Posted in books, ebooks

Notes from a Book Buyer

At the “Writer’s and Scribblers” retreat this past August, I was able to attend a lecture from local book buyer, Jeanne Costello, buyer for a medium-sized indie bookstore in Durango, CO. She had a lot of great insights! I go into a little more depth in the podcast, but there’s a written set of notes below.

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  • There are 40-50k books published every year by traditional publishers (This doesn’t take into account all the self-published books)
  • Maria’s Bookstore (mid-size store) carries about 10k books in their shop
    • 2/3 are older books
    • they pick up about 5k new titles per year
      • 25-30% of those are returned to the publisher with ZERO sales
      • many books only sell ONE copy/year
      • decent sales for regular books are 2-3/year
  • When thinking about approaching a bookstore to carry your books, consider how people discover books and where your would be found on a bookshelf
  • Each bookstore has specific needs
    • Durango:
      • literary fiction, travel/outdoors, natural sciences, unplug/retreat/de-stress
  • With Fiction:
    • representation matters a lot
    • to the buyer and the reader
      • is it a professional product?
  • Cover art is IMPORTANT
    • needs to speak to the person who will love your book – not just to YOU
    • should be used as a marketing tool
    • Being simply an extension of your art doesn’t always work if it’s not communicating the right message
    • must indicate clearly to readers WHY they want to read your book
    • acts as a “short cut” to telling readers about your book
  • It’s important to understand destination and discovery
    • DESTINATION
      • have a particular book in mind before approaching a book buyer
        • specific topics/need
      • work to have “critical conversations” about your book to garner interest
    • DISCOVERY
      • there are SO many books to compete with
      • cover must speak to readers and buyer
        • pay attention to conventions of genre
      • know where your book would be placed on the shelves (specific category)
        • ask yourself where readers who will love your book will go looking for it
      • know comparable books
        • easier for staff to recommend to readers
  • Identify what your ambitions are
    • big chain store? small to mid store?
    • 2-3 sales/yr? 100s sales/yr?
      • if booksellers love your book it’s a great way to make inroads and gain exposure
      • having a book on the shelves alone will NOT help you reach critical mass goals
  • Self-published
    • what the book buyer needs to know:
      • how to buy your book
      • how to reorder
        • direct from author is very hard on buyer!
        • returnable is very important to stores!
          • allows them to “try out” books
        • local stores sometimes offer “consignment basis”
  • Book sales are up…
    • but not in proportion to number of books being published
  • Amazon doesn’t sell books to make money
    • they sell them to attract shoppers who will then buy more expensive/profitable items
  • Indie stores are more relevant the last five years – important to communities and creating buzz in communities
    • 6-7% up in sales
    • paperback book sales are up
    • ebooks sale have plateaued

For a more detailed discussion, listen to the podcast!

Posted in write publish repeat

Write. Publish. Repeat. is branching out to iTunes and Stitcher!

 WRITE. PUBLISH. REPEAT. Podcast is branching out to iTunes and Stitcher!

WPR Header ImageThis podcast is aimed sat helping writers with a wide variety of topics in writing, publishing, and marketing. It’s a mix of lecture-style podcasts using information taken from the curriculum of the classes I teach and conversations with other authors willing to share their advice and experiences.

So, if you’re interested in writing, the publishing industry, or learning how to market your books better, you’ve found the right place!

Either click on the WPR Logo to subscribe to the RSS feed or click the episode link to download the file to your device.

Subscribe to the RSS feed by clicking on the WPR image below or check out the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher:

Podcast LogoWPR iTunes WPR Stitcher

Episode 1: How to Write a Query Letter Without Going Completely Crazy

Episode 2: Query Letters and Social Media with guest SeriouslyGina

Episode 3: Creating a Marketing Plan That’s Actually Doable – Part One

Episode 4: Creating a Marketing Plan That’s Actually Doable – Part Two

Episode 5: Author Collaboration with Guest Melissa Eskue Ousley

Creative Commons License
WritePublishRepeat by DelSheree Gladden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://delshereegladden.com/writepublishrepeat/.

Posted in marketing

Creating a Marketing Plan: Part 5

To start building your marketing plan from the beginning, start with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Now let’s move on to Post-Launch marketing.

Post-Launch Marketing

79420-calendardeadlineFirst 3-4 months after release. This is when you want to keep the high of your release going. Marketing does lessen from the initial blitz surrounding the release, but should still stay higher than what you will maintain during the long term marketing phrase.

Consistency is KEY!

Plan consistent exposure over the first 3-4 months after the release party. This will include daily, weekly, and monthly tasks oriented at keeping up exposure.

  • Examples include FB group posts, links on Twitter, guest posts on book blogs, special content (character interview), personal or author blogging posts, in-person events and appearances, interacting with readers, etc.

Blog Tours

These should have already been set up (if not, set them up ASAP). As tour posts begin to be posted, make sure to visit each blog and leave a comment thanking the host. This is not only polite, it helps expand the exposure of the post. Share links on you social media accounts.

Subscribe to each post (not necessarily each blog) so you are notified when readers comment. Go back and reply to comments as needed. Keep a list of which bloggers reviewed your books, whether or not they liked it, and whether they might be interested in reviewing future books.

Reviews

Large Stack of BooksWhy are reviews so important?

  • New reviews boost rankings on sites like Amazon.
  • Boost reader confidence. It shows that people are buying and reading the book and hopefully that they are enjoying it. Makes spending $$ seem less risky if you are a new author to them.

How do you get reviews?

  • Ask for them! In many cases, it really is that simple, but you need to go about it the right way and only approach those interested in your genre/topic.
  • Friends & family (They need to be honest!), beta readers, critique partners, other authors.
  • Bloggers (best if relationship already in place). If you are cold-submitting, follow their guidelines posted on their blog, make sure the are OPEN for reviews, only submit to bloggers who actually read your genre, and be professional.

  • Put a message in the back of the book. This is a very simple and effective way to encourage readers to review your book.
    • Apps like the Kindle and Audible apps now bring up a screen when a reader finishes a book that asks them to review or leave a star rating.
  • Incentives (send review link for…offer some extra or bonus gift to encourage reviews)

DO NOT PAY FOR REVIEWS

Except…

Dollar SignReview Services are different from “paying for reviews,” which is against most ebook stores’ review policies. What makes these services different?

  • You’re paying for access to reviewers, not actual reviews. These services offer no guarantee on the number or star level of reviews you will receive. Your book is added to their list of book available for review and the reviewers who participate in their service choose which books to review and give honest reviews after reading.

BEST: Net Galley (cost: $600)

Others: Books Machine (monthly fee)

  • Similar Idea: “First Reads” programs from certain publishers aims at getting early reviews for their books but are limit to books they choose to include in the program.

Other sites/avenues for readers to access books or post reviews include publisher specific programs, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, etc.

A big part of the post launch marketing includes consistency and gathering reviews, but it takes persistence and time.

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 4

To start at the beginning with your marketing plan, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Keep reading for info on contacting media.

Contacting the Media

old microphoneRadio

  • Local stations are great to announce local events (call, email, FB). Most are very friendly to local authors and have regular community activities announcements they can include your event in.
  • College radio stations are often geared toward academic interests and many are happy to share about your literary events and may have a show about books or writing that might fit your skills.

Internet Radio

Blog Talk Radio is the biggest internet radio service currently and there are many writing/book related shows. Many are interested in author interviews/book news/writing advice.

Podcast LogoPodcasts

Look for ones geared toward author interviews, writing advice, marketing ideas, book news, etc. There are hundreds of writing.book related podcasts and many are looking for authors to participate on a regular basis.

YouTube

Post your own interview or release post about your book. Share an excerpt of your book by reading it yourself or recording your voice to play with images related to the book. Use actors or volunteers to act out a scene from your book. Share advice or tips, or even discuss an event you attended like a video blog.

Blogs

There are thousands of book blogs online. Research what genres each blog is interested in reviewing, what type of posts they are interested in sharing, and what their guidelines are for submitting requests. Cold submissions can work, but you will be more likely to have your book accepted if you’ve done your research and interacted with the blog to build a relationship. This isn’t always possible with every blog, but do make an effort to follow their guidelines and only submit to blog interested in your genre.

Local TV

Not every town has a local TV station (mine doesn’t) but many local stations look for local interest pieces to fill out their broadcasts. Check out your local TV stations website and look for a “Contact” page. Most have an email address or form for “News Tips” or “Story Ideas.” Send them a professional media kit containing formation about your book and/or event and why it might be of interest to their viewers.

Contacting the media sounds scary, but there are many media outlets that are eager for guests/stories. Be professional and polite and take a chance.

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, social media

Creating a Marketing Plan: Part 3

To get started on creating your marketing plan, check out Part 1 and Part 2 first. For specific release day ideas…keep reading!

Facebook Release Party

TGH FB PartyCreate an “Event” on FB, then add details of where/when, who’s participating, prizes, games, etc.

Invite Friends and Readers and encourage them to invite more people.

  • “Who invited you?” giveaway can be a great way to encourage more invites.

Invite other authors

  • Share the burden and fans: Invite authors to participate or “takeover” during the party with their own games/giveaways/etc.
  • More games and prizes means more fun.
  • Other authors bring in their fans to learn about your books and your fans learn about other authors as well.

Games

  • “Caption this!” – Find a funny or strange picture and ask for captions. All captions earn an entry and you can either pick the best as the winner or pick at random.
  • Book themed i.e. Bad Date Stories for my Date Shark series, or favorite myth for my Twin Souls series
  • “Like My Page,” “Signup for my newsletter,” “Follow me on…” are great ways to build followers and are an easy giveaway entry form
  • Costume Party (post pic of costume to enter giveway)
  • Task oriented games, i.e. go to my website and find all the pink letters and unscramble the word.

Prizes

  • Ebooks, signed books, bookmarks, postcards, swag, name a character, etc. Be creative and personalize as much as you can.

Teasers

  • Guests may have been invited by someone else and don’t know about your book. Interest them with teasers/excerpts in the form of images and/or quotes.

Time Limit

  • 2-3 hours is common. If you want to include more authors and cover more time zones, a longer All Day event can work well.
  • May want to leave games open 24 hours for international guests

Twitter Chat/Party

Tweet BirdCreate your own Hashtag #DelShereesReleaseParty

  • This is how people follow the discussion

Play Question and Picture based games

  • Replies enter them in giveaway

Retweet chain

  • RT enters giveaway. Use this to have a lot of people retweet information about your book.

Time Limit

  • 1-2 hours, close giveaways at the end so it easier to track entries.

For more information on contacting media, come back next week.

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 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

50f3c-blogbutton2

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

shutterstock_153632636

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

bb5f5-clock2balarm2bclock

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.