At the end of your eBook, place a link(s) that directs readers to where they can buy additional books of yours. This is one of the best tips I’ve read recently online (apologies for not remembering where I read it), and it makes complete sense. Readers are most apt to buy a book of yours if they’ve just read one and loved it. I can remember lots of times when I closed a book, leaned back and thought, Wow, that was good, and went to the bookstore to check out more things from that author (Dan Brown comes to mind). The best way to capitalize on that high in the eBook world is to have a link at the end of your eBook that brings readers to a book retailing website — Amazon, for example, if it’s a Kindle book. This way, they can buy another one of your books immediately — sort of like an impulse buy at the supermarket checkout, the well-I’m-here-anyway-so-I-may-as-well-buy-it kind of thinking. Chances are if readers really like your book, they will find their way to Amazon or Barnes & Noble on their own, but there’s nothing wrong with pointing them in the right direction.
Okay, folks, this one is easy: If you’re already out there promoting your paperback or eBook, all you have to do is keep on doing what you’re doing and now throw your audiobook into marketing mix as well. What should you be doing? Most, if not all, of the following:
Create social media pages: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google Plus — wherever it is you find you get the most mileage from your posts (remember, too much promotion can turn friends and followers off, so post wisely). You can also syndicate your content so that you can post to multiple accounts simultaneously.
Create a blog: There’s been a lot of debate lately on whether writers should bother with blogging, whether blogging is helpful as a promotional tool for writers. I started this blog in March 2010 not as a promotional tool, but as a way to help write myself out of a writer’s block and to network with other writers. (It worked.) Readers of this blog will know that I rarely use it for promotional purposes — Yes, I have my book info in the sidebar and I mention Baby Grand all the time but the blog is more informational than promotional.
Create a dialogue: Spend time reading other people’s blogs and social media posts. Not only do you learn a heck of a lot, but I’ve found that people find their way to my book simply by reading my comments or viewpoints and then clicking my gravatar.
Create a website: This is a MUST. All authors should have a “home base,” so to speak, one place where readers can go to find out everything they need to know about you and your books. Additionally, a recent blog post by Shelli Johson suggests you should have a media kit available on your website, which will make it easier for others (newspaper editors, bloggers, TV producers, etc.) to get your bio, head shot, book jacket and other info readily. Excellent advice.
Create a mailing list: Give readers and potential readers the opportunity to sign up to hear about your news. I use Constant Contact for my mailing list needs.
Create videos: Create a YouTube channel and develop promotional videos for your book. These can include man-on-the-street videos featuring the author, or Q&As or book trailers. Whatever you think will help people find you and generate interest in your work.
Well, that winds up this week’s celebration of the premiere of the Baby Grand audiobook. If you have any other promotional ideas for your books, audio or otherwise, I’d love to hear them. Have a great weekend!
As the publishing industry undergoes tremendous upheaval and change — mostly because of the arrival of eBooks and self-publishing — there has been lots of talk about the role of the literary agent in all of this.
As readers of this blog know, I secured representation for Baby Grand in January 2010. And even though two years later I decided to self-publish my debut novel, I’ve said this before: Having my agent for those two years was invaluable, and Baby Grand is a FAR better novel having gone through the traditional publishing process in the early stages. Why, you ask. Not because my agent helped me to write Baby Grand or gave me ideas or even did “light editing,” as I’ve seen a literary agent’s “role” described on websites. My agent actually did no editing at all.
What she did do — among other things — is similar to what is depicted in this scene from Walk the Line, the 2005 film based on the early life and career of country music artist Johnny Cash and starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Here, Cash and his band/friends are auditioning for a record label executive, who is explaining to them what he needs in order to sell their music. He’s not asking them to be something they’re not. He’s not asking them to sing the songs HE wants them to sing. What he does is what I think a good agent does for writers — pushes them. Pushes them to dig deep down and find their true voice. Pushes them when they think they have nothing else to give.
So while, yes, there are sure to be changes in the industry regarding agents’ role in the writer/publisher relationship, to me it seems the core of the writer/agent relationship will always stay the same.
“You may get a bad review. Take it professionally, please.” So advises today’s featured author Emma Woodock who discusses the road to publication for her debut novel, Darklands.
Name: Emma Woodcock
Name of book: Darklands
Book genre: Young adult fantasy
Date published: August 2011 (eBook), April 2012 (paperback)
Publisher: Feed a Read
What is your day job? Web designer
What is your book about? Fifteen-year-old Sophie is not the most popular girl at school. She’s not thin enough, she’s not pretty enough, and she’s way too interested in math and physics to be even remotely cool. So when she finds herself mysteriously transported into another world where it never rains, the sun always shines, the people all think she’s fantastic and their impossibly handsome King dotes on her, she can barely believe her luck. But Sophie begins to realize that all is not as well as it seems in the Darklands. Why are all the visiting delegations so angry with the king? What is the mysterious millenniversary everyone keeps talking about? And quite what is Sophie’s role in it all? As the seemingly idyllic Darklands reveals its grim secrets, the fate of both worlds relies on Sophie escaping the despotic king and finding her way back home—preferably without turning the universe inside out.
Why did you want to write this book? The initial idea was that I wanted to write about something sinister occurring in an incongruously beautiful, serene setting. My first point of reference was the 1975 film, Picnic at Hanging Rock. There is something very powerful and unsettling about that story, particularly how it remains unresolved. I echoed that in the prologue to Darklands, in which a school girl disappears while playing in the woods on a bright, sunny day. You don’t find out anything more about her until right near the end of the book.
Did you conduct any kind of research in order to write this book (visit certain locales, etc.)? Very little research was needed for Darklands, as it takes place in a small town very like the town I grew up in, and in a fantasy world, where I could make up the rules. On the other hand, my next novel Kikimora takes place in sixteenth century Hungary and is largely concerned with mining. I’m in the middle of the second draft, and I still find myself regularly having to do extra research. It’s been really hard work, and perhaps the hardest part is knowing when to ignore the reality and just go with what makes it a good story. Too much harsh realism just doesn’t sit well in this sort of story.
What motivates you to write? I love telling stories. I love magical worlds and alternate ways of looking at the universe. I love speculation—what if the world was like that instead of like this? What if…? Writing is the best job in the world. Well, I say job. It’s more voluntary work at the moment…
My goal for the sponsorship was to introduce Baby Grand to readers who have never heard of the book or of me or my blog — to connect with complete strangers who might enjoy a good thriller. And, hey, if I could make a little money too, even better.
Kindle Nation Daily is a popular promotional choice for Kindle authors (when I purchased the sponsorship back in June there were only two dates left for August). KND offers all kinds of sponsorships, including daily and weekly options, as well as packages, that run from about $30 and up, and their newsletters and websites connect with tens of thousands of readers.
The sponsorship I purchased, eBook of the Day, is priced at $159.99. A bit steep. So right off the bat, I knew there was a good chance that I might not recoup my investment since I had planned on selling Baby Grand at the promotional price of $1.99 that day, which meant that I’d need to sell about 270 books (since Amazon offers 35 percent royalties for books priced under $2.99) to break even.
Yesterday was the last day of my three-month exclusivity agreement with Amazon’s KDP Select (Baby Grand made its debut as part of the program on May 23). For those who don’t know about the program, when you sign on to KDP Select, you agree to sell your eBook only in the Kindle format (you can continue selling your paperbacks anywhere you wish). In exchange for this agreement, you are given some marketing assistance, including several free promotional days, where you can basically give your book away, and also your book is included in the Kindle Lending Library — every time an Amazon Prime member (and there are oodles of them) “borrows” your book, Amazon pays you a royalty.
When I agreed to participate in the program, I looked at it as a limited release of my novel, much like an independent film might be first shown in New York and Los Angeles before going wide, and as a way to cultivate a following in the Kindle community while taking advantage of additional promotional help from Amazon.
Overall, I was satisfied with the results of KDP Select, particularly with a mass email intended for thriller lovers that included my book. Yippee!
But, in the end, I decided to leave the program after my first go-round. Here’s why:
Hey, gang! I normally don’t write two blog posts in one day — in fact, this is a first! — but I just wanted to let my readers know that today Baby Grand is Kindle Nation Daily’s eBook of the Day and that, in celebration of this lovely event, my debut novel will be offered on Amazon at the promotional price of $1.99. That’s one whole dollar off the eBook’s regular retail price (hey, you can buy two marble notebooks at Target with the money saved!). Enjoy the rest of your weekend and summer! And thanks, as always, for reading Making ‘Baby Grand.’ I hope you find the information helpful and interesting.
When I first wrote about book trailers back in November 2010, they were a growing trend in independent book promotion. Now they’re pretty standard as part of a marketing strategy, as many indies and traditionally published authors have them.
That is, except me.
Last week, my writer-friends in the Long Island Writers Group were urging me to do a book trailer for Baby Grand.
Truth be told, I’ve been hesitant. Here’s why:
- A professionally done book trailer costs $$$$. Over the last few years, I’ve seen tons of book trailers, many of them not very good or effective. And I really think a bad book trailer reflects poorly (just like a film trailer would) on its book, which might be incredibly good. So if I were to do a book trailer, I’d want it to be professionally done. That means it’s going to cost me some $$$$, which leads me to…
- Are they worth the investment? I know that lots of books have book trailers, but I’m still not sure how effective they are in actually the selling the book. I can’t think of anyone who says, I’m thinking of reading Book ABC. Let me look for the book trailer first (and they have to find it!) and see what I think. Most people just hop on over to the book’s Amazon page and take a look at the book cover, synopsis and reviews. At least that’s what I do. I rarely look at a book trailer, even if there’s one right there on the Amazon book page or author page.
However, I do have to say that there have been book trailers I’ve stumbled upon that I found to be quite effective — meaning they made me not only want to read the book, but go and buy the book.
Here’s two of them:
One of my favorite things is hearing about the publishing experiences of other writers. Today, author Carole Bellacera tells us why she chose to self-publish her novels after having had deals in the past with traditional publishing houses.
I admit it. I was a snob. Back when I finally sold my first novel to a major New York house, I looked down my nose at anyone who’d self-published their books. For thirteen years, I’d struggled to sell a novel, coming close a few times, but always falling short. But even then, after working with three different agents, and suffering years of rejection, I held fast to my belief that if I had to stoop to self-publishing, I wouldn’t be a “real author.”
And now here I am, almost 30 years later, a self-published author. How did that happen? Well, it’s a rather familiar story to many authors. After my fourth book came out by the New York publisher, my editor left for greener pastures, leaving me an unwanted orphan. No one else, apparently, saw in my work what my editor had, and all support dried up. Of course, my sales sucked swamp water, which, I’m sure, accounted for the lack of excitement on Fifth Avenue.
Burned out and discouraged, I took a few years off from the business side to renew my love affair with what was important to me – writing. I wrote two complete novels and then waded back into the quick sands of publishing – only to find that I was starting over from the very beginning. Agent hunting, editor hunting… rejection followed by rejection. Having a track record didn’t seem to make a difference.
That’s when I decided to take back control of my career. I was sick of being told “no, your work is not worthy.” I knew it was worthy. I was the same writer I’d been when I sold four novels which earned raving reviews, if not sales. So I got my rights back from my New York publisher and put my backlist out on Amazon’s Kindle program. But I didn’t stop there. I’m in the process now of reissuing all my backlist in print, too. And then I took the two unsold books I’d been shopping to New York and put them out through Amazon’s CreateSpace.
Here’s a sampling of some of the advance praise for Baby Grand. Thank you to all of you who took the time to read my debut novel. I am grateful for your kindness and humbled by your kind words.
- “A perfect thriller from Dina Santorelli—heart-stomping, emotion-packed and utterly surprising. Readers will be gripped by the tightly woven story and richly layered characters. A terrific read!”
—Ellen Meister, author of The Other Life
- “What an enjoyable read! It pulled me in at the beginning and didn’t let go until the last page. Very difficult to put down! I’m already looking forward to the author’s next book.
—Joseph Mugnai, publisher, Family magazine
- “A superb debut for Dina Santorelli. A well-crafted novel that’s also a page-turner. Baby Grand’s a winner; you won’t want to put it down.”
—Julia Markus, critically acclaimed biographer and winner of the Houghton Mifflin Literary Award for her novel Uncle
- “Dina Santorelli has the gift of a natural storyteller, and Baby Grand sweeps along at a frantic pace, plunging the reader into a tale with wonderfully real characters you care about. It’s very human, very exciting, and absolutely engrossing.”
—Chris Nickson, author of the Richard Nottingham series of historical mysteries