Sunday, April 17, 2011

Marketing Your Work

What are the best ways to use social networking and blogging to promote your book? I don't want to be an in your face author who is constantly beckoning people to buy my books. But I do want to sell books!

I have run contests on my blog but have only had a few who have entered the contest. I have found that most people do not want to receive an ebook copy. I have lots of entries when I offer a paperback copy. But paperback copies are expensive and require a trip to the post office. So, is it worth the time, effort and money to offer a paper copy to the winner of the contest? I have found that it is not. I have seen contests where the author offers free kindles or a $50.00 gift certificate and sometimes more. I would love to know if this brought in $139.00 in sales. Or more.

How does one use facebook to promote? I'm not sure I want to see promotions on my page. Yes, it is a social network and I'm sure my friends want to know what I am doing, but most of my friends are family and they all ready know what I'm doing.

I read recently in the RWR about E-zines. What the heck is that? Is it the same thing as e-mail? And does one need a twitter account. I'm not really electronically smart and I think I have a twitter account but I've never used it.

What do you do to promote your book? If you are not promoting what kinds of contests do you enter? Or are you a person who goes to blogs, reads them but rarely if ever leave a comment?

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Vonnie Alto said...

I don't know if what I'll have to say will be useful. I enter contests because: 1) I like the author and want to support her, 2) I like to read the author's work, or 3) I'm interested in finding out more about the author and her work. For me, the biggest draw is a paperback copy of her book--if it's mass market. A lot of successful contests have lots of respondents so the prizes tend to be good ones (kindles, books, jewelry) but then those contests are from bestselling authors who can afford it. I don't usually enter many of these contests because I don't have the time. Also, if it's a contest with a huge turnout, my chances of winning anything are slim so I usually don't bother.

For ebook authors, I think the most important thing to do is to grow your readership in order to afford hosting such contests. Delle Jacobs has been doing a good job at growing her readership which is why she's a bestselling ebook author.

So the next question is, how do you grow your readership? Post an article at That will help. Guest blog touring is another option. Hosting a book launch for your latest release. Cassiel Knight did a virtual week long book launch with daily doorprizes. Write articles for newsletters and blogs. Anything to get your name out there. Also, ask Delle. She can tell you more. Good luck!

Christine Young said...

Thanks for your suggestions, Vonnie. They are all helpful and I will take a look at I've never heard of this one.

Sharon Hamilton said...

I think it depends on whether it's print published or e-format. If it's self-published, I think pricing and covers are most important. So much of the e-purchasing is done on whim, impulse, so the author has to be sharp on making sure the price is competitive. I've heard also that raising the price on ebooks makes them more desirable.
I'm doing the A-Z blog tour, and meeting lots of new writers and a few readers who like to blog. Has been fun. But I look at it as getting warmed up to doing it big time when my book comes out (I've published shorts under a pen name). Excercising the promotion muscle. In that sense, nothing you can do is a mistake, except not do it!
Seth Godin said the best time to promote your book is 3 years before it comes out. I guess I have to agree with that...

Vonnie Alto said...

Hi Christine, is a great way to promote yourself and your books. I was asked to write an article for them. It was published in July 2010 titled, "How to Grow Your Name." Unfortunately, it's been moved so I can't find the link. Delle Jacobs had an article published there a couple of months ago. Susan Lyons had articles published there. Judith Laik and Mary McColl each had an article published there. Lots of romance authors write articles for 1stTurningPoint. As a guest columnist, your article is posted at midnight and stays up as the featured article for an entire 24 hours before being bumped down the page. It's accessed by the entire world so you get replies from all over the US and abroad. Not just the romance community. Quite an interesting experience.

It's also a great place to learn more about publicity and promotion because it's solely devoted to that subject. Check out the latest article at They're always fun and informative to read.

Cheryl Wright said...

Hey Christine, I am fairly new to Facebook, so not much help there, but I can tell that e-zines are 'electronic magazines' - online magazines/newsletters.

In the past when I've had contests, I've found if the prize was something other than my own book, I've had a lot of takers. I also found when I offered my book as the prize, my sales went down as people wanted to see if they won the book before buying it.

When book vouchers have been offered, I've had a lot of takers as they could choose the book/s they were particularly interested in.

I think you need to be careful not to spend more time promoting than you do writing. This is a trap I fell into many years.

A happy medium is often hard to establish.

Angela Drake said...

I'd never heard of 1sturningpoint either. Thanks Vonnie. Something to research.

Christine, I agree with Vonnie about people tend to enter if the they think their chances of winning are greater. I mean, who doesn't like good odds, right? LOL That said, it's also important for you to be gaining that following. As an author you want that attendance.

Start by contacting 'established' authors you know about guest blogging. That will put you in contact with a wider readership. Fill in your time with lesser-known blogs like mine (hint) hehe. It's always a trade off. In return, get them to guest blog for you. That helps bring traffic to your site too.

Twitter & FB... not sure on either of those. I have a FB account but haven't really used it. I have a twitter account I'd use more but Twit and my dial-up don't like to play nice so I rarely get in there. High Speed coming to my office VERY soon so I can further test the Twitter avenue of promo. In the mean time, maybe contact some of the authors you see on twitter and ask them what they think. The more contacts you make, the better. Particularly in venues you think you might want to play.

On giving something away. Not all of my guests give books and such away. Perhaps to help with your costs, offer them a $10 Amazon gift card. That allows them to purchase the format of their choice. Of course, going that route there's no guarantee they're going to buy yll purchase your book but at least you've gained another contact.

I know one author on our loop who is doing a blog tour. At the end of the tour she'll put ALL the names from ALL the blogs into a drawing. So she's doing it over a period of weeks. It also encourages people to follow her from blog to blog - helping her judge who her followers are. And although she's at several blogs over the course of time, she's only giving away 1 book.

Okay, I'll stop. Maybe this is something for us to run through the WRW. Changes being made there just as soon as my highspeed internet is in place :-) Until then, best of luck! Look forward to hearing what others have to say.
Angela Drake (aka Kelly - wrw moderator)

Mary Corrales said...

I can say that I'm not very electronically smart either, but slowly I'm venturing out. I think that word of mouth, and doing guest blogs on popular sites helps.

I've recently ventured into the twitter world which I think may be a great 'word of mouth' way to promo books. If you can spare the time to tweet at least once a day.

Ezines are electronic magazines only offered online, sent to subscribers. You go to the site of the magazine to find submission guidelines if you want to write an article for the magazine.

If you hold a contest make sure the blog has a large following to get the most for your time.

Best of luck to you. :)

Paty Jager said...

Hi Chris,
As for my promoting... it' s a long list and I have yet to decide if it's been wroth all the effort, but people are slowly recognizing my name in the writing industry. But how to get to the general public? I'm hoping by putting my first book of my Halsey brother series up on Kindle for .99 it will get more people to buy it and hopefully from there start looking for more books by me and buy those.

I'm once again heading up a blog tour next month for the release of the second spirit book, Spirit of the Lake. I made sure I selected blogs of review sites and authors who have a good-to-fair following and one who is a new reviewer hoping to bring her more followers and in turn have her expounding on my generosity.

I give away print books and other goodies., I do a monthly website contest. I have some loyal fans who enter every month and I gather a few new ones. I have a monthly newsletter and I tweet and use FB both for my day to day info and for promotion.

I'm not sure what works the best, but after blogging on the larger review sites and community blogs I have more sales.

Christine Young said...

What terrific answers. I have some great ideas and I hope you who have looked here and answered have found some insight into marketing. Thanks so much everyone.