2017 Marketing Tips for Indie Authors

I recently read a few articles on the internet with 2017 trend predictions in the publishing industry. Some said eBook sales would be predominant this year, others spoke about the growth of Indie publishing and overload of the market. In all honesty, these predictions aren’t anything new. Since digital technology ventured into the publishing industry, we have seen the number of eBooks and Indie publishers grow. Yet, printed books and magazines are still around! In my opinion, I think the trend will be that of just giving the audience more choices, not just on topics and stories available to readers, but also on formatting preferences. Having said that, as formatting choices and authors multiply for readers, marketing strategies and marketers offering services for authors are also on the rise; this can be confusing making it very difficult for Indies to figure out. Below are some tips on how to navigate all the marketing choices out there to decide a strategy.

·         Do not focus in the differences of today vs. yesterday. Before, we had the basic paperback and hardcover. Now there are audio books, epub, mobi, pdf, and many other digital formats on top of the printed books. Yet, they are just formats, which mean that you will make your book available to all preferences readers might have…that’s all. What this really means is that the marketing strategy will have to be expanded to include the different options the author’s audience might prefer.

·         Do your homework on marketing services and companies. Authors many times just delegate the marketing before learning the basics, and this is a mistake. No one is as interested as the author is in selling their book, so why delegate the promotion and marketing to someone else? It is imperative that whoever markets the book is on the same page with the author and publishing company. Marketing is based on teamwork, and the author should be involved, as he is the one who determined the audience he wrote the book for.

·         In an era of infinite possibilities and choices for the audience, target marketing is a must, but this does not mean that all other markets should be ignored!

An authors’ job used to be to write, and the traditional publishers would market and sell their book. But, make no mistake they were also promoters as they also sold themselves during book signings and other events and appearances. The difference today is that the events now happen on the internet also, and as an Indie author, they decide how their book will be promoted. For more information on how we can help Authors visit us at www.readerviews.com.

Mapping is the Key for Everything!

As the first editorial of the year, this topic felt awesome to explore. The truth is that if we need to get from point A to point B geographically speaking, we need directions. So why wouldn’t it be the same when publishing and marketing a book? Here are some tips on mapping.

·         Start by drafting bullet points. Just like a to-do list, we need to spit the ideas out of our brain and write them down to visualize what needs to be done.

·         Then tackle each point as a mini-goal. Note which one needs to be obtained first, in order for the next one to be possible, and then organize them in sequence.

·         Break down each mini-goal into tasks and organize those in sequence.

·         Under each task, list any information needed to get it done. (If we are talking about promotion, it could be a list of websites to post an ad, for example. If we are talking about a story map, it could be characters to be introduced in the first chapter or important events in the chapter, if developing the plot).

·         Once a global map has been developed, it can be used to establish deadlines for each goal. Make sure these deadlines are realistic by including other involved parties’ guidelines, timing, and real-time needed to accomplish tasks. It is better to give yourself space and finish early rather than the other way around.

·         Keep focused on the task on hand but don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal.

In the end always remember that mapping is a tool to visualize the road to a goal. However, there are always hidden shortcuts and detours on the way, so don’t set your map in stone, just keep updating it according to what you find on your road trip! For more information on how we can help authors in all aspects of their publishing and publicity journey, visit us at www.readerviews.com and www.ihavesomethingtosaypress.com.

New Year, New Services, New Magazine, New Brand!

2016 was an awesome year. It was filled with learning moments, and “Eureka” ones! It was not an easy one, yet a memorable one for all the new things we learned. We look forward to 2017 as we apply all of our new knowledge to our old and new Authors’ Publicity Campaigns. Below are some things you will see coming in 2017:

·         A makeover on our publicity packages. We have been able to keep change away for a while in an effort to keep affordable prices. This year we realized that was no longer possible, so we’ve updated our packages to keep the prices still as affordable, yet more effective.

·         A makeover to our librarian catalog. This year also taught us that we sometimes need to shake things up to find a new and fresh angle. 2017 will bring a transformation to our catalog as it evolves into our First Chapter Plus Magazine, bringing new feature opportunities to Indie authors.

·         Finally, we will be finally launching our complete brand, which will include a publishing division, writing classes, and an experts’ platform that can serve as a resource for media.

In the meantime enjoy the holidays, keep writing, plan your book’s PR, and keep getting exposure. To help you with this last one, check out www.BloggingAuthors.com and send us your articles for posting to admin@readerviews.com! For more information on how we help authors visit www.readerviews.com.

Planning for Next Year

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It’s that time of the year again when we find ourselves rushing to finish all of our projects before the holidays so that we can focus on shopping, get-togethers, gift exchanges, and yes, enjoying ourselves! But before we get to all that we must also take time to come up with some marketing plans for our books for next year–if we want to have a strategic plan that will better the chances of accomplishing our goals.

It was in this frame of mind that I attended a webinar about content strategizing and marketing. I must admit my intentions were to get marketing inspiration for my own goals as Managing Editor for Reader Views, but the insight I got went even further as ideas came flowing for book publicity as well! So much for finishing projects so I can relax! I know what I will be doing over the next couples of weeks and can’t wait to begin coming up with ideas of how to apply what I’ve learned! In the meantime, here are a few tips to take into account when thinking about your marketing goals for next year:

·         Figure out as much as you can about your audience by creating open conversations through blog commenting.

·         Find out what social networks or platforms your audience uses.

·         Check out other authors’ webpage designs and blog contents and compare them with what you’ve been doing.

·         Once you check out your audience and other author pages, consider the following: 

   When was the last time you revamped your website?
   What does your promoting budget look like for the next year?
   Will your target market be the same or are there other types of books coming out?
   Are you happy with your brand design or do you need to rebrand yourself?

All of these answers are necessary to plan your year, so you might as well get started. A little planning over the next few weeks can make for a smooth entry into the coming year! For more information on how Reader Views helps authors visit www.readerviews.com.

2016-2017 Reader Views Literary Awards Contest is Closed!

Susan Violante Managing Editor

It is that time of the year again when Reader Views reviewers go into their dens to hibernate and read, and read - and score and score! This is a favorite time of the year as we look forward to time off during the holidays to enjoy the last books that came in, as the weather gets cooler and our hearts get warmer. But for authors, the excitement of the holidays mixes with the anticipation of the results, so to help reduce the anxiety, below is what to expect in the coming few months:

  1. A lot of reviews will be posted through the month of December and January as they come in and the first scores get logged. That happens for the most part in the order that they are received by reviewers.
     
  2. We do close during the week between Christmas and New Years to make the most of our reviewing time but will check emails once in a while during that week.
     
  3. We do not tabulate scores until all the reviews and score sheets are in, so we really don’t have any idea about which books are doing better in the contest until the finalists are announced.
     
  4. All participants should subscribe to our newsletter as we do send out announcements through it. To subscribe click here.
     
  5. If you have any questions about the process and timing, you can also check the guidelines of the awards at http://readerviews.com/literaryawards.

In reality, all books have something to offer to readers and writing them is a huge accomplishment. Our awards program celebrates all books as we truly enjoy reading them. Our judging is based on the book itself as a product, cover art, inside design, and of course, the content. It is our wish that all of the participants could win; but since this is impossible, please know that we are proud of all of you for daring to share a piece of you with an audience-this is something most people won’t dare to do. Good luck to all!

Strategizing with Copyright and Publishing Dates

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There are so many new authors popping up every year, through all different publishing platforms, that writers and publishers must consider many different angles when strategizing the marketing plan for a new title, especially when it comes to scheduling the publication and release dates of the book. The level of detail regarding strategy is such that many even use the copyright and publishing dates as a marketing tool. This is no surprise for literary marketers and publicists; they are used to looking at marketing calendars to come up with new angles to promote their author’s books. There are, however, other methods to take into account. Below are a few things to think about before putting the copyright and publishing dates to print.

·         Judged Literary Awards Eligibility Guidelines. One of the best ways to draw attention to a new title is winning an award. Yet, as the Managing Editor of the Reader Views Literary Awards, I frequently encounter submissions that are ineligible to compete due to the copyright date. In fact, we started receiving so many of these entries that we actually set up a “classics” category to satisfy a rather large need for participants who published their books after the deadline. To avoid missing the eligibility period of awards programs, gather the awards guidelines for contests appropriate to the new title; then coordinate the publication and copyright dates with those guidelines to ensure the book will be acceptable for participation.

·          Marketing Calendars and Publishing Scheduling. As mentioned before, using marketing calendars to strategize the publication schedule for a new title is common practice. But this doesn’t just mean to publish for big shopping dates such as Mothers’ Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, etc. It also means to look into the title’s topics and determine which angles work with other important dates to make sure the new title is a New Release on such dates. For example, a Veteran’s memoir would be perfect for Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and any other date that is relevant with this topic. This way all promotional efforts such as blog tours, book events, and interviews, will match the media topic references, creating opportunities for articles, expert commentaries, etc.

·         Book Giveaways and New Releases. It is no secret that people will always want the most current read over an older title; this is why so many still give a shelf life to books, even though they may be available indefinitely. In that regard, another wise thing to do is to research book giveaways. Check blogs and websites related to the topics within the book, and schedule giveaways in such a way as to market the new title to readers before and on the publication and release dates.

For more information on how Reader Views can help upcoming titles with online publicity visit www.readerviews.com.

The Awards Deadline is Coming!

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I can’t believe another year has gone by from the last deadline already. Here at Reader Views, the excitement has taken over as all reviewers and judges are busy reading and scoring away! Many great books have come our way, and as we get buried by the late entries we welcome the Holidays to enjoy them as well! It is not too late to send in submissions, so hurry up and make sure you postmark them by December 1, 2016! Below are some tips on submitting to any Literary Awards program:

·         Read the Guidelines! All Awards programs post submission guidelines on their websites and/or submission forms. These guidelines and rules exist for a reason. No Awards program will make exceptions, and the result of most of them is disqualification – sometimes even without notification. So make sure you understand guidelines and follow them. After all, if you don’t compete, you went through the trouble for nothing!

·         Send the final version of your book! This is just common sense, and yet it happens all the time, with submissions of either galleys or advance review copies. Whether it's due to time limitations or budget constraints, submitting anything less than the final version is a big mistake, and judges will penalize for it even if they liked the story! As well, it could be counter-productive if the contest provides for and posts a review of the book. It is best not to enter a contest at all if you can’t submit a final product.

·         Listen to your audience! If your book reviews are not favorable or they are good but mention editing issues, it might not be a good idea to enter it into a contest. The best thing to do in these scenarios would be to publish a revised edition and submit that version. Alternatively, it may be best to cut your losses and do a better job with the next one before submitting to literary contests. Chances are if your audience found many flaws in your book, or didn’t find the book interesting, the judges will have the same experience, so let your audience be your guide when considering whether to invest time and money into Awards contests.

It is never too late to become an Award winner. It doesn’t need to happen with your first publication, so don’t push it, and strategize instead. This will allow you to submit with a better chance to win in future contests! For more information on how we help authors, visit www.readerviews.com.

Indie Authors Can Help Restore Peace – Write Away!

No matter where you live, election year is always stressful. This year in the US, the stress reached its climax once it was over! It was a historical first throughout – A woman candidate for one of the big parties, and a billionaire entrepreneur for the other party. After a nasty campaign, Trump is elected, yet instead of things going back to their daily routine, we find ourselves stuck in an angry, fearful, uncertain environment as both popular fronts are unable to stop campaigning.

As a small business owner, as a woman, as an immigrant, as an US Citizen, as a writer, as a mother, and friend to a diverse group of people which include all races, beliefs, and nationalities, I wonder what my life will look like every time a new president is elected, and come up with a plan to navigate any changes that will affect me in any area of my life. This time the new plan seems more urgent. Below are some of my thoughts on how all indie authors can help to restore peace:

·         Stay calm and think before you write a post – Sharing our thoughts and expressing ourselves is our right. However this right does come with responsibility, especially in times of turmoil. This is why we must express our self in a conscious way. This does not mean censoring ourselves, but choosing words and tones that will contribute to peace instead of anger, by being positive instead of negative.

·         Keep writing to enlighten by sharing personal life lessons learned, different points of view, and offer solutions to problems instead of writing to attack, vent or offend.

·         Write everywhere to enrich consciousness. By expanding our goal beyond selling our books, we can enrich consciousness and education by collaborating and sharing our own uniqueness. Make our differences a plus by giving readers useful content based on our uniqueness.

As writers, it is our responsibility to educate, enrich, complement, and inspire growth in our audience. We can help restore calm. We can help to inspire respect, tolerance and love. We can help to offer ways for progress and growth. Be conscious of that and write away! For more information on how we help authors visit www.readerviews.com.