Marketing Ideas Galore

IMG_4747You may recall that several months ago I made a vow to really pull out all the marketing stops for my new release. I was thinking BIG. I told my husband I might have to break into my 401K and I didn’t care. Frankly, I wanted to give the book it’s best shot and spend money. Well, I didn’t want to spend money, but I was prepared to do so in the hope of my book being read by actual people. It only took ten books for me to realize I had to step up and “treat my writing as a business” as one marketing article says. I don’t know who, it was on Twitter and you know how easy it is to get lost on Twitter with all the RTs and links and so forth.

IMG_4746So I read that article. Plus three books. Plus the entire marketing plan my trusted publicist, hired just for this campaign, had written. I participated in a book marketing class online. With the marketing plan, I didn’t just read it, I took all the actions. Mostly online so far. The online part is easy but I shall be going out in the world and doing things. I already have. I went to the print shop and made nice copies of the sell sheet Dora designed. I plan to visit the bookstores she recommended and go to a conference, the biggest conference ever.

Bouchercon is the biggest mystery writing conference in the world. I’ll be flying from Michigan to Florida for that in less than a week. Murder on the Beach Books is selling my book there. I’m also doing up a nice basket of books and bling from my Michigan Sisters in Crime group. Lots of people have donated books and the board gave me a coffee mug. So I will really be doing the people marketing thing there. I feel bad because all this is on my Dad’s birthday and he lives in St Pete where the conference is being held. Also Dad is recovering from surgery. He almost didn’t make it. Somehow I’m going to see him on his birthday despite all the Sisters in Crime stuff (a breakfast and later a workshop) happening on Dad’s birthday.

I hear that at some of the Sisters in Crime events, members will get a chance to talk about their books. Which reminds me, I went on television and talked about mine. Television! Me! This is a major feat as I have stage fright something awful but my friend has a cable show and she said it would be just like us talking as they pre-record, so I did it. In the real world, not online. Online I thought I was doing pretty well according to the marketing plan. I have an ad on Amazon my publisher set up and one on Facebook, too.

IMG_4748I’ve been tweeting (not about my book!) and meeting new people. I came across one guy who was just so fun, inviting people to friend him, his response thread went on forever and all the people tweeting him back were hilarious. I have not had that much fun on Twitter since, well, ever. One lady had a gif of a corgi typing. I followed her. I followed a bunch of new people. I didn’t mention my book as I know that Twitter is a social channel and you’re just there for the fun of it. But every once in awhile you can post on your own page about your book. But mostly not, mostly interact and make new friends.

I fixed up my Facebook fan page too, that’s in Rachel’s book, and it’s still not great but I’m trying. Some people’s fan pages look so good. Mine is better than it was. I pinned a post to the top of the page! Did not know I could do that until I read it in one of the books. I have my regular Facebook page with my friends but I am trying very hard not to post anything author-related there or Facebook just might kick me off. They let the Russians post, but me and my new book, no. Anyway, that was a joke. I can tell Mark Zuckerberg feels bad about the Russians.

Really, I did all that and my book was looking like all my other books. That is, no where near #1. So it was a fortunate coincidence that Book Bub wrote me an email congratulating me on my new release and telling me about their new ad program. Book Bub! Writing to me! Inviting me to do an ad. I had to hear them out. It was confusing, the ad thing. Apparently you bid on keywords and there are some other things that seem like what my publisher is already doing. But they still have their famous deals. I couldn’t do the new release deal, as you can’t apply after release date. But there was still the other deal for books on sale. I consulted friends and my publisher because I know Book Bub is pricey and everyone said go for it. So I submitted a deal. Not sure if they will accept me.

I did one Book Bub many moons ago when free books were a thing. I got a ton of reviews and my book went to #1 on the free list. But it was free, so I couldn’t say “Amazon bestseller” because you know if it’s free it’s not sold. Still it was pretty cool and I got more reviews than all my other books put together. 80+ on Amazon and 100+ on Goodreads. I realize for some people that is peanuts. But I currently have four (or is it five?) reviews, not all in one place, for my new book.

adult blur books close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Another unexpected thing happened online. I am such a reader. I read 200 books a year. I read book reviews online. There was one gorgeous page and it was women’s fiction central, which the New York Times Book Review is not. The page drew me in and so I wrote to them with my pitch for an essay. I figured if they said no, it would make good blog post. But they said YES! So you see it is good just to go on Twitter and have fun because you never know what will happen there.

I hope you got some marketing ideas from this post. I’m afraid you’ll have to leave your desk and the safety of the internet because you should also speak at bookstores (real ones) and libraries (also real). I plan to do this after Bouchercon. I was going to visit a certain indie bookstore in Detroit this week but now I have an essay to write!

The single most obvious thing (not to me, obvioulsy) I have learned after writing ten books is that it’s okay to take some time and money (but make those $$ choices wisely) and go out there into the world and sell your book. It doesn’t have to happen all on the day, week, or even month your book comes out. Just keep going places where people expect to hear about your book. No matter what.

 

Twitter for Beginners

This is the basic format I intend to follow today as I help some friends get comfortable with Twitter.

First, sign up.

Now add a picture and bio. Make sure your bio links to your blog.

Follow some people. Use hashtags #writing or whatever interests you to find like-minded people. DWW conference hashtag is #aWritersWorth. I did a thing where you sort of claim the hashtag, but anybody can post with that hashtag attached. Whenever you see that hashtag or anything about DWW, hit retweet.

Follow each other.

Twitter is unlike Facebook in that it is considered polite to follow back. But you have to weigh the follow. Look at bio, check out blog, see what the follower tweets. Don’t follow bots. Don’t follow anyone who only retweets or only quotes. Don’t follow people who say they can give you a thousand follows for $10. Etc.

To follow, simply click the name @CynthiaHarriso1 and then click follow. Try to keep your follows and followers about the same number. “Just Unfollow” lets you see who is not following you and allows you to unfollow a certain number of folks for free.

Links are great. But with 140 characters to work with, sometimes links can be too lengthy. Bit.ly is great for condensing links. Twitter condenses links to some websites.

I spend the most time on Twitter on “connect” not on “home” ~ home is not really home-like at all. It is a bewildering stream of nonsense unless you understand Twitter.

Read blog posts on “What Not To Do” on Twitter. @bodiciasapple and @mollygreene are two of my favorite bloggers. Molly does a lot with Twitter and Bodicia is a book blogger. Writers need book bloggers, and Bodicia is the best. When I first joined Twitter, I read “The Tao of Twitter” and it was quite helpful.

Why tweet? It’s supposed to be a marketing thing. But I don’t do a lot of “buy my book” posts. I do link to my blog if I think the topic may be interesting. I do talk  about my books, but mostly I just connect to other writers.

I like to balance original tweets (or as my friend @JohnLacey says, carry on monologues with myself), quotes, books I’m reading, blogs I like, retweeting (RT) valuable or fun tweets or links. If you venture into home, you can always butt into a conversation. Most people will let you in. Sure, there are snobs on Twitter just like anywhere. Ignore them.

When I first met Linda Anger, I asked her to tell me the biggest marketing secret. She said “name recognition” and this is why I tweet, so people recognize my name, and maybe they’ll buy a book “Oh yeah, she’s funny on Twitter” or “She wrote that great post about bragging.”

That’s why if you are building a platform for marketing your work, you want to use your own name on Twitter. @CynthiaHarrison was taken, so I got @CynthiaHarriso1.

Check in daily with Twitter. Just to see who followed you. Follow them back. Who RTed you. RT them back unless they are a silly bot who RTed something stupid, like a line in the middle of a conversation that  makes no sense out of context. Check in with your friends. You can put people in lists, it’s pretty easy. Then you just go to lists and check on your pals. What are they up to? What are they blogging about? If it’s helpful to you, RT it. If you think it will be helpful to others, RT it.

Questions?