Monday, November 15, 2010

Promo School Part III: To Pay Or Not To Pay


Today we wrap up Promo School. But before we get into all of that, I’m sure those of you who entered Natalie Dae’s blog makeover contest http://nataliedae.blogspot.com are anxious to see just who won. Well, Nat, being the sweet as pie gal she is, had a really tough time just picking one winner. You may recall she even came out in the middle of the contest and announced she was giving away two makeovers. But this morning in my email box she’d given me the name of two winners, plus an extra. In addition to that, she's giving away cover art to someone as well. So there are FOUR winners this morning.

First up, who won the blog makeovers? Congratulations Amber Skyze! You’re the winner of a blog makeover. Next! Congratulations D.L. Jackson! Another winner of Nat’s blog makeover.
And the cover art winner is…drum roll please…Tonya Callihan!

But I said there are FOUR winners, didn’t I? Sooooo…a very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MELISSA AIRES! In honor of your special day, you receive a blog makeover as well!

A big congratulations to all of you. I KNOW you’re going to love working with Nat. She’s an absolute doll. And she has the amazing gift of reading people. So she’ll find that special look just for you. As soon as the blog goes live, all of you will receive an email from Nat and you can each begin the process of brainstorming with her on your new blog!!!

Now onto Promo School Part III: To Pay or Not to Pay. (If you haven't read Promo School Parts I and II--here are the links: http://threewickedwriters.blogspot.com/2010/11/promo-school.html and http://threewickedwriters.blogspot.com/2010/11/promo-school-part-ii.html )

Most authors depend on free promotions to get the word out about their books. And there is certainly nothing at all wrong with that. Not at all. It’s kind of hard to invest money when your work hasn’t started making any, isn’t it? And then there is this: You can’t make money without spending money. Hmmm…reminds me of the chicken or egg thing. And when it comes to money, we almost always have to go with what’s in our wallet, don’t we?

Personally, I’d advise that you get your bearings in all of this promo before you venture out into the world of paid advertising. Dip your toes into the blogging waters and certainly join and participate on some Yahoo groups. You have to learn as much as you can before you can spend money. Makes no sense to invest dollars if you don’t know what you’re doing. As an editor, I’ve often been asked about house style. Usually writers want to know why there’s a need to learn all those punctuation rules and all those other little things that go along with writing if house style is different at each publisher and you never know what it is until you’re there. My answer has always been that in order to know where the rules CAN be broken, you must know the rules. If you have a firm understanding of writing, then you know what is truly important and what isn’t. It’s the same thing with promo in general. You’ve got to understand the nature of the beast.

Look at what other authors are doing promo-wise. Is it something that appeals to you? Take a step back and look at it as a reader. Will it turn a reader on or off? Is it something that you can put your own spin on and make it yours? Think about how much time you have to invest. You always need to leave NO stone unturned, but at the same time if you’re busting your buns at something and getting zero in return—let it go—or cut back on your efforts in that direction. What works for one author doesn’t always work for another. So I’m not suggesting you mimic other authors—just learn from them. Another thing—what works for one genre may not work for another. You have to pay attention.

Today I have a guest. Promo guru, Destiny Blaine. You can find her here: http://destinyblaine.com And here: http://www.destinyblaine.com/DestinyBlaineProductions.htm
Destiny is a full-time writer and she’s been at it for years. She is my go to person for promotion advice and myriad other things as well. When I’m looking for answers, I talk to Destiny. Lol She’s amazing. A straight shooter and a major talent. Let’s listen to what she has to say…

In today’s market, advertising is crucial. Promoting your book is, in my opinion, mandatory. If an author wants to stick around for the long haul, they should get out there and interact with readers and fellow authors. However, self-promotion alone won’t sell books to every potential reader because of the obvious reasons—not every reader will frequent blogs and Yahoo loops. That said, I’m sold on the power of self-promotion. However, the following old adage rings true in book sales—in order to make money, you have to spend money. If you want to sell your book, you should advertise in various places, online and off. It’s equally important to look for the most cost effective places to advertise. Tess asked if I had any thoughts on how much an author should spend on advertising. At one point, we were spending all over the board, no thanks to my method of keeping books—which more or less meant if I saw money in the business account I spent it until I hit the 20% cap—but now my husband manages our business office and he’s more structured and practical. Based on proof he’s provided, spending the 20% isn’t necessary. It’s better to spend 10% and find savvy ways to market ourselves in untapped markets.

Our goal is to spend 10% of our gross income in advertising. However, we aren’t obligated or committed to spending every dollar in online advertising and won’t necessarily allocate a certain amount to review sites or online magazines. With several pen names, it makes sense for us to try various forms of media, online and off, and try a little bit of everything so we can see for ourselves what works. We shop rates and ask for deals, particularly if we’re a regular advertising customer. If I could send out one piece of advice, it’s this—don’t follow the crowd. Find your own unique place to advertise and whatever you do, don’t pay outrageous prices for print advertisement. Ask for package rates and discounts. The market is tight right now. Those selling print ads know this and if they’re smart, they’ll cut some slack. If they don’t, find a way to co-op. Don’t just ask your publishers, approach other authors.

New authors won’t always have 10% to spend on advertising. I’d love to tell them to spend it anyway. In my experience, the more you advertise, the more return you’ll see if you’re targeting correctly. By that I mean, it wouldn’t make sense for someone to advertise a ménage romance in an inspirational magazine. As authors, I think it’s important to know what market we’re targeting and to spend what we can afford. However, that said, if an author wants to make an impact, he or she needs to set their sights on at least 10%. It’s working for us.

Authors often ask me about advertising suggestions. Some recommendations are listed below. I’ve also heard a lot of questions flying around about publisher obligation. Very often if an author writes and asks for publisher recommendations, they’ll ask which publisher advertises and promotes their authors fairly and most effectively.

I’ve given this a lot of thought and finally came up with one answer—none of them. Why? It’s simple really. A publisher can’t advertise an author as effectively as that author can advertise and market his or her own books. That said, there are some publishers who do advertise and they advertise a lot, but even if an author is the best selling darling of the company, that publisher will never be able to advertise that particular author as well as he or she can promote and advertise his or her own work.

Some of you may disagree but here’s why I’ve formed my opinions. As far as I know, no one advertised my erotic romance books for me in 2010. If I’m wrong, please forgive me, but I haven’t seen an ad that I didn’t pay for this past year. That said, that’s probably a good thing. I’m in control of my own ads and that allows me to choose who my name is affiliated with and where my books are advertised. Honestly, there are some books out there that I wouldn’t want placed with my titles in an ad campaign. I could help them and they could ruin me, or vice versa. I stress the vice-versa because let’s face it—my books won’t appeal to everyone and not every book matched with my novels or novellas will appeal to my readers.
There’s a strategy to marketing and advertising and on this end, we like to be in control of what we do and then work a plan that benefits the books we hope to sell. If you’re an author, you need a marketing plan and it’s probably a good idea to develop a strategy for working your plan.

There are various ‘secrets’ to advertising and marketing. It would take me all week to cover the high points. However, if you start with some of the suggestions below, the effort you make will pay off.

Top Five Advertising Tips:

1. Rotate your ads. Don’t run the same campaigns at the same place over and over again.
2. Look for cheap offline advertisement in penny saver magazines, print magazines, and newspapers. Co-op with your fellow authors.
3. Support/sponsor an adult team. A lot of towns have recreational sports teams and they need sponsors to offset the cost of T-shirts and equipment. T-shirts are costly, at times, but depending on the team you sponsor, you may get a lot of bang for your buck. If you're a YA author, this can be very effective. Support/sponsor a T-ball team. Get your name on the back of their shirts.
4. Lead, don’t follow. Go first. Don’t tell everyone you know where you’re advertising, just get out there and advertise. Then, after you see some success, you can share your knowledge with all your friends. Then, go somewhere else and be first again. Shake things up. Dare to be different. Use your imagination.
5. Want to know what really works? Car signs. Magnetic signs are a GREAT form of advertising. I’m talking about those large magnetic banner ads placed on a car door. These work for real estate agents, product sales, and services. This form of advertising can work for you too.

Finally, this past year, I advertised Destiny Blaine and Natalie Acres, another one of my pen names, at the following locations. Check them out when you’re ready to advertise:

The Romance Studio—http://theromancestudio.com/blue

Manic Readers—http://manicreaders.com


Two Lips Reviews— http://www.twolipsreviews.com


Love Romances and More –http://loveromancesandmore.blogspot.com


Affaire de Coeur Magazine—http://www.affairedecoeur.com


Romance Times Magazine—http://www.rtbookreviews.com/rt-daily-blog


Night Owl Romance—http://nightowlromance.com/nor

JERR—http://www.justeroticromancereviews.com

Millennium Promotion— http://millenniumpromotion.com


Romance Reviews Today—http://www.romrevtoday.com


Coffee Time Romance—http://coffeetimeromance.com

Romance Junkies— http://www.romancejunkies.com


Destiny Blaine is a bestselling author in various genres. Her non-fiction books have won several nominations and awards, securing the #1 spot on Amazon in various career-oriented categories for several years. Writing as Natalie Acres, her books earned #1 spots in the western and erotica categories for several titles. Destiny Blaine’s latest ménage western romance title, Breakfast by the Sea, releases from Siren Publishing on November 17th. To find out more, visit the publisher website here: http://www.bookstrand.com/breakfast-by-the-sea or stop by Destiny's blog at www.destinyblaine.blogspot.com

WOW! Destiny knows her stuff, doesn't she? So there you have it from someone who has put her money where her mouth is. If there is one piece of advice that I’d give you all right now, it’s this—go slowly. Don’t jump until you know what you’re doing. If you decide to go with paid advertising, don’t spend tons of money. If you’re an author with his/her first published book—don’t take several hundred dollars out of your savings account and buy ad space everywhere. I’ve known quite a few authors who’ve made that mistake. Quite a few authors who’ve had all kinds of promotional items made for giveaway, spending several hundred dollars to do it—and they spent that money on one book—stamping those promo items with just that one title. So a little tip, spend twenty to fifty bucks out your first time with advertising. And if you buy promo items—key chains, magnets, book marks, etc—make sure those items sell YOU, not one particular book title. Let YOUR brand, YOUR name be the focus of that promo item. Make sure YOUR website info is on that promo item and NOT just a title for a single book.

Like Destiny said, there is so much more that could go into all of this. Little things that you’ll learn as you go. Too much to continue with here on the blog. But don’t despair, lol, I’ve got a personal blog—http:tessmackall.blogspot.com—and I’ve decided that it would be nice to post promo and writing tips once or twice a week. I need to blog about something, don’t I? LOL And I love sharing what I’ve learned. So, if you’re not a friend of mine on Facebook, Good Reads, or MySpace, friend me and you’ll be notified of when I post these tips. OR, simply go to my blog and FOLLOW ME. I’ll continue to gather expert advice and dole out some of my own too.

Next week I have one more item that might be of interest to all of you. I’m interviewing several honest-to-god readers. I’ll be asking them a lot of questions in general, but some specifically geared to their reactions as to how authors promote their work as well. It could make for some interesting insights. So, stop back by Three Wicked Writers Plus Two on Monday—and every day. There’s always something going on here for sure! http://tessmackall.com

I'm going to leave you with the blurb for Destiny Blaine's upcoming release--Breakfast By The Sea--available November 17th from Siren Publishing. http://www.bookstrand.com/breakfast-by-the-sea

Photobucket

This new release is offered at a 15% discount for four weeks.

[Menage Amour: Erotic Cowboy Menage Romanctic Suspense, M/F/M/M/M/M, M/F/M]

A beautiful woman with a checkered past runs a legitimate bed and breakfast on Jekyll Island. Several young men posing as cowboys move in Breakfast by the Sea and things become chaotic right from the start when the oceanfront B&B turns into a command center for a very determined group of special Super-Op Forces.

Pursuing a man known as the King of Hearts, five tough operatives fall fast for a woman they’re supposed to eliminate. When the team discovers Paige Lambert is in fact the Queen of Hearts, they can’t ignore their handler’s orders. Is the bed and breakfast owner destined to die for her past crimes or will she end up under the protective custody of the men hired to kill her?

A Siren Erotic Romance

ENJOY! I know I will!!!!

42 comments:

Dee Dawning said...

Hi Tess, Destiny is a likeable gal, who's been around for awhile and has been successful, so I'm sure she knows her stuff. But in my opinion, there's nothing like flooding the market with your books and letting them sell each other.

I've bought book covers and trailer space on ARe and only once did it pay it's cost back. I've had book covers on Fallen Angels an TRS and have no idea if they sold one book or even if they got anyone to my site, but at least they were cheaper than ARe.

So I'm scratching my head as to what advertising will give me a return.

I guess until someone can tell me conclusively, "This works", I'll keep plugging away on my laptop.

Here of some of things I do now.

Research & write what sells.

Write shorter books and make then a series or even a serial. I like 20000 to 30000 words

They can always be ganged together for print.

I made the mistake of using a second and third pen names. In hindsight it hurts name recognition. I'm jettisoning one of my pseudonyms.

Another mistake I made is taking a shotgun approach to my writing. Writing whatever struck my fancy, whenever I felt like it. In the long run, if readers know what to expect from you they will buy more of your work. Be consistent.

That's all I can think of for now. Truthfully, after all these years I'm still learning.

Ciao

Natalie Dae said...

Fabbo post and lots of good information here. I'm still learning about promo--I'm so rubbish at it!--but I'm slowly getting there.

Thanks Tess & Destiny!

:o)

Ginger Simpson said...

I shared your link with one of my loops as promotion has been a hot topic. Thank you for posting today and giving suggestions to those of us who feel lost when it comes to tooting our own horn.

K.A. M'Lady said...

Hi, Tess and Destiny - as usual, Destiny another wonderful, fact-filled article. Destiny is my go-to girl as well for advice, and publishing know-how. A true inspiration. As well as a spectacular author. I'm off to get the recap of everthing I missed thus far. Great blog Tess! I'll be sure to add you to my faves.

Blessings ~ K.

Virginia C said...

Hi, Destiny! As always...you got it goin' on, girl : ) Great advice, and it sounds as though you have penned another fabulous erotic adventure ; )

Desiree Holt said...

You hit the nail on the head, Destiny. All very good advice.

Regina Carlysle said...

I'm tip-toeing into advertising next year. Right now I blog my butt off, do chats, along with social networking. A promo company handles my releases when they come out. Next year, I'll choose a place or two for advertising and I've been narrowing down the options. Thanks for the tips, Destiny. Much appreciated.

Tess MacKall said...

Dee! Howya doin', hon? Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with us.

I'm not sure I can agree with all you've said, though.

First off--yep Destiny is a likable gal and she's been around for a while--a lot longer than either one of us, I might add. You mention "flooding the market with books and letting them sell each other". Some of that is true. An author needs a backlist for sure. And in e-pub land, we're very lucky that the backlist has an infinite shelf life unlike print.

However, the term "flooding" gives me chills. Seriously. "Flooding" happens too quick and can be deadly to an author. Much like the real usage of the term.

When you flood the market with releases one right after another you're taking a couple of risks. One: Readers might just get bored with you--not unlike the male/female dance of courtship, lol. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. There's a lot to be said for old sayings, my friend. And you can also add the argument of supply and demand into the mix as well. What you can't have is exactly what you want. So, if there are too many new releases from author X on the market, the demand goes down. Two: Some writers can produce monumental word count on a daily basis. And that's a good thing. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those authors, lol. But not all of those authors who do produce thousands of words a day are good at keeping the ideas fresh. A lot of authors have been taken to task for producing "fluff" or just more of the same for the sake of having a new release. And I'm talking about some famous authors here too.

And I'm going to continue with another post because blogger won't accept over 4,096 characters. LOL So be right back!

Tess MacKall said...

Okay, more for Dee...LOL

Now, with all that said, sometimes an author can't help having a release this week and two weeks later a release some place else--especially in e-pub land. Authors contract with multiple publishers and oftentimes, releases take place closely together at separate publishers. It's also worth mentioning that length sometimes figures into the picture as well. Personally, I think that releasing one good, solid novella every two months and maybe one or two full length novels a year is about right and keeps reader interest at an optimum level. But whether you write long or short, you must have fresh ideas.

There is zero substitute for producing quality books. That in itself is step one to promoting your books. I dare say that there are very few authors out there who can maintain quality--producing fresh ideas--and at the same time have back-to-back-to-back releases (although these rare authors do exist).

It's called BUILDING a backlist for a reason. You're a contractor, Dee. Building a house is a lot like writing a book. It takes time and careful thought. You can't just toss up a house and you can't just write a book and toss it out there for readers too. You can't rush your writing or you sacrifice quality.

As for your thoughts on advertising? Well, maybe you advertised in the wrong venues for you. Maybe you weren't consistent with it. Maybe the ads needed to run longer, be changed up to keep them fresh. Advertising does work, but you've got to know what you're doing with it--have a plan of attack and stick to the plan. And it looks like you need to develop a way to track sales with ad placement too.

And, btw, someone HAS told you this works. Destiny did. She's proof that it works. And it works for a whole lot more than just her. I know lots of authors who consistently buy advertising. It's a part of their marketing plan.

"Research and write what sells." Yes, that's a given and the way to start promoting your book before it's ever written. You've got to know the writing market--AND you've got to know the market where you're targeting the book as well--which, of course, takes us back to knowing where to promote your books.

As for pen names? I know lots of authors who are very successful at managing several pen names. Actually, they swear by different pen names. These authors are incredibly organized and KNOW their markets for each pen name. They are fantastic at promotions and know exactly what to do and when to do it. If one pen name hurts name recognition of the other, it's probably because you're not giving that name enough attention promo-wise. It's hard to maintain equal footing for more than one name. That's why I don't want a second name. But I'm not going to knock those who do have more than one and do it quite well indeed. Organization and complete focus are required.

"if readers know what to expect from you they will buy more of your work. Be consistent." Okay, I agree that readers will come back for more of your work if they know what to expect--to a degree. But if you give them the same thing every time they most certainly won't be back again and again. More of the same is not what they are looking for. So I'm not exactly sure what you mean by all of this. If you mean write in the same genre--well, sure. Some writers stick to one genre. But there's nothing wrong with cross-genre writing either. Bottom line in my book is that the consistency issue deals mainly with producing a quality product. Once you do that, everything else will fall into line as long as you work it to your advantage.

Tess MacKall said...

Yes, Nat, you are becoming PROMO SAVVY for sure, hon. Work it work it work it, girlie! Makes your head spin, doesn't it?

Tess MacKall said...

Ginger, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing the link to the post with your group. I do hope the Promo School posts help with taking some of the mystery out of it all. Stop by again!

Tess MacKall said...

OHHH, K.A...Thanks so much for adding us to your faves. And yep,
Destiny is an absolute inspiration. She's my promo hero. LOL Stop back by again.

C. Zampa said...

Once again, lots of valuable advice!
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

Great advice Destiny and K.A.

I am chiming in because one I am a PR Manager for several authors and two I am also an author under a pen name.

As an author, I wrote a promotion blog article for newbies who had no idea on what to do to get their book/name out there and I couldn't stress the free items enough (Facebook, Blogs, loops, websites, etc) for those starting out.I have been in this industry a few years and the first few years I spent most of my time promoting my butt off. Unfortunately that took away from writing so you have to have a happy medium IMHO. I promote my backlist titles or new/upcoming ones twice a week so I am not flooding the 'net and getting the readers annoyed with me. I do interviews, blog articles and character interviews, which are fun to do about once a month. When a new release comes out, I am hosting a contest, maybe with other authors or theme it for a holiday or something, and giving away a cool prize like a $50 GC to Borders or Amazon. Be creative in your promotions...I try to pay for book covers or banners every couple of months just to keep myself out there for readers. I paid for a book trailer-my first one- but am unsure if it helped any at all.


Now as a PR manager, I am constantly working to get blog dates, interviews, radio spots (if they want to do this) and other promotional events for them. I try not to flood the list with t he same items each week and I only promote twice a week as well so I am not flooding the places with same ole' same ole'

The one thing I noticed that if an author hasn't had a new release in awhile, I do a "Check out such and such's books" and give covers/blurbs with all the links the author has for readers to enjoy and go over. It still keeps the author out there and in the readers face.

I am not saying I am an expert in this.....far from it but this is what works for me. :)

Ok off the soap box now.

Dawn R.

Casey Sheridan said...

Congratulations to the winners of the blog redesign and book cover design!

Great post, Tess! Lots of good info to use. I've now started a promo list-of-things-to-do.

Anne Rainey said...

Congrats to those lucky winners! Natalie does a fantastic job on those blogs! And Happy Birthday to Melissa!

Great post today, Tess and Destiny! :)

Brindle Chase said...

Firstly, congrats to all the winners. Natalie does such beautiful work!!!! *envy*

Now, for the promo advice... Hear, hear!!!! Thank you 3WW+2 and Destiny!!!! I'm new to the gambit, so this is great info. Right off the bat, here are some of my findings...

Doesn't work well:

* yahoo groups. (this is mostly authors advertising to authors)
* review site paid advertising.



Does work well:

* Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes&Noble forums (remember, not to spam. Just discuss with the groups and they will ask you soon enough about your books. If you just walk in and post about your books, you'll lose more than you'll gain.)
* Review sites reviews. This is the best paid advertising I've used thus far. After my author copies run out, I still buy more copies to give to reviewers. Dollar for dollar, I get way more results than any paid advertisement.
* Facebook (this works a little I think. Its hard to say how many sales my facebook has generated, but not many is my guess. Some, not many. More than all the Yahoo groups combined though.)

Obviously as a rookie author, my results are small and too little, too soon, to tell for sure. But I thought I would share what I've encountered so far.

Madison Scott said...

Congrats to all the winners!!!

Tess, I've really enjoyed all your promo tips! I'm bookmarking them all!!

Tess MacKall said...

Thanks for stopping by, CZ.

Tess MacKall said...

Looks like you have promo well under control, Dawn. The key really must be organization and consistency. Good to hear that you do some paid advertising and continue to use it. So you must believe that it helps at least somewhat.

Tess MacKall said...

I bet that list is going to be long, Casey. lol I know mine is--and getting longer. It seems so overwhelming. But if you'll sit down and actually come up with a marketing plan--complete with a schedule, it'll be much easier.

Tess MacKall said...

Thanks, Anne.

Tess MacKall said...

Okay, we've had two people say that paid advertising doesn't work. That would be Dee and now Brindle.

So why is it that it doesn't work? How do you know it doesn't work? I'm interested. Is it because you don't see a jump in figures or simply can't find a way to track sales from the review sites?

Destiny Blaine said...

Tess—Thank you for allowing me to weigh in with some opinions on advertising and promo. Thank you for your kind words as well. I hope to live up to everything you've said once I’m all grown up and living in a big girl’s world. ;) Truly, you’re appreciated. I’ve learned so much from you. :)

Destiny Blaine

Brindle Chase said...

Well, I've only tried 3 paid ads so far (keep in mind, I've only been published since late June). Only one of them offered complete clickthru stats. It showed they displayed my ad over 100,000 times over a complete month. They registered that it was clicked on 7 times. I know that 2 of those clicks were me. So 5 clicks out of 100,000 impressions for a paranormal erotic romance, displayed on a paranormal erotic romance page of a reputable ebook bookseller... Of those 5 clicks, its possible, since I know where the rest of my sales came from that month, that 1 was from that ad. In other words, the ad cost more than any sales it generated. Now I blame most of that on my lack of a name. That was my debut novel... so I was (still am) unknown.

Of the other two ads, most of my sales are on amazon, and the click through is for my publisher. So maybe 3 or 4 sales there, if that. Its hard to say for sure, but with low sales like mine, its easier to tell. I know that 75% of my sales or more, so far as been through personally connecting online with people or through friends I know IRL.. *lol* (you know, sympathy buys)... I think they would work better for someone whose name was recognized... as a rookie, I don't recommend buying ads, unless they are really inexpensive, with high visibility.

Destiny Blaine said...

Dee—Thank you for the likeable comment. You’re a likeable guy even though I don’t always agree with you. :)

As far as mentioning what works conclusively, I can tell you what works for me and what you do with that information is entirely up to you. Obviously you know what works for you and what is paying off.

I pay for exposure and refuse to rely on reviews to help me market my books. MOST of the reviewers from listed review sites would probably tell you I rarely send them books for review consideration.

As for flooding the market with your books—this is why I think it’s so important for authors to take on more than one pen name. In regards to less name recognition, hmm…I don’t know. You tell me. If one stood out over the other, I really couldn't say.

Finally, I write whatever strikes my fancy—gambling-related material, horror, sports romances, westerns, and dark paranormal. I write a lot of non-fiction and young adult too. I refuse to be confined to one genre, but it’s so important to brand yourself regardless of what you choose to write. This is one reason I have such a good time in my career. I can continue to reinvent myself and build a new brand whenever I want. It’s a lot of work but well worth the effort.

Thanks for the comment, Dee!

Destiny Blaine

Brindle Chase said...

a little amendment to my statement about buying copies for reviewers doing much better than paid ads... If the review is less than a 4 out of 5, the results taper off to nothing. If you book is consistently getting reviews below a 4, don't bother buying books to give to more reviewers. In my limited experience, readers want the ones the reviewer raves about, not something "mediocre"

Destiny Blaine said...

Nat—Can’t wait to find out more about your books. As soon as I post, I’m off to look you up!

Ginger—Thanks for spreading the word. Toot your own horn, darlin’! You have some fabulous work to sell!

K.A.—You, my friend, are the inspiration. Thank you for dropping by today. ;) AND congratulations on the Just Another Paranormal Monday Anthology projects. Well done, lady!

Virginia—Thank you for being here and for your continued support. Now if I can just drag some holiday recipes out of you…. :)

Desiree—Thank you for being here. I learn by trial and error, and as you can imagine, the past held a lot of mistakes! ;)

Regina—Thanks so much for letting me play today at Three Wicked Writers!

Destiny Blaine said...

Tess—Thank you for what you added about the pen names. Authors managing several pseudonyms must be organized. It’s crucial and the minute an author drops the ball, it’s like a house of cards tumbling down. Believe me, I’ve felt like the joker in the deck several times. ;)

C—I’m with you. Lots of great information here. I can’t wait to review parts one and two!

Dawn—Lots of great advice, lady. I’m with you on the first few years promoting my butt off. That’s why I’m so sold on advertising now. It’s very hard, as you pointed out, to find a happy medium when you’re promoting all the time.

Casey—Watch Tess’s blog for a lot of promo tips too. ;)

Anne—Thanks very much for letting me visit today. Great blog!

Brindle—Don’t give up on review site advertising yet. I’ve tracked results. We have access to my Amazon sales for our own imprint. Advertising works and the right ads will sell your books but there’s more to it than simply advertising. It’s important to build sharp ads. Make sure you have a good looking cover, an award-winning blurb or tagline, and all the components needed to target and capture your intended audience.

Madison—Tess’s promo tips are sensational! ;)

Destiny Blaine

Virginia C said...

Destiny--all you have to do is ask!
What kind of holiday recipes do you have in mind? Let me know--I'll send 'em your way : )

Melissa Bradley said...

Tess and Destiny this is some great advice and you've given me a lot to think about. I'm rather new to the industry with only four titles under my belt. I'm currently trying organize myself into a regular writing and promo schedule that will also work with my day job. It's like being in the cyclone with Dorothy. LOL

Tess MacKall said...

Good description of what promo is like, Melissa. lol I feel like Dorothy sometimes. That's why it's incredibly important to have an actual marketing plan rather than a hit and miss type of tactic.

Organization, targeting, scheduling. Those three elements need to be considered in your plan.

Dee Dawning said...

Hi Destiny, I didn't expect a reply, but thanks. In my comment, I probably should have said this is what I do in addition to promoting. I've never stopped promoting. As someone said for promoting, Yahoo groups seem to be a waste. It is and Monday promo day is the biggest waste. I know, I track this stuff. The best days for sales are Friday & Saturday and sales at night are double during the day. However, that doesn't mean you can promote better on those days and night. It just means that's when they get on ARe, Amazon or whatever and nose around looking for something to read.

As for pen names, with two or more author names it's obvious you would build two or more sets of followers. Unless you let everyone know you are writing under multiple names (which probably defeats the reason you did it) there would be no crossover, hence followers of author 'A' would not buy books from author 'B' anymore than they would buy a book from a totally different author. Did fans of Stephen King, buy the books of Richard Bachmann before they knew they were the same writer? Nah-uh! What's more, different pen names require separate websites and all other paraphernalia, ie banner ads, bookmarks etc. It can get expensive so why bother.

As for my comment about flooding the market with books, that gave Tess and probably others, an impression of rushed, inferior books. While I might have rushed a couple and have a couple books out I'd like to have back, that's not what I do. I'm on my fourth rewrite now on Duped! my follow-up to Dumped!, because I didn't like the way things we going the first three times. I will stay on it until I get it right, because it will sell the next Dee Dawning book.

Obviously, if you pub mediocre books you are not going to induce the public to look for more. But if your books are good, nothing sells your other books better. That's the bugaboo about promoting. It takes so much time that I could be writing other books which in turn promote me.

As for writing about different things, that's fine. What I meant was different sub-genres. With me you can't always have a hea. Half my books don't have them. A couple are sweet romance, some have bdsm, some have multiple partners and some have lesbian elements. That's not consistent.

But Destiny, I do have a new book coming out which has me scratching my head. It's a sensual/suspense/drama that's totally unlike my other stuff and I'd like your thoughts on how to promote it. If you would email me at deedawning@yahoo.com or leave your email here on a comment, I'd like to talk with you.

Ciao, Dee

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Elizabeth Black said...

I don't have the funds to pay for promotion at this point so I do what I think works. Mainly, write what readers buy. I did a live chat last night after over a year of avoiding them and I've changed my mind about live chats. I managed to sell a few books because of that chat. I also like social networking, especially Facebook, because I get quite a bit of attention from it. I blog. I'm a Topix editor in the Books and Human Sexuality sections. All of that helps.

I think the best thing a writer can do is to write for a publisher with a proven and showable track record of creating sales. Too many writers work their asses off and are rewarded with a royalty check of $5.00 or so which really isn't their fault.

Once I have the money I may pursue paid advertising but for now I'll go with other methods.

Tracey H. Kitts said...

I'm with Elizabeth on not having the funds to do much. Although I do a few paid ads here and there, I look for what is cheap and will reach my target audience. I also do guest blog spots when I can and social networking. I too have given up on yahoo groups because I felt like I was just promoing myself to other authors. But, I also advertised this year at some of the sites Destiny listed, so maybe I'm not far off the mark. lol I've got lots of good ideas for promotion, but no funding to follow through with it:)

Delaney Diamond said...

I really enjoyed the Promo School posts and comments. I'm a new author, so I'm always looking for ideas.

Unlike some of the others here, I've had good results from the Yahoo groups I frequent. Whenever I post an excerpt about my book, I see a spike in visitors on my site. I've also been really lucky to pick up valuable information in the groups, and I've learned about submission calls from publishers. My overall experience has been excellent.

Other things that worked really well: guest blogging, running small ads on popular sites like Night Owls and Coffee Time, and posting my free read on Romance at Heart (I get a lot of hits on my site from my free read there!).

My book, entitled The Arrangement, has been on my publisher's bestsellers list since it's release on November 12th, and I just found out it was a weekly hot seller at All Romance Ebooks. Those results are encouraging and I plan to do similar promotions for future books.

I believe the key to promotion is to start before the release, and stay consistent. I try to promote at least once every week and maintain some level of visibility--even if it's only to let people know what my blog post is for the week.

My challenge for 2011 is to increase my number of Facebook
fans. I've found some great ideas online that I plan to implement. Best wishes!

http://delaneydiamond.com