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Occasional Marketing Report

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by The Dark One, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. The Dark One

    The Dark One Grandmaster

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    I'm offering this thread as a kind of laboratory to discuss what works and what might work for promotion, using my book which comes out in two weeks in both paperback and ebook format.

    But first up I have to make a confession...this book is not fantasy. I write in two genres...a sort of preternatural sci-fi/surrealist blend; and also a very unusual, hyper-real/surrealist, variety of crime.

    The new book is the latter so, if you wish, take no further interest in this thread. The reason I wish to use MS for this experiment (and I guarantee I'm not doing it elsewhere) is that of all the writers' forums I've visited, this is by miles the best.

    The product can be viewed by visiting my website, which it is not necessary to do to take part in this experiment. I will report on what I'm doing, and will report on the results as they come in (unless the moderators tell me this is in breach of the rules).

    The input I'm interested in receiving is simply suggestions for marketing avenues and techniques for a book which has the following in its favour:

    - third novel published by a writer with a (small but not insignificant) fan base
    - published in paperback and ebook format with a small publisher
    - published in a genre that is likely to appeal to a wide range of readers (although very much an 'adult' book)

    I think it is a dramatic improvement on what I've done before and just might be the book that takes me to a whole new level. I have been reasonably active already and have a local launch organised plus 3 signing events in different cities/places and contemplating a couple more.

    I've hired (at my own expense) a publicist.

    I've done virtually nothing in the social media stakes.

    All suggestions gratefully received, and as I said, I will report regularly on all activities and results unless the moderators decide this is not a valid use of the forum.
     
  2. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Mythic Scribe

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    Dark One,

    I find the type of information you're describing quite useful and interesting. The more details the better.

    Thanks for doing this!

    Brian
     
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Since you already have an audience, you don't need to put too much focus on social media. Your priority, in terms of an author platform on the web, should be putting together an email list and a website which leads readers to your sales page. I'm looking at the website in your signature, and while there are some nice design elements, I think it comes up a little short in this regard. I don't even see an email sign up sheet (I could be missing it, but still), and the book covers and blurb should be the first thing I want to click on.

    Work on your pitch. You've got a blurb, and that's great. But get a few versions of the same writeup - like a movie might have two or three trailors - so you can rattle off one when you contact somebody, have another on your website, and still a third on your amazon page. And have still another pitch for your book which you use when you're talking more casually about it. If they're a little different, especially at the opening, then some people will read all three and get increasingly hooked. It keeps people from thinking, "this again?" and skipping it, and forgetting it.

    Aside from that, your focus should probably be getting contacting anyone who already has an audience that would be interested in your book, and getting them to promote you. If you have an audience, figure out the two or three best ways to measure that audience and use them as talking points. Amazon ranking? Regional ranking? Number of print sales? (For others, social media following?) That kind of thing. People will want to know you're worth their time. Each time you're featured somewhere, link to it on your website with a blurb promoting it (that gives them an added incentive to promote you, since you're promoting them).

    I don't know who you should reach out to. That's going to depend on how big your audience is, how good you think the book is, whether you're selling much outside of Australia, and what kind of connections your publishers have. But you could pitch anyone from Amazon reviewers to bloggers to ezines to newspapers to radio hosts to local TV to book signings at the bookstores, if you can make the case that your work will appeal to their audience. Mostly you're looking for reviews, interviews, and guest articles/appearances.

    If you have the same audience, and your book is high-quality, then having them work with you is win-win, and you should adopt that attitude. Don't overplay it, sure, but don't forget you're bringing an opportunity.

    Lastly, you can try googling blog hops, which will try to get bloggers to sign up to host you. I've heard mixed results, but if you can show that you have a following, it might work out for you.
     
  4. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Mythic Scribe

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    Devor,

    That was some really solid advice. I learned quite a bit from your post.

    Thanks!

    Brian
     
  5. Daichungak

    Daichungak Master

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    Did you avoid virtual media did it just happen that way?

    Devor, I gather from your excellent comment that with an existing audience spending time on social media might be a waste. Would you mind explaining that with a little more depth?
     
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I only mean to say that establishing a social media network, at that point, is probably more work than reward. If it's something you wanted to do or have a knack for doing, you'd probably be doing it before then.

    By a social media network, I don't mean everything you do online. I specifically mean anything that tries to gather a regular following. But to gather a following, you need regular content that's going to take a lot of time.

    Normally I try to suggest that people use a social media following to break the legitimacy gap that new authors have with reviewers. "Take a look at my book, I've got a thousand followers on twitter. It's a great book. By the way I've been looking over your blog and will start retweeting you..." When you view that as your social media goal, it's a relatively easier threshold to meet.

    But using social media to actually appeal to readers is a lot different. Readers will want to see the same kind of content you're putting n you book - that's the common denominator of what they're interested in. Meeting that demand is a big hurdle, and a lot of people who see social media as a way to appeal to readers have no idea how to approach the task. People who read a writing blog? They're not necessarily buying your book.

    If you have a social media network, there are ways to use it to your advantage. But it's biggest use is in actual networking. If your network is five people who will repost your work, or better yet, host a guest article by you that's catered to their audience, it'll have a much bigger chance of getting shared and catching on than anything you can do with the attitude of, "I have a book, let's see how many people want to hear me talk about it over and over and over and over on a daily basis!"

    By the way, you can actually do that. You can produce bestiaries, character profiles, maps, spell lists, mystic locations, and so on to draw an audience to your work. You should do some of that on your website (which is different than a social network). But if you're doing it enough to hook a social media audience, you should be thinking franchise instead of novel.
     
    Zero Angel and Daichungak like this.
  7. The Dark One

    The Dark One Grandmaster

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    I should put you on staff Devor, some great stuff there. Some of it I had already planned to do, but I really like your idea about different blurbs for different forums. I'll get cracking on that.

    Advice re the website (and what you first see/click on) is also good. I have a mate who looks after that for me and I'm trying to get him to teach me to do it myself, but I've been nagging him about the need for the blurb to be front and centre. I'll force him to read this thread.

    Got an email from the distributor today asking me to click on his website. Straight Jacket is his featured book for the moment, and he represents over 100 small publishers, so you can imagine how chuffed I was with that. He has reason to promote me though as my first book in 2010 was his top-selling fiction title for that year, and the first book he ever got into the intensely Darwinian airport bookstores.

    I'll let you know when I've made changes to the website, and thanks again.
     
  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    That's great, Dark One.

    It sounds like you are at the place most of us want to get to, so it'll be good to see what works for you. I look forward to hearing your reports.
     
  9. CandaceKroslak

    CandaceKroslak Acolyte

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    The information that you have shared is very interesting and useful.
     
  10. The Dark One

    The Dark One Grandmaster

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  11. The Dark One

    The Dark One Grandmaster

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    Some exciting developments this week. (The book is officially published next week.) A large book store in Sydney created a huge display entirely devoted to Straight Jacket and filled a window with it on a main street in the legal precinct (the main character is a lawyer). People have started buying it.

    The ebook went live and there are already a couple of ratings on Goodreads (from people I don't know!!!)

    I have agreed to do 4 new signings/launches in 3 cities.

    Most intriguingly, I was contacted today by a major film studio offering to option the film rights. (They had been sniffing about before, but came in today with a firm offer.)

    How do I get the best mileage out of these developments?
     
    BWFoster78, Nihal and Devor like this.
  12. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    That's amazing Dark One!

    If I were you, I'd make sure I have good representation before signing anything.
     
  13. The Dark One

    The Dark One Grandmaster

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    Thanks T Allen, I am a lawyer myself but I don't pretend to be expert in any field - especially entertainment law.

    My publisher is only small and has no experience in film rights, options etc. In fact, he mainly just sits back and leaves all the marketing initiatives to me and my publicist. That's OK, I'm full of energy, but my question I suppose is this: is a film rights option (just an option...not the rights themselves) news, or does it happen all the time? If it's news, how do I get the best mileage out of it?
     
  14. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Dark Lord

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    Speaking from research and not personal experience, film rights options are widespread AND news. Many studios buy up options left and right (at least, they were when I was researching this before the great recession; now that we're recovering, I assume they're doing it again...if they ever stopped) and only move on them if the stars align. At the same time, you can use the positive publicity of having your novel optioned in press releases and your press kits to generate more steam for your work.

    Definitely hire a contract lawyer/entertainment lawyer.
     
  15. The Dark One

    The Dark One Grandmaster

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    Another small but positive development - had a photo-shoot today for a magazine interview at a bookshop that has made a huge fuss about the book and sold 40 copies in 2 days.

    Also got the first review - an absolute cracker.
     
  16. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    That's awesome, Dark One.

    If you haven't yet, it's probably smart to set up Google Alerts for your name and your books so you can keep on top of it.

    Otherwise you're a bit ahead of the game, compared to most of us around here. But the concepts are the same, just step it up. Reach out to bigger blogs/newspapers/magazines/radio outlets than you were thinking before. Keep considering the best way to package-and-pitch the size of your audience and the success of your book. Find ways to thank reviewers and make yourself a presence.

    You could think about putting money into it, but I can't tell you if that's a good idea for you or not. It would be about the right time for advertising if that's the route you wanted to take. The main principle would be for the same group of people, who you know like books, to see 2-3 different ads in the course of a few months. I only see book ads on the subway, or in certain podcasts or websites, so take it for what it's worth.

    Of course you could always invest in someone to spruce up the website and generate graphical support for your outreach emails. You've probably seen it already, but you could take a look at Michael Sullivan's comments on contacting reviewers.
     
  17. The Dark One

    The Dark One Grandmaster

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    I did read Michael's posts when they first came out, and just re-read them. It's tremendously good advice but I really don't have the time to do it as thoroughly as he recommends. I will try it though, in a limited and targeted manner.

    The publisher is too small to have an in-house marketing capacity, so I've also hired a publicist (which was far cheaper than I expected). Part of her job is to get my book onto the desks of all the major reviewers in Australia.

    Reviews are the key. Definitely need more reviews (and I'm not fishing by the way - this is a fantasy site and the book is not fantasy). I've had four so far on goodreads, all excellent, and only two of them from people I know!!!

    Can anyone recommend a review site suitable for off-beat crime novels?
     
  18. The Dark One

    The Dark One Grandmaster

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    An interesting week. First radio interview (went for 20 minutes) on the regional ABC. First newspaper report. Both focusing on the film option angle. First signing event tomorrow, but the big news is that I just heard the book was selected for the Gleebooks/Readings Summer Reading Guide. This is a massively important publication in Australia which goes out to hundreds of thousands of people who frequent the big independent chains. The distributor told me this was a career defining moment.

    Best he's right.
     
  19. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Dark Lord

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    Sounds like good news! Hope it is and things continue to blossom.
     
  20. The Dark One

    The Dark One Grandmaster

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    OK, I haven't reported for a while, partly from slackness, partly because so much has happened.

    I'm not going to go through it all because there's simply too much, but highlights have been several signing/reading events; fantastic reviews; further invitations to speak (including at a university and a major public library); and this is all before the major advertising finally kicks in next week.

    Having said all that, I know I've been pathetic at trying to maximise social media etc opportunities; could have been doing heaps more, but I do work full time and otherwise have a wife and a life so...there the excuses end.

    The biggest development has been this...I was approached by a famous sportsman/politician who had enjoyed my two paperbacks to write his biography. It's not where my heart is, but I knew I could do a reasonable job so I accepted and was immediately invited to join the biggest agency in Australia. They are already talking to big publishers about the project so, it just goes to show that doors open in unexpected ways if you keep hanging in there.
     
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