Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reader mail: Niche Marketing Success Story

Today's post is an email I received from an author in response to Mark Mingle's guest post:  Are We Having Fun Yet?  Lisa Y. Potocar is the author of "Sweet Glory."  Lisa's email is a great example of why authors must be intimately involved in promoting their book, and how targeting a book's niche audience can lead to success...and a lot of fun along the way! - Terry

Hi, Terry!

In reply to your blog today, “Are We Having Fun Yet?” I’m having a BALL!!!! Just to keep you in the loop, I’ve had at least 15 events since my novel’s release on January 31, 2012, and I’ve sold a ton of books out of my own stash—YAY! I’m having HUGE success with the public libraries and their book clubs and historical societies. And my greatest audience is adults versus young adults, for which my story is aimed.  

I’ve been hopping on every opportunity that comes my way, including a radio interview, a writing presentation for 4th through 6th graders (this I did free of charge and it was a HUGE success), and two blog interviews. This past Monday night I presented to a local historical society, and the board members were thrilled when I signed back over to them the $50.00 honorarium to help them preserve their building.

I’ve been bringing Billy Bear (3 feet in stature) dressed in full cavalry garb and some Civil War bunting with me everywhere I go—Billy alone attracts great attention, but his offer to answer a question for a free bookmark is adding to bringing the crowds. And everyone has been rewarding my passion for my subject and enthusiasm to present it with a purchase or two—sometimes three—once even five by the same person.

I have numerous contacts to make that have arisen from my various events, such as the Capital District Civil War Round Table, a Civil War reenactment and encampment event in Windham, NY, Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh, PA, numerous public libraries, another blog interview, etc., etc. I’ll keep you posted!

So….you be the judge….am I having fun yet? I hope you’re having fun too!

Lisa Potocar, Sweet Glory


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest Post: Are We Having Fun Yet?

Today's guest post comes courtesy of Mark Mingle. - Terry

When it comes to selling books, something is wrong if you are not having fun. Very wrong.

Think about it. You have taken your book from an idea, to a manuscript, now to a published work. No one knows it inside and out like you do, and no one will be more passionate about sharing your message than you will.

Doing that should be fun, just like it's fun to show off your new car, your new baby, or your new home. I'm not talking about bragging and being obnoxious, but about genuinely being excited and passing along that enthusiasm. Remember, enthusiasm can be contagious, and nothing is better for a book than that kind of organic, grassroots excitement.

Not all phases will be fun, and there will likely be failures along the way. That's life, and nothing that is worth anything in life comes easy. Publishing a book is not for the weak at heart. You will face rejection, frustration, and trouble. That's par for the course and shouldn't discourage you. Resistance on the path to success makes you stronger, and as an author, a huge part of the process is finding out what works - and what doesn't - for you and your book. That takes time, and it is done by trial and error. But breaking through after hard work can be extremely rewarding.

Once you find what does work, replicate it to death. Have fun with it, be a blessing to others, and find a way to help people by using your book. Whether it is fund-raising, taking your children's book to schools and seeing the kids' faces light up, or challenging someone with exactly what they need from your book, these opportunities can be fun and provide a terrific outlet for spreading the word.

If doing this has become painful and is no longer fun, it's time to re-evaluate what you are pursuing. There are always new directions and possibilities to pursue. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Guest Post: Sell Books With a Book Contest

Sell Books With a Book Contest

By Sandra Beckwith

Do you want people in your social networks talking about your new book? Host a book contest! With the right prizes, this promotional tactic can generate book sales, blog subscribers, Twitter followers, or Facebook fans (or all of the above).
Book contests are easy to implement and inexpensive, and they offer wonderful opportunities for you to connect with your readers and those who should become your readers. They also give your friends and fans an opportunity to "introduce" you to their networks.

Here are a few guidelines to get you started:

Decide what you want to accomplish. The contest goal is important because it helps you structure the contest and establish rules. When Barbara Techel hosted a recent contest to promote "Class Act: Sell More Books Through School and Library Author Appearances," she wanted people to buy the book, but she also wanted to generate more authors as Twitter followers because they're the book's target audience. Other common contest goals include increasing the number of blog subscribers and Facebook fans or generating pre-publication orders.

Be creative. Host a contest before publication to help select your cover design or to name a character in the book.

Don't require a purchase. It's against the law.

Determine your prize. Give away five copies of your book; offer the books of other people (get free shipping worldwide at when you're working to generate more followers, subscribers, or fans; or use other merchandise as prizes. Just make sure your prizes are appropriate for your target audience. Techel attracted authors by offering prizes donated by businesses that help authors market their books.

Set a time frame. Most book marketers agree that seven to 10 days gives you enough time to build momentum and get action.

Establish rules. How do people enter? How do they win? If entries are judged, be sure to explain how that happens. To generate more Twitter followers, Techel asked people to follow her on Twitter and retweet a specific tweet posted on her contest website page.

Encourage people to share contest information - and make it easy for them to do so. Most of us are willing to help you get the word out - we just need to be reminded to do it and sometimes instructed how.

Be organized. No matter what system you use, make sure you've got a way to track entries. For example, if you're running a Twitter contest that requires people to follow you and retweet the specific contest phrase, include a unique contest hashtag. It will make it easier for you to track and gather entries. In situations where the winner is selected at random, use It's easier than doing it yourself and nobody can challenge the outcome as biased.

Announce the winners. This helps extend the life of the contest and generate even more awareness.
Match the right prize with your audience's interests, and you could have the formula for significant viral exposure.

Sandra Beckwith is a former national award-winning publicist who now teaches authors how to be their own book publicists. Get free tips and subscribe to her free "Build Book Buzz" e-zine at

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