December 12, 2012

no. 7: market your author brand

Blogger's Note: Welcome to day seven of the 12 Days of Writing. Today, author Dina Silver (read my review of One Pink Line here) offers insight into a skill-set every author or blogger needs to have these days: marketing. Be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win a swag package.

No. 7: Market Your Author Brand

By Dina Silver
Author of Kat Fight and One Pink Line

Cheers to 12 days of marketing tips!

Or more like, one day of 12 tips…

So you’ve written a book. Pffft. That’s the easy part, now you need to find people to read the thing. Here are a few tips that might help you get started.

1. Be Shameless - There’s a fine line that separates Persistence and Annoyance. Your marketing efforts should be at the line, but not crossing it. Believe in yourself and your product, and let everyone know about it every chance you get. People love a good book recommendation.

2. Be a Brand - Marketing 101. You should view yourself and your books as a brand. Are you like Apple? Are you like Nike? Are you like Abercrombie & Fitch? Whatever you decide you want to ‘look’ like should be consistent throughout your platform. For example, use consistent fonts, have your webpage reflect your Facebook page, choose imagery that represents what you’re trying to convey to readers. Ideally have all of your books covers visually relatable. When you line your books up on a shelf, people should be able to immediately know that the same person wrote all of them.

3. Know Your Genre - This is critical in marketing your book and will define your target audience. I don’t go after mystery readers, because they aren’t going be interested my contemporary romance offerings. Pampers doesn’t advertise during televised UFC cage fighting tournaments because that’s not their target audience.

4. Social Media - YES, it’s a must. Get on Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads and surround yourself with likeminded people. Follow and friend other authors you admire and other people who are adept at social media and appear to be doing it well. People want to get to know you and what you’re about. They don’t want to see you posting ‘buy my book’ messages all day long. Those are fine (and crucial) when appropriate, but the more people get to know you and like you, the more apt they’ll be to buy your book without you ever having to ask them.

5. Using Goodreads - What more could an aspiring author in this day and age hope for than a website dedicated to millions (yes, millions!) of readers. Think Facebook for readers. If you do not have a Goodreads account, get one. Now. I’ll wait…

Excellent work. I can see that you take orders nicely, which means we’ll get along swimmingly! This is not going to be a Goodreads tutorial, I’m sorry. You will have to mill around there and make it part of your comfort zone on your own. What I will help you with is pointing out a few opportunities offered by Goodreads that will allow you to get your work in front of a few millions books lovers. - Giveaways: if you go to the Author Dashboard, there is a section titled Giveaways where you can schedule a giveaway for your book (paperbacks only). Great way to get on TBR lists and generate interest. - Friends: Make friends! Friend people who read your genre. - Joining Groups: There is a 'GROUPS' link at the top, where readers can join groups that represent their favorite genre. I have joined a few of them, and also reached out to a few of the group moderators to ask if they would consider suggesting One Pink Line or Kat Fight as a group read. - Listopia Lists: Get your book listed on genre specific lists.

6. The price is right. Is it? - I’ve talked a lot about price, and have found that the sweet spot for debut indie authors is $2.99 or $3.99. Buyers are swayed by low prices as much as they are by high prices. If a book is priced too low, they may assume it’s crappy and not worth their time. Perceived value, people. Perceived value, people.

7. Book Bloggers - I have a 22-page spreadsheet that I compiled two weeks before my first book was published. It contains every book blogger that I could find within my genre (or similar genres). Over the course of four weeks, I reached out to every single one of them with a personalized email asking if they would be interested in reading and reviewing my book. My email was short and succinct, and included a brief summary and a cover image. Some said no, most said yes. Some said they couldn’t get to it for eight months, but that was still fine with me. There are some bloggers who have more influence than others, simply because they’ve been at it longer, and have built a ton of followers. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the start-ups though. As far as I’m concerned, ANYONE who’s interested in reading and reviewing my books on their blog is welcome. I have had that attitude from day one. I don’t make bloggers prove anything to me other than that they have a blog.

8. Blog tours - Blog tours are a great thing, because you get someone doing the legwork for you. A tour host will promote your book and your cyber tour, and organize everything for you. All you have to do is send copies out to the bloggers. Make sure you use a reputable person...and one within your genre.

9. Reviews - They matter. Especially on Amazon. And anytime someone reaches out to you and said they read and enjoyed your book, you should kindly ask them to leave a review for it on Amazon. They may not do it (and you shouldn’t ask twice), but three out of five people will, and you’ll be glad you asked. See tip #1.

10. Paid Promotions - These are a tough thing. The good news is that many of the ones I’ve come across are not very expensive, but you still want them to be effective. I have placed an ad on Goodreads, which was affordable, but not effective. I have placed an ad on Facebook, which I believe could have been more effective if I’d spent more money. There are bigger sites, such as Ereader News Today and Pixel of Ink that offer paid marketing opportunities and they both have a huge number of followers. These promos sell out fast, and sometimes are only available a year in advance, but can be well worth it if you can get one.

11. Stay Active - You need to be actively promoting your book for as long as you want people to buy it. Stay current on social media and what is going on in the industry.

12. Cross Promote - One of the best things you can do is to forge relationships with other authors who are willing to cross promote. I have always been ridiculously supportive of other successful indie authors because if they’re doing well, then I could be doing well. We’re all on the same team so help your teammates! You shouldn’t view other books as you competition per se. Readers don’t just buy one book. By partnering with other authors, you can get your book in front of their fans and vice versa. It’s a great way to reach a new audience. The indie community is an awesome one. Very welcoming, very supportive and very effective in moving mountains in this industry.

Bottom Line - Follow your dreams, but don’t be a dreamer. Be a worker.

About the Author
A graduate of Purdue University, Dina Silver has spent the past fifteen years feeding her red wine habit by working as a copywriter in the advertising industry. In addition to writing ad copy, she formed Dinas Ideas (, a greeting card company, in 2003. Dina serves as the sole writer and designer for the business and has penned over 300 greeting cards since its inception.

For More Information About Dina

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  1. Great tips! Thanks, Dina.

    Love this series, Laura!

  2. I appreciate the honest, helpful information, Dina. Thanks so much for this post! Great ideas.

  3. Great tips! I agree with you on the bloggers. I'm hitting up everyone and anyone who'll agree to read and review my debut novel. I'm finding the start-up bloggers are eager to get new authors and more keen and able to fit it into their schedule. I've met some great ladies and look forward to meeting more.

  4. I just had a light bulb moment. "People love a good book recommendation." I don't hesitate to recommend books I enjoy written by other authors so why shouldn't I do the same with my own? Thanks!

  5. It's so interesting to see how different authors perceive marketing and what's best (I read Heather's post before Dina's). There are some good tips here - and ones I could use to promote my blog (since I don't actually write).