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Number Two of Twelve Must-Do’s for Authors
Creating Your Marketing and Promotion Calendar for 2020 and Beyond… Part One
I’ve been in marketing a number of years (dare I say decades?). Marketing and Promotion have always been moving targets, but now with the internet they are targets that move at light speed.
If you want to sell books and you want to have your author career advance, you will need to have a promotion and marketing plan that can pivot and is flexible.
And if you have an M & P plan already, you will need to constantly update it, add to it, and evaluate what works and what doesn’t.
First of all, the M & P Calendar is complex and integrated at many levels, which can make it overwhelming. But that is where Chanticleer can assist.
Do keep in mind, that many of the moving parts are small and incremental steps that are not hard to do, but they will add up and add up substantially.
Promotion of a book (or any product) is a continuous exercise of good marketing and promotional habits. Many are not difficult or time consuming but most be done on a regular basis. Marketing and Promotion are NOT one trick ponies.
Let us start at the beginning. Laying the Groundwork for your M&P calendar.
Strategy – First start with the Big Picture.
What I do is keep a notebook and a calendar. I tend to be old school and like paper and pencil for my reminders and calendar. I then add the information to my Google calendar so that it will remind me on my smart phone.
Andy prefers to go all digital with no paper. He uses integrated digital calendars and custom project management software—thank goodness because that is how we track and manage the CIBAs.
Here are 10 Points to consider and implement.
We will then fill in with more detailed information in Part Two of this blog-post.
One. Identify 10 best-selling author in your genre that you would like to ask for an author blurb?
It doesn’t matter if you are launching a new work or promoting your back list.
Write their names down in your M&P notebook. We will come back to this in the next blog post. Promise.
Two. Identify any seasons or holidays that are associated with your titles.
I always think of Love of Finished Years by Gregory Erich Phillips at Christmas time because of his touching WWI Christmas Eve scene that takes place in the heat of battle. It is book that I can read and reread.
Or Ann Charles’ Deadwood Series that feature Violet Parker, real estate agent and single mom gets me in the mood for Halloween.
Would your books make awesome vacation reads? Or cozy sit by the fire reads? Or perfect for traveling?
Are your books page turning thrillers that will have readers consuming it at one sitting? Or something for a reader to look forward to reading a chapter or two a night? Know your readers.
A personal favorite cozy mystery series of mine that I like to read is Michelle Cox’s Henrietta and Inspector Howard mystery series because I enjoy tthe time frame that series takes place in, and I like the protagonists. Reading the series is a wonderful escape for me.
What holidays or seasons can you target to promote your works? Write them down in that notebook.
Three. Target Book Clubs – Online and Groups that meet in person
Book clubs tend to chart out their reads months in advance if not a year in advance. Start getting “Top of Mind” share and getting on the “think about list.”
Make sure that your website, author description, Facebook page, Twitter, blog posts, and any other media alerts readers that you are available for Skyping, showing up in person, supplying stimulating questions for the group, and that you just adore BOOK CLUBS. If there are libraries that have your books in their book club kits, list them on the Book Club section of your website.
Keep a running list of Book Clubs that you want to reach out to and keep in contact with them. Put reminders in your calendar to continually reach out to book clubs of all types. They can propel an author and have far reaching affects on readership gains.
The Roost at Chanticleer will have a running list of book clubs and how to contact them. This will be up and running before the end of January.
Four. Author Events
Again, dates fill up at book stores, retail outlets, book fairs, book conventions, libraries, and specialty events. Chanticleerians have passed on to me that they have had great success at wine bars, grocery stores, flower shops, seasonal events such at the Lavender events in the PNW, comic cons, brewpubs, entertainment events if your work has a connection with them, re-enactments, hobbyists, the list can go on and on.
The award-winning Janet Shawgo has presented sessions on this at the Chanticleer Authors Conference. All in attendance were inspired by her creativity and willingness to share.
And I have it good advice that one shouldn’t discount small events. It is better to be a big fish at a small event rather sitting idly by while a line a mile long forms for a celebrity author. I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count.
Guerrilla marketing is the friend of aspiring authors. It can even the playing field with its unconventional interactions and surprises. Remember, readers are acquired one by one—which makes guerrilla marketing especially effective.
Be creative. Be open. But get those gigs lined up and on the calendar. Pronto! And start on next year’s events.
Make your list with the venue, date, date of contact, date of recontact, results. Continuously add venues and events as you discover them.
Add the confirmed dates to your Promotion Calendar. There will be more work to be done.
Jesikah Sundin, award-winning author of The Biodome Chronicles excels at guerrilla marketing, branding, and author events that build loyal readership. And her books deliver and keep her readers coming back for more!
Five. Discover experts who will resonate with your books. (We call this SLANT in the marketing industry).
Who is an expert in the field that your work is associated with?
Ann Charles is a full-time author of mysteries. Her popular protagonist is Violet Parker, a real estate agent in Deadwood? Guess who her biggest fans are? Real Estate agents! And she has targeted them and they have become evangelical fans for her series. The real estate network is huge. And so is her fan-base.
For instance, Pamela Beason writes mysteries that tend to take place in wilderness areas. She is a career author (making a living at writing) and a retired private investigator. Pam targets hikers, backpackers, wilderness protectors. One of her mystery series is focused around Neema, a communicating gorilla who can communicate using sign language. Pam targets these folks in social media. Her YA series has a rescued elephant. You get the picture? Did I mention that I am a Neema fangirl?
What are your books’ angles? What is the slant? (what is the voice? what is your underlying message?)
This exercise is one that you should repeat each year with your back list.
If you can get an endorsement from experts that have a common interest in your books, you will be able to broaden your target market. It doesn’t matter if the expert is a real estate agent, or a barista, or is leader in a knitting circle… This is how word of mouth is created. Create these bonds. It will make your next book launch much more easy.
Remember Jesikah from Point #Four. Her books crossover from fantasy, YA, cyber-punk, eco-punk, gaming, science fiction, steampunk, and … just imagine all the blurbs, recommendations, and READERS and their reviews that Jesikah’s marketing attracts.
Six. Identify 10 Authors to Network within Social Media and in Real Life.
These should be authors whose readers will also enjoy your works and authors that your readers will enjoy their books.
If you have ten, then add ten more. You can never have enough.
This is called increasing your CIRCLE of INFLUENCE. The relationship should be reciprocal. We will circle back around to this.
A good test is to determine if your works and the selected authors works would be shelved together at the book store or at the local library.
Write this list down in your M & P book/ledger. Each year, continue to expand it.
J.D. Barker, a masterful storyteller, recommends that your genre should crossover… just imagine having your books shelved in more than one location at booksellers. Get the picture?
Shameless self-promotion here … you should check out his interview in the last issue of the Chanticleer Reviews magazine.
Order your copy today… 🙂
Seven. Focus Your Author Brand.
Each and every visual element associated with you as an author should have focus and should move your author brand forward on your website, in your social media, in your type fonts, in the background imagery. A reader should be able to tell in less than three seconds what overall genre you are writing in. Are your books dark and mysterious? Fantastical? Sexy? Historical? Dystopian? Everything from the icon that marks your website in the browser to the background that coordinates with all of your internet and real marketing collateral (covers, book swag, business cards, etc.). Make sure that your author photos resonate with your works. That doesn’t mean you have to be brooding in person if your books are dark and mysterious, but you should have a persona, a brand that distinguishes you from the other millions of authors and writers. A visual brand.
Ann Charles is a maestro at author branding. Visit her website and Facebook pages for inspiration (and to buy her U.S.A Today bestselling books).
Eight. Become an Expert in Some Area of Publishing and Share Your Knowledge
Writers by far make up the largest number of readers. We just can’t help ourselves. An excellent way to get on writers’ reading list is to present at writer’s conferences. It is widely known that after a writer gives a presentation, his/her/they see an increase in sales. Most would say a direct correlation.
Many best-selling authors have gotten their start and created an ever increasing fan-base by sharing their knowledge and expertise with other authors and aspiring writers. Diane Gabaldon shared (and continues to) her knowledge for years by presenting at writers’ conferences. She is known for being extremely generous with her knowledge and expertise as is Robert Dugoni. The list goes on and on with international best-selling authors who share and mentor authors—authors such as J.D. Barker, C.C. Humphreys, Ann Charles, Ursula Le Guin, George R.R. Martin, Pamela Beason, are among the authors who believe in mentoring aspiring authors and giving back to the writing community.
Discover your publishing expertise. Is it coming up with inciting incidents? Or world building? Or a knack for dialogue? Or social media posts that garner attention? Or being creative in where to do book promotions? Or how to get that first draft out of your head and into black on white? Or discovering new platforms to sell works on? Or working ? Or posture while writing? Or?
The main thing is to share your knowledge and expertise.
So start asking to present or participate in panels at author events, in schools, at libraries, in your local writing groups, or the conferences that you are planning on attending.
Write down your opportunities. Find out the deadlines for proposals. Keep a list and add to it.
Nine. Podcasting and Video Blogging — Be the Interviewer or be the Interview-ee but be in the Podcast Airwaves
With the advent of voice-driven assistants, podcasts are becoming more and more a part of daily life. Just like audio books. ( the fastest growing segment of publishing).
Chanticleer has podcasts and video blogs. It is the new and latest that is certain to replace “blog hopping.” Make sure that you get your foot in the door! Even this blog post is converted to a podcast.
As with any transition, you will need to do both: blogging and podcasting. Learn how to build your content pyramid at the Chanticleer Authors Conference 2020.
Paul Cutsinger, head of Amazon’s Alexa Code Labs will present and keynote.
He will discuss
- Why Voice Enabled Technology is Here to Stay
- The Publishing Industry and Voice Technology
- StoryTelling and Voice Technology
- Audiobooks and Voice
- Engaging Readers with Voice-driven Devices
With more than 100 million Alexa devices in use, this a market segment that should not be overlooked in any author or publisher’s marketing plan.
Time to start lining up your calendar with podcast and video blog events.
Ten. Enter Your Works into Book Award Competitions and Contests
Of course, we want to promote the Chanticleer International Book Awards with its 14 genre divisions and 2 non-fiction divisions.
Book awards are a time honored tradition that help to distinguish best books and manuscripts from the millions of books that are written each year (and published).
They give authors talking points, interviewers talking points, allow for point of sale marketing, social media marketing and so much more.
Make sure to enter your works and see how they stack up against the others in your genre.
Deadlines are closer than they appear! And there is nothing like a blue ribbon to help sell more books at a book fair or author event. #justsaying
That calendar should be starting to fill in.
Click here for a Handy Worksheet that you can print out to help you to create your Market and Promotion Calendar.
This Second Installment will take time to complete and you may need to work on it intermittently (but consistently) to get everything logged.
Then the real work will begin.
The next post will discuss implementing these first 8 Goals and creating discrete tasks to implement on a regular basis:
Annually, Seasonally/Quarterly, Monthly, Twice a Month, Weekly, Almost daily.
And social media postings, and blog postings, and articles, and…
We elaborate on the first ten items and incorporate them into the calendar and create a schedule.
Thank you for joining us in this Writer’s Tool Box series: The 12 MUST-Do’s for Authors Number Two of Twelve blog-post articles.We hope these were handy reminders or something new to consider.
If there is something we should add to this blog-post or you have an experience that you would like to share or a question that you would like to ask about this blog post, please contact us at KBrown@ChantiReviews.com or SAnderson@ChantiReviews.com
We’d love to hear from you!
Thank you for joining us and please stay tuned for the next article!