Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday Think Tank: Marketing & Self-Promotion tips from Lori Bell

Hi everyone!  When Cherie asked me to write up a little something on marketing, the first thing I wanted to know was which hat she wanted me to wear.  The sensible, publishing house marketing executive hat or the cute little leather number I wear as the whip wielder in the Goodreads M/M Romance group.  She didn’t really care as long as I showed up dressed and ready to offer some useful advice.  So, with both hats sitting firmly atop my head, wearing my leather corset and sensible shoes (not really, I’m actually still in my pajamas), I’m ready to share my words of wisdom.

First piece of advice…take ownership of your marketing and self-promotion plan.  Even if you’re lucky enough to work for a top notch publisher who has a large marketing budget to do a lot of promo and advertising for you…you still have to promote yourself and take advantage of every tool at your disposal. 

In the M/M Romance group, my co-moderator Jen put together a document that we share with authors who want to know how to best utilize the group.  I’ll share that with you in a minute but first I want to acknowledge that Goodreads can be a scary and sometime demoralizing place.  For every great review your book receives, you’re bound to get a few nasty ones that can feel like a personal attack.  You have to let it go.  I know, I know.  It’s your baby and it’s very hard to ignore criticism that may make you scratch your head and wonder if they even really read your book.  Let. It. Go.  Responding only makes it worse.  Take the high road and don’t engage.  Nothing good ever comes from that. 

With that said, realizing that a group like the M/M Romance group can be an awesome, FREE marketing tool is worth ignoring the trolls and attention seekers.  Did I mention that it’s FREE?  Where else are you going to find an audience of over 11,500 readers who LOVE M/M romance?  So, how to make it work for you…

First you have to become a member of the group.  Once you’ve done that, there are several places where you can promote yourself.  It’s important to note that YOU have to promote yourself.  The best way to get fans and generate interest is to engage with the readers.  There are a number of ways you can do that.  Don’t be a hit and run poster.  Once you start a topic(s), check back often to see if anyone has left you a comment or to post a current update. 

If you have a blog, update or start a thread in the Web Review and Blog Sites Folder.

Start a topic in our Self Promotion Area.  This is where you can share news about upcoming releases, post excerpts, let us know about appearances, etc…

Create a contest or giveaway.  Our members love giveaways and it’s a great way to attract new readers who may not be familiar with you.

Advertise anything you have available for Free.  We have a folder in the group dedicated to free reads.  This is another great way to get new readers to give you a test drive.

Make sure that our moderator Jase knows about all your new releases when they are released.  This is the one exception to the “post it yourself” rule.  Jase’s topic on new releases is one of the most popular in the group so when you contact him, be sure to include links to reviews, excerpts and where to purchase your books.

If your new book has not been added to the database, you can ask a librarian in our group to do it for you.  Just leave a comment in the “Ask A Goodreads Librarian” topic.

Make sure ALL your m/m books have been added to our bookshelf and shelved on all of the correct shelves.  Once again, if you’re not sure how to edit your books in the group bookshelves, just leave a comment and one of the librarians will do it for you.

Take advantage of Goodreads Listopia.  There are a ton of “Best of” and other types of lists.  Make sure ALL your m/m books have been added to the appropriate Lists.

Finally, you can also agree to participate in some of the ongoing events, like our annual writing event which has become hugely popular, the anniversary celebration, Gayology 101, Reading Challenges...etc. The more you interact with the group, the more our members seem to become loyal followers.

Have a friend nominate your book in our monthly Book of the Month selection process.  While you can nominate yourself, it always looks better if you get someone else to do it for you. 

And lastly, I just want reiterate what I said earlier.  YOU have to take ownership of your own marketing.  Think of it as a partnership between you and your publisher’s marketing person.  Let them know what you’re up to.  Take advantage of anything they offer that will get you more exposure.  Participate in contests, giveaways, blog hops, etc… If they are marketing your book for a sale or a contest, you need to market it too!  Have an idea?  Reach out to your marketing person and pitch it to them.  Make it happen.  I’ll even lend you my jaunty leather cap and whip if you need it J

No comments:

Post a Comment

What's your take?