Several months ago, I told folks here on Magical Words that I was going to write nine novels for publication in 2014, publishing one a month from April through December.
I lied. I’m writing nine novels for publication in 2014, publishing them all in eight months. Perfect Pitch debuted on March 31, and the ninth novel, Always Right will appear on November 4, 2014. The second Diamond Brides novel, Catching Hell, debuted on April 13. That “double dip” — two books in one month — was designed to bolster sales for the series, to let readers who liked the first one know that there’s more where that came from, and to keep them looking on the first Sunday of every month till the series ends.
I’ve talked elsewhere about how I alternate writing days and administrative-task (including household task) days. And I’ve explained my strategies for writing fast. Today, I’m here to talk about the flip side of writing — promoting books.
Diamond Brides is a major departure for me. The books are pure romance, without any speculative fiction element. They’re short. They’re hot (that is, they contain several scenes of explicit sex).
Given all of these departures from my writing norm, I faced a major challenge: promoting the books so that people understood what they were getting. I decided to meet that challenge with a three-prong attack:
- Engage potential readers through my social media, including my blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Purchase advertisements to spread the word about the book.
- Solicit reviews from established reviewers and readers of the book.
And then, because I’m Mindy, I created a Promotion Plan that listed the specific dates when I would do specific actions to accomplish each of those goals. I figured the plan would be useful for other books, so I created it in a general format, rather than a date-specific format. The first five entries look like this:
Day -120: Send review copy to RT Book Reviews
Day -90: Contact ad services (prices are as of July 2013; they probably have changed)
- Book Gorilla ($150) – http://www.bookgorilla.com/advertise
- Ereader News Today ($60) – http://ereadernewstoday.com/authors-promote-your-kindle-books-here/
- Kindle Nation Daily – Ebook of the Day ($160) – http://indie.kindlenationdaily.com/?page_id=642
Day -90: Contact bookstore to schedule in-person launch party
Day -60: Submit to Library Thing Early Review
Day -60: Publish book to Amazon and Barnes & Noble with elevated pre-release price, to receive reviews from Library Thing Early Review reviewers
And so on, and so on, and so on. Every promotional venue that I could think of got listed in the Plan. As I scheduled my blog tour, each stop got listed with three entries — a delivery date for the blog post, a reminder date (to remind the blog owner to make the blog post), and a posting date (to remind myself to check back for comments). Similarly, interviews, in-person events, and other activities got added.
I used an online universal calendar to translate my -[number] and positive number entries to actual dates.
And then I work the Plan. Day by day, week by week, I complete each task on the list.
Sometimes, I conclude that the tasks as I defined them are too onerous, or that the approach I thought I’d take isn’t working. (For example, some of the advertising services that I identified don’t seem to be kept current and/or they’re too expensive for the results (as reported by other authors)). In those circumstances, I edit the Plan and move forward. The Plan is, after all, a guideline, a draft, a plan; it’s not Holy Writ.
The key, of course, is staying on top of things. Most elements of the Plan can slip a day or two or ten. But do I really want to be paying expedited shipping for my business cards, just because I pushed off designing them? Do I want to miss the opportunity of placing a high-value ad because I waited too long, and the date I need was sold out?
So far, at +15 days, I’m on track. Of course, there are seven and a half months left of this. (The Plan assumes that later novels in the series will enjoy the benefit of my promoting earlier volumes. We’ll see. I might need to flesh out the later entries for the Plan.)
So, that’s my writing life these days. It’s sort of like that TSA mantra: “See something, say something.” For me, it’s “see something, do something”.
What about you? If you’re a published author, do you create promotion plans for your work? Do you help authors with their plans, participating in things like cover reveals and launch day promotions? If not, why not? What would make you more likely to participate?
You can buy Perfect Pitch here.
You can buy Catching Hell here.
Mindy Klasky learned to read when her parents shoved a book in her hands and told her she could travel anywhere in the world through stories. She never forgot that advice. Mindy’s travels took her through multiple careers – from litigator to librarian to full-time writer. Mindy’s travels have also taken her through various literary genres for readers of all ages – from traditional fantasy to paranormal chick-lit to category romance, from middle-grade to young adult to adult. In her spare time, Mindy knits, quilts, and tries to tame her endless to-be-read shelf. Her husband and cats do their best to fill the left-over minutes.