Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Word Witch Wednesday - marketing firsts

Twenty-six days until the release of the first book in my Totem series. Writing the books have been amazingly fun, but marketing them, well, I have some new white hairs.

I've been doing a lot of research on book promotion. My first reaction was: AAAH! I've been doing it wrong all along. *falls down and cries* Okay. Maybe that's a little overdramatic, but that's how I felt. In the past, I did cover reveals, blog tours, blitzes, and giveaways, but it was not helping me reach a larger audience.

I had not been taking advantage of two key marketing tools: ads and newsletters. All my research states these two things should be what authors are focusing on.

- You need money to buy ads. So what if you're not selling enough? Look for venues that will shout-out about your book for cheap or free. Or ask for ad money for your birthday like I did.
- Research the ad sites. Some have strict submission requirements. Make sure they will accept your book.
- Plan way ahead. Some venues are booked two months in advance.

I decided to go with The Fussy Librarian. The prices are very affordable, and the site is easy to navigate. Nothing to be intimidated about there. I have an ad scheduled for October 25th for Dark Dawning (Totem #1). And yes, I'll let you know how it goes.

I also have a sale next month for Of Blood and Sorrow. It will be the first time I've put it on sale, and I hope to lure readers to the Totem series with the novel. I submitted it to Ereader News Today. It's more expensive than The Fussy Librarian, but it has a bigger audience. Plus, they only take novels. I could not advertise my Totem books on there. The ad will coincide with the first day of the sale on October 12th.

- According to several authors, this is the key tool for connecting with readers, and you can create one for free. Well, it's free up to a certain point, and then you'll have to pay. But if you make it to that point, you'll be making enough sales to afford the small cost.
- Newsletters are easy to create once you're familiar with the template.
- Building your newsletter list is difficult. Offering freebies and holding giveaways helps, but in the long run, you're building your list one subscriber at a time. (I offer a digital copy of The 13th Floor Complete Collection to new subscribers.)
- You can grow your list with newsletter swaps. What's this, you ask? I only recently started to take advantage of this myself. You trade book info with another author and each of you feature the other in their newsletter. This works very well for those of us who have a small following when paired with authors who have huge lists.

Last Friday, I asked for authors who have books with shifters in them to do swaps. I'd love to feature them alongside my Totem books over the next few months. Please leave a comment below or email me if you're interested.

Have you tried ads to sell your books? Do you have a newsletter, and if so, how do you go about building your list?


  1. Hi Christine - sounds like you're setting out in the right direction - learning more and trying new marketing ideas - good luck ... cheers Hilary

  2. finding your target audience is the hard part but it seems like you are on the right track, Christine. Good luck with the Totem series!

  3. Wow, The Fussy Librarian used to be free...
    Yeah, I blew it with the newsletter. Oh well.

  4. So much to know! And it seems to keep changing, keep evolving - what used to work doesn't anymore, etc.

    Asking for ad money for your birthday was an awesome idea! :)

  5. Hilary, thanks!

    Nicola, I'm trying! Thank you.

    Alex, that's what I thought too, but at least it's affordable.

    Madeline, it does keep changing. And I'm not super great with trends.

  6. I still need to do more with my newsletter. I try to send one out once a month, but some months I don't. As for ads, some of my best selling days was when I took out some ads. Not all ads are created equal, but they can help and have sold me more books than anything else I've tried.

  7. I do have a newsletter, but I don't actively try to get subscribers. I probably should. It's not a standard newsletter (as in regular mailings). It's for news and sales that I don't put on my site or early notices. Right now, not much activity. :)

    I use yahoo groups (so does Jim Butcher with over 11k subscribers). It's free, no cap on subscribers.

    I do like the idea of book swapping. It would be great to have a list of "themed" books sent in a newsletter.

  8. My newsletter has been sitting idle for far too long. Sigh. Gotta brush that baby off and send something out. I love the swap idea--definitely something I'll be trying out!

  9. Curious to hear how Fussy Librarian works out. I've submitted to ENT several times but never gotten in. I try every quarter when submissions open.

    How do you send new subscribers your book? Is there a way to automate that, or do you just personally email it to each new sign-up?

  10. I've used the Fussy Librarian before. It got me a few sales, but nothing mind blowing. Of course, it was for a YA book and those, I've found, are ridiculously hard to sell even at a discount. Maybe a shifter series will do better.

  11. I have bought some ads. I will see a small bounce from them...and then I don't follow up. I think a regular schedule of ads would be sensible, but I'm so far from sensible some days, it's not even funny.

    I personally, always enjoy your newsletters!

  12. This is a very helpful post. I've yet to try either of those things, so yeah, got some catching up to do!

  13. I'm looking forward to seeing your results! I've bought one ad in my history, and it was a complete flop. I think I selected the wrong service though. Better to know for next time!

  14. I've tried many different ones through DLP. Some get decent results, some next to none at all. The best is Book Bub, but they are way too expensive and picky now.

  15. Still waiting to finish a book so that I can check out all this marketing stuff. Sounds harder than writing the book in the first place. Good luck with the promotions.

    BTW, how has your subscriber list been growing?

  16. Everyone keeps saying that I should do a newsletter, but I'm still struggling to wrap my head around it. :-/

    As for ads, I definitely want to make use of those. Unfortunately my money only stretches so far at the moment.

  17. I feel like we're too stupid to successfully run a newsletter. And we don't have nearly enough interesting news. "So... nothing happened, but here's a picture I found last week on the Internet of a chihuahua surfing on a giant rabbit. Cool, right?"

    Good luck with your own newsletter! And with ads. The only success we've ever had with those were the ones we put on our site.

  18. Just a couple week to go, how exciting! As for newsletters, that reminds me, I need to send another blast out:) Thanks!

  19. I'm super excited for your upcoming release, and you're doing fantastic with your marketing... give it time, keep working at it, and it will continue growing :)

  20. I haven't written a newsletter because I don't what to talk about. I have a hard enough time on my blog. I definitely agree with taking out ads. I use Fussy quite a bit when I put my books on sale. And it really helps. I've tried Fussy when I haven't put my books on sale. And not so much. People want novels for practically nothing. Ereader is great too. Unfortunately, if a book isn't on sale, they don't sell. :( Unless you're JK Rowlings....then everything sells...


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