"I can help you!"


I've worked for over 25 years in advertising, promotions and sales, and spent nearly 2 years as a motivational speaker for a major international company. Currently a bestselling novelist and 'shameless' promoter, I've shared my experiences and techniques as a Book Marketing Coach for nearly a decade.

Whether you're published or unpublished, I can help. My last publisher called me a "marketing guru" and "whiz", although I prefer to think of what I do as teaching, or coaching.

"Dare to Dream...and Dream BIG!"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Crafting a Message Your Audience Will Care About

Book marketing expert Penny Sansevieri shares valuable advice on inbound marketing.

So at this point, you probably all know that Internet/inbound marketing is not only the wave of the future, but the best way to sell yourself, your book, your product, or your service. So maybe you're on Twitter, Facebook, you might even have a blog that you keep updated but if it feels like nothing seems to be meshing.

Before you plug in another tweet, take a moment to step back and really focus on who you're tweeting to. The point really of a good inbound marketing campaign is to bring consumers "in" and you can't do that if they don't care about what you're saying.

How can you determine what your reader wants? Well, ask them. If you do a lot of speaking events, or any at all, you probably get questions. I find that audience questions can really help to seed ideas, meaning that the Q&A portion of any author event is often a great resource to gather the needs of your market.

There are other ways that you can figure out what your reader wants, the first is to stay current. You can do this by subscribing to blogs, following industry leaders on Twitter or getting Google Alerts (which you should do anyway). Getting Google Alerts for your keywords is a great way to see who's writing what about your market.

Let's say that you have identified a message, maybe two, that is crucial to your market. How do you know if you've hit on your right marketing model? Well, the numbers never lie. By "numbers" I mean site hits, increased Twitter followers, etc. Here are a few ways to measure results:

1) Measure effectively: in order to know if stuff is working you'll need to measure effectively. Here are a few ways to do that: Retweets on Twitter: the best sign of success on Twitter is the amount of retweets. Are you getting them and if so, how often? If your tweets are good and your followers are active, you should see a few a week at least (depending on the amount of followers you have).

2) Site hits: are the hits to your site increasing? Are you watching your analytics to be sure? If you're not, you should be. Watch your site stats closely and monitor the increase in traffic and where it's coming from.

3) Inbound links: how many new ones are you getting? Did you do a vanity search before you started this campaign? If not, do that now. Make sure you know how many new incoming links you're getting as a result of your efforts.

4) Sign-ups to your mailing list: are they increasing? If you're doing the right stuff in your social media they should be increasing weekly.

Finally, before you launch headfirst into any marketing campaign, be sure and set some clear goals. For example, you might ask yourself, what are your goals are for Twitter? If it's just about gathering followers then you are missing a big piece of this social networking tool. For many marketing people it's all about the number but numbers don't make as much sense unless they are driving interest to you and your book. If the numbers keep growing along with traffic to your website then you're on the right track. But if you're just growing numbers for the sake of being able to say that you have 10,000 followers then it makes no sense. That's like buying a fancy car you can't really afford. Eventually the debt of it will drag you down. It's the same with Twitter and Facebook and any other social media site. It's not about the numbers. It's about the activity.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dare to Dream...

It is said that every person has at least one good story in them! Some people are gifted to have more than one.

Do you know a future writer – someone who dreams of writing fiction, poetry, or short stories? Maybe that future writer is…you! If you dream of writing, then why not write?

Why not Dare to Dream…and Dream BIG?

There once was a young girl who dreamed of becoming a writer. Her goal was to become the next Stephen King…or 'Stephanie', at least. When she was about 16, she started writing a novel. It took her over a year to complete it and at 17, she tried to find a publisher. She submitted query letters, partial manuscripts…and her dreams, for other people to judge. She received rejection letter after rejection letter.

The first strike against her was that she had very few published works – a few town articles in a small local paper were her only credit. The second strike against her was that she was Canadian, struggling to get into a predominantly American market. 95% of the major, big-league publishing companies were American. She hit a brick wall – hard.

For the next few years, she wrote mostly poetry until she submitted a health and beauty article and landed another column in a small newspaper. And then a year or so later she ended up in a New Brunswick newspaper, as the writer of a song dedicated to the Gulf War soldiers. This was the first indication that she had power – power to influence people's emotions, to make them feel something.

Years passed as she struggled to find a way to make her dream come true, to be that writer. She continued to write, took a course in journalism/short story writing and graduated with a 98% average. She wrote two children's books, complete with illustrations and tried desperately to get them published. They became her 'babies', her creations. Her children's books were well received in schools when she did readings, but no one seemed interested in publishing them. After two years of more brick walls, she gave up trying. Her dream dissipated…died a slow death.

More years went by, until one day she was talking to a friend about a story she had always wanted to write. It was a story about a young girl who experiences a tragedy and loses part of her memory – a tale about killer whales and native legends. It was a story about wolves and dreams, love and life, death and fear…but mostly it was a story about triumph and forgiveness. Her friend told her "You need to just WRITE it! Even if it never gets published, write it for YOU!"

My friend was right! And now I am a bestselling author!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: The Newbie's Guide to Publishing by JA Konrath

 4/5 stars ~ J.A. Konrath's blog has been a popular must-read for authors for a long time, and now he's consolidated his posts into one book, a reference every author should have, especially if you're new to marketing your books. He shares his expertise on publishing, self-publishing, Kindle sales, book signings, online tours, blogging and so much more.

Considering this author is earning more with his ebooks than many traditionally published authors with big publishers, his advice is worth listening to and following. Though most of what you'll read in The Newbie's Guide to Publishing isn't new (if you've been in the marketing biz for a bit), you could spend months searching for this same info online.

My only constructive criticism of this book is that it could have been better organized; there is a fair amount of repetition. And it could have used a decent editor. But if you can overlook these issues, the book has great value as a marketing tool. Along with Steve Weber's Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity through Social Networking, The Newbie's Guide to Publishing should be on every writer's bookshelf.

I find it helpful to have this book on hand for reviewing marketing techniques and reminding myself of what's important to me as an author and promoter of my works. As a book marketing coach, I recommend this book to my clients.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
bestselling suspense author & book marketing coach

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Should writers pursue print publication or publish their own ebooks?

The above question came up in a forum recently, and while everyone has to determine what's right for them as it is a very personal decision, I gave them my thoughts on the topic.
I say go for both--print and ebooks. If you have a traditional publisher for your print, all the better. But don't let that stop you from publishing your own ebooks, especially the ones your agent and publisher aren't interested in. You definitely don't want to overlook the ebook market. That's where the money is right now for authors, if you publish the ebooks yourself.

As a self-published and traditionally published print author, I've seen the pros and cons to both sides.

If you have a backlist of titles that your publisher is finished with, get them up on Amazon Kindle, KoboBooks and Smashwords right away. Sales of ebooks are on the rise, and they won't be stopping or slowing any time too soon.

Other ideas for ebooks: publish a collection of short stories or an anthology with other authors, publish a novella or novelette, publish a how-to book or a book of poetry.

I have 4 ebooks coming out between April 1, 2010 and Sept 27, 2010. :-) There's only one thing better than promoting your books, and that's writing them!

My agent is holding 2 thrillers. I'm considering taking one back and publishing it as an ebook next spring.

The key is this: you want to build momentum, then try to keep that momentum going. And the only way to do this is to keep releasing books under some semblance of regularity.
With Amazon's recent royalty raise to 70% for qualifying ebooks, it's possible for authors to now make more money selling less expensive ebooks than selling traditionally published print books. But in the end, it depends on the personal goals of each writer.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Guest Post: Ten Things You Can Do Now to Promote the Novel You Haven’t Even Sold Yet

Today's guest blogger is Gina Holmes, author of the novel Crossing Oceans, and she's sharing some valuable tips. Here are Ten Things You Can Do Now to Promote the Novel You Haven’t Even Sold Yet:

  1. Buy your website URL and begin to build it. You can go very expensive and pay thousands for a professional site, or you could start small and do something like godaddy, where you build your own site. I took a third route and hired someone to make me a template and then set it up like a blog, so that I could tweak and update it easily.
  1. Get professional headshots. I hired a friend whose work I admired but who is still considered an amateur. For fifty dollars and my husband agreeing to baby-sit for an afternoon, I got a few really great and professional looking pictures. Don’t let anyone convince you that a good headshot is a waste of money for a novelist. On Novel Journey we post lots of author photos, many of which look like candid shots that other people are cut out of. Remember how important perception is. I look at a substandard picture and I subconsciously think this author is no perfectionist, and am less likely to want to read their work. Spend the money and get a good promo picture of yourself.
  1. Keep a file filled with the names of magazines you come across that fit your writing. For example, if you write Victorian era historicals, Victorian magazines might later be interested in an article written by you. Jot down the names of them and any other publications you come across that might be a fit. This will save you a lot of research time later on.
  1. Keep a folder of book reviewers you’ve come across that seem to enjoy the type of  stories you write. I send myself emails with the reviewer’s name, books they’ve reviewed and liked, their email address and, if I know them, how I know them. While it’s true that they might not still be reviewing when your book finally releases, it won’t hurt to try. 
  1. Start reading marketing/publicity books now and take notes. My personal favorite is the simply titled Publicize Your Book. If you can only afford one book on marketing/publicity, I highly recommend you make it that one.
  1. Read The Tipping Point. It will explain some very important concepts on what makes things popular. It’s an easy and surprisingly entertaining read.
  1. Read How to Make Friends and Influence People. The book has been around forever for good reason.
  1. Keep a list of natural influencers. You’ll call upon these folks later for help in getting the word out about your book.
  1. Help anyone you can. For one, it’s just the right thing to do, for two, what goes around comes around.
  1. Start building your platform now. Write articles, create a blog with excellent and frequently updated content, volunteer to teach classes on what you’re an expert in, or for whatever committees in ACFW, or other writing organizations you belong. People are much more likely to be interested in your book if they feel like they know you and you’ve shown interest in them.
About Gina: In 1998, Gina Holmes began her career penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in Southern Virginia. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans released April/May 2010 with Tyndale House Publishers.