Born Valentines Day on a naval base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers.
Seven Secrets to Savvy Marketing
If I could limit my advice to giving you just seven tips for marketing, here’s what they’d be:
1. Have NICE pens. I’m serious. Don’t skimp on this. People remember them and use them, therefore they remember you. If you’re going to spend your money on promo items, give people something they will actually use. How many people do you know who can never find a pen when they need one? People can always use pens.
2. Have NICE bookmarks. Dineen Miller designs mine. Yes, it costs more. But the pens and bookmarks disappear like money at the end of the month on freebie tables. Bookmarks are something a lot of people keep and use.
3. Get out there and meet people by doing book signings. Decorate your table to your book’s theme. For instance, I am writing a series on USAF Pararescue Jumpers. Each book stands alone but is linked as a series because each book features one member of the PJ team. Book five, Soldier Daddy is IN STORES NOW!
For book signings, I have everything themed silver and blue to honor the Air Force heroes I write about. I had silver-wrapped candy kisses in a pretty Air Force-Blue bowl. I also had U.S. flag-wrapped candy. I had blue bookmarks with silver dog tags imprinted on them with my new releases listed. I gave away worship CDs that had skydivers on the front cover since the PJs are military skydivers.
Theme your giveaway baskets to match your book or series. You can even have your décor match your cover. In the case of Soldier Daddy, I set everything out on camouflage cloth in twos to represent the twins on the cover. I sprinkled glittery leaves on the table to match the artist’s rendition on the cover. Have fun with this!
4. I recommend having a strong online presence. Especially if you can’t travel extensively doing book signings. You can host virtual book launch parties or blog tours, which can be just as effective in getting the word out. Have a strong online presence. Secure an eye-catching Web site or blog with interesting, relevant content that you update frequently.
Twitter is the bomb! I’m serious. You only have to type 140 characters in. I have my Tweets feed directly into my Facebook page too, so I don’t have to post twice.
Facebook can be an author’s best friend. You are limited to 5000 friends though in a regular account so you might consider setting up a fan sight first. I unfortunately didn’t. But I still have space left in my friend list so if you’re on Facebook, be sure to send me a friends’ request if you like.
I also have a friend who started a fan page for me on her own, unsolicited. If you like my books, feel free to join the thirty other people there who like my books. LOL!
5. Build a solid core of book influencers. People who avidly read your blog would be a great place to start. If they love reading your blog, chances are they’ll love reading your books because your voice comes through both. Also use a double-opt in for your newsletter and never add addresses without permission or send those unsolicited. Just because a reader comments on your blog doesn’t give you permission to add them to your mailing list. This can cost you respect which can cost you sales.
If you don’t have ample time to blog, form a group blog with other authors like we did here on Seekerville. We get an enormous amount of hits plus several industry professionals follow our blog. There are 15 of us so each of us only have to post once a week. I also blog at Crafty Ladies of Romance and at Love Inspired Authors. My personal blog is Scroll Squirrel. I have an equal readership of writers and readers, so I tailor my posts to both. Determine who your audience will be and give them great content.
6. Answer all reader mail personally. I know authors who have other people answer their mail, posing as themselves. This really irks me because I feel it is deceptive. Readers invest themselves for hours in just one of your books. It won’t hurt you to take two minutes out to compose a sincere e-mail or a from-the-heart handwritten note. Authors who are kind and who reach out to and connect with readers are statistically more popular which equates to better sales.
7. Obviously you have to focus on writing great books which brings me to my last point: no matter how long you’ve been writing or how many books you have written or published, keep growing your craft. Keep aiming for excellence. There’s always room for improvement. Strive to make each book better than the last.
Eventually, if your books continue to be stellar, they’ll sell themselves. Readers tend to buy on name recognition. You want to get to the point where your core readership trusts you enough to put you on their auto-buy list, meaning they don’t even care what your next book is about. They’re going to automatically buy and read it because they’ve grown to love you, love your voice and your style of storytelling. Don’t let them down or misuse their time or money by turning out shoddy books.
Aim for excellence in craft and much of your marketing will take care of itself.
U.S. Air Force commander Aaron Petrowski leads pararescue teams, yet can't find one nanny for his three-year-old twins?
The widowed father is returning to duty, but not without the best care for his beloved boys. So when Sarah Graham applies, the young woman surprises everyone by passing inspection. Until Aaron discovers Sarah has a secret tied to a tragedy in his past.
He can't keep her in his employ—or in his heart. Until his brave little soldier boys teach him a thing or two about love.