Posts tagged: plug your book online

Is Book Marketing like Snorkeling in a Septic Tank?

Sewage Treatment Plant in England

I have been wrestling with this issue for years. Do I defile myself by immersing my soul (and body) into the odoriferous swamp of  book peddling? Is bookselling the sleazy activity inappropriate for decent people that I think it is? Why is it so off-putting?

Look at my email inbox. As a good, modern Internet marketer, I belong to a multitude of Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter  writers’, readers’, and marketing  groups, as well as subscribing to individuals’ and groups’ blogs. And sites like Pixel of Ink, ENT, and BookBub. I get around three or four hundred emails a day. That’s after scrubbing my list of non-essentials. This is what the emails are like, except most aren’t intentionally funny:

I had to share the latest 5 star review from my new book entitled, POOPSIE SPANKS A POODLE: ‘Wow. This is a really good book. Great character development. You just feel for that poodle! You’re getting to be a better writer, Sandy. I’ll read everything you write!!’ Mom

“WOO-HOO! I JUST GOT MY 10,000,000th TWITTER FOLLOW! I broke their counter! Next, I’ll take over the world!”

“Here’s a foolproof system to sell your book on Amazon. Only requires $99 up front and lifetime celibacy.”  God

“God may promise you a good deal, but I deliver. Want all 5 star reviews? That can be arranged.” Satan

“Hi everyone! Please check out my Facebook  author page and give me a Like. When you’re done with that, could you go to my Amazon author page and Like it, too? And on Google +, there’s a  . . .  And on Twitter . . .  I’m also in a contest. Could you drop by GoodReads and vote? Pretty, pretty please? Plus, it’s my birthday. Could you send a cake?” Mona I’ve-Never-Heard-of-You-in-my-Life

“5 stars! Wow! Was this book hot! My Kindle ignited. Also the house.”

They go on like that, hundreds a day, many from the same person, “Buy my book! Buy my book!” “Me! Me! Me!” “My Book!” “Nothing else matters in the universe, so buy my book.” “Gimme! Gimme!” “He is HOT! She is HOT! Their dog is HOT!” Day after day. Vile communications pitched at . . . whom? Who would buy anything with this type of selling technique? It absolutely grosses me out. Because of this spewing of egotism, I haven’t promoted my stuff for maybe six months. My sales show it, too. This stream of verbiage must do something, but at what personal cost to those sending and receiving it?

Your better marketing articles say this behavior is marketing suicide. But the emails keep pouring in.

How to market a book? I dunno. I’ve been doing it for years and haven’t a clue. I’ve had friends say, “But your marketing is so good!” Meaning whatever I send out is beautiful and tasteful. But it doesn’t ignite my bottom line the way I want.

This is an example of the tasteful and elegant graphics that have my friends thinking I'm a great marketer. This actually happened: I couldn't get my sale to go away. Even Amazon couldn't help.

The good old days really were the good old days. My first book came out in 2006. Marketing was much easier in those early days. You didn’t have to do much more than have a great cover, a bunch of killer reviews, and a few national awards. Bingo! Selling success.

My first novel, Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money, rose to the number 1 position in three categories of Mysticism and cruised around the 1,500 level in the Kindle store for a year. I did no promoting and didn’t think there was anything unusual about the book’s performance.

Hah! I wish I’d known how to take screenshots then. I’d have a record of those fabulous numbers. (The screenshot is the modern author’s best friend. After your mammoth promotional campaign lands you in the #1 Bestseller spot for fifteen minutes, you can stare at the screen shot afterward to remember the glory. You can only do that if you took it, of course.)

Now, it’s not so easy. The problem is the number of books coming out. How does an excellent, well-edited book, with a killer cover and award-winning author get noticed?
Seems like it should rise automatically. Forget that.

I’ve read three books recently that offer a defense against the tsunami of eBooks flooding Amazon. I recommend them heartily. They are:

After reading these books, I felt hope that I could get this marketing thing down. I had a definite direction. In Let’s Get Visible, Gaughran talks about Amazon algorithms and how to use them to your benefit. Reading this was like finding the Holy Grail. Both of his books above are worth memorizing.

Joanna Penn handles the “marketing is sleazy and degrading” issue and shows you how to approach the activity in a civilized fashion. Joanna says she’s introverted. (I doubt she could be as introverted as me and be in international speaking sensation.) But she’s accomplished great things including writing careers in fiction and nonfiction, blogging, and international speaking.

My initial reaction to the three books was relief and joy at having found concrete advice and a path to follow. By the time I got to the end of each, I was more like, “Whoa. This is a lot. This means serious work . . . When do these people sleep?” When I knew what success required, I felt depressed.

But the feelings didn’t last. I have a pressing need to practice the stuff in those books. Starting now. If you’re interested, links to my web page and Amazon Author Page are down below, as is a link to In Love by Christmas: A Paranomal Romance, which blasted it’s way to the top of the charts in a bunch of categories, ending up ranked in eleven Amazon categories just this week. Woo-ha!

In Love by Christmas is a paranormal romance according to the industry definitions of those terms. It’s a romance, in that the relationship drives the story and is its most important element. It’s paranormal in that a few of the characters have supernatural abilities. The hero, Leroy Watches Jr., is a shaman who can do all sorts of things, often with disastrous results. It’s not your paranormal romance with naked men  and dragons on the cover. (My cover artist gave me that description of the genre based on her experience designing covers.)

Oh, let’s go all the way. Here’s a video about In Love by Christmas. If there’s anything I like to do more than write, it’s make videos. This is my masterpiece and my Happy Holidays 2014 greeting to you:


IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS: A PARANORMAL ROMANCE – Noel – Montreal Version +
from Sandy Nathan on Vimeo.
Leroy Watches Jr. is a shaman whose Power sometimes makes things worse. Despite his flaw, he must save his soul mate from her addictions, her father, and Evil Incarnate, or she’ll be damned forever.
Trying to unite with his true love, Leroy embarks on a pilgrimage that takes him to the highest levels of European society. As he travels, his shamanic Power grows. So does the Dark Lord’s hatred of him.
His prospective father-in-law demands that Leroy and Cass be in love by Christmas. Can they be?

All the best in your publishing endeavors. Remember, if facing the public is too much, hide under your bed. You’ll find me right beside you.

So long for now,

In Love by Christmas (Bloodsong 3)

In Love by Christmas (Bloodsong 3). My new book, and Amazon #1 Bestseller in Metaphysical Fantasy.

SANDY NATHAN, award-winning and #1 bestselling author of In Love by Christmas, and a bunch more. You can find them on my Amazon Author Page. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indie Gems––Fine Independently Published Fiction Selected by Award-winning Author Sandy Nathan

A few posts ago, I wrote about my plans to feature the terrific independently produced books that I’ve been reading. This is that presentation: INDIE GEMS. It’s going to be a regular/irregular part of Your Shelf Life. I have to give the Amazon KDP free books program some of the credit for this. I’ve been downloading free books like crazy.

THE RULES/STUFF TO KNOW: Indie Gems has a few rules. They’re set up for my sanity and well-being.

1. I’m presenting Indie Gems and will continue to do so as long as it’s fun. I am an author 90% of the time, not a reviewer. I’m doing this bit for my own pleasure, and to share books I really like with you. So many people are hungry for reviews that they could gobble a person up. Not this person. I don’t charge for the evaluations I write, though I may accept a complimentary copy to review. I don’t want to tie myself to producing reviews on schedule. When I get a bunch of books I want to write about–or even just one–I’ll do it and announce it on the social media.

2. Please do not send me your book to review. Don’t include a note saying that our writing styles are so similar that you’re sure I’ll love your book. I’ve already set out my position on reviewing books for Your Shelf Life. I find the books I review myself, or my good friends refer them to me. No exceptions.

3. I give  most of the books here five stars. I won’t put a rating on Indie Gems, but I will post the reviews on review sites with a 5 star rating. What I write here is my estimation of the book’s worth. My evaluation may differ from yours. Why all 5 stars? I don’t bother reviewing books that I don’t really like?

4. The format of Indie Gems will vary. Some times, I’ll post three or four short reviews and that’s it. No photos, covers, etc. Other times, I’ll have a full review, interview with the author, the works. This will depend on my schedule and if I can contact the author and how much he/she wants to participate.

This is a place to have fun, so let’s have fun! Sandy Nathan

Sandy Nathan

Sandy Nathan is a #1 Amazon Bestselling Author in Metaphysical Fantasy and the winner of thirty national awards.
Sandy’s  books can be found on her Amazon Author’s Page.
Here’s her Facebook Author Page. 


Promoting your Book – Create Interest in Your Book with Character Interviews and Videos

Your book is out, one of several hundred thousand released this year. Now that it’s out, how do you attract attention to it? 

You do pretty near everything you can think of to get it in front of potential readers and buyers. Here’s John Kremer’s website. He wrote the book on book marketing. He can fix you up with thousands of ideas.

Here are a couple of things I’ve used that were fun for me and my readers: The Character Interview and Casting Video. I’ll give examples of both.

Have you done a Character Interview?  That’s you pretending to be one of the characters in your book and interviewing yourself. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, check my friend Pat Bertram’s blog. She offers a number of questions you can “ask” your character and will post your response to her questions. It’s a fun writing exercise. As you get into the character’s voice, you may find the answers to the questions surprise you. You can do the interview in Pat’s format or your own.

Once you’ve got the interview, post it everywhere. You can offer it to Pat Bertram. And post it on your own blog or website. (You do have one or both of those, don’t you? They’re a necessary part of an author’s tool kit. Start one right away. Here’s a good article on starting a blog. Popular sites include LiveJournal, Blogger, WordPress.com, Xanga, Tumblr and Webs. These sites feature templates that don’t require much technical know-how.) Create links from the social media to your interview. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn and all the rest.

The idea is to get people involved with your characters. Let them know how these “people” think and feel, live and breathe. I’ll give you an example in a minute.

Increase reader interest with Character Interviews: I was cruising YouTube a while back and I found that fans of one of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon, had created videos “casting” famous actors and actresses as various characters in her books. When your fans do this for you, you’ve got something going! Diana now features a video illustrating how she would cast her characters on her website. Here it is: The Outlander Casting Video. It’s really cool, too, especially if you’re a fan.

You can do this for your own book! The magic of YouTube and the various services helping us technologically-impaired people create videos can allow you to create vids of your own characters, just like Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander Casting Video. Or better. For free or almost free.

I use Animoto.com to create videos for my books. You load images, add text, select music from their library or your own, push a button and Voila! Animoto’s computers create a classy custom video for you. You can remix, change music, text, anything. The service is very reasonable. It’s easy. I like it.  You can embed, export or download these vids directly to social media sites like YouTube. (I personally like the video quality available on Animoto.com better than that of YouTube. But YouTube is the place to post for lots of views.) Other such services are also available, the field is growing.

When I was doing videos for my earlier books, such as Stepping Off the Edge and Numenon, I had my own photos and artwork, so I didn’t have to worry about royalties or copyrights. Take a look at the videos linked above to see what you can do with the Animoto.com format. I remastered these recently, using Photoshop effects on the images and changing the music. I think you’ll be impressed with what’s possible. The effects when the computer mixes the photos and music are amazing. (The snakes on the Numenon video were in our back yard. Ew.)

When I did the video for The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy, I had no such luck. I had to buy images from royalty free suppliers to produce the video. Most of the images for the video were purchased from 123rf.com. My book designer recommended 123rf.com as being an economical  source for very good images. They were:  Check the book’s video  and the Character Video I’ll show you in a minute. Great images for all sorts of characters.

HERE WE GO––TO ILLUSTRATE THESE IDEAS  (AND AS A BIT OF BLATANT SELF-PROMOTION) WE HAVE:

THE PEOPLE AND PLACES OF THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY

Use this link if the video doesn’t show up here.

The idea is to make it alive. This is pretty lively, methinks.

A CHARACTER INTERVIEW FROM THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY, an award-winning novel by Sandy Nathan
A two sentence synopsis of the book: Tomorrow morning, a nuclear holocaust will destroy the planet. Two people carry the keys to survival: a teenage boy and an intergalactic traveler.

Here’s an “interview” I did with a character from The Angel, Sam Baahuhd. I turned this into a short story. Sam’s being interviewed by a TV station of his time. The people doing the interview have their own story. The year is 2199.

What does Sam Baahuhd look like? This is as close as I could get. It’s impossible to convey how masculine Sam is, or how hunky.

Sam Baahuhd,

Sam Baahuhd, headman of the village at Piermont Manor, c. 2197

Here’s what the station’s advertising says about the following interview:

WNYC’S STAR REPORTER MEREDITH CARLISLE INTERVIEWS VILLAGE HEADMAN SAM BAAHUHD.

Join Meredith at Piermont Manor in the Hamptons! Our favorite investigator visits one of the poorest areas in America and one the USA’s greatest and oldest stately homes. Tune in at 3 PM for a view of life in the 22nd century.

WNYC––NEW YORK CITY’S ONLY NETWORK

At the shoot on the estate:

“Meredith, I don’t like it here,” my stylist says, backcombing my hair furiously. I sit at my dressing table on the estate’s lawn. I’m Meredith Carlisle. But everyone knows that.

“Did you see all the trees driving out here? Weird,” he whispers.

“It was very weird.” I turn to the rest of the crew. “Everyone: This is the country. They have trees in the country. We’ll do the show and get back to New York.”

“They don’t have that in the country,” Alfred, the director, points at the stone mansion stretching as far as we can see.  “I’ve been trying to figure out how to get it all on camera.”

I stare at the enormous structure. The mansion is like a wedding cake made of granite. Breathtaking. “We’re at Piermont Manor. It was constructed in the 1800s, four hundred years ago. Nobody gets in here. We had to agree to interview this idiot to be allowed in. Who is he? Sam who?

My crew edges toward the van. They’re freaked out by the acres of lawn and all the trees. The lack of skyscrapers. I take control.

“Alfred, where is the man we’re supposed to interview?”

“I asked those guys over there,” Alfred points to a group of very large men standing on the other side of the lawn. He cowers a bit.

“What did they say?” My crew’s undue nervousness is irritating.

The whites of Alfred’s eyes glint in the sunlight. “I don’t know what they said. They speak a foreign language.”

“Great. Why didn’t anyone find that out? Alyssa, you’re the production manager. Do we have a translator?”

“No, Meredith. I’ll try to find one.” Alyssa looks around helplessly.

“Oh, wait. Someone’s coming.” My jaw drops. I can’t stop looking at him. He’s the same as the mansion. Breathtaking. A huge man. Shoulders like forever. That chest. He strides out forcefully. Something wafts from him. Manliness.

My jaw drops farther as he gets closer. Also, my nostrils twitch. He’s dirty. It’s real dirt, not something applied by the makeup department. He appears to be sweating copiously. He takes off his hat. His graying hair is matted where the hat’s brow band pressed it tight.

“Hello there?” I extend my hand, despite my disgust at his grimy paw. “You must be Mr. . . “ I search for Alyssa and she mouths the pronunciation. “Baaaaah-huuhd.”

“Mr. Baaaaah-huuuhd.” I smile broadly.

“Ma name i’ Sam Baahuhd. A’m th’ headm’n o’ th’ vil’ an’ o’ersee’er o’ th’ big house.” He nods at the mansion.

“Oh,” I say. “Who?”

He repeats what he said.

“Do you have anyone who speaks English? I don’t speak your language.” He’s very appealing close up, if filthy.  My heart flutters.

“Ah fergot tha’ yer not o’ th’ Hamptons. Been out here s’ long, we got our own way o’ talkin’. Ah’ll pretend yer th’ hooch man out at Jamayuh. Ah always speak proper English when ah’m w’ him. Canna make a deal otherwise. Can ye understand me?”

“Yes, Mr. . . .”

“Baahuhd. Ye say i’ like this, with th’ air comin’ from here.” He presses my belly, forcing the breath out of me. I feel faint. Something comes off of him, like a force. It’s wonderful.

“Baahuhd. I see. Well, we’re set up for the interview,” I indicate a couple of club chairs set on the mansion’s front terrace. “Any chance of us getting a peek inside?”

“Nah. Jeremy’s got ‘er wired up. Get any closer ‘n’ ye are an’ ye’ll nah go nowhere again.” He smiles, showing surprisingly white teeth.

“It’s electrified?”

“Yeah. An’ more. D’ ye know Jeremy Egerton?” I shake my head. “He’s the lady’s son, Mrs. Veronica Egerton. Ye know of her?”

“Oh, yes. Veronica Edgarton is famous. And rich. And beautiful. She’s the general’s . . .”

“Aye. She owns th’ big house an’ the village an’ all th’ rest around here. An’ me, too.”

“She owns you?”

“Might as well. Ye know why yer here t’day?”

“Yes. To interview you.” My cheeks tremble from smiling so much.

“Nah. Yer here because Jeremy Egerton sent word to let ye in.” He looks me in the eye. It’s terrifying, though thrilling.  “If Jeremy hadn’t tol’ me to let ye in, ye woulda been chased back to th’ city th’ minute you set foot on this place. That was three hours ago, out on th’ road. Jus’ so we get straight on it.”

“Certainly, Mr. Baah . . .”

“Baahuhd.” He walks to one of the chairs and sits down. “OK. Le’s get this goin.’ Ah got work to do. What ‘er yer questions?”

“I thought that the natives of the Hamptons didn’t like to be asked questions.”

“We don’. Usually, we shoot before we get t’ askin’ questions. But ah figured this was a chance t’ say some things we don’ get t’ say.”

“And what’s that?”

“That we’re not animals. We’re in th’ Hamptons because we was born here, jus’ like ye were born in th’ city. Weren’t our fault. Weren’t our fault that we don’ have schools an’ have to work like we do. Weren’t our fault that we got nothin’.

“We risk our lives seein’ that the lady keeps that,” he tosses his head toward the mansion. “An’ we get very little thanks fer our trouble.”

“You risk your lives?”

“Yeah, lass. Th’ Hamptons is a dangerous place. We get th’ people who run away from th’ cities. Th’ people escape from th’ torture camps––there’s one o’er at Jamayuh, th’ next town down. We got the hooch runners an’ them that deal in the weed and mushrooms. An’ th feds. All of them is dangerous, an all of them want this place.” He smiles. “Coupla times a year, they come t’ get it.” The smile broadens. “Ain’t got it yet.”

“You fight to keep the estate for Mrs. Edgarton?” I’m shocked, but I shouldn’t be. The Hamptons are like the Wild West once was.

“I got plugged three times so far. Not countin’ the nicks.” He rubs his chest where he’s been shot. “Ah’m scarred up lak an ol’ bear. It’s war out here. Jus’ like in the cities.”

“We don’t have war. What are you talking about?”

“Whad’ya think th’ smoke runnin’ along the horizon is? There’s a war.”

“There’s no war. If there were, the government would have told us about it. President Charles says everything is fine.”

He nods his head and smirks. “When ye drove in, did ye happen t’ see big round bowls cut out o’ th’ ground,” he uses his hands to indicate large depressions, “all lined with cement? An’ wi’ long pointy things stickin’ out of ‘em, aimed at the sky?”

“Yes. They’re all over the place. President Charles said they’re satellite dishes to help our screen reception.”

“No, lass. They’re atomics. An’ they’re set to go off t’morrow morning. Early. All over th’ world.” He’s looking at me steadily. He’s so magnetic I almost believe . . .

No! I can’t believe what he’s suggesting. The president would lie? There’s going to be an atomic war? That’s treasonous. We’re in the Great Peace. Everyone knows that. A niggling thought about my daughter’s third grade teacher disappearing comes up. No, she took a leave of absence.

“I’m not going to listen to this.” I turn to Alfred. “Pack up, we’re going back.”

“No,” Sam says just a little bit louder than normal. Everyone freezes and looks at him. “Yer gonna get ev’ry thing ah say, an’ yer gonna play it on the tellie today. Tha’s why Jeremy let ye’ come out here. You gotta tell the people wha’t happenin’.”

“A nuclear war starting tomorrow? The government would have told us.” I’m shaken. For some crazy reason, I believe him and know that I’ll do what he says. “What will we do? Where can we go?”

“Yer gonna go back an’ show ‘er on th’ tellie,” he says to the others. Then he turns that million volt gaze on me. “Fer ye, there may be a way out. Yer a pretty thing. Ye could be one ‘a’ ma wives.” His smile is mesmerizing.

“Wives?” The idea seems worth considering.

“Ah got four. Ye’d be ma fifth, but we gotta big house. The stable, yon.” He points to a barn.

Fifth wife to  . . . His dirty hands make up my mind. “No. I’ve already got one ex-husband. I don’t need to be married.” I regret the words as I say them. There’s something about him.

“OK. Ye’ll take th’ camera back t’ the city an’ play ‘er today. Ye need t’ tell the people to . . . to run. Or t’ stand. They’ll die, either way. But they d’serve a warnin’. Tis only fair.

“Tha’s what ah got t’ say. Now git. Ah’m done wi’ ye.”

I watch his back as he heads toward the stable. Broad shoulders. Easy gait. Powerful.

I feel drawn to him. No. I made the right choice. We have to get out of here.

“We’ve got the van packed, Meredith.” I hop in as it pulls away from the mansion.

 

“You know we can’t play what we got,” Alfred says as we jolt down the rutted road. “It’s treasonous. Everyone knows that the Great Peace is baloney. We’re in a war. But it’s covered up. This will blow the cover. The feds will kill us.”

“Yes, we can. Sam said to,” I’ll do what Sam told me to do no matter what. “We have to give people a warning.”

“Why, Meredith? There aren’t enough bomb shelters in the world to save everyone. We’re going to die.”

And then it sinks in. If what Sam said is true, we’ll die tomorrow.

I should have taken his offer. He wasn’t scared about what’s coming. He must have a shelter or something. “Turn around! We need to get back to the Piermont estate.”

The van shudders to a stop.

“What’s that?” There’s something in front of us. A vehicle across the road. Another vehicle pulls up behind us. Black figures are moving toward our van.

“What is it, Alfred?”

“They’re feds.”

“Open the door,” a black-clad commando yells. “Give me the cameras.” We give them to him.

“I’m Meredith Carlisle of WNYC. Those cameras are the property . . .”

“I don’t care who you are.” He uses some very rude language, and tosses something in the van, slamming the door. It clatters on the floor. I see a digital timer counting down.

“No!”

 

After the explosion, the commandos gather near the flaming remains of the van. “We got the treasonous materials. Should we look at them?”

“Nah. The president said everything is all right. That’s good enough for me.”

 

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author

There you go, guys, a couple of things to do to promote your books. Have fun with them, and let me know how they work.

All the best,

Sandy Nathan
Winner of seventeen national awards

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link for more information. All links below go to Kindle editions.)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

Two sequels to The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy are in production with an early 2012 release date planned. If you liked  The Angel you’ll love Lady Grace and Sam & Emily.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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