Monday, July 27, 2009

SHARE YOUR UNIQUE PROMOTION IDEAS

Posted by: Genene Valleau
Current project: Brainstorming for nine-book series
Mood: Focused on project
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My apologies for posting late! I thought today was the 26th and I had one more day before I was scheduled to post. Obviously, time is flying by for me--and I am having fun!

I'm in an off-promotion time since my last book was released in February 2009 and the next one will be released in February 2010. However, I'm still doing "maintenance" promotion and collecting ideas for the next release.

A comment I've seen come up several times lately is that traffic on blogs and other Internet avenues has fallen off, along with the question "Are authors just promoting to other authors?" I don't have the answer to this.

However, what I have been thinking about a lot is UNIQUE ways to promote my books. For example, one of my releases has been described as a "feel good Christmas story." That gives me a clue that I need to come up with a unique package to promote that book again this holiday season--on the Internet, in person and through whatever other avenues come up.

My February 2010 release is part of an anthology with two other authors and includes a "walk-on" character (like cameos in the movies) that was auctioned off as part of a fundraiser for the local humane society. We're already talking to the humane society about having a launch party at the animal shelter. So there are all kinds of promotional possibilities for that book!

Also, since I love giving away goodies, I'm sure I'll have a contest or two up and running later this year.

As Lisa mentioned in her previous post, I'm curious what appeals to readers (and we know that authors are also some of the most dedicated readers). In addition to a good story, is there anything that entices you to buy a book? A bonus gift? A free short story? A chance to win contest goodies? What's the most unique promotion you've done, heard of or seen? I'd love to hear your suggestions while I'm in the planning stages for upcoming promotion!

18 comments:

Minnette Meador said...

I thi

Minnette Meador said...

That was weird... Anyway...

I think my gift baskets and jewelry got the most attention from readers. I also give away a book a month over at The Romance Studio and just did that over at Pen & Muse, too. You can give away PDF's to sites that are strongly geared toward readers. I also did a week of blogging over at Novelspot, which is largely readers. One of these days, I'd love to find a list of sites that are geared entirely for romance readers. Anyone have one of those?

Paty Jager said...

I agree with Minnette. I'd like to find sites that are readers and not mostly authors though authors do read, too. ;)

As for promotion, I'm trying to think of new things.

EmilyBryan said...

Something that seems to be gathering a lot of interest for me is my STROKE OF GENIUS Name A Character Contest. STROKE OF GENIUS is not coming out till next summer, but this contest lets readers help me name an important character.

Anything that engages readers' imaginations is a win-win.

KELLY FITZPATRICK said...

I'm not to the promotional phase of my career yet. I, personally like to win autographed books. I like an easy contest. If I have to read an excerpt and answer a question, or go on a scavenger hunt, they've lost me.

Danielle Thorne said...

As a reader, giveaways (free books) entice me the most-especially if they come with a sharp blurb. I find that long excerpts posted here and there get a little tiresome; I even balk at reading them if I see them everywhere. A giveaway announced with a good blurb and a picture of a great cover get me interested the most.

Laurie said...

Hi Genene,
One amazing idea I've seen recently is authors posting contests on Twitter. One author posted about her upcoming release and said if you Retweet her message, you'll be entered into a drawing for the book. Retweeting is so easy--much easier than going to a blog and making a post. Your RT then goes out to everyone following you. AND if the author used #hashtags, it'll be seen over and over again by people following that #hashtag as the message is Retweeted.

I'm still getting acquainted with everything Twitter can do, but you can find a whole new avenue of potential readers through the use of #hashtags. For instance, if your story is about zombies, put #zombie in your post. Then everyone who searches for #zombie or who has #zombie in an automatic search will see it.

During Nationals, since I couldn't attend, I had #rwa09 set up in my TweetDeck. That way, every post which used #rwa09 in its message came up automatically for me to read. People posted during some of the keynote speeches, during some of the workshops, and I "watched" the GH/RITAs real-time through my fellow Tweeters who were there. And now, although Nationals are over, I still look through the #rwa09 posts because people are Tweeting about their experiences by linking their blog posts. This of course drives traffic to your blog which is always a good thing.

Ooh, and I just heard that an author who used Twitter to announce a new release blasted through her first print run in a week and is onto her second.

Laurie

Celia Yeary said...

Hi--I have one release-- a Western historical, All My Hopes and Dreams, that has done very well. In Sept. I have a short series release, and a long novel release in Jan.For my first, I refused to do book signings--not profitable and not worth the trouble. I live in a mid-size university town in Texas, and I've lived here 35 years--I know a LOT of people--but even if you don't know many, maybe you could do something like I did. I waited until my print was released; then made a half-page announcement/invitation on Word, took it to Office Depot and printed it on hot pink paper. I explained about my book, the price, how to order it. OR they could come to a Book Party at my house if they bought one from me. I ordered from my publisher's author store, gave the buyer a dollar discount and I paid the shipping. I asked for the money up front--sold 40 books in a week, ordered 15 more, sold those, and ordered ten more--have 8 left. Then I had a party--snacks and peach-iced tea. My husband acted as "parking lot attendant". It was great fun, and every single person asked me to autograph it. Now, I'm asked all the time "when is your next book? I want it."
The little flyers I made--I didn't feel comfortable handing them out, so at group gatherings, I would lay a stack somewhere--a coffee table, etc. and just say--"this is about my book and a book party." I never looked to see who picked one up.
I made more money this way, too. Celia Yeary

jean hart stewart said...

Great post. We all can use new ideas. I can see I haven't been tweeting enough. Thanks Jean

Theresa Meyers said...

I agree with Laurie, Twitter is a way to really reach out to a whole new group of people who are readers or just interested in a topic that is either linked to your book (hero or heroine's occupation) or genre (vampire, zombie, WWII).

Remember that anything can be a viable promotion tool, but you have to find the tools that will work best for who you are.

Everything you produce should have your website URL on it. Everything.

Spend money on items that people will keep and use over and over again. A box cutter will mean more to a bookseller than candies with a printed wrapper. As soon as someone eats the candy, they throw your URL in the trash never to be seen again. Not a good investment.

Broaden your scope to think about reaching bigger--not just readers, but people linked to your book matter just like you do with Twitter. For instance, you mentioned Christmas. Nearly every retail outlet in America does Christmas. Why not to a Christmas Shopping Spree contest, or A contest featuring a kind of advent calendar contest - one prize a day until Christmas where they have to come back to your site every day to see who's won.

On events, you have to realize you are paying it forward. It's kind of like a politican out campaigning. You can't expect the reader to vote right then and there with their dollar for your book. You are there to convince them to spend that money on your book in the future because they remembered and liked you. Booksignings and events are about making contacts and a positive impression that lasts far past one book sale to the next and the next.

And don't forget, you aren't out just to woo readers. You need to woo booksellers, librarians, media and impress your editor and agent as well. Keep connected to all of them using newsletters, etc.

Genene Valleau said...

Minnette, you do such great promotion!

A list of sites geared toward romance readers would be a wonderful find, wouldn't it?

And like Paty said, that would include authors since we are all avid readers too!

Genene Valleau said...

Hey, Emily! So good to "see" you again. What a great list of possible names you got from readers! There are enough names for lots of books!

"Anything that engages readers' imaginations..." I like that!

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Kelly! Thanks for stopping by!

Easy contest, huh? I usually have a short excerpt where people can find the answer to the question I ask. I'll have to remember that I'm losing some folks with that.

When you get to the promo stage of your career, it will be a whole new experience for you!

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Danielle! I appreciate you stopping by!

Sometimes simple is best, isn't it? Short blurb, great cover and free books.

Thanks for that reminder!

Genene Valleau said...

Hey, Laurie! Thanks for stopping by!

Oh man! I haven't figured out Twitter yet. Probably by the time I do, no one will be using it any more. But if someone can go through their first print run with an announcement on Twitter, maybe I'd better take the time to learn.

And thanks for the tip about #hashtags!

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Celia! I've heard about book parties, and sounds like yours was very successful! Of course, I'll have to clean up all the remodeling debris around my house first. :)

And your way of announcing the party was a wonderful, low-key way not to put people on the spot. Thank you for the suggestion and for stopping by!

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Jean! I'm with you. I wonder if there's a "Twitter for Dummies" book I could buy. LOL!

Thanks for stopping by!

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Theresa! Thanks for stopping by and adding so many great suggestions. Congratulations on your recent sales!

And I'm curious: does being a publicist make promoting your own books easier or more difficult? I'm a graphic designer as well as a writer, and design my own promo materials, but sometimes I miss another person to bounce ideas off of.