As I mentioned before, you can't keep all your eggs in one basket. So, I'm starting over with another novel - one completely different from the series I have out already. Not that I am done with the Angelmen series - not by a long shot. But good writers write. They keep on writing and they don't stop.
It felt good to get writing again. Since I have finished writing all the books in the Angelmen series, I had to move on. Blog posts get the writing juices flowing, but it's just a trickle. Novels are what flow through my veins.
I love excitement, so the new novel will be a stand alone thriller. I also love character and drink up character flaws, so one of the main characters is psychotic. (Talk about a fun character to write!) And, I love sports, so this book is about American football. What could be more exciting? I'll soon be looking for an agent to represent me with Behind Closed Doors.
While much of the week was spent looking for an agent, I couldn't completely put aside marketing opportunities. Here are a few things that came up:
1. Book Clubs
After reading some comments on Goodreads, I was given a hint to look at Book Clubs on Facebook. I found a few related to my specific genre, but I am waiting to be accepted to these groups.
2. Looking for more reviewers
Twitter has been my best resource in finding bloggers and reviewers. I have created a giant list, and I'm going through account by account, researching and deciding who might be a good fit. This will take a while, as I can usually only get through one a day.
3. Receiving a beloved piece of fan mail
Getting zero sales and little response from all of my efforts has left me sighing. Then I got an email from a fan who loved the book she bought at one of my recent events. Her encouragement turned my day around and helped push me to remember why I want people to read my book!
4. Sending out a couple of books as promised
It took a while for my print copies to come in, and some potential readers had ordered a few from me. Now that the books are in, I was finally able to get those books sent to the hungry eyes waiting to read them.
5. Still finding book sales events
Last week, I was not very successful in finding events to sell books. Since those are most profitable outlets for me, I want to stay on this task. I am still searching out avenues to sell my book in person.
The most fun I had this week, however, was planning an upcoming book talk at a local elementary school. This coincides nicely with the teaching I've been doing during the week too. This will probably not lead to sales, but it's still a great opportunity for this writer!
I only have a short update today, because, well this didn't go as well as I hoped. There were two places I knew to contact, but I have still not heard back from them. (This means more follow up next week.)
However, this past fall was relatively busy for me, in terms of events. I was able to participate in five, and they are all events I should be able to do again next fall. So I will at least have that.
Events such as signings and craft fairs are where I have been able to see the most sales. They don't "count" toward my ultimate sales goal with my publisher, because basically I am just re-selling books I bought myself. But they are good for a few other reasons:
Although I haven't traveled more than 20 miles at this point, I have found strangers who were interested in reading my book. I have received fan mail from people I don't know!
Craft fairs are the best way to get my books into people's hands. People go to those things with cash in hand. They expect to buy something. And if I have set up a quality display, they may well be convinced that I have something quality to sell them. SO many people are asking for my second book!
What can I say? I really feel like a professional when I see a sign in a book store with my name on it, advertising my arrival.
Someday, I may need to do signings on a larger scale. It helps to not look like a novice when the lines are longer. (Heck, when there is a line longer than two. And one of them is my husband.) Right now, I'll just enjoy talking to my new friends.
I've found that these events are the best ways to find out about other events. It's also a great networking opportunity to talk with other authors about what is working for them.
I've been doing the research that I can, but I am definitely open to hear about any events YOU know of for me to make an appearance. Thanks!
I live and die by To-Do lists.Just can't trust my memory. In the past, I have placed "marketing" on my daily list, but was usually not very specific. I think it's time for that to change.
But just a daily chore list isn't going to get me anywhere. There needs to be direction. So, here's my thought for the time being. I will spend this first month or two getting ideas.Then I will act on those ideas for the next months or two. Revisit, alter as needed.
It probably sounds better than it is for my world. I have a lot of hope, though.
Looking at my day, my marketing must be contained to 1-2 hours on most days. I have 2 other jobs, which take a lot of my time. And I like to exercise to keep my mind clear. Oh, and a family. And a house. Really, I want to make my books an important part of my life, but looks like it will have to fit in with the other important parts.
That's why it is imperative to find something that works, and ax the rest.
So here are my schedules, daily and weekly (subject to change if anything comes up!):
Of most importance, as I have been recently reminded, is daily prayer concerning this endeavor. So, I am committing myself to ask the Lord for wisdom and direction concerning where I need to get my books and who should see them. I have faith He will answer and give me that wisdom.
Following prayer, I plan to follow this daily schedule, in addition to the weekly goal work:
Monday: Scour Facebook groups for ideas, post on Facebook and Twitter if I can.
Tuesday: Go through Twitter contacts, look for bloggers or other
Wednesday: Post something newsworthy on Facebook and Twitter
Thursday: Go through Linked In group discussions for ideas
Friday: Scour Goodreads groups for ideas, post on Facebook and Twitter if I can
Saturday: Set aside for events and signings
Sunday: Evaluate week and write blog post.
Week 1: Goals
Week 2: Schedule
Week 3: Set up sign signings and book talks, look for craft fairs and other events
Week 4: Work on Novel in Progress
Week 5: Look for and talk to marketing professionals
Week 6: Go through Facebook groups and find out what is working for others. Update groups.
Week 7: Go through Goodreads and find out what's working for others.
Week 8: Work on Novel in Progress
Week 9: Go through Twitter contacts and see what people are doing.
Week 10: Work on press release and send out to local media. (Possibly move this up.)
Week 11: Read blogs and other marked articles I didn't have time for earlier.
Week 12: Work on Novel in Progress
Week 13: Update log of bloggers. Touch base with bloggers who have not previously responded.
Week 14: Contact other online leads found along the way so far.
Week 15: Review progress. Log books sold and see what worked. Make adjustments to next cycle goals and schedule.
Week 16: Work on Novel in Progress
Update to Goals:
This appears to be a 4-month cycle for now, instead of 6 months.
At this point I have already started this schedule. It is manageable for my time, but I feel like I'm not getting much done in terms of getting my work out there. But I guess the whole point is that I need to know where to put it first, and that is what I doing now. Slow and steady wins the race!
Next week I will let you know how Week 3 went, after trying to identify events and set up signings. I have a few in mind already to contact, so I feel good about this start.
So how about you? What does your daily marketing schedule look like? What would you change about mine?
*Thank you to those who have recommended I check with churches about speaking engagements. I'm in an unusual position where some churches have rejected my novels altogether. I have either not received any or not received good response from churches in the area. I will keep trying, but I now realize I may be treading on sacred ground in some places and must be careful.
I'm lousy at selling. I always have been. In my teens and early 20s, I worked in retail and hated it. Never will I forget the day when I sold $400 worth of shorts and tee shorts to a shocked bride-to-be for her honeymoon, and my manager celebrated my success. I went home and wanted to throw up for separting that poor woman from her hard-earned money.
Not quite the attitude of a shark.
Since becoming an adult, I have become more and more reclusive, enjoying an even more introverted personality. What vocation is superbly suited to someone afraid of facing other human beings? (Dogs and cats are fine, by the way.) Writing! (Dogs and cats can't read anyway.) Hiding behind a laptop, spitting out deep, personal thoughts, and producing it for people to read on their own. In their own homes. Never looking you in the eye.
That's not exactly how it works, though.
Since the only authors you ever really hear about are the ones who have already made it, you don't always see the struggle they went through begging publishers and agents - yes, sometimes face to face! - to give them a try. Even then, having found someone to believe that the work has merit, there is the even tougher critic to face - the public.
No one drops a #1 best seller on their first try. We all have to build our way up. And you, as a reader, know that audiences rarely pick up a book by some unknown author without scutinizing their background, work, and reviews. (Even if that review is your best friend saying, "Hey, I read this. It's good.") People don't want to waste their time on ANYTHING. Books can constitute weeks of time, so they better be worth it.
But as authors, we have spent unbelievable amounts of time on our projects.The more we work on them, the more start to believe in them. (The work, mind you. We are still afraid to put our face out there.)
It must happen, though. Just saying we have published a book is not enough. We want people to read that book and rave about it. But like I said, people aren't going to randomly pick up our books. We've got to put it in front of people.
That's right, people. If we want people to read the book, we have to talk the ear off of everyone we know, and almost everyone we don't know. Because if we talk to one person everyday about our book, we may get someone interested, who doesn't already have a mile-long to-read list, in 20 (or more) days.
And then the trick is convincing that fool to part from their money. *Sigh*. I hate doing that.
But my publisher has set before me the bottom line: They will not consider releasing the next book in my series until the first one has been proven a success (i.e. - has made enough money to cover the cost of producing it). That's a completely reasonable request. And since I believe my second book is even better (and wait until we get to the fifth!), I am totally motivated to get there however I can.
So, for my Marketing Challenge, I am listing that as my primary goal:
To sell enough of my first book to cover costs and lead to the release of the second book.
Time to Reach that Goal:
Since I am not sure exactly how many books that actually consists of, I will randomly say that I will evaluate this goal in 6 months.
Sub Goal 1: I will spend the first week planning a schedule
Sub Goal 2: I will hold myself accountable to this challenge by posting in this Marketing Challenge blog once a week.
Sub Goal 3: I will spend one week each month working on other books. (Can't keep all your eggs in one basket, you know!)
I am not exactly sure what other goals to add, because I am not sure which direction will be most successful. I think I will need to add some as I go along. If social media is the winner, I will create more goals specific to social media. If finding bloggers is the way to go, my goals will reflect that.
Until then, I remain open to strategies you marvelous people have to suggest. As I said, I am not business expert. (I have a teaching background! Never took a business class in my life.) So I will accept advice from those in the know. If I use any of it, I will be sure to let you know how it turns out.
Follow along my journey by checking for these posts each weekend. I will post on Facebook when I have a new post here - be sure to like my page and get notifications!
And if you need to know what all my buzz is about, here's more about my first book, Amity of the Angelmen!