GOOD MORNING, FRIENDS! Angie here! (Sorry for my over-enthusiasm to all you non-morning people. I don't mean to shout but I am sooo excited).
I've got my cup of fresh brew with a splash of milk. Join me. Late autumn chill is upon us...or should be...has it been unusually warm where you are? It has here in the Midwest! But enough weather talk. Today, we'll enjoy our hot beverages as we hear from three amazing, multi-published authors about marketing their books. And then we'll hear from you! I am on the brink of publishing my debut novel, and I just had to seek the advice of the friends ahead of me on this journey.
I love chit chat with a purpose, so after hearing from our featured authors, let's pour good conversation into the comments. Have questions about kicking off your first book, second book, or thirtieth book? Please ask! Have any fabulous tips of your own? Share!
If we were meeting in person, the Alley Cats would have pretty gift bags with bows and colorful tissue paper filled with bookish things. But, even if we aren't face to face, we have BOOKS to send you! Every commenter will be entered into our drawingssss...yes, we have FOUR GIVEAWAYS today! See a list at the bottom of this post.
Speaking of Giveaways... we have winners already! For those of you who entered the drawing for Ruth Logan Hearne's books last week, thank you! The winners are....
Home on the Range paperback: JOCELYN
Silent Night, Star-Lit Night ebook for any device: AMBER SCHAMEL and MEREDITH
Please email Mary Vee at firstname.lastname@example.org
NOW FOR SOME COFFEE TALK! Sit back and sip your beverage (let us know what you are drinking too), and let's begin our Coffee Talk!
Welcome to our three authors:
HEATHER DAY GILBERT, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. You can find Heather's Viking historicals and West Virginia mystery/suspense novels here.
LAURA FRANTZ, award-winning author, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.
ERICA VETSCH is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and romance, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical romances. Whenever she’s not immersed in fictional worlds, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.
Thank you for joining us, ladies! Here are a couple of questions. We are looking forward to learning from your past book promotion experiences!
First, how soon did you start promoting your book, and what is the most effective way you stirred interest?
Heather-I always start promoting my books pre-release, starting
with the cover reveal. I try to have the cover and blurb finalized at least 2 months pre-release. I find that really stirs interest in the book. I also try to get my book edited about a month pre-release, so I can share quote pinnables from the story. But every release is different—some are more successful than others! Another thing I tried this time is releasing a chapter from my book to my newsletter subscribers about a month pre-release. Another great way to stir interest is to have a core group of early readers who love the book and start talking about it, as well as endorsements from authors readers trust.
Laura-I like to start promo beginning with the cover reveal which to me, is the most fun. Readers love cover art so I share that long-awaited cover with great joy and then, in time, the back cover copy. Revell creates incredible images using quotes and scenes from the book that I also share in a countdown to release day. The jury is still out on revealing covers too early but publishers upload them online sometimes 9 months in advance which many feel dulls the book’s impact sales-wise. I try to err on the positive side and do the cover reveal then lay low till 3 months before the book releases then start sharing more about what’s coming. Word of mouth is still the most effective way to promote books and I love those shares on Facebook and those repins on Pinterest! Giving away copies prior to release day is also very effective in stirring interest.
Erica- When I start promoting depends upon the project. With novella collections, the ladies usually start putting something together a few months in advance. With stand alone novels, I work with the marketing team of the publisher, and that can happen even a year in advance in some cases. Personal promotion efforts usually start in earnest about a month before release date, though the thought and preparation has been ongoing.
Okay, book signings, launch parties, online launch parties...what was your favorite way to promote your book? What are a couple of things you did during that time to encourage readers?
Heather-Launch parties and online parties—I haven't done one of those for my own novels, just with a boxed set. While it was a total blast, I'm not sure how many copies of the book it moved. I can't really commit to being online for a block of time right now since
we have a small child. What I have found really helpful is having secret Facebook groups of readers who are dedicated to my books—for instance, I have a secret mystery reader group and a secret
Viking group. These are my most avid readers who are more than happy to get the word out. I run my blurbs by these groups, share cover art with them early, etc. We can talk about my books in a more personal environment than my author Facebook page provides. I do have a newsletter, but I really feel the Facebook groups are more interactive and thus generate more enthusiasm.
Laura-My most memorable release was for The Mistress of Tall Acre held at our local LifeWay last fall. Both Revell and LifeWay did a great deal of promo to make this a success, including posters of the event and also a postal mailing. LifeWay ordered in all my backlist titles and had them on a beautiful display at the store’s entrance. My publisher provided a large gift basket of Kentucky-made items I had picked out to give to one person who attended the signing. I was seated at a table signing books, having pictures made with readers, and giving away bookmarks and other book bling. The manager said it was their biggest day since Mother’s Day, something I attributed not to my popularity but how savvy both my publisher and this local LifeWay was with timely and attractive promo. For me, the personal, hands-on, face-to-face contact with reading friends means the most so an offline event works best such as the recent Christian Fiction Readers Retreat held in Nashville. If that’s new to you I encourage you to check it out!
Erica- I have never done a book launch party in person, though I love doing
FB launch parties. During FB parties, I love to have games, prizes, Q&A, etc. to interact with readers. Book signings can be feast or famine. Mostly I like to do signings with at least one other author, but the more the merrier. Group signings draw bigger crowds, and you always have someone to talk to during the slower times.
OOh, I am saving these ideas, how about you? So, next week, we will have THREE MORE authors sharing! We are so happy to have authors willing to share...and we just couldn't resist picking their writerly brains! We'll announce who's sharing next week very soon! Keep an eye on social media!
Now it's your turn! Please share in the comments! What have you found to be a great marketing tip as an author? What questions might you have? Any author that has input, feel free to answer! We love to converse here at the Alley...and give presents.....
GIVEAWAYS!All comments will be entered in drawings for these FOUR FABULOUS PRIZES (we will draw consecutively for these prizes, except the first one will be from those indicating they are on the indie road to publication):
- Indie Authors! Our featured author Heather Gilbert has her own Indie Publishing Handbook ebook that she'd like to give a copy to one of our indie-journeying authors! Indicate in the comments if you are interested in the Indie route!
- Reader's Choice Prize! Heather is also generously giving away a reader's choice of one of her Fiction ebooks (check out her books here ).
- AlleyCat Surprise! Our dear Casey is giving away A BOOK FROM HER STASH...who knows what amazing novel it shall be...but we know Casey's taste is impeccable so be very excited!
- AlleyPal Book! Mary Vee is amazing, and will also be giving away The Rimgmaster's Wife by the lovely AlleyPal, Kristy Cambron.