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Author marketing Book marketing

It’s That Season…

Writer

Yep, it’s here: Spring, the beginning of the active author promotional season. In most places in the U.S. (not all, I’m sorry to report, seeing as it’s almost MAY!), the snow’s gone and local/regional travel is again becoming plannable with a reasonable expectation of accurate weather forecasts. Some of us will be doing the age-old author tour dance.

Sure, the Internet has allowed many of us the ability to do a large part of our promotion from home, but some of us still enjoy getting out there to meet our readers in person. I’m one of those. I like feeling that personal connection. Nothing fulfills this writer’s heart more than seeing someone’s eyes light up when they describe a certain passage they enjoyed in one of my books, or a story of when they just couldn’t put it down.

But others of us just really don’t dig that whole author appearance scene. As a marketer, this always bothers me, because it really is the very best way to develop a rapport with your readers, and to create lifetime loyalists. But the fact remains that for any number of reasons, some of us just can’t or really don’t want to do the personal appearances. For those, and for the rest of us who want to leverage every possible channel we can, there are blog tours.

Many folks believe these aren’t really effective. And if you’re measuring in terms of direct sales, I’d agree. Unless you’re making some sort of irresistible special offer, you’re not likely to see a large bump in sales from a blog appearance. But I do strongly believe it’s a single element of a well-rounded marketing plan. So if you agree, I’d like to share a resource with you.

If you’d like to find bloggers who interview authors, here’s a list that includes many different types and topics. Here’s some good rules of etiquette when you contact them:

  • Actually READ the blog for a while before requesting to be interviewed. It’s the smallest courtesy you can show. Even better, follow it and actually participate with thoughtful comments — you’ll become a known quantity and if the blogger is impressed with your knowledge, may even invite you before you ask!
  • Offer a free copy of your book to the blogger as a courtesy, and send a signed copy.
  • Consider offering another free copy for the blogger to give away to followers. This will really be appreciated.
  • Don’t be a know-it-all. Remember it’s someone else’s blog. Try to find ways to reflect positively on your host, and be gracious.
  • Follow up with a thank-you email or card after the interview or guest blog.

Consider this my contribution to your successful spring promotions! Good luck, and happy blogging!

 

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Author marketing Uncategorized

A truly perfect author website

Everyone knows that the cheapest, easiest way to promote anything these days is the Internet. The Web

  • has generally the lowest up-front costs
  • is fairly easy to use if you’re using the right platform
  • is the only publicly accessible channel with nearly worldwide reach
  • and provides almost immeasurable return on investment (ROI)

What’s not to like? And it’s no different for authors. Even if you’re an avid user of social media in getting your marketing message out about yourself and your books, you’re seriously missing the boat if you don’t have a website to anchor all those other efforts. After all, social media is primarily good for two things: building visibility and generating traffic. But there’s no use generating traffic to a non-existent blog, or—worse yet—to one that’s poorly created and will create a less-than-professional image of you when visitors do show up.

In my work helping authors and indie publishers do a better job of promoting themselves and their books, I see a LOT of author websites, covering the spectrum of quality from the cringeworthy to the sublime. When I give presentations on the subject, there’s one author website I come back to again and again as an excellent example of an author site that does what it’s supposed to in a beautiful, elegant way.

Jenna Blum's author website

Author Jenna Blum has created a compact little site that’s not minimalist, but in no way is it cluttered; full of personality, yet confidently understated. And that seems to be the perfect showcase for her two novels, which are about deep emotional and psychological subjects that get to the very heart of what it means to be human, to be family.

But from a marketing standpoint she’s got everything she needs, and it’s all there—easy to find—on the home page: You’ll find links to

  • her books
  • bio
  • press kit
  • everything a reporter, editor, agent or publisher would want to know
  • and a great photo of Jenna to add that human connection

As a marketing consultant who gets paid to help authors and other small businesspeople build effective websites, I have referred lots of future clients to this site as an example of what they want to shoot for. It’s just really well done.

Authors, if you’re considering building an author site and don’t have the time or inclination to reinvent the wheel, this would be a good one to pattern on.