Welcome to our workshop. My panel member will discuss marketing off line and of course I’m going to talk about marketing online.
It is important as a writer new or seasoned; you must have a marketing plan. Remember this is a business and you need to learn how to work your business. My first advice is to remember you have to spend money to make money. Set aside a reasonable amount of your advance for marketing. $50.00 dollars won’t cut it.
Before you decide on your budget, do a little research, what is the going rate for online promotion? Check this each time you have a book coming out, because rates change. You don’t want to budget for last year’s rates and everyone’s rates have gone up.
Ok, I understand money is tight, so you want to start with the no cost marketing first. I have a few ideas to get you started. I know you already have a website because you’re an in the know author and you know you can’t be an author these days without a website or blog.
Things To Do On Your Site
Articles are a good way to show readers you can write. It also can be used as a tool to teach others from your experiences.
Another way to keep your fans updated on what's happening with your writing career is through a newsletter. In the newsletter you want to feature all the current events happening in your career.
Many authors featuring their press kits online, it’s a quick way for the media and fans to get information about the author and their books.
Blogs are used as diaries, or an everyday tool to communicate with your fans. You can even invite others to make comments on your blog.
Another great way to communicate with your readers, they can post message and to their surprise you can answer them. This is an excellent tool to get feedback on your books.
Chat rooms are another way to communicate with your readers. You can host monthly chats and see your readership build.
You can use your site or the chat room to host workshops. On the site, they are articles you post weekly or monthly (remember you're trying to bring the readers back).
Always have a page that features your books and a way for readers to purchase them, either from you (autographed of course) or through an online store. Visitors always want to buy the book after reading an excerpt. You want them to buy your book, so don't forget to offer them a chance to.
Contests are a great way to bring people to your site. Everybody loves to win something. Feature a contest each month.
What you give as a prize will depend on your budget.
• An autograph book
• A theme goody filled basket
• A trip
• Gift certificates
• Book excerpts
EMAIL MAILING LIST
Have a link on your site for those visitors who want to keep up with what's happening with their favorite author. Send out messages about your book, reviews, chapter excerpts etc.
This is an important feature in your marketing plan. You are trying to build your email list. You can do a lot of marketing with this list, so the bigger it is the better.
• Eblasts – send out announcements to your list. Introduce your new book, post a excerpt, tell them where you’re having your next book signing, or guest blog
OTHER PEOPLE SITES
Every writer has online friends and some of these friends have their own sites. Here a few things you can do on their sites.
• Guest Blogger
• Monthly Columnist
• Write an Article
• Host a workshop
• Book Discussion
• Blog tours
• Make comments on other blogs. Always include a signature line.
There are tons of review sites too many to list, so I’d suggest doing a google search and researching them. You want to find the sites that feature your genre. Don’t waste your time and theirs by sending your book if it’s not the type of genre they review.
Researching takes time, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Postage is not cheap so you want to make sure you’re sending your books to the right sites. Check their guidelines and see if they accept ARC, galleys, books or ebooks. Choose the most cost effective for you.
Most online magazine offer free promotions such as interviews (including SORMAG), start with that as a way to approach them. Check their guidelines and see the best way to contact them. Some might want to do an interview the month your book comes out, some might not have a set time. If you’re trying to get an interview the month your book releases, you need to know this information. (Again this is when the research comes in hand.)
This is the new way to promote online. I suggest you find at least two social networks you enjoy and use them as a way to market your book.
You can send out links to your blogs, articles, excerpts etc.
This is where your marketing budget comes into play. If you’ve done your research as I suggested, you know where you want to spend your money. Now I’m going to offer a few advice to help your promotion last.
Don’t buy all your ads in one month. Yes your book releases in June, but you want to market it until it is off the shelf. Now this advice doesn’t work if you’re a category writer. You only have one month to plug your book; however I still say don’t use that one month as your only time to market.
Spread your promotion over a three month plan. I’ve learned repeat promotion works for keeping your book in front of the reader.
Introduce your book to the readers, it’s about to be release, you want them to see what it looks like, what it is about and when it comes out.
Release month – Again show what it looks like, what it is about, let them know it is available NOW.
After the release – If the book is still available, again show what it looks like, what it is about and where they can find it.
If your book isn’t a category you can promote for the rest of the year. People are always looking for something to read. Maybe they didn’t see your promotion when it released. Remember you want to keep your book in front of the readers.
There are many sites that offer online promotion (SORMAG included) they have something that fits every budget. Look at your budget and see where you can promote your book.
Before I end, I have to offer two things that have helped me tremendously with helping promote writers.
A signature line – I have met many authors because of their signature line. Always include a signature line that includes your website.
Contact Info – I’m always surprised about how many authors don’t include contact info on their web site. I’ve missed opportunities to interview them because there was no way to contact them. Always include some way for people to contact you. Email or guestbook.
Also remember you want to build relationships, working with promotional sites with each of your books helps build a relationship. They want to help you promote your books and they will work with you and your budget.
Here are a few things to get you started on your online marketing. Remember we can’t buy your book if we don’t know about it.
LaShaunda C. Hoffman is the host of SORMAG’s online conference and the editor of SORMAG. Her motto, the first promotion is on me(interview) the second one is on you. Need help in your online promotion, let SORMAG help you.
- I believe in promoting authors and their books. Let me introduce you and your books to online readers.
I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.
I’m available for:
Online promotion coaching
Contact me at:email@example.com