Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The best times for you to post to facebook and twitter.

As marketers, we need to know the best ways to reach the most people. I'm a big fan of taking stats and analizing them, so that is the subject we're on today. I've already talked about twitter, facebook, triberr and other subjects. Today we are going to talk about the best times to post to twitter and facebook. This means the best times of the day and the best days of the week.

In doing my research I've found conflicting statistics and reports on the best time and day to post on twitter. In my experience, the best days are Monday through Thursday. Here's an article that backs me up on this from Ragan's PR Daily.  The article shows that the most "click-throughs" happen Monday through Thursday around noon. Less specifically between 9a.m. and 3p.m.

Why are these times so popular?

My guess is that people start taking their mid-morning breaks and their lunch breaks during this time of day. Logically, people are still hanging on to their weekends on Mondays and also catching up on things they may have missed over the weekend. The early time of day id most likely due to procrastination. Things seem to get put off til later in the day and that's why the later hours are filled with actual work and checking off items on the to-do list.

Another reason?

Stay-at-home moms and dads don't have too much to do while their kids are in school, so they enjoy a little "me time."

Why are weekends dead on twitter?

Well, I'm not entirely sure myself, but I theorize that people are bust enjoying life. They go to events, birthday parties and go shopping in REAL stores. That's a good thing! It gives you time to come up with content to post during the week and time to enjoy life yourself!

One feature I love about Hootsuite is their new auto-schedule button. This tweets your message at the opportune time. It automatically calculates the next time a spike in twitter visitors will occur by using data from the past.

On to facebook posting. Facebook is apparently another story. Some unexpected reports show that facebook has differences and similarities to twitter. Here's an article that may help you with facebook. There are a few twitter stats too, so be sure to take note of them in this article from FaceItPages.

The infographic shows us that facebook thrives on weekends--particularly Saturday. It also shows that shares spike around noon and seven. It also claims that one post every other day will garner the most page likes. I'm not sure about this particular stat, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to give it a try.

Basically, the facebook crowd grows during lunch on weekdays and in the afternoon on Saturdays. Keep these times in mind when you are posting, and you'll do great!!

So there you have it. The best times to post and tweet. Come back on Friday for headline tips for blog posts.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Scrivener: The best $40 I ever spent on writing!

Okay, I was introduced to Scrivener by a friend of mine. What is Scrivener you ask? It's a word processor specifically for writers. Using this extremely inexpensive program, you can write, edit, format and publish anything from a full novel to a short story. There are also templates for scriptwriting, comic book writing and non-fiction writing.

Scrivener has a lot of features that will really help you get organized. The best part is, you can try it for 30 days and once that 30 days is up and you decide you like it, it's only $40. There are versions for Mac and Windows, and the Windows version just got a free update with more features that were only available for Mac before.

Let's start with how it helps you organize while writing:

Scrivener lets you create a separate text document for each chapter or section--you can set this up however you'd like. Then once you are finished, you can compile the all the documents, or just selected documents into a host of formats including kindle, .epub, .doc and SOOOO many more.

There are also some fun features.

Want to set a manuscript and or session word goal? Just go to Project>Project Targets and you can set the manuscript goal and your goal for the session.

You can also see an estimate of how many pages your book would be printed out or in paperback by going to Project>Project Statistics.

Stuck on what to name your characters? Forget searching for your baby name books or scouring the Internet, there is a name generator. Go to Tools>Writing Tools>Name Generator. You can even customize what origin the first and/or last name comes from, the gender, and choose whether you want first name only, last name only or both. I believe you can even add up to three last names. You can also find the meaning of first names and search names by the meaning you are going for.

Next, let's talk about how Scrivener helps you organize while editing:

If you have separated your chapters, after writing your first draft, you are able to go through and label each chapter in two ways. The first way is a color label. You can choose to have No Label (grey), Idea (yellow), Notes (orange), Needs Work (red), Good to Go (green), and Scene (blue). You are able to edit these colors to mean what ever you want, but these are the defaults. The next way you can label is by assigning each folder or text a status. The statuses are none, to do, first draft, revised draft, final draft and title page. You can add, remove or customize these too. Here is a screen shot to show you what I'm talking about. To get to the screen I'm about to show you, you would click on "Manuscript" in the left-side binder panel in Scrivener.

As you can see, I am able to tell exactly where I am in the editing process. Before Scrivener I had to write down what chapter I was on since when ever I closed out of my word document, it would not save my place. With Scrivener, not only does it automatically open to the project you last worked on, it opens to the very place you left your cursor.

Okay, on to the subject of formatting and publishing with Scrivener:

So far, I have only published short stories to Amazon with Scrivener. But I have found it to be very easy to format to .mobi by using the compile button. Compile on Scrivener, takes all those sections, and combines them into one document. You can pick and choose which ones to include as well as which titles and subtitles to include. I suggest going through the tutorial and learning more about this. I decided to wing it and got dinged a couple times. Once you figure out how you want to format your work, you start to remember the settings you used. It's probably not a bad idea to write them down. I think you might even be able to save the settings too, although I have not yet figured out how to do that. Soon I will be formatting for .epub, so I will keep you posted.

I have been extremely happy with Scrivener and I suggest that every writer at least try it out. The 30 day trial is risk free and fully featured. The fact that you can do everything from writing to publishing in one program is amazing. If you are publishing to kindle (who isn't these days?) I would suggest getting the kindle for desktop app downloaded so that you can check out your .mobi files before you upload them to Amazon. It's really easy to check them out, find an error, fix it, compile the new file, replace the old file with the new, check it out again on the kindle app and finally publish when you have found no more errors.

For more info or to give it a try, head to this link:

See you tomorrow when we talk about the best times to post to facebook and twitter!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The benefits of writing and publishing a short story.

Many authors are struggling with sales on their debut novel. The problem is that there is only one piece of work under their name and readers are reluctant to spend money on a "newbie" especially when they can't get a proper sample of their work.

You may say, "That's what excerpts and kindle samples are for!" Well, while excerpts and kindle samples do help, they don't tell the reader about your writing style and how you can write a full story. They want to read something from beginning to end. This gives them a true sense of who you are as a story-teller, not just who you are as a writer.

Writing and publishing a short story is a great way to get your work into the hands of readers, especially if you price it at $.99 or give it away for free. You get an added bonus in the story is a companion to your novel. The same goes for long stories and novellas.

A short story about the characters in your novel will add interest to the novel itself. Once someone reads and like the short story, they are bound to want to read the novel. It's a good idea to try to make it a story that can be read either before or after the novel, since people who have read and liked the novel won't want to miss out on any important story lines that involve the characters they fell in love with.

Once you write this short story, be sure to put in the blurb for your book at the end. Here is my format for short stories:

Table of Contents
Title/Copyright Page
About the Author
About Obsidian: Mystic Stones Series (Insert blurb and link to the book on Amazon--or where ever--here)

And that is that. I've only published to Amazon so far and I tend to run the KDP free promo days one or two days at a time. After I run these, I usually see at least a few sales for my novel. The rest of the time they are at $.99 and I see a few sales each week. Eventually, I plan to publish to Smashwords, but I haven't had the time yet.

Here is a list of  the short stories I've published and the ones to come!

Oomph! (horror)
Journey in an Unknown Land (speculative fiction)
Falling Leaves, Falling Leaves: The Book of Life, Falling Leaves: A Seed of Hope and Falling Leaves: The Complete Three Story Collection (speculative fiction)

Ruby: A Mystic Stones Jewel (Companion to Obsidian - Coming Soon!)
Vibe (A 9 Story Series - Coming Soon!)

The more quality work you have out there, the better! Some one could fall in love with one of your short stories and decide to pick up your novel. Give it a try and you might be surprised!

See you tomorrow when we talk about the best $40 I ever spent on writing, and the program that will help you write and publish that short story I mentioned--Scrivener!

Friday, February 22, 2013

5 Must-Have Marketing Books for Authors.

Here's the list of marketing books I promised with links to amazon:

100 Ways to Market Your Book for Free (or really cheap) by Carol Denbow. $.99 at time of posting.

My Book Isn't Selling! The Chargan Book of Marketing Ideas by Philip Ragan. Free at time of posting.

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide - How to Market any Book for Free (Smashwords Guides) by Mark Coker. Free at time of posting.

Book Marketing Basics: How to Use Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and Email Marketing to Connect with Readers by Doulit. $.99 at time of posting.

What's Your Purple Goldfish? How to Win Customers and Influence Word of Mouth by Stan Phelps and Drew McLellan. Free at time of posting.

Watch for more lists/ an extended list in the future as I make my way through a few I just downloaded!

Next week, on Monday, we will talk about how writing short stories and novellas can boost the sales on your full length novels. Plus on Tuesday, a post about the best $40 I ever spent on writing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

5 tips on word-of-mouth marketing!

Finally, after deleting the post yesterday, I am retyping the blog on word-of-mouth marketing. Here are some tips for getting your name and the name of your book out there.

Tip #1: Make sure you have a signature on your emails. This should include your name, author of _____ and some links to your website, blog, book . . . Well, here is mine:

Kayla Curry
Author of Obsidian: Mystic Stones Series #1
Website - Blog -Twitter
Facebook Page - Martin Sisters Publishing

Why should you do this? Because, in order for word-of-mouth marketing to work, people need to know your name and the name of your book.

Tip #2: Always say thank you when someone goes out of their way to mention you in a post, on facebook, or twitter or any other media. Showing appreciation lets people know that you care and they feel rewarded for helping you out even if it's just a thank you. Thank you's can go a long way.

Tip #3: Give people something to talk about! If you want people to talk about you and/or your book, you need to give them something interesting to say. Just make sure it's something positive. Post announcements on your achievements, your goals and your projects. If you are participating in a community event, or donating to a charity, those are more things you should announce so that your supporters have something to talk about.

Tip #4: Asking people to refer your book to a friend. There are a few right and wrong ways to go about this. I haven't tried many of them out yet, but here are some ideas to do it the right way:
  • Make it a contest! Have the followers of your page send their friends to your page and have them tell their friends who sent them. The follower to bring in the most new followers wins something. This can be done easily on facebook.
  • Every once in a while (not everyday) send out a tweet or facebook status that says something to the effect of, "If you liked my book, feel free to recommend it to your friends!"
Tip #5: Return the favor, or be the first one to pay the favor. Refer the books that your friends have written to others. Whether you are returning the favor, or paying the favor first (even without being asked), your author friends are likely to remember you next time they are in a position to recommend a book. It's easy to say, "She's my competition. I'm not going to help her out." That's what we are taught--that people in the same line of business are our competition. It's true, but it's also not a bad idea to work with your competition. In the book world, competition is just a chance for cross promotion. Cross promotion is a great way to gain a larger reach. In the book world, readers are always looking for new books. Once they have read your friends' book, they are going to want something else comparable. That is why cross promoting is so important. Your fans become their fans, and their fans become yours. The great thing is, when you come out with another book, your fans will still be there.

Well, that's all I have for today. I might have more on this subject in the future. Tomorrow I'll be posting a list of books that gave me some great marketing advice with links to them on Amazon! Don't miss it! Most will be free or very cheap. That's what I'm all about--marketing on a very tight budget.

Accidentally deleted today's post . . .

Sorry guys! I know I said I'd talk about word-of-mouth marketing today and I had an awesome post all written up, but I accidentally deleted it while in a state of extreme sleepiness. I will retype it sometime today and post tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hometown Marketing: TV Exposure

Yesterday we talked about local newspaper exposure.  Today we are moving on to TV exposure.

Now, when you send out your press releases, be sure to send them to local TV stations. Landing a spot on the news is a big thing. If you are contacted by  your local TV station, or any TV station for that matter, be sure to take advantage of any exposure they offer you.

In my case, I was contacted by my local news station via email. They wanted to do a story on me and they asked if they could send a reporter to my house. I was ecstatic and told them that would be fine. The appointment was set for a few days later, but I instantly started to prepare.

They didn't give me the questions they'd be asking, but I figured I could practice the ones that were general. So I came up with my own set of questions and began to practice answering them out loud. I also cleaned my house from top to bottom and spent hours on figuring out what I was going to wear.

When they actually came by to interview and film me, I felt ready. I was still nervous, but ready. It went pretty well for my first TV appearance, and I think if I ever do another one I'll be even more prepared and perhaps a bit more relaxed.

As for radio exposure, I haven't had the opportunity to be featured on the radio yet. Our radio stations are mostly music only around here, they read off the news, but they only interview musicians and singers.

Do any of you have experience in radio/TV exposure?

Tomorrow we'll talk about word-of-mouth marketing!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hometown Marketing: Newspaper Exposure

Today we're talking about marketing your book to people in your hometown and surrounding areas too, but mainly your hometown.

The first subject of the week is getting exposure in newspapers. Newspapers are a great way to find an audience. Why? Because people who read the paper actually read! Yeah. They don't just watch TV for news and entertainment, they actually read the paper. There are a few ways to use a local newspaper to market your book.

When you publish your book, you or your publisher should put together a PRESS RELEASE. Yes, newspapers and other media still accept press releases and you need to have one. We'll talk more on this subject next week, but for now, let's pretend that you do in fact have a press release.

You need to send the press release to the newspapers, radio stations and news stations. It's also a good idea to follow up about a week after you send them if you haven't heard from them. More often then not, your hometown will publish at least a short snippet of your press release.

Sometimes your press release leads to interviews, reviews and other feature stories. For example, a newspaper in my hometown originally published a short announcement of my book from the press release. Soon after, they contacted me for more and I landed a centerfold article with an excerpt from my book and pictures.

One place you might want to look up especially if you write for young adults, is your local high school(s) newspaper. I was actually on the school newspaper when I was in high school and so when I went to my old supervisor and asked him if they would be interested in publishing a story, he was very happy to have the teens feature me. I showed up at his class one day where I was promptly thrown into a class wide Q&A. (I should have expected it from my old teacher--he really knew how to put you on the spot.) After the Q&A, I was then interviewed by a student who would be writing the story that I was featured in. I donated a signed book to the school library, and I was very pleased with the results I got when the article came out.

On another note, most newspapers will also publish their stories online. This is an added bonus for you, since people are going more and more paperless everyday. The moral of the story is: Do not put newspapers out for the count just because the industry isn't doing as well as it used to. ANY exposure is better than nothing at all--except, in my opinion, bad exposure.

Return tomorrow for how to get exposure on your local news station and what to do when they want to film a segment!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Let's talk about Triberr!

Okay, for those of you who don't know, Triberr is an application that you can use to make your blog posts reach more people.

This is how it works:

You become a member of a tribe.
You add your blog to the tribe stream.
You post on your blog.
Members of your tribe share your post via twitter and/or facebook.
You do the same for them.

The service is free, but there are some advanced features that you can pay for. I have gotten by without having to pay a cent and I'm very happy with it. I'm not sure on the rules and all that. I don't run my own tribe, I am only a member of about five tribes which is about the limit for me. I have 182 Tribe mates with a reach of over 810,000.

What you have to do:

You log onto triberr and approve each post to be shared. You can pay for automatic approval, but if you approve your posts everyday, it is manageable to do it by hand. I have been invited to more Tribes, but I've had to decline since you are only allowed to have 100 posts approved at any time. (You can probably pay to upgrade this, but again--not something I see as a necessity.) I usually approve about 70 to 90 per day depending on the day of the week. If I joined any more tribes, it's possible that my 100 approval limit would be reached and I'd have a backlog of posts to approve everyday and likely fall way behind on posts, resulting in sharing links looooong after the actual blog post has gone live.


Since using triberr I have noticed page views climbing, more followers, and more comments. I am very pleased with triberr, and I encourage you to join. I'm not sure if you have to be invited or exactly how it all works. I was invited, but I've heard that they may have changed it up a little since then.

Also, another feature I like about triberr is that you can find out how many people have shared your post AND how many people clicked on the links and actually went to your post. These stats are pretty important to find out what headlines grab the most attention and what headlines fall flat.

Anyways, if you get the chance to join a triberr group, do it!

Here is a link to give you an idea of how it works:

*UPDATE! (Added around 3:30 pm on 2/15) After doing some calculations, I've discovered that Triberr is responsible for almost 30% of my pageviews. That is amazing! So if this number sounds great to you, be sure to join a tribe or a few tribes!

See you next week when we talk about hometown marketing!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Let's Talk about Goodreads!

Now, as some of you may know, there is a lot of controversy surrounding Goodreads and the environment it provides for authors and readers.

Here's my POV on the whole thing:

Goodreads is a social media site. You may say that no, it's not a social media site, it's a review site. Well, you're half right. Goodreads is both. The problem is that when you combine social media with pure opinion, you get some volatile people. The trick for authors is to be professional. Here are some rules if you want to stay out of trouble on Goodreads and other review or social media sites:
  1. Don't respond to bad reviews. Just DON'T! Don't do it! I mean it. If you simply over-look them, and don't make a big deal out of it, you won't bring the review to anyone else's attention, and you won't cause a ruckus of unwanted backlash. We are busy enough as it is without having to ward off personal attacks.
  2. If some one seems to be making rude remarks about you or your book, ignore them.
  3. Be polite to everyone. The difference between amateurs and professionals is the level of  maturity in handling certain situations.
  4. Be aware that as an author, you are putting yourself in the public eye. Celebrities are treated much worse than authors and they aren't complaining. (Well, some of them are, but those are the type that just keep feeding the media more outrageous stories by making fools of themselves.) The professional celebs ignore the media and soon everyone forgets that they had a wardrobe malfunction or whatever. Even though we don't make that kind of money, we still have to prepare for that kind of treatment. The worst thing you can do is blow it out of proportion. It's better to have a few enemies and some fans than a few more fans and a lot more enemies.
Goodreads can be a great place to meet readers and authors if you know how to handle yourself. If you are the kind who can't stay silent if someone makes a joke at your expense, then you might want to stay away from Goodreads.

As for the site itself, in my opinion, it's not a great site to learn to navigate. Sometimes, you think you should just be able to click on something to take you to a certain place on the site, but there is nothing that links you to where you want to go and you have to click on several different links first to get to your destination.

I like that you can compare reviews with others. You can see how well you would get along with some one just by looking at the books they read. I like that you can hold events, although I wish you could have a better comments field on event pages. I like that you can create groups.

Groups are probably the best way to promote on Goodreads. You can find groups that are specifically for your genre and most will let you post promos in them. Be sure to read group rules first and always join the group before posting.

I am a bit unsure on just how to utilize it to promote other than throwing events and participating in groups. I may write about Goodreads again in the future, but for now, Goodreads is just a site that I know I need to have my books on.

Return tomorrow for advice on Triberr--the site that gives you more reach on social media sites.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Let's talk about Twitter promoting!

Okay, so twitter is a little confusing when you first start out. There is some good news though, it gets easy very quickly. Imagine twitter as one long conversation and not everyone is on the same page. Some are talking about one subject while others are talking about another. The trick is to jump into one of those conversations (appropriately of course) and add your own two cents.

Now. If you are just starting out, you'll need to gain followers otherwise, no one will listen when you start to talk. So as you open up your first twitter account, tweet once about how excited you are to be there or what you'd like to tweet about. Basically, just introduce yourself. When people go to follow you, they will want to check out your past tweets first.

Gaining followers is easy. Most people follow back, so start out by following people with similar interests. There is a search field on twitter where you can type in "books" or something and it will bring up tweets about books, people related to books and more. Follow people who seem to tweet about the same things you would.

Next, you  must learn the art of retweeting. Retweeting, is taking one persons' tweet and repeating it, or relaying it to your followers. THIS MAKES PEOPLE HAPPY! People love being retweeted. Why? Because it gives them a bigger reach and gains them followers. If others realize that you are helping them out they are more likely to follow you and when the time comes, they are more likely to help you out in return by retweeting one of your tweets.

When retweeting, be sure to tweet promotional tweets with links, or something that is funny or meaningful. Don't retweet some one's conversation with another person. Even though all tweets are open, (unless some one has a private account) sometimes people hold personal conversations on twitter with one or more of their friends. You must decipher these and other tweets that are not appropriate to retweet.

Now that you are gaining followers, it's time to tweet some of your own promotional tweets. This can be done by hand at first, but you will begin to notice that people follow so many others, that their feed can get super busy and one tweet can easily get overlooked. Therefore, for more visibility, I suggest getting an account with You can add your social media sites to this account and schedule tweets to go automatically when you aren't even at your computer. What's more, is that hootsuite now has a nifty little button you can push that automatically schedules your tweets for the busiest times of the day. That means even more visibility!

That's all I've got for now! Come back tomorrow to talk about the sensitive subject of Goodreads.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Let's talk about Facebook promoting!

Promoting your book on Facebook is more than just posting about your book all the time. The first thing you want to do is get a Facebook page specifically for your book or series. Then you'll want a cover image and a page profile image.

From there you can begin posting about your book and gaining "Likes."  Here are some ways to gain "likes" on your facebook page:
  • Share your page posts on your regular account too. When people see that you shared "Your Facebook Page's Name Here's" photo or link, they can easily click on the link that goes back to your page and like it.
  • Have a contest. If you have a giveaway when you reach X number of likes, people will bring their friends in.
  • Find Like Exchanges. Some authors create groups or events and invite others to post links to their pages and everyone in the group exchanges likes.
  • Be sure to post links to your facebook page in all your promo blog posts. People can easily find your page and like it this way.
  • Post funny stuff. People love funny stuff and they also share it often. If you post a few funny things each day along with your regular promo posts, people will come for the funny and stay for the book. Funny stuff that is in some way related to your book's subject matter is a BONUS!
I recently discovered something on Facebook, that I need to relay to you guys. Most everyone knows that if you run a facebook page, not everyone sees your posts. This is because Facebook only puts it in so many people's feeds to IDK, cut down on spamming or something? Pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Anyways, lately I've been getting invited to a lot of events. One thing I've noticed is that I receive notifications whenever someone posts something in that event. This happens regardless if I've accepted the invitation to the event or not. I think the only way not to receive the notifications is if you decline the invitation, and most people are too polite to do that.

SO! What does this mean to you? It means that when you hold a facebook event, you'll get more notice if you post updates in the event page. That DOES NOT mean that you should have an event for every little thing and post in it for every little update, but if your book is on sale, having a free day, or if you are going on a blog tour or something like that, you should create an event. Just keep in mind that too many of these might annoy some people and turn them away from you.

Posting links in these events is a good idea. If you are having a blog tour, post the links to those who are hosting you that day. Post each link only once, since people get these as notifications and not in their news feed. If you are having a free day or sale for your book, post links to WHERE they can get your book for free or on sale. If you make it on to a best sellers list while running one of these events, it's a good idea to post to the event a "Thank you," and possibly a link to the best seller list if you'd like.

Another way to promote on facebook is by "liking" and commenting on statuses. When you like or comment on some one's status, they get a notification and your name is what they see. If they see that you are taking an interest in them, they will be more likely to take an interest in you. Not to mention, getting your name out there as much as possible is a great way to promote yourself as a brand.

The basics of Facebook promoting are posting at least once a day on your personal account AND your pages, posting stuff that is NOT about your book (people will get tired of only reading about your book), and conducting yourself in a professional manner. This means no getting into fights in comment fields or attacking someone. Leave that to the amateurs.

Another thing about facebook, is the images that are posted. These days, more than half of the posts in my newsfeed are links with images or just images. These get shared, especially if they are funny or meaningful. You can create image about your book that can be shared. To read more on this topic, go to my post titled What should be in your digital promo arsenal?

Thanks for stopping by! Tomorrow we talk about promoting on Twitter!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cover Reveals (Plural) for my new short story series, VIBE

So, I'm writing a new series. It's called Vibe. The series will contain 9 short stories about a homicide detective in a future where emotions have become weapons, currency and livelihood.
When reading the stories of vibe, you'll follow Prism, who happens to be a very special type of detective in the series. You'll also learn all about this new world. Here is a sneak peak at the covers I designed for each book!!

Thanks for stopping by! You can expect the first of these stories to be published towards the end of March or early April!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Why does your book need it's own business card?

Hello everyone! Today I'm talking about the concept of your book having it's own business card. I'm not sure if I came up with this concept on my own or if other have done it before. Either way, it's a good tool to have in your marketing toolbox.

First, let me tell you what my book's business card looks like. The card has the cover on the front, and on the back, it has the tag line "Paradise never looked so dangerous . . ." followed by the website and then "Available now in print and ebook formats on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords."

I said in the previous article that you could put a QR code on there. The ones I have presently do not, but I will be putting one on next time I print since they are becoming more and more popular.

What uses does this card have? What uses doesn't it have? These cards can be handed out, sent in giveaway packages, left non-chalantly on the floor of a bookstore or library, given to people who ask you about your book, and even used as book marks. Your personal business card just tells people how to reach you and what you do, while your book business card teases people with it's interesting tag line and eye-catching cover image, while also telling them where they can find your BOOK, not where they can find you. How many people do you know that take an author's business card and think, "Man, I better go to their website and see what books they have written, maybe there is one for me."

What? None of your friends have ever done that? Thought so. Your book's business card tells them about the book, which is the main thing you are trying to sell. It's like a car salesman sending you a picture of himself, when what you really want is the picture of the CAR.

Business cards are so easy to carry too. Since most people are reading ebooks these days anyways, it's no longer necessary to carry four books with you everywhere you go--just in case. Nope, now you can carry one and your book's business cards and be able to actually carry your purse.

Another thing, I always feel awkward, pulling out my own book to show people when they ask about it. It makes me feel like a door-to-door saleswoman. Now, I can pull out the business card and mention that I have a book with me, rather than practically saying, "Hey! Here's my book! It's right in front of you! You need to buy it! Can't you see it right here? Buy it! Buy it! Buy it!"

Okay. I think we've covered the subject pretty well. I'm going to wrap it up for the week since Blogger Book Fair starts tomorrow. That is an awesome event that you can't miss. I've been working very hard on organizing it, so please stop by and explore, maybe you will decide to participate in the next one!

Next week, we'll talk about using Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in the best ways possible.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book and Series Branding. Why it's important and how to do it.

If you missed the post about Personal Branding, you can read it before or after this post.

Book and/or series branding is essential when marketing. People need to be able to recognize your book at a glance. This involves more than just using your cover on everything, although that is a good place to start.

Once you have your cover, you'll want to use the font, or at least a similar font of your title to make other promotional materials like bookmarks and the like. You can read more about promotional items in my posts from last week.

Let's say you have your very first book cover. Let's also say that you are writing a series. I'll use my book as an example:

 This cover was designed by my publishers. I picked out the image and they did they rest. Take note of the font and the placement of the title, author name and flower. We'll come back to those in a bit.

On the back, you can see that my publisher used the blue from the water on the front, as well as the same font. Do you notice something else? The bright pink hibiscus has been cut out and transferred to the back to add CONSISTENCY.

Consistency is key to branding.

I have used this flower in other marketing materials as well. It does two things: 1. reminds people of my cover 2. alludes to a specific location in which the book takes place: Hawaii.

Let's move on to the cover that I designed for the short story that is a companion to Obsidian. I did not have access to the same font that is used in the title of Obsidian. It is best if you do, but sometimes, you have to work with what you've got.

Now, since I could not use the same font, I branded it another way. Remember how I told you to take note of the placement of the title, author name and flower?

If you take a look at the cover for Ruby, you'll notice that the titles and author name are in the same spot and the attention grabbing ruby broach takes the place of the attention grabbing flower.

I used the black background because it is a companion to Obsidian and obsidian is of course, black. Another reason: Black and red are the go-to colors for paranormal works these days. This cover not only tells you that its in the right genre category, but also conveys a sense of mystery. Why the ruby broach?

The point is, your covers don't have to look like altered copies of each other. Although it is a good thing if they closely resemble each other, it is not required to create a brand look for your series.

A good example of branding a series is the Twilight series. You can go look up the books and easily see that even though the images used are unrelated, the series looks like it belongs together. If you had only ever seen the covers for Twilight and New Moon, it's likely that if you walked past the cover for Eclipse or Breaking Dawn, that you would immediately know that those books belong in the series without reading the title.

That brings me to my next point. Titles are important in a series even more than they are important for stand alone books. Take my books for example.

Obsidian: Mystic Stones Series #1
Moonstone: Mystic Stones Series #2
Amethyst: Mystic Stones Series #3
Emerald: Mystic Stones Series #4
Bloodstone: Mystic Stones Series #5
Ruby: A Mystic Stones Jewel

Seeing a pattern? You need that sort of consistency. Just like in Twilight and the House of Night Series. Your book title is more recognizable when the books in a series are named similarly. Books that are three in a series titled something like . . .

Phone Calls: Blah Blah Series #1
The Big Flower: Blah Blah Series #2
Craziness: Blah Blah Series #3

. . . are missing series branding. As a reader, I may read Phone Calls and then months later, see the title The Big Flower and never make the connection. People are more likely to continue reading a series they liked than they are to pick up a completely new stand alone book given a choice between the two. They are already invested in your characters and your world, so they want to continue that, but they can't if you don't give them the proper chance to recognize your series.

Okay. Now that we got the series talk out of the way, branding a stand alone book may be more difficult than branding a series. My advice is to use the same colors, fonts and style in your promotional materials. If you look at my infographic that I made for Obsidian, you can see the color of the center of the flower has been used in the infographic. The font that I used conveys more of a "technical" feel than a swirly feel like a calligraphy font would have. By using the techy font, I mimicked the title font without using the same exact font.

Well, I think that's all for today. Come back tomorrow for more info on why your book should have it's own business card. This is a concept I mentioned last week in THIS POST.
Do you have any ideas on how to brand your book or series?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Personal Branding. Why it's important and how to do it.

There are two types of branding in the author's world. Personal branding and book/series branding. Today we're talking about personal branding. You need to tell people who you are as an author, but not necessarily in words.

Consistency is the key to branding. I have two author pictures that I use and they were taken in the same place and in pretty much the same pose. These are the ONLY pictures I use for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other places I need an author picture, like "About Me" sections on websites.

The next thing you need to do is make sure you use the same name for all your accounts. There needs to be no doubt in the minds of your fans that you are the person they are looking for on the social media sites. This means that using your middle initial in one place and not using it in another is a no-no. Be consistent.

Color schemes and font useage needs to be the same or similar on your websties, blogs, and social media accounts whenever possible.

I even used the same colors and fonts from my website on my business cards.

Make all your about me sections the same or very similar. If you mention your dog in one place, mention him in the next. You want people to recognize you. The more they "see" you around, the more likely they will be to call you their "friend" on facebook. Some people need to feel comfortable with you and be able to get to know you before they will pick up your book.

This brings me to my next advice, which I'm sure some of you will hate. If the books you are writing do not deal with religion, politics, or other controversial subjects, do not mention them in your tweets, posts, or otherwise. Why? Because you do not want someone biased against you to pick up your book out of spite and read it with the attitude that they do not agree with you on anything. They will pick your book to pieces in their reviews and there is nothing you can do about it.

If you do write about politics and the like, I think it's perfectly okay to talk about those subjects when you tweet/post. Just be aware that not everyone is going to agree with you and you may still fall victim to attacks from readers who dislike you because of your views.

Personally, I choose to keep the controversy on the pages of my books between my characters and not in my social media. That is just my professional choice--you are welcome to make your own. My policy is "no comment" when it comes to the major subjects that could turn a whole group of people against you.

That's all for today folks. Come back tomorrow for how to brand your book or series!

Friday, February 1, 2013

What should be in your digital promo arsenal?

Digital promotional materials are things that you want your fans to share on Facebook and other social media sites.

Digital promotional materials should be visually pleasing, funny, or clever. Or all three if you can work that in. They need to grab your attention. I have created all these images myself, and it's pretty easy if you have photoshop skills or a good program to make jpegs with.

Here is an example of a Tag Line Promo:

If you post something like this on your book's Facebook page, people will be able to trace it back there after it's been shared. This may get you more followers and more people who notice your book.


Infographics tell people about your book in numbers. Here's an example:

These are nice because you can easily work in your book cover and good stats about your book. How do you find these stats like "How many times____ is mentioned in the book."? It's simple with a kindle or the kindle app. Just type in the word or phrase you want to highlight in your infographic and it will bring up all the instances it's mentioned in your book. Simply count and record for use in your infographic.

Your infographic can be posted on Facebook, your website, or any number of digital media outlets. Be sure to mention any awards or best selling numbers in your infographic.

Blog Button:

If you have a blog dedicated to your book or series, you'll need a blog button. An image that people can post on their blogs that links back to yours. I'm in the process of designing a new one for my Mystic Stones Blog. I'll post it when I get to it.

Desktop images:

People like cool backgrounds on their computers, so make sure you offer your fans the chance to display their love for your book on their computer. I chose to do one for each month, making a desktop calendar. You can put tag lines in or quotes. Just have fun with it. Here's an example of mine:

Notice there is white space for desktop icons. It's not essential, but you don't want the important parts covered by icons, so take that into effect.

Other Digital Promotional materials are:

  • Facebook Cover images (sometime the title portion of your cover will work for this)
  • Facebook page profile image. On your personal Facebook page, you'll want your photo, but on your book page, you'll probably want the cover image or something that will make people remember your book.
  • Character pictures. (You'll have to be careful with this. Using pictures of famous people, or anyone for that matter, without their permission is illegal. If you buy the images, that's okay. Make sure there is a model release with it. To be thrifty and also keep my reader's imaginations open I've created images with blackout silhouettes. The silhouettes are then incorporated into a background that conveys the personality of each character. Take a look:

There are lots of ways you can do character images. Having someone sketch your characters is also popular. Personally, I like to leave specific details to the reader to imagine while they read which is why I use silhouettes. You can find some silhouettes and lots of other images on Pixabay. Pixabay is a site that offers images for personal or commercial use for no fee what-so-ever. The images are available to anyone for no cost. You don't even need an account to get them.

What sort of digital promotional materials do you use?

Next week we'll talk about branding, why it's important and how to do it. Thanks for stopping by!