A Writer’s Guide to Marketing

By Frances Caballo for Redwood Writers

You’ve spent years crafting your novel or anthology of poems and now you’re ready to send it out into the world. You’re trained as a writer but what about marketing? This series of blogs will endeavor to help you master the next steps to selling your book.

Michael Martine is the mastermind behind Remarkablogger, which he describes as “No-Bullshit Blogging for Bitchin’ Businesses.” It’s immediately obvious that he has found his blogging voice – a unique one that rises to the top of search engines out there on the Internet.

This guy has personality and he really knows his stuff.

He wrote a 65-page e-book titled How to Write an E-Book That Doesn’t Suck. This is a great little book for bloggers to pick up because it will show you how to plan your blogs ahead of time and then compile them into a “how-to” e-book.

Do you cringe at the thought of writing pitches to sell your book? Michael sums up his advice with this comment: “Nowhere … does it say, ‘Sound like an overhyped snake oil salesman and bleed yellow highlighter all
over your text.’”

In other words, don’t push your book. If it’s a “how-to” book, promote it as containing solutions to the buyer’s problems or questions.

Remarkablogger’s Suggestions for Writing Successful Sales Copy 

Whether you’ve written a novel, poetry, memoir, or a how-to tome, here are some pithy insights that make sense and work.

  • Determine who your audience is, learn about your audience, and then tailor the tone, wording and formatting to their needs.
  • Write short sentences and paragraphs – just like you do in your blogs.
  • Use bullets and subheadings. People love these because they enable readers to breeze through a book and quickly find the nuggets of information they’re searching.
  • Be personable and friendly.
  • If you give anyone advance copies of your book to review, ask them to post a comment supporting your book.
  • Create a website just for your book.
  • Use social media to promote your book.
  • Don’t forget to ask people to order the book.
  • Use your blog to promote your book.

An important message that he reiterates is: Don’t try to sell your book. Instead, identify the value of what you’ve written, describe the book in terms of meeting a need the buyer has (want to relax with a good
thriller tonight?), and help the buyer to feel comfortable about the purchase.

Create A Book Cover that Rocks  

Of course, great covers also help to sell books. He has some great suggestions on how to create “a killer e-book cover, ninja-style.”

  • Get a good piece of stock art from iStockPhoto or a similar site. Personally, I prefer to use Google Images because all of the photos are free.
  • Use Picasa or PowerPoint to etch text over the photo. (I’ve tried it and it’s easy to do!)
  • Save your book eCover as a JPEG file.
  • Insert the picture you created on your document cover page and adjust the text wrapping settings to “underneath” so the page margins won’t interfere with the cover you just designed.
  • Resize the picture as necessary.

If those instructions seem burdensome, go to MyeCoverMaker.com and for $3.95 you can make a one-time purchase of an eCover download. You can also subscribe at $9/month for unlimited use of this application.

In a nutshell, that’s how you get your e-book out there in the marketplace. I’d love to hear your comments!

 

About the Author: Frances Caballo, owner of ACT Communications, has 22 years of communications and resource development experience. She has worked with small businesses and local, regional and national nonprofits at all levels of management. Presently, she is the Social Media Editor and board member for Redwood Writers. She specializes in helping writers, small businesses and nonprofits with their social media marketing, external communications, and fund development needs. Frances is bilingual in English and Spanish.

 

©Frances Caballo 2011 – This post cannot be reproduced without the permission of the author.

Comments

  1. Thank you Frances for the good advice—each of my books has its own blog. As I update the content, I also post the current link to Facebook and Twitter. But, I don’t stop there. In the spirit of ‘writers helping writers” I’ve found personal connections invaluable marketing tools. Some additional ideas to pursue are:

    • Invite other writers with similar genres and subjects to guest blog on your site and offer to do the same for them. Check the Redwood Writers Membership Roster to find kindred spirits to approach. For instance, Deborah Taylor-French allowed me a spot on her Dog Leader Mysteries site that she linked to Jesse’s Tale. (The two sites share the theme of dog adoption and training advice.) http://dogleadermysteries.com/ and http://www.jessestale.com/

    • Contribute to local literary journals such as “Tiny Lights”, our member Susan Bono’s labor of love, http://www.tiny-lights.com/ . Susan encourages the placement of URL’s at the end of submissions along with a short bio. I can attest to the fact that she has widespread exposure. I’ve gotten personal and professional comments on my work in response to tidbits of flash fiction, essay and poetry.

    • Submit your work regularly to contests and anthologies. Gee, I wonder where you can find those? Oh, look!—There’s a link at the top of the page. What could be easier? Seriously, get your name out there. You never know who is reading.

    • Schedule some serious party time: I hear the Holiday Salon at Sandy Baker’s is incredible.

    • Have fun. Make every piece a joy to read and run—don’t walk— to the nearest open mike. Can anyone say “Odd Month Reading”?

    Happy Holidays!
    Elaine

  2. Thanks, Frances!

    Great advice about marketing an eBook or any book for that matter. The anthology I edited recently was launched first as an eBook “sneak preview” and sold very well that way, months ahead of the print release. This was the indie publisher’s idea and I think it was a good one.

    We were able to create quite a buzz about the book on Amazon with eBook reviews and comments on the blog.

    The trick to me still is “knowing your audience” to create the right tone and approach. I’m learning that as I go…

  3. Very informative, Frances!
    Thanks for setting this up for Redwood Writers.
    Robin

  4. Wonderful resource. Thanks Frances. You’re now officially bookmarked on my computer.

  5. Thank you, Frances! It’s good to hear your voice, and the timing is great. E-books are an exciting new world, opening new doors to writers, and we all have much to learn about creating a solid path for walking through them. Your tips are so valuable.

    I’m facing a big decision right now with a university press that loves my book proposal and wants my new book, but I’m torn now about going that low advance/royalty route vs taking the chance and going ebook! They won’t let me retain e rights so they’ll get the bennies of it all and I’ll get a few smaller ones. It’s such a new situation! I welcome yours and anyone else’s input. And thank you so much for this blog!

  6. Julie A. Winrich says:

    Frances,
    This blog site will be a great asset. Thanks so much for taking it on and the great information. I’ll have to save that and see how I can improve upon mine.
    thanks again.
    Julie

    • Thank you, Suzanne. What a wonderful dilemma to have! Perhaps other RW members will post comments about their experiences. Best wishes to you!

  7. Frances…
    Great information. I am not a blogger but this inspires me to get into the fray. I can see that your involvement in the Redwood Writer Blog is going to benefit all of us. I’m saving this information. Thanks.

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