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New Author seeking some marketing tips

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message 1: by James (new)

James Rourke | 8 comments Hello,

My name is James Rourke and my first work of fiction, The Eternal Struggle, was released in March. I was wondering if any of the more experienced authors or just plain better marketers out there had any tips or advise they would care to offer. Just so you know where I am at thus far - I have a website, facebook fan page, have contacted some book reviewers/bloggers and am currently working on a postcard marketing campaign targeting libraries/independent book stores. Thanks for any help that comes this way!

message 2: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 54 comments Write more books!

I'd call it the multiplier effect, but there are probably other terms for it as well. But it goes something like this, if you have ten books out, then every minute you spend promoting can help sell ten books. If you have one book out, every minute can help sell one book. So, you get a better return on your time the more books you've got out.

If you've got a minute you can spend writing or promoting, writing the next book is your better option.

And writing your next book and getting that out also helps to sell your other books. Promoting your current book helps to sell your future books, but it's a less effective tool. The time between a reader finishing your current book, and when you get the next one out dulls the reader's memory, making him less likely to search out your next book. But if he reads one of your books, and you've got three others, all mentioned and linked to in the book you've already got in his hands, you're a lot more likely to sell your other books.

There's a point, I'm thinking it's three to five books, where spending your time on promotion becomes worth more. Especially if you've got your three to five books out, and not a whole lot of readers. But until you've got a decent sized list of titles, use your time to write more books.

Now, you've got time where you probably can't write, but can promote. Time like that, tweet useful stuff, hang out here and get to know people, find places where people who read the sort of thing you write are, and become a useful member of the community. The idea is that you are a brand, (not your books) and you want people to know your name, know who you are, and want to see what sort of stuff you've created. This will take time. But, if you're working on the idea that you're not going to do a full court press publicity blitz until you've got several books out, you've got the time to build up your brand.

Then, when you've got friends, when you've got some fans, come out with something and really blitz the world with it. Have your friends and fans tweet, post, review, and tell the world about it. As people read that book, they'll want to get to know what else you've done, and you should see your sales start rolling.

message 3: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell Drake (maxwell_alexander_drake) | 80 comments Keryl,

As always, your advice is dead on. But, don't put yourself in a position to be forced to chose between writing and promoting. Schedule your time wisely so you have time for both. If you have to cut something, sleep is something you don't "really" need. Red Bull goes a long way in that department!

Maxwell Alexander Drake
Read the first five chapters of my award-winning fantasy saga at

message 4: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 54 comments I'm not saying don't promote. Just push it to time where you couldn't otherwise be writing. If you can be working on your next story, especially if you've only got one out, work on that next story.

I'm mostly a stay at home mom. So I've got plenty of time where the kiddos are doing something I can keep one eye on, and I can keep the other eye on goodreads, twitter, and the like. (Example, right now they're spinning themselves dizzy, and I'm on the sofa four feet away doing this.) But since I routinely have to spring up and deal with kiddie issues, I don't try to do any sort of story writing at times like these.

When I've got time by myself, where I can concentrate on writing, you don't see me doing anything other than writing.

message 5: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell Drake (maxwell_alexander_drake) | 80 comments Nice.

For me, I am a full time writer. And, even more lucky, I have a wife that totally supports what I am doing. So, she deals with our kids, etc.

I write all day, from about 8 to 4ish. I have the ability to take sidelines, so I have my email open all day, and peck at stuff outside of my writing, like Goodreads.

My marketing has moved from social media, to fan centered events, however. This year I have finally started getting recognized by the industry, so I am a guest at Sony Fan Faire next week, then I am a guest of Comic-con followed by Gen-Con after that.

That is a lot more time consuming with the travel, hotel, event, etc. But, I think it is helping my career the most at this point.

Of course, I have to continually be producing new and better products. So, back to the grind for me...

Maxwell Alexander Drake
Read the first five chapters of my award-winning fantasy saga at

message 6: by Noor (new)

Noor Jahangir | 21 comments I'm in a similar situation James. I published my first novel The Changeling King, through Smashwords and Kindle and have been looking at the marketing issue. Like you, I have a website ( a facebook page up, I tweet and blog on a regular basis. First of all, you should be able to set up an author profile on Goodreads and aggregate some of your content on the author profile. I've also done some author interviews and requested reviews. I've even done a free book giveaway on Goodreads. I've also advertised through the Goodreads advertising program this month. So far its generated about twenty clicks but only one add of my book to a to-read list but no sales. I'm on a newsletter from David Farland and he gives the same advice as Keryl. The more work you have up there the bigger the footprint you have. Most of your time should be spent on writing and editing your stuff, but spend about an hour everyday to promotional work too, i.e. writing blogs, asking for reviews and updating your status on social media.

message 7: by James (new)

James Rourke | 8 comments Thanks for the feedback...both the older and the newer. It seems I'm doing about what I can given time (I'm a teacher so I can't dedicate consistent time to writing,editing and promoting and have to make choices) and resources.

My book is the first in a completed trilogy (other two in rough manuscript form) so I hope to have more books out in the near future - which goes along with the thoughts of Keryl and Noor about maintaining a writing.

I have a three small events scheduled for later this summer (two library presentations and a book signing at a local, independent book store) and have managed to get a couple book bloggers to review the book - they have been positive.


Thanks for bringing up the is not something I think off. I will likely enter one or two and see how it goes.

I'm not sure how valuable facebook is at this point...seem to have more people who are looking for help with Farmville and other games than anything writing related.


Great website! I was wondering, have you always been with your current publishing company? You have communicated that you have and are continuing to grow in your career so I was curious if you grew in that company or into it via leaving another.

Thanks again for the feedback everyone.


message 8: by James (new)

James Rourke | 8 comments Noor,

I liked your post "What drives writers"...very interesting thoughts.

message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 22, 2011 08:23AM) (new)

I can agree with the advice about writing more. The 4th in my YA fantasy series will be released August 1st. This generates a lot of interest as people are curious with an author who produces. You're not just a one hit wonder.

I also give kids a lot to do on my website to explore, read and watch.

But the best promotion for me are events. Even with backing and unlimited bankroll, NOTHING beats the personal touch and word of mouth advertising! Publisher can't reproduce it, though they try. It is organic and it takes TIME! Be patient.

message 10: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell Drake (maxwell_alexander_drake) | 80 comments Jim,

Thank you. The website is run by my publisher, so I can't take credit for that. However, I maintain (with some help) the website. A snazzy looking website does tend to impress fans.

I.I.I. was my first publisher. I have branched out, however, and I am always looking for other avenues to help spread my name. I am still selling to some of the smaller houses, but a few of the big boys have taken notice and are now approaching me for submissions. As I climb closer and closer to that wonderful 100,000 fan mark, people in the business tend to stand up and take notice.

But, I market heavily. I do a personal event about every 3 to 4 weeks, now. And Shawn is dead-on. This is a long-haul business. As I always say, it takes an average of 10 years to become an overnight success. Those that drop out of the race before then, never finish. There is no magical, "Write a book, get it published, make a million dollars." This business is about hard work, massive time and money commitment, thick skin, a pinch of blind luck, and tenacity. If you are missing even one of those, you have some serious obstacles in your path.

Maxwell Alexander Drake
Read the first five chapters of my award-winning fantasy saga at

message 11: by James (new)

James Rourke | 8 comments "massive time and money commitment" - I gotta say that was refreshing to hear. I've been on some websites where people are adament that money only flows to the author. In my very brief experience there is an investment of money for any number of marketing plans, signings ect. I appreciate your more realistic take.
Speak of investments have you, or anyone still following, ever heard of/worked with Pump up you book? They are a company that helps set up virtual book tours (something else I just heard of). After a little research the concept of the virtual book tour makes some sense in terms of trying to reach a new readers/increase online presence aspect of marketing plan. I have four small in person event planned for late august/early september - local libraries and indie bookstore. Like most of you have said - you just keep slugging along

message 12: by Maxwell (last edited Jul 26, 2011 05:15PM) (new)

Maxwell Drake (maxwell_alexander_drake) | 80 comments Any author who does not spend money marketing themselves, in my humble opinion, is crazy.

Even an avid reader can read only 30 or so books a year. With over 1 million books published a year, the choices they have are overwhelming.

This market is about as competitive of a market as you can find. No offence, but if you are sitting next to me at one of the many conventions I attend, you can darn well believe it is my goal to out sell you... by a lot if I can swing it.

Actually, now that I think of it, I take back everything I said. I think an author should NEVER market themselves. Let your publisher handle it ALL. Just sit back, pop open your favorite beverage, and hang out checking your mailbox for your million-dollar checks to start rolling in. The $20,000 to $30,000 dollars I spend a year on conventions and self-marketing has in no way helped out my sales, grown my fan base, gotten me deeper penetration into stores such as Barnes & Noble, moved me up the reviewer ladder and had any book reviewers start to contact ME asking to review my books, nor in anyway helped me get invited to events such as Comic-Con International as a special guest. Trust me, your publisher can handle it all. Just relax. These are not the droids you are looking for. This is a magical land of sugarplums and gumdrops where all you have to do to become a New York Times Best Selling Author is turn your computer on and write down your amazing thoughts.

You can trust me on all this, I am a sci-fi fantasy author. You know, just like L. Ron Hubbard.

Maxwell Alexander Drake
Read the first five chapters of my award-winning fantasy saga at

message 13: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 54 comments James wrote: ""massive time and money commitment" - I gotta say that was refreshing to hear. I've been on some websites where people are adament that money only flows to the author. In my very brief experience t..."

Yog's law has changed a bit with the advent if DIY publishing.

It should now read: Money flows from the author to get money to flow to the author.

At the same time there are just about as many scams as there are legit expenses, and you need to be on your toes for them.

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Keryl, the upheaval today in publishing isn't much different than in the mid 1800s. I posted a blog about it earlier this week. I found every interesting facts.


message 15: by Joe (new)

Joe Vadalma (JoeVadalma) | 25 comments Very interesting blog, Shawn.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks, Joe.

message 17: by Janet (last edited Nov 04, 2011 07:58AM) (new)

Janet Carpenter (jancarpenter55) | 9 comments I'm afraid I have to agree with you there, Keryl. It's important that new writer's don't think they've grown a money tree by simply writing one book. Succeeding in this industry takes a lot of "elbow grease", as my father used to call it. There are NO get rich quick schemes that work, and if someone tells you that there is you'd better check to see which pocket of yours they have their hand in! Nothing worth having, can be achieved without hard work, and loads of energy--your energy!

So, my advice to the new authors out there who want to make a portion of that "almighty buck" to be had? Expect to wait several years to get your name out there. Plug away and do what you do best...and that is WRITE! Put it out there with style and enjoy doing it, and chances are someone, somewhere will be bound to notice you...eventually.

I know that isn't what most people want to hear. In fact, it's an incredibly unwelcome piece of news. But, Ernest Hemingway and Voltaire didn't rise to fame over night. Let's hope that the most refreshing thing we see today is the post that reminds us we are small fish in a big sea. Hopefully the sharks won't see us, and the dolphins will want to come out and play!

Thanks for your post. I really enjoyed it! Truth, in any form, appeals to the inner me!

message 18: by Noor (new)

Noor Jahangir | 21 comments James wrote: "Noor,

I liked your post "What drives writers"...very interesting thoughts."

Much appreciated. :-)

message 19: by Noor (new)

Noor Jahangir | 21 comments How do you maximize marketing on facebook? Is it enough just to have a mega-sized friends list, or does an author need to be more shrewd about joining particular groups and following certain pages to get their name out there and word on their books?

message 20: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 54 comments Okay, I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination a Facebook Expert, so take this with the proverbial grain of salt...

Lots of readers find constant "Buy my stuff" on Facebook and other places annoying. So, if you've got a huge list of friends, just send them fun, interesting updates that make them want to know more about you. Occasionally mention the book(s). But most of the time talk about what you're doing or link to other cool stuff. Follow Neil Gaiman or any other writer you really like and see how they do it.

So, I might post how my characters are giving me trouble, or the plot's rolling along nicely, or how many words I got written. I link to stuff I like and stuff my readers might like. When a new book rolls around I talk about how close it is to coming out. Link to little snippets of it. On opening day, free coupons come out. About 30% of my posts are my writing/book related. The rest of it's cool stuff.

(Oh, do all of this on a fan site. That's where you want the followers to be coming from.)

message 21: by Noor (new)

Noor Jahangir | 21 comments Ah. I've been mostly signposting author interviews, reviews and stuff. Thanks for the pointer Keryl.

message 22: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 54 comments I'd do that, too. But remember to add stuff that your friends will find interesting for it's own sake as well as yours.

message 23: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Graff (sgraffwriter) | 8 comments Lots of good advice here. The self promotion game can get tiring, and it helps a lot the more you know about how to make use of the internet as a viable tool. I've been working a lot of angles since I posted my book, and I've taken a number of wrong turns. Unfortunately, at the moment, I have no useful advice.

message 24: by Joe (new)

Joe Vadalma (JoeVadalma) | 25 comments One thing I've found is that if you simply post a promo for your book on a group dedicated to the genre in which your book is targeted, it will probably be ignored by most of the other people in the group. What I find works better is to post something the group may be interested in and slip in a little plug. For example, I belong to groups interested in paranormal fiction. I post a blog about something paranormal such as ghosts or vampires and tell how I used the item in one of my novels. I know this works, because people comment on my posts. Whether they also buy the books, however, problematic.

message 25: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Graff (sgraffwriter) | 8 comments I agree. Posting on forums seems to have little positive effect and may actually have a negative effect. Even promo/banner ads lose their effectiveness over a short time because the same people are seeing them and the audiences get turned off. Subtle marketing, joining groups and leaving your footprint, seems to be the way to go. And believe me: I've tried most of the avenues. The other strong piece of advice mentioned here is to write the 2nd or 3rd book.

message 26: by Janet (new)

Janet Carpenter (jancarpenter55) | 9 comments I've found that some of the most lucrative selling points have much more to do with going out and meeting folks. I've spoken to several of the high schools in my area and have even received an invitation to speak with a couple of the classes about writing, and my book. The libraries are a great place to start and generally will allow you to do a book signing. There doesn't seem to be a way to pump up your book on the internet and expect loads of sales from your efforts. A direct connection to your public, is crucial to sales. All you have to do is find one or two people in the right position to get your book out there.

There is no end to what you can do to publicize your own work. Come on, guys, we're creative! We can connect with folks through discussions and our ability to think and write creatively. Contact your local news station...see if you can't get some names of folks to send your book to. If it's an e-book, offer it in contests, or see if you can't get it into the curriculum at a school. You can find outlets. There's no reason that sales should intimidate us...look how far we've come!

message 27: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Graff (sgraffwriter) | 8 comments Great comments! I've been focusing on editing my ebook file but haven't focused on the hard copy file, which I'll now get back to. I think I'll try a more traditional route--libraries, book fairs, flea markets. Thanks for the sound advice.

message 28: by Janet (last edited Nov 04, 2011 08:01AM) (new)

Janet Carpenter (jancarpenter55) | 9 comments You're welcome, Stephen. We just need to get out there and use our marketing skills. I'm working on my second book of the series right now and the whole process is somewhat intimidating at times. The e-book is already out, and I've done one of the last edits on the manuscript for the paperback. I'm still trying to write between all of the, editing and marketing. I never realized how much work goes into publishing a book, but I'm getting a quick lesson!

The internet is a tool that we can use to refer folks to our websites and let them see what we're all about. Blogging helps us to relieve our stress and connect with people. I'm a firm believer that we all have to hit as many markets as possible to get the highest saturation point and the widest possible audience.

Best of luck to you, Stephen!

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