I want this to be the year you fall in love with marketing your book. Effective marketing is hard . . . and bad marketing kills careers and passion, so this isn’t an easy endeavor.
We often think if we ‘show up for the right person with the right message at the right time,’ it’s okay to push our books over and over.
First, you risk annoying whatever audience you have. Every piece of content you put out there is a take; it’s asking people to give you attention in an attention-starved world. Think about it. When you hang out with your friends, you don’t insist that they watch Supernaturalevery time you see them, even though it’s the best TV show ever! You mention it a couple times and let a year go by before bringing it up again. Hopefully, between those moments, you’re checking in with your friends, thanking them, asking them questions, and recommending other shows.
Second, when you chronically promote yourself, you burn out. Being an author whose #1 marketing goal is to vie for attention is ironically ineffective. The internet has become a noisy place. ‘Right message, right person, right time’ isn’t enough when 10,000 other authors have zapped your ideal reader’s attention that day.
So here is my suggestion: collaborate with trusted authors in your genre. Great things happen when we become each other’s referral networks:
You’ll show up with fabulous recommendations for your ideal readers, even when it doesn’t help our bottom line, directly speaking, which makes them feel you have their interest at heart.
And while we spotlight other authors to build rapport with our readers, those authors are spotlighting us.
No more chronic self-promotion. No more showing up just for the sake of it because you heard marketing is about making touch points. When done right, your collaborations bring warm leads in for you.
Does this resonate? If so, I’d love to invite you to Sell Books With Collabs, an event where authors will hang out in Zoom together to learn collaboration strategies AND do tons of networking with other collaborative authors.It runs from Jan 24-27, 2023. You can sign up here for FREE through my affiliate link.
Sell Books With Collabs Summit
If you upgrade to the VIP pass, you’ll get invite-only access to ATTEND the event in ZOOM where you’ll meet and bond with your future collab besties and get work done together. On top of that, you’ll get thousands of dollars worth of bonuses specifically made to help you write, publish, and sell more books on launch day and beyond. These bonuses include deep discounts as well as totally gifted software tools, courses, books, services and more.
Here’s why this is such an amazing opportunity. It can feel intimidating to approach industry experts doing incredible things, collaborating, platforming each other, and growing together, almost like they’re in some club. How do you get in the club?
Chances are not great that your dream partners will come knocking on your doorstep, and that’s okay because you can go to them; no one who is ahead of you is better than you. But remember, relationship-builders make and maintain friendships with relationship builders, so show them you are indeed a relationship builder when it comes to marketing your book. When you find your dream partners, think about approaching them in a way that makes them want to engage.
Thank them, introduce them to their dream partners or clients, check in with them, and invite them to speak on your podcast or at your summit. These are all ways to foster friendships with authors who already serve your ideal readers. People are more likely to say, ‘Sure!’ to promoting you when you have a track record of caring about them. The know-like-trust factor applies to colleagues, too,
At Sell Books With Collabs, you’ll learn collaboration strategies and walk away with lifelong partners you can collaborate with right away. The event features a variety of presentations and coworking and networking sessions scheduled between 1:30 and 9 p.m. Eastern each day. Watch the live stream or grab a VIP Pass and enter the Zoom session where you’ll form important partnerships. The speakers are bookselling and collaboration experts who will give short live presentations. Grab a VIP Passand you’ll get direct access to them to ask your follow-up questions.
Presentation will be spaced out so that, in between, VIP attendees can network in breakout rooms, cowork to music, stretch, and play. All attendees will also have access to a private Facebook group where authors will be partying it up before the event starts and working together to figure out what types of collaborations best serve their readers and brands.
I bought my VIP ticket and hope to see you at Sell Books With Collabsso that this year you can explode your book marketing.
Affiliate links were included in this post, however, I only promote products and events that I recommend.
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 a published author who would like to get some exposure on the Shortcuts for Writers blog? Then I’d love to have you participate in my guest blogging opportunity, Behind the Rewrite. This is a win-win opportunity as you get to share the post with your readers, giving them a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse of your writing process. And I get to share the post with my writer followers, so they can learn more about self-editing through your examples.
You have three choices for how to approach your guest post. Please choose one of the below options.
Line Editing Before-And-After – Find a section of your manuscript that you did a lot of line editing on (50-150 words). Write an introduction giving a short overview (a paragraph or two) of the type of line edits you made. (i.e. making sentences more active, cutting vague words, using more vivid words, etc.) Then copy and paste the unedited excerpt into the blog post. Beneath it, paste the rewrite of how it reads with line editing.
Top 5 Changes – Rather than pasting a before-and-after with line editing, you can do a post talking about your larger-scale edits. Tell us about five things you changed and why you made those changes. Each explanation should be at least a paragraph. For example, did you flesh out your protagonist? Add more obstacles in the middle? Cut your prologue? Change your characters’ names? Delete sections to improve the pacing? Add more description? Do more research and add authentic details? Give us a summary of five things you rewrote and your reasons for each change.
Deleted Scene – Share a deleted scene (up to 500 words). Preface it with an explanation of at least 3-5 paragraphs. Explain specifically why the scene didn’t work as written and when you realized it. Did you totally delete the scene, or did you heavily rewrite it? If you rewrote it, give us a summary of what you changed and how this was an improvement. If you cut out the section without rewriting it, how did cutting it improve the book? How hard was it for you to cut?
Whichever option you choose, at the end of your post be sure to include the following:
The book must be published and professionally edited. If an excerpt isn’t strong enough to post as a Behind the Rewrite, I reserve the right to reject the post. You can share the title, blurb, and Amazon link at the bottom of your post.
A short bio, link to your website, and links to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. (if applicable). Please paste this beneath the book blurb.
Send the post to email@example.com as a Word attachment. In the subject line, put BEHIND THE REWRITE FROM (INSERT YOUR NAME) Also attach a jpeg of the book cover you’re promoting. Size should be 600 by 900.
Is there a specific time-frame you’re hoping this post will run to coincide with a book release or blog tour? I run these posts weekly, in the order they are received, so you will be scheduled for the next available date. Unfortunately, I can’t change the schedule around to squeeze in a blog tour or a book release. However, if your book release or blog tour is a few months away, and you want me to hold onto your submission until then, I don’t mind delaying the publication.
I will let you know when the post will run, and will tag you on social media. I can’t wait to read about the behind-the-scenes of your rewrite process!