Marketing is a big part of being a successful author. It’s almost as big as writing a book that’s worth publishing and selling (as that is definitely the pre-requisite to marketing).
Problem for most authors is they have no idea how to do marketing. They either never learned, don’t want to learn, are afraid to learn or think they don’t have enough time/don’t have what it takes to build a following.
I often hear writers in my free Facebook group say that they have no idea how to market themselves. And while it’s totally fine to not know what you’re doing, it’s NOT fine to let that be an excuse that stops you from learning what to do and then doing it.
I talk to a lot of writers on a regular basis, and one of the commonalities is their ultimate dream—to make a living from their books, to have their novels turned into movies, to have millions of readers all over the world, to land on the NY Times Best Seller list.
Sure, not all writers want this, but I’d argue most do and just aren’t willing to admit it or to fully allow themselves to want it because they have no idea how they’ll bring it to life.
And the truth is, all of those dreams stem from one thing: marketing.
If you’re a professionally self-published author (or are going to be) or even if you go the traditional route, marketing is absolutely a skill that you must master. Because in the digital age, authors aren’t just writers, they’re also marketers and sales people.
I know—SCARY, right?
Because now you can’t just sit in a room all alone writing your books. You have to actually put yourself out there and be seen and get known.
At least if you plan on accomplishing your dreams of making a living from your books, hitting the NY Times Best Sellers list and having millions of fans all over the world who love your books so much Hollywood decides to turn them into movies.
None of those dreams can be achieved without visibility and mastering marketing (unless you hire someone to do all the marketing for you, but even then, you still have to be visible).
And one of the BEST ways to do marketing that doesn’t feel sales-y or self-promotional is to learn how to create value for an audience.
Now I’ll that there’s nothing wrong with being sales-y or self-promotional IF you are creating massive value for the people who follow you (aka: your audience). Value + Selling = Making Money from Your Books. Selling or Self-Promotion by itself does not.
Example: I create a TON of free value for my audience on a daily basis. And that’s also why I sell 30+ books a day and growing, and get people signed up for my workshops and programs that I offer.
Because when you create value for an audience, they will buy from you. Multiple times over.
So what does “create value” even mean?
Value just means creating something useful. Something your audience can enjoy, be entertained and/or educated by.
I did a livestream the other day all about creating value for an audience (you can watch the replay here). If you want to become a master of marketing so you can grow your readership and your author brand, and sell more books, here are 8 ways to create value for an audience:
1. Share Your Thoughts and Feelings On A Topic You Care About that They Also Care About
This may sound strange, but people love to see what other people think and feel about a topic they care about. When I go off in a blog post, ranting about my opinion on professional self-publishing or believing in yourself or whatever other topic I decide to share my views on, that’s when my audience becomes most engaged. It’s when I get the most emails from people, replying to what I sent out, sometimes even sharing their opinion back to me.
So consider the topics that would be of interest to your audience and share your thoughts and feelings on it with them. Doing this builds the Know, Like and Trust factor, and gives them a deeper look at how you think and what you believe, and why.
I know this may seem strange—why would anyone want to hear me talk about my opinion on a topic? But that is what connects people.
Think about anytime you’ve met someone new. When you’re conversing with them and discovered all the things you have in common, didn’t it just make you like them more? Didn’t it make you feel more connected to them as a person?
Well, the same thing works for your audience.
Sure, you have to know who your audience is and what they care about, but once you figure it out, you can create some seriously awesome value for them by starting a conversation around a topic you all care about.
2. Teach Them Something They Want to Learn
People go online to be entertained, educated or both. So think about ways that you can teach your audience something they want to learn.
I’m always teaching in my free content (this blog post would be a great example). Because I know my audience well enough at this point to know exactly what they care about and the struggles they have and where I can most help them.
I teach the stuff my audience most needs to know. And that creates massive value for them.
3. Teach Them Something They Need to Know But Don’t Realize They Need to Know It
I love this one. You may not have realized that you need to learn how to create value for an audience if you want to grow your readership. But now thanks to this blog post, you know.
And not only are you now aware that you must create value, but you have a whole list of ways to do it.
That’s what it means to teach your audience something they need to know but don’t realize they need to know it.
The awareness alone creates a ton of value—because not knowing what you don’t know can cause you to get stuck or to feel like nothing is working.
4. Entertain Them
Like I said, people go online to learn how to do something or to be entertained because they’re bored. So if you can find ways to entertain your audience (and as a writer and author, you ARE an entertainer), you’ll be able to create value that makes them want more from you.
Think of all the stupid memes and videos you see online. While you may not think about them as marketing (especially when they’re random and have nothing to do with anything) they are still creating value.
Because when you watch or read, you’re being entertained. You’re laughing or having fun or enjoying the moment.
And that’s what makes it valuable.
Most people aren’t having enough fun or laughter or enjoyment in their lives. So if you can give that to them with the content you create, you’re giving them something they badly need in their lives.
5. Make Them Think
I love this one. Because as humans, we’re thinkers. It’s a part of our nature.
Which means if you can create content that makes people think, you can also give your audience value that connects them to you and makes them want more.
Making them think can be as simple as asking a question that goes deeper than just the surface-level stuff. Questions like, what would you be doing right now if you already achieved your dream life? or if you were already the author you dream of being, what would you do first thing in the morning? actually help people figure things out.
Questions create an open loop in our minds and we have to find an answer. So we think about it. And in the thinking about it we come to a conclusion of some kind.
That conclusion or response to the question could be something that totally changes your life.
And that is valuable. Insanely valuable.
6. Share Your Message
I talk all the time about how authors need to have a message to share. And that message becomes a part of your marketing and a big part of the content that you create that gives value to your audience.
For example, my message is that you can create anything you set your mind to. That is the core message in my life and in my writing business.
I share this message every day, in all different ways, through the free content that I create. And sharing this message is valuable for the people who need to hear it.
I sent you an email yesterday that talked about the fictional stories that we tell ourselves. In it, I mentioned over and over again that you can create and achieve anything you set your mind to. I may not have said it exactly like that, but it’s the overall message you pick up from reading the blog post.
I shared that post over the weekend on my personal Facebook page. And one of my college professors loved it so much she shared it on her Facebook page and told people to follow me. From there, another woman saw it and reached out to me to tell me how much it resonated with her and that she wants to step up her career as an author.
And then she joined my free Facebook group.
So by sharing my message, I connected with people and created new audience members who love what I have to say and want more of it. And, of course, created a ton of value for whoever read it and agreed with it.
Now your message may not be for everyone and some people may be turned off by it. That’s OK! Those are not your people.
A really important thing to remember about marketing is that you don’t want to reach everyone and you don’t want to target everyone. You want to think very specifically about who needs to hear your message the most or who will resonate the most with it.
For me, I know multi-passionate writers, authors and creators are the people who need to hear my message. And that’s who I tailor it for. Because those are the people who make up my audience.
7. Tell Them A Story
You may not realize this, but stories are valuable. Not just fictional stories that you make up for a reader’s enjoyment and entertainment (although those are insanely valuable too), but also stories about your life and your experiences.
When I share stories about things that have happened to me, I always get people who respond and resonate with it.
For example, last week I told you I’ve been dealing with an annoying health issue that flared up from making a massive overnight change to my diet. I didn’t even share a ton of detail, just that little bit and that I’d been a lot less productive because it was causing me to need more downtime.
From sharing that little bit of story about my life, I received a bunch of emails from people wishing me well, telling me to feel better, giving me suggestions for how to move forward, and even sharing their own experiences with annoying heath issues.
I created a connection with my audience by sharing this story. And that is valuable, especially since humans crave connection.
8. Get To Know Them
This also comes down to creating a connection. When you know your audience and know them well, you will know exactly how to create value for them.
I no longer have to think about what to write my blog posts on or what freebies to create or what workshops or programs to offer. Because I know my audience super well. I know what makes them tick, I know what they love, I know what they hate, I know what they dream of.
And all of this came from spending time getting to know them.
I run a free Facebook group which creates a ton of value for my audience and allows them a safe space to learn and grow in their writing lives, and get support and guidance when they need it. And when I first launched my coaching business, I gave away a ton of free sessions so I could get writers on the phone and get to know them better.
You can create value for your audience by getting to know them too.
Ask them questions about themselves. Offer up a free call to anyone willing to let you interview them (so you can ask them the questions that will help you get to know who they are and what they need and want from you).
The value you create—aka: free content—doesn’t have to be fancy. But I always recommend mixing it up if you can and giving your audience a variety of content, like:
- Blog posts
- MP3 audios
- Whatever you can think of
Now if you’re a fiction writer, you may be thinking—this would work for a nonfiction author, but not for me. And if you think that, you’re totally wrong (sorry!).
Because what works for a nonfiction author can work for a fiction author. It’s all about knowing your audience and understanding who they are and what they want.
If you write fiction, your audience is readers of a specific genre. So what do they want? What would be super valuable for them? The same ideas I listed here apply for fiction too.
My recommendation is to take some time to go back through the list and brainstorm ideas for how you could create value for your audience using each of these 8 suggestions.
One thing I will add is that no matter what kind of free content you create, you always want a Call to Action (aka: a CTA) to tell the reader what to do next. A Call to Action can be anything from, “buy my book” to “go to my website and grab the free eBook I created” to “subscribe to my YouTube channel.”
There’s nothing wrong with being sales-y or self-promotional when you’re giving enough value.
I sell stuff in pretty much every email I send out. I promote my programs, workshops, books and offers in pretty much every piece of content I create. And some people may have a problem with it.
But most people don’t mind at all, because they know I’ve given them a ton of value for free… and if they’re not interested, they can just ignore the promo and they’ll still walk away from my blog post, video, livestream, etc., with something valuable they can use in their own lives.
And that’s what creating value is all about.
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If you want to learn how to build your following and create massive value for your audience so you can sell (more) books, today is the FINAL DAY to join the Six Figure Author Society—a membership site for authors who want to sell (more) books.
We’re covering everything you need to know to build your marketing foundation, create valuable content for your audience and bring in more readers and more book sales.
The best part is that we’re all working on the monthly activities together, so you have community, support, accountability and you’ll be more productive because everyone around you is too.
Making money from your books doesn’t have to be hard. The Six Figure Author Society will show you how to be a badass book marketer, without feeling sleezy, sales-y or self-promotional.
The biggest complaint I hear from authors is this: it’s so hard to sell books!
And while marketing and selling books can sometimes be a challenge, it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, you can actually have fun with marketing.
Hold up! Did I just say “fun” and “marketing” in the same sentence?
Yep. Because as my Kindle coach so wisely says, marketing and selling is just teaching people the value of something.
Looking at it from that perspective, it makes marketing seem much more doable, doesn’t it? And I feel like it gives it a purpose, other than making money (even though that’s a big part of it). Because when you realize that when you’re marketing your books, all you’re doing is trying to show someone the value of why they need to read it.
It has definitely made me feel different about my book marketing efforts, that’s for sure. Now I see that it’s my responsibility to get my books out there and in the hands of writers and reader who need them. And it’s doing my audience a disservice to not market my books to them so that they know they exist.
Reframing things is a great way to shift your mindset around the parts of being an author that you don’t enjoy as much.
I get emails on a weekly basis from people who follow me, asking me to teach more stuff about marketing. A lot of people tell me I’m a natural marketer. And while that may seem like it’s true, this isn’t a skill I was born with. I spent 7+ years doing online marketing for publications and corporations. Which means I learned how to do it.
And if I can learn how to do it, so can you.
I’ve put together an audio training + workbook on 15 Tactics to Help You Sell More Books. These are some of the best tactics out there for making more book sales.
Some are simple and others take more work. All of them will help you sell more books.
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Which of the 15 tactics will you implement first?
Selling books. Making money. Being a full-time author. Pretty much the dream writing life for most writers.
And yet, so many authors aren’t having this experience. So many are feeling frustrated and like they’re wasting their time because it’s never going to happen.
Maybe you’ve felt (or feel) this way?
I know I have. Back before I decided to take control of my writing destiny, I used to feel that way all the time. Like, what’s the point? I have these great books out there and barely anyone is reading them.
This year, I had a breakthrough. I finally stepped up my productivity, my writing habits and, most importantly, got my mind in the game. And now that I’ve done those things, I’m selling an average of 1,000+ books a month, pretty much without even trying. (That’s not to say I didn’t ever have to try. Of course I did, it’s just now I have momentum. More on that below.)
But I had one month this year that was bigger than all the other months (at least, so far). In July, I sold 2,312 books (and made a little over $800)!! Not bad for 31 days.
I recently did a breakdown to see what exactly went into selling that many books, and now averaging 1,000+ sales a month. And here’s what I came out with:
1. Get Into Alignment
For the first time ever, I’m finally in full alignment with the writing goals I have and the writing career that I want. I’m no longer fighting it. I’m not playing small or acting like it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m setting an intention for exactly what I want to create and I’m taking actions every day to move in that general direction.
That’s what alignment is. It means that your thoughts, beliefs, words and actions are all working in harmony and moving in the same direction.
Being in alignment has helped me to start writing, publishing and selling more books.
2. Have An “I Sell Books” Mindset
Believe it or not, your mind is the source of everything you currently see in your reality (whether you like it or not). Hard to accept, I know, because then you have to take responsibility for the fact that you believe shitty things that are holding you back and you have negative thoughts that are limiting your success.
But when you can just accept where you are–and accept all that you’ve created up to this point–you can start to create something new.
In February of this year, I amped up the mindset work I started doing back in August 2015 and began a daily practice of writing intentions in my journal. One of those daily intentions was, “I am a bestselling author.” Another was, “I sell thousands of books every month.”
I still write intentions like that every single day. Because out of everything I’ve done in my writing career, the best thing I ever did for myself was start a daily mindset practice. It has hands-down changed everything for me.
When you have an “I sell books” mindset, as opposed to an “it’s hard to sell books” mindset or an “I wish I knew how to sell more books” mindset, it really can be the difference between making sales and not making sales. Because you create in your reality what you believe in your mind. And if you believe that it’s hard to sell books or that you don’t know how to sell books, that’s exactly what you will experience.
Decide right now that you’re going to create an “I sell books” mindset and don’t ever look back.
3. Publish Multiple Books
I see so many authors spending time on marketing when all they have is one book. And while, yes, you do have to do some marketing for that book, you also want to make it a priority to write and publish the next book. Because what happens if someone buys your book, loves it and then there’s nothing else for them to buy?
You got it–they go elsewhere.
So if you don’t have at least 2 books published, it’s time to get to work. I started selling 1,000+ books a month when I had 6 books published. Now that I’ve got 8 (with more in the works), I know my book sales numbers will keep growing.
The best way to sell a book is with another book.
4. Build Relationships–With Readers and People In Your Industry/Genre
After a year of blogging, I decided to branch out and start guest posting (where you publish your articles on someone else’s blog). Doing that helped me to connect with editors in the writing industry (on blogs where my target readers are), and from those connections came other opportunities.
For example, in July, I was invited to participate in a one-day, 99 cent eBook promo along with 8 other authors. The other authors were all well-known writers who have big communities of writers and authors. So by having a connection with the person running the promotion, I was not only invited to participate, but I got my book in front of 8 new audiences. I also made connections with the other authors who were part of the promo.
And, of course, I had my biggest book sales month ever.
Relationships are everything when it comes to online marketing. So if you’re not already making connections and building relationships with potential promo partners and potential readers, now’s the time to start.
5. Launch A New Book
In the month of July, I launched my eBook, The 15-Minute Writer: How To Write Your Book In Only 15 Minutes A Day. This was a brand new book, which means every single person who saw it or checked it out was new to it. It was something that even my repeat readers could buy.
Having a new book can make it easier to get sales, especially if you’ve already got a few books out there that people have bought.
This goes back to what I said about having multiple books. And what’s cool about Amazon (and other sites) is once you’ve got a few books out and enough reviews, it will start suggesting your book to people who look at related books.
6. Charge 99 cents
I’ve been testing out pricing this year, to see if it makes a difference. When all of my books are 99 cents, I sell a lot more of them than when I charge more.
I know that sounds crazy–all that hard work and then you only get a 35% royalty from Amazon! (I do have a couple books that cost $2.99 as well.)
But when your book is 99 cents, people are more willing to give it a try. Everyone has wasted a dollar at some point in their life, so 99 cents is less of a risk than a book that costs more.
If you’re just starting out or are a new author, I highly recommend trying a 99 cent pricing strategy. It may just be the difference between making sales or not.
As you grow, get more known and have more books available, then you can have a mix of prices and increase your overall profit.
7. Build Momentum
I’ve been online since 2008 and building my following ever since. Which means I’ve had 8+ years of connecting, building relationships, and growing a readership. I have momentum.
You can create momentum too, and it doesn’t have to take 8 years. If you focus on what’s really important about book marketing (hint: it’s not about selling books), you can make it happen a lot faster.
Once you’ve got momentum, your books can almost sell themselves. That’s not to say I’m not still doing marketing, but I don’t put a ton of energy into marketing my books at the moment, and I’m still selling 1,000+ a month.
Book marketing is like a roller coaster–at first it’s a slow climb, but when you hit the tipping point, it’s all momentum from there.
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What’s one thing you can do today to start selling more books? Share in the comments.
Are you ready to make more sales and learn the right way to market your books? Then check out my upcoming masterclass: Sell More Books. I’m teaching you everything you need to know to kick-ass in your online book marketing, and then some. Full details here.
If you’ve ever published a book, or are in the process of writing and publishing one, you’ve likely thought about marketing and what you’ll need to do to make book sales. Because that’s what it’s all about, right? Selling books.
And while that’s not totally wrong, it’s also not totally right.
Selling books is the goal, yes. But it’s not what the focus of your book marketing should be.
That’s where I see so many authors getting it wrong.
And that’s why when you go into writing groups on Facebook or Google+, a lot of times it’s just a promo fest of people drive-by sharing links to their books. Or you see people’s social media accounts just covered in promos, but without any real value to be found.
Totally worthless and the worst way to try and make a book sale.
Why? Because of two reasons:
- People aren’t on social media to buy stuff–social media is supposed to be for being social, so people aren’t reading stuff or watching stuff and thinking, “I need to buy that right now.” They’re there to engage and connect with other humans, and also to be entertained.
- There’s not enough value in a book promo on social media to get someone to open their wallet–and on the off-chance that someone does buy directly via social media, it’s because the value being presented in the post (written, video, etc) is so awesome that they can’t not buy.
So, if you’ve been trying to sell your book by posting promos on social media (or in Facebook groups) and it hasn’t worked, it’s time for a new strategy.
What Actually Sells Books
When it comes down to the core of what online marketing is, you’ll find two things:
1. Relationships–online marketing is all about building relationships and making connections with other people, both potential readers and industry-related.
2. Valuable content–at the core of online marketing is content. Content is what helps you make the connections and build the relationships that will earn you a readership. Now ‘value’ will be defined by you and the type of book that you’re marketing.
For example, if your book is a humorous novel, creating content aligned with that makes the most sense for adding value. So sharing things that make people laugh is a good way for you to connect with your readership and get them interested in your novel.
And these two things–when combined–are what sells books.
The worst book marketing myth is that it’s all about selling books. It’s not. And believing that is what’s keeping you from selling books.
Especially if you’re trying to market your books online (which most authors these days are).
People go online for one of three reasons:
- To learn something
- To be entertained
And that’s what you need to be thinking about when you do your book marketing.
Book marketing is not about selling books. It’s about being an interesting author (with an impactful message) who teaches potential readers something, entertains them or both, and because of that connection and that relationship with the potential reader, they will buy a book from you.
Your New Book Marketing Strategy
From here on out, you’re no longer allowed to do drive-by book promos on social media. (And I know YOU wouldn’t be doing that anyhow, because that’s not how a pro writer thinks or acts, right?) You’re no longer allowed to only post things that just promo your book.
From here on out, your marketing strategy is the following:
- Build connections with readers and with industry/genre-related people
- Create valuable content that your ideal reader wants and needs
- Share your author message, in whatever way makes sense for you
There’s a lot more to it than that, but these are the foundational pieces of being a success author and successfully marketing your book online.
I got where I am right now with my publishing career because I spent 8+ years of my life building a following, connecting with others in my industry and delivering valuable, kick-ass content (on a consistent basis) that my ideal readers want. I’m now living my dream writing life, and it just gets better and better every day.
If you want to create your dream writing life, where you can write and publish books and actually sell them and make money, you’ve gotta be in it for the long-haul. And this is a long-haul book marketing strategy.
No, it won’t make you sales immediately overnight (unless you’ve already got a bit of a following), but it will help you build an author brand that will make sales–and, eventually, enough sales to support you in being the full-time author you’ve always dreamed of being.
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Are you ready to sell more books?? Doors to my upcoming live-virtual “Sell More Books” workshop will be opening soon! Join the waitlist to be the first to know when the doors are open.
NOTE: this is a guest post from Anni Fife, author of LUKE’S Redemption. Enjoy! –jen
I’m a debut author, so when the reality slapped me in the face that I needed to organize the launch and publicity for my first novel, I broke out in a cold sweat: I knew nothing from nothing, and I needed to learn fast.
Completing your first novel, having it accepted by a reputable publisher (or professionally self-publishing), sweating through the editing process, contributing creative input on the cover, writing taglines and blurbs, dedications and acknowledgments, selecting favorite excerpts—this is the rollicking ride new authors love (and probably more experienced ones too!) It’s all driven by a breathless excitement at seeing your novel become a reality, and a nervous anticipation while awaiting your upcoming release date.
But somewhere between signing off on your final galley and receiving your formatted arcs, you have to start thinking about your launch and publicity. In fact, you needed to have started laying the groundwork a lot sooner. Jennifer Blanchard has mentioned numerous times that it is never too soon to create your author platform and start building your brand. Listen to her!
The basics you need are a website and a Facebook author page. Both should clearly identify your brand and be written in the style of your author voice. Once you have these—and there are plenty of informative websites and books offering advice on how to approach this task—then you can start the long-game of building your followers.
You need to be seen out-and-about on social media platforms, posting interesting stuff, commenting on other authors’ and readers’ posts, and sharing interesting blogs. And don’t forget, you need to be writing interesting content for your own blog.
Okay, enough about that. Let’s talk about Blog Tours.
What is a Blog Tour?
A specific period of time when your book is promoted across selected websites and blogs that are relevant to your target audience. The time can vary from one day to a week, a few weeks or even longer. The duration of your tour is based on the goal of your promotion.
A blog tour is like a book signing tour, except you are doing it online. It works for authors who are located in remote areas, have limited funds, or may be shy when it comes to public speaking. The fundamental aim of blog tours is to build relationships with your potential readers and industry influencers.
Blog tours do not necessarily spike sales. Their main success lies in increasing awareness of your book and your author name.
What are the different types of Blog Tours?
A regular Blog Tour includes content from your Media Kit (details below) and a unique article. This can be anything from an interview with the author or characters from your book, an interesting essay about your novel or about writing in general.
The blog host guides the content and tone. Often the blog host has daily or general themes that you need to accommodate. Don’t be shy to offer blog hosts unique ideas for your post, as well.
PRO TIP: Bloggers love exclusive and original content that fits their site guidelines
Make sure your promotional company, or the blogger you are approaching, is aware you are willing to provide unique, original content. This will increase your chances of securing quality blogs stops.
Blog tours range from a few days to months. Example: I have a four-month tour booked with one blog stop a week. The goal is to keep my name in the public eye over a sustained period of time. I selected this route to address my debut author status. I decided it was equally important to market my name as well as my book.
There are three main types of blog book tours:
- A Book Blast is a one-day tour where you send the same content out over multiple blogs. Aim for at least 20 blogs. It is usually used for a book release day, a cover reveal, or an event like a one-day promotion or Blog Hop. The idea is to try and saturate as many blogs as possible with your promotional content. Some promotional companies also offer Twitter Blasts where they blast approximately six tweets to their followers over one day.
- A Blurb Blitz Tour is like an extended Book Blast. For the duration of the tour, you stop on a different blog each day. The content for each blog is the same, and usually consists of your book cover, a blurb, a selection of excerpts, an author bio and picture, and your social media and buy links. This is the ideal tour to publicize a new release or to build awareness of your book in the weeks prior to your release.
- A Review Tour offers blog hosts the opportunity to review your book. Credible reviews are difficult to come by so this is a great tour to receive guaranteed reviews of your book. Be aware that guaranteed reviews do not equate to guaranteed good reviews. However, as you are paying for the promotion, a reviewer will normally agree not to post a review that is less than three stars until after the tour is finished. Each stop usually also includes material from your media kit.
Note: Amazon has changed its rules for posting reviews, and it is possible that they might delete reviews received from a paid review tour.
Selecting a suitable blog tour
Promotional companies offer a variety of tours, but generally they are a derivative of the tours I have described above.
When booking a tour, it is important to be clear about what you want to achieve. List your goals and select the tour that most meets your needs. Ensure that it falls in with your launch or promotional plan and rollout schedule.
Most blog tours are accompanied by a giveaway competition where authors offer readers the opportunity to win a copy of their book, a gift voucher, a selection of swag, or other items. To enter the giveaway, the reader is offered a selection of tasks to complete, from interacting with the author’s social media to joining their mailing list.
There is no doubt that giveaways do increase traffic to your blog stop. The value of your giveaway is dependent on the size of your pocket and your feelings about giveaways in general. Personally, I prefer small giveaways. A valuable giveaway skirts too close to bribery for me.
There is also an opportunity to offer a prize to your blog hosts. I like this, as it is a great opportunity to thank your blog hosts.
How do you set up your blog tour?
There are numerous companies that specialize in book promotional tours. A lot of them tend to concentrate on a specific genre. Don’t be shy to ask your network of author friends for recommendations. If you fancy a couple of different companies, follow them for a while on social media and see how effective you find them.
Once you have made a selection, it’s as simple as making a booking. Prices are fairly reasonable and clearly displayed on their websites.
PRO TIP: You need to book your tour at least six to eight weeks in advance.
The following two recommendations are promotional companies that specialize in romance that I have personally had dealings with:
- Goddess Fish Promotions–I selected Goddess Fish Promotions for my debut release. They came highly recommended from my publisher and author friends. I’ve found them to be reliable and efficient. But their banners are boring! If I use them again, I will request more interesting banners. Note: Several days ago they informed me they have hired a graphics artist to improve their banners.
- Magic of Book Promotions–this company came highly recommended. Tami Adams is very hands-on, and I found her helpful in the quoting stage. GFP were more suitable for my needs but I wouldn’t hesitate to use Tami in the future.
Organizing your own blog tour
If your budget is tight (or non-existent) don’t panic. It just means you have to work harder.
PRO TIP: Start as far in advance as possible.
- Search for blogs that are relevant to your genre and start interacting with them. Follow the blogger’s social media links, and get a feel for the style and taste of the blogger. If you have an idea for a guest post, write to the blogger and suggest it to them. Write a succinct query letter that clearly states who you are, what you would like from the blogger, and what you have to offer. Include information about your book and a brief excerpt. Don’t forget to indicate to the blogger that you are familiar with their blog.
- Ask your author network to recommend blogs sites they have appeared on. Don’t be shy to ask them to recommend you to these bloggers.
- Connect with other authors–A lot of authors have their own blogs and use them to spotlight other authors. If you think one is suitable for your book, request a guest spot. Most are very amenable. If you are a debut author, ask for help. I promise you, you’ll receive it.
- Find the most influential bloggers with the largest traffic. Look at the amount of comments posts generate. They should average around eight. If they are consistently less than eight or zero, avoid them. Their traffic is not worth your time. Often one large blog will lead you to another as they often share each other’s links. They all need content. Don’t be cautious about offering yours.
- Write up a schedule and start to plan your tour. Limit your stops to one per day. (Unless you are planning a book blast.) All your stops do not have to offer exclusive content, you can mix it up (though it is highly recommended). Alternate unique guest posts with general book spotlights. Don’t underestimate the amount of work it takes to write the content required for unique guest spots.
I suggest sending requests to around 35 to 40 bloggers with the goal of securing 10 to 12 spots. If you get more, great!
PRO TIP: When organizing a blog tour, don’t make a request for a review the primary aim of your query letter. Reviews are like hen’s teeth and bloggers are inundated with requests. I suggest you separate review requests from your blog tour. If you get them, consider them cream. (I send out requests for reviews on a near daily basis. It is time consuming but it is a numbers game. The more requests you send, the higher your odds of getting a ‘yes’.)
Your Blog Tour Is Happening. Here Are Some Tips
- Inform all of your blog hosts that your book is available for review if they so choose. Ensure you have a copy of it in different formats—PDF, MOBI and EPUB are the most popular.
- Send your content requirement to each blog well in advance. Be meticulous. Your reputation is on the line.
- Once your tour starts, work hard to promote it across your social media platforms and don’t hesitate to ask your friends and network groups to share your social media posts and re-tweet your tweets. Remember: the more you help promote their promotions, the more they will be inclined to help you when you need it.
- Most blog hosts will post on Facebook and Tweet your blog post on the day you are scheduled to appear. Make sure you share their posts and re-tweet their tweets.
- Visit the blog early on post day–thank your host and welcome his/her readers in the comments. Let them know you welcome their questions.
- Check your blog post hourly. Try and respond to comments as quickly as possible. Respond to each and every comment, even if it is just to thank the reader for popping by.
- Remember to post a sign off comment on the blog at the end of the night. Thank the host and readers again. Inform the readers of where you will be stopping next.
- Arrange your own giveaway. I suggest you run it for the duration of your tour. You can use a company like Rafflecopter to organize it for you.
Your Media Kit
You need to have the following content available for all of your blog hosts:
- Book cover image
- Blurb (150 to 200 words)
- A selection of excerpts–three is good. If you write erotic or erotica, make sure you have a combination of excerpts that include a PG-rated version. (Around 300 words)
- A biography (150 words)
- A picture of yourself
- Your website
- Your Facebook author page link
- Your Amazon author page and/or Goodreads profile page
- Any additional social media links–Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.
- Links to buy your book
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Phew! That’s a lot of information, but I hope it helps you. If you have any questions, comment away and I will answer wherever I can.
About the Author: Anni Fife left a successful career in television to fulfill her lifelong passion, writing. In the space of one month, she shut her business, packed up her city life, and moved to a small seaside village to begin her new life…as an author. LUKE’s Redemption is Anni’s debut novel. Anni loves spending hours on the beach searching for pansy shells, more hours drinking red wine with her gals, and the most hours writing steamy romance novels filled with hot alpha men, and the sassy intelligent women they can’t live without. She is currently working on her second novel, GRAY’s Promise.
I learned a TON at the TRIBE Conference this past weekend. And when I was going back through all the notes I took, I looked for 5-7 specific things that really nailed the overall “how to build a tribe” thing. (Oh, and “tribe” in case you didn’t know, is just another name for fanbase, audience or following.)
Something that I found interesting is when I pulled together those overall points, none of them had to do with specific ways of marketing or growing your audience. They were all foundational pieces that you really can’t build a tribe without.
And the 7 things I came out with are as follows:
Being real is the name of the game. If you’re not real, you’ll never build a true tribe. These days there’s so much fake BS out there, that people are looking for authenticity. They want to see humanity and vulnerability.
That’s the stuff that really connects you to your audience.
2. Live Your Message
Whatever your author message is (and yes, you need one), you need to not just share it, but you need to LIVE it. You need to walk your talk and be a full representation of the message you want to get out into the world.
My message is that you can create anything you set your mind to, and so I live that message day in and day out, in my actions, thoughts, behaviors, and the content I create for my tribe.
3. Speak Your Mind
People want to know what you believe and how you really feel about things. That’s how they self-select and decide whether or not you’re someone they want to hang with.
So don’t be afraid to put out there what you really think and how you really feel about things. I know it can be tough, but this goes back to the authenticity thing.
People want to follow people who are real. And speaking your mind is as real as it gets.
4. Pay Attention
You’ve got to pay attention to what your tribe needs, to what they’re asking for, and to what they want from you. And then you’ve gotta give it to them.
There are ideas for content and stories EVERYWHERE, and your audience is a great starting place to figure out what to create or write about.
I’m constantly thinking about my ideal readers to determine what I should write my blog posts and books about and the topics I should create workshops around. So pay attention to everything around you–you never know where your next content idea will come from.
5. Be Generous
This goes without saying, but people love free stuff and they love to follow people who are giving. One of the things I hear most from people is that they love how much stuff I give away to my audience for free.
Yes, I charge for some things, but I mostly give stuff away for free. This is my way of giving back to the writing world because it has given me so much over the years.
So find ways to be giving with your audience, whether that’s with the content you create, or doing giveaways, or offering free 20-minute phone sessions–whatever you can come up with.
6. Give Yourself Permission
This goes for whatever it is you need to give yourself permission to do–write that book, publish that book, make money from that book, make money from your creative gifts, grow a massive following, etc.
I’ve decided to give myself permission to be imperfect. As a perfectionist (it’s the Virgo in me), it feels really freeing to give myself permission to not have to be anymore. What a relief!
What do you need to give yourself permission to do?
7. Go Pro
When you “go pro” you’ll finally start treating your audience like a pro writer would. You’ll write to them regularly, you’ll reach out and connect with them on a consistent basis. You’ll do what pro writers would do.
And going pro doesn’t always mean getting paid. TRIBE speaker, Shawn Coyne (author of The Story Grid), says that “a pro self-validates.”
What that means is, you don’t wait for outside validation–a published book, another person, making money from your writing–to decide that you’re a pro writer. You just decide that’s what you are and then you live into it. (This is like what I call “acting as if” you already are the author you dream of being.)
If you do these 7 things, you will not only grow a following, but you’ll keep them for life.
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Which of these 7 things will you implement starting today? Share in the comments.
And if you’re ready to act on these 7 things, be sure to check out the Bestselling Author Mastermind–a high-level accountability, strategy and success mindset group for emerging authors.
This group isn’t just about serious productivity (although that’s a big part!), it’s also about having access to the tools and resources you need to grow the tribe you dream of having, to finish the books you want to write, and to GO PRO in your mind and in reality.
I love that phrase: writing empire. It sounds so awesome, doesn’t it?
Having an empire that you created with your writing at the center of everything.
Usually when you think of an “empire,” you imagine someone like Martha Stewart or Kim Kardashian or some other celebrity brand. But writers can have empires too.
Remember the other day when I talked about diversifying? That’s what building an empire is. It’s finding ways to diversify in your writing life so that you’ve got streams of income coming in from different things.
Freelance. Copywriting. Nonfiction books. Novels. Workshops. Virtual events. Live events. Digital products. Writing services. Coaching services. Editing.
There are tons of ways for you to diversify and build your writing empire. And here’s the best part: you get to create it however you want it.
If you hate doing live stuff, you can be 100% virtual. If you love live events, you can build those into your brand. Whatever you love to do, that’s what you should focus on and build your writing empire around.
I love teaching, I love writing, I love speaking, so that’s what I’m building my writing empire around. I have books, digital products, live virtual workshops, live events (more live events coming in 2017!), coaching, writing and self-publishing services.
The other thing about an empire is that it’s also a legacy. It’s the legacy of the person who it’s built around.
An empire will live on long after you do.
So really think about that for a second. What do you want your legacy to be?
I want to be known for changing the way writers think. For showing writers what’s possible when you set your mind to it. For being a living example of the power of combining practical physical actions with energetic mindset actions.
That is my legacy–the one I’m creating.
These are all things you’ve gotta think about if you want to be an authorpreneur. Not just a writer who publishes a couple books, but someone who builds a business around being who you are and doing what you love.
That is the true power of taking control of your writing destiny.
And you can absolutely do it. It’s yours to create, exactly as you want it.
For some examples of legacy and what a writing empire looks like, check out:
These are writers who have diversified. They’ve found what they’re awesome at and they’ve built a business around those things.
If you want to make a living as a writer, this is the best way to do it. Yes, you could just write books, but you’re limiting so many things when you do that, including growth, reaching additional audiences and, of course, the money you can make.
Diversifying is where it’s at. And while you’re at it, you may as well build an empire and create a legacy that lives on.
And speaking of empire… I wanted to introduce you to my new 1-1 coaching program:
Build Your Writing Empire
This program is your springboard to making a living as a writer.
For 6 weeks we will work together to:
> Map out your writing empire, including all the things you love to do
> Start setting up and implementing the systems and structures you need to support your empire (including an author website, if you don’t already have one)
> Overhaul your writing life so you’re aligned with and set up for the success you want to create
> Get your nonfiction eBook written and published (at least one, but possibly more than one, if you’re up for it)
> Grow your following
> Sell more books
You will walk away with a published nonfiction eBook, a blueprint for your writing empire–including what to focus on and in what order–and feeling confident and ready to continue growing your audience and your author brand.
With this program you get:
> Six 1-1 calls with me via phone or Skype (up to 60 mins each)
> Unlimited email support between calls
> Feedback, edits, guidance on everything you create while in the program, including your eBook
And as a BONUS, you get a FREE 1-YEAR MEMBERSHIP in the Bestselling Author Mastermind group (a $348+ value). [This is extra-awesome because I’m going to soon be announcing some major changes to BAM that include giving the group access to pretty much everything I’ve created (and the price is going up).]
This program is PERFECT for you if you:
> Have lots of ideas for books you want to write and just need help getting started/organized/productive/etc
> Want to build a writing empire and legacy with your author brand
> Are someone who takes action and follows through
> Are ready to get your damn writing career off the ground
> Want to finally get your first (or next) nonfiction eBook written and published
This program is for writers who are action takers and willing to put in the work.
Program investment: $997 (payment plans available)
Interested? Email me or send me a PM on Facebook.
I’m in the process of reworking my author brand right now, and so I had a photoshoot yesterday with my good friend who is an amazing photographer. And as I’ve been thinking about how to communicate my message through visuals, I decided to break down the process for you.
Because when it comes to creating an author brand, you have to represent it in both words and pictures.
So here’s a breakdown of what I do to create my author brand through visuals:
1. Choose Your Words
You’ll want to choose 3-5 words that represent who you are and what you stand for.
Here are the words I chose for my brand:
Those words absolutely represent me, what I believe in and what I stand for.
What words represent you?
2. Think About Your Author Message
Your author message is the core thread that ties everything together–yourself, your books, your products/services, your content. Your author message is essentially what you believe the world most needs to know/hear.
All authors need a message, fiction and nonfiction included.
An example: my author message is “you can create anything you set your mind to.” This is a deeper-layer message from the one I had prior, which is “take control of your writing destiny.” Both represent me, my brand and what I stand for.
What do you stand for? What do you believe? What message do you feel the world most needs to hear?
3. Brainstorm Visuals
Now that you know the words and your message, you’re going to use to represent your author brand, you can brainstorm ideas for how to show them visually.
So when I think about how to show my words visually, here are some examples of what I come up with:
- Outfits that make me feel and look like a badass, such as ripped jeans and a shirt with studs (badass)
- Sparkles, on my shoes and shirt (’cause sparkles look like “magic” to me)
- Writing on my laptop in the middle of nature (freedom)
And then, of course, the location where you shoot your photos also plays into creating the visual brand.
How can you visually represent your brand? Brainstorm some ideas in your journal.
4. Choose Your Props
Props are a big part of communicating through visuals. If you see a picture of a guy holding a guitar, there’s a pretty good chance he’s a musician, right? The guitar communicates the message of “musician.”
Here are the props I’ve picked out for my photoshoot:
- My dog, Weiland (’cause he’s my brand mascot)
- Stack of my books
Those props will easily communicate “writer” and “author.”
What props can you use to communicate who you are?
5. Hire A Good Photographer
Be sure to hire a good photographer who actually knows what they’re doing. A good photographer will be able to come up with a whole bunch of ideas for how to communicate your words through the pictures.
You can find a good photographer by:
- Asking around
- Asking someone you know whose work is awesome
- Checking out portfolios
- Looking for photographer-for-hire ads on Craig’s List or other service-based websites
- Googling “photographer” plus “your city”
A good photographer will be the icing on the cake.
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What words represent your author brand? Share in the comments.
Are you ready to UNLEASH the power of Manifestation Marketing so you can EXPLODE your fanbase and SELL MORE books? I’ve got something super awesome coming… get on the interest list so you’re the first to know when I announce it.
Something that has become so powerful for me in my writing life is combining practical, physical actions, with energetic, spiritual-type actions. I’d even go so far as to say it’s the thing that has changed the game for me.
It’s the thing that’s helped me to become a multi-book, multi-category best selling author on Amazon and sell more than a thousand books in a month and more than 500 books in one day. It’s the thing that’s made my writing career TAKE OFF.
But I didn’t have a name for it. I didn’t know what to call it, the combination of practical and energetic.
Until today. Today, I have a name for it.
It came to me this morning, like a bolt of lightning, when I was chatting with a member of my Bestselling Author Mastermind. He was asking about getting support on writing and selling more books. And I was thinking about how best I could help him with this.
And then it hit me… the name for what I do: Manifestation Marketing. The combination of taking practical actions along with energetic actions is how you use the power of manifestation to make your marketing efforts a success.
Of course, this also comes down to mindset. Mindset is everything. And mindset is a huge part of manifestation.
So mindset + manifestation marketing = insanely awesome blow-your-mind totally amazing results.
And just like that, a whole new shift in perspective and focus in my writing business.
How To Do Manifestation Marketing
If you’re still reading this, that means you’re someone who believes in the law of attraction (though I’d argue not believing in it doesn’t change the fact that it exists. But I digress…). And the law of attraction is an extremely powerful universal law. Like gravity and momentum.
With your belief in this law, you can use energetic actions to make your practical physical actions–things like writing your book, revising your book, marketing your book–work even better and feel a whole lot easier.
Something I’ve realized as I’ve gone through my journey this year so far is that everything has felt so fucking easy. I mean, yes, I’ve been working my ass off.
But it hasn’t felt like I’ve been. I’ve felt in flow and like things are just happening with ease.
This, of course, is all because of my mindset and what I’m actively choosing to focus on. But the point is, I always thought that achieving the things I’ve achieved this year would be so hard. Yet when I started combining the practical and energetic actions, it’s made everything a breeze.
Again, let me point out, that I am doing a lot of work. I’m taking massive action, on the daily, writing my ass off, creating my ass off, doing more mindset work than ever before… and it’s all paying off. I’ve truly taken control of my reality and began creating exactly what I want for my writing life.
And you can too.
Here’s an example of how you combine practical and energetic actions. In June, when I found out I was less than 50 books away from having sold 1,000 books for the month, I sprung into action and I:
- Sent an email to my community, letting them know what was going on and asking them to buy one of my books
- Got on social media and spread the word about my mission to hit 1,000 book sales by 11:59 p.m. that day
- Made social media posts throughout the night, updating people on my numbers and asking them to buy one of my books
- Told everyone I knew (or everyone I’m friends with on Facebook anyhow) to check out my books and buy one if they were interested
- Shot quick videos for Instagram and Facebook, telling people what was going on and asking them to help me out by checking out my books and buying one if something looked good to them
BUT, I didn’t just do the practical actions. I also:
- Decided it was a done deal
- Set my mind to it
- Visualized it happening
- Wrote my reality–in my journal I wrote out, specifically, what I wanted to see happen
- Committed to keep going no matter what my current reality looked like
- Trusted that by doing whatever practical and energetic actions I could think of, the Universe would show up and deliver the result I was asking for
Those are the energetic actions that, when combined with the practical ones, make magic happen.
Manifestation Marketing, in a nutshell. The art of combining practical physical actions with energetic actions to create book marketing magic.
And the best part is, this works with anything: marketing, writing your book, doing the edits, revising, the professional self-publishing process and more. Take action on this, and your writing life will never be the same again.
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How do you combine practical and energetic actions in your writing life?