"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Whether you're published or unpublished, I can help.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!"

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How to be a Tease

Last weekend, I explained how writers need to learn to become a tease and tease readers with bits of information BEFORE their book is released. Creating buzz is important to your success. This weekend, I'm giving you some ideas on how to be a tease.

1. When you sign a book contract or when you decide to self-publish a book, make a small announcement that you have a book deal or that you will be publishing a new work within the year.
2. If working with a publishing company, blog about the process, but don't go into too much detail on the specifics. Always keep in mind that you really want to talk to your target audience, your readers. Give them only enough info about the process that you think they can identify with. Help them identify with the process by comparing it to a more mainstream type of career.
3. When your publisher has shown you the cover, blog about seeing it, but don't describe it. Mention that you'll post it as soon as you can, once your publisher has given you permission to do so. Use the same technique, though obviously different wording, if you're self-publishing.
4. When you see the back cover text, blog about seeing it. Let people know how awesome it is. Again, tease them and let them know you'll post it ASAP.
5. When you are about 2-3 weeks to publishing, post the back cover text. Later, post review blurbs. Post them one at a time. Ask your readers for feedback. What do they think about the description?
6. About 1-2 weeks before, mention that you'll be posting the cover soon and that they should check back. Again, tease them.
7. Post the cover. Make it large. Ask readers what they think? What do they like best about your cover?
8. On release day, let everyone know your book/ebook is available and give them a live link so they can easily click on it and buy it. Always make it easy for your readers to find information on your book and give links to major retailers so they know exactly how to buy a copy.

The above list will always be subject to what your publisher wants you to do. When unsure, always ask. Never post something they send you without clearing it with them first. Often you'll see early drafts of a front cover, or a rough draft of back cover text. Your publisher may also want you to do things a bit differently than the list above.

Becoming a tease is easy for some and more difficult for others. What may make it easier is to always ask: if I were the reader, what would I want? What would tease me? Putting yourself in their shoes is one of the best marketing practices you can learn. Learning to be a tease is another. And this kind of teasing doesn't require nimbleness. Or a pole.

There are other things you can do to tease: post a book trailer video, write a short post about one of your characters, or become a guest blogger/interviewee on someone else's blog.

What else can you do to tease a reader prior to publication?

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Children of the Fog

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Writers Must Learn to Be a Tease

A good writer knows that when writing any novel, they must tease the reader with bits of information, plant red herrings, leave cliff-hangers and dangle a trail of action and emotion to keep the reader in suspense, but what they may not know is that once the book is completed, the real teasing must begin―teasing readers.

Marketing a book is generally divided into two sections: pre-publication or pre-pub marketing and post-publication/post-pub marketing. If you promote your book by dumping all the information in a reader's lap at once, you probably won't see the best results. But if you slowly tease them, heighten their awareness of your book and your name, and build up the anticipation, you'll have readers throwing dollar bills at your new creation.

Like any budding relationship, it's all in the tease. Think of a great romance movie. The lovers didn't just dive into their romance. It built up over time. It started with a look, a laugh, a soft touch, the first date, the first kiss, the challenges they must overcome to be together, the longing for more until finally the couple has had enough of teasing. Why do people go to movies or read books? They love a good tease.

Many expert marketers use the term "create buzz". You want people talking and thinking about your upcoming release. You want them telling their friends so that those friends will tell two people, and so on and so on. You want them anxiously awaiting release day so that they buy your book right away. If they wait too long, something will come up to distract them. Creating buzz should be like a slow strip tease, only instead of stripping, you're adding layers and layers of anticipation.

Teasing effectively is a bit of an art, but it can be learned. Stop by on Saturday for step-by-step instructions on 'How to Be a Tease'.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Children of the Fog

Monday, August 1, 2011

What do John Locke, Amanda Hocking and Other Independent Authors Have in Common?

If you're an independent author or a writer who has thought of publishing on your own, take heart in knowing that the book industry has had its virtual doors blown right open by the evolution and revolution of ebooks. Over the past three to five years, we have seen huge changes in the industry as traditional-style publishers imploded their usual models and ways of doing business, laid off employees, consolidated imprints under one roof, and basically went into full panic mode. Amidst this chaos, ebooks swept in, gathered hoards of loyal readers, converted the technically challenged into switching to ereaders, and forever changed the face of publishing.

There has never been a better time for you, independent author, to publish your own book!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Marketing your book "isn't always about sales figures"

Today's special guest is debut novelist Eileen Schuh. Today she's going to share some of what she's learned about marketing books. Take it away, Eileen!

Measuring the effectiveness of promotional efforts

One can’t measure the success of one’s promotional efforts simply by sales—although one wouldn’t want to put a lot of money and effort into publicity activities that don’t net sales, results are often far from direct and take time to appear. 

I started my publicity campaign back before I even had a book to sell.  With the help of Cheryl Kaye Tardif’s book marketing services, I established a strong cyberspace presence with a blog, a website, and Facebook and twitter accounts.  I joined writers’ groups, participated in online discussions and forums, posted book reviews, and researched all aspects and angles of the writing and publishing industry.

Even before that, though, I was campaigning.  I was always actively engaged in multiple facets of family, education, and community life.  I travelled, joined sports teams, engaged in activities with my children and their friends (and the parents of those friends.)  I volunteered. 

Specific to marketing The Traz, in addition to my social networking notices, I sent out press releases about THE TRAZ.  I spent the time to locate the contact information for the media in my home town and my former home towns.

The very next day, the local radio station emailed me for a phone interview.  What a wonderful bit of free advertising that was!

Perhaps a week later, I was asked to read the book written by an infamous serial killer’s defence lawyer and interview the author—not sure how that happened.  Crime fiction is what I write.  True Crime is what I read and this was a great opportunity to get my name associated with important people in the industry—especially when the book proved to be well-written, interesting, and unique. 

I forwarded Smashwords coupons for free copies of THE TRAZ to those I’d met during my community sojourns who also happen to work with at-risk-children (including the commanding officer of the local RCMP detachment.  A little brazen, perhaps, but he’d expressed interest in my career when I’d handed him my business card in regards to a totally different matter.)  

Through my Special Education contact, I found out the local school is instituting a learning e-café and wrangled an invitation to slounge there come September and read passages from my books.  What a wonderful chance to not only promote my book sales but to meet my other goal of directly helping kids-at-risk and the adults in their lives.

My municipal library contacts have assured me of purchases and will advertise a reading and signing event once the paper editions of my books are released.  I’ve been tentatively invited to participate in sci-fi conferences (one in Denver) to promote Schrodinger’s Cat.  These opportunities may seem to have come along for free, but they are in actuality the results of my promotional efforts—personal efforts, paid efforts, and professional efforts.

I’m one to try new things and when I connected on Twitter with Pauline Barclay, an author blogger in the UK http://paulinembarclay.blogspot.com , we decided to swap guest blogs and attempt to tap into each other’s overseas markets—a promotional strategy that will cost us nothing (but time) and has the possibility of rewarding us greatly.

Another thing I did was forward coupons for free copies of THE TRAZ to authors and reviewers well-known in their fields.  These Smashwords coupons don’t cost me anything, so they’re DEFINITELY my kind of promo!  I’ve been astounded at the positive blurbs and reviews that I’m receiving.  Again, having my name and work associated with others who are successful in this career is a bonus.

Promotion is time consuming.  It’s a slow process.  Results are slow to appear.  But the most unexpected and wonderful opportunities can and do at times rapidly appear. 

The radio station’s news director interviewing me?  Me interviewing a serial killer’s lawyer? A guest blog in Europe?  Doing a reading to teens from a lounger in an e-café?

Can life get any better?

p.s. I take my coffee black.

Eileen Schuh

To sample/buy THE TRAZ:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Giving Away Books in Contests Can Promote Your Novels

If you’ve ever won a contest or lottery, you’ll know that soaring sensation you get when you’re proclaimed to the world to be a “winner”. We all love to get something for free, don’t we? Some of us also love giving things away, and I’m one of them. Authors, like me, have found many opportunities to give away their ebooks, print books or gift certificates, and by doing so we’re creating relationships with fans and readers, which in turn help me to promote my books.

Over the years I’ve witnessed many ingenious contests held by authors and I’ve learned some things along the way. People don’t really want to just ‘enter’ a contest, they want to participate, interact, be part of the action. If a contest asks them to do more than submit their name, they tend to take more of an interest. So if you’re holding a contest, make it entertaining and interactive.

I’ve held 2 main contests that have been quite successful:

My ‘Create a Corpse Contest’ asks entrants to send in a name (could be fictional or their high school bully or boss or ex-friend) and I “kill off” the character in a novel. In my romantic suspense Lancelot’s Lady, you’ll be meeting one of the corpse winners--Winston Chambers. Trust me, it’s not only amusing to enter this contest, it’s very therapeutic.

My ‘Become a Character Contest’ has entrants submit their own name (or someone else’s) and their character gets to live but might be a good guy/gal or a bad one. In Divine Justice, a thriller my agent is pitching to publishers, you’ll meet one of the winners--Deirdre Dailey. The incentive for people to enter is that they get to choose a novel character’s name and I often give them a free copy. How exciting is that?

How do these contests benefit me as an author? First, they give me something cool to announce, something a bit different from the norm. They appeal to people with a sense of humor--or those who want some secret form of revenge. You can bet they’ll be talking about it, telling their friends. Word of mouth advertising is still one of the best ways to get the word out about virtually anything. Imagine if your best friend told you she was going to be a corpse in a new suspense thriller.

I’ve also held contests on Twitter. Here’s a great way to get your name out, get people re-tweeting for you and create some excitement. I asked other authors to sponsor the prizes. In exchange, I promoted them on my contest page on my website. Twitter is basically “live”. Get their attention now and get them interacting by asking for a reply, something very specific. Limit your winners. In a recent Twitter contest, I gave away free ebooks and asked people to email me if they wanted one. First three to reply won.

How does this benefit me? First, I’m creating a sense of excitement--and we can all use excitement in our lives. I’m also creating “winners”, and who doesn’t want to be one? I’m getting my name out there. People re-tweet my contests to more people “and they tell two friends and so on and so on and…” Plus, I’m building up my email data base with people who are interested in future novels.

Other authors see the value in giving away free books:

“I think the giving away of books for free can be a useful tool as long as it is part of a smart, focused, targeted promotional activity or event,” says Anthony Bidulka, author of the Russell Quant Mystery series.

Betty Dravis, author of the celebrity book Dream Reachers, says, “Giving free copies is a great way to reach out; the more exposure, the better. I mostly give free copies to reviewers and the print media, but blog contests are another good way of reaching more readers.”

Offering a book for FREE is a good and rewarding idea when you are building readership,” states Edward C. Patterson, author of The Jade Owl. “It should be a temporary measure to stimulate readership or to introduce readers to a series. The exception, I find, is when you are providing information to a specific community, other authors for instance, where it can become an information service and builds into your brand. The other time FREE books are important is as a community donation, such as Operation eBook Drop, where you donate your titles to the men and women in the Armed Forces.”

Next time you need a little buzz and excitement, try an innovative, creative contest that invites your readers to participate. Promotion is hard work, but it should be fun too!

And follow Cheryl on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/cherylktardif

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A debut author shares her experiences in self-publishing

Debut author Eileen Schuh candidly shares her experiences in self-publishing her YA novel, The Traz, as an ebook. Eileen decided to self-publish this work and use it to help promote her upcoming novel Schrodinger's Cat, which was picked up by a small traditional publisher and comes out in August 2011.

Great marketing strategy! Not only can Eileen start building up an audience earlier, many readers who read and enjoy The Traz will go on to buy Schrodinger's Cat.

Eileen describes the things she had to do to get set up as a self-published author and get her work ready...

THE TRAZ: Learning to epublish

Final Steps to epublishing

Friday, April 29, 2011

Recipe for a Bestselling Novel

Wouldn't it be great if there was a recipe for making a bestselling novel and if all a writer had to do was gather the ingredients and mix them in, and voila!―a bestselling novel is created? The reality is there are combinations of ingredients that can either get your name on a bestseller's list or fall flatter than an airless cheese soufflé. However, there are some common ingredients that have helped authors achieve bestseller status.

Common Ingredients for a Bestseller:

·       1 cup of well written novel
·       1 cup of professional editing
·       1 cup of professional layout and interior design
·       2 cups of professional book cover, including gripping back cover text
·       1 cup of decent distribution via major online retailers
·       2 cups of book launch, tours and other events, plus advertising
·       3 cups of contests and giveaways by author, publisher or both
·       Countless hours of organization and time
·       Dash of excitement


Take the well written novel and beat in professional editing until light and readable. Add professional layout and interior design, then stir in professional cover art and back cover text until well combined. Sprinkle in decent distribution until coated and roll mixture out with book launch, tours and events. Top with contests and giveaways, and fold in countless hours of organization and time before adding the finishing touch―a huge dash of excitement. Share with everyone and enjoy!

Reality Check:

While the recipe above may seem kind of silly, these ingredients can lead to a bestselling novel. I know because I've used them all successfully. My novels have made bestsellers lists multiple times on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. Some made multiple lists on each in a single day. 

I've also sold over 5000 copies of Whale Song, which in Canada makes it a national bestseller.

So how did I do it? I created an exciting day-long event―a "Bestseller Day"―that had enough goodies to draw people in. It was held on my 44th birthday and I gave away 44 prizes.

There are three main ways to get prizes to offer:
1.) Pay for them (I don't recommend this.)
 2.) Get others to donate them.
3.) Find someone to sponsor the event or the prizes. They pay for something you want to give away and get something in return, whether it's free advertising, a mention in your next book, or some other benefit.

The Benefits:

The first benefit of reaching this "status" is obvious. You can use "bestselling author" when describing yourself. 

The next obvious benefit is that you're selling more books, which means you're earning more. 

Another benefit you may not have thought about is exposure. When people look for a book on Amazon, they'll often search using keywords. If your thriller is in the top 10-20 of books listed under "techno-thriller", for instance, you have a much better chance of being noticed. While on those bestsellers lists, more people will come across your name and your book. The more times people see you and your book online, the better the chance is that they'll buy your book.

Becoming a bestselling author takes persistence, creativity and good organization. Follow this recipe for success and you'll rise like a soufflé. Just don't forget that last ingredient―excitement!

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is a bestselling Canadian author whose critically acclaimed, award-winning novels have inspired much film interest. She's appeared on television and radio, and in newspapers and magazines. Cheryl has also presented at writers' conferences in Canada and the US, mainly on topics of marketing and promotion. She's helped many authors achieve success and does so as a book marketing coach, with Bestseller Days, Virtual Book/Blog Tours and Sponsorships her top 3 most requested topics.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ebook publishers and royalty percentages

Ebook publishers really vary on their terms and royalty percentages, though in general, smaller ebook publishers seem to be more flexible and many offer higher royalties.

Here are a couple of examples:

eHarlequin - (x) On copies of English language electronic editions of Publisher or its Related Licensees sold in North America:
. on the first 100,000 copies of each such edition, six percent (6%) of the Cover Price;
. on the next 100,000 copies of each such edition, seven percent (7%) of the Cover Price;
. on the next 100,000 copies of each such edition, eight percent (8%) of the Cover Price;
. on the next 100,000 copies of each such edition, nine percent (9%) of the Cover Price;
. on all such copies of each such edition thereafter, ten percent (10%) of the Cover Price;
(x) On copies of English language electronic editions of Publisher or its Related Licensees: four percent (4%) of the Cover Price in any country outside of North America.
(x) On copies sold of non-English language electronic editions of Publisher or its Related Licensees: two percent (2%) of Cover Price in any country.

Double-Dragon eBooks - 30 % of the cover price less credit card processing fees for eBooks sold from our site, 30 % of the amount received from a reseller, and 8 % of the retail price for POD print books.

Ellora's Cave - Royalties: 37.5% for digital releases; 7.5 % for print books.
Length of grant of publishing rights: Life of copyright
Includes digital, print, audio, translation, and secondary/subsidiary rights.

Wild Child Publishing - 40% of sales

Wolfsinger Publications - 75% of sales less charges for any handling costs, service fees, or discounts when paid in full by the distributor, bookstore, vendor, organization.

Imajin Books - 50% of sales collected, no charges; term - 5 years.

These are just a few examples of how widely varied author royalties are, and one thing I do advise is to check the other terms very carefully.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How important is ebook pricing?

In today's economy, the answer to the above question is easy to answer: ebook pricing is vital to the sales and success of your book. Price them too high and people may skip your book and go for something less expensive, especially if you are not a "big name author". Price your books too low (with the exception of a special sale) and readers may think you're a hobbyist and not very good.

There has been a lot of discussion of what the perfect price point is for an ebook. The answer? You may have to play with the prices if you've published your own ebooks to determine where the best price lies.

A strong proponent of $0.99 and $1.99 ebooks, author JA Konrath, held those views up until last year, when Amazon raised the royalty level to 70% for ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Konrath took the plunge and raised his prices and has reported that this hasn't hurt his sales in the least. In fact, he reports he made over $100K last year on his ebooks, across multiple retailers. Not bad income for an author who is self-publishing his own books now, after being published by the big guys for years.

This past week, I've been asked by three authors to advise them as to why their ebooks aren't selling. The first thing I did was head over to their Amazon page, where I discovered ebook prices all over $9. And these are authors with only a couple of books. One only had a single title. You can bet they probably aren't widely known--compared to names like Konrath, Hocking, etc.

Along with high ebook prices, I noted that one author had overly busy book covers. I believe that will hamper his sales. Another author had a poorly worded description. The major problem is that all three authors are published by midstream traditional publishers and this means they don't have much--if any-- say in the pricing, covers or description.

My advice to all three: try to get your ebook rights back and publish these ebooks on your own. Or at least find an ebook publisher (like Imajin Books) that will work with you, price your ebook lower, update your covers and description if needed and give you a higher percentage of royalties. Because without getting that price lowered, you won't have much of a chance selling more ebooks.

In Konrath's latest blog post, he talks about an author who reached the NYT bestsellers list multiple times, who was just offered a $200K two-book deal. After Konrath crunched the numbers and pointed out that her ebooks would be priced higher, it appears this author would be better off publishing these on her own--especially since she obviously already has a platform and a built-in fan base from her existing titles--and setting lower prices.

Kindle Nation Daily conducted a recent survey. Here are some of the results.
"Kindle owners are buying ebooks with ever-increasing frequency, with 13% buying 60 or more paid ebooks a year, 22% buying 30 to 60, and 33% buying 15 to 30."
"A general Kindle reader "buys 4.9 print books and 46.6 ebooks a year. Slightly over half of her ebook acquisitions are free or priced at less 99 cents."
From the survey, here are the top 4 defining factors in purchasing an ebook:
1. ebook is by a favorite author
2. ebook is significantly cheaper than hardcover or paperback edition
3. ebook is priced at $3.99 or LESS
4. ebook comes highly recommended by someone you trust

For great deals on Kindle ebooks, check out Kindle Nation Daily and subscribe to their blog on your Kindle, so you'll receive alerts on exciting new releases, sales and more.

In the end, the pricing issue really boils down to one thing. Publishers and authors should give readers what they want, and they want less expensive ebooks.