For Our Fiction Authors – And Those Who Have Ideas About Marketing for Fiction Authors

gb-dvorahby D’vorah Lansky

As you may have figured out by now, my area of expertise, and the focus of the Book Marketing Challenge is on book marketing for nonfiction authors. However, given that we have hundreds of fiction authors registered for the event who would like to be able to apply what they are learning, I want to do whatever I can to make this content accessible to both fiction and nonfiction authors.

I’d like to provide tips for how fiction authors can apply the daily steps of the Book Marketing Challenge, to their books. Being that this is not my area of expertise, I’d like to invite our author community to “chime in.”

  • For our fiction authors, how have you been applying the daily challenge steps to your writing?
  • For our guest experts and anyone participating in the challenge, what ideas do you have for how fiction authors can develop their platform and build a business with their book, that goes beyond their book?

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Post your comments below, in the format of a “Tip” – Mention the strategy and talk about how Fiction Authors can apply this strategy to their books. Be sure to include your name, book title, and website address (if you’d like) for additional exposure. Thank you!

Note: By sharing your tip, you are agreeing to your tip being included in the training document we’re putting together. Thank you! This is going to help a lot of people! All comments that include valuable suggestions and ideas will be featured on this page. Any comments that are strictly of a promotional basis will be removed. This thread is to generate marketing suggestions for our fiction authors. If you’d like to share about your book, there are many opportunities to do so, especially in the week-one daily steps and featured articles.

PLEASE NOTE:Β We’d like to keep the conversation on this post specifically focused on the needs of fiction authors in marketing their books. Look forward to hearing your suggestions. Fiction authors, if you have specific questions regarding (Book Marketing for Fiction Authors) please also feel warmly invited to post those questions here.)

Comments

  1. Everyone says to network and that can help to a point, joining groups of other writers but I find more often than not we are all looking at each other hoping the other has some valuable information. You can try to get placed in independent bookstores and do readings but that is still not getting the mass exposure we need. I look forward to any tips you can get. We are all searching for answers.

    • I’m with you, Bridget. It takes a long time to build platform and posting on the sites of others, FB, Twitter hasn’t garnered me any new sales yet. But I listened to a recent interview with Jim Butcher who does the Harry Dresden fantasy series, and he said it took him at least 5 books to develop any kind of following. So we fiction writers need to keep producing product, putting it out, while doing some social media while allowing some time to build a following. I, for one, have no intention of going out and teaching writing.

  2. This week, I started brainstorming a few ways to entice readers to sign up for my mailing list. Most advice for fiction writers is to offer a free short story, but I want to do something bigger and better. Here are the ideas I came up with:

    *Create a PDF packet for each of your books (or your series as a whole) and give readers the option to choose which they want to download as a bonus.

    *Fill it with a variety of fun things: a character interview, a Letterman-style Top 10 list created by your villain, a Buzzfeed-style quiz so a reader can see which character they’re most like, a flash or short piece featuring one of the characters, a character family tree, a preview of the next book in the series, etc.

    *Depending on how much material you generate, you could even do several PDFs that you can offer as bonuses for subscribers who stick with you for 6 months, a year, etc. You could also pull one piece from the pack and use it as a teaser on your blog or social media to boost sign-ups.

    I’m planning on doing this for my book, The Romanov Legacy. The only trouble is finding the time to do it all with a day job! You can check out the book at http://jenniwiltz.com.

    • Great ideas, Jenni! I’ve been using quotes from my book as “inspirational photos” — but this encourages readers to continue to experience your book even after they’ve finished reading it, so they are ready for your next book! Brilliant!

    • Brilliant ideas Jenni. You may also want to consider using some of those ideas for teleseminars or a video series.

    • Jenni,
      Thanks for the great ideas!! You gave me a springboard to let my imagination go. I so like your ideas. πŸ™‚

    • Wow, Jenni! these ideas are awesome!
      I totally understand your need to find the time for all of it – that’s my struggle as well.

    • Hayley Clarke says:

      You could use the packets for use by schools and Book clubs as well – to entice groups to read your book as the extras are already there πŸ™‚

    • J.Q. Rose says:

      Just wrote down your ideas. Going to brainstorm some more to include in a packet. Thanks for sharing.

  3. My 2 cents!
    1. Marketing your fiction book starts while you’re writing it! Little details like your book setting and cultural references can make a huge difference in marketability.
    2. Talk about your passion, not your book. I wrote a blog about this because many authors of fiction novels feel the only way to sell books is with promotion after promotion. The truth is, readers want to get to know who you are. Nonfiction authors have it “easy” because they write about specific topics, so as a fiction author you have to find that thread of conviction in your work and communicate that passion to readers.

    • Renee-Ann Giggie says:

      Very well said, this makes a lot of sense and I’ll admit I didn’t look at it this way. I’ll be honest, I’ve been doing promotion after promotion.

      Thanks Rochelle.

  4. I have been taking quotes from my book, pairing them up with photos I’ve taken over the years, and creating “inspirational quotes” that I share on social media. They have brought new people to my FB Author page.
    I’ve also started a blog, and it’s based on the “theme” of my book. In my book, I try to show how we can change our life for the better by shifting our perspective about it. So my blog is called “Shifting Perspectives”, and I show in each post a way that I have changed an outcome by changing the way I perceive a problem.
    One big idea that I’ve gotten since starting this Challenge is to take that a step further, and do a teleseminar that teaches — a further extension of the blog! I have workshops that I’ve conducted in the past for small groups — I can take those and create a teleseminar, use that to increase my list and draw in new readers, and then use the content to create new books that teach! My head is spinning, but in a good way!

    • Barbara Salvatore says:

      Hello Peg! That is a very effective idea. I have done that using word and pdf formats, but would like to know what software/ format you use to make a ‘picture with text’ that you can post on social media. It is true that people on face book really love this and it does draw fans!

      • Susie Cochrane says:

        Barbara try quovio.com – I found it yesterday through Liesel Teversham sharing it on Facebook. It is free, a snap to create and looks terrific. It takes a minute or 2 to create the whole thing and load it to Facebook.

  5. My 2 cents worth
    When I introduced myself at the beginning of this course I was tearing my hair out thinking of ways to make my blog-cum-free-book giveaway visible to would-be readers. My website only went live two months ago, and I’m in a very competitive niche with zillions of pages about my main character Andrew Murray, the renowned author and preacher from South Africa. So in desperation I took a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) course with a highly respected guru in the field. Now I’m not going to bore you with SEO techie stuff, but I will tell you about one of my findings that was very helpful to enable my site to rank on the first page of Google for two of my competitive keywords. And if you don’t have a site, this tip will work for you too.

    Head over to Squidoo and write a one page article (called a lens) about how you came to write your book or any point related to it. Include a few photographs and a quotation if you can. It doesn’t have to be brilliant. All that needs to happen is for Google to think that your article is worthy of a high rank. According to the latest Google algorithm, a longer article will rank higher than a shorter one. My first article (lens) appears on the second page of Google for a very competitive keyword, and has managed to push my website to page ONE for the same keyword. My second lens on Squidoo appeared overnight on page ONE in SECOND position for another competitive keyword.

    Why Squidoo?
    There’s a section in Squidoo where you can add all your books that appear on Amazon, and Squidoo will import the covers for you. Against each book you can write a description. If someone clicks on the cover, they’ll be taken to your book on Amazon where they can purchase it. You can incorporate this section anywhere in your article.

    Second. All the SEO spammers have left Squidoo because all the links on this site are now no-follow. So Google likes Squidoo–a lot! Nevertheless, it will allow you to insert an RSS feed from your website. I’ve imported 8 of my blog titles this way. (They only allow 9 links.) You can also opt to show part of a blog post. Anyone who clicks on a blog title or post will be taken straight to your blog on your website and will hopefully sign up for your free-book giveaway.

    Third. If you link your articles (lenses) with a keyword in your main title, Squidoo will list each of your lenses in the side ribbon, thus increasing your visibility.

    If you would like to take a peek at my lenses (they’ll be very boring to some) then tootle over to:
    http://www.squidoo.com/andrew-murray-and-the-1860-revival
    From there you can click on my other lens in the side bar. Please don’t be too picky, as I’m still learning the ins and outs of lens building.

    • on the page following the last page of a not particularly good detective novel that i finished yesterday, was–” and now, a special excerpt from the next novel by—–
      now available from, etc. it was just a three page excerpt but served to remind the reader that the writer had more to offer.
      this may not be new but it was to me as one more way to try to get people to buy your work.

    • Thanks for this tip. I will definitely be looking into this. Question: Was there a corresponding increase in book sales when your page was ranking so high?

      Thanks.
      Sarah

    • Peggy M McAloon says:

      Thanks for the tip Olea! I’ve not used this site so will take a bit of trial & error.

    • J.Q. Rose says:

      Ooh I have Squidoo lenses but not for my books. Going to look into this for sure. Thanx!

    • Linda Griffin says:

      I love the Squidoo recommendations. Thanks for sharing!

    • Susie Cochrane says:

      Thank you so much Olea, great tips, very useful and informative. I appreciate your sharing.

  6. Thank you for giving fiction writers β€œtalk and share space”. Impressive ideas.
    I too have been using quotes from my book with inspirational photos. Most of my sales have been from word of mouth.

    I don’t have everything in place yet, so that should change once I get my author website up, and make other changes, including inserting coding on my Amazon account so readers from other countries can buy from the US.

    I like your idea Jenni, about the Buzzfeed-style quiz, but how does one create that?

    For sure, I am going to look into Squidoo, Olea. My concern though, is that Amazon does not allow review downloads anywhere other than Amazon, at least that is my understanding. By the way, Olea, your Squidoo page wasn’t boring.

  7. Thanks for all the tips and support, everyone. I am a sci-fi/romance ebooks author, relatively new (1st book published 12/19/13; 2nd one goes “live” 6/9/14) who is learning marketing FAST!

    My current methods and strategies (are all free, but many are expandable if you pay):
    BLOGGING: I have a WordPress.com blog that feeds to Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, and Google+ (and more; I can’t remember, now). WP.org is for those who know how to program and use CSS/HTML and all that, which I’m just learning, so I stick to WP.com, but it doesn’t allow plug-ins and has fewer choices of other stuff. Cheaper, though, and way easier than WP.org, IMHO.
    I put links to every review, book purchase site, author interview, and site that lists my books in the side bar of my blog, which appears on every page, organized by type of link. Maybe it’s too many, but these are my shout-out to those who support/feature me/my books, so I want to do that.

    MEDIA/GROUPS: As an author, I also use Pinterest Boards and Goodreads. I have a LinkedIn profile and belong to groups. I belong to groups on Facebook and Communities on Google+. I’m considering getting into Instagram after attending a free webinar on it, but not yet on that site. I picked a few to become active in and get known by others in; the rest I just lurk, post, and read occasionally. There are literally too many to list here.

    AUTHOR/BOOK PAGES: I have Series pages on both Google+ and Facebook. I have an Author Central page on Amazon, an Author profile and books listed on Smashwords, Goodreads, Shelfari and Booklikes (nook’s Goodreads) and now since Volume I went Permafree in April, listed on many free sites as well (see below). I also have profiles/listings on and belong to Rave Reviews Book Club, E Novels Authors at Work, Clean Indie Reads, World Literary Cafe, Authors Den, Authors Database, and more. Also, too many to list. I only do the free options on all.

    PROMOTIONS: I use what used to be “Headliner” and is now “Co-Promote” for free, collaborate promotions for free about every 3 weeks (if you pay, you can do more and do it more often). Co-promote posts to Twitter, Facebook and other sites. I got promoted/listed on Choosy Bookworm, Clean Indie Reads, and many book reviewers’ blogs and sites when they reviewed my book.

    COMMENTING/RE-POSTING: I use StumbleUpon (and used to use Reddit but don’t anymore; too strict) and about to start using Digg for cross-posting and re-posting. I have an automatic PaperLi “newspaper” related mostly to sci-fi, science and tech news that I pre-curated so I can just let it fly once a week. it goes to Facebook and Twitter. Some people subscribe; others just find it. I read/peruse about 100 or more others’ blogs per week, trying to comment on at least a dozen and reblogging a few every day that I don’t have my own postings (and some when I do).

    AS A READER: I am active on Goodreads almost daily, posting about what I’m reading, writing short reviews as I go along and when I finish, ranking books I read. I also have friends and make friends there regularly.

    TOOLS: I wanted to share some great folks about a tool at Book Marketing Tools that allows you to submit your free ebook (for the dates when it’s free or permafree, either one) to more than 30 sites by filling out the info ONCE and it only costs $14.95 (I am not an affiliate; I was a beta-tester because I attend their free webinars on Google On Air Hangouts, which are also great and archived). Check it out! http://bookmarketingtools.com/submission-tool-features
    You can find their other Hangouts archived on their site. Excellent speakers with tips, ideas, more tools on those webinars. I’m using so many of their ideas now (too many to name!).

    Pinterest.com: might interest some of you, so please go look at my Boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember Most of them relate to my series or indie books. Some are more “get to know me as an author/person” Boards. For example, I have a Board that shows locations that appear (or are similar to ones that appear) in my Series. I have another with music related to or mentioned in scenes/relationships/characters/events in my Series. I have a Board with the background research/facts/real people/science/astromony related to my Series. And, more. Visit! Let me know what you think!

    AUTHOR NETWORKING MEGASHEET:
    D. Keith Fritz is an author who created this great networking tool on Google for any author to join, free. You can list whatever sites you want others to go to and join, follow, LIKE, etc. as well as make notes of what you want promoted or posted about, IF you also go on there and follow/LIKE/post for others regularly (honor system). WELL WORTH IT! There are hundreds of us on it, now, and more every day! Do a few every day to catch up and soon you’ll be done. Find out about some great writing/blogs/pages/books, also!
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuJYB0PFc5jOdE5pSVA0eXBIM0N2bkRPV2MwcUZxLUE&usp=sharing#gid=0
    Animoto.com is easy for making free, 30-second book trailers with your own music or use from their free library (you can upgrade and get more time and choices if you pay) if you have your own images or rights to them.
    Photofonia.com is fun and also great for PR if you have your own images/rights to them.

    BOOK REVIEW/VOTING SWAPS: There are many groups on Facebook, Google+ and Goodreads that offer authors the chance to get/give reviews, vote up each others’ books on Goodreads’ Listopia or Amazon’s Listmania, vote on reviews on Amazon, and do other deeds for each other (interviews, guest blog, blog hops, etc.). Join what you want but read the guidelines carefully and lurk for a while before committing. I had to leave one group due to a difference of opinion on what constituted keeping up my commitments (some have a lot; some have a few or none).

    FORA/DISCUSSIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS: KindleBoards and other Kindle sites have discussion fora, groups, postings. Many other sites do as well. Be warned: some, especially on Amazon, Huffington Post and Youtube, have trolls/meanies. LEAVE and do not engage with them. Really. That being said, if you behave and contribute, you can get a great reputation and entice people to get to know you more. DO NOT SPAM, which means, do not put links to your site or books unless they’re requested or everyone is doing it. DO use your author name to comment so people can find you, though.

    TRAILERS/VIDEOS: I have my own channel, but I need to do more with it. I made my own book trailers FREE on Animoto.com and put them on Youtube, Goodreads, Smashwords, Amazon and my blog. I use them when I post about my books, especially on Google +. I did some public readings locally and decided to video myself reading from my first books and put them on youtube. I also held a live Google On Air Hangout and posted that on Youtube, but the Q & A live function didn’t work, so it’s just a monologue (LOL).

    Thanks, D’vorah, for setting this up! Also:
    For the Squidoo/lens info, which is new to me, Thanks, Olea. I’m heading over there today.

    Peg, I used Pinterest for the methods you describe, but not as well as you have (no quotes from my own books!?!?!). Thanks for the ideas!

    Jenni, I put a lot of that info (Glossaries, Family Tree, annotated list of future Volumes in my 10-book series, the psi skills training curriculum) as Appendices in my ebooks, but NOW I’m going to use YOUR PDF-packet ideas! Excellent! Thanks.

    Best to you all!

    Sally Ember http://www.sallyember.com

    • Thank you for putting the time into this post and sharing the info. A lot of good tips here.
      Sarah

  8. My website now has PayPal and book trailers as a result of this marketing challenge.
    I also created a FaceBook fan page, which I’ve put off doing for months. I had already started building my email list by having a monthly drawing for a free book.
    I’ve also started the process of obtaining a distributor for my picture books, which are now available in hardcover as well as softcover.
    If you would like to see any of these changes, hop on over to http://www.marlafjones.com and check out the last tab, Children’s Bookstore.
    Thanks! Marla Jones

  9. Nicole says:

    My plan is to create a Gazetter out of my worldbuilding material. I also plan to have the genealogy as an appendix. My book will be a series of serialized novels. I’ve found a perspective publisher and am working on building my author platform. I have information from Writer’s Digest I plan to use as well as creating teleseminars dealing with the topics of each series. I got that idea from this nice training we are partaking in. I’m sure I’ll come up with ideas the training progresses and with the new training document coming up there’s bound to be ideas there. I’ve also signed up for the Writer’s University Bootcamp!

  10. Fiction writers may consider having journals and games featuring characters from your books. These can be additional income sources or free gifts.

    Veronica at http:// healthfulfamilyconversations.weebly.com

    • Wayne says:

      Thanks Veronica, I just finished a video on “no-content” books but it didn’t occur to make a diary for my main character. Great idea!
      Wayne

  11. My book will be published in September this year. It is creative non-fiction, which is pretty darned close to fiction:)
    I plan to do Facebook fan page parties to get exposure.
    PLUS many of the above ideas. Thank you!

  12. I find my Goodreads author profile to be the greatest base for my platform, using it to invite friends and fans to events I create, like book release parties (held on facebook) and giveaways. My blog is also linked to it, so my latest post is always on display.
    I can’t stress enough the importance of linking all your social media together, so that all your blog posts, tweets, facebook posts etc. are shared across all your sites without having to go to each separately. All the sites seem to have linking facilities if you search around, and this is such a time saver.
    My favourite social media event is the facebook launch party, and I wrote a blog post about it here: http://deborahjayauthor.com/2013/08/08/holding-a-facebook-launch-party/ talking about the release of my debut novel, epic fantasy The Prince’s Man.

  13. Although I have enjoyed reading this link very much and taken notes on most of it, I am going to put my focus in the direction of what was asked of us by Devorah.

    As a fictional author of the book, Day After Disaster, I have found this 30 Day Book Marketing Challenge very useful. On Day one you talked about an author platform and my vision was limited at that point. I didn’t know what I would talk about as a fictional author but I started to brainstorm. I realized my book has many topics, the changing earth we live in, survival, family, just to name a few. Plus, there is the process of writing the book, character and plot development, setting, etc. Which is a very interesting topic to a lot of people who have pondered developing their own novel.

    On day two we discussed the blog! I had been putting this step of web development off. I figured I already have a website and a good social media presence, what would I possibly need to do this for? But then I realized that I needed someplace where people could learn about the ideas in my book. So I designed, The Changing Earth Blog at http://authorsarafhathaway.blogspot.com. I decided to use the name of my series and use it as a place to discuss any of the topics from the book or the book itself.

    On Day 3 we did the Amazon Author Central setup and my novel, Day After Disaster, does not officially hit Amazon until June 3rd so I took notes and moved on.

    On Day 4 we harnessed the power of Goodreads.com and I ate this part for breakfast. It was filled with great info about how to link everything, setting up the giveaways ( I currently have over 175 people in my contest!) and joining groups of readers that are reading the genre you just wrote. I don’t even market to the people in these groups and I get found as an author and I also get to learn more about what ideas might be interesting to them for my sequel.

    Day five we did the facebook party and I though what a great idea to advertise to my fans that I would be there all day to discuss any topic about the book or book development.

    Day 6 brought us to the marketing of an ebook which was basically a recap of what we had been learning with some extra goodies thrown in.

    Day 7 we entered the topic of relationship building with our audience. This is were we started to pursue the idea of building an email list. I didn’t really see why this would be so important with a fictional novel so I took notes and continued on.

    Day 8 we did the lesson on creating the giveaway. I realized here that I really do need a mailing list. This creates intrigue, keeps your readers engaged until the next book comes out, and lets you further explore your book’s theme. That is the key, knowing the areas of the book you are knowledgeable on and expanding your knowledge and platform there. I personally chose survival and regaining the crafts that our ancestors took for granite and we have forgotten.

    Day 9 we started to discuss teleseminars. Now understand I was pretty opposed to doing any of these seminars or live feeds at the beginning of this course. Here I realized what a great way to get in front of readers this was. I could talk about the themes or the creation and I realized I could also interview other experts in the area of my theme or book creation as well. This was truly a revelation because not only would I entice readers but I could generate ideas for the sequel.

    Day 10 we did information on participating in guest interviews to increase credibility and it was pretty much a continuation of day 9 but I personally find appearing on an interview more attractive than hosting, even though I have realized the possibilities of hosting my own. Day 11 we talked more of the seminars and I continued thinking about a long term schedule of appearances to keep me in front of readers.

    Day 12 we continued talking about building our list and continued exposure through social media. Many of these things I have been doing but I liked the idea of using your own quotes from your book. (I think we all know how popular the quotes are now a days).

    Here we are at day 13 and we are talking possible revenue streams. I am learning along with the rest of you so I am still exploring the possibilities here but here are some of my ideas. As a published author you may be a step above the rest and others may be interested in how you did it. Many author groups pay speakers to come and talk on this point. Also, discussing and constantly leaning about your theme may get you accreditation there and you can present on those issues, through various media sources.

    My Tips:
    Tip 1: Leverage the help of the people who are willing to help you. Ask friends if they are willing to repost your posts on all the social media sites. The more people that share it, the more eyes get to see your novel and what it’s about.

    Tip 2: If you buy on Amazon make sure you buy your own book too. Once you develop a purchasing history, Amazon will link your book to your past purchases. I know we have all seen “People who bought this, also bought…” Make sure your book is appearing too.

    Tip 3: When doing in-person engagements have a sign in sheet. This allows you to see who attended, gather their email for your list and see what marketing method you used worked the best.

    Happy marketing to all the great fictional writers out there!

    Sara F. Hathaway
    Author of Day After Disaster
    http://www.authorsarafhathaway.com

  14. While I am a non-fiction author, my husband and I have built a business around selling his father’s novels. There are a few things that we have found over the last few years that may be helpful to the fiction writers here.

    We’re video producers first and foremost but Rick’s dad, Patrick Smith, had over many years, gained a big following for one book in particular, A Land Remembered. It is a multi-generational historical fiction set in Florida whose scope encompasses the 1850’s to 1980’s. It is incredibly popular in Florida due in very large part because Patrick was a good speaker and was invited to speak to groups all over the state. When his health turned bad, my husband made a video of him doing his presentation and we turned that video into an award-winning film. Along with him on camera, we also added b-roll, photos, music, etc.

    We live in California and we knew our largest market was in Florida so we set up a “family website” and have built that up with many of the marketing strategies. It now has become a very large part of our income. Here’s the link – http://PatrickSmithOnline.com

    So here are a few things we have done that I haven’t seen addressed in this thread yet that may give you some ideas:

    1) We shot another simple video of Patrick answering typical questions about the book. (It was in response to a grade school class…he didn’t have the strength to write the answers and we were out visiting. By the way, they’ve turned his book into a grade school textbook.) We sell that DVD but give it to everyone who buys a hard bound book. They can’t get it anywhere else. It’s a $13 or so value.

    Can you do this for your book? Kind of like the extras you get with a DVD, behind the scenes, making of, etc.

    2) Rick kept getting asked if his dad would speak but he was bed ridden. A few years ago, when a historical museum asked him this question, he told them he could put together a program and speak and they were thrilled. They paid us $2,000 and we decided that since we were going to be in Florida anyway, let’s see if we can dig some more gigs up. That turned into a 3 week tour and we made more money than we had ever before!

    Now we’re into our 2nd year and Rick has presented in over 80 places that include libraries, history centers, nature preserves, schools, retirement communities, special fundraising events, book clubs, to name a few. He gets paid a fee and we sell books, DVDs, prints inspired by the books, etc.

    I say this because there are so many places where people want to have a speaker. I’m happy to share many of the places we’ve approached and how we got the contact info.

    But Rick does not just read from the book…you can read about the multi-media program he put together at http://ALandRemembered.com/speaking-tour.

    It has evolved but when he first did it, it wasn’t as visual and he really didn’t have that much powerpoint experience. We use Keynote now. It absolutely blows the crowds away…they don’t expect something like that and this has helped us get many of our gigs.

    What we did last time though blew it out of the water…I over ordered books and sold out and had to order more it worked so well which leads me to the 3rd tip…

    3) We made a video trailer for the other books that his dad wrote but don’t sell that much. We took a powerful excerpt then got it narrated (fiverr.com for $10), added music, video and stills. Here’s one example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r58Nhk2KdHA&feature=share&list=UUGotovpwYg6hUzOrX-7Yjuw&index=4

    I tell you, after we showed this to the audience, the books were flying out of there! It worked so well we are doing more of them and will be incorporating them into our marketing.

    Also if you haven’t guessed, the topic of the book I wrote with my husband is on producing videos and selling them and I’m more than happy to share our resources and help anyone who would like to do a trailer such as this.

    • I’m very interested in you resources for making a trailer. Thanks.

  15. Sarah O'Donnell says:

    Again, thanks to everyone who posted their experiences. Alot of good information here to ponder! I’d like to point people to two web sites, both for NYT best selling authors who took over ownership of their work and began to indie-publish. Barry Eisler even turned down a six figure advance to take control of his work. Bob Mayer has been writing and teaching about writing a long time. He’s written something like 60 books. Both men try to share their knowledge of marketing for indie-publishers. Barry’s web site is http://www.barryeisler.com Look under the “for writers” tab. Bob’s blog site is http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/

  16. As someone who writes fiction and non-fiction, as well as teaches fiction writers. I think the line between fiction and non-fiction is not so far. It’s more of a perspective. While each non-fiction book has a clear theme, there are themes within fiction writing, as well. Let’s say that you write mystery novels; and each of your novels has a cat. Now, you have a “cat” theme in your books. You can look for blogs that write about cats so that you can develop some contacts for possible guest blogs. If you choose to get interviewed or interview others, you can still use this same idea.

    Think outside the book, and find exactly how you can connect your fiction book to non-fiction topics or themes.

  17. Thank you to all for such great information. I almost skipped the discussion as my work is non-fiction, but it has been most rewarding. Thank you, Dvorah for starting a conversation around this topic.

    I am grateful for you.

    • I agree, Sherry. Thanks everyone for sharing your tips. And D’vorah I’m sorry I didn’t join your challenge. It sounds great.

  18. Hi everyone,
    I’m behind on the discussion but finally had a chance to catch up. There’s some terrific advice here. First off, I’d like to say that every single day of this challenge is applicable to both fiction and non-fiction writers. From building your author platform to establishing a method to capture contact information of your readers and awesome ideas on how to re-purpose content. I did start off as a non-fiction writer but my passion is fiction. As a novelist, this challenge has encouraged me to go back to profiles I set up a few years ago (like Author Central and Goodreads) and update them and make sure that website/email information is accurate.

    One of my favorite ‘cross-genre’ marketing activities that I’ve done several times is the virtual book tour. The opportunities are endless and once you build a list that is specific to your genre then you can go back to your supporters when you’re ready to launch a new book. Obviously, I keep very different contact lists for fiction and non-fiction blog tours. I do have a website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest and LinkedIn profile as well as a litany of other author-specific online communities that I have joined that include profiles and links to book sales pages.

    Here are a few other fiction-specific marketing ideas that I’d like to share:

    – I recently joined the Women’s Fiction Writers’ Association and volunteered to be a judge for their Rising Star writing competition
    – I’ve submitted my novel to several high profile self-publishing competitions (Writers’ Digest, IPPY, Indie Excellence, Indie Book Awards – great fodder for press releases and 3rd party endorsements… that little gold sticker on the cover looks great and if you’re there in person to accept any award you’re given you can have photos taken and use them in all your marketing)
    – I’ve uploaded my book to reader sites such as iAuthor, Ask David, Authors Den, Author Marketing Club, Book Club Reading, Book Hitch and Good Kindles
    – I’ve bought Facebook ads and boosted posts during launch week and for special dates (give aways for example)
    – I held my book launch in a popular waterfront pub in my hometown. The manager put me right on the stage, gave me free reign of the sound system, allowed me to put my pull up banner outside in high foot traffic area and even gave me a few free dinner coupons to raffle off… I had t-shirts and tote bags with my book cover to raffle as well. Even patrons who were only there for a drink or dinner were given a free raffle ticket. The nice gentleman who won one of the Mental Pause t-shirts was so sweet about it that I convinced one of the women who had won a dinner coupon to swap with him.

    It’s true that it takes a lot of time and effort to build a following and things typically start to take hold when more books are published… I’m counting on it as I plan the launch of my second novel before the end of the year!

    Happy writing and marketing everyone,
    Anne πŸ™‚

  19. I had two markets this past weekend, and I’ve been reprinting and setting and re-setting pamphlets, etc., to create a perfect picture of my fledgling business that I am lagging behind in this challenge.

    First of all I would like to say thank you for all the wonderful comments (Sally Ember is a single person, right? πŸ˜‰ ). I have been printing blog posts since day one and have been highlighting all the information I think can work for me, today I may need to get a new highlighter…

    Since starting this Challenge, I have set the goal of getting myself onto Amazon and figuring out Goodreads (how does one get pictures into their posts? Can I connect my blogger post to the page?)

    I have also realised that I have not been marketing to parents and teachers, who are currently my main market. It seems so obvious now that they are my target audience, but until the breakthrough I had the new author blinders on: “Everyone will LOVE my book! Tra-la-la-la-la…”

    I will connect with libraries and schools somehow, and see if I could do readings at community centres.

    I will plead with my sister to take my book to local stores. The idea of it is currently making me sick, but I hope to get over this soon, so that I can burst in a store, politely ask to see a manager, and somehow convince whomever is in charge to take my book for 25% max so that I can raise at least a few dollars for the conservation of animals–which is the main purpose of the book.

    I also want to know how to contact media, which is something I hope Sandra Beckwith will help us with tomorrow.

    My marketing strategy has been to take myself away from the computer and enter the market world. The problem is that I have gone to the wrong markets. πŸ˜› This past Saturday I was at Wychwood Barns, and there is where my target audience hangs out. It has been nothing but a parade of cuteness: puppies and babies everywhere! Also, people though my book was extremely affordable; a huge change from some markets I attended where people expected to get hardcover books for $5.

    As part of this Challenge, I created my first PDF (I have no idea if it works, since no one got back to me). As an author/illustrator I created my images traditionally with ink and watercolour. I would first ink the line and then add colour. I scanned a few of these ink lines and they make perfect colouring pages. The lines themselves are not perfect, but they are the actual lines I used to create my artwork–who could ask for anything more. πŸ™‚ (If you have kids who like to colour, you may wish to check it out here and let me know if it works: https://gumroad.com/l/FloodSerbia_BosniaFloods.) At the market I had the printout of the PDF ready to show, as well as four of the pages that I gave to kids to colour (my info is on every single one). Parents were more than happy to sign up for my monthly newsletter to get the PDF. In the past I promised freebies, and I delivered freebies, but having something physical they could see is better than any promise.

    Something else that has me intrigued (though I have no idea how to do it and I can’t pay $300 for Cathy Demer’s class) is a webinar weekly series. I have been so frustrated trying to find information specific to what I’m doing, but if I can interview the experts directly, I can get the answers I need in a simple and concise manner (Teleseminars will not work for me, because I need slides with pictures). Does anyone know what software to use on a “shoe-string budget”? The ones that popped up in Google are hundreds of dollars per year. I’m toying with an idea of creating a video and using Google Hangouts to connect with attendees.

    Another brainstorm that resulted form Kindle Ninja is that I can publish my enormous fantasy novel chapter by chapter. The idea is to let the first chapter be free (my fantasy novel will have one full, gorgeously detailed illustration per chapter, and sketchy ink illustrations throughout the book), then as soon as I publish my second chapter to raise the price of the first chapter to $0.99. Each chapter with illustrations will be approximately 30 pages and if it is shorter, I will publish two at the same time. There will be a blog dedicated to the book and the fans can watch me create artwork as I go along.

    I’m also having a friend make one of my characters into a stuffed animal.

    I may create an iPad game based on my “Horsing Around Limited Edition Print Series”.

    Currently, I’m illustrating a picture book of the most popular “Dream, Little Dreamer” Art Print. I will give the original ink sketch to anyone who guesses the time it will take me to finish the illustration. However, so far I have trouble letting my followers know about this new contest.

    I would also love to create a board game based on my books. Maybe outdoor games to get the kids away from TVs…

    I hope you find some of these ideas useful.

    I am looking forward to an in depth explanation of a virtual tour; especially on how to approach bloggers.

    Now, on to Day 14!

  20. Everything that D’vorah teaches can be converted to use for Fiction Writers. Last year, I published “When Panda Was a Boy: a collection of stories for K-8 on gender identity.”

    I did a Virtual Tour with this book and toured blogs, podcasts, teleseminars, radio stations, and local Cable TV Shows. I even took it to a convention and sold books there. With all the renewed interest in Transgender issues, I plan to market this book again. It is a book for parents, teachers, and adults, as much as it is for the children. The stories are gentle and are provide opportunities for discussion.

    The topic is clear for this collection. It’s not my major topic for my business; however, I don’t think it has to be. My goal is to get this book in the hands of the people who need it the most. This past summer, I met a new friend who with her transgender daughter was touring libraries and donating books to help highlight this issue and provide needed information to families. I was able to donate some books for this purpose.

    For someone who has published more than 30 books, I have to think about marketing on a lot of different levels. Some books are for writers, some books are for children and adults who read fiction and non-fiction. I still have a lot of books to write, but I’ve slowed down in publishing them. I want to market them well and there is no time limit for marketing.

    Some book reviewers will only review them in the first few months after they’ve published, but that still does not mean they aren’t marketable. You can pull those back out and market them again and again. If there is a holiday where your book fits, take advantage of it!

    Connie

  21. I always recommend that novelists find the nonfiction news hooks in their fiction, and use them to find readers interested in those topics through guest blog posts on niche blogs or by using them to get publicity — free media exposure — for their books. Here’s a link to my blog post on the topic: http://buildbookbuzz.com/finding-the-hidden-news-hooks-in-your-fiction/

    Sandra Beckwith

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