Posted in books, marketing

Creating a Marketing Plan: Part 2

To get started on your marketing plan, check out Part 1 HERE. Once you have your goals set, it’s time to start preparing.


Preparatory Marketing

Networking with Bloggers

Bloggers are authors’ friends. Not just the ones with thousands of followers. Sometimes the smaller bloggers will do more to promote your post and become an ally for future books. Don’t just spam every blogger you find. Build a relationship by checking out their blog, commenting, and interacting.

Types of posts to prepare for bloggers: Guest posts, interviews, excerpts, Q&A, Top Tens lists, writing advice, etc.

KEEP TRACK of which bloggers you work with for future releases.

Social Media

Facebook

Regular posting on 2-3 platforms.

Share teasers such as quotes, images, character bios, etc.

Share sneak peeks of content.

This helps you build a fan base and interest in the projects you’re working on.

Branding

Blond Business Woman

Establishing expertise through content, i.e. columns/articles/blogs, sharing useful information/articles, etc.

You want readers to know what they can learn/expect from you. Do you share writing advice, post about your own reading, talk about your hobbies, blog your thoughts on a variety of subjects, etc.


Pre-Release/Launch Marketing

Blog tours

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Need to be set up 2-6 months in advance. Bigger tour companies will require more time. It also gives more time to bloggers to read the book and review. Blog tours are for EXPOSURE, not sales, so reviews are really important during blog tours.

Book Trailers

Click for a book trailer sample
Click for a book trailer sample


Post release date in video or description to help promote the release date and/or pre-order status.

Don’t just use your blurb for the script. Create a script that fits your video/photos and gives a unique look at the book through this format. Some book trailers use text only, voiceover narration, or live action.

Resources for making book trailers include: Free Music Archive for music, Windows Movie Maker, Animoto, Stupeflix, etc. for video compilation.

Reviews

Open Blue Book

Reach out to bloggers, beta readers, friends, and other authors who are interested in your genre. If they are new to reviewing, explain the process and how easy it is to leave a review as well as how important reviews are to the success of a book.

DO NOT PAY FOR REVIEWS! It’s against most sites review policies and is considered unethical.

When dealing with Amazon, family and close friends are not allowed to review your book because they may have a financial interest in your success. Same goes for authors affiliated with the same publisher you are with, street team members, or anyone else Amazon deems may have too close of an interest.

Goodreads does not limit reviews from friends and family.

Reviews can’t be posted on amazon until the book is LIVE, but encourage posting on Goodreads pre-release. It’s easy to copy and paste later.

Pre-Orders

Dollar Sign

A discounted price is usually offered during the pre-release period. Make sure to add the links to your website/pre-order page.

2-4 weeks is a common time period for pre-orders but trends have recently been leaning toward longer periods.

The Benefit of pre-orders is that ALL pre-sales are tallied on release day = big boost in rankings.


Launch/Release Marketing

Email Blast

Newsletter

Mailing list! Start building your mailing list early. This is a captive audience of readers who are interested in your books. Targeted Marketing=Better Click-Throughs

Release Party

TGH FB Party

In-person &/or FB event, Twitter chat (specifics to come…) Gather your fans and readers in one place to celebrate the release. It’s great to get other authors involved for games/prizes.

Media Appearance/Interviews

Podcasts, blogs, radio, YouTube, etc. Explore local media outlets like radio and TV, but don’t be afraid to branch out and talk to online sources like internet radio shows, podcasts, bloggers, Google+ shows, etc. There are many book and writing related media outlets interested in talking to authors.

Incentives to Buy

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Freebie w/ purchase, email receipt for gift, etc. Be creative with your incentives. If you have another talent like music or drawing, pair them up for a bonus gift after purchase. These types of incentives are usually offered during the first week after release.

Add cover art to Social Media images to help announce the release and get people interested in the book.

Update your bio with release info/links so readers who are already following you will have the most current information about your books.

Putting your plan into action requires planning, but the time and effort can pay off with a great release.

WPR Header ImageTo listen to the full podcast on Creating A Marketing Plan That’s Actually Doable, check out the Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast Part 1 and Part 2.

Posted in marketing

Creating a Marketing Plan: Part 1

Creating a marketing plan that’s doable is tough.

Where do you start?

Time

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How much time per day/week are you willing to put into marketing? Be realistic. If you only have an hour per week, build your plan around that. A lot can be accomplished in a small amount of time.

If you have more time, keeping a list or schedule can help you use it more efficiently. Using whatever amount of time you have in the most effective way is important.

Money

Dollar Sign

Set a firm budget for your marketing efforts and be realistic about what you can afford.

There are a lot of free marketing options, so don’t feel like you have to have a big budget. If you have a small budget, there are many author friendly marketing options that are as little as $5 and can have a good impact.

Effort

Death_to_stock_photography_weekend_work (9 of 10)

What can you do on your own and what do you need help with? No one can do everything on their own, so admit what your strengths and weaknesses are and go from there. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help when you need. Authors are great about helping each other.


Now let’s take the next step…

Who is your audience?

Who do you want to target in your marketing efforts? You need to be as specific as possible so you can narrow down your marketing pool. Targeted marketing is more effective than blanket tactics.

What avenues do you most want to pursue?

Kozzi-American-Street-1183 X 1774

In-person, online, blogs/reviewers, social media, etc. What are you comfortable with and what types social interactions do you enjoy participating in?

If in-person events aren’t your style, focus on online marketing like Facebook parties, Twitter chats, etc. If you enjoy meeting readers face to face, school talks or bookstore book signings might be where you want to focus.

What is your goal?

HiRes

Aside from hitting the NYT bestseller list 😉 

Study your competition. What’s working for them? What’s not working? Look especially at creative ways other authors are marketing their books. Finding unique tactics will make your book stand out.

Marketing is tough, but making a plan that fits into your life, budget, and schedule will make it more manageable.

WPR Header ImageTo listen to the full podcast on Creating A Marketing Plan That’s Actually Doable, check out the Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast Part 1 and Part 2.

Posted in marketing

Marketing…part duex #bookmarketing

While scoping out pics for a blog post on marketing, this one totally fit the bill. Why? Because creating a marketing plan often feels like driving around on crazy looking roads like this. 

Learning how to market your books is a never ending battle. You find something that works once, then never works again. You have a random day of awesome sales you can’t credit to anything other than dumb luck. You research and put everything to use only to see no change. Like I said…it’s a battle. 

So, what have a learned since the last time I griped about marketing? 

Hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Caitlin Bauer of Royal Social Media is one of these people. She came highly recommended to me by other authors, and she’s totally held up her end of the bargain in training, graphics, ads, everything we’ve done together so far. She also breaks everything down at the end of the month of ads to explain what the heck happened. I can’t recommend her enough. 
Facebook groups posting does work. Now, that’s not to say it works as well as it once did before the almighty Facebook decided to screw around with how people see pages and groups. That’s a whole other rant, trust me. However, I have the ability to watch the direct sales on 13 of my 15 books, and I can attest to the fact that it affects my sales. For me, posting in 30-50 groups per day works best. For you, it might be different. 
Participating in other authors events is awesome…and fun! I’ve done quite a few Facebook page takeover and events over the last few months, and not only is is gratifying to help another author out, you get to meet new readers you might not have before. Games that work well are having them like and comment on your FB page to be entered into a raffle for a cool prize, “Caption This” games, name the characters who said…, guess the symbol (I use a lot of symbols in my books), and this probably won’t apply to every author but having people tell bad date stories in honor of my Date Shark books was a HUGE hit! Get creative, help another author, and have fun!
Consistent interaction with readers. Honestly, this has been the biggest eye opener for me. I’ve heard this said a zillion times, but only after Caitlin showed me how to put that advice to use did I begin to see what a difference it makes. Schedule posts/tweets/pins to post regularly so your readers always have new content. Follow a pattern or make it random, whatever works best for you. Use your analytics to see what times are best for posting. And don’t forget to ENGAGE with your readers when they do comment or like something. Talk back, start a conversation, make a lifelong friend. It makes a huge difference. 
Specifics:
I recently tried a few new promotional avenues and thought I’d share how they went. Book Tweeters was very effective and reasonably priced. I plan on using them for future release day events. HeadTalker and Thunderclap campaigns have worked well for other authors, but for me I didn’t see any increase in sales or traffic on the posting day, so I don’t think I’ll be using them again since they’re very time consuming to reach the goals. 

Marketing each book and genre is so individual, there is no one-size-fits-all plan, but doing your research and keeping track will help you build a plan that works for you.

Posted in cover design, editing, marketing, publishing, self publishing

Choosing a #Publishing Track

Choosing what to do with your book baby is a tough choice. You have so many more options that you once did, and choosing the right one for you can be an agonizing decision. 

This is a topic that has been coming up a lot lately in groups I belong to and with other author friends who are nearing the point in their career where they have to make that decision. So, I thought I’d share some of the pros and cons of traditional and self-publishing I’ve experienced and why I’ve gone the way I have.

Let’s break this down by the most common pre-publishing aspects like editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing, and what you’ll get with both traditional and self-publishing.

Editing

 Traditional

Most reputable publishers will provide editing at no cost to the author. If a publisher wants to charge you for editing, that’s a big red flag that you should take your book elsewhere. HOWEVER, finding a good editor is like finding the Holy Grail, and that applies to publishers and indie authors. I’ve worked with many editors and I can honestly say that only two have done a good enough job that I would work with them again. Don’t think that going with a publisher means you’ll get a perfectly edited book unless you sign with one of the Big 6. Smaller publishers can’t afford multiple edits of a book, so you should plan to do a very thorough read through and possibly even hire an outside editor if the quality of the publisher’s editor isn’t what you were hoping.

Self-pub

Editing is all up to you when you self-publish. Editing your own work is tough. It’s hard to catch all your mistakes. So, what are your options for a well-edited book? Hire an editor, of course, although, really good editors are extremely hard to find. Vet your editor well. Ask for samples of their work, references, and request a short sample edit of your work to test their skills. Many editors are willing to do this.

You can also work out a trade. However, don’t just assume that another author can edit as well. Trades can be great, but do your research first. There’s also the option to ask a friend. Know a good technical writer, English teacher, etc? See what they would charge you or work out a trade.

Formatting

Traditional

Formatting varies by publisher. Some will put a lot of time into making the formatting look nice and others will just do the basics. For ebooks, there’s not a lot you can do as far as fancy formatting goes. Print books are different, but formatting is one of the easier areas of publishing (in my opinion), so it’s usually not a huge concern with choosing a publisher. If you’d like to see the quality of their formatting, download samples of some of their books to check them out.

Self-Pub

Formatting can be learned by anyone willing to put a little time into it. There are great tutorials online, and most ebook publishers have guides for authors that spell out what you need to do. It may be a little time consuming at first, but it gets easier the more you do it. All of your formatting can be done in Microsoft Word, but if you’re interested in trying some fancier paperback formatting, InDesign can do some really neat things.

Cover Design

Traditional

Cover design is hugely important no matter how you publish your book. Most publishers are willing to pony up for a good cover designer because they understand this very well. Even still, having a publisher does not a gaurantee that you’ll end up with an awesome cover, but most do a pretty good job. When shopping around, check out their previous covers, and ask about whether or not they’re willing to let authors have any say in the cover design. If you’re with a big publisher, chances are you will get zero input, but some of the smaller publishers are willing to listen to author input.

Self-Pub

Cover design is one of my favorite things to do, but I do have a background in art and graphic design. For those who are not artistic or aren’t familiar with GIMP or Photoshop, cover design will be a challenge in self-publishing. Createspace and now even Kindle KDP have cover creating software to help you put together a nicely formatted cover.

You’ll still need good pictures or stock photography, though. Fortunately, there are plenty of sites out their to find great stock art fvor reasonable prices. My personal favorites are Dollar Photo Club, Shutterstock, and iStock. If you know a photographer, you can get original photos as well. Just make sure to give credit to the photographer.

And if you’re not comfortable putting together a cover, there are some amazing designers out there who work for very reasonable prices, like Tirzah Goodwin. Having a great cover is extremely important, but self-publishing doesn’t mean you can’t have that.

Marketing

Traditional

Marketing. This is probably the area that most new authors will struggle with, and what will push them toward a traditional publisher, but authors need to have realistic expectations about marketing. Most publishers, small or Big 6, have a limited budget for marketing, especially if you’re not a top seller. Big 6 publishers will only put their money behind books they KNOW are going to sell tons of books. Newbies won’t get much help and will be expected to pull most of the marketing weight. A lot of small publishers (though certainly not all) will put more effort into helping authors market because they need the sales too, but they have very small budgets and most of the work will fall to the author.

Sel-Pub

Obviously, all the work of marketing is on the author in self-publishing, but you also get the full benefit of your efforts by not giving up royalties. Marketing is hard, no matter what publishing path you take. When you self-publish, you have control over how your book is marketed, how much free or paid advertising is done, and what audience you’re targeting. With self-publishing, you also have direct access to your sales numbers, so it’s a little easier to monitor how effective your marketing efforts are by watching changes in sales numbers. There’s a big learning curve to marketing if it’s new for you, but there are many articles and books available to help you figure it out, and other authors are a great resource and source of marketing help as well.

What does it all boil down to? 

For me, I’ve been doing this long enough and put out enough books, that I’m comfortable finding editors, doing my own formatting and cover design, and coming up with my own marketing plan. I have worked with four different publishers since I began publishing. Some have worked out, some haven’t. I currently still have my contemporary romances with a publisher, because that’s a new market for me and I felt the exchange of roaylties for their knowledge of the romance genre was worth it. For my YA books, that trade wasn’t worth it for me and now I have all my YA books published independently.

I also like having control over my covers, formatting, editing, and how my books are marketed. I put a lot of time into learning more about the publishing industry and increasing my skills in design and marketing. Self-publishing takes a lot of work, but I enjoy doing it, and it’s a good fit for me and my books.

Choosing a publishing path is a completely individual choice. What each author is comfortable with doing on their own will play a huge part. Break it down and see what you’re willing to do on your own and what you need help with, then decide whether or not that help is worth giving up the percent of royalties the publisher is asking for. Don’t jump into either option without knowing what you’re getting yourself into.

What aspects of publishing intimidate you most? 

Posted in marketing

We are visual creatures…and so is Social Media!

People who know me know how much I struggle with marketing, but it’s a necessary part of being an author, so I’ve been learning more about it. One aspect I’ve come to realize is how import is the visual aspect of marketing is. Take the picture to the side. It grabs your attention more than the title alone, right? 

Now, I’m not talking about book covers. We all know how important having a professional, eye-catching book cover is. Let’s take that concept and apply it to our marketing efforts. 

Pintrest/Blogs

Many of us are addicted to Pintrest. 70 Million of us, in fact. Pintrest is a digital scrapbook/pin board where you can store your favorite websites. It’s come to replace my bookmarks in my browser because it’s easier to organize and navigate. 
What to consider when marketing
Put pictures in your blog posts! If your blog post doesn’t have pictures, readers can’t pin it to their boards
Don’t use your book cover as your only graphic. Spice it up. You should be pinning your posts and book promotions onto your Pintrest boards as well. If it’s just your book cover over and over again, it’s tough to differentiate the links, and it’s boring. 
Vertical Images are best on Pintrest. The boards are arranged in vertical rows, so your pins will display better if there made to fit the layout. 

Twitter

Twitter now allows you to post pictures along with your tweets. You can’t schedule a picture post, however, so make sure you’re popping in every once in a while to post your pictures, and not just relying on scheduled posts through TweetDeck or Hootesuite. 
What to consider when marketing
Twitter recently changed the homepage layout, making it more important that pictures posted post on Twitter are rectangular. They should be about a 2:4 ratio with the long side being the the horizontal side. 
Tweets with pictures get significantly more retweets and clickthroughs. I’ve seen a range of percentages reported from 3x to 10x. Either way, it pays to use pictures on Twitter. 

Facebook

Posting pictures on Facebook is nothing new, but it is a newer feature that you can post pictures in comments. Use that to your advantage if someone asks for book suggestions, etc. 
What to consider when marketing
Remember, posts that include a picture get more “Likes,” “Shares,” and clickthroughs. Formatting pictures for Facebook is similar to Twitter. They should be rectangular in shape so the preview doesn’t get distorted. Readers may miss something important!
Now, if you’re like me and devote some time to posting promotional links for your books on Facebook groups meant for that purpose, don’t just post the link and let it show a preview of your book cover. If you let Facebook choose your preview, the models on your cover might get their heads chopped off, like what happens when I post a link for Date Shark. Control what readers see by creating an image to share that contains all the pertinent info for your promo in the right format. 

Instagram

I don’t use Instagram…yet. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually. What I do know is that it only posts square images
What to consider when marketing
This one’s pretty simple. Make some square images that contain info about your book/promo. 

What if I’m not artistic?

For those authors who aren’t particularly artistic, and don’t have artistic friends or funds to have them created, have no fear! There are some great, easy to use sites like Canva.com and Picmonkey
Canva even has templates ready-made for all the different social media sites, which is pretty awesome! 
Picmonkey also has lots of stock photos you can incorporate into your designs. 
If you are artistic, but don’t want to shell out money for Photoshop, download a copy of GIMP. It’s free and can do pretty much whatever a graphic artist needs. 
Posted in marketing, publishing, social media, writing, writing thoughts

Marketing…???

Do you ever feel like you’re running a marathon that has no ending? That’s marketing, and that’s why…I’ll just say it…Marketing is really, really hard!

There are some authors out there who love marketing and are really good at it. I’m not one of those. I was that kid who never raised their hand in class or spoke if they could help it. I write my thoughts more often than speak them. I like it that way. It’s familiar and comfortable and, let’s face it, a lot easier. For the past few years, I’ve had the excuse of being up to my eyeballs in dental hygiene school to get out of marketing. It honestly consumed 90% of my waking hours and tormented my sleep regularly right up to graduation day. I could hide behind excuses as an Indie author.
Not so anymore.
I’m thrilled to have two really fabulous publishers now, Clean Teen Publishing and Limitless Publishing. With that comes a heavier responsibility to do marketing. I’m not the only one with a stake in my books’ success anymore. In fact, it was part of one of my publishing contracts that I heavily market my books for the first year. So, no more safe and comfortable. No more relying on my books to sell themselves.
As soon as you start looking into how to market seriously, your To-Do list starts looking like this! –>
No joke.
There are blog tours and cover reveals to set up, an even if someone else is doing the setup for you, you still need to answer interview questions, write guest posts, stop by every tour stop and say thank you, and share links to all the posts on every social media outlet you can find.
Then there is daily promoting on Twitter or Facebook, but not too much promoting because nobody likes social media spammer. Along with social media comes interacting with readers and other authors, because if you’re not interacting with the people who might buy your books, or the authors who can help you promote, you’re wasting your time on social media.
Promoting takes money, as well, and even if you have money to put toward that, trying to figure out which ones are actually worth it is hard, really hard! There are no guarantees in marketing. It’s a lot of trial and error. A simple tactic may pay off big, while a lengthy and time consuming effort produces absolutely nothing.
One of the toughest parts of marketing is convincing readers your book is worth the risk. If you’re not an author everyone knows, it’s a risk. Even if the cover looks amazing and your blurb is stellar, it’s still a risk. How do you give readers confidence that your book is indeed as awesome as you’re telling them it is?
Reviews.
How do you get reviews? I heard a statistic that said only 1 in 10 people who buy your book will come back and review it on Amazon. That seems pretty good, but I’m not sure that was a scientific study. I haven’t seen that with my books. I’d have way more reviews if that were true!
So what do you have to do? Find readers willing to accept a free copy in exchange for a review. Sounds easy, right? FREE BOOKS!!!
Not exactly. Spamming the book world for reviews doesn’t work very well. You need to build relationships with book bloggers and other authors. The types of readers who review regularly and have good reviewer rankings already have tons of books to read. You have to convince them yours is worth the time.
So when I sit down to do marketing, where do I start? Well, after staring at my computer for a while…I ask someone who knows more about it than me. Other authors.
I’ve learned about the many Facebook groups for promoting books from Holly Kelly (author of Rising), about tours and cover reveals from Angela Fristoe (author of The Touched Trilogy) through her awesome blog Turning the Pages, about giving presentations to local schools from Gail Wagner (author of Donegal Sidhe), from great articles on Huffington Post from authors like Kelly Anne Blount (author of The Necoh Saga), and Rachel Thompson (author of Broken Pieces) who also founded Bad Redhead Media and is in general just awesome at marketing and interacting with her readers. Apryl Baker is the queen of Wattpad, and she helped me figure out what the heck I was doing there, as well.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about marketing your book, you actually have to put it to use. Some people are planners, some people are not. I’d love to be a planner, I haven’t had time to come up with a plan just yet.

According to Guy Kawasaki, for four weeks after the release of a book, you’re allowed to go crazy sharing links on social media. After that, keep “buy links” to less than 10% of your posts on social media. The rest should be quality content and interacting with readers, which I know Rachel Thompson will agree with. So, you have four weeks to really pimp out your book. Ready…go!

Jump in with both feet. Marketing should really start months before your book ever hits bookstores or Amazon (some say 9 months), but better late than never right?

Here’s what I have been doing (what’s worked and what hasn’t):

 

I share links and fun promo pics on Facebook when I have five minutes to sit down. Results still pending 🙂

I’m not really sure what I’m doing on Twitter. I post links about my books, but more often, I post links about other people’s books and and interviews and reviews on my blog. Somehow I ended up with 2K followers and I’m trying to keep them interested.

I scout out blogs and websites who are willing to share news about my book releases. GoodKindles shares free and non-free titles. I found this GallyCat article that shared a bunch of sites to promote on (some paid, some free), and I’ve been testing a few out. I’ll share which worked and which didn’t as soon as I figure it out!

Free Booksy has so far gotten the best results when posting about a free book and having readers come back to buy the rest of the series. One promo with them several months ago is still showing results.

I’ve done several Goodreads Giveaways, but I can’t say I’ve noticed a significant change in sales by doing them. I’ve gotten a few reviews from these, but not many, even though Goodreads winners are encouraged to write a review.

I tested out the KDP Select program with two of my titles. I know some authors say they have had phenomenal results through this program, but I haven’t seen it. I get only a few borrows per month and the free book promotions don’t seem to drive further sales.

I’ve done several blog tours with various companies, and so far the only one that has produced noticeable increases in my sales has been with Turning The Page YA Blog Tours. I’ll continue to do blog tours with Angela, but I’m on the fence about trying anyone else.

Reviews are always a great way to promote. I’m all for using big and small blogs for reviews. I don’t think ignoring little blogs and only going after big bloggers is a good idea, because many of the smaller bloggers will not only review faster, if they like your book, they’ll continue to share your book in the long term.

Promote locally. Gail Wagner, Amanda Strong, and I have teamed up and spent some time giving presentations to the local schools. We’ve had a blast doing it, but we’ve also sold books! The teachers, librarians, and students want to read the books we tell them about, and it gets them excited about reading and writing, which is an even bigger bonus!

Wattpad. There is good and bad that comes with Wattpad. You’ll get nasty comments from teen readers with no manners, but you’ll also find some of your most loyal fans there who will tell everyone they know (literally) about your books. One way Wattpad has been a big help to me, aside from being a great place to connect with readers personally, is gaining reviews. Even when readers read your book for free on Wattpad, they still love having an “official copy” to keep and show off to their friends. When I finish posting a book (either permanent or temporary) I’ll offer to send ebooks to the first ten readers who write a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Also, I have several perma-free books posted on Wattpad, and if the readers want to continue the series, I’m happy to send them a free copy AFTER they write a review for the previous book. It’s really helped me boost my review numbers.

Connecting with other writers is probably one of the most beneficial things an author can do. We all know how hard it is to get our names out there and most are willing to help each other spread the word. Share their links and pins and posts, and they’ll share yours.

So…the point?

Marketing sucks. It’s hard, and half the time you have no idea if what you’re doing is working until much later, but it’s a necessary part of being an author. Don’t hide behind not knowing how or being afraid to mess up. A lot of what we try probably has little to no effect, but when we do find something that works, it’s like being handed one of these…

I’m not sure what these are, but they look yummy and fun to eat 🙂

So, hang in there, keep marketing even if you feel like you haven’t got a clue. Most of us feel the exact same way. Eventually, you’ll find what works for you and your brand will start to take shape. What has worked or not worked for you? Feel free to share in the comments!

 

Posted in marketing, publishing, writing, writing thoughts

That’s what those are for …

How many times have you been doing something on a regular basis, thinking you’ve got it down, only to realize later that you’ve been doing it all wrong? 

I’ve recently had one of those moments when it comes to choosing keywords for my books when I list them on ebook stores. 

Earlier this week, my new publisher, Clean Teen Publishing, sent all of us authors a link that gave a breakdown of Amazon’s Most Popular Tags. Now, this list isn’t just for books, it’s for everything searched for on Amazon, but it’s easy enough to pick out book related tags. And there are a lot of them. 

What did this link cause me to realize? 

I had been using keywords or tags wrong this whole time! Previously, my keywords were specific to each book. For my first book, Escaping Fate, I had chosen tags like “Aztec,” “Arrabella,” “Myth,” and so on. Seems logical, right? 
After looking at the tag cloud from Amazon, I had an epiphany — probably one I should have had years ago. What use are book specific tags if no one knows about my book? Why would anyone search for “Arrabella,” the MC of Escaping Fate, is they didn’t know anything about my book? I saw that I had done the same thing for my other books, choosing tags like Libby and Milo, and similar words that only applied to The Destroyer Series. 
What I realized after studying the cloud was that people are not going onto Amazon and searching for a particular book most of the time. They are searching for whatever genre they like to read and then perusing the search results for something that catches their eye. 

So what did I do after having this epiphany? 

I went and changed the keywords on all my books on the various sites I have my books listed. What did I change them to? Instead of sticking with book specific tags, I chose tags that will help readers find my books within the genres they like to read. 
I write YA fiction ranging from paranormal to science fiction and urban fantasy. So my new tags include words like “Young Adult,” “Science Fiction,” Paranormal,” and “Fantasy.” And because I love to add in a good romance to compliment each storyline, I also included tags like “Romance, “Love,” and “Paranormal Romance.” 

What now? 

Well, now I see how this realization pans out. Will better keywords that are directed at readers who have no clue about me or my books help get my books in their search results better than book specific tags? I’ll just have to wait and see. I’m excited to see the impact it will have. I love learning new things about publishing and marketing, and this one is so simple yet important. 
I’ve been learning more about using Pintrest as and author as well, so check back next week for a new post and some new ideas.