We are excited to welcome back MAGGIE BLACKBIRD. Maggie joined us for the first time back in August, with a post on dealing with chronic illness. Today, Maggie is back with questions familiar to both new and established authors. Share your experiences in the comments and you will be entered in Maggie’s giveaway (details below).
New Author? New at Promotion?
So am I. Let’s share ideas. What’s worked and what fell flat.
When Blessed, book one of The Matawapit Family Series published by eXasty Books, released on July 06, 2018, I thought, “I guess I’d better start getting my name out there. Nobody knows who I am.” Only, I didn’t know how to promote, not after spending oodles of time drafting my new shiny book. Sure, I’d done lots of marketing and promoting at my former job, but never anything over the Internet.
Like tossing spaghetti against the wall, I kept throwing various promo material out there to see what would stick.
I had a budget for paid advertising for marketing. I researched various romance promotion places where I could place my ad. The problem—I became another “buy me” ad. I did get hits, though. And maybe I made some sales. I won’t know until I get my quarterly statement from my publisher.
Then I discovered some free promotion spots where I could list my book, such as Awesome Gang, My Book Place, Romance Novels in Color, Wanton Reads, and WOC in Romance to name a few. These sites build a data base of books, some for a specific genre, such as romance, and others for genres across the board.
But again, I was another book among millions, although I greatly appreciate these sites’ generous offer to list Blessed for free. And yes, when my second book, Redeemed, comes out, I’ll use these wonderful places again.
I realized I had to step out and promote me. Not my book. Me. Mrs. Introvert who prefers writing over promoting LOL. I already had a Twitter account and Facebook page set up. Dad always told me the best gift you can give someone is your time, which is why I do a lot of volunteering. I thought about my former job, and the personal touch I added to each Anishinaabe client, each Indigenous community, and each aboriginal organization that I helped to meet their training and employment goals. They loved working with me, and I loved working with them, all because I took the time to see them as more than another file.
With a deep breath, I crawled out from my hole and began encouraging, thanking, cheering, and responding to people on twitter. A great group of people. Yes, it takes time, which I make sure and schedule, but this personal touch led me to many followers who included me in tweets, helped me promote my book, and tagged me for other special tweets.
I also had to reach out to blogs. “Yikes. I have to ask if I can blog at their site? Nooo.” Putting on my mask of courage, I began researching various blogs and romance review sites out there. You’ll find a host of them at my web site for your perusal.
Silly me, while I took the time to read through the many sites, I forgot to develop a spreadsheet of whom I contacted and when LOL. But that’s another story. I started emailing the sites, telling them what wonderful content they had at their blog, and would they be interested in allowing me to guest blog? I was more than willing to offer an e-copy of Blessed as a giveaway, exclusive for their readers. This was important, because, again, personal touch goes a long way. I wanted them to know I cared about the following they’d built, and that their readers should be rewarded for their loyalty. I also made sure my blog content was written for only that blog.
I offered up an invitation for those blog/review sites to guest at my blog. A win-win situation because the proposition is to show gratitude, and I might reach new subscribers to my blog through the blog/review site guesting at my place. A quick note: research what the audience wants. I found for Blessed, blogs that catered to LGBT novels worked best. Another biggie, making sure to follow their blog. Or when they contact me for holiday specials they’re hosting, offering up an e-copy of Blessed for them to use as a giveaway prize for their readers.
Participating in Facebook groups was also important, and I signed on as a volunteer at my publisher’s group. It’s very active and gaining new members as I write. I joined a couple of other groups related to romance, and made sure to actively participate. Even though I’ve never heard of author take-overs, I researched them, and participated in those, too.
As for Twitter, I do my best to interact with those I follow and who follow me. I also comment on retweets. This allows me to meet writers from all walks of life, which leads to reader exposure.
Making writer connections is important. They help promote my book, and I in turn help them. At my blog, I post book reviews, introduce readers to new authors, provide book recommendations, and have a handy link for authors I’m a fan of. I also host guest blogs. I’m also a host blog for Gay Book Promotions. In turn, writers host me at their blogs.
Does it sound like a lot of work? It is. But as the headline says for this blog: New Author? I’m a new author. Nobody knows me. Because I’m not indie but with a boutique publisher, I’m in a sticky place. But the more I toss my name out there, host guest bloggers, guest blog, make an online presence at social media sites, the more people are beginning to know Maggie Blackbird.
If I could do this again, I’d start promoting before publishing. But a late start is better than doing nothing.
As a new author, I’m always seeking new promo ideas. I’d really appreciate it if you share your ideas that worked for you in the comments section. Writers are a smart bunch of people, and I know everyone has something that’s worked for them, and could help not only me, but other authors.
GIVEAWAY: I also come with a gift. One commenter will receive an e-copy of Blessed in mobi, EPUB, or PDF. The winner will be drawn over the weekend.
A mixed-blood Catholic seminarian struggles to discern his true calling: the priesthood or his ex-lover, a proud but damaged Ojibway man.
An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.