Category Archives: Marketting

Various marketing tips

Build a relationship with your readers!

The grand rule of marketing for authors is to build a relationship with your readers. But how can you build a relationship when you don’t know who’s buying your book? Amazon andApple don’t disclose their customers’ contact information to authors, and neither do traditional bookstores. But authors can get to know their readers by shifting their websites from passive to active.

A passive web site describes your books, lists your bio, links to reviews, and even has a contact form. But an active site draws people in, gives them something to do, or offers free stuff—in exchange for their email address.

The rule on the Internet is not, as they said inField of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Oh no. The rule on the Internet is, “If you give them free stuff, they will give you their contact information, and then you can build a relationship.”

Provide valuable, free stuff

What kind of free stuff am I talking about? Free sample chapters. Free webinars or PDFs that delve deeper into your subject matter or, if you write novels, that explore the recurring themes of your work.

What you offer on your website must not only be free. It must also be valuable. Be generous with your knowledge and your talents. Here are some examples to get your mind going:

  • Jeff Kinney of the Wimpy Kid series has a “fortune reader” tool on his website. It’s a silly, simple button-click, but this fun tool gives kids something to do—and a reason to visit his site. This particular activity required a software expert to do the coding. Not everyone has the marketing budget of best-selling author Jeff Kinney. But as an author, you’re creative—use your imagination to come up with something that you can afford and that your audience will respond to.
  • Children’s book author Linda Ashman gives out free PDFs of the introduction and first chapter of her craft book, The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books: Tools and Tips for Writing, Polishing and Selling Your Manuscript.
  • The website of illustrator Jan Brett is filled with freebies of all kinds: customizable printable cards, calendars, coloring pages, games, contests. It’s a treasure trove of simple things that are useful to teachers and parents. And because it’s fully illustrated by Brett herself, it gives exposure to her illustration style.

Build a mailing list

If you set up your website so that a name and email address are required for the download, you will begin to build a mailing list. Indicate during this sign-up that you’ll be adding their names to a mailing list, just so they know, and allow them to “opt out” if they don’t want to hear from you.

Once you’ve built up a mailing list of fans, it’s time to grow your relationship with them. Don’t be shy—they like your writing, they like your free stuff, they’ll be happy to hear from you—if your emails are useful. What’s a useful email? An email that tells people when you’ll be in their area to do a talk or a reading. An email that offers sneak peeks at your next book. An email that provides discounts and specials.

Don’t spam. Communicate with respect.

All this requires some deep thinking about who your readers are and why they like your books. No one wants to be spammed with useless information. Please do not do this! Instead, do an honest assessment of what your readers are looking for. Then provide that information to them in a genuine, generous way.

You’re building a relationship. Interact with lots of respect and your audience will respect you back.

*original article


Amazon Authors need to promote FREE cloud reader

When it comes to selling ebooks on Amazon authors are often in competition with one another. I want customers to pay more attention to my ebook than yours and I want customers to buy my ebook instead of yours. That kind of stuff However I think there is one thing that all Amazon authors have in common: we need people to own Kindles or at least the Kindle Cloud Reader.
When promoting my ebooks,  people who claim that they do not own a Kindle have flatly rejected my efforts. However the belief that owning a hand-held Kindle is required to download ebooks is a mistake. There is the free Cloud Reader that can be used to read ebooks using your laptop as an alternative to the traditional Kindle.I believe that many will find the Cloud Reader experience a little less enjoyable than reading using the hand-held device, however I also believe that the Cloud Reader is satisfactory.

As an Amazon author, please don’t forget to tweet about the free Cloud Reader. If everyone who reads this blog post writes a tweet promoting the following link then we can all do something to help out the entire community of Amazon authors – including yourself.

or Google search “free cloud reader.”

Local author meets with “biggest fan”

Part of the fun of being an author is that people actually want to meet you. A week ago,  I met my biggest fan! 10150645_445068045595697_7147965226339523062_n

Two years ago, when Finding Gloria came out, the office received a call from a young lady in Steinbach. She really wanted my book. I promised to drop off a copy where she worked  but never actually saw her. She called once or twice about payment but I let it go. It was a gift.

Today, I received a message from someone who knows her, asking if I would meet with her face-to-face. Apparently this young lady has been running around with cash in her pocket since Xmas 2012 so she could pay me, just in case we ever ran into each other. She wants to meet me and have me sign her book. Apparently she “loves me” and is just tickled pink that this woman (who contacted me) actually knows me…

This evening, we met for the first time, and I surprised her with two signed copies of my books. She was so thrilled and was actually gushing. I was glad my daughter was there to see it. It was really sweet! I can’t wait to see her again.


A Business Plan Helps You Produce a Successful Book

Although self-published authors don’t need a formal book proposal, because they alone make the decision to publish their work, they do need business plans. As the publishers of their own books, they alone must determine if their books are viable business propositions. Traditionally published authors rely on agents, and, ultimately, acquisitions editors, to make this determination, and these publishing professionals do so, at least initially, using the book proposal prepared by the author. That document then becomes the business plan for the book. More and more often, writers in all genres, even fiction, who seek traditional publishing deals are asked to turn in a proposal akin to a nonfiction book proposal.

I contend that no matter how you want to publish, and whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you should produce a business plan for each and every book you write and publish—before writing a word of your manuscript. Let me offer you eight good reasons why I believe this is an important practice if you want to achieve success as an author.

1. A business plan helps you hone your message or story into a viable product.

You don’t want to discover after you finish your manuscript that it isn’t marketable. That means no one will buy it—not readers or a publisher. It’s much better to ensure you create a marketable book idea from the start, and then write that book. A business plan forces you to create a focused book pitch, something difficult to do if you don’t know what you are writing about. That pitch offers you, and, ultimately, readers, a clear statement about your book’s benefits, why someone would want to read your book rather than someone else’s book on the same topic or with a similar story. It ensures you provide value to readers in your category and market. If you can’t provide value in the marketplace, you don’t have a viable product.

[Understanding Book Contracts: Learn what’s negotiable and what’s not.]

2. A business plan helps you determine if a market exists for your book.

Before you write your entire manuscript you also want to ensure you know who you are writing for and that you have a large enough market. A large market makes a book profitable.  When you create a business plan for your book, you conduct a market analysis and determine how many potential readers exist for your book and where you might find them. When you know there are enough people in the world who might buy your book, and that you can target them with your promotion efforts, that justifies writing it.

3. A business plan helps you produce a unique and necessary book.

Conducting a competitive analysis, another part of producing a business plan for your book, forces you to take a close look at what other authors in the same category have already done with similar books. You can then compare and contrast their successful books to your own book idea. This helps you produce a book that is unique as well as necessary compared to those already published in the category. You surely don’t want to write a book that is just like all the others. Rather, you want to write a book that is different enough to make it stand out from the pack.

4. A business plan helps you create a marketable structure and content for your book.

A business plan includes a table of contents and chapter summaries (or a synopsis—although I suggest all authors produce chapter summaries). If you go to the trouble of doing this and then comparing your proposed content to your market and competitive analysis, you have an opportunity to tweak your book idea further. When you’ve finished this part of your plan, you stand little chance late in your book writing process of discovering you have produced a manuscript that is scattered, rambling, misses the point, left out important parts of the story, or leaves out essential information.

[Learn important writing lessons from these first-time novelists.]

5. A business plan allows you to tweak your idea for maximum product viability.

At this point in the business plan creation process, you can go back to the beginning and rework your pitch to ensure that your initial book idea matches the final idea you have created based upon market and competition studies. You also can recheck the benefits—the value—you plan to provide readers. If your book sounds compelling, necessary and unique after you make any final changes, you’re ready to begin writing. You’ve crafted a viable book idea.

6. A business plan offers you an opportunity to plan for success.

Whether you self-publish or land a traditional publishing deal, the promotion plans you implement before and upon release of your book determine your book’s success (how many copies it sells). That’s why every book’s business plan needs a promotion section, which is actually a plan of its own.  Since promotion needs to begin the moment that light bulb goes off in your head, it makes sense that you should start planning how you will promote your book before you even begin writing it. To do that, however, you need to have done your market analysis.

7. A business plan helps you evaluate your readiness to publish.

If you plan to self-publish, you could do so at any time. But that doesn’t make it the right time. Traditional publishers determine if nonfiction writers are ready to publish by evaluating the size of their author platform, the built-in readership they have created by increasing their visibility, reach, authority, and influence in their target market.  Author platform can help fiction writers land publishing deals as well. And platform helps all authors create successful books. A fan base, or a large, loyal following of people who know you means a higher likelihood of selling more books upon release. As you create your business plan, you should analyze the size of your platform and determine if now represents the best time for you to release a book.

8. A business plan helps you determine if you are a one-book author. 

The more books you write, the more books you sell. When you write a business plan for your book, you take time to consider spin-off books, sequels and series. This can be important if you want to create a business around your book, brand yourself, or attract a traditional publisher.

A Business Plan Helps You Produce a Successful Book

All eight of these reasons can be condensed down to one: Creating a business plan for your book helps you produce a successful book. Without creating a business plan prior to writing your book you risk producing a manuscript—and later a published book—with no market value. That means it won’t sell many copies. If you do produce a business plan for your book before you write it, you have a high likelihood of producing a viable—marketable—book idea. That means when you actually write the book and publish it, the book will sell—to publishers and, ultimately, to readers.

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How do you sell your books?

When someone asks, “What’s your book about?” it’s important to be able to answer in a sentence or two. This is often described as an “elevator pitch,” because you should be able to explain your book during a short elevator ride. Who knows what Hollywood producer might happen to ask – or be listening?

Creating a brief yet compelling description of your book is essential. Not only does it give you something to say when people ask you about it, it can be used for the following proactive marketing purposes:

1)  In your (personal) email signature: Every email program comes with a “signature” option. Including a quick description of your book, or even the tone of your book, is a great way to let people know what your book is about without being pushy. For my first book, I included this description in the signature of my personal email address:

 I’ve lost track of how many people have told me they laughed at my email signature and ended up buying my book as a result. And as you can see, the little blurb doesn’t necessarily have to say anything about the actual plot of your book. The key is to convey the essence of your book so potential readers will know what to expect when they pick up a copy.

2)  On business cards that feature your book’s cover: Why not put your one-line description on the back? Be sure to carry the cards in your wallet at all times. If that Hollywood executive you meet in the elevator likes what he or she hears, you’ll have a business card to hand over.

Coming up with a compelling one-liner can be challenging, but it’s worth spending time to create a good one. With most people, you only get one chance to grab their attention, so you want that description to sparkle.

Original article: How is your elevator pitch? 


3 easy Marketing ideas

Do one thing per day, every day, to promote your book.

If you took that advice to heart, you’re probably currently in the process of building a “marketing checklist” and might also be wondering what to put on it. In addition to the items I suggested last week, here are three additional ideas to include:

Set up a Twitter account. Even if you aren’t ready to actually tweet anything, set up an account before you get too famous and someone uses your Twitter name for their account. (Optimism is a good thing!) Using your real name makes it easy for people to find you. My Twitter handle is @mariamurnane.

  1. Add a fun line about your book beneath in the “signature” of your personal e-mail account. If you have a website, include a link to that as well. The signature is typically found in the “settings” section of any e-mail account. Using a signature is a great way to tell people about your book without telling people about your book. My signature says “Best-selling author of the Waverly books, novels for anyone who has ever run into an ex while looking like crap.”
  2. If you don’t have a website, register a domain. (GoDaddy is a good place to start.) I always recommend selecting, or if that is taken, then or Just like with your Twitter handle, you want to make it easy for your fans to find you. I don’t recommend going with because what happens when you write your second book? That may sound like crazy talk now, but it is quite possible that one day you will write a second book!