Meryl's Notes Blog
Things wordy, geeky, and webby
Guest Post: How Writers Can Do Faraway Marketing
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 at 7:54 AM
Welcome to meryl’s notes blog (this here place you’re lookin’ at) in Plano, Texas. We’re honored to be a stop in Fiona Ingram’s WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour. Fiona, author of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, joins us all the way from South Africa. We’re giving away a book — not Fiona’s as her popular book went fast. Read on to see what you can win.
About Fiona Ingram
“My story-telling career began at age ten!” She entertained my three younger brothers and their friends with serialised tales of children undertaking dangerous and exciting exploits, which they survived through courage and ingenuity. The never-ending story was called “Gruesome Gables,” and it certainly was gruesome! Haunted houses, vampires, and skeletons leaping out of coffins were hot favorites in the cast of characters. Although she doesn’t have children, she has an adopted teenage African child, from an underprivileged background who is just discovering the joys of reading for pleasure. She lives in Johannesburg and has been freelancing for 15 years. Visit Secret of the Sacred Scarab and Fiona Ingram‘s web sites.
How Writers Can Do Faraway Marketing by Fiona Ingram
I am a South African author with a successful children’s book published in the United States. It has been an enormous challenge for me to become known in the U.S. while living so far away. An author platform and marketing plan are vital and should include a mixture of traditional and online marketing.
However, given the distance problem, many “real” author events are impossible for me in the U.S., such as book signings, author readings, speaking at meetings/groups, etc. I have focused on maximizing all possible online opportunities instead.
When I began, I had a vague idea that marketing was important. I just didn’t know how much! Many writers feel all they have to do is write. That’s the easy part. Marketing is the hardest part of getting your book noticed. Here are some of the best steps I took in my book promotion.
- I opened a marketing folder while still at manuscript stage, and began researching to familiarize myself with all online marketing possibilities. I collected notes on everything and gradually formulated a plan of action. I began with industry e-zines and newsletters, which offer a wealth of information. Many book publishing and author marketing companies offer free newsletters, as well as links to more sites. I learned everything I could about publishing, getting books into bookstores, approaching agents, getting book reviews, upcoming book competitions, blogging, online marketing, podcasts and online interviews, keywords for internet listing … the list is endless.
- A press kit is vital. My publisher produced a professional kit and sent it to all interested/relevant publications. They also sent out online press releases.
- A good author web site is possibly the writer’s best online marketing tool. List your social web sites, include book info/reviews and perhaps a first chapter, a cover image, radio or video interviews, a book video, a contact email and press material. From here, you can launch your blog or fan club, set up Twitter and put your website on many social sites simultaneously. Showcase your work on author sites as well (e.g. Authorsden and Jacketflap).
- Giving away books is another excellent strategy. Depending on your reader target market, contact libraries, schools, local bookstores, book clubs and reading groups and offer them a book. I have sent books through my publishers to anyone interested in reviewing the book. They get to keep the book, and I get a review for my author site.
- Write articles on the art of writing, your genre, or just the publishing process. You can add these to your personal web site, as well as your book web site. Also, load them onto Google and sites that accept articles. I have written several articles, as well as adapting my guest blog posts on child literacy to articles.
- I got Googled! Get a Google Alert to notify you every time something comes up about you and your book, link other sites back to your own to increase your ratings and give you credibility, set up a Blogger alert, join Google’s Library page, keep track of your site’s performance with Google Analytics and much more.
- Discover amazing Amazon: This is the largest online book site and you need to be on it. Amazon will also review your book if you approach them; you can also put up other reviews on your book.
- One of the best steps I took was an online book tour or blog tour. Virtual book tours are a fantastic promotional tool for authors to connect with readers through book blogs. Tours usually include a minimum number of tour stops on a variety of blogs, and can include a book image, a review, links to the author’s website and blog, and purchase information. Blog hosts usually also link back to other internet outlets, thereby increasing your coverage.
- Book Competitions: Competitions broaden your author profile because people in the industry will read your book. Even if you don’t win, you may get a Finalist or Honorable Mention, and that’s the kind of detail to put in your press release.
Do not stop marketing: Even when your book is out there, don’t stop spreading the word! Do something every day (either online or physical) to continue your marketing thrust. Remember — marketing doesn’t sell books … marketing gives you exposure and exposure sells books.
Win: Since we’re on the topic of children’s books, we’re giving away a copy of Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs by Cindy Hudson. To win, leave a 50+ word comment by 11:59pm December 9 about a favorite children’s book and why it’s your favorite or an experience with children’s books. The unbiased and robotic random.org will pick the winner.
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