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Monday, October 28, 2013

Media Marketing Steps 5-6, Get Going

Picture Credit: http://www.searchquotes.com/search/Get_Going/
This is the third and final installment in my Media Marketing series. See the first two steps here and the third and fourth steps here. Unlike my last blog posting, which detailed steps that should only be done AFTER steps 1-2 are completed, the marketing ideas here can be done at any time. You do not need to wait for your book to be published to start these--in fact for many of them you should not wait.

As I have mentioned in the other postings in this series, I need to thank Shanna Beaman for much of the information I am going over. She is the author of the amazing books The Woman's Guide to Living Your Dreams and On Ramp to Your Future. Visit her website to learn more about her and the opportunity of having her present to your group. You can view her website here.

Step 5: Self-Promotion Online

  • Maintain a Blog
    • Regularly post on your own blog.
    • Become a regular on other popular blogs to advertise your own blog to people.
    • Join a blogging group that promotes and blogs about each other's books.
    • Do a blog tour on friends'/aquaintences' blogs.
    • Volunteer as a guest writer for blogs that use guests.
  • Participate in social media such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Start your own website

Step 6: Traditional Marketing

  • Set Up Book Signings
    • Small bookstores are particularly friendly to authors--especially local authors. They see book signings as a way to increase business whereas large bookstores are less likely to see your book signing as a benefit to themselves.
  • Network
    • Keep in contact with fans, other authors, agents, and publishers. You never know what opportunities may arise.
  • Speaking Engagements
    • Take any chance you have to get in front of an audience. Speak at a school, a writers' conference, or any other chance you get. 
  • Table at a Fair
    • Set up a table for book fairs or even city fairs.
    • City calendars and www.area-info.net will have information about upcoming fairs.
  • Host a Radio Show
    • Pay attention to job openings for radio shows that attract the right audience for your book. If you can get a job as a host you will gain radio fans, which are easily converted into book fans.
  • E-publish Short Stories or Flash Fiction
    • Treat these as marketing opportunities--make sure the quality is just as high as in your book.
    • Price them low, or potentially free. You are not trying to make money off these if you are using them as marketing tools. They are a way to gain fans who are willing to buy your books.
  • Join National Publicity Summit
    • Join for free here.
    • You will get daily marketing emails and the opportunity to participate in free online seminars.
    • Every year they offer a seminar that you may purchase tickets for, but joining does not carry an obligation to attend this seminar.

Thank you for looking over my marketing suggestions. Good luck in marketing your book!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Media Marketing Steps 3-4, Get to Know the Press

Picture Credit: http://somalilandpress.com/
Two weeks ago I posted Media Marketing Steps 1-2. This posting is a continuation with the next 2 steps.

If you are just getting started with your marketing, please be sure to start at the beginning. You don't want to jump into step #3 without first looking at #1-2.

Before I go further, I need to say again that much of what I'm discussing here comes from Shanna Beaman, author of The Woman's Guide to Living Your Dreams and On Ramp to Your Future. Again, I have to say how fantastic she is as a public speaker. If you ever get the opportunity to hear her speak--or you are planning a conference and looking for a speaker--she is well-worth your time. 

Step 3- Submit Story Ideas

Okay, so you are probably about to ask me what the difference is between this and step 2 that we covered last time. The difference is that in step 2 you were looking for people who were asking for stories that you can comfortably call yourself an expert on. 

Now that you have gained experience interviewing, confidence, and a resume of interviews, it's time to start actively promoting yourself to larger media outlets. Before you call anybody, though, you first have to have your pitch--and do NOT say that you want to market your book. That is a benefit for you, but they will not want to let you do an advertisement on their air time.

Creating your pitch:
  • Build a marketable story around your book or around yourself, the author
  • What is your story?
  • What makes your story newsworthy?
  • Create the pitch
    • Pitch Formula A: "What every _____ should know about _______."
      • Example: "What every parent should know about the dangers their kids face at schools today."
      • Example: "What every gambler should know about the odds or winning at various casino games."
    • Pitch Formula B: "_____ things you should know before you _____."
      • Example: "5 things to look for when buying a book."
      • Example: "things you must do before you move."
      • Example: "Having a hard time getting your child to read? 5 tips to get your kids to buy into reading!"
Don't feel like you have to use the exact formula above, but you get the general idea. You want to have a pitch that you can approach media with that will show them that their viewers will want to see/listen to a segment with you in it.

Now that you have a pitch, decide who to market it to. Basically, if you have a good story about hunting then you should look at programs that are geared to hunting. Generally you won't find that you fit into as tight of a genre as that, but figure out who would appreciate your book and what media they use. This requires research. Know what television programs, radio shows, and newspapers are in your area--and who pays attention to them.

Waiting until you have gained experience with the small news in Step 2 really will help with this. If you start pitching too early and you don't know what you're doing, you may burn bridges if you embarrass yourself. By paying attention to the small ones first, you can avoid this problem.

Step 4- Press Release

When you have any events going on, such as book signings, make sure you get word out. It doesn't make sense to spend hours at a book signing when no one knows you are sitting there. Look up city and community websites and get on their calendars.

Continuation of This Posting Series

That's all for tonight, but next week I'll finish this series up with the final 2 steps, which can be viewed here. Thanks for joining me!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Interview with Tayla Durham

I’d like to introduce Tayla Durham, a friend and author of Twisted, a young adult fantasy coming out today, October 15, 2013.

Rachel- Before we get started, please tell me a little about yourself.

Tayla- I'm an eighteen-year-old author. I began writing at the age of ten and since then have written about 11 novels. Twisted is the one to be published. Other than writing I enjoy spending time with horses, drawing, and taking photos. I’m awful at anything that involves putting something into a net, I can be competitive, but usually I just get bored when playing games like that.

Rachel- In one sentence, what is Twisted about?

Tayla- A thief who is taken out of prison to combat a king’s enemy.

Rachel- I have to say, I’m impressed that you have already published a book when you are just 18 years old and still in high school. How did you make it happen?

Tayla- A whole lot of determination. I knew that I wanted to get a book published. I knew that I could do it. It took a lot of encouragement from friends and family and a lot of effort on my part. I wasn’t going to quit, though it was pretty difficult to keep going at times.

Rachel- Where did you get the idea for your story?

Tayla- Before I wrote Twisted I was writing another book about kelpies. I finished it and my older sister took it from me so I couldn’t read it for a month so my poor brain could recover. Desperately bored I think I spent two weeks writing random things. Also at about this time I’d written a short story about one of the characters in the book who was in prison and then taken out of the prison, which gave me the idea for Aster’s imprisonment at the start of the book.

 I was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and I remember thinking that I wanted characters like the dementors. And this should come as no surprise, my older sister and little brother watched The Fellowship of the Ring maybe a month before I began the first book of Twisted. I was entranced by the Nazgul. All of those combined came together on March 8, 2011 in four words, oh what a world…

Rachel- Do you have a favorite character from your book? If so, why are you drawn to him or her?

Tayla- The Secret Keeper is my favorite. He’s so mysterious! I love his attitude and general sense of forbearing as if he owns the air he’s in.  I also love how he has levels, you can tell that there is more to him that what a first glance will give. What I also like about him is how complex he is and his stubbornness! He fights me practically every day on how the chapters are going to go over.

Overall, I like his story, his sense of self, his insecurities and his strength. The Secret Keeper can be spidery, but he’s a lion at heart. I’ve drawn strength from him. Also it helps that he is incredibly witty. My emotions really come out with him. I laugh and I cry with his POVs.

Rachel- I notice that most of your main characters are male. Generally authors’ main characters are the same gender as themselves. What made you decide to tell your story from a male point of view?

Tayla- I’ve always liked writing from the male point of view. It’s easier for me for some reason. The only girl who POV I have is Allie Taylor and she is so like me in the girly emotions and senses that she can drive me crazy because I experience that all day. I’ve never really seen a reason have my main characters be the same gender as me, I’d get really bored.

Rachel- I think anyone who reads your blog must be aware that you are fascinated by wraiths. What draws you to them?

Tayla- I've always been drawn to the darker characters (don’t judge me!) they seem more interesting and have more depth sometimes than the corny main characters. It makes me curious to know how they became that way, it’s why I can be so frustrated with The Lord of the Rings at times. The Nazgul have no background. You see in the beginning how they were (nine rings to the race of men) and then on Weathertop what they had become, but no explanation on how they got that way.

I guess I just like the mystery and sense of danger that they bring. I’ve read so many books that the main characters are all beginning to look stereotyped and copied off another book, when I came across wraiths I was startled. I’ve only read three books where they’re mentioned. (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Fablehaven, and Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog’s Gold) So wraiths aren’t common in literature. 

Wrapping up of that incredibly long explanation, I’d say I’m fascinated by them because no one else is. When one walked into my story and hissed hello (okay, it was more like here I am. Love me or hate me) I was hooked.

Rachel- Give me a peak into your average day.

Tayla- My average day begins with me growling at my alarm. It’s my iPod so I can’t smash it like I want to. I usually get up at about 5 so I can have writing time before the day begins. I write from about 5:30 to 7:20 then I go work on school, which I suppose needs an explanation now, I’m homeschooled, which is why I have so much time to write. Aside from schoolwork and practicing my violin I’m either reading or writing.

Rachel- What does your writing process look like?

Tayla- My writing process is very organized. I like to have things where I can get them. I usually open up a new document or load the half of a chapter I wrote the previous day and go from there. Generally I only write a chapter and a half everyday which can be easy or really difficult depending on the day.

Rachel- What are some of your favorite books?

Tayla- Lord of the Rings for sure, no surprise right? I like the Harry Potter series up to book four, but I cannot stand Umbridge. Love Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur is among my top favorites, the character’s voice is so pure and I don’t get bored halfway through. Shadows of Valor by Elsie Park, I was in suspense and I really connected with the main character’s insecurities.

Rachel- Can we expect to see more books from you in the future?

Tayla- Oh yes. I write books so people can read them. Plus it’s like when you create a piece of art, it’s no good where only you can view it. If you have a talent, share it. My talent is writing and I don’t plan on staying quiet about it!

Rachel- Where can I buy Twisted?

Tayla- Currently the only place is Amazon, but I plan on having it in book stores at some future date.
Rachel- Thanks for your time Tayla. I can’t wait to read Twisted for myself.

Visit Tayla Durham’s blog to learn more about herself and her book: http://twistedviolinist.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 7, 2013

Media Marketing Steps 1-2, Get Started

Picture Credit: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/5822/

Picture Credit: http://www.shannabeaman.com/about/
This blog is the first in a 3-part Media Marketing series, which will be posted over the next three weeks.

But Before I get started, I need to give credit where credit is due. The outline I'm using for this media marketing information came from a workshop taught by Shanna Beaman, author of The Woman's Guide to Living Your Dreams and On Ramp to Your Future. I took a class from her and am grateful I did. She does speaking engagements, workshops, and seminars; and she's fantastic.

I would recommend her classes to anyone.

 Why Market?

In today's world an author needs to do more than write great books. He or she must also figure out how to let people know about the books. You may be looking at self-publishing or you may be looking at using a traditional publisher. Either way, you will be responsible to market your own book. The days of expecting a publisher to take care of marketing are long past.

Step 1--Make Your Book Sale-Able.

The most important thing you can do here is to write your book well, but this blog is not going to go into writing techniques. Instead, let's start with the assumption that your book is already well written.

Next, you will need a great cover. One of the best-known cliches out there is: "Don't judge a book by it's cover." But let's face it, we ALL judge books by their covers. You need a cover that jumps out and screams, "Read me!" Your book will have to compete against all the other books it shares a section with in the bookstore. If you use a traditional publisher, then chances are you will not have to worry about designing a cover. But for anyone who self-publishes, don't cut corners on your cover!

Now you should get testimonials for your back cover. Ask other authors to read and comment on your book. If you can get any newspapers, magazines, journals, or other prestigious media testimonials, that would be fantastic. People like to read testimonials on books--a testimonial from an author they like will really catch their attention, but even an author they are unfamiliar with will be better than no testimonial at all. If you are using a traditional publisher you will likely receive at least some assistance with this.

Picture Credit: http://www.on
Decide how you want to price your book. Know your market. How much are similar books selling for? Do you want to price it nearly the same to show that it belongs with those other books? Do you want to sell it at a discounted rate to attract new readers? If you are selling an e-book, you can even make your book available at no cost for a time. Whatever you do with price, have a strategy. If you are using a traditional publisher you will likely have no input on this one.

Write your Amazon description. In your description be sure to mention another author whose work is similar. Something along the lines of: "If you like       another author    , you'll love    your title   ." That way, when a customer does a search for the author you named, your book will come up too. Just make sure your book really is similar to the other author's. If you say fans of Stephen King will like your book but you have written a romance novel, you will not gain many new fans. Spend some time thinking about this one--don't just name the biggest-name author that comes to mind. There will be someone whose writing really is similar to yours.

Step 2--Make Yourself an Expert

You can find many requests every day for an expert to interview. Check out www.radioguestlist.com for starters. Small newspapers, radio talk shows, and news bloggers use this site to find experts on specific topics. Once you have a book out, you are a published expert on the topics covered in your book. Look through the list of topics people are looking for an expert on, are there any that are close to what you wrote? If so, respond to the request and let them interview you. Even if your book is pure fantasy, there will be themes within your book that you can use for this. 

These interviews WILL NOT gain many new readers. They are chances for exposure and they will give you experience, but the types of media that submit requests to Radio Guest List are small enough that they normally only have a handful of viewers. The benefit is, many of these people are news bloggers. Your interview will be on the internet for the foreseeable future. Your name and book are much more likely to come up when there are many sites that mention you. And don't underestimate the experience you will gain. As you go further into the marketing plan you will be more likely to succeed if you gain experience on this level first.

Continuation of This Posting Series

That's all for tonight, but next time I'll continue with a look at expanding to greater media circles. You can see this posting here.