Saturday, August 29, 2009


Today's panel member are here to talk about promotion.
What works for them and what didn't.

LaConnie Taylor-Jones, Tinisha Johnson, Abiola Abrams,
Cydney Rax, Deborah Copeland,
Tiffany Amber Stockton, LaShaunda Hoffman

Offer your promotional tips.


Pam Perry, PR Coach said...

Ok, Promotion rule #1. Don't believe YOUR OWN hype.

Cydney Rax said...

I'm finding that promotion was easier in the early years, when you're a new author. Now that I'm on my fourth novel, the game has drastically changed. Marketing-savvy writers are taking advantage of every promotional opportunity such as Twitter, Facebook, email blasts, etc. However, because there is an abundance of writers and so many people are duplicating promotional efforts, you wonder what is the most effective method of promoting. There's so much competition that standing out is a challenge. Personally, I try not to worry too much about it. You only hope that your faithful readers will find your books, and you trust that good ole word of mouth still works.

LaConnie said...

Hello All:

My fellow panelists Pam and Cydney (hello my literary friends) offered some wonderful advise.

There are so many different promotion venues for authors to investigate. However, in doing so, remember, NEVER promote yourself into bankruptcy. Look for ‘outside the box’ ways to introduce your book to readers and members of the literary community.

Abiola said...

Hey People! This is so exciting to dialogue here.

I'm Abiola Abrams, author of Dare. I thought that when I got a publishing deal with Simon and Schuster that my job was over-- but the real work had just begun!! Rule: Don't expect ANYONE to market your book better than you. Looking forward to dialoging with you today.

Hello Pam, Cydney & LaConnie- well said! Thanks Lashaunda!

Readers can find background on my work at and also hit me on Twitter @abiolatv if I'm not answering your questions quickly enough! ;-)

LaShaunda said...

Welcome to the panel members. Thanks for being here today.

Everyone has posted some excellent advice and I have to agree.

This is your book always remember that. If you want someone to know about it, you have to tell them. Word of mouth, promotion online and offline.

Learn what your publishing company is doing for you in the promotion area. You don't want to duplicate their efforts.

Work with the publicists, sometimes they will work with you if they see you have a marketing plan you plan on working.

LaShaunda said...

As I said in my workshop on online marketing. Build relationships. I love helping promote authors. I love working with those who support SORMAG.

I understand no budget and I try to work with my SORMAG authors. I know without you there is no SORMAG.

My biggest pet peeve are the authors who want free promotion every book and never support you. That's not fair to those author who do support.

Everyone wants free but everyone can't get free. If you had a free promotion the first book, think about paying for the second book. Maybe the third book will be free.

Don't expect an interview for each book, when you're not supporting the promotional site.

Don't try to take advantage of those who are trying promote you. They have to stay in business too.

LaShaunda said...

What types of promotions have you used that have been successful for you?

LaShaunda said...

Have any of you used web cams as a form of promotion?

LaShaunda said...

Are any of you using twitter chats or facebook groups for promotion?

Dawn Michelle said...

Dawn Michelle of Dream Relations, PR & Literary Consulting Agency in NYC--two projects we are working on now are being promoted based on the subject matter and plots in the book.
1.Lesbian fiction novel, author is attending Pride events in ATL and girl party promoters are hosting book party events.We are promoting to a demographic based on the book's main characters.
Pulling Me Back by GStarr on sale now
2.Upcoming book due Oct is based on a reality show story line. We are hiring actors to perform skits from the books drama scenes at book signing events,we are following and promoting to those who love reality TV. We Twitter with those who watch RHOA, Real Chance at Love, Bachelor,Millionaire Matchmaker,etc. We tagged the book The Best Realit Show You've Ever Read.
My Husband's Fiance by Kaira Denee Oct 20 2009

I a publicist who is cost conscience of spennding client money.I love grassroots campaigns.

LaShaunda said...


Thanks so much for stopping by. Please make sure to leave your contact info and website, so the authors can get in touch.

LaShaunda said...

I've found conferences are a good way to meet new readers.

So budget for at least one conference a year. Take plenty of promotional items to pass out and make sure it includes your contact info.

Don't have the budget for a conference. Check online. I host the SORMAG conference every other year - 2011 is the next one. Even if you're not on the panel, leaving comments gets you some publicity.

Tee Royal hosted one last year and I think will do another next year.

Linda Beed is hosting a marketing conference on her site.

There are a few other sites that do conferences. Do a google search and find them and offer your services.

Some have free and paid advertisement. Support the conferences and introduce yourself to new readers.

Dawn Michelle said...


We haven't used a web cam as of yet, but we have done webisodes to promote "a day in the life" profiles. Fans like to see more of authors, so we show authors preparing for book releases, doing charity work, etc.

We create author videos and post on youtube.

These usually produce online sales via the author's website.

A couple years ago for Mommy's Angel by Miasha, we gave free icees at HBF to all who purchased a copy of her book. We wrapped the icee truck with her posters.It was a 93 degree day.

Don't hesitate to ask community businesses to collaborate with you to promote your book. Most are willing.

LaShaunda said...


I like that day in the life concept. What did you use to tape it?

Can you provide a link so we can see what you mean?


Anonymous said...

Book promotion is key to the success of your book. After you’ve written your book, you realize, or at least I realized the hard work had just begun. I’ve been trying to attend more conferences, and I like the idea of doing that. Since I live in Denver, Colorado, I don’t get to travel as much as I’d like due to plane and hotel costs.

I frequent John Kremer’s site a lot. He is like the guru of book promotion. I’ve learned a lot from his website and I also have his book as well. It’s entitled 1001 Ways to Market Your Book. There is a wealth of information in that book. It’s kind of overwhelming, but I’m just trying to take a step at a time and try some of the tips and suggestions he has one page at a time.

I’m on like my 5th book, (4 published so far) and what I’m coming to learn is that you have to have a target market/audience. When my first book came out, I made a huge mistake and wasted a lot of my time. And that mistake was thinking that my target audience was everyone. I posted info about my book everywhere and anywhere, and some of these places were really just a waste of my time, now that I look back on it. I’ve been doing a really good job trying to market to a target audience and branding myself as an author. I’ve also been building up my email list. And that has proved to be a big success. I’ve also been getting involved in more local community events. That has been a success as well.

Tinisha Johnson

Dawn Michelle said... visit Miasha TV.

You can always find camera ppl at colleges use those in training and also community access TV...I build relationships with those camera folks.They can do better filming and editing then I can.
FB:Dream Relations
Office 347-715-4921

I worked with Miasha to release all of her books and her first stage play. Her first interview was BET and Wendy Williams.

Secret Society was about a subculture. You have to write about different stuff.

Check out her EPK

Author, Deborah J. Copeland said...

Hi, everyone

I thought this article would be helpful to self published authors, as well as debut authors.

Creative Marketing Tricks for the Self Published Author

Let's face it. If you're an author who has just published your first book, you are completely, and I mean completely, on your own when it comes to promoting and marketing your book. Many first time self-published authors struggle for years trying to gain exposure for their book. If you're like any newbie author, who's green to the book marketing game (and believe me, it is a game) chances are the first thing you did was race down to the nearest bookstore, or goggle and purchased a few books on "How to market your book", which is all fine and dandy, providing those techniques work. Here's a few of the common book marketing tactics:

- Sending out a Press Release

- Purchasing Targeted Mailing List

- Book Signings

Sometimes these tactics work. Sometimes they don't.

The big question is: Is there some trick to gaining maximum exposure for your book? Well, there is. And, it certainly isn't the same run of the mill tactics you read in those marketing books. As a self published author, I've learned how to think "Way out of the box" while marketing my book for a year. Here are a few fun and creative tactics I pulled off to market my book that one) Increased my book sales, and two) Gained me maximum exposure, and three) landed me a Literary Agent.

One of the things I did to promote my book was create a Character newsletter, not an ezine news letter that your send out to thousands of people on cyberspace, which ends up in someone's spam file. I designed my own newspaper based on the title of my book and wrote stories and columns involving the characters. My book is for the Young Adult Market, so it was pretty easy and fun to do. Considering the genre of your book, you would have to brainstorm and come up with your own newspaper, title, and topic stories that relate to your book and characters. After creating my own newspaper, I distributed it to grocery stores. A lot of grocery stores will let you house monthly free newspapers in there store. All you have to do is ask. They're either going to tell you yes, or no, so why not give it a try?

Author, Deborah J. Copeland said...

Creative Marketing Tricks (continued)

I also made visits to all the local libraries and high schools and got their permission to distribute my newspaper there. After that, I started targeting out of state libraries and teen affiliations as well. It's good to start with the regional states. In about a month's time of distributing my newspaper, I starting getting emails and calls from some of the librarians and teachers asking me if I can come to their library and schools and talk to the teens there. The Character newspapers had generated such a positive response from teenagers that they wanted to know more about the book and the author. Of course, I was ecstatic! Needless to say, my Character newsletter pivoted me right into doing Teen Seminars.

Another creative marketing tactic I did was launching "Book Parties". Instead of the regular Author Speaker Event/Book signing, throw a party! Most public libraries will let you use their community rooms for a small fee, usually under a $100. Now, the trick here is to use those connections that you made with the libraries and the schools, or if you haven't made any connections, you can still utilize the libraries for your book. It is considered a community business event. The neat thing about having your Book Party at a Public Library is that the libraries will let you post your "Party Flyers" right there on the counters and bulletin boards where patrons can see them when they come in. A few things to do when you have booked your Book Party:

1) Hire a D.J. or a band. Make sure you have some form of music.

2) Give away free marketing materials, like bookmarks, personalized character T' shirts and posters (that's another thing you can do, but I will discuss that in my next article)

3) Cater food. You don't have to spend too much. Pizza and soda is always good. And,

4) Now, here's the kicker- Have a contest where two, or three people will win an autographed copy of your book. Of course, you will be selling and signing books at your little table throughout the party! Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it? Well, it is a lot of fun, and it's also profitable and effective, giving your book maximum exposure. Who knows, if your Book Party turned out to be quite the talk of the town, you just might end up in your town's local paper the next morning.

Creating Character newsletters and throwing a Book Party was just a tidbit of the many other creative tricks I did to bring maximum exposure to my book. Hopefully, these creative marketing tricks will give your book a boost in gaining exposure for your book. Remember, when those old marketing strategies aren't working for you, sometimes you just got to think "Way out the box" to make great things happen.

Deborah J. Copeland is the Author of the new teen series, The Kids at Latimar High. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Library Science from UMA and a MFA in Creative Writing from UCLA.

She currently resides in Southern, California, where she works with troubled-teens and enjoys writing contemporary/Hip Lit fiction for the young adult market.

Cydney Rax said...

So far I have resisted joining Twitter as an author (smile). Very slow to jump on that type of bandwagon. I do, however, enjoy meeting readers on MySpace. It is through that website that I've learned the readers range from 15 year old girls to women in their fifties. Also, I want to say that my publisher Three Rivers Press does a pretty good job promotion wise. They contact all the major newspapers and magazines. Sometimes my books get coverage, sometimes not. I've learned there are no guarantees no matter how 'big' or 'small' you are.

Oh, also, I want to say is one of the worst feelings is wondering if there's anyone out there. You're promoting and doing this and that and it's hard to tell if you're always getting the message across.

Hey fellow writers, good to see you blogging about this topic. Let's keep it going!

LaShaunda said...


You are right on the money. You must know your target audience or you will spend a lot of time promoting to no one.

When you're doing your research, look for the sites that promote your type of books.

You don't want to promote on a science fiction site if your book is mystery.

Abiola said...

DO have a website as your home base. If you can't afford one, set up a facebook fan page for free. If you have a little bit of money to spare, has a build it yourself program which is what I used to create my site.

Think out of the box and be creative. Let every in person event you do live on in cyberspace with a video.

Your book trailer doesn't have to be an epic-- 30 seconds telling us about your project ROCKS.

Create a virtual tour by finding the 20 highest profile sites/blogs in your genre/niche area.

With everyone that you enlist in your strategy think about how you can help them...

Abiola said...

In addition to my own home site, I am on myspace, twitter, facebook, tumblr, flickr and friendfeed at @abiolatv; and I am also on Youtube and Blackplanet at /planetabiola. I have found social media to be tremendously helpful. Make sure every link, tweet, correspondence you send out is on brand. (Whatever that may mean for you!) I also have a blog on

I have also found it helpful to link up with other authors who had similar books released around the same time. I started by inviting them to events I programmed for myself at Borders, WalMart and Barnes and Noble. I also went on a 5 City tour with Renee Daniel Flagler's Divas of Literature.

I also thought out of the box-- since my book took place in the world of hip hop, I enlisted friends who were in a live band to collaborate with me on a reading with music that worked everywhere from Hue Man Book store in Harlem to Barnes and Noble at Lincoln Center.

I booked these all myself and then respectfully included my publisher's PR person on all correspondence. Although this was her job, for me it was more productive to make MY project work rather than complaining about everything that she was NOT doing or what she was saying was impossible. Then she remained an ally.

Black Enterprise in January 09 wrote a brief article about how I used (to sell books) that you may find helpful:

Unknown said...

Hi, all.
I'm Dee Stewart, owner of DeeGospel PR. I know just about everyone here. Hi, ladies!

What types of promotions have you used that have been successful for you?

I create personalized plans for my clients. What I've found to be good for one client doesn't work for another. There are many factors to promo campaigns: the book's readership, forecasting the psychographics of a reader, the current economy, their budget, the state of publishing industry, region, the author's personal commitments, even the publishing houses marketing plan for the author.

I did report a few things that my clients have done proved successful in a magazine article that was published last month. Here is a link to do that.
4 Ways to Use Crowd Sourcing to Tap into Your Ideal Book Club

One case in particular, regarding C. Kelly Robinson, who transitioned into a pen name, Xavier Knight, when he changed genres. Grand Central's Publicist team for him, Tanisha, Nick, Anna worked with me to bridge his old readers unto his knew project. We created a reader's advisory panel of his past book club president fans and introduced them to Xavier Knight. This process has helped him, because this year he has more family responsibilities, so he couldn't tour and be out publicly or online as much as other authors could. We used a grassroots project to get the word about his latest title, which is now picking up ground with church book clubs.

Have any of you used web cams as a form of promotion?

Internet tv has become the second highest activity online users participate in. Therefore, I use webcams members of my speaker's bureau and for non-fiction authors, who have speaking platforms. However, I think it is imperative that fiction authors jump on the web tv bandwagon.

My friend, client and former assistant(lol) Shawneda Marks began a LiveStream channel called Faithful Folios to support Christian authors.

I uploaded a Skype for Bookclubs here that authors should also take note of. Skype for Book Clubs Link

Also I spoke briefly about web tv yesterday in my online marketing workshop here:

Are any of you using twitter chats or facebook groups for promotion?

This summer I have been holding a group coaching marketing mastermind session. Ironically last week we discussed Facebook Fan Pages and the tools authors need to use to be more effective.

From the discussion and from the author's old pages I saw that their was misunderstanding of the platform and a lot of authors copycatting what authors were doing, which is basically nothing.

If I can provide a tip for this discussion, it would be here. Social networks require you to actually network. Whether you use Facebook, ISeeColor, Prosperous, GoodReads, or Twitter if you don't have a committed focus and schedule to connect, if you don't have a mindset to be authentic, helpful and transparent, then none of those tools will work for you, they may hurt.

Yesterday on twitter I was chopping it up with a few people about an author (NYT bestselling author) who is on Twitter. I was pleasantly surprised that she would be on, because she is a recluse. I only see her during awards banquets and she oftentimes sits as close to the exit as possible. Well, a few twitbuds responded saying that the author never responds back to them. They were put off by her. So I encourage you. If you don't feel comfortable with SMS technology, don't feel that you have to be on there. I'd rather you continue to connect and build with the type of readers who love you most, then you go online(sort of go online) and offend. Because then the PR focus changes from promotion to crisis management.

Unknown said...


This tip can also expand into traditional promotion. If your publicist books you for events, then you need to do everything you can to honor the contract. If circumstances changes that, then you need to be business minded about backing out.

I actually speak to the publishing houses about my clients. They are watching the efforts I have made and what the author has done. If you hire an independent publicist like myself, and can't still follow through, your publishing house may think you do not value the thousands of dollars they invest in promoting your book. As weird as it may seem, your publicist is not a direct seller for your book, his her job is to present opportunities to introduce you to gatekeepers of your readership.

Unknown said...

I read through many of the comments here. Lashaunda you are doing a great job!! I'm gonna go take a nap for you now, hon. :)

Hey, Cydney and Pam!! Abiola are we following each other on Twitter? :)

LaShaunda said...


Thanks so much for participating.

When Dee speaks I listen LOL

She talked about twitter so much, I signed up to see what it was about and was hooked.

She is so right about participating. That's why I say participate in the networks you enjoy. If you don't enjoy it believe me it will show through.

Unknown said...

It will. And remember the freshness of most of these platforms are about three years, so don't get too hooked. developers are working on new sms services as we speak. lol

Unknown said...

Thank you ladies. All this information was helpful. I have learned so much.

I have one request. It may sound weird but it's something I struggle with. Although I haven't written a few books, I feel like I'm still an ordinary person so the whole signature thing with me doesn't stick.

Please can someone drill into me the importance of my signature to another person. Don't get me wrong it's a good feeling but why is it important to the reader or innocent bystander, you know.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good feeling by all means but it's like do you really want a signed copy of my book? Yes, but why?

There were these young kids out selling beads for donations for a non-profit. They got me and my dad for three bucks because each them had something different to give besides the beads. My dad and I walked back to the car and I said to him I wanted give the kids a bookmarker to give to his/her parent. So when I ave just one the bookmarker and said I'm an author and this is a book I wrote give this to your parent. The other two wanted one as well and then the other asked could I sign it please. Of course I did it with joy but I was like they wanted my sig wow!

just thought I'd share that.

AngBreidenbach said...

I blog on several blogs, am starting to write a lot more freelance, facebook, twitter...I try to interact. (I'm on myspace, but don't really like it much.) I'm also on Shoutlife and have let my shelfari lag seriously. I just don't have the time. I own two businesses, am taking online classes and life coach certification classes. I am also heavily volunteering as an officer with ACFW. Then there's the writing loops.

I feel inundated and saturated with social media and yet feel it's important. But I don't feel I have the time to interact as I wish I could and still have a life.

I need those ideas to be enriching time savers so I'm not just sending out those impersonal twitters or something like it.


Unknown said...

hi, angie. what you need is to retool your current social media design. there are so many things out there to use to build and maintain your brand. however, you can't do them all. if you drew a map of your online activity that contained cicrles for every account, inside the cirle you na.e thetool then define its purpose for your marketing campaign you will begin to see overlaps and many circles that serve no purpose accept that someone told you to b e there. to have clarity and focus about reaching your ideal client(if you're taking life coaching you understand my terminology. i'm taking classes, too) your social media design needs to look simple and be able to funnel one clear and important message about you to all platforms.

sms affords you the opp to be in many places at one time. you can funnel myspace and twitter into facebook as well as all of your blogs. decide where your online hub is. spend 80 percent of your time there amd 20 percent elsewhere.

one services i cant live without is it unites mosts sms accounts.

hope that helps

Unknown said...

i also want to add.

angie, whichever platform you feel most connected with and your readers talk to you the most and work that platform. social networking sites objective is for you to network. there's no humanly way you can dig in all those places.

it becomes tiring and aggravating. spend the bulk of your networking time having real conversations with your ideal readers.

Abiola said...

I am so proud to be involved in this forum. Please feel free to contact me anytime on any of my pages or my site Follow me and send me a tweet and I'll follow you back! I look forward to reviewing the questions and answers here and posting more thoughts. This is not an ending to this forum but a conversation is just beginning. Hit me up at press at planetabiola dot com and I would love to possibly interview you on the Planet Abiola Show or on my blog. Fastest way to get in touch though is to send an inquiry on facebook or twitter @abiolatv.

Anonymous said...

Here is a great chance to drive a large number of visitors to your blogs and websites for free.

Submit your websites, blogs, videos to and get 1000s of targeted visitors everyday for free. It also helps your websites/blogs gain valuable backlinks.

Let the other bloggers cast their votes to push your posts up for a greater visibility. Enjoy a free, huge traffic to your sites.



Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

About Me

My photo
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

Serving Our Community 365 Days a Year!