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General Discussion > Office Hours - December 2015

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message 1: by Cynthia (last edited Dec 03, 2015 04:31PM) (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments What are your marketing plans for 2016? I'd love to hear about them! I'll be answering questions here on Monday, December 14 at 11 am PST and will answer questions until 12 pm PST (opening the thread 15 minutes before so you can start posting questions!). Then I'm closing my laptop and going for lunch.


message 2: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Looking forward to answering any questions you might have about marketing your book on Goodreads!

There's also some great content posted on the new Authors & Advertisers Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/5...

I'll be answering questions until 12 pm PST.


message 3: by Dean (new)

Dean Robertson (agingwriter) Hi, Cynthia, This is just great! I hope my question isn't too general to address: I have reached that probably normal point of tapping out book purchases by friends, family, friends of friends, etc., and now need to know what I can do specifically on Goodreads to bump my book to the next level where people who don't know me get interested. Do you have any pointers? My impression has always been that Goodreads is where it can happen; I just don't know how to get there. Thanks.


message 4: by Dean (new)

Dean Robertson (agingwriter) And to respond to your question to start: I've just finished up a bunch of book tour trips and am totally exhausted. My marketing plans for 2016 are to really explore online possibilities, like book clubs.


message 5: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Hi Dean! Glad to have you here.

You have a great online presence, on Goodreads and elsewhere, so it looks like you've built a strong foundation. Now it's a matter of getting your book discovered. You've already run a giveaway, and the more you can do that, the better. Getting your book into the hands of readers is critical for them to read it and recommend it, on GR or by word-of-mouth, especially when you're just starting out.

Since your book your book is pretty niche, you should also look into finding your readers. You can join relevant groups on Goodreads and introduce yourself as an author (make sure to check their policies, each group has different rules about how they prefer to interact with authors).

How are you working with your publisher to promote your book? Are they helping you with the distribution or any marketing?


message 6: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Dean wrote: "I've just finished up a bunch of book tour trips and am totally exhausted. My marketing plans for 2016 are to really explore online possibilities, like book clubs.
"


Ah! Missed that in my previous answer. So you're totally focused on the online component (and have the time to do so).

To elaborate on book groups on Goodreads: each group is different and has their own rules, so always check those first. The key is to contribute authentically. Approach it like you would a conversation at a cocktail party where you don't know anyone yet. Don't be the person talking incessantly about themselves. Don't worry about making sure everyone knows you're an author--they can see that by clicking on your profile. Share some thoughtful comments relevant to the conversation.


message 7: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Cynthia wrote: "Don't worry about making sure everyone knows you're an author--they can see that by clicking on your profile. Share some thoughtful comments relevant to the conversation.
"


Darn, I just accidentally hit delete instead of edit on my previous comment. The gist was, it's ok to offer copies to readers who you think might like it, but don't expect them to write a review or anything in return. Understand that they might not be interested, and that's ok too.

Now I realize this doesn't really answer your question, because you're looking to actually sell your book. Consider offering a discount for book clubs, and offer to participate in the book club discussion at a certain point. Perhaps you can work that out with your publisher directly, so you're not the one selling the books (kind of awkward) but the book club leader can get a discount if they buy 10 copies for their group (10 for the price of 9, or something like that?)


message 8: by Dean (new)

Dean Robertson (agingwriter) Thanks, Cynthia. Unfortunately, my publisher--otherwise fabulous people all around--does absolutely NO MARKETING of any kind. The distributor is Ingram and I know that book stores get the usual 50% discount, free returns, etc. I wonder if that would apply to online book clubs. That I can ask Koehler. All planning and expenses for marketing are on me. And I'm going broke fast :-( Given the nature of my book, which I agree is niche but I'd also say is much broader than first glance suggests, do you have any recommendations for groups on GR? One thing I know about myself is that I have got to stop spreading myself so thin and for the moment I'd like to focus on a serious commitment here with a Twitter backup. So far, I'm not getting much action on Goodreads but that's partly because I've been too distracted to hammer down and get busy. I'm rambling, sorry. Any help is hugely appreciated. Also, in terms of giveaways, reduced prices, etc. I am sitting now on several boxes of hardbacks (almost literally sitting on) that I am willing to drop the price on and ship free just to move them. Would that work? If I ship from here I can even sign them.


message 9: by Dean (new)

Dean Robertson (agingwriter) I'm rereading yours. Any suggestions of book clubs?


message 10: by Pat (new)

Pat Leonard | 3 comments Hello, I'm a bit confused. Originally I received notice that this Office Hours was to start at 11:00 PST, but when I came by the notice was that it would start at 12:00 PST. Are we just getting underway, or are we finishing up?


message 11: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Lander-Goldberg | 3 comments I am a psychotherapist, photographer and educator but brand new to marketing a book. I would welcome advice for marketing my new non-fiction activity book for girls: PHOTO EXPLORATIONS: A Girl's Guide to Self-Discovery Through Photography, Writing and Drawing. So far, I am using facebook groups and workshops I facilitate locally but would like help with protocol for getting reviews and publicity nationally. Thanks for any help you could offer. - Cathy


message 12: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Lander-Goldberg | 3 comments I have not done a giveaway. Not quite sure how it works -- especially if there is only a print version -- no e-book.


message 13: by Dean (new)

Dean Robertson (agingwriter) Pat wrote: "Hello, I'm a bit confused. Originally I received notice that this Office Hours was to start at 11:00 PST, but when I came by the notice was that it would start at 12:00 PST. Are we just getting und..."

Hi, Pat. It started at 11:00PST. I was the only one here for awhile, then I wandered off to brush my teeth :-) So, to answer--we're just winding up. This is my first time so I had lots of questions and was happy to be able to monopolize Cynthia for a bit. Do you know if these are regular? Monthly?


message 14: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Dean wrote: "I'm rereading yours. Any suggestions of book clubs?"

The best way to find book groups on Goodreads is to do a search here: https://www.goodreads.com/group Use relevant phrases: Christian or Memoir and then dig deeper to find ones that are active. For example, I found this one under Memoir that might be of interest: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/... Join a few that are of genuine interest to you (avoid spreading yourself too thin here!) and participate in discussions on a regular basis.

The bigger point is what to do about all those books you're sitting on! Publishers can only do so much, so asking the author to do their marketing is not uncommon. I recommend a few more giveaways, spread out over the course of several months. Even five signed copies will definitely spark an interest.

Keep in mind, Goodreads sends an automatic email to anyone who has marked the book as Want to Read, alerting them of the new giveaway. Make good use of the description area, don't waste characters reiterating what the giveaway is, the platform does that for you. Instead, highlight that the copies are signed and first editions! To minimize the impact on your budget, limit the giveaway to only US.

Marketing book is a full-time job and authors work years to make their books appear as an overnight success. You're focusing your efforts on two platforms, which will prevent you from spreading yourself too thin. Keep your voice authentic, be generous with and appreciative of every reader. It's a slow build, but worthwhile in the end!


message 15: by Pat (new)

Pat Leonard | 3 comments Hi, Dean. I don't know how often they're held. I received an email notice a few days ago, but when I stopped by at 11:00, there was an answer to your question about starting time (from rivka) saying it starts at 12:00 PST. Was rivka misinformed?


message 16: by Dean (new)

Dean Robertson (agingwriter) Cathy wrote: "I am a psychotherapist, photographer and educator but brand new to marketing a book. I would welcome advice for marketing my new non-fiction activity book for girls: PHOTO EXPLORATIONS: A Girl's Gu..."

I'm new to marketing as well, as well as new to being an author after thirty years in the classroom. So, take my experience so far with some grains of salt. I've been active on Facebook, public forum, author page, joined several groups, and really haven't seen much return for a whole lot of time and effort. I've been told by other marketers besides here, that Goodreads and Twitter (obviously requiring very different approaches) are the best bets. I also have a reference I could pass along for a young woman who writes YA fiction and has a website. Your book sounds terrific, by the way. I'd love to see it and to review it. One of my many challenges at the moment is getting more traffic on my website, so I can't say you'd be getting any national attention. I'm honestly just having fun writing the reviews. I use lots of images and-I will say-do a bang-up job. And, who knows, we might get discovered some day. Good luck.


message 17: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Dean wrote: "So far, I'm not getting much action on Goodreads but that's partly because I've been too distracted to hammer down and get busy. "

One more thought before I sign off: What metrics are you using to measure success? Followers, reviews, To-reads... all measure different things. Is this going to be your only book? Then you might focus your energy more about getting the story out there, and less on the author behind it. Share little excerpts of it on your blog. Add quotes from your book that are likely to be shared. Link back to your book where you can (except in book groups, where Goodreads automatically links to your profile and people can read about your book). One thing I've seen some authors do is include a link to their book in their email signature, which is like a mini-ad anytime you correspond with anyone (and much more unique than "sent from my iPhone")

Hope this advice helps! I'll be rooting for you!


message 18: by Dean (new)

Dean Robertson (agingwriter) Cathy wrote: "I have not done a giveaway. Not quite sure how it works -- especially if there is only a print version -- no e-book."

Hello again, I did a Goodreads giveaway and thought it was fun but haven't heard anything so, who knows? You just say that you want to do one, how many books of what type-paper, hardback, ebook-you want to offer and GR gets back to you approving the giveaway (you name the dates). One catch is that you pay shipping. The promising news is that the books (I offered five, signed paperbacks) go to five different parts of the country so you're potentially tapping into markets to which you wouldn't otherwise have access. And who knows? One of those folks might fall in love with the book. I thought it was worth doing and in fact I might do another one.


message 19: by Dean (new)

Dean Robertson (agingwriter) Pat wrote: "Hi, Dean. I don't know how often they're held. I received an email notice a few days ago, but when I stopped by at 11:00, there was an answer to your question about starting time (from rivka) sayin..."

She must have been as I saw Cynthia's note after that about starting at 11:00 and going to lunch at noon.


message 20: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Dean wrote: "Do you know if these are regular? Monthly? "

Yep, I'm hosting these monthly and they're scheduled at 11 am PST, not 12 pm PST because that's lunchtime here in California ;)

I've found some people on the East Coast drop off after 2 pm PST so I don't make it much later than that.

However, you can always reach me at support at goodreads dot com


message 21: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Cathy wrote: "I have not done a giveaway. Not quite sure how it works -- especially if there is only a print version -- no e-book."

Hi Cathy! Sorry for missing your questions earlier, I didn't see it in the refresh of the page :(

Giveaways are for print editions only, but it looks like your book is a paperback so that would work! Try setting up a giveaway for one book and measure the impact it has on people who mark the book as To Read. You don't need to give away a lot of books, just as many as you can afford (though the more books you give away, the higher your chance for reviews on GR).

Hope to see you in the January Office Hours and we can talk more... and maybe you can report on the giveaway by then ;)


message 22: by Dean (new)

Dean Robertson (agingwriter) Cynthia wrote: "Dean wrote: "I'm rereading yours. Any suggestions of book clubs?"

The best way to find book groups on Goodreads is to do a search here: https://www.goodreads.com/group Use relevant phrases: Christ..."

Thanks, Cynthia. I don't have much trouble being generous with and appreciative of readers because I really am. I am also really interested in my fellow writers, in them and in their books. I'm gearing up to do some regular reviews on my website and I'm loving it. Time-consuming but wonderful. I find I love writing--my own stuff, and about other people's stuff. I am falling in love with this new world of online writers supporting each other. I'm pretty much a team player. I think I'll try a hardback giveaway here on Goodreads. And is there a way to sell from my house and reduce the price here? I know we're past your lunch time, so I'm hoping you'll check these late comments.


message 23: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Hehe, I always go to lunch at noon--I'm a slave to my growling belly!

Always happy to hear from you at support at goodreads dot com or in my monthly Office Hours. Be sure to check the Author Newsletter to find out the date of the next one in 2016! Signing off.


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