Category: Marketing


I’m not going to mention any names here. The purpose of this post isn’t to ball out anyone specific or be mean. But yes, obviously I have someone in particular in mind when I write about the subject matter of today.

Typically indie authors aren’t media or marketing gurus. It’s just not in our nature. But to be a successful indie author, we have to learn some marketing techniques and do our best to be our own PR guy. It’s not always fun but it’s what we must do for our books to be a success.

But there comes a time when maybe we cross that line from being a marketing genus to being a little creepy and if you do that, it could cost you some fans.

If you are lucky and write a great book that people love and more over fall in love with the characters of the book, you want to build on that and maybe you will do even better and hit big with a successful trilogy featuring those beloved characters.

That’s great! That’s beyond great … that’s freaking fantastic! That’s what we all strive for. But when you are done with those books and some time has passed, is it really a good idea to continue on with those characters or just let them die out as you work on your next series of books?

Let me be more specific … I once read a great triology that featured a male character that everyone loved and swooned over. Some people were like omg he’s my favorite book boyfriend. Okay so the author started pushing promotion of this character, I assume to further her sales of the trilogy.

Then I noticed she started having items made up featuring quotes from the book. Okay not bad. Then having items made about that character in general. Then all of the sudden it went a little further and the character suddenly had a facebook page all his own. Next thing I know I read happy birthday (character’s name).  Suddenly this fake character from a book was celebrating his birthday in real life?

This got me looking at the author’s own facebook page and I counted more than 32 different little items she had made up – various products with the guys name on it or about his character in the book. 32? Really?

The books have been out for a long time now and the author in question hasn’t released a single NEW book in well more than  a year. This whole time all she’s talked about was this fake male character from her last book. And for Christmas she wrote a short story about him.

It was all just so creepy and really made me wonder about the mental stability of the author and quite honestly I even stopped following her on Facebook and Goodreads over it. She didn’t seem to get that the time for this character had long since passed. Marketing is wonderful but there comes a time when you need to move on and write a new book already.

So the point I’m trying to make is, there comes a time when you can cross the line from smart marketing to mentally unstable. It’s just creepy the way she posts as him and wishes him happy thanksgiving and merry Christmas like he’s real. It’s not like the books came out last month or even 6 months ago.

So before you decide to develop some sort of marketing campaign you should really stop and ask yourself … is this brilliant or am I just being way to attached to fictional people?

Because if you do it wrong then those marketing efforts could end up costing you fans instead of getting you new ones.

Advertisements

NA romance stands for new adult romance, just as YA romance stands for young adult romance.

While young adult romance covers those teenagers (or young adults) in love, NA or new adult romance novels covers those who are typically a bit older, as in legal age (18) but still new to adult hood, so under 25. Usually those who are in college, not yet out there experiencing the real world and still figuring out their lives.

New Adult isn’t about young adults having explicit sexual encounters because there are quite a few NA romance novels without those. No it’s more about a classification of age. Young Adult = 18 and Under. New Adult = 18 to 25 (or so).

But again keep in mind there aren’t any hard and fast rules and it could vary from story to story, author to author. In the end it’s really just a marketing classification. A way for retailers and book bloggers to easily classify material for the type of reading it includes.

Oh and for the record, someone else asked me this recently too…. HEA means Happily Ever After. Most people who read romance novels expect them to have a HEA or happily ever after. It sort of defines the romance genre. Life can suck in your book, you can brutalize your character but in the end, most people who read romance novels of any sub-genre usually want that happily ever after.

I was on Google+ today and seen a story about a circle master and one about a lady who calls herself the circle queen. Then there are the guys who are all part of team follow back or follow trains on Twitter. These people all promise you a ton of “real” friends and followers for your social media accounts. And you know what? They actually work. You really do get a ton of them. But they are all 100% worthless to you.

All that does for you is boost your ego and lets you say “Hey I have 15,537 followers on twitter”. Umm okay. Good for you. But they aren’t fans of your work. They aren’t interested in buying your book. So what is the point?

Tell the truth … do you know what this says? “곰인형 눈 달고 옷감에 홀치기 하고 마늘까고 방법은 많음

Because when you join those team follow back people on twitter you are going to get a bunch of people tweeting out stuff like that. You won’t have a clue what they are tweeting and they probably won’t have a clue about what you are tweeting either. So really again I ask, what is the point? Other than the bragging rights. Because being able to brag about how many twitter followers you have makes you cool apparently.

I don’t know about you but I would rather have 200 real fans follow me than 10,000 fake ones who will do nothing for my career. Why in the world would anyone waste their time posting messages on twitter, Google+ and Facebook to people who don’t have THE slightest interest in your work? That’s just silly. All they wanted is the follower count.

So next time you are on your Google+ account and see someone telling you tricks to get more followers in your circles, ask yourself, WHY? What you want are people who are like you and it books and writing. Not a bunch of people who just want bragging rights about having X number of friends on the internet that don’t give two shits about what you have to say or what your next book would be about.

Take your time. Do it the right way.

To get more twitter followers (REAL FOLLOWERS) do this ……

Tweet every day at least once a day but sometimes as many as two or three times a day. The more the better. Tweet about real things that interest you, not just promotional messages. Tweet about books you are reading, TV shows you are watching and things you bought while shopping. Be a real person with real interests.

Follow others like you. The more people into books that you follow, the more others will be recommended by Twitter to follow you. Try adding 20 or 30 other authors and then find out book review blogs to follow on twitter.

Google+ is easier. Just search for author or book review blog and then add those people to your circles. Typically they will add you back. Again like with Twitter, post personal things. Talk about your writing but also talk about other things. Be a real person, not just a social media spammer.

I read a review recently that said they typically avoid contemporary romance novels because they often walk to closely to the line of chick lit books and that reader apparently doesn’t like that genre of books.

Chick is slang a common slang term for a women or girl and lit is the shortened version of literature. But then together and you have a genre of books that experts call Post Feminist Fiction. Which is simply a high brow way of saying, these are books about female empowerment. Sometimes the story is about romance, but not always. Sometimes the stories in the chick lit genre are about friends and family.

Think about Sex and the City, that is a perfect example of a chick lit type story. You have a strong female lead – Carrie Bradshaw and then her three friends. Their stories deal with every day women issues.

Today there are a long list of sub-genres of chick-lit books as well including Romance which is the most obvious but there is also Gothic, Christian, Young Adult and many more. The main idea though is the the book have a strong female lead who deals with whatever issue in a way that is empowering, making the female character more than just some poor helpless victim.

Someone once said that to be a successful author it’s like 10% writing,  90% marketing. This isn’t exactly all that off. I mean think about it … if you are the best writer in the world, how will anybody know if you don’t properly market your book?

That being said, today’s indie author question is, should I use Google Ad Words to promote my book?

Google will allow you to pay them money for every click they send you. So in theory that sounds like a great way to get people to find out about your book, right?

Well in theory, yes it does. But as I said before you should never spend more money than you could possibly make on your book to try and promote it.

As of right this very moment, Google is charging $1.68 (on average) to send a single person to your book sales page. If your book is only selling for say $.99 then how much did that one person just COST you – not _make_ you, but COST you?

And that $1.68 you spent to get that single person to view your book sales page, doesn’t mean they will actually buy your book, it just means they will look at the page. It may take on average about 400 people to view  a page to make a sale. That means at the current going rate of $1.68 a click you’ll have to spend about $672 to make a single sale. I don’t know about you but I could think of a lot of better ways to spend $672.

Of course these numbers are just estimates. Sometimes you can find a keyword that is as low as $1 a click instead of $1.68. Sometimes out of 400 people you’ll get 3 sales instead of just 1. Sometimes those people who don’t have experience in PPC (pay per click) advertising don’t write a good ad word summary and their sales are even worse than 1:400.

So to answer your question, do I think you should use PPC advertising to promote your book? No, I don’t. It’s just not a cost effective method for marketing your book. It’s great for other things, just not for this specific thing.

I got a great question sent in to me this week and it was basically asking me if it was worth their time to submit their book to all those hundreds (probably more like thousands) of book review blogs. Does it really help sales?

The answer is yes, they actually do help in sales.

Although there is no scientific formula and not every book review blog is going to be as good as the next. But assuming you have a decent enough book, with proper editing, and a well done cover, then you can roughly guesstimate about 10 sales per blog you get your book listed on.

Some obviously will be better and you’ll find your sales surge up 50 or by 100, but that’s a rare occurrence. Most of the blogs don’t get that much traffic so you’ll have to spend a lot of time making your submissions but in the end you’ll find it worth it.

When to comes to marketing your book you need to look at the numbers. You should never spend more than you could make. So let’s review the math …. A review on a book blog cost you $0 and in turn makes you about 10 sales. So you tell me, isn’t it worth at least 10 sales (maybe as many as 50 to 100) to submit your book for free?

This is not one of those ethical conversations about the merits of buying a book review. There are more than enough sites that debate this subject to death.

This article is to answer the question, “How do you buy a book review?” And the answer is simple  … there is pretty much nothing you can’t buy at http://www.Fiverr.com for $5.

Fiverr was started in 2009 and has become the largest market place for all  kind of things for $5.  There really isn’t much you can’t get there including book reviews, positive ratings on book review sites and more.

So there you have it. Now you know how you can buy a book review.

How simple was that?

With the massive success of 50 Shades of Grey there has been a huge influx of indie published books in the erotic fiction category but that begs the question, in the world of self published fiction, which actually sells better, romance books or erotica?

The answer is ROMANCE and the reason is because sites like Amazon remove “erotica” from their basic search results. So if someone wants to search for an ‘erotic’ novel they have to actually type in the name of the book.

There is a massive erotica market out there, but unless you have a huge budget to market the book yourself, what are you going to do? Of course there are other places to sell your book besides Amazon but in the end we all know that Amazon has become the largest retailer of books.

Price point is a hot topic with indie authors. When I published my first book I took a look at 5 other books in my genre that I liked and then priced my book around the same. That turned out to be a mistake, at least in terms of pricing my e-book.  Turns out those who use traditional publishing channels charge more for their ebooks because they have to, because when you use a traditional publisher there are more hands in the pie so they need to charge more to pay off those expenses.

Since they have a lot of extra marketing behind their products they tend to move more books than the average indie author so I guess it’s easier for them to sell books that are a tad more pricey but for the rest of us, we have to compete with a huge and highly competitive market so we can’t afford to lose so many customers for overpricing our books.

So how much should you charge for your e-book?

  • If your fiction book has less than 50,000 words then that’s easy, $.99.
  • If your fiction book has more than 50,000 words but less than 150,000, which is the average book, then you fall into the $1.99 to $4.99 category.

If you have a really great book cover then you can probably get away with charge $3.99 to $4.99. If you paid to have someone edit your book and clean up the grammar than you can also probably get away with the higher price range of $3.99 – $4.99.

If your cover is only so-so but you do have proper editing then maybe try $2.99.

If you don’t have a great book cover, and you didn’t get a professional edit, especially in terms of cleaning up your spelling and grammar and you still insist on publishing your book, then stick with the $1.99 range. I however really really really strongly suggest you go over to odesk.com and hire an editor. For a 60,000 to 100,000 word book you can get someone to edit it for $100 or less.