Help me welcome author Kayelle Allen to her first post with RU! Today she’s talking with us about the all important art of book marketing.
DIY Author Book Marketing By Kayelle Allen, author of the Tarthian Empire Companion, founder of Marketing for Romance Writers (a peer-mentoring group for writers), and owner of The Author’s Secret (an author support company).
It’s sad but true that many publishers do little for promotion. The tide is changing on that, and more are starting to see if they help there are more sales. (That’s not rocket science, is it?) But many small presses have no concept of promotion other than providing the author with a few free copies to give away. Let’s not even talk about self-published authors getting marketing help. Those of us who do both know it can be a huge burden. We are the publisher as well as the marketing department. So, what’s an author to do?
This is a DIY world. Do It Yourself. Who better than you to know your book and what needs to be done to tell people about it? There are three actions to take. Create a place for your book online, prepare for the promotion itself, and create material to help you market. Here are the basic steps for each.
1. Create a great book landing page.
- Professional Cover
The better the book cover image, the greater your chances of a purchase so make sure your cover is first impression worthy. Position it at the top of your book page. Recommended size: varies depending on the website, but either 200×300 or 500×750 (measured in pixels). For online use, 72 dpi is preferred.
- Tagline and Blurb
Near your cover image should be an intriguing tagline and blurb. These should give the concept of the story, without revealing the end. If you ask a question, make sure it does not have a Yes or No answer. (Q: Will Mary and Johnny overcome their problems and find true love? A: Well, yes, it’s a romance!) If the answer is obvious, why would anyone buy the book?
- Buy Links
Also referred to as a Call-to-Action link. Place the link within easy sight of the cover itself.
Give your readers a sneak peek of what they will get when they purchase your book. The length is up to you. You can include it within the page, or attach it as a downloadable PDF.
- Social Media Sharing
Include major social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and an email forwarding option.
- Other options
Links to your other books
Book trailer video
Reviews for your book
Awards the book has won
2. Be Ready to Promote.
I create the following for every book, and teach members of Marketing for Romance Writers to do the same. Make a folder on your computer for each book, and put the following material into them.
- Create a review sheet containing the title, author, genre, rating (PG-R), tagline, blurb, buy links (include your Amazon links for US, UK, DE, AU – international readers will love you). Include your social media links. If you use Twitter, this is not the place to write it as @yourname. Write out the link so someone can click it. You’ll get more followers that way.
- This review sheet will hold all details about the book. Add premade tweets you can copy and share. You’ll have every aspect about your book handy for interviews, questions, blog posts, and so on.
- Also in this folder include covers in sizes 200×300, 500×750 for website, blog, and other guest spots.
- Create an excerpt sheet. Include scenes with lengths of 100-150 words, 200 words, and 500 words. If your work is erotic, include the same types with mild language and less erotic content so anyone who hosts you has a choice.
- For email, make a signature which displays info about the book (Kayelle Allen, author of Tarthian Empire Companion, etc.)
- Have your Amazon author page. If you have not already set this up, do it now. If you’re self-pubbed, Amazon adds a link to this page to the back of your book, so have it ready.
- If you haven’t published the book yet, be sure to add back matter. This is the last page or two of your book, and invites readers to visit your site, follow you on social media, and read your other books. Last item to list there is a request for a review. You’ll be surprised how many more reviews you will get by doing this.
- Banner for the book (468×60 – web standard, one for blog tours, Twitter promo, etc.) Dimensions will vary, but for online use, a banner should be about three times wider than it is high (900×300, 600×200, etc.). These show up well in Twitter and Facebook.
- Timeline covers for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Goodreads
- Pinterest board for the book and/or characters, or the era you write about.
Blog spots are great if you can get them. To me, Twitter is essential. People are going to be talking about your book on Twitter whether you are there or not. What hashtags would support your book? A Goodreads author page helps you track reviews. Social media isn’t something you can do without. What you have and what you do with it is up to you, but it needs to be in your marketing plan.
Make a list of author friends who will help you, or whom you have helped. Pre-write three posts (250-300 words each). Try one on why you wrote the book, one about its hero’s past, one about why its heroine is so (fill in the blank). You’ll think of topics. Give a short snippet of the book in each one (PG13 so everyone can use it). Include the link, and create a unique title for each one. Use a hashtag for the genre (see hashtag list under Resources). Write 3 tweets with a genre specific hashtag.
Send all this material to each person on your list, and ask them to post the one that appeals most to them. Include a cover (size 200×300 is good). Ask for a link so you can promote it. Offer to return the favor for them.
That will give you lots of exposure, and you won’t have the same post showing up everywhere. Some people will post all three, one after the other. God bless them.
When a new book comes out, don’t give it away. I recommend giving away a prize other than a book. If you give away what you’re trying to sell, who’s going to buy? NY publishers spend thousands of dollars giving away books on shows like Today, Good Morning America, Ellen, and so on. If you don’t have that kind of budget, what can you do?
I know a lot of authors hold Rafflecopter contests, but not every reader will sign up for them (I don’t). What else can you give away without giving away your book, or spending a fortune?
Here are three ideas for items that readers enjoy, but don’t cost a mint.
Deleted Scenes Mini Book
Did you cut some beloved scenes from your book? Put them together, write a brief explanation for the reason you cut it, and create a mini book. Even a few pages are fine. Format it well. Include: an image of your cover, the blurb for the book, buy links, links for your social media and newsletter.
Remember — if you’re on Twitter, this is not the place to use @yourauthorname — clicking that does nothing. Use the full URL so it becomes an active link, like this: http://twitter.com/kayelleallen.com Save the document as an rtf if you plan to share it online, or better yet, as a pdf.
I like Word Search puzzles, and discovered this site that lets me make and download them. http://puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/WordSearchSetupForm.asp After creating it (choose the text option), copy and paste it into your word processing program. Be sure to copy the solution page as well. I have a free app that lets me turn that into a pdf, and I can use the puzzle as a giveaway. I created a set of puzzles for each book, and combined them to make one big puzzle book. I also have puzzles for individual books.
Create an Inside Peek Booklet
Another thing I do is create a booklet about the book itself. I include trivia about the story, the cover, pictures (make sure they are licensed and/or royalty free), an excerpt or two, and buy links. I add my social media links, website, and blog as well. I created one for the Tarthian Empire Companion. This is the blurb I provide, and I also include a shortened URL via Bit.ly, which allows me to track clicks. I put “Giveaway for Everyone” at the beginning, like this:
Giveaway for Everyone
Download the free “Top Stops” edition of the Companion and visit the most popular sites in the Tarthian Empire. Illustrated, 24 pp http://bit.ly/1DtJ1fm
(This one is much bigger than my usual 3-5 pages, but the book itself is much bigger than my usual romances. The Tarthian Empire Companion a non-fiction guide on writing science fiction and scifi series books.)
Since it’s necessary for authors to learn how to promote their own books, it’s good to have a plan. Following a few simple steps can provide good marketing material for each book, and create interest among readers. Having a website that makes your books available plus some unique giveaways allows readers to take action and buy. The old saying, “if it is to be, it’s up to me” rings true for authors. There is only so much we can control. We can’t make people buy our books. But we can give them the material they need and want so they can make informed decisions about buying them. Having a DIY plan for each book will help you put that — and your book — into the hands of your readers.
RU Authors, what tips do you have for marketing your books?
Join us on Wednesday for author Bronwen Evans and How to Beta Your Book
Bio: Kayelle Allen is a best-selling, multi-published, award-winning author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.
Full website http://kayelleallen.com Mobile site http://kayelleallen.mobi
Unstoppable Heroes Blog http://kayelleallen.com/blog
Romance Lives Forever News http://kayelleallen.mobi/contact/newsletter/
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