Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Blogging from A to Z: Zealot Readers

Blogging from A to Z is a month long challenge to post every day of the month (excluding Sunday) using a different letter of alphabet. This month I'm sharing unusual book marketing tips as part of my Marketing From The Edge Series.
Zealot Reader sessions

This isn't for the first month or your release. Shoot it may not be realistic for the first year of your release. A reader session really only works once you have an established fan base. 

A zealot reader session is where you orchestrate a party, or series of parties, for your readers to read your book in tandem. You invite readers to participate through a social media platform and share their thoughts and reactions as they read your book...again.

This can work well if you have a highly anticipated sequel or the end of a trilogy about to release. Encourage readers to re-read the first books in the series in the week leading up to the release. Not only can this reinvigorate fans for your series, especially if it's been a while since the last book, it can also drum up excitement for the next release and expose your book to new readers.

To encourage participation, consider finding hosts in major cities to hold read-in in their local library or bookstore so readers can actually mingle in person. You can also orchestrate giveaways and contests for participating readers to encourage them to spread the word.

Depending on how large your reader base is, this can quickly become a very large event so I would encourage you to seek help, either from a professional or several highly organized friends. It has the potential to be a lot of work, but can also be an amazing way to see just how much your book has impacted others. At the end of the day, that's what being an author is all about. 

I hope you've enjoyed this Marketing from the Edge series. Welcome to all the new readers who've found this little slice of the internet from the Blogging from A to Z challenge. I've loved reading your comments and getting to know each of your through your blogs. This blogs aims to be a resource for authors at all levels of their career and I hope you'll continue to visit. I have a lot more fun planned for the future.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Blogging from A to Z: Yes

Blogging from A to Z is a month long challenge to post every day of the month (excluding Sunday) using a different letter of alphabet. This month I'm sharing unusual book marketing tips as part of my Marketing From The Edge Series.
Yes

When someone asks to interview you. When you're asked to write a blog post, give a presentation, moderate a workshop, dance on the table in your bloomers. Say yes! Well, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea. When you are getting started and working to build those crucial 1000 true fans, there is no event or blog too small for your time.

Many authors will say that this takes away too much time from their writing. To this I say, "Hogwash". I realize that everyone's time is tight and we have to prioritize. But I also realize that most of us waste more time that we claim to have. Let's be honest, the amount of time it takes to write a decent guest post is an hour, maybe two tops. Are you telling me you don't fart away an hour each day checking Twitter, watching TV, or playing Candy Crush Saga?

The point here is that marketing doesn't need to cut into your writing time if you let it cut into you slacker time. I'm not suggesting you aren't allowed to have down time. I am suggesting that your down time should be the smallest slice of your day's pie chart when you are working to grow a small business (and as an author, you are your own small business).

When you reach the point where taking on another interview exceeds your limited down time and now begins to creep into your writing time, that's when you say no. Chances are, when that happens its because you've reached a level of popularity that everyone wants a piece of the action. That's when you are allowed to start being choosy about which interviews to grant and which conferences to attend.

Until then, say yes!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Blogging from A to Z: X Marks the Spot

Blogging from A to Z is a month long challenge to post every day of the month (excluding Sunday) using a different letter of alphabet. This month I'm sharing unusual book marketing tips as part of my Marketing From The Edge Series.
X Marks the Spot

Have you heard of Geocaching? If not, here's a quick run down. Boxes are hidden, literally all over the world, with their GPS locations posted online. Treasure Hunters can search out these boxes, taking one of the small prizes inside and leaving a treat of their own. You can learn more about the international craze at their official website and find a list of locations near you.

So what does this have to do with book marketing? Well, let me ask you a question. How excited would you be to go treasure hunting a find a free book at the end of the rainbow? Picture it there, hidden in a box filled mostly with stickers, pencils and happy meal toys. Now imagine that book was signed by the author and included a note that asked if you enjoyed the book to share it with a friend or to put it into another geocaching box.

If you don't have a physical book, consider leaving behind a bookmark or other small swag item with a card to get a free download of the book.

This is similar to the Leave Behind book concept, but in this case you have a specific place to leave the book instead of random places about town. Plus, you have the fun of finding the cache location to hide your book. Consider searching out places near where you live and adding new locations whenever you travel. You never who will find and fall in love with your book next.
X marks the spot. Geocache

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blogging from A to Z: Which Witch is Which?

Blogging from A to Z is a month long challenge to post every day of the month (excluding Sunday) using a different letter of alphabet. This month I'm sharing unusual book marketing tips as part of my Marketing From The Edge Series.
Which Witch is Which?

This has nothing to do with witches and everything to do with a recent craze that has devoured numerous hours of your average Facebook use. Of course, I'm talking about the latest influx of quizzes popping up on social media by the dozens. Which Dawson's Creek character are you? Where should live? Which 80s movie are you? The list goes on and on.

So why not capitalize on the trend and create a quiz related to your book. It can be about the characters, the choices they make, where they live, or any number of things specific to your book or world. The idea is to get your readers more connected to your work.

If you aren't sure if you have enough material to do this on your own or maybe aren't sure you have the resources, consider teaming up with some other authors. Check with your publisher and see if maybe they can create a quiz where readers can discover which heroine they are, with different main characters featured from several books in their catalog.

If you decide to go this route, just make sure there is a link at the end where quiz takers can go to learn more about all the characters. This way they have a chance to be exposed to all the books and not just the one they end up with.

The options for quizzes like this are endless so don't be afraid to try something different. For example, tired of the typical character quizzes? What about a quiz that tells reader which villain they are. Of course, once you have a quiz up and running, you'll want to promote it everywhere and make it easy for readers to share their results on their own social media sites.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Blogging from A to Z: Video

Blogging from A to Z is a month long challenge to post every day of the month (excluding Sunday) using a different letter of alphabet. This month I'm sharing unusual book marketing tips as part of my Marketing From The Edge Series.
Video

Got some great news to share? Maybe you've signed a big deal. Are holding ARCs for the first time? Did you find your book at an actual, honest to goodness bookstore? You can write a blog post about it or share your news on Facebook. You can even add a few pictures. But if you want your announcement to carry extra buzz, I recommend a video.

Videos have the ability to connect you to readers that just isn't possible with a regular blog post. Seeing you can take away some of the mystery behind the writer and make you more real to your readers. Plus, even if you say the exact same words in your blog post, putting it on a video is bound to let more of your stunning personality shine through.


I've mentioned before that Google loves video. They like putting them in search results and will often rank them higher than a regular blog post. Plus, a video posted to YouTube and shared on your blog give the same content to show up twice in a search.

Don't just take my word for it. Check out this really great infographic showing the power of video on marketing strategies.

You should definitely use video for special moments, but also consider making them a regular part of your blog content.

Want to jazz up your video with a little background music. Check out this great list of royalty free music all filed under a creative commons license. You can sort by genre or mood to find just the right soundtrack.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Blogging from A to Z: Undercover Recon

Blogging from A to Z is a month long challenge to post every day of the month (excluding Sunday) using a different letter of alphabet. This month I'm sharing unusual book marketing tips as part of my Marketing From The Edge Series.
Undercover Recon

This one isn't so much a marketing tip on its own, but a way to find more new tips and tricks. The nice thing about social media is that you can easily see what everyone else is doing. And if you're following the right people you won't even need to go looking.

I suggest following your favorite authors, both big names and those that might be less known. Mix it up between those signed with the big 6, mid-sized or indie presses, and those who are going the self-publishing route. 

Pay attention to their online activity in the month leading up to their next release. Where do they go, who do they talk to, what contests do they run, what are their prizes, do they have a tour, what blogs are participating. Be sure to following them across all the available social media sites so you can get a good idea of ways they are promoting in different places. Take notes.

When it comes to marketing, you don't have to invent the wheel. Keep in mind that the tactics everyone is using are probably common because they work. While you should always keep your own audience in mind, there's no reason you can't duplicate some of the efforts of other authors. Just keep in mind that duplicate efforts won't always equate to duplicate results.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blogging from A to Z: Television

Blogging from A to Z is a month long challenge to post every day of the month (excluding Sunday) using a different letter of alphabet. This month I'm sharing unusual book marketing tips as part of my Marketing From The Edge Series.
Television

Just to be clear right from the get go, I'm not talking about booking a spot on CNN or Rachel Ray. Maybe, in time and with a lot of luck, that will happen someday. But honestly, you really can't plan for that kind of thing. You can, however, work toward a smaller goal and work your way up.

Start super local and contact your local news station. You can also see if your area has a public access cable show. Either or both of these will work for our purposes. If your hometown is anything like mine, they are always looking for special interest pieces to run throughout the day.

Now, you may be wondering what kind of sales bump you can expect from a five minute spot at 5:45 on Tuesday morning. Honestly, not much. But, with permission from the station, you can post the video clip on YouTube and your website. This benefits you in several ways.

First, there's something very professional about appearing on TV. Showing up on the airways automatically gives you a level of expertise that can't be bought. 

Second, Google loves video. This increases your chance of other readers finding you, gaining you new exposure outside of the average guest blog.

Third, media loves media. When you send your press packet to another outlet, such as a bigger news station, you can include a link to your local news spot. This shows that you are already a story and that you are capable of participating in a segment. I say this because not everyone makes a good story. Some guest stutter and stumble all over their words or freeze up on questions, making it harder for the host. If you can show you are good at taking and answering questions, another station will know they aren't taking a huge risk by scheduling you.

Being on TV may not be the huge lift authors used to get from a mention on Oprah, but it can be a great way to get some unconventional exposure that can lead to bigger and better marketing for you and your book.