You’ve written the novel, you’ve edited it, you’ve submitted it and now it’s published. The hard part is behind you, right? Promotion is one of an author’s greatest tools and difficult challenges. Please join me in welcoming L.J. Charles to Romance University as she shares her experiences and promotional tips.
Anticipation and fear. I can’t say which was greater on that fateful Sunday morning when I logged on and saw my book. For sale. For the first time. My baby was out there in the public domain where anyone could grab it, hold and, oh gosh, read it.
I immediately purchased a copy from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble to make sure the sale would complete without a glitch, and that it looked “right” on both my Kindle and my Nook applications. Success! I checked my sales report every hour, um, maybe more like every five minutes. Nothing.
Oops. I hadn’t sent out a birth announcement.
Before I made the decision to become an indie author, I knew I’d have to promote and market my book, knew I’d have to arrange a blog tour without the help of an agent or publisher, but I was so caught in the logistics of editing and publishing, that the marketing items slipped to the bottom of my to-do list.
Years ago, when I first queried, submitted partials and fulls, and began to collect rejection letters, I was very naïve about the traditional publishing business. Now, I’ve discovered that I have a lot to learn about digital publishing. The first shock to my newly pubbed persona: many, many review sites will not accept ebooks, only ARC’s or published print books. I collected a list of those that do accept digital books and sent off a smattering of requests for both reviews and author interviews, and received one request for a submission, but no guarantee that one of their reviewers would select it. I have chosen to purchase advertising with Night Owl Reviews, and with Long and Short Reviews.
And then I moved on to requesting blog opportunities, and was more successful. The day my first blog was published, I sold books. Yes! And then I began handing out postcards with a picture of my cover and a blurb about Lifethread. It’s been so much fun to watch strangers smile with excitement as they read the description of my story and tell me that they want to buy the book. The fun factor has been worth it, but like any other promotional “stuff” the postcards were likely tossed with the Saturday trash. Verbal excitement does not equal a sale.
One of my readers belongs to a book club and wanted an easy way to introduce Lifethread to her group, so I joined BookBundlz. It was a good experience because I had to prepare discussion questions, which I also posted on my Amazon author website. There are a lot of books on BookBundlz, so it would be easy for any one novel to be lost. I’m keeping an open mind as to its effectiveness of this site as a promotional tool, but I’m very glad I generated the questions because a few days later a friend called to tell me she was setting up a reading group for Lifethread at the school where she works and will be using the questions.
A Heart of Carolina RWA chapter member told me about Inkpop. This website is sponsored by HarperTeen, and created for teenagers to post their stories for critique and ranking. It is also open to those of us slightly past our teen years. I posted the first 10K of Lifethread, made some new friends, and Lifethread has moved up in rank. It’s still too early to say if this will impact sales or not.
The one thing I wish I’d known about sooner is the online Kindle community. Kindle boards, Kindle Forum, and Kindle Chat. Kindle Nation Daily, offers marketing opportunities, but it’s best to plan for that exposure well in advance.
I think the best promotional decision I’ve made was to accept an invitation from a fellow indie published author to participate in a marketing opportunity through short-story promotion. The idea is to write a short story, 4,000 to 7,000 words, and offer it free for readers so they can experience your writing, and hopefully, fall in love with the characters and stories that you have created. It’s a triple win for readers, authors and publishers. I’m planning for this to be available in a few weeks.
The most difficult thing about promotion is the amount of time it takes. I’ve spent many hours on research and discovery that could have been used to write the next book. I write because I love it, but I’m learning that it’s equally important for people to read my books. I want to share my stories, and that means I have to promote.
Hey RU Crew! Are you an indie published author? How do you plan to market and promote your work? As a reader, how do you learn about indie publications?
Don’t miss the fabulous Brenda Novak as she joins RU for a chat, tomorrow! And join us Friday as Harlequin Blaze authors Tawny Weber, Cara Summers, Joanne Rock, Candace Havens and Kathleen O’Reilly join us for a Q&A.
Bio: L.J. Charles wrote her first book when she was eight on pink construction paper with a purple crayon. It was a romance that involved a princess, and although she remembers very few details about the plot, she does remember that it was illustrated and there was music and dancing involved. Today, she writes women’s fiction and young adult novels. All of her stories combine romance, mystery, and paranormal elements. G
L.J. Charles lives in the frozen north with her husband, whose TBR stack is taller than hers, and two felines who have been known to add entire pages to a manuscript without telling her. Keep up with L.J. Charles via her website.
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