Category Archives: Marketing & Promotion

Traditional and non-traditional marketing, promotion, and publicity, as well as Social media, blogging, and other innovative digital campaigns.

Get Advance Reviews for Your Book with a Goodreads Giveaway

Posted by August 5th, 2015

TheHusbandsSecret

Click on the image to view this Goodreads giveaway example.

Are you looking for a way to spice up your book launch marketing plan? A Goodreads giveaway may be just the thing you need.

With more than 20 million community members, Goodreads is an important book discovery tool for authors. A giveaway on the site is an excellent way to create awareness for your book and garner early reviews. Below, we guide you through the process and offer some rules of thumb.

Start early. Run the giveaway for a month and list it a couple of months to a month before your book is released. To list a new giveaway, simply log into your Goodreads account—hopefully you’ve already set up an author profile for yourself and have added your book—and navigate to Giveaways. From the right-hand navigation, select List a Giveaway.

Fill out the giveaway details, and be sure to read the terms and conditions. Use the Tags field to your advantage to appeal to the right audience. For example, if your book is a paranormal romance featuring vampires, you may want to list some of the following tags: paranormal-romance, supernatural, love-story, and vampires. The tags will determine the placement of your giveaway on the Goodreads site. Click here for a list of tags that you can choose from.

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How to Host a Successful Live Facebook Q&A

Posted by July 27th, 2015

Facebook-QAOne of the advantages of having a Facebook Page is that you can host a Live Q&A for your fans. It’s easier to set up and moderate than a Twitter chat, and you can get some great engagement out of it. All you have to do is to post a status inviting your audience to ask questions about your book or writing, and then use the Reply feature on Facebook Pages to answer each individual question.

As you may know, only a fraction of the people who’ve liked your author Page see your posts at any given time, so you’ll need to do some pre-promotion to make the most out of your Live Facebook Q&A.

Create a Facebook event for the Live Facebook Q&A. Do so at least a couple of weeks in advance so that you can spread the word early. People who RSVP will get a reminder to join on the day of the event. Choose the start time for it wisely, when most of your fans will be able to join the conversation—for an hour around noon or in the evening. Spruce up the event page by adding a promotional image and some information about yourself and your book to the event details.

Promote the event link on other social media channels. Don’t forget to mention the time, including the time zone, date, and social network (Facebook) for the event. Send a couple of additional reminders right before you kick off the Q&A. Continue reading

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6 Takeaways from the PNWA 2015 Conference

Posted by July 21st, 2015

Seattle skyline

Seattle, home of the PNWA 2015 Conference

It was a great weekend at the PNWA 2015 Conference in Seattle, talking with agents, editors, and writers about Book Country, social media, and the publishing process. (PNWA stands for the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.) I want to share these six big takeaways from the conference with the rest of the Book Country community:

  1. Finding beta-readers is as important as ever. However you choose to work with beta-readers–whether in a real-life writing group, remotely via email, or on a workshopping site like Book Country–no one can dispute that a writer needs feedback on their manuscript prior to a successful publication.Technology that makes finding beta-readers easy has become indispensable to in-the-know writers.
  2. Feedback can be wide-ranging, but ratings are also revealing. The more feedback a writer gets on their book, the better informed revision decisions they can make. Getting reviews on your book from beta-readers is a great way to seek suggestions on how to revise. But different readers give different suggestions, sometimes contradicting one another. Your overall ratings can be a powerful way to aggregate your readers’ opinions. On Book Country, for example, your overall rating–so long as you’ve spent the time and energy to garner a large number of peer reviews–will help you gauge whether or not your book is ready to be published.
  3. Distribution is everything. Writers have gotten savvier about this since the last time I was at PNWA. Back then, I met a lot of writers who had self-published but their book was not widely available. It’s rare these days to find a writer who isn’t planning to publish their book electronically, and it’s also common for writers to make sure their book is available for many different types of eReader. On Book Country, for example, authors can publish once and simultaneously distribute to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Scribd, Kobo, iBooks, Google, and Flipkart. It’s essential for writers to stay on top of book retail trends.
  4. Social media takes time. Writers at PNWA knew how important it is for them to be growing their social media audience. It’s key to start building a following early, so that when your book does launch, it has somewhere receptive to land. Learning how to use social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and others now rather than later is a good use of an aspiring writer’s time.
  5. Social media takes time. Wait, didn’t I just say that? To be clear, it’s not just building a social media that takes time. Doing the real work of social media–writing posts, creating engaging images, reading social media feeds, and conversing with followers–takes big chunks of your day-to-day. So not only do you want to start early, you also want to get organized. Writers I met at PNWA were figuring out how to carve out time for social media tasks. One tip Andrea Dunlop shared in our “Dos and Don’ts of Social Media” session was to be realistic about how much time you will be consistently able to devote to your social media. It’s easy to sign up for a lot of accounts, but it’s better to be selectively active than to have a bunch of abandoned online profiles. (Go here for more tips from Andrea.)
  6. Professional author services are the author’s best kept secret. More and more writers–both those seeking self-publishing and traditional publishing–are hiring professional developmental editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, book publicists, marketers, designers, and more. The competition to get noticed is stiff, so figuring out what you need help with to make your book stand out is becoming a bigger part of the publishing process. Many writers are using editorial firms like Girl Friday Productions to develop and polish manuscripts. Authors who find social media either too daunting or too time-consuming are learning how to hire it out to professionals. While these services can be expensive, many writers and authors are finding them to be valuable. I predict that we’ll be discussing this aspect of the publishing industry much more here on Book Country in the next year.

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How Authors Can Dramatically Grow Their Email Lists

Posted by July 20th, 2015

Stand-OutDo you spend a lot of time promoting your book on social media but feel like it hasn’t reaped the results that you were hoping for? It may be time to focus on building an email newsletter following instead. Stand Out author Dorie Clark thinks that reaching your audience via email is one of the most effective ways to increase book sales. Read on for her advice on growing your subscriber list.

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My first book, Reinventing You, launched in 2013. I tried to prepare, but despite my best efforts to interrogate fellow authors who had gone before me, I still didn’t fully understand what a book launch entailed. I was diligent in my execution yet vaguely disorganized—constantly staying up late answering interview questions, crafting guest posts, and enduring a punishing and hastily-assembled travel schedule. These were things I should have planned better, yet somehow didn’t know how to.

Two months ago, I had another opportunity to do it right with the release of my new book, Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It. Here are the key things I learned in the last two years of almost nonstop book promotion.

Your email list is paramount. What sells books? Not social media. Atlantic journalist Derek Thompson shares an indicative story in which—despite one of his tweets becoming a viral sensation, with nearly 1,500 retweets and 155,000+ impressions—only 1% clicked the link to actually read his story. Note that this is a free story—not something that costs nearly $30, like your book. So what does work? Your email list. Blogger Chris Brogan famously said, “To me, the hottest and sexiest social network right now is your inbox,” and he’s right. Even if people are overwhelmed by their inboxes, they still read email, and an opt-in relationship with your readers is the most powerful force for communicating your message. I’ve used free (and freemium) tools like AppSumo’s ListBuilder to dramatically enhance my email subscription rate.

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Ask a Literary Agent: Amy Cloughley Answers Your Questions

Posted by July 13th, 2015

Amy CloughleyPlease welcome literary agent Amy Cloughley of Kimberley Cameron & Associates to the blog today! Amy’s in the market to acquire the following types of books: Historical; Literary; Mainstream; Mystery and Suspense (all types but NO paranormal); Thriller (legal, grounded, psychological); Women’s Fiction; Adult Nonfiction (pop culture and humor, sports, narrative, memoir–travel). Like Book Country, Amy will be at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference at the end of this week. If you’ll also be at #PNWA15, you’ll be able to find Amy at the Agent Forum on Friday, July 17, at 10:00am, and at Power Pitch Sessions A, D, & E on Friday and Saturday.

When do you need an agent?  How do you know when you are ready as a writer to take this step? – Claire Count

There are a variety of great options for publishing your work, but if your goal is to be traditionally published, your odds of success increase quite a bit if you work with a qualified agent. Although many small/mid-sized publishers will consider unagented work, most of the larger houses will not, and the publishers who do often give priority to agented submissions.

You will know you are ready to take this step when your manuscript (or book proposal for nonfiction) is your best, most polished work. Although an agent will often provide some feedback to clients, an agent is typically looking to take on projects/clients who are as close to ready for the marketplace as possible. So be sure to do your research and due diligence. What is the typical word count for your genre? Is your POV clear and consistent? Are your main characters fully developed? Is your pacing appropriate for your genre? Did you have quality beta readers provide feedback? Did you identify a few current comparable titles to include in your query? There are numerous websites such as WritersDigest or here at BookCountry, as well as countless books and classes, that cover how to prepare your manuscript for publication. Applying this information will help your manuscript get an agent’s attention. Continue reading

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G.D. Deckard on Self-Publishing his Debut Novel, THE PHOENIX DIARY, with Book Country

Posted by June 24th, 2015

G.D. Deckard on Self-Publishing his Debut Novel, THE PHOENIX DIARY, with Book Country

Congratulations to Book Country member G.D. Deckard on publishing his debut science fiction novel, THE PHOENIX DIARY, with Book Country! G.D. is an outstanding member of the Book Country community. He’s always involved in engaging and helpful conversations about the writing process and book marketing in the discussion boards. G.D. workshopped THE PHOENIX DIARY on Book Country, and we are so happy to see it finally hit the e-shelves. Below, G.D. shares what inspired him to write THE PHOENIX DIARY and how joining Book Country helped him in the publishing process. THE PHOENIX DIARY is available on Book Country and on all major online retailers. Connect with G.D. on Book Country.

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Janet Umenta: What inspired you to write THE PHOENIX DIARY? How long did it take you to write the book?

G.D. Deckard: One day I realized that abandoned streets, houses, shopping malls, and schools meant a world without oil. The first working title of my manuscript was AMERICA WITHOUT OIL. But that story idea had already been used by other authors. So I took the opportunity in my book to blend a straight-forward adventure with answers to life’s oldest questions: Where did humans come from? What is death? Do we have a destiny? I made up the answers, of course, but that’s the great part about science fiction. The making up the answers part and the actual writing took me six years.

JU: THE PHOENIX DIARY is a hard science fiction novel. Who are the science fiction authors you looked up to growing up? Did you draw from any of their techniques?

GDD: The science fiction authors I looked up to growing up were Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, Bradbury, and Delany – the classics. I am fascinated by our sense of wonder rooted in reality, which led me to explore science fiction. While doing research for THE PHOENIX DIARY, I discovered that there are actual remnants of ancient nuclear reactors in West Africa that are nearly two billion years old. I was stunned and asked myself, how did they get there? Continue reading

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Forty-Eight Hours to Publish My Book by Book Country Member Len Webster

Posted by June 17th, 2015

Forty-Eight Hours to Publish My Book by Book Country Member Len Webster

Book Country member and best-selling author Len Webster shares the final days before the publication of SOMETIMES MOMENTS. Len workshopped SOMETIMES MOMENTS on Book Country.

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48 HOURS TILL PUBLICATION

With forty-eight hours to go before I published my third romance novel, SOMETIMES MOMENTS, I found myself considerably overwhelmed. To the point where I wanted to throw up. Not like a little. Like I got wasted just before 10PM on New Year’s Eve and ended up in a disgusting and highly unlady-like puking fest.

Forty-Eight Hours to Publish My Book by Book Country Member Len Webster

 

 

 

 

 

True story?

You’ll never know.

When it comes to publishing, time has been both my friend and my enemy:

Friend: I am excited that all the work I put into writing and editing SOMETIMES MOMENTS would finally result in a book.

Enemy: I still have a million things to do, but not enough time before the release to do them.

Damn, time.

WHAT I STILL HAD TO DO:

Create promotional pictures and keep a careful eye on my pre-order sales.

I also had to tell my brain to stop overthinking “No one will like it!” thoughts and replay some “Someone will love SOMETIMES MOMENTS!” ones in my mind before I fell asleep. Continue reading

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When Your Book Promotion Idea Fails–Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Author of the New York Times Bestseller BITTERSWEET

Posted by June 9th, 2015

When Your Promotional Idea Fails - Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Author of Bestseller BITTERSWEETMiranda Beverly-Whittemore is the author of BITTERSWEET, the New York Times Bestseller that exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong. All New York Times Bestsellers have great marketing behind them. But Miranda shares one book promotion idea that didn’t take off and what she learned from the undertaking.

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When Crown bought my third novel, BITTERSWEET, in the spring of 2013, I decided to dedicate the year before publication to promotion. There were a lot of necessary (if unexciting) fixes to my author platform, from revitalizing an outdated website, to relaunching a defunct newsletter, to overcoming my shyness on social media. But my main promotional idea was something that enticed me: a website where women could share stories of the ups and downs of their girlhood friendships.

The driving force in BITTERSWEET is a passionate, dark friendship between college roommates Mabel and Ev. I’ve always been intrigued by that particular era in any female life before adulthood when the loves (and heartbreaks, and envies) of our lives are other girls. As I mentioned the book’s premise to friends and colleagues, a funny thing happened: these women would spontaneously share stories of their own complicated friendships. I heard tales of being saved from something perilous, of being unnecessarily cruel, of never getting to say goodbye when a best friend moved away. I was inundated with these beautiful, sad, funny stories, and I wanted to make a home for them. FriendStories.com was born. Continue reading

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Ask a Literary Agent: Nephele Tempest Answers Your Questions!

Posted by May 27th, 2015

Ask a Literary Agent: Nephele Tempest Answers Your Questions!We’re happy to have literary agent Nephele Tempest share her experience with the Book Country community! Nephele has been a member of The Knight Agency since 2005 and is based in Los Angeles. Nephele is currently seeking works in a wide variety of genres, including literary fiction, romance, and young adult.

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If you feel that a novel from a first-time author is strong (style, voice, premise, etc.) — but, could use some changes (more than simple tweaking) — are you likely to say to the author: Make these changes and then send it back to me? – Val

I have definitely done this in the past, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. If I really love a story concept and think the writing is strong, I will occasionally make a few suggestions to the author with an offer to reread if they decide to follow up. Not everyone takes my suggestions, but I have seen revised manuscripts in this way. On one occasion, I did end up signing the author. We did a few more rounds of revisions once I had signed her on before I submitted the book to editors and sold it. The first round of edits she performed before I signed her on showed me that she was capable of following directions and that she was willing to work to get the book to a salable point. These are great qualities to see in a client.

As a member of the Book Country community of writers, I have a manuscript (Historical Fiction/Personage) that lately has been receiving five nib (star) reviews. The book is virtually finished, but I am in a quandary as to whether to seek an agent or self-publish. I have worked on this story for many years, and it is the advice from other writers that has helped me bring the novel to this point. – Rob Emery

Only you can decide whether you are interested in going the traditional publishing route or if you want to self-publish. Each route has its advantages and disadvantages. The traditional route can be time-consuming, but you end up with a group of people working for you to help get your book into the world — an agent, an editor, a marketing department and sales team, etc. If you self-publish, you still need those people and will need to find them and pay them for their work. I recommend you research both ways of doing things and pick the route that seems best for you. Either way, give the process time to work. Commit to the choice you make and really put in the time and effort to make your book a success. Too often I receive queries from authors who have self-published a few months ago and aren’t happy with the results, so they now want to try again the traditional way. I can’t really do anything for them because all they’ve done is create a poor sales history for their project that will make it hard for me to sell to a publishing house. So whatever route you choose, give it your all. Continue reading

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Editors and Publishers to Follow on Twitter

Posted by May 26th, 2015

It’s important for writers to be active in the online writing community. Editors and publishers are constantly promoting great books and author events on Twitter, so you’ll be able to know current trends and the kinds of books being published in today’s market. Plus, editors and publishers regularly tweet out book giveaways and host fun contests!

Editors and Publishers to Follow on Twitter

Editors and Publishers to Follow on Twitter

Editors and Publishers to Follow on Twitter

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