In light of recent racial terrorism (because say what you will, that’s what the Charleston massacre was all about), it seems fitting that I should help spread the word about this captivating novel that seeks to help start the conversation about race, prejudice and laws (or lack thereof) that make up the current American culture. If you dare to face this controversy head on, keep reading.
The month of June is usually full of melancholy for me. At least it has been for the past few years. The explanation for my feelings of melancholy and sadness I’ll save for another day. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that gratitude lifts depression. So my confessions today are expressions of gratitude for some of the blessings I’ve received over the last couple of weeks. These occurrences reminded me that I am loved, appreciated and valuable. For all these things and more, I’m grateful.
My Uncle came to paint our house…well technically it’s his house, since we’re renting from him. But that’s besides the point. While he’s been there working over the last week, he put my new license plates on my car (I was riding dirty with my Texas tags for years!), promised to replace my brake pads, fussed at me for remembering to set the house alarm but forgetting to actually lock the door, and gave me pointers on improving my sweet potato pie recipe. It’s a blessing to have family near by, and our conversations about everything from the Rachel Dolezal media circus to the progress I’m making on my new book warmed my heart.
I was feeling a little discouraged about the progress I’m making in building a writer platform, and briefly entertained the thought of giving up. I wondered if I should put all the time and energy I’m currently giving to writing and publishing into something else. That same week I got an email from The Knowledge Maven stating how much she’s enjoying reading my book! It validated me that a fellow writer thought enough of my writing to make sure she told me that I’m good at it and to keep going with it. I also received a shout out from a fan on Facebook who said that she can’t wait to read my next book. Those expressions of recognition lifted my spirits and reminded me that I have to keep going. There are people all over the world who could one day be blessed by the work of my hands. That can’t happen if I give up.
What I’ve said so far are the major things that come to mind, but there are so many little things that make me pause and say ‘thank you’. Laughing at Melissa McCarthy in the movie Spy on a beautiful sunny day while feeling ultra feminine in a cute polka dot sundress. Discovering the Thai chicken salad at Panera Bread (try it, you’ll thank me later). Finally taking time to get the air conditioning in my car repaired; If you’ve ever experienced a Southern summer, you’ll know what a big deal that is! Seeing two men pray in the parking lot of Chick-fil-a. Visiting the library for the first time in over a year; I was almost dizzy with the hypnotic smell of books and knowledge. Rediscovering my love of cooking since my mama hit the road for the last few months. A text message from a friend I hadn’t heard from in a while. Getting a perfect eye brow wax. Finding a discount code for a business expense. Singing at the top of my lungs while washing dishes.
When it’s all said and done, all of my good outweighs the bad. There are so many random things that I’m grateful for, and when I begin to count my blessings, I give myself permission to live in the here and now rather than in the ache of the past. Does the sadness still creep up on me when I least expect it? Yes, and that’s ok. Because I’ve learned to sit with it for a moment, then let it fly away on the wings of gratitude.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3 KJV
Have you ever felt like giving up on your passion? What keeps you going? What are you grateful for today?
So yeah, if you read the title and immediately clicked on the link to read this post, you’ve come to the right place. You’re obviously slightly desperate and probably equally clueless, which is why you thought, “Book marketing for dummies? Sign me up!”. The idea for this post came about due to a text message from my cousin and fellow writer Inilya Spencer. She’s a new author and wanted to know if I had any advice regarding marketing. I was all, ummmmmm…nope.
Then I thought about it for a few days and realized that I have learned a thing or two about book marketing over the last year. I’ve mastered the art of ballin’ on a budget.
Start a Blog or Website– To me this seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many authors are out in these streets without a web presence. As in, you go to Google them and all that pulls up is their Amazon book page. For real? Let me check my calendar real quick; yep, it’s 2015. As a legitimate author, you must have web presence. Whether it’s a blog or website is up to you. But if a reader cares enough to seek you out, you should care enough to make it easy for you to be found. Plus, that blog or website creates a one stop shop for said reader to find all of your books in one place. Winning.
Join Goodreads–This is seriously the single best thing you can do for yourself as an author. In case you live under a rock, and are not privy to Goodreads, it’s a social network similar to Facebook dedicated solely to people who love books! I’ll admit that I slept on Goodreads for a while because I didn’t want the headache of managing another social media platform. I was stupid, but you don’t have to be. Even if your book is nothing but an idea at this point, you should still get on Goodreads quick and in a hurry. Once you’re there, join as many groups within your genre as possible and interact with them. You can use Goodreads to solicit book reviews from readers who actually have an interest in your genre, promote giveaways, drive traffic to your blog, and create ad campaigns, which we’ll talk more about later. Goodreads is so important that I’ll wait while you go there now. Seriously. (Add this to your shelf while you’re there.)
Work Your Social Media Jelly– Again, this seems pretty obvious, but you should have a few social media platforms that you’re comfortable using and are actively engaged in. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or whatever. Pick your poison and promote yourself. Notice I said promote yourself, not your books. Social media is meant to be, well, social. As in readers follow you in an effort to get to know you, not just your books. Engage regularly. Post about random thoughts, family events, cute bunnies, that delicious burger you made or whatever. If you’re doing it right, it should be fun. If you’re doing it wrong, it becomes a chore and you get blocked for being a spammer. I’ve stalked the pros and I’ve noticed that most of them only post about their books when they have a new release or event coming up. Keep it classy and keep it moving.
Postcard Anyone?–As you can see in the text message pic above, I love a good postcard or bookmark. These are oldie’s but goodies in the marketing game. They’re an inexpensive way to promote your book. Get some great ones designed with your basic information and pass them out like candy. I carry a stack in my purse. You can give them away at the hair salon, grocery store, book store, library, gym or wherever. They’re like over sized business cards that you should never leave home without.
Ad Campaigns–This is one marketing strategy that’s going to cost you a little more than time. Ad campaigns are targeted ads that run for a specific period of time on a particular platform. You pay-per-click on your ad. The good thing about these types of campaigns are that you get to choose your budget, the length of time the ad will run and your target demographics. Some platforms that offer per click ads are Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. I’ve only run one ad campaign and I used Goodreads. So far I like it. Using a $25.00 budget I designed an ad that will only be shown to readers that previously rated books by similar authors in my genre at 3 stars and up. This is an awesome feature. I write in Christian Fiction and I listed about 20 other authors in that genre. It’s great that I know my ad is being seen by people who are fans of the genre and who also take the time to rate books they read.
Put Your Book on Sale–Fluctuating the price of your book is a great way to draw attention to it. Make it 99 cents for a period of time and hashtag the mess out of it on Twitter and other platforms. Contact promotional book sites to have them list it during your sales period. List it under the Kindle Count Down Deals. If you’re only selling your book on Amazon, you can also enroll it in the KDP Select for maximum exposure. One of the best tried and true strategies is to offer one of your older books for free to help boost the sales of your newer books.
Show Up and Show Out–One of the best pieces of advice I received was from a super popular author who said that new authors should focus on becoming well-known where they live. She admonished authors to keep their efforts local because it’s cheaper, easier and just makes good business sense. Go to every local book related event you hear about. Call up local bookstores and ask them to order copies of your books. Contact your local libraries and offer to host a reading or donate copies of your books. Join local book clubs. Look for opportunities to showcase your books through speaking engagements and community events. Get out there and strut your literary stuff!
The American Way– Last, but certainly not least, you can always pay someone to market for you. I’m in cahoots with my blogger friend Quanie Miller who has just started her own business which assists writers with all things publishing related. You can pay someone to do the leg work for you and do what we all would rather be doing anyway: write!
I hope this helped get the wheels turning for those of you who don’t have a clue where to start when it comes to marketing. With a lot of effort and patience, you can sell your books. Once I stepped up my marketing game, I’ve watched that little graph on my sales report steadily climb over the last month. As long as I’m selling at least one book a day, I count it a success.
By the way, you can get my cousin’s new release here! Can you tell I’m excited for her in this pic? Excuse the treadmill and random suitcase in the background. I guess we stay ready to go ’round my way.
What kinds of marketing advice do you have to offer? Don’t leave us hanging! Tell us all about how you get down in the comments below!
It’s been a minute since I’ve posted any book reviews. That’s mainly because I haven’t had all that much time to read, what with learning about book marketing, working on my next novel and dealing with beau-coup family drama. But I’m back and following is my review of Catch Me If You Can by Christina C. Jones. I purchased this book back in December when I lost my entire mind and went on a book buying frenzy. Hope you enjoy!
Title: Catch Me If You Can
Author: Christina C. Jones
Genre(s): Romance, Suspense
Diligence. Focus. Agility.
For Naomi Prescott, it’s not just a cute little saying. It’s a critical mantra, words to live by if she wants to retain her freedom, and more importantly, her life. Impeccable planning is the only way to ensure she sets off the small flutters that will trigger the big ripple she needs to pull off the score of a lifetime — no matter the stakes.
FBI Agent Marcus Calloway is a straight-shooter… if you overlook his sometimes unconventional, law-skirting, expensive ways of solving a case. A big arrest would do wonders to restore his reputation, and he has one woman in mind: Jolie Voleuse
Unforeseen circumstances force them into a closer proximity than either — especially Naomi — would like to be. Sparks fly, and as surely as fire ignites,eventually their undeniable chemistry combusts into a passion that neither expected as they join forces in the dangerous pursuit of a common bounty.
[PLEASE NOTE that Catch Me If You Can is the first title in a continuous series that will carry over three books. Book 2 will be released in February 2015]
Christina normally writes in strictly romance, so adding suspense is a new venture for her. I certainly couldn’t tell, because she did it with such expertise that my little fingers couldn’t push the ‘Next Page’ button fast enough on my antiquated Kindle. Naomi and Marcus’ chemistry practically cast flames across my screen. Add the titillation of piecing together how their pursuit of the bad guys connects them on levels they never imagined, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for stellar entertainment. I’ll tell you one thing, I couldn’t figure out the end and I pretty much stopped reading suspense years ago, because I always figure out what’s going on. Not so in this case! If you’re looking for a great quick read with romance and mystery, I highly recommend Catch Me If You Can.
This was my first book by this author, but it definitely won’t be my last. I’ve got A Crazy Little Thing Called Love waiting for me now.
What genres do you normally shy away from reading? Do you have an issue with book series or do you like the continuity of characters and whatnot? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!