Welcome Claire Gem with some great tips on Marketing.
Be sure to scroll down and read all about her new release, Phantom Traces, and enter to win a copy as well as many other great prizes in our Valentine's Giveaway.
Don’t Fear the “M” word!
By Claire Gem
In the world of writers, I’m a bit of an oddity. Of course, I love to write. Dreaming up new plotlines, conversing with characters in the middle of the night, imagining what my book covers will look like—these are all on the list of things I love about writing. But right near the top of that list is another word, one most authors fear, despise, loathe even. (Cue Jaws soundtrack here…)
Weird, right? I warned you. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a household whose very existence depended on selling: my father was an independent contractor for home improvements, back in the day when door-to-door sales were the norm. He LOVED to sell. He taught me how, and the bug bit me.
Most of my colleagues say, “I hate marketing. It’s the worst part.” But in today’s market, author platform is a prerequisite to even getting looked at by an editor or agent. If you self-publish, that platform is even more important, since you will receive no advertising or promotional help from anyone else.
So, let’s face it, if we write to publish, and publish to sell books, we have to learn how to market, like it or not.
The Internet has certainly opened up many more options for marketing than were available to dear old Dad back in the day. The problem is, there is SO much e-marketing going on, we quickly numb to it. Endless emails, Tweets, and Facebook posts about online book launches, giveaways, and the like—even though I am a fellow author, and want to support my colleagues, the overload makes my delete-button finger itchy.
But there are other ways. Some ideas:
You don’t have to be Nora Roberts or J.K. Rowling to announce your accomplishments to the world. The key here is to distill your successes into a third person, properly formatted, official press release.
Author Gina Conroy has an excellent blog on the subject here: http://bit.ly/1H5QgMw Make sure to mention all of your achievements, from your position as editor of your high school newspaper to your recent final in a contest.
Once you have your press release written, sit and think about your market. Of course, locate your local newspaper and email it to the editor. But push your imagination to its limits (isn’t that what writing fiction is all about?). Who else might be interested in hearing about your book?
1. The town where you grew up and graduated from high school, if you’re not still living there. Even though I now live in Massachusetts, I’m sending one to the New York town where I grew up. “Middletown Native Releases First Novel.” Tweak the release to “give credit to” your educational and social roots in helping you make this achievement.
2. Where is your book set? Mine is set in a little town in western North Carolina where I lived for a few years. Although I fictionalized the town’s name in the book, I’m sending a press release to that town’s local newspaper with the tagline – AUTHOR LAUNCHES DEBUT GHOST STORY SET IN CALDWELL. I then tweaked my press release to indicate how living there inspired the story.
The great thing about press releases? They’re free – nowadays you don’t even have to pay postage, just send it through email. Okay, so the editors may have no interest in publishing your news, but even if they don’t, you’re not out a cent. It’s certainly a gamble worth taking.
Real Life Book Launch Parties – NOT Virtual:
If your book is coming out in paperback right away, local bookstores and libraries are a great place to set up launches and signings. But with the advent of the eBook, launches have become a bit more complicated. You can’t “sign” copies of an eBook in person (but you can through this nifty website, www.authorgraph.com), nor is there anything in it for a local bookseller if your readers buy the book directly from Amazon.
So get creative. My book has a paranormal twist, so I approached a local New Age shop, whose owner was more than happy to sponsor a book launch party. Of course, I’ll be providing the wine & cheese, and spending a few bucks on swag. I also chipped in on the postage for her monthly postcard mailing, which will announce the party to over 800 of her customers. (800!!! That’s pretty big local news.)
On release day, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., we’re going to have a big ol’ get-together at her shop where I’ll do readings, give out door prizes, and talk to people IN PERSON about my book. Don’t underestimate the power of face-to-face (yes, Dad, I learned the lesson well). The bonus is that you can designate a certain time window—in my case I’m calling it the witching hour—when everyone at the party will be asked to buy the book on their Kindle-app device. Great for Amazon ratings.
So what if your book’s not paranormal? Find another angle. Write erotica? Find a locally owned lingerie store. Historical? Find a local business that sells vintage clothing. Contemporary? How about a classy local restaurant with a super-nice bar?
The key word here is LOCAL. You won’t get the manager of Victoria’s Secret or Applebee’s to sponsor your launch party, but small business owners are usually hungry for new and unique ways to bring fresh faces in their door.
Libraries et al:
Get thee to a Staples and print out flyers. Display your cover image, announce the release date, and give the people a snippet of your blurb to whet their appetites. Your local library might be amenable to a reading and a “meet and greet” with their patrons if you donate a copy of your book (paperback or eBook) to their holdings.
I printed up half-sheet flyers with my cover, a one-sentence teaser, and the release details, along with the price. Thirty copies on pretty lavender paper produced 60 flyers for less than $3.50. I’ll be leaving them everywhere I’m allowed to, from the library to restaurants to local shops. My daughter teaches school 1200 miles away, but teachers love to read romance too. She’s going to drop a half-sheet flyer in each of their mailboxes at school a few days before the release.
Timing is Everything
Don’t start blowing your horn too soon, or by the time your release date arrives you’ll be old news. That being said, be sure to get those press releases out in plenty of time for the publication date closest to your release. My release date is the 19th, so I’m sending out the press releases on the 9th, along with a personal invitation to the local editors to attend my book launch party.
So don’t fear the M word. It’s a necessity, and once you get started, marketing can actually be fun.
Claire Gem’s debut release, Phantom Traces, will be available Feb. 19th from Soul Mate Publishing or directly through Amazon.
“A history professor in a tweed jacket, a cheeky Goth chick, and a pipe-smoking, book-hurling ghost. Put them all together in an antiquated library and…well...”
Romance with a Ghostly Twist
A history professor in a tweed jacket, a cheeky Goth chick, and a pipe-smoking, book-hurling ghost. Put them all together in an antiquated library and, well...
Professor Jack Wood isn’t exactly nerdy, but his silver-streaked hair definitely ages him. He can thank Killer Dawn for that. He won’t be falling into the love trap again anytime real soon. But this new librarian has him curious, with her head-to-toe black Goth garb, piercings, and a defiant attitude to match. Definitely not his type of girl, but still…
Abigail Stryker’s got her work cut out for her. The last two librarians didn’t last a month before airborne books chased them off. But Abby’s determined to make her new life a go – and to stay as far away from older men as possible. Once was enough. Might be tough to do when the library’s best patron is none other than dreamy-eyed Jack Wood. And it seems the eccentric ghost may have taken a shine to her as well.
Claire is giving away an Ebook copy of her book, Phantom Traces.
Enter to win this and many other great prizes from many authors.
Claire Gem writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance, sometimes with a paranormal twist. A voracious reader, she’s an avid fan of strong but sensitive heroes, spunky, sexy heroines, and a ghost story worth at least a few goose bumps.
Claire’s vision is to transport her readers into another place and time, maybe spooking them along the way. She loves creating characters so real, readers miss them when the book is closed.
After achieving her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, Claire settled in central Massachusetts with her husband of 36 years (yes, happily-ever-after really does happen). Always fascinated by the paranormal, she holds a Certificate in Paranormal Studies from Duke University’s Rhine’s Research Center.
By day, she works for Tufts University. Every other waking hour (even those when she should be sleeping) she spends exercising the creative side of her brain by flexing those ten digits glued to her keyboard. Chased by those pesky ghosts, Claire writes for her life.
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