Thursday, March 15, 2012

Promo, Marketing and Sales! Oh my!!!

I'm a firm believer in the maxim: The best promo is to write the next book. So that's what I focus on--writing more books. I also focus on enjoying the process and having fun. If I have fun writing my books, readers will have fun reading them, right?

I only do bare-bones promotion. When I publish a novel or novella or short story, I send out announcements on FB, Twitter and my mailing list. I make an "announcement/book page" on the Book Bazaar thread on the Kindle Boards. I post the cover, blurb and excerpt on my blog and my website with links to buy from whichever site the reader chooses. Then I move on and start writing the next book. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.

Marketing is more important than promotion, IMO. A great story (or a cute little romance, in my case), a catchy title, a professional-looking cover, an enticing blurb, a brand, an excerpt that makes the reader want more, clean copy and formatting--these are all things within my control to some extent. I can set these things in order when publishing the book, then move on and start the next project.

That's not to say these things can't be tweaked or revamped along the way. Last December, I revamped all my covers and some of my blurbs. Now my books have a unified look;  an "Anne Marie Novark" brand, if you will.

Pricing is also marketing (at least, IMO). You have to find your sweet spot. I've finally gotten to the point where I can charge $2.99 for my novel-length works and $0.99 for the shorter works. I have the first book in The Diamondback Ranch Series at 99 cents to make it easier for readers to try it out. I have 2 or 3 more books to write in this series. Readers are actually wanting these books ASAP. Life is good. *grin*

Another marketing tool I take advantage of and put into place when publishing is including links in the backs of all my books for all or most of my other books. I want to make it as easy as possible for readers who enjoy reading one of my books to be able to find and read another as soon as they finish.

An additional marketing tool I put into place is including the blurb in the front matter of my books. Many times, readers load their eReaders with many many titles. I want them to easily remember why they chose one of my books when they begin searching their stored list of books for something to read. I want them to see my title, read the short blurb and think: "Oh, yeah! This sounds good!" then start reading.

Keywords and categories are extremely important marketing tools. You need to figure out which search words and phrases readers put in when looking for books like yours to read and make sure you tag your books accordingly. I've played around with keywords and categories for months. Finding the best combination helps Amazon's and B&N's search engines and algorithms to place and position your books, so they do a big chunk of your marketing for you. Automatically. Technology is a great thing, isn't it? 

Here are a few ways I've gotten my name "out there:"

*  I've written articles for my RWA Chapter Newsletter.
*  I've taught online workshops.
*  I host two BIAM Writathons a year. (April Madness 2012 anyone?)
*  I leave comments on blogs that I read. (I actually need to do this more.)
*  I participate at the Writers' Cafe on the Kindle Boards and have clickable book covers in my signature.
*  I have links to my website and blog in my email signatures.

I publish my titles across as many platforms as possible. The more titles you have out there all over the web, the bigger your digital footprint, and the better chance you have of readers discovering your books.

Naturally, luck plays a part in being discovered. I think people can help make their own luck by writing more and more books and adding to their arsenal.  We're in this for the long haul. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Ebooks don't go stale. Keep writing, so when you finally get lucky, your readers will have an impressive backlist to read from their new favorite author.

Happy Writing!!!

Anne Marie   :)


Lynda Chance said...

Well said, Anne Marie! I do love your new "Anne Marie Novark brand!" It's gorgeous. I can't wait to read Tyler's story!

Chanta said...

Thank you for sharing these tips. I especially like the one about including clickable covers in your signature as well adding a blurb to the front matter of your books. These are simple tips (which I never thought of!) but they can make a huge impact on an author's promotions. Also, I like your tips on Facebook. With my first book, I was on Facebook ALL the time. It wore me out. Now, I just finished book 6 and I can't even stand to log on. I find myself stuck on there for at least 30 minutes to an hour. As a result, I don't promote on Facebook anymore. It's become more of a tedious chore. However, I think I'll take your advice and get on there once to promote, then be done with it. I agree with you that it takes up too much precious writing time when you're constantly on Facebook. Good luck with your series!

Chanta Rand
Author of You've Got Male!

AnneMarie Novark said...

Hey Lynda,

I can't wait for Tyler's story, either.

Thanks for stopping by!!!

AnneMarie Novark said...

Hey Chanta,

Glad the tips seem helpful. I have to confess, I visit Facebook a couple of times a day to see what friends and family are up to. I like to post photos of my garden and stuff, too.

Good luck with your new book!!!

Cheryl Bolen said...

As I've been saying, you're one smart chick! I so totally agree with everything you're doing.

And I think I need to be in your April BIAM!

AnneMarie Novark said...

Okay, Cheryl!!!

I'll be sending notices about April Madness 2012 very soon. Look for it in your email inbox.

It's going to be great!!!

Lisa Grace said...

Anne Marie,

Congratulations on selling over a 100,000 books. You know what you're doing and give some great advice in this article. Keep us updated. :)
Now back to writing for me.

SD Bancroft said...

I have a newbie questions for you do you make the clickable bookcovers? I love all of your suggestions and want to put them into action myself. June has given me some of the tips you've passed on to her and I can't wait to
Thanks in advance.

AnneMarie Novark said...

Hey SD,

I have a blogpost about making clickable pictures. Check it out:

How to Make a Clickable Image