The Journey to a Bestseller: Newsletter Ideas, Author Visibility, and Marketing Help (Series #20)

Sorry I’m late this week. It was newsletter week and I felt like I’d already written the blog. They got to see the many phases of the cover for my third book. I have been busy this week. I have been networking with authors from a site I joined called AllAuthor. It’s a place for authors to discover new books. It was there that I realized I had more reviews than just what was on Amazon.com. I have even better reviews from other sites like Amazon.ca and Amazon.co.uk. I asked Amazon if they would combine my reviews. The other sites also have a link to the reviews on Amazon.com, so they can see them all. But Amazon.com does not. That really stinks. Anyway, there is a page where you can follow other authors on their social media and then check a little box that notifies the author that another author has liked their author page. Almost all the authors that I contacted got back to me.

I was asking them about what to put in a newsletter and how to get reviews. Nobody had any new ideas about reviews, but I did brainstorm with a few ladies about newsletters. When I first joined Booksweeps, I joined a giveaway and received a list of 449 people who’d signed up to win my book and be on my mailing list. What was I going to give to these people? I had no idea.

I have no problem writing my blog every week, I always come up with something to say. But I tell you guys all about my writing life, so what do I tell my subscribers? Do I just recap the month? I don’t want to just send them the blog posts I missed. They need exclusive, fresh content. So we came up with the following list. If you have an idea, or one of these sparks an idea, do us all a favor and respond to this post. Let’s make the list bigger!

1.Newsletter topics:

2. Simple re-cap of the month

3. Talk about your writing group, or class, or book club. Have photos? Include them.

4. Special events like book releases, cover reveals, etc.

5. Events like appearances. Places you’ll be like someone else’s launch, or a class, or a book fair, or the library.

6. Anything you’re excited about.

7. What you’ve learned this month about writing, or your business as an author, marketing, editing, writing tips.

8. Maybe you see a necklace that goes with your character. Take a picture and explain what it is and why it relates to your book. Is it a restaurant? A painting? Something on Pinterest?

9. Use Pinterest for photos and things. Show them the character inspiration pictures you have.

10. Does your story have maps? Show the maps, or other book maps that relate to your. Show photos of Earth destinations that resemble your world.

11. Give them a sample chapter that you’ve been working on.

12. Tell them your new story ideas.

13. Add teasers.

14. Have them vote on things like which blurb they like best, or which character name to use.

15. Show them your inspiration board, or your wall of post-it notes, or your ring of index cards, maybe your desk and workspace.

16. Tell them the story of your book and how you got the idea, and how you wrote it. Tell them about your structure or anything different you did with plotting.

17. Tell them why you wrote a book. What inspired you to do it? How do you manage your time? Things that are a part of the writer’s life that others don’t know, or writers will be able to relate to.

18. And finally, why you wrote THIS book. Did it come in a dream? Is it about your great aunt Agnes in the war days when she nursed a soldier back to health and he ended up becoming your grandfather. I just made that up. Not bad. Lol.

19. Basically, give them yourself and what you think. Authors brand themselves, not one of their books. Get used to having fans. People who want to know.

But I’m not a bestseller or anything! It doesn’t matter. Have you ever read a truly great book and wanted to look up the author, but there was nothing there? It seems unprofessional, doesn’t it? You want to know more about them and more about the book. You want something.

It’s normal for a fan, and anyone who reads your book and likes it enough to read another one of your books just because you wrote it, is a fan. Everyone wants fans. So make sure they can find you.

I met a lady at the library’s grand opening last week and found out she was a local author as well, so I grabbed her book. It was a YA fantasy, like mine, so I checked it out. The story ended up to be good, there were a few issues, but nothing major and I wanted to talk to her again. Actually, I wanted to invite her to my weekly writer’s workshop.

But I couldn’t find her. Her book had no contact information. And I couldn’t find her on ANY social media channels with the exception of a few articles written about her. Still, they were outdated and had no contact information. No website. Even Google brought up nothing. I wanted to tell her what I enjoyed in her book. I could always leave a review and I will when I’m finished, but that’s not the point. If you are an author, fans want to find you.

They may never say anything, but they may peruse every line of every page in your website. They may just want to follow you on social media to see when your next big thing comes out. They may want to read your blog. You can’t know who your fans will be, but take a look at your target audience. You can get an idea of where your audience hangs out. Put yourself there. Make it easy for them. Some people, like me, will hunt until they find it. But most will try two or three things and then give up. Especially if you write YA. Teenagers do not have the attention span or patience to dig for information you should have available if you are a professional author.

The other thing we talked about this week was getting reviews. My post last week was on getting reviews, if you missed it, it’s here. I spoke mostly about the value of reviews and some ideas of things to do. To re-cap a bit, here are a few things you can try:

  1. Blog tours with a review request
  2. social media ads
  3. price reduction promos
  4. book giveaways
  5. email list sale
  6. back of the book promo

There are so many sites to see though!! How do you know which ones to use and which not to use? I was making a spreadsheet for myself (and to share with all authors), but I don’t know if I have time to do all the researching it needs. Sometimes I wish I still had interns who could do that kind of thing for me. Lol. If anyone wants to volunteer… No? Maybe?

Some more ideas might be:

  • Hire a PR group
  • Author Interviews on blogs- get trusted reviews
  • Ramp up social media – include: facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, vine, snapchat
  • Connect with author groups- #supportindiewriters
  • put book name in your email and online signatures with your amazon link
  • do guest blogs- advertise on social media
  • become active in the reading community
  • start a local book club – website MeetUp or FBevents
  • reach out to nearby book clubs
  • submit to book clubs- write cover letter
  • Give a book to your old high school or college library as an accomplished alumni

But what about the sites?! How do I know what they all are? It’s impossible to know them all, but I will give you the list that I have. First of all, when I was marketing my first book I thought of book clubs, like the online kind, might be a way to go. Here are the book clubs I found:

DoubleDay
Newbridge Executive
Black Expressions
Book of the Month Club
Crafter’s Choice
Quality Paperbacks
Children’s BOTMC
Literary Guild
Mystery Guild
Rhapsody
Science Fiction
Audio book club
DearReader.com
Progressive
Scholastic Teen
360 youth
Student Marketing Group
History book club
Readers Subscription
Prevention
Fantasy book club
U of MO
Shameless book club
OpraH
Ellen
Book Browse
From left to write
www.booksarefun.com
Onlinebookclub.org
Readers Digest
Writers Digest
Shameless book club
amazon book club
booktalk.org
bookmooch.com
bbokclubreading.com/add-your-book/
Brilliant Books
Direct Brands Book club
Read It Forward
National Book Club
Teenreads.com (20somethingreads)
Reading Group Choices.com
www.booklistreader.com
Booklistonline.com
Great Group Reads
Nationalreadinggroupmonth.com
IBPA-online.org
Netgalley.com

Then I looked up all the marketing/promotion sites I could find. The idea is to keep the list and fill it in as I use each service, or check them out, I should say. But I haven’t gotten very far with the list. If you have any more information on these sites, and/or you have more sites to add to the list, just comment or reply, if you’re shy, and I will add them. Here are the sites:

Advicesbooks
Allauthor
Amazon Ads
Arkbound
Armadillo Books
Artisan Book Reviews
Ask David
Author Buzz
Author Marketing Club
Authors Cross Promotion
Awesomegang.com
Babs Book Bistro
Bad boy romance
Bargain Booksy
Bestseller Trailers
Bknights
blip.tv
Book Angel
Book Barbarian
Book Blast
Book Bongo
Book Brag
Book Cave
Book Circle
Book Deal Hunter
Book Doggy
Book Goodies
Book Gorilla
Book Lemur
Book Ninjas
Book Praiser
Book Preview Club
Book RAID
Book Reels
Book Riot
Book Review Buzz
Book Trailers 4 kids & YA
Book Trailer Tuesday
Bookbub
Bookcaster
Bookgrabber
BookHippo.uk
Bookish
booklikes.com
bookmarketingtools.com
Bookoftheday.org
bookreviewyellowpages.com
Books Butterfly
Books Go Social
Booksends
Bookskill.online
BookSweeps
Booktastic
Booktrib.com
Bookvids.net
BrazenBookshelf.com
Buck Books
Buzz net
Chick Lit Café
Choosy Bookworm
Cinematic Book Trailers
content buzz
Current tv
Daily Free Books
Daily Motion
Devour
Digital Bookend
Digital Book Girl
Digital Book Today
Dump a link
Early Bird Books
eBook.ws
ebook deal of the day
eBookaHolic
ebook bandit
eBook Booster
eBook Hounds
eBook Island
eBook Lister
eBook Mountain
eBook Roulette
eBook Soda
eBook Stage
eBookasaurus
eBooks Free Daily
eBooks Habit
ENT
eReader Café
eReader IQ
eReader News Today
eReadergirl.com
Facebook Ads
Fantasy Book Reviews
Fiverr bknights
Flix wagon
Flix YA
Flurl
Flurries of Words
Free and discounted books
Free Booksy
Free Kindle books and tips
Fresh Fiction
Fussy Librarian
Good Kindles
Goodreads giveaways
Heyspread
Humanmade- books promo
I love book trailers
iBook promos
IBPA
Ignite Your Book
Indep Author Network
Indies Unlimited
Ink Arcade
Inkitt
Instagram ads
It’s Write Now
JamesCalbraith.com
Just Kindle Books
Kboards Book Discovery
Kindle Book Review
Kindle Books & Tips
Kindle Countdown
Kindle Natioon Daily
Kindlenation Daily
Librarything
literary Me.net
LitPick
Love,Lust&Lipstick stains
Lulu
Manybooks
Masquerade Crew
mediabistro.com
Medium
Motion box
Mix
Momma Says Read
Natasha is a book junkie
Netgalley.com
NewInBooks.com
newfreekindlebooks.com
Nurture Your Books
Online Book Club
Peoplereads.com
Photo Bucket
Pillow Talk Books
Pinterest Free eBooks
Pixel of Ink
Pretty Hot
Promotemine.com
Rainys Book Realm
Read Cheaply
Read Freely
Readers in the Know
Reader’s Favorite
Reading Deals
Reddit Free Ebooks
RedFeatherRomance.com
Riffle Select
Robin Reads
Romance Rock Stars
services4authors.com
Shameless Book Deals
Shelf awareness
Smashwords
Story Finds
Storycartel.com
Story Origin
TallPoppies.org
Teen reads
The Book Cave
The Book Geek
The Book Hookup
The Booklist Reader
The Digital Ink Spot
The Midlist
The page-hungry bookworm
The Reader Café
The Reading Café
The Sweetest Romance
theindiereview.com
Trailer Shelf
Tumblr 
Twitter Ads
Uniweb productions
Video Wednesday
Vimeo
With Love for Books- Annie K.
Written word
YA book central
Your personal website
Youtube ads

Some of those sites do reviews, and some do book trailer marketing. They were color coded in my spreadsheet but I can’t seem to do that here. I’m sure you can tell it took me a lot of time to find them all, look them up, make a table, and color code it. I just wish it had copy/pasted with the original format. Sheesh.

The point is, I haven’t figured this out yet. There are people who have, and I will find out what the secret is, if it kills me. I just don’t have $5,000 to learn… yet. It’s like the chicken and the egg. I need the knowledge to make the money, but the classes all cost money I’m not making. One thing you DON’T want to do is to throw your net wide and invest a tiny bit of money everywhere buying ads and pushing posts. You want targeted marketing. I just can’t tell you who the targets are yet. But I’m excited for the day when I can share it. And I will, eventually.

In the meantime, keep writing!

~jenn

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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