Category Archives for "Book Marketing"

It Won’t Happen Overnight, but it will happen!

I remember an advertising campaign a few years back featuring Rachel Hunter for Pantene.   The catchphrase was -with a cool shake of her golden locks -‘It won’t happen overnight, but it WILL happen.

That line became a cliche way faster than it took to work through a bottle of Pantene Shampoo.  And it’s one that I often find myself repeating to people I work with in marketing and more specifically in publishing.

It Wont Happen Overnight – but it WILL happen… it takes time, effort, a lot of talking, and the right combinations of online and offline promotion, but your book will eventually become well known, sell copies, and maybe even make you famous or rich.   But don’t rely on those last two… fame and fortune for writers is strictly a no-go-zone of thinking for anyone starting out as an author.

What really hit home for me about this last week was a meeting with an old client I worked with about five years ago who did a great book – and I mean every kid leaving school should read it! – he had a fantastic message about perseverance, opportunities, and making your life work for you.  But after a few months of limited sales, this man decided that it wasn’t really happening for him and despite a lot of wonderful feedback for his book and some very good speaking engagements, it was just easier to refocus on daily business.  And that’s OK.   I mean, not everyone wants to ride the horse to the end of the race when it comes to the amount of work and determination required to launch a speaking/writing career.

Many authors I’ve worked with have decided at various points along the way that there really are easier ways to make a living.   And mostly they are right.   A few have already launched a fantastic career as highly paid experts, coaches, speakers, and consultants even before they wrote their first book and for them the book was ‘the next obvious thing’ to do to keep momentum going, and re-affirm their position in the industry they had chosen to be in.

As I’ve said before, Guru-dom is a fickle and famine riddled place.  Not every book is going to make it to the best seller status so yearned for by every author.   But some do, and they do because there was a huge amount of planning, focus, and a reasonable amount of luck in the mix.

I’m working with another author at the moment who is hoping to recoup a lot of the money spent invested into the creation of his work.  This is where it will become a matter of was it a cost or investment…  the return.   You see, he’s devoted a long time and a lot of money into this project, and while his primary desire is to tell his story and open the way for opportunities to consult to others in his industry, the equally strong desire is to use this book to highlight the work he’s done, to shine a bright spotlight on what’s possible, and to recoup his investment through book sales and speaking opportunities.

So here’s what I say to people in these situations.

“It wont’ happen overnight, but it will happen…  IF, you do these things…”

Eight Steps to Author Success

  1. Write and publish a good quality book that has been well drafted, edited, proofed, and designed. Don’t just rush it, and make it an average book – this is your life’s work we’re talking about – make it special.
  2. Get really busy with your social media management.   Build a big following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
  3. Do pre-sales via your social media networks, and direct people to special options for pre-ordering on Kindle and Amazon.
  4. Advertise your book via Google, Facebook Ads, boost your posts, create You Tube videos about it… SELL it!
  5. Sell your books via Kindle and Amazon IF you want to be sure of global options and author status.   There’s a lot more to this step, but it’s a big learning curve worth learning.
  6. Get media savvy – know how to get reviews from peers and media reviewers – get people talking about your book.
  7. Get busy speaking about your book – speaking and writing go hand in hand – you have to be willing to do both.
  8. KEEP BUSY redoing and reviewing all of these steps.

Amazon Best Selling Author StatusAnd finally – wait…  wait for the tipping point to happen.  It may not be immediate.  It may take a year or more.  It may not happen at all, and it may take a second or third book for you to become ‘popular’.   But like I already said… it won’t happen overnight.

 

Can You Write a Book in Only 48 Hours?

I’ve recently been hearing about publishing coaches who offer to help people write a book in only 48 hours.   Intrigued I looked into this further and am surprised to find this really is a trend. However, having written, published, co-authored, and developed dozens of quality books in the last 10 years I can honestly tell you that there is a process, and it’s a reasonably lengthy one. Significantly longer and more complex than what can be achieved in under a week.

How long does it REALLY take to write a book?

Well some would argue that you can simply write a book by planning a few sexy chapter headings, dictate your material then give it to a publisher.  That does sound like a very good short cut way to become an author.  However the reality is that getting your content out of your head is only a small part of the process.

For a start, there are LOTS of barely average books hitting the market every day.  Millions of new titles are being released every year.   If your book is going to even see the light of day, it has to be good.  Your content has to be far better than average, well edited and reader friendly. Without these boxes ticked, there’s a very high chance that your book might even do the opposite of promoting you positively to your market.

Your relationship with your publisher and editor can make or break your chances of success as an author. Transcribed spoken material reads quite differently than written content.   For example:

  • If I’m going to speak this sentence, it will sound like:  Loved meeting over dinner th’other night; great range of options on the menu too. 
  • Written it is more likely to be:  I Loved our chance meeting on Wednesday night.  I was really impressed with the range of options on the menu too.  

Subtle differences, but when you are reading a lot of text that is not well written, after a while it becomes annoying and sometimes even hard for the reader to remain focused.  That’s because we are taught to read differently than the way we hear.  We process the information slightly differently too.

I’m not saying that voice recording your material is a bad thing. In fact, for many writers it’s a preferred option for getting ideas out of their heads.   However, just having those recordings typed up, without a good editing process in place will show your book very quickly to be of sub-standard quality.

Remember this – if your readers are regular readers of anything, they will be discerning readers.  Your professional reputation is at stake if you don’t measure up and put some real effort into conveying your expertise in a way that represents quality sharing.  

 

The Publishing Part of the Process

If you then want to present your manuscript to a publisher, there’s a series of editing steps and submission preparation you need to go through in order to attract positive feedback and opportunities from publishers.   They will not publish anything sub-standard either – their reputations are based on quality publications, and it’s not worth their while messing with this rule.

I’ve worked with a number of agents and publishers over the years – and even cooperative publishers (a cross between traditional and vanity publishing companies) will be very careful about what they associate their names with.  In one instance when I was negotiating an opportunity for a well known Australian Author to start working with a USA based Cooperative Publishing house, their concerns were met by three factors equally: 1) the author was living in the USA and working successfully as a professional speaker there, 2) she had already sold 30,000+ copies of her book in Australia, and 3) she had exceptional quality reviewers comments already for the revised USA edition.   Without these three factors, they were not interested, even though she had established herself as a highly successful author/speaker Down Under.

You may prefer to self publish, or work with a collaborative publisher – someone who guides you through the process, takes care of much of the donkey work associated with publishing processes, and still leaves you in charge of ‘owning it’.  Either way, there’s a number of  steps in the process to work through and it will take time.

By the time you have written your draft  which can be as short as eight weeks, although I’ve known  some books come together in only about six weeks to first draft stage,  then you have to allow even a minimum of editing time of four weeks by the time you make revisions, corrections, and review it again.  Then you will have to allow for typesetting, design, covers, and the extra pages such as About You, Acknowledgements, Indexing, Forewords, and Reviews.

A Word on Reviews When You Write a Book.

Just having reviews for your work is not the same as having reviews for your book.   Taking the time for people to actually read even parts of your book and writing (and that includes signing off on) a review comment is worth doing well.  Just because you helped someone as their coach or consultant, does not mean you can take their testimonial for your work and put it on the back of your book.  It’s a different thing.

 

A Good Strategy is the Key To Your Success as an AUTHORity

If you want to write a book for the sake of saying you are an author, and are prepared to put some effort into making it an excellent representation of your expertise or wisdom in any area, then why would you short change your readers with substandard output.  It’s a big deal to write and publish a book.  There are now dozens of ‘publishing coaches’ in the marketplace all vying for your money and most make big promises about how easy it can be to quickly become a published author.  They are wrong.  It’s not a quick fix option, it’s a serious marketing strategy that needs to be planned and executed well.

You also need to consider what you’ll do with your book once you’re published. How is it going to be used to leverage opportunities for work, contracts, speaking engagements?  What  will you do to promote and distribute your book?  How will you make it available to your potential readers?

Having a good strategy for writing your content, publishing it, and then delivering it to your market is worth doing well.  As with any part of your business, a plan is something you can work with, set goals with and measure outcomes against.

Ask yourself this – do you want your book to be something that could help to get you a TED talk, or a Rotary Breakfast talk?

 

Happy Writing,

Dixie Maria Carlton

 

PS – If you want to know more about how to write a book and publish it, then you will find Idea to AUTHORity very helpful.

The Value of a Good Author Amazon Ranking

The Value of a Good Amazon Ranking

Did you know that every time you read a good book, and DON’T put a review on the author’s page on Amazon, an author fairy dies?  Ok, so maybe that’s a little Peter Pan-ish, but you get the picture right?  This is about encouraging you to take the time to give a star, and maybe even write a one-liner about every good book you read.   Why? Well aside from the whole issue of an Amazon Ranking, the first and best reason is that it rewards the enormous effort that the author and his or her team have actually put into to making the book read-worth in the first place.

Amazon Ranking ImageJust writing a book is only a very small part of the process – there’s editing, design, reviewing, formatting and few other things that go into taking a manuscript from raw to published.  Good authors take the time to ensure their work is presented and published in the best possible form so that you the reader don’t have to stumble over mistakes, grammatical errors, and formatting malfunctions.

The other reason is that every time you do post a note or rate a book on Amazon, the author’s Amazon ranking goes up just a little.  It’s not always only about how many copies are sold, it’s also about how popular a title is and the best way to gauge that is by seeing what people write about the work done.  If Amazon likes the results of the Author’s efforts, the reward is to give a nudge along on the search-ability and ranking figures.

Just a minute or two to acknowledge you enjoyed a book (or not) will affect the author ranking, and that in turn can affect sales potential. So why not do the author a favour and rank their efforts.  

The other side of this is that when you take another minute or two to actually write something about the book – even just a few words, like Continue reading

How to Pick a Genre for Marketing Books

When asked what I write about, I often stumble over the genre, because it’s a bit complicated in my own head.   Partly this is because I have two distinct areas I work in; one being business/marketing non-fiction and expertise coaching.  This is where I’ve focused my work as a writer and speaker for a number of years now under the brand of Maria Carlton, so although I still work in this space, it’s my past and present.   The other genre is fiction, but it’s where I’m heading towards as my present and future focus.  Although it is arguable I could keep doing both.

My fiction is mostly stories with a hint of romance and real-life issues that are common to adult romance, but I also like to use my stories to help explain how various spiritual things work in the real world.   For example, I’ve written about how someone might cope with dying unexpectedly and finding their lives cut short.  I’ve also written about how mediums work and help both spirits and those still on this side.   And I’m currently writing a story that involves astral travel and lingering spirits who are already traveling and connecting with us in this world even before they pass away.

This story was inspired by my step father’s visit to me one afternoon while he was in the final stages of cancer, in hospital.   I was sure his visit to me meant that any minute my mother would call to tell the news that he’d gone, but in fact, he was only in a very deep sleep.   Having experienced the dying traveling this way again in more recent times I decided to share this through one of my stories.

I’m sure that if I simply put it out there that I write paranormal romance, that will immediately put me into a box that I don’t quite feel I fit into yet.  There’s so much more to my writing than that one narrow genre, and I know that many other authors feel the same way about their own direction and marketing of their work.

One of my favourity authors in the world, Diana Gabaldon is famous not only for her wonderful books, but for causing a lot of discussion by her publishers as to what kind of story (ie where in the stores would the book fit) her books are.   If you’ve followed the Outlander Series, you’ll know what I mean.  Diana’s books are about history, time travel, romance, war, and probably two or three other genres that various publishers could fit them into if they really tried.

As a writer, I’m not ready to just ‘pick a genre’ and that’s that.   I want to explore my own abiltiy to write outside the lines, but at the same time to always share some of what I’ve learned as a medium and spiritual translater with my readers.

Do you the reader find it easier to engage with an author based only on one genre, or do you like the range of stories he or she may write within a wider scope?

in terms of the question o f how to pick a genre for marketing books I’m keen to get feedback on this if you wish to share.

Special Launch Offer for Beyond the Shadows

The countdown is on and it’s now only a matter of days until Beyond the Shadows is launched on Kindle.  That means it will be out in time for Christmas.

Ok – so why launch first on Kindle?  

I get asked a lot about whether to make any book available first on Kindle, or first in print.   I think it depends a lot on the reader, the book, and the time of year.  I’m going straight to Kindle with Beyond the Shadows, partly due to wanting it to be availalble for summer holiday reading in the southern hemisphere, but also because my research has shown that more readers of this type of book will opt for EBook version over a printed version anyway.

However, my publishers are also going to ensure it’s available for print on demand through Amazon, so for any die-hard paperback readers, that option is also there.

Now – the next big challenge with launching a book is to get the right amount of PR, and build up, and as many people as possible buying their book on the same day, so that the book ranks well in all it’s categories.    Having a ‘best seller’ is a very subjective term (outside of the reality for books like 50 Shades of Grey and Harry Potter of course) but a book that ranks in the top 1000 or even better, the top 100 on Amazon does help the promotional aspects of the book.   

So – tomorrow I’m going to announce how you might be able to help with the launching a new book experiment with regards to ranking …  so stay tuned!

 

Novel Number Two!

BtS coverI’ve just finished the final proofing novel number two – Beyond the Shadows – and I’m very excited about it being made available on Kindle in time for Christmas.  So all you holiday readers will be able to enjoy a slice of romantic drama.

The second book is a lot different to the first, and it’s a more modern day drama, where-as Margaret was set in the mid 20th Century.  But the differences don’t end there.   Beyond the Shadow’s is set in several exotic locations around the world, and features a dark mystery woman who threatens the two lovers in the story.    It’s also a tantalising look at how some relationships can be enduring and yet quite ‘different’ to the traditional happy ever after, and explores how geography and the use of technology such as Skype can play a role in that.

Most of all, now that I’m at launch time, I’m noticing my own attitudes about releasing a second book are very different than the first time I did this at the start of the year.  Back then, I thought I had a ‘pretty good story’ but really had no idea if anyone else would buy it, like it, or even love it, let alone write great reviews about not only the story, but also on my abilities as an author of fiction.

To my delight, and this is now helping in the confidence stakes, many people have raved about “Margaret – a Song Out of Time” and that has certainly inspired me to keep writing, with even greater expectations of my second and third novels.

 

Now on Kindle

Margaret is now on Kindle – which is exciting for me as an author, but also great for you the readers, as the affordability of books, as well as their easy portability is even greater with Kindle.    One of the things I personally love about Kindle is the ability to read at night, on my iPad, without the light on.   And being able to easily increase the font, not to mention bookmarking sections is a reader’s dream come true.

A lovely friend of mine is also such a big fan of books, and Kindle, that she’s created a wonderful website:  www.mykindlebookreviews.com.  KD Forsman (Karen) has created this great site to share her love of books, and books she’s loved with everyone, and it’s really good. Please take a minute and check it out.  

As I’ve mentioned before, book reviews are an author’s very best friend – they help fuel the fires of inspiration when you are writing, and build confidence in the stories you wish to share.   Most of all, they are the applause that is otherwise reserved for performers on a stage.  The writer’s stage is in the pages between the covers of a book.   That is where we perform as we share our creative ability to inspire emotions, ideas, action.

So – if you haven’t already done so, please remember to review my book Margaret.

And if you are still deciding on reading it, then you’ll be delighted to find it’s on Kindle, and enjoying a Special Kindle Launch Price of only $3.71 (US) until the end of April.

 

The London Book Fair Means…

Exciting news for me, which means EXTRA options for you.

I was talking with my publishers at Panoma Press the other day, and was told my book will feature at the London Book Fair for the entire three busy days – this means that although they have hundreds of books to display there each year, and in order to fit these all in, they generally have to rotate many of them – Margaret will be ‘up front’ for the whole duration.

This is VERY exciting. 

And – because Margaret is starting to get great reviews already, and is off to a good start post launch only four weeks ago, we agreed that a good kick start along for it’s new KINDLE edition (launched last week)  will be really helpful for building buyer interest at the LBF (for foreign rights sales potential).

And so for the month of APRIL only,  you can download Margaret on KINDLE for the super price of $3.69 (USD)

No excuses – grab your copy now.  Here’s the easy link

AND in other news….

My GoodReads giveaway competition has ended, with more than 1000 people entering to win a signed hard copy of Margaret.     Winners were from Europe, Ireland, USA, Canada…  all over the world.   (Margaret is about to travel to all four corners of the globe).

Thanks to everyone who entered – I’m delighted to have attracted so many interested contenders for the free copies.  However – as mentioned above, APRIL is definitely the time to grab your copy on Kindle.

happy reading everyone, 

Dixie

 

Launching to Coincide with a Global Event

One of the things I loved about working with Panoma Press was that they thought about publishing with a marketing mindset.  They could see the value in having my book launch to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8th March.   The link? Margaret – the character in my book, who was also a real person – was a woman who simply lived ahead of her time.

We live in an age where wanting to opt out of marriage and domesticity in favour of a career on the stage, or having children when unmarried and expecting to keep and raise your own babies is nothing more than simply a woman’s choice, only a few years ago it was very different.  Once it was a matter for secrecy, lies, and subterfuge.  We’ve come a long way since then.

In terms of marketing a book, picking the launch date is important.  There are many events throughout the year which can make it ideal, or perfect timing.    Working with a publisher who ‘gets’ the connections and works hard to make those connections work for the author and the book is wonderful – and not something to be  taken for granted.

Here’s a quick bit of advice for any author, with any type of book:  List all the themes your book aligns with and, consider the angles to increase that alliance so that your marketing efforts are able to be doubled around that theme.   Then find dates that correspond with those themes. Some examples might also include events that celebrate Amnesty, Thanksgiving, or even a saint’s birthday.   There’s a lot you can do with this line of thinking and working with your publicist and publisher to get the right flavour could do wonderful things for your book.

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