Selling your books offline doesn't always have to mean sitting behind stacks of paperbacks at a book signing, waiting for readers to come to you. Conventions and book store events are great for pulling in readers who are already your fans, but thinking outside of the box with your book marketing can result in a new group of book buyers who might never otherwise considered reading anything you've written.
When marketing on the internet is so simple, while opportunities for advertising your books online are so widespread, why bother trying to market your work in the 3-D world? There are huge groups of people offline that make up an untapped market, one that's never read anything like your books. They need a reason to take the plunge on a writer they've never heard of, and making a personal connection is a time-honored way of making a sale. It's worked for insurance sales people and other sales professionals for decades; why not use this method to get some more book sales? The key is to find groups of people likely to want your work, and to let them get to know you. Once you're a trusted member of the group, buying your book will be the natural next step for them.
Where to Look
Your offline fan base can be anywhere, but narrow your search to groups of people likely to read in your genre. For instance:
Quilt clubs for quilting books, garden clubs for gardening books, and other clubs for other nonfiction niches
Book clubs in your fiction niche that advertise on Meetup.com
People who hang out in hobby shops for socializing
In addition, getting to know more people on a personal level can increase sales, because people love to buy a book and then tell their friends they know the author. Meet up with a class reunion committee, get together for coffee with citizens after city council or school board meetings, or join in some volunteer efforts and make contact with people who have the same interests as you. Once you make the 3-D connection it will make it that much easier for you to further seek out the online pockets of similar groups.
Close the Deal
Don't turn into a pushy sales person, but casually let it be known that you're a writer, and you have a book or several available. Keep paperback copies of your book in the car for instant sales. Talk to people about downloading eBook reading apps right onto their laptop or smartphone if they don't want to invest in an eBook reader. Emphasize the convenience of having audiobooks on hand for long commutes, time at the gym, or hours spent working in the garden. Make reading your books convenient to them, make a personal connection, and you're likely to make the sale, as well.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!
The point of hiring public relations specialists is because they can access a population you haven't been able to otherwise. Public relations specialists enjoy exclusivity with certain organizations and interest groups that may mutually gain from featuring your work, but tend to only deal with PR professionals directly. And, because they have wide social influence, they can help your book reach a mass population in a very short period of time.
The biggest advantage of hiring a public relations specialist is to break into your target market. They'll craft a genius press release and bam, suddenly news wires are picking up and spreading the word about your new book to their social networks. If you're wondering what generates other big bloggers interest, news stations calling to interview you and organizations ready to host you, this is how it happens.
It pays to release your book with a big PR bang. It also helps break you into the blogosphere. An instant portfolio will attract other bloggers to you- they'll want to interview you and feature you on their blogs because they want to ride the cloud and be featured with a popular author too.
1. Friend bloggers in your subject area. The easiest ways to connect are through direct emails and Twitter shout outs. Instagram is gaining traction in the social media sphere for authentic interactions as well.
Reply to or shout out a blogger via Twitter or Instagram that you want to connect with. Offer a short comment or compliment and openly post your email. Maybe they won't reply, but perhaps one of their followers will. Choose an email where you'll maintain your PR and marketing contacts and put it out there. You'll be surprised how many people get back to you.
Depending on the blogger's specific audience, decide what type of reach best fits their target. Perhaps you offer a recipe, maybe a giveaway of your book, in some cases an interview and in certain scenarios an excerpt. Whatever you choose, make your intentions clear and present it in a way that makes it sound special for their readers as well as acknowledging the great favor they're doing for you.
Tip: if you're considering whether you need promotional copies of your book, the answer is yes! Many bloggers won't do guest posts without a sample beforehand. You can be choosey and only select bloggers that have large followerships, but be ready to offer books to those who make the request.
2. Friend bloggers in your subject area who are published authors. Everyone wants to promote their work, new and seasoned authors. Offering to promote their work on your blog or other social media networks in return for sharing yours will get you noticed by their followers.
To get a big PR push, look for certain holidays or "noted days" (think national doughnut day or nurse's day) when you pitch authors. They'll appreciate the thoughtfulness and if they didn't think of it, will likely now get on track to feature your work on a day like this as well.
Feeling confident about getting on the PR wire? Take advantage of your professional PR specialist while having fun connecting with other bloggers to promote your work. Have a PR experience that worked well for you? Share with other readers now.
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!
If you are an aspiring novel writer or author of any type, you have likely procured as much information as you can find on how to go about becoming successful. However, you might not have read any information about what "not to do" when writing a novel.
Hemingway had his own set of opinions on writing, many of these were compiled in 1984 by Larry W. Phillips in his book Ernest Hemingway on Writing. Below are five of his tips:
Always stop for the day while you still know what will happen next.
Never think about the story when you’re not working.
When it’s time to work again, always start by reading what you’ve written so far.
Don’t describe an emotion–make it.
To get started write one true sentence.
Read below for a few of our own tips on things to avoid in an effort to finish your book and make it a success:
Don't wait forever on inspiration that might not ever come:
Many authors feel they should be "inspired" before they begin to write any piece of literature. Unfortunately, that could cause a lack of progress when you wait for said inspiration to begin working on your novel. Famous author and editor Peter De Vries once spoke about writing only with inspiration. He said "I write when I am inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning. " Successful authors will tell you that their secret to writing novels is not to wait on inspiration but to write as much as possible, even when they don't feel very "inspired."
Don't neglect to schedule your writing time:
As mentioned above in the first point, "writing" is the key to writing a successful novel. Without that aspect, you won't get very far. Therefore, it's important to create a writing schedule that you will stick to regardless of what comes up. Accomplish this by establishing a writing quota. This quota will determine how many words or chapters you write in a day or over the course of a week. Having a goal will keep you focused and help you avoid distractions that will take away from your writing time.
Don't wait until you know everything there is to know about your characters' direction or publishing in general:
Some writers find themselves delaying the creation of their novel until they are 100 percent sure they know everything about their storyline and are completely sure how their characters will interact with each other and so on. However, if you wait until you know exactly how your novel will look when finished, wait until you read that next how-to book, take that next class on how to properly develop characters or learn everything about how to find a publisher once you have your novel completed, you might never start your novel. Therefore, do research enough to start your book, and complete the rest of the learning process while you are working on your first draft. This will ensure you are making progress instead of being in a perpetual state of preparation.
Don't write only what's trending:
When a particular novel topic is currently trending, that means that those novels were written approximately two years ago. Therefore, if you aim to only write for in trending market, by the time you complete your novel, chances are good that the topic will no longer be trending at that time. Consequently, it is best to write what you love and what you are passionate about and not to worry too much about whether or not your novel topic will be trending at the time it is completed.
Follow the advice listed above on what "not to do" when writing a novel for a greater chance at novel writing success.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!
Writers who used to wait years to see their books published are moving in droves into self publishing. EBook publication allows authors to bypass the gatekeepers of traditional publishers and allow the readers to judge for themselves how good their work is. This means you're completely free to publish your books your way. This freedom means you're all on your own or the skys the limit when it comes to book marketing, your mindset will make the difference.
If you want readers to find your book, you're going to have to spread the word. Even with traditional publishers, it's more and more common to see an author marketing his own works rather than being able to rely on their publisher to do the job. They'll spread the word about Stephen King and James Patterson, but the rest of us are on our own. Hundreds of websites exist for helping you to market your book. Here are 25 popular sites for you to reach out to and make it happen!
Some are paid and some are free, but newsletters are among the most effective ways to market your work. Genre specific newsletters are often easier to get into, as they'll reach fewer readers, but each one has its own rules for submitting a current book. Fill out an application to market your paperback, audio book or eBook. It can take weeks or months to see your book on the most popular newsletters, but the publicity is worth the wait.
Book review sites can make your sales numbers sing, but who's got time to seek out and contact dozens of site owners, then convince them to read and review your book? Virtual book tour owners have already done that work for you. Sign up for 20 to 50 different stops on your tour, and your book will be featured on dozens of book review sites, reaching thousands of potential new readers. Some book tour sites also feature drawings to whip up further interest in your book, and they'll use copies of your books as prizes.
If you're not convinced of the power of social networks, look at the movie Paranormal Activity. Its producers created the buzz for this film completely on social media sites, with absolutely no other advertising before its release. It's tough to get a million hits right out of the box, but with the right campaign you can increase your readership significantly. Keep in mind that this is a social activity, so only post marketing about 10 percent of the time. Spend the rest of your posts on other author's works, interesting tidbits about your writing process, or funny posts readers will love to share.
Avid readers love to talk about the books they've read, both good and bad, and the internet is the perfect place to do this on a worldwide stage. Virtual bookshelf sites allow readers to list the books they've read, give the books reviews, and talk about them with other book lovers. Get your book on a good bookshelf site and the word of mouth can push your book up the rankings. The key to these sites is to join them as a reader. It's a subtle process, as any blatant marketing can be seen as being pushy, but those who follow the rules can see great gains in their book sales.
One of the most effective ways of marketing your work is to create an email list and send out a monthly newsletter. Set up an account at an email marketing site such as MailChimp, then add the link to your signup page in the back matter of your book. Readers can sign up immediately after finishing your work, and you can keep in touch with them, letting them know when your next book will be on sale. In terms of making loyal fans with a personal interest, there are few methods better than your own newsletter.
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!
Chances are as a self published author you're already taking advantage of one or two Google tools. You've likely caught onto Google + by now, but have you taken Google Hangouts for a test drive yet? Their latest social tool in connectivity, Google Hangouts helps you interact with your target reader audience near and far.
Record Your Hangouts & Use Later At Your Blog & Other Social Media Outlets
There are generally two types of Hangouts. One features you and several others in a closed, pseudo-private group while the other is popularly referred to as a Google "On-Air" Hangout where you're live on You Tube or some other social channel visible by others. On-Air videos are the ones you can save for later use.
Video motivates people on an emotional level, so it's your opportunity to connect with your target in a variety of ways. Use your videos:
On blog posts
At your website in a video archive
Create a board on Pinterest
At your Goodreads account
What To Feature In Your Hangout
If your book features a method, demos are Google Hangout gold. You can send out an "invite" to your hangout via your blog, Twitter and Facebook, host your demo and record a video for your archive.
2. Are you a novelist? Host a hangout that features an excerpt reading or how you developed each character. Again, send out an invitation to your mailing lists and on your blog. Record these and submit on your blog.
3. Host a fellow author. No matter what genre you've published, invite a fellow, popular author to a hangout. Either host a discussion, interview the author or create a fun, how-to demo the author participates in.
Tip 1: Take advantage of Google's event app to send out invites.
Tip 2: Create an event via Facebook rather than only posting once to your wall.
Tip 3: Use a url shortener such as tinyurl.com or goo.gl for Tweets to maximize your 140 characters.
The Logistics To Embedding
If this all sounds intriguing, but you're not sure how to get the videos on your site, it's easy! Follow these steps:
1. Record Hangout via Google Hangout directions here.
2. If you choose an "On-Air" hangout, your video will automatically be saved to You Tube.
A link to embed on your website or into blog posts will automatically be created with each video.
Copy this link and paste into the HTML or "arbitrary text" area on your website. Once saved and previewed, the video should run perfectly.
Remember, with each video your on screen appearances will get better and better so experiment- try using props, keep your book in the shot and get feedback. Ask your friends, your PR team or anyone with marketing experience what they think. In no time you'll have a video portfolio and space will become limited at your Google Hangouts!
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!
Writers as a whole may not be the healthiest people on earth. We love our coffee, sit at a desk all day, and tend to unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail on a pretty frequent basis. In the middle of it all is a body that's slowly gaining weight, because we can't justify the time to go to the gym. Work out? There are deadlines to meet and marketing to do! No more excuses. Exercise adds oxygen to your system, which fuels your brain for better writing. Do some simple exercises without ever leaving your desk area and you might find yourself losing a little bit of that desk chair rear end.
Cross your legs at the ankles so your feet are on your seat. Hold on to the chair arms firmly and lift yourself off the chair a few inches. Suck in your stomach and hold this position for 15 seconds. Lower yourself to the chair slowly and breathe. Do this five times. You'll exercise your arms and core with this one.
Stand with your back to your desk. Sit on the very edge and place your hands on either side of you. Slide forward off the desk, holding your weight with your arms. Lower your body about six inches, hold for about 10 seconds, then raise it up again. Do 10 repetitions before resting. This exercise works out the back of your arms that get so flabby.
Lower your desk chair as far as possible. Stand in front of your chair and lower your butt until it's almost touching the chair. Place your hands on your hips and lower yourself to the seat as slowly as possible. Stand again until you're barely off the chair, and hold for 10 seconds. Lower yourself again as slowly as possible. You'll strengthen your core and lower body tremendously with 20 repetitions of this one. When it gets too easy, try it with your arms outstretched or on one foot.
Chair Rear End Lift
Tighten those glutes and legs with this killer of an exercise. Stand up behind your chair and hold on to the back. Place your feet about shoulder width apart. Lift your right foot up and back slightly and make a circle with the foot clockwise 25 times, then counter-clockwise 25 times. Switch legs so you're standing on your right foot and work out your left leg.
Exercises can help, but so can practicing good habits through your whole day. Keep a glass of water handy and drink it all day. Get a stand-up desk or work at your kitchen counter for a time. Arrange your chair and monitor so you have good posture while writing. And try to laugh every day. It burns calories, and it just feels good.
Since I started running 20 miles per week my productivity and overall health has gone through the roof! No preaching here...but you do have the power!
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!
Happy 4th of July!
This day marks the beginning of our Independence as a country. Let this day also serve as a reminder of the freedom we as authors now have to offer our work to the world, without past limitations and with limitless opportunities to spread our words! May the 4th be with you!
Professional authors who have battled through adversity and found literary success, have much to say about how they fulfilled their life goals. If you are an aspiring author, their experiences, knowledge and general encouragement can be a lifeline to you as you attempt to reach your goals. Read below for some of these helpful tips:
Read as much as often as possible:
Samuel Johnson, who is sometimes referred to as Dr. Johnson, made lasting contributions to English literature. Johnson lived from 1709 to 1784, but his words of advice still ring true today in regards to writers loving the written word.
"The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book." Samuel Johnson
American playwright and novelist Larry L. King also believed reading played a large part in writing as well.
"Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts." Larry L. King
Write, even when you don't feel like writing:
Successful authors agree that you cannot always wait for inspiration when you are attempting to write a novel. American crime writer Lawrence Block, who was named the Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1994 and is best known for two long-running New York set series, has the following to say about writing "something" no matter what:
"One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I'm going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I'll have lost nothing--writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off." Lawrence Block
As with anything in life, the more you practice, the better you will get. Although practice will never make perfect, it can make you good at what you do. Therefore, if you goal is to become a successful author, then you should write as much as possible.
Don't allow your narrative to sound like writing:
When writing a novel, especially in the fiction genre, you want to avoid sounding too sophisticated, wordy or overly proper. In other words, your writing shouldn't read like writing, instead, it should reveal a real world full of real characters dealing with real emotions and situations. Elmore Leonard, who was a successful American novelist and screenwriter who specialized in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, had the following to say about the importance of not allowing your novel to read like writing:
"If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can't allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative." Elmore Leonard
Following the advice of those who have become successful writers is a smart way to ensure you are on the right track. The tips and quotes above from famous authors are meant to inspire you to keep up the hard work and find your own success one day.
Keep the Faith and may the Fourth be with You!
It's a simple fact: people who are happier in their environment are more productive workers. According to the Harvard Business Review, the level of worker's happiness affects worker's productivity, creativity, and commitment. Writers may work in their own home environment instead of in an office cubicle, but the same concept applies. If you make your work environment more pleasant and user-friendly, your word count and quality of work will likely increase.
You need some quiet and privacy
The writer who works at home faces constant interruptions all day long if they have a family in their house. The best way to avoid the worst of these interruptions is to create an office environment with a door that closes. Closing a door signifies that work is being done, and that the writer isn't available for casual conversations and random interruptions. If a separate office isn't available, a corner in a bedroom is better than sitting at the dining room table.
Comfortable equipment and good ergonomics
Your office environment is one you'll be living with for hours on end, so it needs to be a comfortable one. Choose a desk that's large enough to allow you to spread out with notes, books, coffee cups, and any other small items important to your work. Spend the extra money to get an ergonomic office chair with lumbar supports. Your back will thank you. Move your monitor up, if you work on a desktop computer, so that the top of the screen is a few inches above eyeball level when you're sitting up straight. Consider a split keyboard, and try out a number of models in the store before you settle on one to take home.
Acquire the best tools you can afford
Get the best computer you can afford, and use the type that is most comfortable for you, be it laptop, desktop, Mac or PC. A good printer is necessary, and those that scan and upload as well as print can be had for not much more money. Choose a good set of speakers and a very comfortable mouse, and consider wireless versions for less cordage chaos. A wrist rest will help to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome or tired hands, and a soft mousepad will cushion your hand all day long.
Optimize the look, feel and sound of your writing-space
You can put everything you need into a room and it will still look like a sterile cube. What's the point of getting to work at home if you don't get to enjoy it while you're there? Paint the walls a great color, and put up posters of your favorite books or works of art. Lay down an area rug to add color and mark the confines of your office area. Find great ambient sound, Motown music, or whatever motivates you to work. Install a mini fridge to keep your bottled water or sodas cold, and add that all-important coffee maker for a crucial jolt of caffeine. Light some incense or a candle, do whatever you can to make for a comfortable environment.
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You
Want a way to market your eBook that hits hundreds of thousands of buyers, is proven to be productive, and can bump your book onto the hot sellers list? You can find it with targeted book emails. These companies, such as BookBub, Pixel of Ink, and Ereader News Today, together reach millions of dedicated readers who use them as shopping catalogs every day. Not every book offered gets picked up by these review emails, but you can take steps to increase the odds that your eBook will be one of the featured stars on some future date.
Clean Up Your Book
Have readers found a few little typos that have been nagging at you? Go through your entire manuscript and fix every single mistake you can find. Take an objective look at your book cover or, better yet, open it up to opinions in your writer's groups. Change up the cover if needed to fit your genre.
Most sites say they don't have a set review minimum for acceptance, but those who have been accepted agree that it's best if you have at least ten great reviews before sending in your application. Be selective when getting these reviews. Send out ARCs to writers in your groups and ask for an honest review. Don't push for five stars everywhere, but send the books to people who already like your writing for the best chance of a good review.
Choose Alternate Dates
You're allowed to choose what date to have your book offered, as these sites like to specialize in temporary book sales. Be flexible and offer a number of alternate dates. Plan to discount your book to either free or $.99 on this date and a few days surrounding it. Amazon's rules make it impossible for sites to specialize in only free books anymore, but they still choose the cheapest books when possible.
Sell Your Book
Make your book as attractive as possible to the sites, since they're only going to pick the books that look like they'll sell well. Mention any awards your book has won, talk about how many days it's been in the top 100 listing, and include any professional praise your book has garnered. Success breeds success, and email sites choose books that will sell.
Coordinate Your Marketing
Remember the last time you saw something that was all over the internet, all day long? Your first thought was probably that this was a popular topic, and that you should check it out. Try to create that same impression with your book sales. If you can get ads on two, three, or more emails on the same day, readers who subscribe to multiple mailings will be more likely to look at and buy your book.
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You.
Facebook can be either the best way to grow your writing career or the biggest waste of marketing time, depending on how you use it. Writers constantly give up on Facebook, moaning about the fact that they got very few sales from spending their valuable time there. When done right, Facebook can be an important part of a long-term writing career plan, one that can help your entire catalog sell instead of just one book.
It's Social Media, Duh!
No one goes on Facebook looking for ads or a hard sell. In fact, most people unfriend or hide people who spend all their time trying to sell them something. Using social media is a lot more subtle than that. Facebook is so established that it has habits and manners of its own, like many other social situations, and the first one is that you're on there to be social. To pass the time in a fun, funny, or pleasant way. Maybe to learn a tiny fact, but never to get a hard sell.
Branding is Key
You may feel like a massive sellout talking about branding yourself, but that's just the name that describes what every single author does in trying to sell her books. Getting people to know your name, and trying to link your name with your book genre, is what book branding is all about. Let the fans discover you instead of putting yourself in their face. Make interesting comments on other posts in your genre. Make shareable posts about similar works, or topics that relate to your work. Always keep in the mix of people posting about your topic, be it romance novels or gardening books.
Of course, a friend on Facebook is completely different than a friend in the 3D world. Some people have tens of thousands of friends on the site, and those are the ones you want to cultivate. Use the hashtag (#) in a search to find those interested in your niche. Look on each person's personal page to find out how many friends she has. Once you find one with a lot of friends, send her a friend request. A lot of people with huge friend lists will automatically accept friend requests, simply to increase their friend score. This is a huge win if you can post something they want to repost, as they'll be advertising to their entire friend list for you.
It's too hard to keep up a persona for months and years. If you're naturally snarky, be snarky in all your posts. You'll turn off some fans, but you'll find others who love you for it, and those will be rabid fans. If you're a mom type, a nerd, a fashionista, or a jock, let your personality shine through every post you make. You'll connect with your fans in a solid way.
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!