Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Marketing Books

on September 27, 2012

I’ve been reflecting on what is working and what isn’t working with regards to marketing my two books published this year. (WEAVING MAGIC and STAINED GLASS SUMMER).

I thought I’d share some of the findings to help others who are in the process or thinking about how to marketing their books.

So, in no particular order, here are some of the things I’ve done:

Goodreads Giveaway of Stained Glass Summer—Highly recommend.  I ran a giveaway for a month and had 899 people requesting the book. I also ran an ad on Goodreads for STAINED GLASS SUMMER. You can set the price and the amount of clicks you receive a day on the ad.  During this time, 150 people added the book “to be read” on their Goodreads list. This was a highly effective means of advertising and got the word out about STAINED GLASS SUMMER.

Blog Tours—I participated in two blog tours with cover reveals for WEAVING MAGIC.  One tour was 15 blogs, one was 20 blogs. In a cover reveal blog tour, the book’s covers all post on the same day on various YA blogs including many International blogs and blogs written by teens. This seemed to give the book a lot of exposure and got me a lot of new followers on Twitter and Facebook, but I’m not sure it sold many books.

Guest Blogging and Book Giveaways—I’ve done a lot of guest blogging and giveaways with both my books. These did result in some sales and reviews, but it is a lot of time to write the blog interviews and line everything up. So if you’re going to do guest blogs and giveaways, I’d recommend limiting your scope of time to a month or six weeks after the book is published, otherwise you won’t get any writing done on anything else.  I’d also recommend doing those guest blogs and giveaways after the book publishes. People have a short attention span and they won’t remember the book on a blog if it’s not out and they can’t buy it. I got into his dilemma with WEAVING MAGIC. It was not uploaded to all the outlets for months, and consequently lost a lot of my guest blogging I had lined up for the spring.

SWAG: There is a lot of talk about book swag. This is everything from bookmarks, postcards to pens to bracelets, to magnets, to you name it..the possibilities are endless. You have to have something for booksignings, bloggers and giveaways. But what works? My swag was primarily bookmarks and postcards. I sent a bunch of postcards to friends and family announcing STAINED GLASS SUMMER. I sign bookmarks and postcards at signings. I’ve mailed a ton to librarians and teachers I know. But, the best use of those postcards and bookmarks? Keeping them in my purse and car and when I’m at the coffee stand, the veterinarian, the hair stylist, the grocery store, and someone asks me about my job, I pull out those bookmarks and postcards. My Mom sold books to my Grandparent’s nurses and caregivers by handing them bookmarks and postcards in the hospital. I’ve sold books to the guy who picked up my used clothing by handing him postcards. I’d highly recommend them, and I would say use a quality designer for at least some of them.

Twitter: This is probably been my least favorite.  I did pick up a couple guest blog opportunities from Twitter, but I’m not sure how effective Twitter is in the sale of my books. It seems like there is a lot of competing noise on Twitter and it’s hard to get anyone’s attention. It also seems as if you need to be on it a lot to pick up anything of substance.

School Visits and Workshops:  These are probably one of my favorite things to do and they sell books to both parents and kids. Plus, in a lot of cases, I am getting paid for the visit. STAINED GLASS SUMMER is available for libraries, and school and library visits really help with sales to libraries.

Facebook—This has been a tricky one. I took out Facebook Ads for both my books and linked them back to the book’s Facebook page. While this did give me a lot of “likes” on both pages, Facebook has a setting so my updates on the book pages only get to the people who “like” the posts on a regular basis. So, my audience of who sees those updates seems to be slim.

Book signings: Book signings at conferences such as RWA Chicago and the Everett Evergreen Waterfront Book Festival have been fun. The best part in Chicago was meeting other Musa authors and having a table together. At the Everett Book signing, I got to talk to a lot of local romance writers.  I’m not sure how many books were sold, but the personal connections were invaluable.

Team Approach: Some of my more successful on-line marketing comes by teaming up with the other Musa authors through our various blog hops and our Facebook page.  One word of caution on the team approach. I write for three different epubs and it is next to impossible for me to participate in all of the various social media outlets with all three publishers. I have chosen to participate the most with Musa. That’s not to say, I don’t post on my other publisher’s Facebook page, etc,  I do. But, I limit the chunk of my group promotional time to Musa such as our upcoming blog hop where you can win a free Kindle Fire!

Write a Short Story or Novella Series: One of the biggest surprises for me was how well my romance short story, LOVE’S STORMS did coming out of the gate. Some of that was because of the story’s price point at 99 cents, some was because of how well the publisher (BookstoGoNow) works with Amazon’s system and gives the book away for free at various times, and some was because I hit on the trend of writing a contemporary, sweet romance which are in high demand right now. I quickly wrote two more short novellas in the series. LOVE’S BID (just released) and LOVE’S CHRISTMAS GIFT (Coming in December).

One surprise was having those romance stories listed on Amazon and Barnes and Noble gives readers that much more of an opportunity to find my other two books, WEAVING MAGIC and STAINED GLASS SUMMER.  In the days of browsing bookstores, this would not have been as important as it is in the days of ebooks when there is so much on the market and readers don’t know how to find a good book. Once they find an author and like that author, it’s easy to click and download all of that author’s books.

But….the biggest marketing lesson I learned….

Spend some time marketing your book and approach marketing from many angles (blogs, giveaways, Goodreads, signings, workshops, conferences), but…the key to marketing your book is….

Write the next book!

(And a hint…write your next couple books as a series or spin off to your first one…Readers will be more likely to find that first book, and for you as the author, it’s so much easier to write a story where the world is already created! And for STAINED GLASS SUMMER fans….I do have a Christmas short story submitted to Musa. The story is about Jasmine’s friend, Lexi. And, yes, Sammy and Opal and Jasmine do make minor appearances. Stay tuned for news on that story!)

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2 responses to “Marketing Books

  1. Karen Troncale says:

    Having just sold my first ebook (SEVENTH GRADE (ALIEN) HERO!) to MuseItUp Publishing, your information was very timely. Thanks so much for the information. Karen

  2. I’m glad it was timely! Let me know when your book releases…I’ll be happy to host you on the blog for an interview or guest post!

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