As you may have heard, May is Marketing month here at #RWChat. We made it marketing month because none of us chat hosts are putting in the effort we ought to be with marketing, so it was time to group think this shit out and get motivated.
(There are a lot of chat topics that make the list because we personally need a push or some inspiration. #sorrynotsorry)
Of all of us, I have the most shame around my lack of book marketing. I have broken some serious records (and banked some serious dollars) in a previous career in e-commerce. I have been a social media consultant to some pretty big brands. And I currently work as the operations manager for an email marketing company.
My shame run so very, very deep.
The root of the problem is that I’m lazy, and it sabotages my willingness to do my own marketing in two ways.
- I Don’t Wanna. I have been on one deadline or another (sometimes many at once) for the last two and a half years. When I do have an unclaimed moment, I like to use it to sleep. Or do laundry. Or remember what the outside looks like. Now, I know the only way to make that Nora Roberts money is to hustle your ass off until you break through, but somehow I always forget that in the moments when I hit send on a draft and my Netflix and couch are calling me.
- I Don’t Think Anyone Else Wants To Either. I don’t give a shit about your marketing. You can be my favorite author on earth (Jayne Krentz, obvs.)—it doesn’t matter. I don’t care about your cover reveal. I’m not going to go listen to your “writing playlist.” I have never followed a blog tour. Mind you, these are personal biases and I am not necessarily my audience, but this is the insidious whisper that starts up when I manage to get over myself—and issue #1—long enough to try to get some marketing stuff done. “Nobody cares.”
But. BUT. We agreed on this topic, and that meant we all had to take one for the team and start doing shit.
Now, I’m actually so lazy that I don’t even enter giveaways because it requires me to enter information, and I like filling out forms about as much as Tony Stark likes being handed things.
But I do know plenty of people that absolutely love to win stuff & I can occasionally tell when I’m being ridiculous. So, ten days before the release of my third book, I hooked myself up with Rafflecopter and decided to give away copies of books one and two that were left over from my Rita print run.
Things I Already Knew About Giveaways:
- No one was going to do it. I am a fairly new author. I’m working on book six right now, but the lag time from writing to publishing is long, and my following is still pretty small with only two books out in the marketplace (now three, but not at the time). Fortunately, I’d soaked up some experienced advice on giveaways and knew it was going to be a field of dreams situation. You gotta start doing them in order for people to notice. But for a little while, you’re just an asshole building a stadium for nobody.
- Get something out of it. Don’t just give shit away for free. For the few people who will participate—ask them to follow you, link your new book. Two way streets aren’t offensive.
- Boost that shit. Marketing efforts gain momentum when you combine them. I ran a paid facebook post boost (about $20) and got my giveaway in front of thousands of people who had never heard of me. It was kind of exciting seeing people I had never heard of clicking and sharing my stuff.
Things I Did Not Know But Know Now:
- Doing a giveaway is a blast. Even with the boost, I didn’t get a ton of sign-ups, but the ones I did…these were total strangers who wanted to win a copy of my book. They were a small group, but I loved each and every one of them with a depth of emotion that I normally reserve for fat puppies and day drinking.
- Make the shipment an experience. As I was standing in line to ship to my winners, I realized how lame my book-in-a-box packaging was. It seemed totally fine, before I fell in love with my giveaway contestants. But after…I wanted to send them candy, and cool swag, and a bunch of stuff to go along with the books. In the end I settled for pretty cards, but next time I do a giveaway I will be coming correct.
- Make a realistic timeline. The plan was for the giveaway to end 3-4 days before the new book came out (which it did), to ship the books right away, and…to have the winners be able to read the books before the third book dropped. Shit. First of all, expect a couple days waiting for winners to get their addresses back to you. Second of all, if you read wicked fast like I do—most people don’t. So plan ahead.
- Set your goddamn email list up and ask people to join it. I, for a variety of reasons, neglected my email list until the first marketing chat this month. I pretty much asked people to follow me on twitter and to pin my new book announcement on pinterest to be a part of the giveaway. Which is cool and all, but as a person who does email for a living, I know this was idiotic. I know it. But the lazy won that round. And now that I am sending email, I regret that my list is so tiny. Don’t be me. Be cooler than me.
In summation: I’m super lazy. Giveaways are a grip of fun even when only a handful of people enter and you know half of them. Facebook post boosting is cheap and easy. And get your goddamn email list together.
They’re not lying when they say you need to. You really do need to.
RWchat co-founder Kimberly Bell writes funny, women-centric romance novels in historical settings from her cabin in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada or the beaches of Southern California. (It’s a super tough life, she knows.) After a successful career in internet sales and marketing, she decided to pursue a pants-optional lifestyle which led to her first book: A Convenient Engagement, which was nominated for a Golden Heart. From there, it’s been a whirlwind of excitement and deadlines. She is a pretty hardcore introvert that loves dogs, cheeseburgers, spreadsheets, and occasional day drinking. She also spends way too much time on twitter. She is represented by Rachel Brooks of the L. Perkins Agency, and currently published by Penguin Intermix and Entangled Select. Her latest book, A Ballroom Temptation, was released in April 2017, and her next book, The Importance of Being Scandalous, is available for pre-order.