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Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

I’m going to be honest – at some level, I’m using this blog as my own personal sounding board. I write about what I’m thinking about, what’s bothering me, and what I need to figure out for Ooligan Press, for The Grove Review, for Carol White Marketing, or for my job.

Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to market The Grove Review’s Issue 5.

Here’s my list so far, in no particular order:

  1. Press Release for Issue 5’s release and party
  2. Create new website, with blog, and get articles from past contributors
  3. Plan a release party
  4. Create a Facebook plan/Possibly also Twitter
  5. Schedule/register for local conferences
  6. Send a mailing to current and past subscribers and contributors
  7. Set up e-issues for online purchase
  8. Schedule/plan a reading for authors
  9. Get reviews (post on website and contributors’ websites)
    (Design ad/link for contributors’ websites)
  10. Create swag for conferences and release party (bookmarks)

And how does that sound? It seems to me like this plan should appeal to those who love online outlets while not leaving out those who still like getting old-fashioned pieces of mail. I’d love some feedback.

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While I’m still skeptical about Twitter’s ability to sell any books for publishers, I can’t really deny that Twitter is supporting the “cult of personality” type following that authors now enjoy. It seems like an author’s book doesn’t matter as much as their online presence and persona. If publishers could make money every time someone read the Twitter or Facebook posts of their authors, perhaps they wouldn’t be so worried about financial problems.

But, since everyone’s following the authors anyway, here’s a list of the most popular:

50 Best Book People to Follow on Twitter

There are some great authors on this list, including Neil Gaiman, Eoin Colfer, and J.K Rowling, as well as some publishers, book reviewers, and publishing news sites.

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I’ve already shown that I’m a fan of traditional publishing, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think that authors have a responsibility to market their own books. Books are increasingly associated with their authors – to the point that people buy books based on their author’s presence online or in the media. And while publishers are creating press kits and setting up interviews and events, there are other avenues that only the author can explore.

So, for all authors, here’s a list of things you can do to increase your visibility to readers:

1) Create a website/blog/Facebook account/Twitter  account (or all of the above)
2) Enter contests of all types
3) Publish articles in print and online about anything in your book. For example, if your mystery novel takes place in Eastern Oregon, write a fun travel article about the locations you used, send it to a travel site, and add just a little hook at the end about your book.
4) Give dynamic “readings,” interviews, and presentations. Reading from your book isn’t enough – you need to give an audience a good show. (See this article)
5) Send book to reviewers (ones that your publisher might not be considering)
6) Try to get a book club to read your work. Even if you have to create such a group, word of mouth is an amazing marketing tool.
7) If it’s applicable (which it often is for fiction books), create a book trailer and post it online.

These are all just ideas – but they can all work to your advantage. So go forth and market!

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I have to admit I’ve been very reluctant to join Twitter. It seems silly to post about everything and anything, in short spurts. As this blog shows, I usually have more than a couple sentences worth of whatever to say. But apparently, I’m wrong to doubt the effectiveness of Twitter  – it’s a great way to network according to Publishing Trends’ article “Twitter isn’t Stupid – But Publishers Need to Be Smart About Using It. Here’s How.”

According to the article, publishers need to develop a very personal presence on Twitter. People don’t want to hear about books, they want to hear about people. That makes sense to me, since I would never want to check a site that just talks about how great their books are. Also, a lot of people who watch/read Twitter also read blogs or write their own blogs. So why don’t I?

But this use of Twitter actually corresponds to my earlier post about publisher branding. I think if publishers can use Twitter effectively, people will begin to follow the publisher and then recognize the publisher’s books and buy them! Plus, even just stimulating conversation about the books is a good thing. So, I guess maybe sometime soon I’ll bite the bullet and join Twitter.

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For my Book Marketing class this term, I’ve decided to create a book trailer. I’m one of those people who always wants to be at the movies early so I won’t possibly miss any of the trailers, because I really like trailers and I am often impressed by how they are cut and manipulated from the movie footage to show just enough of the story to be intriguing.

My trailer will be for the YA book The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. This is one of my top five favorite books, and definitely my favorite McKinley book, though Spindle’s End and Beauty are also amazing (especially if you, like me, enjoy the retelling of fairy tales).

So I wanted to get an idea about how to do a book trailer. I looked at several, including The Graveyard Book , The Hunger Games, and The Lightning Thief.

From what I can tell, the best book trailers do the following:

1) Don’t usually show real people. I’m guessing that this is to distinguish the book trailer from movie trailers, to not hinder people’s imaginations, and to make production costs less.

2) Flash the cover of the books repeatedly. This is to make sure that people will remember the cover and buy it when they see online or in stores.

3) Offer much more text to read than movie trailers. Sometimes this text is also narrated, but sometimes there is just epic music.

I even found this site, which will probably help me: How to Create the BEST Book Trailer EVER.

Now, I will start storyboarding. Wish me luck!

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Publishers market their books all the time, but I was thinking that a lot of publishers do notmarket their brands as much as they could. I am very loyal to authors that I like, but oftenI don’t pay much attention to the publisher.

But sometimes I do – and sometimes many other people do too. Which means that publishers should really be taking advantage of this consumer weakness: we are lazy and like to go with the same brands for most of our goods.

For example, I really like Chronicle Books because they are well-made, beautiful books. For chick lit and romance, I like Avon (an imprint of HarperCollins), and for fantasy I like Firebird.

The fact that I can name three publishers off the top of my head, despite the fact that I don’t pay that much attention, means that some publishers have been successfully branding. But others aren’t and therefore should read this very helpful article. Basically, if publishers were better about branding their companies, they wouldn’t have to work so hard to market their books – the brand would do it for them.

You don’t remember the most recent Kleenex ad, but you know you want Kleenex when you’re at the store. Publishing could be the same. So instead of saying, “I want the newest Robin McKinley,” I’d be saying, “I want the lastest Firebird” – and everyone would know what I was talking about.

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On The New York Times website Monday, there was an article discussing whether blogs can be literature. The “article” was actually a blog post in the Times’ book blog, Paper Cuts, and the author, Gregory Cowles, suggested that blogs aren’t really literature  – they are “by their nature part journalism, part journal.”

I agree with this, in most cases. For myself, I’m using this blog to keep track of my own thoughts and sort of put a toe in the water of blogging, to which I’m very new – for me, it’s more of a journal and a composite of publishing industry news I find interesting. There is nothing literary here, let’s face it. And I think for most people it’s the same way. We are either using these blogs to spread news or to talk about ourselves, sometimes both. And there is nothing wrong with that.

But I guess an author could use a blog to write anything they wanted. One of my favorite authors, Alexander McCall Smith, actually wrote several of his novels as short pieces in The Scotsman magazine – all of them are only several book pages long and blog posts can be just as short (or as long).

It might even be interesting for an author (and I think this would only really work if the author was already relatively well-know) to write a blog as one of their characters. For example, I just finished reading The Serpent on the Crown by Elizabeth Peters. If Amelia Peabody kept a blog (diary), in which she wrote a little about her Egypt adventures every few days, I would follow that blog – and I would buy the book about the events she described.

But writing about those fiction characters and events would make the blog a literary venture. So maybe we should stop looking at blogs for what they are now – but instead look at them for their writing potential and recognize that, like almost all forums, blogs can be literature too!

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