Happy New Year! Whew another holiday season has come and gone. I ended up taking more time off to celebrate than I had intended. It was wonderful. However, I am a bit behind in work. Oh well, I always feel like I’m behind and having time with my loved ones was enjoyable and just what the doctor ordered.
Today is the first Wednesday of the month and year, which means it’s time for the first 2015 posting for the Insecure Writers Support group. The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. This month’s co-hosts are Elizabeth Seckman, Lisa Buie-Collard, Chrys Fey, and Michelle Wallace. Remember, sometimes all it takes is one kind word to boost someone’s confidence.
Alex has asked that all of us introduce ourselves to the group. Here’s a quick word about me. I’m an American writer, living in England. When I’m not writing or reading, I’m traveling when time and money permit, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order.
Today I would like to share my goals for 2015:
- Publish 4 books
This sounds like a lot, and it is. But I should mention that one of the novels is in the very last stage of editing and I hope to publish it soon (mid-February). I’ve almost completed a draft for the second and I’m halfway through the third novel. That means I’ll have one project that I’ll need to write, edit, and format in the calendar year, giving me hope that I’ll accomplish this goal.
- Learn more about publishing (self and traditional)
Things are always changing in publishing and in technology. I’ve made a good start on learning some things, but there’s so much more to learn. I’ve stocked up on books. Seven at the last count. And I hope to share more of what I learned.
- Write 250,000 words
Just writing this number makes me uneasy. That’s a lot of words. However, it works out to less than 700 words a day. So I will focus on that number. And if I accomplish this goal it will help me immensely in 2016. This leads to my next goal.
- Think long term, not short term
It’s important to stay focused on the big picture, not the daily sales. This business is about building up a reputation and a backlist. One of the best ways to get noticed is to continue publishing books. Over the past couple of months I have noticed readers dipping into my backlist after reading one of my books. This is helping me win over fans. Developing a core group of fans is essential.
Now to the good stuff. Today my guest is Stephanie Faris and she is helping me already with one of my goals: sharing more information about publishing. I found her guest post insightful and helpful. Please welcome Stephanie!
Promoting Your Book the Old-Fashioned Way
By Stephanie Faris
By now, we’ve all heard the benefits of marketing our books online to reach readers. Blogs, social media, and a great website are all essential to success in today’s internet-driven world. But what about the bookstores and libraries in our own communities? What about local newspapers and magazines?
Whether you’re preparing for the launch of your tenth book, or you’re simply planning ahead for a day when you’re published, here are three great tools you can use to promote your book locally. You may find some apply more to you than others, so take this as inspiration to come up with even more great ideas.
One of the best promotional tools an author has is a bookmark. They’re relatively inexpensive to produce, readers love them, and they can be handed out in bundles. But if you’re only using your bookmarks as event freebies, you may be missing a great opportunity. Many libraries and independent bookstores provide bookmarks of local authors for customers. For best results, go around to your closest libraries and bookstores and hand out bookmarks in person. This gives you a chance to introduce yourself and offer to sign copies. Once you’ve established a relationship with those locations, you can send bookmarks for subsequent releases. I also mailed bookmarks to local elementary schools, since introducing myself wasn’t an option in those cases. While it was expensive, it paid off in the form of several invitations to speak at local libraries.
Postcards are much less expensive than mailing bookmarks, allowing you to reach every bookstore and library in a wider radius. You can often create your own postcard and have a large quantity printed on a site like UPrinting or VistaPrint for less than $100. Author Saundra Mitchell has a great blog with postcard tips where she outlines a hand-written message you can write that will give your postcards a personal edge.
If you hire a publicist, she’ll likely use a news release to reach local and national media. For search engine rankings, these press releases are often submitted through a site like PRWeb, but you can do the same thing yourself for a price. You can bypass that process by creating a news release and mailing it to local media outlets. Don’t forget to post your book release announcement to your alumni magazine and the trade publication for any writers’ groups in which you hold membership. Keep in mind that traditional publications often need a great deal of lead time, so you’ll need to begin this process long before your book hits the market.
Online marketing is more relevant than ever, but old-fashioned methods still connect with librarians and bookstore owners, who might otherwise miss your book’s release. By establishing a relationship with local book buyers, you’ll gain the support of people who will be excited to recommend your book to others.
Thanks Stephanie for all the great tips! Here’s some info about her new release, 25 Roses.
Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.
Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.
Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight.
Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.
Stephanie is the author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.
Wow!! 4 books is a lot!! I wish you much luck. I’ve recently been looking into self-publishing, much success to you!!!
Welcome back TB, sounds like you had a great holiday and a very Happy New Year to you! I’ve only just come back myself, hard to get back into the swing of things again. I wish you every success with your goals and have every faith in you! You continue to inspire me to do to the same, to stick with my goals and get back to writing. Thanks for sharing Stephanie’s helpful promotion ideas and I love her book blurb. Happy writing 🙂
Seven hundred words a day makes it sound reasonable. May you hit all your goals, TBM!
My publisher always makes bookmarks and postcards and I do use them, Stephanie.
Four books. Wow. Go. Go. Go. You CAN do it! 🙂
Great tips, too. Thank you and Happy New Year to you both.
Thank you so much for hosting me. I look forward to all the great tips you’re going to provide this year! I will say that of all the librarians (school and public) I met, the one thing they mentioned were the bookmarks I mailed to them. When they asked me to come to an event, they said, “Be sure to bring more bookmarks. The kids love those.”
great goals, TB! and awesome tips, Stephanie…I bookmarked this post so I can refer back to it when that time comes for me.
Thank you, Beth Ellyn! I’m still trying to figure it all out…I guess I always will be at that stage of things when it comes to marketing my own stuff.
Thank you for all the great tips, T. B. I give bookmarks but need to have postcards made. Best of luck with your goals. 25 Roses sounds like my kind of story. Have a great day.
Someone said that postcards aren’t very effective, but I got an email this morning from a bookseller in Chattanooga (at Barnes & Noble!) saying she received my postcard and already had my book in stock, but she was ordering copies of my first book to carry, too. B&N usually doesn’t do that, so I was SO excited…the postcard opened that line of communication and she invited me to do an event there the next time in Chattanooga.
You have set some great goals for yourself and I hope you reach all of them. So glad you had a wonderful holiday,
And I’m always eager to learn about marketing and promotion so appreciate Stephanie’s advice.
Glad to help any way I can.
Happy New Year, TB! Welcome back! Thanks for introducing us to Stephanie, she’s got some great advice. I love the premise of her book.
PS. I just heard about the terrorist attack in Paris and I thought of you. Stay safe.
That is scary–take care T.K. And thank you, Jill!
Publish 4 books? That’s amazing! I plan to publish two short stories and one novel, so you have me beat. 😉
Authors should promote their books in every way possible, online and off line. Congrats again to Stephanie!
Thank you, Chrys!
Great to see you posting again, but also glad to hear that your delay was because of a well-deserved vacation. Woo-hoo! Your goals are pretty badass and four books sounds amazing! I’ll be here if you need any promotional posts for your new releases. I’m a slow reader as you may know, but I’m always up for one of your books. 🙂 And thanks for posting that Insecure Writer’s Blog I always get a kick out of that and you’re right all it takes is a kind word from someone and it’s like shot of B12 to your writer’s ego. And … Also wanted to thank you! I finally checked my yearly stats and you wer on my top five commenters. That’s two years in a row! Awesome. Great to have met you buddy.
Ooops were…I meant were
Good luck, TB. Looking forward to hearing more about your books. And hello, Stephanie. Excellent list. Congratulations!
Fantastic goals. You can do it! 🙂 I have a number of releases coming out this year too, but I had none last year. It was all spent revising and prepping for this year. Yikes!
Wonderful guest post. I like bookmarks myself. 🙂
Good luck with all of your goals!
Here’s to reaching your goals. Let us know how and when, so we can come over with some champagne and toast you. Congrats again to Stephanie.
I admire your determination to get those books published because all the evidence out there is that the more you write the more success you (should) have. Very best of luck, you are really working hard on getting those books out there. Look forward to seeing your 2015 publications.
On a separate note, the link on stephie’s post about how to write a press release took us to a fairly generic company one, and for authors striving to write a first time one, very different advice is needed for a PR about a novel. For some reason, I agreed to write a guest post on this topic, so I’ll be doing a link on my blog when I finally get it written. I’ll be writing it from the perspective of someone who has written them and received them as a journalist.
Very helpful hints. Thanks.
Here’s my link if you’d like to drop by 🙂
Anna from Shout with Emaginette
I am bookmarking this. I’ll have to check out prweb. I’d like to get more publicity for my writing.
I can’t wait to read my copy of Stephanie’s books and your future releases, T.B.
It seems I’m not the only one who is fixated on the idea of publishing four books in one year. You are truly an inspiration my friend :).
What fantastic news! Best wishes for a successful and fulfilling year! Great advice by Stephanie. I will most definitely be keeping that on file for when I’m ready. Happy writing everyone and Happy New Year!!
These are great goals! Very ambitious and impressive. Good luck with them. And yay for Stephanie. I loved this book.
Oh, I left the link on my blog in reply to your comment about joining my street team, but I’ll leave it here for you too. I hope you join us. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/groups/310954715719850/
This was a great post, especially to start the new year, and for me as I have a new release coming out this month. I think I should have put the release date back a bit, but oh well! Thanks for the tips, and I love the cover of Stephanie’s 25 Roses book! Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog and happy new year!
Those are great tips! I know you are published by a traditional publisher. Do you know if libraries are receptive to self-published authors leaving bookmarks?
I can’t see why not. I met a self-published author at a conference who said he always goes into libraries and gives away the first book in his self-pubbed series. They always contacted him afterward to ask to buy book two, he said. Many of the libraries that handed out my bookmarks didn’t actually carry my book (in Nashville, they could get them transferred from other libraries within the Nashville system) and they were happy to have the bookmarks and hand them out to patrons.
Stephanie’s book sounds absolutely adorable. I’m looking forward to reading more of her guest posts. I hope you both have a lovely weekend.
Best of luck getting 4 books published this year. Hopefully the fact that they are all in different stages will help. I also agree that focusing on 700 words a day is much easier to wrap your head around than the total for the year!
So wonderful to hear from Stephanie. I loved her advice about marketing the old-fashioned way. 🙂
There’s definitely something to be said for kickin’ it old school — and 700 words a day is do-able. 4 novels this year? Nice!
What an ambitious year you’ve set for yourself. I have no doubt that you can do it! Keep on writing. 🙂
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Good luck with your goals! They’re definitely doable, although I completely understand your trepidation about 250,000 words.
Bookmarks are a really good way to promote your book. They’re so fun to get. Thanks for the post, Stephanie!
Thinking long term is the only way to go. Good luck with the long tail! Hope it’s a fluffy, attention getting beauty!