Tag Archives: how to sell your book

Marketing My Novel, Step 4


As part of marketing my first book, I need to start the next novel.

Statistics show that, on average, authors don’t start selling books until they have a minimum of four books on the market. I wonder what it is about human nature that makes readers decide to buy a new author’s work when there are four books out. Not two. Not three. Four is the magic number.

Seriously, I have to start my next novel now, as I am wrapping up my first one, even before it hits the presses.

I have considered cheating–writing a couple of short stories that fall in length between an in-depth magazine article and a novella–to try getting works in print on the market. I don’t know if it will piss off readers or tease them into waiting for the next full-length feature.

Already I have readied a short story called “Strange” (8,000 words) that will release at the same time as the novel. It is set in a fictional town in Pennsylvania. The short story can be packaged with the novel as a promotion, a special value, to tempt someone to buy my book because the reader will get two reads for the price of one. It’s a tactic I want to try. Will it work?

I don’t know. We’ll find out together, won’t we.

 

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Marketing My Novel, Step 1


While I am going through the editing and re-write process, which is far lengthier than I anticipated, I have developed a marketing plan for my novel. Remember, as a self-published author, I wear two hats: writer and businesswoman.

My marketing plan–which is a work in progress–is designed to give readers a taste of my writing style before the release of my novel. How so?

I authored an 8000+ word suspenseful short story named “Strange” which I am releasing soon on Amazon.com. The cover art has been commissioned.  When released, the story will sell for 99 cents.

Hopefully, readers will sample my story and decide that  they would like to read Moore (pun fully intended) writing from me. The next step is to release the novel–shortly after releasing the short story–before those who enjoyed “Strange” forget about me.

I may have made a mistake in this by-the-seat-of-my-pants marketing plan. I want to share my mistakes with you, so you can learn from them and avoid them in your own marketing.

My short story “Strange” involves death, but not murder. It is suspenseful, but in a different way than my murder mystery novel.  The characters in the short story are nothing like the characters in the novel.

In hindsight, I think I should have written a murder mystery short story using a main character from my murder mystery novel. That would not only introduce the reader to my writing style in the up-coming novel, but would have hooked them into getting to know one of the characters.

Hmmm. If I am a smart cookie, I will do that anyway. I will write another short story to introduce a main character from the novel–maybe two short stories, each focusing on a different character–and e-publish them to whet the taste of readers for the novel.  That way, if a reader likes the short story and the character, the reader can buy the novel.

I like that plan. Now, where am I going to get the time to do it? That’s a post for another day.

 

Guest Post from Cindy McDonald of The Unbridled Series


Uber thanks to Cindy for sharing with us on a topic I know absolutely nothing about, but which is getting more and more important for authors. It’s all about exposure. (Cue face blushing.) Um, let me rephrase. It’s all about putting it out there. (Cue redder face blushing.) Big gulp. It’s about creating a video trailer to promote your book via YouTube and other video sites. Take it away, Cindy:

Have you taken a look at the book trailers on YouTube? Some are really cool, terrific graphics, very exciting. And some are well…not so cool. Book trailers are the latest tool for authors to use to put their books in front of potential audiences. Great! Another way to advertise my book—Lord knows drawing readers in is a major obstacle for authors, and a book trailer may just be the boost that my novel or series needs, right?

Whoa! Slow down cowboy, because I’ve got a tale to tell, and it ain’t pretty. My first book DEADLY.COM was getting ready to release last September, and I just couldn’t wait. I knew exactly how to get the proper attention for my new series—a book trailer! Hey, if Spielberg can do it, so can I.

The trap was set. Me—the idiot—was going to set out to film a book trailer. So, I rented a fellowship hall at a church, and then I placed this ad on Craig’s List for an actor:

Audition on June 22 for an actor: Dark-haired ruggedly good-looking between the ages of 25-30 to film a book trailer. Will provide food, and a DVD as payment. Please send resume and a head shot with response. Will provide time and location for audition, if qualified.

Wow! I got quite a few responses—who knew there were so many good-looking men out there willing to work for food and a DVD? Impressed? Don’t be.  Only three of the twelve actors that qualified for the part actually showed up, and let’s just say that pictures can be VERY deceiving!

The first actor that showed up right on time for the audition did indeed have dark hair. He was more photogenic than he was good-looking, but that wasn’t the biggest problem. He couldn’t have been more than five feet tall, and he weighed about one-ten. He was a pip-squeak, and his acting skills were….to be kind…not very good.

The second actor that walked through the door did not fit the bill at all. In fact, he had sent in a bogus head shot just to get an audition! The man must have been sixty-five, although he claimed to be forty-two. When I explained to him that he was simply too old, and too grey, and too wrinkled, he said, “I’m an actor, honey. I can act younger.” Seriously, buddy? Needless to say, he was asked to leave…quickly.

Ahhh, but the third actor that came through the door was just right. He was tall, dark, and very ruggedly handsome, and his acting was much better than the first. Good thing, because they were the only three to show up for the audition.

Okay, cut me a break, Spielberg probably gets a much better turn-out when he holds auditions, but this wasn’t a shot at fame and fortune—it was food and a DVD. Anyway, this was working! So, I rounded up a film crew, rented camera equipment, and went to a nearby stable that had white fencing for as far as the eye could see to ask permission to film. They were thrilled to let me film. I own a horse farm, but my fencing is black, and in my book series, Westwood Thoroughbred Farm has white fencing—details, have to stick with the details.

Viola! I was ready, and on a sunny, hot day last July I met my camera crew and the handsome actor at the farm to film the trailer. I had a blast! I was doing something that I had never done before. As a professional dancer and choreographer for twenty-six years, I had worked many stage productions, but this was an entirely different ball game—or should I say “project”. It took a mere two hours to film the short trailer, and within two weeks the trailer was on YouTube. God, did it stink! It was awful! At my publishing manager’s request, I removed it from cyber space.

Okay, now I’ve written two more books of The Unbridled Series, HOT COCO and Dangerous Deception, and I really, really, want one of those cool book trailers, but what’s an author to do? Those baby’s are expensive. But then out of the blue the break that I’d been waiting for happened: One of my FB friends who is also an author posted a link to a website where you can make banners and trailers. I was on it within moments, www.bannersnack.com. My daughter and I made a trailer for Dangerous Deception,HOT COCO, and then one for my first book of the series, DEADLY.COM—they turned out great! Hey, they were cool! But they didn’t have any background music—bummer. So my daughter started playing around with the Windows media file right on my lap top—she made two fabulous trailers right there on the lap top with terrific music for the background. It was easy, it was free, and I was so much happier with result. We uploaded them onto YouTube.  Who knew? Oh well, lessons learned.

Am I getting the exposure that I so desired when I filmed that disastrous trailer? Well…no, but I’ve got two book trailers that I’m very happy with, and my daughter and I had an absolute blast creating them.

You can view my trailers on the “books” tab on my website: http://www.cindymcwriter.com/

We’re not done yet. My next book from The Unbridled Series, AGAINST THE ROPES,  is set to release in June, my daughter and I will be creating a trailer for the new book very soon, and you will be able to find it on the “coming soon” tab on my website—an excerpt from the book is already there for you to read.

If you’ve been thinking about a trailer for your upcoming book or one that you’ve already published, I hope that I’ve given you the tools to create one. And if you do, have a great time!

A Discussion of the 99 Cents Price Point for e-Books


Newly published e-book authors as a general rule price their first books on Amazon.com or other booksellers at $.99. Why?

Melissa Foster shares her thoughts in a recently published Huffington Post article. I have excerpted parts here. To read the whole article, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/20/ebooks-cheap-price_n_1160383.html?ref=books#comments

Independent authors are rallying around the controversial 99-cent price point. Some authors feel the 99-cent price point devalues their hard work, while others feel that readers will not take a chance on new authors at a higher price point.


Readers are scooping up ebooks for 99 cents, that alone speaks of a demand for material at that price point.


Let’s look at the dollars and cents of the 99-cent price point for independent authors. If an author is self-published through Amazon KDP, he or she earns 34 cents per 99-cent book sold. Not only do authors put time and energy into their writing, there are other associated costs to publishing a quality book, including cover artists ($125-3000), editors ($800-5000), marketing, etc. If you add up the average cover cost of $350, average editing job of $1400, then divide by 34 cents, the author would have to sell 5,134 books just to break even.


A self-published author that sells 100,000 ebooks at 99 cents, earns an annual salary of $34,000.  However, the average new author, after spending a year writing the book, will sell less than 100 copies. That’s $34, tops, in exchange for a year of the writer’s life.

If that same author is published through a small press and sells 100,000 copies, that author earns $12,000. To earn $40,000 per year, that author would have to sell 333,333 books per year. According to the Wall Street Journal, there are only 30 authors who have sold over 100,000 copies of their books, and only a dozen who have sold over 200,000.


Why, then, do authors post their books at such a low price?

Darcie Chan, bestselling author of The Mill River Recluse, states, “Since I had never published anything before and was completely unknown as a writer, I thought the 99-cent price point would be best to encourage readers to give my novel a chance. It’s true that the royalty rate at that price point is much lower, but I saw foregoing some royalty income as a tradeoff. I decided that the 99-cent price would be an investment in my future writing endeavors and would give me the best chance at meeting my goals of gradually building a readership and getting some feedback on my work.”


Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of three International bestselling novels, Megan’s Way, Chasing Amanda, and Come Back to Me.

The Newspaper Interview Is in Print


WDRC group pic by Joe Crocetal Herald Mail staff photographer

RE-RUN OF MARCH POST

JUST WANT TO REMIND YOU, YOU CAN BUY THE ANTHOLOGY USING THE LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.

OUR 30-YEAR-OLD MEMBER MISSED THE PHOTO OP. SHE IS VERA SINES-KLANK.

http://www.herald-mail.com/lifestyle/hm-the-writers-of-the-desert-rose-cafe-discuss-themselves-and-their-first-anthology-20130228,0,7573201.story?page=1

Wow! In my little writer’s hideaway, I got a phone call to tell me the newspaper interview was published March 3. Not only was it printed in the local newspaper, but it is available on-line, too. The link is above. I don’t know how long they keep on-line articles floating in web-space, so look now.

(The photo was taken by staff photographer Joe Crocetal of The Herald-Mail newspaper in Maryland. The dark-haired one on the top left of the overhead shot is me.)

We received 5 pages of publicity in the on-line article. How lovely!

In case you are hearing about this for the first time, let me give you background. I am a member of Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe. We published an anthology in late December 2012. The book is available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble (on-line only) at a very affordable price. If you have an interest in a sneak preview, click the Amazon link below. The Barnes and Noble link is also available for you with Nook readers.
Anthology cover

http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Desert-Cafe-An-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ARYTOYC

or

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/writers-of-the-desert-rose-cafe-an-anthology-fay-moore/1114018983

Three Books in Twelve Months


My publisher Lauren Carr is also an author. In the past six months, she has released two books. Her birthday is coming up. Do you know what she is doing to celebrate? She is spending the day writing on her next novel. My bet is, that by summer, she releases another book. That means she will have written three books within a year.

Several successful authors are prolific–meaning they write more than the traditional one book per year. If the authors are managed by a traditional publishing house, they have to use pen names to put out the extra works.

The luxury of self-publishing or independent publishing is no one restricts your output under your own name except you.

Remember, the statistics say that momentum in book sales doesn’t kick in until the author has three to five titles published.

Do you want to wait three to five years to get that momentum going? I don’t know about you, but I’d like to speed that process along by writing and releasing more than one book per year.

Of course, I am not one to talk, given I have plodded along on my first novel for two years. I hope that my history of writing at a snail’s pace is about to change.

 

 

The Newspaper Inter-view


One of our Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe members started the ball rolling on marketing. He used an inside contact to connect me to the head librarian in charge of programming. That conversation led me to volunteer our writers for library programs. The librarian offered to refer news of the release of  Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe, An Anthology to her press contact at the local newspaper. Consequently, a reporter from the Lifestyles section called me to schedule an interview.

I invited our publisher Acorn Book Services to attend the interview. This turned out to be a good move for many reasons that I’ll share in a minute. My thought when inviting the publisher was as a thank you for helping us and sharing a bit of the limelight.

During the course of an hour-long interview, I learned that the reporter attended the same seminar at the library where I first collected names to form Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe. That coincidence warmed him to us because he had first hand knowledge of our origins. That piqued his curiosity about how we moved from a start-up organization to a published entity in a relatively short period.

Further, the reporter was on a first-name basis with our publisher. The publisher offered to place an advertisement on the same page as the article in the newspaper. That financial incentive is apt to generate a better place on the page and a longer article than our group would get on its own. The reporter also proposed sending a photographer to the next meeting to snap a some candid photographs of the working group to go with his article. Photos are eye-catching and will draw attention to the article.

Finally, our most organized member and I took the publisher to lunch after the interview to discuss costs for producing print versions of the book. That led to conversation about select members appearing at a writing seminar as members of a panel during a teaching segment. Mr. Organization will not let that opportunity fall through the cracks. He’ll stay on top of it to be sure the writers group seizes every chance to promote our endeavors.

Do you see how that works? Chances are if I cold-called either the library or the reporter directly, the response would have been less successful. But by networking through personal connections and utilizing the special talents within the group, Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe will get free publicity both through the news story and through the local speaking circuit.

Commercial success for writers is like success for politicians. It all starts locally.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the exposure translates to sales!

Anthology cover

http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Desert-Cafe–Anthology-ebook/dp/B00ARYTOYC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357500066&sr=1-1&keywords=writers+of+the+desert+rose+cafe

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/writers-of-the-desert-rose-cafe-an-anthology-fay-moore/1114018983