Today’s guest blog is from Pamela Tracy. Pamela has been a client of Steve Laube for over 11 years! She was one of the first who joined when he put out the agent shingle. She was first published in 1999 and has written over 30 books with over one million copies in print. In 2016 she has four new books coming out (two traditionally published, one Indie, and one repackaged reprint). She has been a RITA award finalist and a winner of the ACFW Carol award. To find out more, visit her web site at www.PamelaTracy.com.
I’ve learned a lot during the last sixteen years as a published author. I have! But, I cringe at the mistakes I’ve made along the way, the opportunities I’ve missed. To dwell on those, however, does a disservice to the risks that paid off and the opportunities I grabbed.
Risk is an important word, by the way.
Yes. Every. Day.
As you read, keep in mind, these work for me – a writer with a full-time career (outside of writing), a ten-year-old still at home, and more items on my to-do list than a sane person would allow.
“Top Ten Marketing Tools” that clutter my toolbox.
Some are well-worn from use; some are practically new just waiting for their turn; others are there when I need them but seem to get buried due to the demands of everyday life.
Tools Well-worn from Use
1. Website – always updated, with a easy-to-print booklist as well as both a short and long bio. On the homepage – not cluttered – are links to other social media endeavors like Facebook and Twitter.
2. Facebook – Try to always include a picture, try to do twenty conversational posts for every book promo post. Make sure to note who likes your posts. Like some of their posts in return.
3. Amazon – Pay attention to your Author page, update it, make sure all your books are showing. Also, check that when you click on the inside of your book, it really is your book. Right now, the LOOK INSIDE feature of my 2016 reprint Where the Heart Is, has an excerpt from Stephanie Grace Whitson. I read the excerpt, liked it, and will probably buy the book. Still, I’d rather have Where the Heart Is with my excerpt. When someone posts a good review on Amazon (or anywhere, really), see if they’ve listed their personal blog. Often you can leave a comment on their blog. By the way, I’m usually willing to send a book to a reader I know will review it. I try to never leave a comment on a review of my own books. My only exception to this is when someone asks a question.
4. Blogs – I know, they are so yesterday, but I belong to three, two of which I help run. Using the right labels can make all the difference. For example, on the Harlequin Heartwarming Blog, well over two years ago, author Kate James wrote a post about dogs. It’s still getting hits. Problem is, many bloggers only look at the day a blog goes up to judge success or failure. Truth is, readers can find a blog post based by keywords years after it went live. Also, if you’re getting 147 page loads a day (I know, I know, some of them are from the people involved in the blog) that might be 120 free exposures. A reader might stumble across your blog post by accident! Do unique endeavors on your blog. Write serials, do “Guess the author from the baby photo,” and most important of all, respond to those who comment. Also, put your photo and next book at the end of the post.
5. I still carry my books in the trunk of my car. If I see someone reading in a restaurant, I’ll introduce myself and ask them if they want a book. I leave my book in motels, at hospitals if I’m visiting, and at any retirement community where friends live. I actually gave a copy of my latest book to the guy installing the new cabinets in my kitchen. He said his wife likes to read. Sometimes I have a pre-made note that says “If you liked this book, please leave a review on either Amazon or Goodreads.”
There When I need Them
6. Publisher Website – I write for Harlequin. They have a community page. I can go on it and meet other authors as well as readers. I can have my face or the cover of my book next to my signature.
7. Respond to every fan letter you receive. Some are easy to respond to because of the kindred spirit gene. Others are not so easy. Make a response note that identifies you and your genre – make the response notes in difference sizes. Online is easy. The word “Thanks” and “I appreciate…” go a long way. Keep track of addresses for the newsletter you promise yourself you’ll start writing.
8. Figure out how to get a write-up in the newspaper. Being an author is not enough. The last time I had a feature, it was because in my family there are three romance writers (my sister-in-law and me) married to or dating (Gramma) three plumbers from the same family. It was the hook that sold the reporter.
Practically New & Waiting Their Turn
9. Goodreads – I’m beginning to think this should be number one on my list. It’s where the readers are. I’m settled with my website, Facebook, and Amazon. I’m not settled with Goodreads, but I want to be. Right now, I’m reviewing books, I’m making sure my book covers are up, and I’ve joined a group discussion that matches the genre I write in. I never push my books, but I am trying to push my name. I also intend to do an individual blog there and do giveaways via Rafflecopter.
10. Pinterest – really. I’ve opened an account, haven’t penned a single thing, and every week I’m getting new friends.
One of the best things about marketing is that publishers have their own toolbox. They’re bigger! Today, for example, I have a free online read at eHarlequin. For the last two months, I’ve worked with other authors with free online reads – from blog tours, to giveaways, to Harlequin offering a free year’s subscription to the Heartwarming line.
By the way, writing this post, falls under participating in a group blog. I’m putting away my well-worn tool – I’m very comfortable writing blog posts – and I’ll spend the rest of the day waiting to see what marketing ideas you give me in the comment section.