Welcome Kayelle Allen – one of my favorite go-to people who always has brilliant marketing advice for authors – read all about it here on RU!
6 Quick Tips for Author Marketing
By Kayelle Allen, founder of Marketing for Romance Writers and CEO of The Author’s Secret, a support site for writers of all types.
I’ve been writing for a number of years, and was first published in 2004. I’ve had time to build my world and learn the craft. It takes patience, skill, hard work, a network, and a bit of luck. That said, the harder you work, the luckier you get.
I am on just about every social media known to man, and get involved in a lot of different events. No one thing will do the trick. It’s a combination. Anyone can learn it. In my experience, here’s what sells books:
1. Have a website. This is the only “real estate” you actually own online. It’s not a luxury; it’s a requirement.
2. Have a newsletter. I’ll show you why in a minute.
3. Write good books. Good books sell your previous books. Use an editor. Get good cover art. The more good books you have, the more you sell.
4. Get on various social media. The top 3 places to sell books are Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can skip these and do fine, if you have other ways to reach the public and a budget for it. But this is something you can do for yourself for free.
5. Blog, but only if you can do it on a regular basis. Pick a schedule (3x a week, 1x a week, 2x a month, etc.) and stick to it.
6. Network with other authors and help them when you can. It will come back to you tenfold.
The main purpose of your website is to sell books. Make sure you have buy links everywhere. Then get signups for your newsletter. These are two critical things if you want to make a difference and get attention. It’s all well and good to send people to Amazon or other sites, but you will never see them again. You won’t be able to tell them when your next book is out. If they sign up for your newsletter then you can let them know every time you have a sale, or release a new book. You can have a quarterly contest and give away something special, such as a deleted scene book, or a short story about your characters — or even a $5 gift certificate (Amazon, etc.).
If I had known about newsletters when I started writing, I would be making a lot more money today than I am. I’m a bestselling author, yes. But this was something I gained only in the last year. Before I started doing the things above, I puttered along for many years.
Your newsletter should release at least once a month. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering news. Your family got a puppy and he chewed up the house – pictures. You went on vacation and got a horrible sunburn – pictures of sunscreen. 😉 You are on the final edits of your new book – or a scene you are proud of. Your first book got a super review – would anyone else like a copy to review? Etc.
Where do you get people to sign up? Well, I could make this a book. There are lots of ways. Put it in all your signatures in email. Put it on your business cards. Learn to use Photoshop or PaintPro, or something else and make some banners for it. Have a link on your website and at the end of every blog post, guest post, and on social media.
Really, the most critical thing you can do for yourself is that newsletter. Every person who gets it has agreed to let you tell them about your books. Every person. Where else are you going to get people who want to listen? Nowhere.
Here’s what I did in a nutshell. I wrote a short story about two of my characters, brothers who had not grown up together. The story was about how they finally met. It introduced major places and characters in my series world. I then made a great cover for it (I’m a graphic designer and own The Author’s Secret, an author support company). I set up MailChimp so that when people sign up for my newsletter, they get a confirmation email with the download link to this book. I then promoted it everywhere as a free book for signing up for my reader group. Click here to see the page and how it’s done.
Remember I also said network with other authors? Part of that is social media. Part of that is professional organizations. I created Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW) so I could also learn tricks and tips. I wanted to know whether that new thing called Facebook was going to be worth the trouble (it was) or if Pinterest would pan out (it did). I got a Twitter account to claim my name there, but ignored it for 2 years before I figured out how important it was. I now have close to 10k followers. I watch my favorite TV shows with my smart phone in hand and share the hashtag for the shows, hanging out online with millions of other fans. I get followers all the time from doing that.
All of this takes time. Book 2 sells book 1, and book 3 sells 1 and 2, and so on. Keep writing. Do quality work and put it out as fast as you can. Amazon has all sorts of ways to advance you if you work their system. Let’s say you have the third of a series almost done. Once it’s out, in three months make it a boxed set and sell the same books all over again. Add a short story or a research paper to the set as a bonus and you will see sales shoot right up. If you can do it, release a book three times a year and your sales ranking will be higher than people with more sales but fewer books. Once you get into the top 100 it’s easier to stay there. But getting there isn’t really all that hard. Have a Facebook party (Google “Facebook party”) and have a group of writers who write your genre work with you. You can sell 100-150 books in a shot. That will put you right into those bestseller lists. Once you’re there, it’s easier to stay because people see your book first.
You wrote a book. If you can do that, you can do this. Come over and join MFRW if you haven’t already. And ask me questions any time. I enjoy talking to other writers.
Ok, RU authors – time to take your marketing to the next level – what’s your favorite marketing tip?
Join us on Wednesday for C.S. Lakin!
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.
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