Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Hottest Promo/Marketing Tips I Know (Part 1)

You’ve  probably heard of some of these. Some are obvious. Others might be hidden gems, ready for your experimentation.

I'm hooked up with some best-selling authors and they're giving up some tips and strategies. One, who is selling part of a dark fantasy series right now hit five top-ten spots on Amazon through Amazon's Daily Deal campaign that went on for a couple days (it's still bearing fruit after a month). His four e-books, which are part of a six-book series, were reduced from $4.95 and up to .99 and $1.99 as an intro special. To get a book on Amazon's Daily Deal roster, a publisher has to continually request it from Amazon and push, push, push. It's arduous, but the rewards are some of the largest instant sales, and continued residual sales. It’s resulted in hundreds and hundreds of both paperback and e-book sales.

Book of the Month pulls in great sales too, but I think that Amazon picks those spots. Not sure of the source that determines it. If you’re lucky enough to get on it, you’re a star and Amazon customers will flock to that special listing page.  

For publisher acquisitions of new authors and books, announcing it on Publisher's Market Place reaches a huge audience. Ask your publisher if they list with PM. Encourage participation. Publishers would do well to join up to this service because it is an industry barometer on all that is happening and will happen in the publishing industry. The huge book retailers, wholesalers and libraries watch this source with hawk eyes. So does the film industry. Intrigued? Join up for the free edition of PM. It will keep you abreast of the most recent news.  

Surprising tip: Authors should visit  YouTube and look up their favorite videos that cover their genre (fantasy, mystery, YA, SF etc), genre readers, celebrity genre interviews, genre trailers, genre best-sellers, genre trends (next big thing), or any instructional writing sites and other related topics. Now, here's the thing, authors should comment intelligently on all videos, coming from a fan perspective, but most importantly as an expert in their writing field. With EVERY comment, they can drop down a space and manually include their name and title of book. For instance:

Comment: (A couple of great paragraphs)

Chris Stevenson--Author--The Girl They Sold to the Moon

I wouldn't put in any links—it could be perceived as spamming. I haven’t had any problems with this from the site masters. The results = curious and admiring contributors will Google your name or title. I've sold this way--it's just another form of exposure you might be overlooking. 

And, pardon me for saying this, but I slammed Twilight and 50 Shades on some huge video channels and drew some flak. I also drew tons of +Points and support. I wrote from a moralistic and professional literary stance and let 'em have it. My FB account got hacked the next day, probably by a rabid fan.. But my comments were apparently so well taken with endearment that some defenders went and pre-ordered my book. Shocker. Controversy, good or bad, sells! It was an experiment as well as a mission. I don't recommend you ever trash somebody or their work. But never hesitate to stand up against the multitudes when you believe your cause is just. Spar; don't insult or humiliate like I did. Perry every negative barb directed at you with sound logic, righteous intent and irrefutable evidence. The detractors will grow weak in the knees and fade away. 

seems to rank the highest for book promo/sales response. You write a teaser (blurb) or mystery sentence (question) tied to your book, plus a link. That’s the subtle way and works best. It’s a curiosity driver. You know how to hook, don'tcha?  It departs from “BUY MY BOOK ‘CAUSE IT’S AWESEOM”, which is blatant and tiresome. Also, spammy.

For any authors who intend to invest in ads, BookBub looks like the popular  leader for turn-around investment and reader audience. Great sales results but the ad can be a little expensive. Return on investments (says the majority) are positive for almost all participants. It requires approval to enlist your book and there is a waiting list due to its popularity.  

A $75.00 ad on the KBoards can possibly get you into the (general) 5,000 to 8,000 rank area, but you’ll have to keep that momentum by using your social media campaign (all your sources) really hard and often. The ad will give you a nice shove, and it's certainly dependent upon circumstances such as genre, cover art appeal and review numbers. Notice I didn’t say review comments like those pesky 1 and 2s. Most times those are crap and you can always tell if the contributor is making a dirty little drive-by. Don’t pay attention to them, anyway. It’s a road to madness when you fret over ANY comments.

Sales Rank 1: 3,000 to 5,000 sales per day. Please Note: On Launch Days this can be a LOT more.
Sales Rank 5: 2,000 to 3,000 sales per day.
Sales Rank 10: 1,500 to 2,500 sales per day.
Sales Rank 25: 1,000 to 2,000 sales per day.
Sales Rank 50: 800 to 1,000 sales per day.
Sales Rank 100: 700 to 800 sales per day.
Sales Rank 150: 400 to 500 sales per day.
Sales Rank 200: 300 to 400 sales per day.
Sales Rank 500: 100 to 150 sales per day.
Sales Rank 1,000 – 50 to 100 sales per day.
Sales Rank 5,000 – 25 to 50 sales per day.
If you have better figures or better estimates – please let me know. This sampling was pulled from an industry professional’s blog post.

Another shocker: Watpad and Booksie have produced som best-selling authors. And quite a few midlist hotshots. By publishing first chapters of any of your books on these sites, you can gain members and readers. The more books or short stories you list will attract more and more fans. Once you publish there, announce all new material to the database membership. It’s better to break it up and publish periodically rather than dump your entire book/story inventory.  You want to draw and build a following; not choke them out and let them vanish. Any of your awards should be mentioned somewhere in the text block. IF IT'S A PUBLISHED PIECE--Interested Watpad and Booksie participants must check first with their publisher for the okay so you don't trample on reprint rights. Generally, 10% of a book's content is justifiably permitted. This might allow two or three small separate chapters in sequence. Any and all non-published material is allowed, like published interviews, book reviews, articles and book release stories. Short stories seem to pull in the highest reader hits—but they must be un-published or returned rights material. Ask your publisher's policy on this. They might let a tie-in short story to your novel go up in it's entirety. The free excerpts work just as well on your website or blog. 

Of course, joining every free display site and writing group in the world will get your name and book out there too. I know, it’s a hassle and a time sink. Most of the display (YADS) are a waste of time. Problem is, you don't really know which ones unless you research. The popular writing sites are much more worth the time and investment. Contributing to each and every site is the key to illuminating and widening your brand. It only requires one day (or even hours) out of the week to make a full promotion and marketing push to update all of them. Stay current; stay vigilant and authoritative on all of them. I belong to 45 writing/reading--related sites.

For the sake of all that is holy and decent, join Stage 32. This is where all the world's B-list producers, directors, screenwriters, actors, talent and film scouts congregate. There is a BOOKS AND PUBLISHING department for all non-fiction and fiction authors. Get in there. You may be offered film options and screenplay novelizations by foreign, domestic or local professionals, like I have. You and other writers can have your own mash-up there and create your own group topics. Pop into the Producers, Directors and Screewriting threads and comment frequently—those individuals wield  decision powers. List any awards you may have garnered in your signature or profile. Writers will need to emphasize and slant the "imagery" and unique "scenes" inherent in their books. Remember, this is a visual media industry. 

You can't break down the doors of Hollywood at any time and snag the attention of a director or producer. They use heavy screening tactics to keep you out.  At Stage 32, you can slip through the door crack easily.

On a side note of the film industry:  All authors who have agents should ask them if they wouldn't mind pitching a specific director or producer. This abides by the film industry policy and is the proper way to approach the Big Film and TV Gods. I did this and got my book Dinothon read by the Cohen Brothers (producers) and the director John Badham. You must align your book's genre and style with what these film moguls have produced currently and in the past. You wouldn't submit a romance to James Cameron or a contemporary YA to John Carpenter or Wes Craven. Go for the most popular B-list producers and directors for a fast and likely response. Most A-listers, who are understandably absent from Stage 32, have in-house staff and contractors (including writers) who they assign projects to, which makes contact with them impregnable.

BTW: If  any of you have any surefire tips or ploys that have paid off big time...baste me; I'm a roast. We'll never nail this puppy, but our combined experience and data can come damn close to catching lightning in a bottle.

Happy Hunting--Get out there and sell some books!