Thursday, September 5, 2013

Marketing and Promo Tips for the Indie Author by guest blogger Elaine Calloway

Marketing and Promo Tips for the Indie Author
By Elaine Calloway

When it comes to marketing and promotion, you’ll find most writers cringe. It doesn’t matter whether
you’ve gone the traditional published route or you’ve opted for the indie author route.

Let’s face it: we all have to learn how and where to market our books in some way. But how are we supposed to learn how? We writers are often introverts, clinging to the imaginary characters in our heads rather than party-hopping with real people. 

But don’t despair - this is easier than you think, despite all the hubbub and white noise about marketing and promo on the Web. Below are some basics that you need to cover: 

1. Get a Facebook Account. You can share book covers, news about writing, anything pertinent to your stories. Support other authors by liking their pages, and ask them to return the favor. We’re all in this together: to tell stories.

2. Get a Twitter Account. A note about Twitter: don’t become a used-car salesman, tweeting dozens of times per day and begging people to buy your book. That approach doesn’t work, and you’ll find people will un-follow you quickly. Use Twitter to make connections to readers, other authors, etc. A good rule of thumb is that only 1 in 20 tweets should be self-promoting. 

3. Get a Pinterest Account. I collect images for settings, characters in each book, etc. If people like your images, they will become curious as to your book. It’s a visual way to get your information out
there. You’ll find collages for my three Elemental Clan Series books on my Pinterest board page here:

4. Get a Goodreads Account. You can do giveaways of paperbacks and this helps get your book “visually” in front of readers. If more and more people add your books to their to-read shelves, the greater visibility you will have.

5. Customize your meta data. Meta Data is your book description, the title, the categories you select for your book if you publish to Amazon, B&N, etc. Try to use words that accurately sum up your book so that users can find your information in a search.
Tip: if you compose your books in a Microsoft Word document, you can also update the properties information of your document - this helps your meta data. If using MS Office 2007 or newer: Click on the toolbar icon, the Prepare option, then Properties. Input your title, name, description, etc. 
If you’re using a version earlier than 2003, you can go into File > Properties and update the information there.

6. Always remember to add and update the “back matter” of your book. This is crucial! Don’t just say, “The End” and waste the opportunity you have. You’ve just connected with a reader; he or she loves your story. Add links at the back of your book to your Web site, ask them to sign up for your newsletter, maybe even do a page or two preview of your next book in the series. The more books you have, the better off you are. 

7. Along with the last note in step 5, always remember that the best way to market your books is to write the next one. Always! The most successful Indie authors say that it is somewhere between book 3 and book 5 is when things start to accelerate. Don’t get so caught up in marketing your first book that you don’t write any more. Always, Always Write the Next Book! 

8. Try to time your social media to your fullest advantage. I read once that more people are viewing Twitter between 2pm - 8pm, so try to plan some of your tweets to promo books in that timeframe. With tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck, you can time your tweets so you don’t have to be in front of the computer to tweet at any specific time. I experimented with this, and a tweet I sent at 4:30pm got about 10 retweets. Experiment and see what works for you.

9. Use the free resources that are available. There are plenty of sites where you can announce your book, tell others it is on sale, etc. The most comprehensive site I have found so far on these resources is:

10. Use your Setting. If you have a specific setting, location, business which is mentioned in your book, try talking to them to see if they will help with promotion. Maybe you could do a book signing at a local restaurant, or leave some promo postcards at a local music store, anything that can spread the word. You are mentioning them in your book. Maybe they will want to return the favor and mention you to their customers. The worst they can say is no. 

And remember - always write the next book! This works particularly well if you have a series. Right now, I’m in the midst of writing my Elemental Clan Series, which will be at least 4 books but I have ideas for several more. Continuing to write the next book, the next story, is a challenge but something I must always remind myself about. 

Enjoy the process, and good luck!

Elaine Calloway writes paranormal/fantasy tales with romantic elements, often set in iconic cities. She grew up in New Orleans with a love of gothic architecture and all things paranormal, which naturally translated into her books. She is currently writing the Elemental Clan Series, a good-versus-evil set of tales between Elementals and the humans they strive to protect against the evil Fallen Angel gangs. Water’s Blood and Raging Fire are available now, and EarthBound will release in late 2013. When she isn’t writing or thinking about writing, she enjoys movies and spending time with friends and family. To learn more about Elaine, visit her Web site at and follow her on Twitter@writerscanvas

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me here today! I'm happy to answer any questions for readers :)