Blogger: Mary Keeley
From the comments in Part 1 of my interview with author Karen Whiting last week, many of you felt her tips were geared primarily for nonfiction books. Well, today in Part 2 fiction writers will not feel left out. Karen offers tips that work for all writers.
Mary: Where do you look for influencers and endorsers?
- I tend to look in the communities of the readers for that book—which is not usually other authors. For my newest release, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front, with co-author Jocelyn Green, I found admirals, generals, heads of Christian military organizations, Blue Star Moms, etc., plus a few select authors who write on the topic but not in conflict with the topic: fiction authors who write about war, authors who write about the military, not the home front, and so on.
- I look for bloggers who have followings. My daughter, Rebecca White, co-author of Faithgirlz Guide to Going Green (release date Spring 2014) is following several green and earth care blogs now to see which ones do contests, promote products, and have guest interviews and also have large followings.
- I look for people who talk a lot and are influential people. They may head organizations or just be party people who like to share news of what’s happening.
Mary: Whether you write fiction, nonfiction, or children’s books, there are valuable tips here:
- By connecting not only with authors but also experienced people or authorities who are associated with the kinds of things you write about, you’ll attract their followers to you and your book.
- Find blogs with a large following that relate to your book in some way and start commenting; build a connection. Offer the blogger a few of your books to use in contests. Invite those bloggers to do a guest interview on your blog or be a guest blogger. This benefits both of you.
If you’ve already tried any of these methods, what has been your experience? What other approaches have you used to connect with potential endorsers?
Mary: What is added value and what can authors do to add value for marketing books?
1. Those are the freebies people get from an author. So, on a radio show it may be a few great inside tips or tidbits. People are watching their money and spending it wisely and want more value for their money.
For the Home Front book, as my co-author and I wrote the book, we also wrote couple’s questions for each story. We put that in a file and have a QR code in the back of the book so people get a couple’s study for free. We also did a file of homeschool tips and exercises to go with the book and have a QR code in the book for that. Two different audiences with value for each.
2. This can be done with tip sheets and handouts when you speak. I met a woman who self-published a children’s book. She took my class on marketing and did it all. But the price of the book was too high. She had to charge $7 for what looks like a $3–$4 book. I suggested ten things she could give away when she speaks. She implemented the first one within a week. She copied the art of the characters in the book (she owns it) and made them into the same size where 8 fit on a sheet of paper. She printed the sheets on cardstock. The children can cut the figures and use them as finger puppets or add a Popsicle stick for stick puppets. With that one added value item her books started selling out at each event. And she has lots more ideas to implement for more value. If she does them all, she can probably sell the book with a kit for $10–$12.
3. Added value can be like belonging to an insider’s club. This means the audience gets to know more about your characters and book than other people. It can be done in interviews or subscribing to your blog, or with free, downloadable files that tell more about the characters and the behind-the-scenes of a book. It can be a QR code to the author’s inside look into the book as a file that is free.
(Note: Lifeway and other stores will not carry any book with a QR code if the book links are to sell something. So, you need dead end websites for the files.)
Mary: What creative ideas for your book came to mind as you read Karen’s suggestions?
Mary: Are there groups a writer can join that help writers to promote their books?
- For those of you who have at least two books published or contracted by CBA, traditional, royalty publishers, Christian Authors Network (CAN) is a group available to you. CAN is connected with the Munce Group (a company that does the ads for about 500 independent Christian bookstores). They have author spotlights in their publications and authors help to fill content for their online magazine for readers (over 350k subscribers/over 200k hits a month), as well as other connections in the industry. Here is their website.
- It’s also great to start small marketing groups where you live. Draw from published authors who are in critique groups with you. Do group book signings at stores, banks, fund raisers, and so on. Review one another’s books for local outlets.
Mary: What ideas are new to you? Which ones do you think would work well for your book?