A Year of Book Marketing by Heather Hart

Genre:  Nonfiction

Format:  ebook

Buy:  A Year of Book Marketing Part 1

A Year of Book Marketing

Do you dream of selling books, but don’t know how to reach that goal?

Perhaps you’ve heard someone say that you should do something every day to market your books if you really want to be successful. For a new author (and even some experienced ones), that can be a bit frightening – we don’t believe it’s possible or that we have the time. But that simply isn’t true!

Instead of telling you to market your book daily, author Heather Hart offers to come alongside authors to HELP them market their books daily.

The goal presented in “A Year of Book Marketing – Part 1″ is to master marketing through persistence. It includes some basic book marketing material, but also includes book marketing quotes, tidbits encouragement or useful information, and marketing prompts for 180 days to get you started.

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1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I just moved to Texas with my husband, Paul, and our four children. My two most favorite things to do are read and write – although book marketing ranks pretty close up there as well. I’ve been helping other authors since 2009 and currently work as a self-publishing-coach.com liaison, author, and author assistant.

2. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

That’s easy for me. Shelley Hitz hands down. While I’ve always loved writing, and longed to be a writer, it was volunteering for Shelley’s website that actually gave me that opportunity. I’ve now been working with Shelley for 4 years, and she’s taught me a lot about both writing and marketing. I continually thank God for bringing us together.

3. Tell us your latest news?

I was hoping you’d ask that. I actually just published a new book, “A Year of Book Marketing.” Part one was released on January 1st, 2013 and is available on Amazon.com. You can learn more about it on my website at:

http://authorheatherhart.blogspot.com/p/book-marketing.html

4. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

There are lots of different marketing methods that I use. In fact, I’m a believer that successful marketing doesn’t just come from one thing, but millions of things working together. But as far as the best avenue for marketing, no matter what the genre, I think the answer for me would be e-mail lists. Having a dedicated list of followers who want to hear what you have to say is something you can’t go wrong with. Of course, in order to build that list you have to use multiple other marketing methods. So again, there’s not just one thing you can do to be a successful book marketer.

5. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Market early, market often, market continuously. Marketing is what makes or breaks an authors career. Without marketing, no one will ever read your book to know if you are a good writer or if your words were for them. Without marketing, your book is just another book in vast sea of published works. Marketing is what sets you apart from the rest – don’t take it for granted.

6. What is the most challenging part of being an indie author? The most rewarding?

The most challenging part would definitely have to be dealing with people who try to tell me I’m not a real author because I’m not backed by a big publishing house. I’m not a real author because no one has ever paid me an advance for one of my books. To face people who don’t see me as an author even though I have multiple books with my name printed on the cover. Even though the income from my book sales help pay our bills. Even though I work more hours than my husband between writing and marketing my books – there are still those who don’t see me as an author, and to be frank, that hurts.

7. As an indie author, what would you say to a potential reader who has never read anything from an indie author?

Honestly, I don’t think that there is that much of a difference between today’s self published books and today’s traditionally published books. I have seen some mistakes in traditionally published books that I have never seen in self published books. The bottom line is that no one is perfect. Not traditional publishers and not indie authors. I do admit that I respect indie author more, simply because they had a hand in every aspect of their book. They didn’t write it and then sit back while a big staff did the grunt work, they put in time, sweat and probably tears. They edited their book. They designed the cover. Sure, they might have hired some of that out, but all of the final decisions were theirs, and they had to take charge and make the calls.

8. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Time. I have a husband, 4 children, a dog, a cat, 3 birds, and a whole slew of fish. My time is limited. My undisturbed, dedicated writing time is nonexistent. Finding the time to write is most certainly my biggest challenge and the hardest part of being a writer.

9. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

That’s a tricky question. I’ve authored 2 solely by myself, but I’ve also co-authored 3 and contributed to several others. As far as my favorite goes, I would have to say the first book I ever wrote, “Teen Devotionals… for Girls!” (Vol. 1) will always have a special place in my heart. There’s just something about your first book that you never forget.

10. Do you see writing as a career?

No. I see writing as my hobby and favorite pastime. I see marketing as a career. I could write all day every day and never make a dime. It’s marketing that makes the sales and pays the bills :)

 

Heather HartHelping other authors since 2009, Heather Hart is the author of “Book Marketing 101” among other titles. She lives in Texas with her husband, Paul, where she fills her days caring for their four young children, typing away on her computer, and brainstorming new marketing ideas. Heather works as a self-publishing-coach.com liaison, author, and authors assistant whose desire is to glorify Christ through her work and to help other authors do the same.  You can learn more about Heather by visiting her website: http://authorheatherhart.blogspot.com/ or, connect with her online in the following places:

Twitter: @_HeatherHart

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/heatherhartauthoreditor

If you’re looking for even more help marketing your books, check out “Book Marketing Success” where book marketing experts Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart work together to give authors inside access to marketing their books on a shoestring budget.

eReader Trends

The following info graphics are used by permission from InfoGraphicsLabs.

These stats are compiled from various studies conducted in early 2012.  This first image shows that there is still huge market potential for eBooks, as only 21% of Americans have read an eBook in the past year.

This next graphic shows the break down of the main reasons why people read.  Are you surprised by any of the findings?  Share your thoughts below.

What do you think about this next graphic?  Do ebook readers really read more books?  If so, as an author targeting ebook readers, there’s good news – they also tend to buy more than borrow.

This next graphic comes from sales provided back in Jan / Feb of 2012, but it still shows that the Kindle out ranks the Nook and other devices.  If you’ve heard the most recent news from Google, they are developing the Nexus 10 tablet which some people are speculating that it will kill the Kindle Fire.  What do you think?

The last part of the infographic I wanted to share is this section that shows the reasons why readers are shying away from ereaders.

For the full infographic, please visit InfoGraphics Lab’s website by clicking on the image below.  Thanks to InfoGraphics for letting me post this and giving authors a chance to discuss the findings.

Authors, please share your thoughts in the comments below about any or all of the above graphics.  I hope you found them helpful as you try to understand readers’ habits and preferences when it comes to ebooks and ereaders.

Karen BaneyBest-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  To learn more about her novels visit her website:  karenbaney.com.  Authors can find tips and information on self-publishing and marketing at:  www.myauthorservices.com.

Karen and her husband, Jim, also run several online businesses.  They make their home in Gilbert, AZ, with their two dogs.

Her latest book, 10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success, is now available on Amazon.

Connect with Karen on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

 

 

I can’t buy it if I don’t know about it

I recently purchased a Nook Color because I wanted to compare it with my Kindle Fire.  As I started exploring the Nook store, I discovered that it is incredibly difficult to find my books.  Browsing for books in a narrow genre (such as Christian Fiction) is really difficult.

After an hour of trying to find my books by just browsing through genres I gave up.  If I was a reader going through this exercise, just looking for my next book to read, I would have given up much sooner and probably selected the first book that sounded interesting to me.  (Side bar:  I have a much easier time finding my books on Amazon).

This little exercise started my brain cells firing.  How does a relatively unknown author get their work in front of readers? Certainly the my-book-is-now-published-let-the-sales-roll-in marketing plan isn’t going to work.  I want Nook readers to know that my books are available for them to purchase, but if I’m just waiting for them to find it, they never will.  The same applies for readers of any kind.

Targeted marketing is critical to an author’s success, whether self published or traditionally published.  I have to reach readers where they are.  I have to limit the number obstacles that stand in the way of them purchasing my books.  I need to give them the most direct access possible to my books.

So, how do I do this?

1. Fight false assumptions about reader behavior.  I was challenged by this.  I thought that if I pushed out messages to readers about my books with links to the Kindle version, if a Nook reader came across the link they would look me up. I’m finding the opposite is really true.  Whenever I tweet targeting Nook readers specifically, I see more Nook sales that day.

2. Provide links with direct access to purchase books from different distributors.  This might mean including both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble links in the message (Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter, etc.).  Or perhaps the entire message is targeted to a specific distributor.  I have tweets that I send out just for Nook users.  I also have some specifically for Amazon UK, etc.

3.  Post messages and interact with all kinds of fans.  I look for Facebook groups and blogs that are specifically for Nook or Kindle users.  Being sure to follow the group / blog’s policies, I’ll post messages specifically for those users.

4.  Make sure links for all distributors are available on your website.  Sometimes it’s not realistic to list every link for every distributor in a message or blog post, but you can make sure that your website has the most information possible. I like to include direct links to books for each distributor in multiple locations on my website.  It’s a good idea to use affiliate links.  (If you’re not familiar with distributor affiliate programs, see my guest post on the subject at Joshua Bedford’s site.)

Regardless of what steps you take in marketing your books, try to keep it fresh.  Remember it takes a reader an average of 5 times of seeing your book before they’ll make the purchase.  The more you can get it in front of them the better.

What are some false assumptions you have about reader behavior?  Have you been thinking one way only to realize that something else might be true?  How do you target your marketing?  Please share your thoughts below.

 

Karen BaneyBest-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  To learn more about her novels visit her website:  karenbaney.com.  Authors can find tips and information on self-publishing and marketing at:  www.myauthorservices.com.

Karen and her husband, Jim, also run several online businesses.  They make their home in Gilbert, AZ, with their two dogs.

Her latest book, 10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success, is now available on Amazon.

Connect with Karen on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Differences in Writing Historical vs. Contemporary

Writing in different time periods can be both fun and challenging as an author.  There are some key differences between writing contemporary novels and writing historical novels.

 

Language

How did people speak?  What sayings did they use?  Slang?  Did they use long, complex sentence structures and flowery language?

To understand how people spoke for my historical novels, I spent some time reading firsthand accounts of events of the day.  Reading someone’s diary from the mid-1860’s gives you a good idea of the complex sentence structures used during the time frame.  Once I have a good understanding, I try to incorporate some aspects of the language into the novel.  Since I want to be careful not to alienate modern audiences, I make some style choices, like using contractions even though they didn’t.

With a contemporary novel, it’s easier.  You already know how people talk.  True, you might have to do some research for a specific regional dialect or slang.  But, for the most part, you live and breathe the language nuances every day.

Mindset

What is the prevailing mindset of the timeframe?  Were there different attitudes and thoughts towards different ethnic groups?  Were women seen differently?  Men?

One of the things I did to better understand the mindset from the 1860’s was to pick up books specifically on the attitudes in the West.  I found this great resource that explained a key gender difference on the wagon trains west.  Men marked the journey by miles and women marked it by the number of roadside grave markers.  That’s a very different mindset than what we experience today.

Today’s mindset is probably engrained in your own attitudes and outlook on life.  Even if your views differ from that of your character, you have a good idea of what is generally socially acceptable.  Things, like harassment in the work place or racial slurs, are considered socially unacceptable.  This will likely take little to no research for a more contemporary work.

Technology

What modes of transportation were used?  What would a typical household kitchen contain?  How did people heat their homes or get water to drink?

If you’re writing a contemporary novel, chances are you already have a good idea of the answers to these questions.  In my kitchen, I have a blender, microwave, stove, coffee maker, electric can opener, etc.

For a historical novel, these are all things to research to add depth and flavor to your novel.  One of my favorite kitchen finds of all time was something called a meat juice press (I even have pictures!!).  In the 1800’s, a common way to treat cold symptoms was extract the juice from a piece of meat by pressing it with this device (very different from beef broth).  Many homes had one.  So, in my current WIP, I incorporate this little nugget into the story.

 

Language, mindset, and technology are just a few examples of the differences to research for historical novels that you may already know for a more contemporary work.  I hope this gives you some ideas on how to improve research for historical novels and encourage you to add that same spice to your contemporary works.

 

Karen BaneyBest-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  To learn more about her novels visit her website:  karenbaney.com.  Authors can find tips and information on self-publishing and marketing at:  www.myauthorservices.com.

Karen and her husband, Jim, also run several online businesses.  They make their home in Gilbert, AZ, with their two dogs.

Her latest book, 10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success, is now available on Amazon.

Connect with Karen on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.