UPDATE: Here is a recording of the video originally streamed in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group.
ORIGINAL POST – Are you an author who could use some book marketing strategies? Join award-winning author, podcaster, and Story Coach Liesel K. Hill as she visits the Shortcuts For Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group in February to present the workshop: Marketing At Every Stage of the Author Journey: What to Put Into Your Story to Set Yourself Up for Easy Marketing Later.
Liesel will discuss:
Pre-Marketing: What you should be doing while writing your book. Marketing techniques for when you have only 1 or 2 novels completed. Techniques for when you have a few more books completed. Marketing techniques to explore when your backlist is 10+ books.
The event will be held in the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group on Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. EST. New members are welcome.
Liesel K Hill is a novelist who writes across three genres including scifi and fantasy. She loved to read and write at a young age, and her earliest memories consist of her father sitting in the doorway of her room at night, relating stories of Frodo, Gandalf, and the One Ring. Her mother also read to her every afternoon as a child, sometimes for several hours a day. Today she is an award-winning author and a Story Clarity Coach. Writers can choose from her Story Clarity Coaching, Word Coaching, or Marketing Mentorship programs, ranging from her popular Power Hour Session to advanced Author Career Coaching.
Are you an author seeking to connect with readers? Then you’ll definitely want to attend the January 8, 2021 Facebook live in the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple group. Nan Jenkins of The Author Encounter will be chatting with me about that very topic. The event will be held at 12 p.m. CST and a replay will be available. If you’re not a member of the Shortcuts group, you can join here. I am honored to be a supporter member of The Author Encounter. Below, Nan shares three tips for building reader engagement. You’ll also learn about another special event The Author Encounter has coming up and how you can get more information.
UPDATE: You’ll find a recording of the above livestream at the bottom of this post.
As writers we want to tell a story and have as many people as possible read that story and love it. Whether you’re an established author or just an aspiring one, a key component to reaching as many people as possible is engagement.
Engagement, or the relationship between Author and Reader, is not always easy to establish and can be a lot of work, but is key to spreading the word about a book or book series. There are three simple keys to establishing reader engagement that every author should think about and implement when building an audience. Those keys are Engagement, Consistency, and Follow-through. Using these keys will help create an audience that not only loves your creative works, but shares and engages with them.
How Do You Establish Engagement?
The first step in establishing engagement with readers is to engage with them. They can’t engage if there is nothing to engage with. Figure out the most comfortable method for you whether it be some type of social media or email communication. Then once you set up your profile or build your email list, the next key begins.
What Does Consistency Do For You?
Consistency lets people know where they can find you or expect to hear from you. At first when establishing an audience it can feel like you’re doing so much and no one is listening. However, most fans are excited when they know exactly where they can find and communicate with you. Which brings us to the next key: Follow-through.
How Does Follow-through Help?
Follow-through is key to establishing engagement because it lets the people know that they are communicating with a real person, not a bot or automatic system. So when a person asks a question on social media or in an email, a response is always important. Responding and following through on statements, comments, and questions not only establishes engagement, but it builds the bonds that tie your fans to your work.
Recap From Nan
Using these three keys of engagement, consistency, and follow-through in establishing engagement with your audience will give you a strong base to reach as many people as possible. Although the keys sound easy, they can be a lot of work to actually implement. This is one of the reasons I was so excited to help found The Author Encounter.
The Author Encounter is dedicated to increasing the visibility of authors and boosting fan engagement. You can find more information about The Author Encounter on our website.
For more information on increasing fan engagement, watch the below workshop that was originally presented in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group.
Today I wanted to highlight an innovative book marketing site called StoryOrigin, a marketing tool and community of authors that work together to build their mailing lists, increase sales, find reviewers, and stay on top of deadlines. Recently I included StoryOrigin in my blog post: 5 Recommended Resources for Authors During the Pandemic.
Those of you who follow me closely know that my goal is to make editing simple and more affordable for authors, and I do that though my online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable, my Facebook group, YouTube channel, and blog. StoryOrigin is doing something similar for book marketing, trying to break down a big, annoying task (book promotion) into more manageable components while also making it affordable.
You can read my review of the site in the above article, but here I wanted to delve into how this useful community came about and find out more about Evan Gow, the indie developer of StoryOrigin. Below is my interview with Evan. If you’re an active user on StoryOrigin, I’ll bet you find this behind the scenes look quite interesting. And if you haven’t checked out this book marketing site yet, keep reading!
When did you start StoryOrigin?
StoryOrigin launched publicly in April 2018.
How did you get the idea to create it? Are you a writer yourself?
I used to write short stories back in high school, then participated in a tech entrepreneurship program in college, which sparked my desire to build a company. After working for a few years, I decided it was the right time to make the leap and combine my interests in writing and programming. I talked with a few authors about what tools they were using and realized just how much of a pain it was.
Before StoryOrigin, you’d have to use one site for finding reviewers, another one for building your mailing list, spend a few hours on Facebook looking for newsletter swaps, and the list goes on. So, I decided to simplify things and build a one-stop-shop, so authors could save time and manage everything from a single platform.
Why did you decide to make it free? How long do you anticipate it being free?
For the beta period, I wanted to be able to focus solely on building best-in-class features. I also knew that the feature set was going to expand immensely from when it was initially launched, and it wouldn’t have made sense to decide on a specific pricing model at the point.
StoryOrigin likely won’t be free for much longer, but the guarantee I make (and I state this publicly on the front page of StoryOrigin) is that if you join during the beta period, you will continue to get everything completely free for a period of months even after it becomes paid. The continuing free period is also there, so if you don’t like the pricing model, you can migrate to a different set of tools before you start paying. My goal with pricing is to make it affordable for authors at all stages though.
What are your goals with StoryOrigin for the future?
My goals are to continue helping authors grow their audiences and their businesses. My to-do list always seems to be getting longer with lots more to incorporate into StoryOrigin, but I also like to play it close to the vest. 😉
About how many authors have registered for the site?
8,000+ authors have signed up to StoryOrigin and it’s continuing to grow rapidly.
How has the site evolved over the past several months?
When StoryOrigin launched, it had minimal functionality. All you could do was create a reader magnet landing page and integrate it with your email service provider, so emails would automatically be added to your mailing list. Since then, I added quite a few features including:
Universal book links
Audiobook promo code distribution
A content planning calendar
My general method is to work out the main components of a major feature, release it, then iterate and improve upon it with feedback from authors, so it becomes a best-in-class feature.
The latest feature I released was a goal tracker, which you can use to track your word count and calculate daily targets to hit deadlines and stay motivated. There actually wasn’t anyone asking me for this feature, but I got a huge amount of love when I released it, because it meant one less spreadsheet to keep track of for a lot of authors. They could spend less time on managing their business and more time on writing.
Has anything been surprising to you during this journey? Is it growing the way you imagined, or has it gone in unexpected directions?
If you write a bad book, all of the advertising in the world can’t save you. Unfortunately, a great book with no advertising won’t get you anywhere either.
Oftentimes, what sets apart bestsellers isn’t necessarily the strength of their writing. It’s the strength of their marketing. A good book is a checkbox you have to mark in order to be successful, but it’s the marketing that will drive your success. Many authors simply aren’t willing to engage in that part of the business though. That’s why I’m trying to make it easier.
What are some creative and/or successful ways that authors have used the site?
StoryOrigin provides the underlying infrastructure to help you manage your review team, build your mailing list, and send readers to your purchasing page. However, it’s the group promos and newsletter swaps you can find on StoryOrigin that can multiply your reach to thousands of readers.
What are the benefits of group promotions and newsletter swaps?
The main benefit of group promotions and newsletter swaps is that they can massively expand your audience and can be used to find reviewers, build your mailing list, or increase sales. There are lots of ways you can expand your reach though, so why are newsletter swaps and group promotions are rising in popularity? Because they’re:
Free to set up
Easy to arrange
Targeted with other authors in your genre
Do you have any suggestions for authors interested in using the site to build reviews?
StoryOrigin can be used to build reviews for both your audiobooks and ebooks. When you set up a review copy landing page on StoryOrigin, any reader can apply for a review copy and mark where they will leave a review (e.g., Amazon) along with the link to their reviewer profile on that site, so you can see what other books they’ve reviewed.
StoryOrigin also gives you their reviewer stats—the percentage of review copies they’ve received through StoryOrigin and have actually left reviews for. When you receive an application for a review copy of your ebook or audiobook on StoryOrigin, you should check the reader’s stats and reviewer profile to make sure they are someone you trust will leave a review and that they actually read books in your genre.
Are you ready to write a book but don’t know where to start? Are you wondering about the pros and cons of traditional vs. indie book publishing? Do you want to gain some book marketing tips so that you can increase your royalties?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I invite you to listen to my interview on The Boss Lady Investor Podcast. Host Krista Goodrich interviewed me about the inspiration for my books as well as the ins and outs of writing, publishing, and marketing. We discussed lots of book publishing tips to help new writers as well as experienced authors.
Krista is the author of the book, The Boss Lady Investor: You Don’t Need a D!*k to Understand Money. If Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad and Rachel Hollis’s Girl Wash Your Face had a baby, this book would be it! This hilarious take on personal finance for women will get you learning and laughing at the same time. Ready to get out of debt? Grow your retirement? Increase your savings? Build a life of wealth, so you can do the things you REALLY want to do? The Boss Lady Investor: You Don’t Need a D!*K to Understand Money is the go-to book for women looking to understand personal finance, saving, debt, investing, real estate, and more.
This entertaining and relatable book explains, from a woman’s point-of-view, how to understand the stock market, plan for the unexpected, and build yourself to a level of wealth beyond your wildest dreams. Jam-packed with ideas, information, and real-life examples, The Boss Lady Investor will get you started on your way to financial freedom. Want to have a wildly successful life? Then get ready to dive into this book and take the reins on your financial future.
You can tune in to The Boss Lady Investor Podcast to hear sneak peeks of chapters from the book, interviews with down-to-earth Boss Ladies, and all the great advice and tips Krista couldn’t fit into the book.
My episode, #24, will motivate you to get out there and write if that is what your heart desires. It will also give you my candid feedback on where to go for support, book promotion tips, and how to deal with rejection. Listen here.