform(s) is a personal preference. If you aren’t comfortable with a particular platform, get trained by someone who knows how to use it.
  7. Videos. I admit, this is one aspect of marketing I need to work on, simply because being in front of a camera gives me anxiety. But research has found that people watch videos when they are online. To get the most from social media, create videos and post them on your profile. This creates interest and will get you more profile views.
  8. Become a member of local writing organizations. Not only do they offer support to you as a writer, you can also learn from experts about the craft of writing and gain information about local events, such as book signings, conferences, and critique groups. You might even make a few friends along the way.
  9. Donations.  Donate your time, money, and books to worthy causes. Offer book giveaways and donate to local libraries, bookstores, or other literacy programs.
  10. Think outside the box. I think this is the advice I’ve heard the most. There are billions of authors out there. If you want to sell books, you have to stand out in the endless sea of authors, blogs, books, and social media sites. What are you doing that is different than what every other author is doing? Don’t be afraid to be unique. The uniqueness is what draws people to you. And once you draw them in, you may create a potential reader.

“The people who think they are crazy enough to change the world are the ones who do.”

Author’s Marketing Continued

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This is the second year I’ve attended the Author’s Marketing Event. Last year, it was in Austin. This year, I made a weekend trip out of it and traveled to Houston. The information I received from these conferences are always insightful, and they help me realize that I’m not alone in the book marketing struggle.

By listening to marketing experts, I’ve discovered three things. One, some things regarding marketing I am very good at. Others, I desperately need to work on. Two, effective marketing requires time and effort. It isn’t something that happens idly. Three, marketing isn’t about selling your book. It’s about selling yourself, which for someone like me who is an introvert and uncomfortable with self-promotion, this is more of a challenge than people may realize.

Marketing is probably the hardest thing to do as an author. It entails much more than just selling your book. In fact, pushing your book at people isn’t marketing. It’s annoying. I don’t know about you, but there is nothing I find more irritating than logging onto Twitter or Facebook and having my feed filled with authors constantly shoving their book in my face and saying “buy my book.” I will be less likely to buy if I see that all the time. Marketing is not about your book at all, it’s about you, and the key to marketing is making connections.

To market effectively, you must be able to interact with people and get them to become interested in who you are. Only then will you generate interest in your book, which might get people interested in buying it.  But it all starts with your brand, which is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Creating your brand involves many things, most of which require you to think outside the box.

  1. Your book cover(s) represent not only what your story is about, but defines you as an author. You know the old saying, “never judge a book by it’s cover.” But people do. Make the visual aspect something that will attract people’s attention. That’s where your brand begins.
  2. Your author bio should be about YOU, not about your degrees. Everything listed in your profile should be about who you are, including your profile picture. And your profile picture should be consistent across platforms. Share information and put up links so people can find you. Let people know who you are. At no time should you have to justify yourself.
  3. Book signings and readings allow potential readers to get to know you personally and make one-on-one connections with you. Reach out to people and let them know where you’re going to be. Make an appearance at events and personalize your encounters. Take a photograph with anyone who buys your book and post it on social media. This will help make connections and establish relationships.
  4. Attend book festivals and and art fairs and represent yourself well at these events. Create an eye-catching display with layers and interesting items. Make sure the covers of your books are facing outward. Add height and depth to your booth, and dress the part. Get up and talk to people. If you spend the entire event staring at your phone, people will bypass your booth. Mingle, interact. Talk to other authors. We all need to connect with likeminded people, and these events are GREAT for networking.
  5. Bookmarks and other swag you hand out can say a lot about you. Are you the one handing out candy like every other author does, or are you offering something different? I hand out syringe pens with my website on them. Pens are useful and people will use them. Postcards have little value and usually end up in the trash. Bookmarks have value, as they are useful for people, but if you hand out bookmarks make sure your contact/social media information is on printed on them so people know how and where to connect with you.
  6. Social media platforms are designed for communication and engagement, not for constant links to your Amazon author page. Share with people. Post interesting information. Comment on other’s posts and retweet things that are important to your followers (look at their pinned tweets). Relationships are important. Use social media for making friends. Contribute to conversations and give to others. Join groups and use hashtags. There are a ton of valuable hashtags for writers. I could spend an entire blog post just on this topic. The point is, let people know you are human. Get yourself out there and give back to people. It helps build your platform and gets your name out there. Marketing experts recommended that you NOT automate your social media platforms. If you do, you become too impersonal and people see you as a robot, not someone they can relate to. Be reachable. Making people verify themselves in order to follow you makes you unreachable to potential readers. Most won’t bother to go through the process. I know I don’t.
  7. Videos and photos. Practice your sales pitch until you perfect it, then record it on your phone or tablet and put it on your website or social media page(s). Create book trailers, or simply post videos of you living your life–trips to the beach, videos of events you attend, or pictures of your dog. Look for news shows or radio shows that promote authors. Make your site and social media pages visual.
  8. Get involved in writing organizations, local or otherwise. These groups are valuable in many ways. They can help you improve your writing, connect you with other writers, and members of these groups promote and support each other. Check your local Writer’s Guild, local chapter of RWA, or any other local writing groups. There are also writing groups on Facebook (although some are better than others) and Twitter that you can contribute to. This allows you to connect with other writers. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
  9. Donations. Work on public relations by donating your books and your time to worthy causes. Offer to guest blog, offer giveaways, speak during school Career Days or other events. I donate books to US troops in remote areas and give to local libraries. I also have a Pinterest page for indie authors, where I offer free promotion. I also retweet other authors on Twitter. It benefits people and exposes readers to authors they might not have otherwise heard of. Offer freebies, donate books, and do things for free, simply because you enjoy doing them.
  10. Writing books sells books.  Don’t neglect writing. The more books you have to sell, the more you will sell. Create variety so potential readers have choices. Afterall, if you don’t have books, you wouldn’t be marketing in the first place.

In short, don’t follow the same pattern everyone else does. Go against what is socially conditioned. Write YOUR book YOUR way, and be who you are are. Your brand = YOU, and that’s what people are “buying.”

Author’s Marketing

After a long drive dodging through Friday evening traffic, I made it to Houston for the Author’s Marketing Conference. I spent my day learning about various ways to market my books and myself as an author, including setting up mailing lists, gaining e-mail followers, perfecting Soundbites, and how to effectively use Twitter.

Through these seminars, I will become certified in Author Marketing.

To top off the event, this evening, all of the 2017 Award Winning authors, myself included, will be recognized during dinner.

The event continues tomorrow morning with more marketing seminars before I head home. I’ll later post what I learned from this conference, in hopes that the wealth of knowledge I gain might help some of my fellow writers.

To be continued…

179 Hashtags writer needs to know

This is helpful information.

Ashli Avalon

Every writer needs to be on social media, but most don’t know which hashtags to use. I have compiled a list of 179 hashtags to help you grow your audience and increase your reach.

Hashtag rule of thumb on social media:
Facebook: Most people don’t use them or search for them.
Twitter: 2-3 per post
Instagram: 11-30 in the first comment
Pinterest: 2-3 per post

#140Poem
#1K1H (write one thousand words in one hour)
#99c (to offer or pick up an eBook bargain)
#99cents
#ABMlifeiscolorful
#Amazon
#AmazonKindle
#Amazonlikes
#AmazonPrime
#amblogging
#AmEditing
#amreading
#AmRevising
#amwriting
#ArchiveDay
#AskAgent
#AskAuthor
#AskEditor
#authorlife
#AuthorRT
#bestread
#bibliophile
#blogger
#bookaddict
#BookBuzzr
#bookclub
#BookGiveaway
#bookhaul
#bookish
#booklove
#BookMarket
#BookMarketing
#booknerd
#bookoftheday
#bookporn
#bookreview
#Books
#booksofinstagram
#bookstagram
#booktastic
#bookwhore
#BookWorm
#bookworm
#boolnerdigans
#borrow
#calledtobecreative
#Comedy
#CopyWriting
#creativeentrepreneur
#creativepreneur
#creativityfound
#Crime
#DarkFantasy
#Dystopian
#eBook
#EditGoal
#Editing
#ePubChat
#eReaders
#Erotica
#FaithLitChat
#fiction
#FollowFriday
#FreebieFriday
#FreeReads
#FWRT (Freelance Writer Retweet)
#GetPublished

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Renegade Marketing

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Book promotion is essential for authors.  There are millions of books published on Amazon every year.  How do we, as authors, make ourselves stand out in the crowd?

At a 2-day marketing conference I attended recently, I learned about something called Renegade Marketing.   Renegade marketing involves creativity.  Authors are creative people.  We create worlds, develop characters with distinct personalities, and write books about them. Surely we can come up with creative ways to promote ourselves and the stories we write.

I will be the first to admit that promoting myself and tooting my horn is something I am not comfortable with.  But even an introverted person like me can market like a renegade.  The key is to do something no one else is doing.

0523161745aEvery author uses business cards, postcards, and bookmarks to promote their books; these items are must-haves.  But what can I do that is different?  What will draw attention to me and attract people to my table, thus creating potential book sales?

0523161746Props!  Props are great.  And since my books are medical-themed, a stethoscope and lab coat will work nicely.  Many authors give away free things, like candy and bookmarks, but I recently purchased a bulk supply of syringe pens with my name and website printed on them and I will be giving these away during public events.  Every person who stops at my table will get a free syringe pen.  How cool is that?0523161824

Let your characters sell the book for you!  I have done this several ways.  First, I’ve written a string of blog posts (Meet the Characters) where I introduce each character in my book(s), one at a time.  Also, I have recently done a character interview where my main character, Randy Hanson, answered the interview questions.  This interview will be published June 9th.  I’ll post it once it’s live.

Generate Buzz!  Talk about your book.  Develop a 5 second sales pitch,  do radio interviews, attend book festivals and signings.  Get yourself out there.  Talk to people.  Post on social media.  Generate buzz about your book.

wpid-0829151054Book Cover!  Use your book cover to attract people.  During signing events, I display a large poster of my book cover. I also have my book cover printed on promotional materials (see coffee mugs above).

And…

 

 

Wait for it…

 

 

TA-DA!  Tee-shirts!

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My husband also has a shirt, and I bought a baseball cap for my son with my website printed on it.

Be different!  Stand out.  Let potential readers get to know you.  Post on social media sites. Share pictures of yourself being a real person.  Do interviews, be silly, let people see who you are.  Give them a reason to follow you.  Book sales are generated by connecting with readers.

Don’t be afraid to be different.  Think outside the box.  Market like a renegade!

Celebration of Authors

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I am clueless when it comes to book marketing.  Ok…let me rephrase that.  I WAS clueless.  But last weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Celebration of Authors Conference in Austin, Texas.  This event, sponsored by the Texas Association of Authors, offered tips and advice about marketing not only my books, but myself as an author.

My weekend began by waking up at 5:00 A.M. on Saturday morning and taking the hour and a half drive up I-35, through horrid traffic, to Austin, TX.  I pulled into the parking garage of the Downtown Sheraton, snagged my parking pass, and circled up to the third level.  Once checked in, I stepped into the conference room to this amazing view.

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I guess that explains why the room was called the Capitol View Terrace.

My morning was crammed full of various sessions that targeted marking.  Sessions about advertising, making the most of Amazon Author Central, choosing keywords for search queries,  and information about e-books, internet radio, and how to utilize the internet.   I met many other authors, exchanged business cards, and even had my picture taken with some of my new connections.

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When we took a break for lunch, I popped down to the hotel restaurant, and to my surprise, the keynote speaker, Judith Briles (an award-winning author and marketing expert), sat down at the table with me.  Over lunch, she shared a few tricks of the trade, and I walked away with a signed book in my hands.

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Following lunch, I returned to the Capitol View Terrace and the sessions continued.  In the afternoon, I learned about an awesome app called Squirl and received information about audio books.

Around 4:00 P.M., when the sessions were over, I made the drive back home, overwhelmed with information and trying to soak in everything I heard throughout the day.

Sunday morning, I returned to the Sheraton to hear more tried and true marketing methods, including how to solicit appearances and how to market renegade style.  A fellow writer informed me about a few local writing groups I didn’t know existed, and we danced and sang along to a video called All About Those Books.

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Throughout the conference, three things stuck with me:

  1.  Learn how to be an author. Get yourself out there.
  2. Be unique.  Do something no one else is doing.
  3. Write what you’re passionate about and don’t try to feed into the market.  The market changes too much.

Overall the Celebration of Authors event was well worth the money I paid to attend.  It was full of networking opportunities and taught me a lot about the publishing world. By the end of the weekend I walked away with a ton of resources and gained many insights about marketing.  With all the ideas rolling around in my head, it will take me a while to digest all the information I received, and baby steps to implement it all.

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Book Marketing 101 For Dummies

marketing-101You’ve spent weeks, months, maybe even years writing your book.  You’ve revised and edited so it is polished.  Your editor has torn it apart and made more changes.  You’ve designed an awesome cover, written a compelling synopsis, composed your author bio, and have e-books and paperbacks ready to go on sale.  So now what?

Marketing.

Marketing my book is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.   I don’t know very much about this aspect of the writing business and wish now that I would have taken Marketing 101 in college.  I have been soaking up advice from other authors to gain more knowledge and hopefully discover creative ways to accomplish this herculean task.

I learned a great deal from my first book signing event, which was during the San Antonio Indie Book Fest back in July.  This book fest was beneficial in many ways.  11169895_1434440400191039_5756242862306343813_nAside from the experience this event offered, I also gained membership in the Texas Association of Authors and had the opportunity to meet and network with fellow writers to see how they go about marketing their books.  The first thing I noticed the minute I walked in the door was all of the authors at this event had banners and posters and business cards and bookmarks to promote themselves and their books.  I’m not one who likes to toot my own horn, so all of this was a bit overwhelming at first.   Being the new kid on the block, many authors offered their advice and I left this event with a few valuable insights.

  1. Eye catching displays draw people in.
  2. Be accessible through social media.
  3. Give away free stuff.
  4. Think outside the box as far as book signings go.  Check out holiday bazaars, church bazaars, and local library events.
  5. The more books you have published, the more books you will sell.

lpSince this book festival, I have invested in a banner, poster, and business cards, all of which are color coordinated and have information about my blog site, Facebook page, and Amazon author page.   I have recently set up a Twitter account as well, and all of my social media sites are connected with each other.  I follow several writing blogs and writing pages and am the member of four different social media writing groups.

Fellow authors and marketing experts post articles offering advice about book promotion, social media, and author’s platform.  Since all of this marketing stuff is new to me, I heed the words of those who know more about it than I do.  I’ve read many articles about this topic, and through my reading several things stood out.

  1. Be consistent.  Use the same profile picture on each social media site.  Post consistently and post similar content throughout.
  2. Promote other authors, like their pages, and follow their blogs.  Contribute to the writing community.
  3. Don’t post the same thing 24/7.  In other words, don’t shove your book in their face.  Not only is that annoying, it also makes you look like an amateur.  Focus on your followers and give them interesting content they will want to read.
  4. Connect with your followers, but be mindful that you will never keep up with every post, comment, or e-mail.  Respond when appropriate and comment on things that interest you.  As an author, you need to update your readers and followers regularly, but you should not be spending all of your time on social media.  Your time should be dedicated to writing.
  5. You will not increase book sales by advertising through social media.  Social media is a platform you use to sell yourself.  If you sell yourself well, book sales will follow.

All of my social media sites contain similar content — I write, post, tweet, and share jokes, advice, quotes, and articles about writing and books.  I share other things too but that it my theme, so to speak.  On Twitter, I make it a point to retweet other authors and promote their books, websites, and blog pages for them.  This has led to them doing the same for me.  I am following other author’s Facebook pages, which has resulted in a few of them following mine.   I’ve made many connections with fellow writers and authors and have gained advice from them.  In return I have offered some of my insights and thoughts to them.   As writers, we need to learn from and promote each other.

Book signings are a great promotion tool.  They help you gain exposure and connect whitejazz_logoyou to potential readers within the community.  I recently set up my second book signing at a local book shop that supports indie authors.  Not only is this book shop (The Twig) sponsoring this signing for me, they are also promoting the event and selling my book in their store on consignment.  The Twig Book Shop has advertised the event on their web page, in The Current (the local San Antonio events calendar), and on Texas Public Radio.  I had to do some promoting myself as well, so I e-mailed every local newspaper, magazine, current events calendar, and creative arts magazine in the city and added my book signing event to their calendar of events.  I queried Get Creative San Antonio who also added me to their upcoming events calendar.  I have sent out personal e-mails inviting people to this event and have spread the word through social media and word-of-mouth.  I am hopeful that I will sell at least a few books during this event and maybe gain a few new followers.  If nothing else, I will meet and connect with interesting people within my city.

Other marketing avenues I have pursued or am pursuing:

  1. A potential interview with Texas Public Radio.
  2. The possibility of putting my book in circulation in the local library.
  3. Library book fests.
  4. Attempting to get independent Texas children’s authors into my school and school district.
  5. Once I get my second book out, lowering the price of the first one and offering free or $0.99 days.  I will have to discuss that with my distributor.
  6. Constant word of mouth.
  7. Handing out business cards to family and fiends, who in turn give them to their friends.
  8. Renting a booth at a holiday bazaar or local flea market.
  9. An article about my book in the Arts section of the local newspaper.

With millions of books out there, making your name and your book known to others is a trying task.  And since I have a full-time career, finding time to do all of this is often challenging.  I’m learning and discovering new things as I go and am always open to suggestions.  My first novel has been a learning experience on many levels.  Things can only go up from here.