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Marketing Advice from Best-Selling Author Gail Carriger

Posted by Cynthia on November 04, 2016
Gail Carriger, best-selling author of the steampunk romance series Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School, recently stopped by the Goodreads offices (with the photo to prove it!) and shared some fascinating marketing advice. She’s taken both the traditional and indie route in publishing, and realizes how important it is for authors to take charge of their marketing plans, regardless of how they’re published. She also understands the value of engaging with readers (just check out her fantastic Ask the Author responses, like this one about naked ghosts). We caught up with her briefly to ask her what tips she’d like to share with the Goodreads Author community at large. Here’s what she said:

You’ve answered nearly 300 questions via Ask the Author. What’s your approach to responding to reader questions via Ask the Author?

I really like to have fun as long as I can stay within the realm of honesty. I particularly love getting questions about my characters or thought experiments within my world. There always seem to be more creative questions on Goodreads.

What’s your favorite thing about Goodreads?

I tend to use Goodreads mostly as a reader: posting reviews, consulting lists for what to read next, and chatting on a few book groups. (Less of the latter now than I used to, because I don't want to be thought intrusive.) So I guess my favorite thing is pretty simple: Goodreads is full of readers. I'm a reader first and foremost, so I feel like I'm in a place full of like-minded people. It's comforting.

How do you encourage reviews if your own books on Goodreads?

I mostly don't. I mean, I'm always happy to see them pop up, but it is totally up to my readership if they want to write a review. I'm more active encouraging book reviews in general. I try to spread the word about how important reviews are to authors, both for our career and just knowing that there are people out there reading us. It can be quite lonely on this end of the writing chain.

That's one of the reasons I write reviews, the best way to encourage people is through example: if I want people to review my books because they love them, then I should review books that I love! That said, when I fall in love with a book I basically want to tell everyone about it anyway. Everyone. All the time. Endlessly.

What’s one exciting, possibly hidden feature on Goodreads you’ve discovered on Goodreads (can be anything, reader or author marketing related)?

Well the Q&A is wonderful! Like I said, I get some of my favorite questions there which have sparked everything from new story ideas to blog posts. I enjoy the quotes feature, too. I like to put quotes into my blog posts, so I'm often hunting around for useful ones on Goodreads.

I'm running my very first Goodreads Giveaway. I'm hoping that it goes well, because I have more books that I'd love to send out into the world in a fun new way. I like the idea of giving back to the Goodreads community, because I feel like they've always been there for me.

What are you working on right now?


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Romancing the Inventor just released. That's my second self-published novella, set in my steampunk Parasolverse. It is a stand-alone that features popular side character Genevieve Lefoux, my slightly crazy, always endearing, utterly brilliant engineer. She's had her heart broken several times through the course of my series, and I decided it was time for her to find someone worthy of her love. In this case, it kinda worked out in reverse. Imogene popped into my head and took over. She's a country-girl who takes a job as a parlourmaid to a local vampire hive and promptly falls in love with Genevieve. But Genevieve is bitter, broken-hearted, and pretty much owned by vampires, so Imogene has a her work cut out for her.

Ask Gail a question here about marketing via Ask the Author!

Next: Updating the Power of Blurbs for Today's Book Discovery Landscape

You might also like: Marketing Advice from Debut Author Scott Hawkins

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Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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message 1: by David (new)

David Lloyd Reader first... makes sense. Thanks.


message 2: by Louis (new)

Louis Detweiler I like the idea of giving books away and giving back


message 3: by Robin (new)

Robin Thank you for the tips, Gail and Goodreads!


message 4: by JAKe (new)

JAKe Hatmacher Your new book sounds intriguing.
JAKe Hatmacher (author)


message 5: by SuZanne (new)

SuZanne Ahlin about reviews; what do you think about Amazon's new rule that the customer must have bought for 50 dollar to be allowed to give a review?


message 6: by Robin (new)

Robin I know it sounds crazy, but here's the problem: some of our writer friends are opening multiple email addresses, and reviewing their own books under fictitious names. As well, they are using those same addresses to hammer down the stats of other authors by giving negative reviews. Can you imagine? What else can Amazon do?
The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman by Robin Gregory


message 7: by SuZanne (new)

SuZanne Ahlin As they can see that the book is bought, that shows when you try to review, then it would be an easy thing to at least let those who buy the book leave their review. In many country you don't buy other stuff on Amazon. It takes many books before our up in 50 dollar.


message 8: by Robin (new)

Robin People are buying their own books to manipulate the stats!!!


message 9: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Wright Robin wrote: "People are buying their own books to manipulate the stats!!!"

I never clicked that people (authors and publishers) could or would do that until just now. I have purchased my own books via Amazon but not to manipulate stats. I discovered purchasing via Amazon is an inexpensive way for me to gift my novel to friends and family. Amazon often sells my novel for $11 and offers free shipping, making it was easier (and less expensive) for me to give my book away. Posting one from the small stash of books I keep at home is costly - especially because I live outside of the USA.


message 10: by Robin (new)

Robin J.A. wrote: "Robin wrote: "People are buying their own books to manipulate the stats!!!"

I never clicked that people (authors and publishers) could or would do that until just now. I have purchased my own book..."


That doesn't sound like what I'm talking about. Some authors buy boxes and boxes of their own books to make them bestsellers. Sheesh.


message 11: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Wright Robin wrote: "J.A. wrote: "Robin wrote: "People are buying their own books to manipulate the stats!!!"

I never clicked that people (authors and publishers) could or would do that until just now. I have purchase..."


Oh, that's just wrong!


message 12: by JAKe (new)

JAKe Hatmacher I'm sure it's expensive, too, and does not guarantee future sales.


message 13: by SuZanne (new)

SuZanne Ahlin still, if they buy their own books it must be from the same IP number, no one can jump around on different computers just to buy books. I still think it's wrong that you can't give a review on any item you have bought, no matter the price or how much you buy. Reviews is the only way for a new author to get readers. Not everyone can buy promotion, I can't.


message 14: by JAKe (new)

JAKe Hatmacher SuZanne wrote: "still, if they buy their own books it must be from the same IP number, no one can jump around on different computers just to buy books. I still think it's wrong that you can't give a review on any ..."

Suzanne,
I completely agree with you.
JAKe Hatmacher


message 15: by Romi (last edited Nov 15, 2016 07:18PM) (new)

Romi Grossberg SuZanne wrote: "about reviews; what do you think about Amazon's new rule that the customer must have bought for 50 dollar to be allowed to give a review?"
Hi Suzanne, Is this true that you can only post a review on amazon if you have spent $50? First I have heard of it. Terrible news. I am an author but I rarely buy on amazon because where I live is difficult to ship to. Many of my readers are not 'online' users either and so can't review. What a shame. Maybe they can review on goodreads instead.


message 16: by SuZanne (new)

SuZanne Ahlin Hi Romi, it's a new rule they have. I live in a country where we hardly ever buy from Amazon, just books and that makes it a big problem. Amazon is the place where you need your reviews as most people buy our books from them. I feel that it's one more step back trying to get your books out. I don't have money for expensive promotions and a small publishing company who publish my books. I will try to ask people use Goodreads but you can only do that with people who you know. It's all the other readers who are the most important, as I see it


message 17: by Romi (new)

Romi Grossberg Thanks for your reply. I am unfortunately in the same boat. Silly new rule that only benefits them.
Good luck with your work x


message 18: by SuZanne (new)

SuZanne Ahlin Romi wrote: "Thanks for your reply. I am unfortunately in the same boat. Silly new rule that only benefits them.
Good luck with your work x"


good luck to you to


message 19: by M.C. (new)

M.C. Glan thank you Gail for the info and your thoughts


message 20: by Jan (new)

Jan Interesting stuff. I've been contacted by a couple of people who wrote reviews of my latest novella on Amazon, In Too Deep, about the mysterious death of the frogman Buster Crabb. The reviews never appeared and they didn't know why. Neither did I, possibly until now! It seems very weird to me, and most unfair in all sorts of ways.


message 21: by Brian (new)

Brian Suiter The Recusants - Amazon Kindle Store. Give it a read and let me know you thought, would love to hear them.


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