By: Heather Day Gilbert
Last month, we looked at social media and personal ways to reach readers. This month, we're focusing more on paid advertisements and no-cost ways to get the word out on your novel.
As we did last time, I'll link to the contributing authors and their sites/books. Hopefully these posts will help as you make decisions on when to spend your bills...and when to "hold 'em." This series is by no means exhaustive, so if you've tried alternate ways of marketing/advertising, please comment below!
However, as of March 6, ACFW has announced that indies can be eligible for Fiction Finder and the Carol Awards (in 2015). Although there will be minimum requirements to meet, I feel this is a huge step forward for Christian authors as a group. I hope more contests open doors to self-published novels and novels produced by smaller houses. I think this will bring a wealth of previously undiscovered gems onto readers' radar. I could definitely see the benefits of entering a contest like that.
I think the key with contests is entering ones you know will reach your demographic/readership. For example, enter mysteries in a mystery contest, Christian fiction in a Christian contest, etc.
There are also author co-ops that utilize NetGalley. I paid an author friend to use her slot for the month of February. I would just give the caveat that if you go with a co-op, make sure your genre matches what your group usually distributes to readers. I didn't garner large numbers of reviews, but I learned that one library might purchase it, so that was a win for me. I'll probably try this route again.
I have mixed feelings on authors doing freebies. I know it can generate early release buzz, but then again, you run into readers who aren't in your target audience and might give lower than average reviews. I'd love your thoughts below on freebies (as a reader OR an author). I have found some favorite authors via free Kindle downloads, but that generated no income for said authors. However, it did generate a loyal influencer who will spread the word and buy all the author's future books. Therefore, I am planning to do this at some point, if I choose to go with Kindle Select.
I'd also like to point out the importance of following through on your giveaways. I think many of us have had experiences where we've won a book and the author never made good on sending it to us, or finally it showed up five months later when you'd forgotten all about it. Now, maybe I'm just a gal indoctrinated with Southern ideas on courtesy, but I believe if you promise something and don't make good on it, you look like a liar. In other words, it'll reflect very badly on you as an author. If there is a good reason why you can't get that book out, offer a gift card or alternate gift. But at the very least, contact the winner and apologize.
As I've said in previous posts, Goodreads giveaways are a great way to get many people to add your book to their To-Read list, thus increasing your visibility on Goodreads. Some of those people will eventually buy your book, even if they don't win. But I'd just advise to offer at least three copies of the book and let your giveaway run a month so it will reach more people who might potentially share it with others and review.
Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't share this link to an older Author Media post on this very topic: 89 Book Marketing Ideas That will Change your Life. I have a feeling I'll be reading over and pondering each one of these options.
A huge thanks to the authors below, who contributed to this series. Names link to their author sites, titles link to their most recent books on Amazon. Thank you!
Carole Brown—The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman
Susie Finkbeiner—My Mother's Chamomile
Cynthia Hickey—Deadly Neighbors
Carla Laureano—Five Days in Skye
Terri Main—Fangs for the Memories
Amy Matayo—Love Gone Wild
Wendy Paine Miller—The Disappearing Key
Staci Stallings—Deep in the Heart
***Would love your thoughts/experience with advertising hits and misses. This is a place where we can help each other get ahead and make the most of our advertising budgets!***