BookMarketing: Using Free Downloads with Author Beth Teliho

BookMarketing with Free Downloads | www.lanapattinson.com

BookMarketing with Free Downloads | www.lanapattinson.com

Today we’re talking to Beth Teliho, author of Order of Seven and all-around funny gal.

Order of Seven is FREE for 2 days only – Feb 26 & 27 – so download your copy now! It’s a Young Adult supernatural suspense, written for all ages.

Hi Beth! I know you recently ran a free book promo for your first book, Order of Seven (which I enjoyed BTW!).

Why did you decide to use this promotional tactic?

I’ve heard a lot of differing opinions about free promos. Some authors are against them, because why give something away for free that you put so much money and effort towards? Valid point, and I agree…to an extent. Order of Seven had a great start last year for the debut of an unknown author, and I’m thankful for it, but at around the nine-month mark, I had exhausted my reach. I feel like my top priority now should be discoverability. I’m a speck in an ocean of books; I need more readers to know it exists. I’ve done 99-cent promos before, but my highest number of downloads was 84. That’s fine, but I wanted way more than that.

 

What hurdles did you face?

I submitted to the king of all ad sites, Bookbub, and was rejected, so that was a tad bit disappointing, but that’s okay. I’d rather score them with a 99-cent promo another time so I’ll make some money back. Still a disappointment but to a lesser degree was a rejection from ENT (Ereader News Today).

Two bigger sites that couldn’t do my first date range did commit to my backup dates, so it’ll actually be free again February 26 & 27. That may seem strange to offer it free again so soon, but it’s an experiment to see how well these other ad sites deliver on downloads. This way, I’ll know if I’d like to use them again for a 99-cent promo. I’m just having fun with it because I won’t do another free promo unless I’m using it to market my next book.

 

What did you want to accomplish with this promotion?

I concentrated my goals on the first date range because that one had the most marketing associated with it. My goal was to get at least one thousand downloads. I also wanted to hit #1 on Amazon in my sub-category and place in the top 100 in free downloads, both of which I accomplished. Yay!

 

And the results were…staggering! 5000+ downloads? Why do you think it was so successful?

Yes, 5,313 to be exact, and more to come 2/26 & 2/27! First, I must give huge props to my incredible cyber-street-team and their willingness to promote for me! All in all, it was hugely successful because I spent some money on it. I doubt a free promo with a budget of $0 could result in that many downloads, unless of course it was a very well known author.

I didn’t spend a ton of money, but I put a little where it counts. I boosted a Facebook post about the promo, and I also ran a contest on that post. Anyone who liked, or commented, or shared automatically had a chance to win a signed copy of Order of Seven. The extra traffic due to the contest was great!

Here’s a rundown of which sites I used and how much it cost:

For the 2/9 – 2/11 promo:

  1. FB boost – $18
  2. Books Butterfly – $90 (expensive, but they guarantee downloads.)
  3. Fussy Librarian – $20
  4. Digital Book Today – $30
  5. Indie Book of the Day – Free
  6. Ask David (they tweet to 48K followers) – Free
  7. Best ebooks for free – Free

For the 2/26 – 2/27 promo: (not doing any Facebook or other hardcore marketing for this one because I want to see the results of the ad sites on their own)

  1. Robin Reads – $15
  2. Book Gorilla – $50

Total investment for all promo days: $228 (including the cost to ship a book to the contest winner). For the results I saw, it was worth every penny!

 

Any other suggestions for fellow authors who want to try this tactic?

I would use a free promo when you have exhausted your reach and need the discoverability, or to pump up interest for another book release. Don’t give it away in the beginning (much like with dating- ha!) because interest will be high amongst your reach at first…let them pay for it so you make money to budget for future promos.

If you want the most for your effort, budget a little money toward it. Free ad sites – although it certainly doesn’t hurt to use them – result in little to no downloads so don’t rely solely on them. Schedule as many paid ads for your promo as you can afford and then market all over social media. Have your friends (or street team) market too. Boost a Facebook post if you can – even a $5 boost helps way more than you’d think. Most of all, don’t stress! Have fun with it. It’s all an experiment, and one that results in more readers who might’ve never known about your book otherwise. In my humble opinion, it’s a win-win.

Thanks Beth!

Beth Teliho is an award-winning author who lives in Texas with her husband and two adventurous sons. Restless in the mundane, she writes about the abnormal, paranormal, and otherwise fantastical because that’s what quickens her heartbeat. She laughs at inappropriate jokes, and prefers spicy food and margaritas to almost anything. One day, she hopes to live in a treehouse with at least seven cats.
Order of Seven is FREE for 2 days only – Feb 26 & 27 – so download your copy now!!
Order of Seven by Beth Teliho

Order of Seven by Beth Teliho

BookMarketing: Facebook with Author CM McCoy

Using Facebook for Book Marketing | www.lanapattinson.com

Using Facebook for Book Marketing | www.lanapattinson.com

Today we’re talking to Author CM McCoy, who is an author, tippety-tapper, and PR Manager at Inklings Literary Agency. Her first book, EERIE, was recently released to much fanfare.

1,087 guests…250 prizes…one epic Facebook party.

Wow, CM! You had an EPIC facebook party for the launch of your first novel, Eerie. Where’d you get the idea from?

Hi Lana! Hey, thanks for thinking of me. Oh my word, yes, the Eerie Facebook Release Party was quite the undertaking. When it comes to parties,we have this saying in our family: go big or go home.

This book launch was a huge deal to me, and I really wanted to share it with all my friends in an enthusiastic way. Since I’m in Alaska, and since most of my friends and family are not in Alaska, I decided to forgo a “real” party and focus on a Facebook party, which my friends from every corner of the world could attend.

I had a couple author friends who were kind enough to let me participate in their FB release parties prior to the Eerie release, which is where I learned:

a) what a FB party was

b) how one pulls off such a party and

c) how one promotes such a party

As a debut author, I obviously didn’t have a fan base outside of my friends and family who had beta-read Eerie for me, so I knew I’d have to do some heavy promoting and call in a few favors to get the ball rolling. I reached out to my favorite authors to see if they would be interested in participating in the release party, some of whom I’d never met personally. I told them my plan for some epic giveaways, including a Coach purse and $100 gift card, and I offered to do some pre-party promo for their books. Most responded with a resounding yes! A few declined. Only one or two never responded.

Even Andy Weir responded (Yes, I wrote to the author of The Martian.) He declined, but his note was personal, genuine, kind, and quite obviously from the man himself. I won’t go into detail, but I did print it out and hang it on my wall.

In the end, we hosted over 1,000 guests, and my novel reached #717 on Amazon’s list of Best-selling Paranormal Romance on release day.

How long did it take you to assemble all the authors / prizes? It sounds very time consuming…
I started planning the party a couple months ahead of time, and had a 14-hour party fully staffed by take-over authors 3 weeks before the party. I had started assembling the prizes in the summer, picking up things here and there.

My first post was a $100 gift card giveaway. I posted it 2 months and 2 days prior to the party, shared it on Twitter and FB groups, and asked my authors to share it with their fans when they signed on for a takeover. We hosted 1,087 guests.

Including myself, thirty authors participated in takeovers over two days. Each author posted at least one giveaway. My agent gave away close to 20 books. Add to that the 57 giveaways I posted plus the two separate online scavenger hunts with even more prizes in December, and we ended up sending out almost 250 prizes.

It was extremely time-consuming, but the connections I made with fans and other authors have proven priceless. The people who discovered Eerie through the Facebook party had so much fun there, they continued following me after the party. They do promotion for me by retweeting teasers, sharing FB posts, and they even nominated Eerie for two awards from a blogger on Facebook (both of which Eerie won because of their awesome support)–these fans have helped me spread the Eerie word online as well as in book clubs and libraries.

Looking back, do you think it was worth the effort? Would you attempt to do it again, for your next novel launch?
Yes. It was absolutely worth the effort. I would do a Facebook party for the next one, but I’d do a few things differently. This worked well for a debut, but I think I’ll do something fantastic and different from the normal FB party for the next one. You probably want to know what that is, but I’m not telling…yet.  😀

Any last words for new authors trying to promote their debut?

Yes. Two things:

1) Whatever you do promo-wise–you get out of it what you put into it. I don’t mean money, I mean enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contagious. And the purpose of a FB party is to make individual connections with readers to share your enthusiasm. Sometimes you don’t even talk to guests about your book, but about dogs or toddlers eating crayons or whatever. You may not see an immediate return on your effort, but people remember authors that connect with them.

(Or Pickles, in CM’s case…but please continue…)

2) If you’re a debut author, ASK other authors for help. It’s an amazing community. There are folks that can help with teaser images or setting up FB parties or setting up effective Rafflecopter giveaways or strategies for starting your own FB group. Ask whoever you know, and if you don’t know anyone, ask me on twitter: @eerie_o  🙂

Check out CM’s book here:

BookMarketing: USA Today with Author Linda Budzinski

Today we’re chatting with Linda Budzinski about utilizing the press to promote your book.

Linda’s new book, EM & EM, is available here.

Using USA Today to promote your book | www.lanapattinson.com

Hi Linda! Congrats on your new book release. So tell me…what’s the most fun/effective thing you did to promote EM & EM?

At one of its monthly meetings last year, my local RWA chapter, the Virginia chapter, had a guest speaker named Joyce Lamb, who is editor of USA Today’s “Happy Ever After” romance book blog. Her topic was promo, and one of the things she told us was specifically how to submit a post proposal for blog. Like many blogs, they are always looking for content. She gave us a few simple instructions:

  • Familiarize yourself with the blog and the type of content it runs.
  • Query her about the proposed post about six weeks out from when you would like it to run (e.g., from your book’s release date if that is when you would like it run).
  • Let her know a little about your book.
  • Propose a post that is not “Here’s a post all about my book” but is somehow related to its topic/theme.
  • Include other (preferably very famous) authors within the post. That way, those authors may tweet out the post to their followers (which means lots of hits, yay!) and also it will get more Google hits when people Google their names, because USA Today is really good about optimizing its Google SEO.

 

Wow. That is solid info – a very clear plan of how to target USA Today.

I thought this would be a pretty cool way to help promote EM & EM, so here is the query letter I sent to Joyce:

Hi, Joyce!

We met at the Virginia RWA meeting this spring. Thank you again for your excellent presentation on promotion! As per your suggestions, I would like to propose a blog post for the “Happy Ever After” blog.

My second young adult romance, EM & EM, will be released as an ebook and in paperback on September 15 from Swoon Romance YA. My main character is transplanted from the Jersey Shore to the Midwest as part of the Witness Protection Program. She has a new name, a new look, and a brand-sparkling new reputation. And of course, she meets someone who loves her for who he thinks she is.

I would love to write a post about the role of hidden/mistaken/secret identity in romance and particularly in YA romance. My plan would be to contact some authors who have used this in their YA romance novels to get input as to why they feel this device resonates with readers. (See, I was paying attention!)

Please let me know if this would interest you and if so, the specs re: word count and submission deadline.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda Budzinski

www.lindabudzinski.com

 

Thanks for sharing your letter. A great format – a paragraph of your book, a paragraph of how the proposed topic relates to your book….so I’m guessing that they liked it?

Well … Joyce told me she loved the idea and said she would run the post the day after my release date! Next I contacted three authors–Kody Keplinger (yes, THAT Kody Keplinger, I was feeling brave!), Robin Benway (who actually is one of my all-time favorite YA authors and I totally fangirlled when she wrote me back and ohmygosh she was so sweet) and Jody Gehrman. Each of them has a YA book out that uses hidden/secret/mistaken identity and is at least in part a romance. And each of them is a LOT more famous than me, LOL. I was a little nervous emailing them, but it helps to be able to say that USA Today had given the post the green light!

Of course, the YA writing community is so awesome, and all three of them agreed to participate and sent me quotes on why they think secret identity resonates with romance readers and why they used it in their own books. Had they declined to participate, I of course could still have cited their books, but it was so awesome that they actually sent me quotes!

 

Now I want to read the article myself!

It turned into a really fun post, and you can see it here.

 

That was awesome. Any other advice for authors trying to promote their book?

I would totally recommend romance authors trying this when the time comes for their first book to come out, or even querying to write a post at any point in the publishing process. Joyce is super nice and really does want to find good content. Of course, her blog is specifically for romance readers, but I would think the same basic idea would work for other blogs as well, so if say, an author has a YA fantasy, they could research and find a well known fantasy blogger and approach them with a similar request.

Linda Budzinski’s young adult novels, EM & EM (2015) and THE FUNERAL SINGER (2013), were both published by Swoon Romance YA. Her upcoming novel, THE BOYFRIEND WHISPERER, scheduled for publication in fall of 2016 by Swoon, received the Romance Writers of America Young Adult Chapter’s 2015 Rosemary Award and the Virginia Chapter’s 2015 Fool for Love Award. She can be found on Twitter at @LindaBudz or on the web at www.lindabudzinski.com.

Check out LInda’s novels here:

 

 

BookMarketing: Wattpad with Author Angela Myron

Welcome to my new series about Book Marketing.

First up is Author Angela Myron, discussing her success on Wattpad.

A quick bio on Angela Myron:

Before I wrote novels, I wrote manuals and online help and crappy first drafts of novels that will never see the light of day. And before all of that, I wrote morning pages.
I hope someday to write stories that transform, touch hearts, open minds, and make life a bit more beautiful somehow. Until then, I write what I write.

(check out some awesome book trailers on her website here and also her Wattpad account here)

Using Wattpad for Book Marketing | www.lanapattinson.com

Using Wattpad for Book Marketing | www.lanapattinson.com

Awesome. Let’s go. Why did you start posting your writing on Wattpad?

I first heard about Wattpad when I attended the online conference IndieRecon in 2013. Brittany Geragotelis, author of the wonderful YA book WHAT THE SPELL was there, telling us her story. She’d been writing for years, getting nowhere with her queries, and in a moment of “doesn’t anyone want to read what I write?”, she signed up for Wattpad and started a new story. She gained a following like a rock star, and by the end of the book (don’t quote me on the time, it might have been some weeks or months after?) her millions of reads and thousands of fans got her a book deal with Simon & Schuster.

Wow, right? And her story isn’t the only break-through success and nice book deal that Wattpad’s facilitated.

At the time of this IndieRecon, I’d finished writing and revising my first book, ENNARA AND THE FALLEN DRUID, and was getting ready to query it. When I decided to put a few chapters of ENNARA on Wattpad, I remembered Brittany’s advice: Don’t put a story snippet up there. Give the readers on Wattpad the whole story. It lets you get featured on the site, and just generally makes people happy.

So that’s what I did, two and a half years ago. The fanbase on Wattpad for ENNARA had been more in the category of “folk” vs “rock” (ENNARA is a middle-grade story, and the main audience on Wattpad is solidly YA, so I wouldn’t expect the same rock star status for my book there). But despite the younger read, fans of the story has built steadily and Wattpad has given me great promotion. I’ve reached readers that I never could have otherwise, and have had wonderful connections with fans on the site.

 

Congrats on getting featured on Wattpad! What did it entail? What were the benefits?

Wattpad features many stories, and ENNARA was chosen as a feature in December of 2013 for the site. The requirements for this kind of basic feature are that the story is complete and professionally written (or close). So many, many people qualify for getting featured.

Wattpad runs all kinds of awesome promotions for their authors. Featured twitter chats, video interviews, and more. ENNARA was lucky to be chosen as a “Every Witch Way Magical Read” last summer (July 2015), for a joint promotional campaign between Wattpad and the Nickelodeon Channel. The network created a user profile and featured their “favorite books.” Wattpad put a pretty logo on my cover on the site, and the cross promotion was fantastic. I gained a ton of reads and fans from that, and it was a wonderful experience.

 

At last count, ENNARA AND THE FALLEN DRUID had over 223,000 views on Wattpad. Congrats – that’s amazing!

Any last words for new authors trying to promote their debut?

Wattpad is really strong for YA, so if that’s what you are writing, you should definitely be there. Your publisher might not want you posting the story they just paid for (probably!) but if you can write a short novella that can be featured, which also ties into your books, it’s a great way to get some promotion. Of course, like all social media sites, you get what you put into it (there are contests, forums, status updates and you can probably get as involved as you want to–or have time to!). But with Wattpad, at least, it seems there will always be readers just happy to have found a good, complete story.

Outside of that specific site, I recommend getting your book out for advanced reviews on Netgalley or Eidelweiss. Ask your publisher if they plan to have ARCs available for bloggers. If they don’t, for whatever reason, ask if you can have permission to put the book up on Netgalley yourself. You can rent a spot in a co-op if needed. Those first reviews on retail sites are critical for any book launch!

Lastly, be patient with your book and your career. A first book is a big deal! But sales accumulate after not one, but several stories are published. Just relax and write the next one. 🙂

Check out Angela’s books on Amazon!

How to Revise your Novel

Revise your Novel after NaNoWrimo

Revise your Novel after NaNoWrimo

So congrats…you finished Nano! Now what?

Well, that was exactly how I felt. I could do a spellcheck on Microsoft Word, polish the prose…but I was really just spinning in circles. I had no idea how to take the mess I wrote and make it into a fully formed book.

I searched for classes online, blog posts, you name it. But I needed an organized process, a SYSTEM.

Enter Holly Lisle.

If you haven’t heard of her, well, she’s only written 30 books (and counting). Kinda knows her stuff.

Her class was a 22 week course, with handouts and worksheets and examples galore. It was great. Then, there’s a 4 week course on Writing a Series, which I’ve also just finished. And you also get a short course on “The Seven Day Revision” – definitely a crash course and definitely something I wouldn’t want to face!

I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty intense.

The beauty is, once you’ve done the long course, your revisions will never take as long as that again. Because you learn and grow, and you won’t repeat your prior mistakes.

Holly is opening up registrations this week. She only opens it once, maybe twice per year. Click here

If you’ve ever wanted, needed, to get a revision process…this is it.

Please note: this is an affiliate link. So I might get something back if you sign up for courses. Thank you!

 

 

The 5 Friends you need to win NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMoI’ve participated in a few NaNos (or Camp NaNos), and I’ve found a system that works for me. And maybe it will help you.

I take the month before and work on these exercises. For me, I like to sleep on things and let my brain work out the kinks in my sleep (really, it works).

Main thing is, do a bit of pre-work to kickstart your NaNo experience. But not too much: don’t go down the rabbit hole of prep or research.

1. Pre-writing / Pre-thinking is your friend

A. Character development
-write one paragraph of their backstory (name, family situation, etc)
-write one paragraph of their defining moment, the ‘hurt’ that they bring into the beginning of the story
-sometimes I do character interview sheets if I don’t have enough of a grasp on the MC’s

B. Query Letter
-write a draft query letter
-this helped me define: (a) the inciting incident (b) the MC’s voice and (c) comp titles. In essence…this is how I want the novel to sound, look, feel

C. Mini Synopsis
-write a mini-synopsis. I know, right? But actually, it was awesome. I mean, not the synopsis, cause I suck at them, but the actual process.
-When you write a synopsis up front, you don’t have all the other clutter that you’d have AFTER the book is finished.

Here’s the format:
-Start with the GMC of each MC – one paragraph only. GMC is Goal-Movtivation-Conflict, if you’re not familiar with that term – here’s a link on how to map it out.

-I outline based on Larry Brooks’ 7 plot points…just enough to get from A to B and know which direction I’m driving. Things change, and that’s ok. It’s just enough to get me started.

Here it is in an excel chart:

PLOT POINTS TITLE OF NOVEL
Inciting Incident
First Plot Point
Pinch Point #1
Mid Point
Pinch Point #2
Second Plot Point
Climax / Resolution
Based on Larry Brooks’ Storyfix

And here’s a graphic representation of Larry’s Story Structure.
Larry Brooks Tent Poles

To get a super duper color version with instructions, you can click on this link. Be warned, it’s a big file and might take a while to load. But it’s awesome.

2. A word count / scene list is your friend

I brainstorm in fits and starts. Sometimes I have a fully-fledged scene, but most of the time it’s just snippets of scenes here and there.

-write the scene title down in excel, noting the plot points. I don’t worry too much about where the scene is listed. Some of them are more naturally easy to place (Chronologically, for example), but it’s not a big deal.
-At the end of each line I have a word count total, and I add up the column. I update this every day.
-Not only do I use it to motivate me, but it gives me an instant word count # that I can input into the NaNo website without having to add anything.

Scene Title
1 Intro Scene #1 577
2 Intro Scene #2 265
3 Inciting Incident 893
4 etc. 1488
TOTAL 3223

3. Scrivener is your friend

I set up a .scriv file very simply: Under manuscript, one folder is labeled “TO WRITE” and the next folder is labelled “FINISHED”. At the beginning of the month, I insert all the scenes I’ve listed into the TO WRITE folder.* As I write, I drop the scene doc into the 2nd file “FINISHED” as I go. I don’t write in chronological order necessarily.

-Scrivener lists the word count at the bottom of each “Item” or “Note”…you can see it stack up as you go.
-track your word goal content each day with “Session Targets”
Gwen Hernandez has a great tutorial: http://gwenhernandez.com/2011/01/25/tech-tuesday-project-targets-in-scrivener/
-Scrivener is always available on a trial basis during NaNo, and winners can buy it at a big discount. Score!

*TUTORIAL: here’s how to import a bunch of scenes into Scrivener in a snap. God I love Scrivener!
http://davidhewson.com/2011/11/word-to-scrivener-in-under-two-minutes/

-basically my word doc / scene list looks like this:
#intro scene 1
#intro 2
#inciting incident
Etc…

And then each scene name is imported into Scrivener as its own (empty) file into my Scriv doc…no need for retyping everything directly.  YAY

4. Cookies are your friend

Sometimes, especially in the middle of the month, you’re dragging your feet and would rather pick your nose than write. And that’s when the magical cookies are important. I can’t explain it any better than Susan Dennard.

http://susandennard.com/2013/10/how-i-plan-a-book-part-4-coaxing-out-the-magical-cookies/

I don’t note them specifically, because you know, you just know what they are. But you could put them in ALL CAPS in the .scriv file just to remind yourself that you get a cookie scene after the other one…

5. Friends are your friend

-You need to claim your space. “I’m writing a novel, guys…” Yup. Own it. Maybe the house is gonna be messy. Maybe you’re AWOL on housecleaning until the week before Thanksgiving and all hell breaks loose. Just know it’s a temporary thing.

-And if you bribe the kids – “If I finish my book, the whole family gets to go for pizza,” or whatever. They will turn into cheerleaders instead of distractors. 🙂

So…out of the five, which one is your best friend?