Marketing, Promotion, and Publicity (Guest Post by Ed Teja)

A conversation with Ed Teja often turns educational. I wrote something about “marketing” and Ed responded very much like this:

Ed Teja
Ed Teja
There are numerous discussions, blogs, courses and (of course) books on things writers can do to sell their work—both better and at all. They are comprehensive, exhausting and often contradictory. Partly the problem is that we confuse the activities that make writers more visible and their books desirable purchases. So, after hearing various comments from writers online, I thought it appropriate to help clarify what are becoming muddy waters.

Writers are supposed to be wordsmiths, so let’s start with some definitions.

  • Marketing activities are things we do to sell books.
  • Promotional activities are things to help with discovery of a product (yes, even a book.)
  • Publicity is work done to gain mind share…to ensure readers are aware of and think about the writer—the person.

We tend to blur these together, resulting in a great deal of confusion. They are quite different. Note that you can squish a bit of this or that from one category to another. I won’t quibble over specifics. The important thing is that an effective business plan must address all three aspects. Although they overlap, they do different things.

Knowing the difference

… more … “Marketing, Promotion, and Publicity (Guest Post by Ed Teja)”

Goodreads Giveaway Gains Momentum

GoodreadsOver 200 people have entered to win the paperback copy of A Long, Hard Look in the Goodreads giveaway. That’s 209 people who’d never heard of the book, but now they have. (Since I have copies on hand, I’ll even make it an autographed copy.)

During the sign-up process, they’re offered a checkbox which says “Put this on my ‘to read’ list” which is checked by default. It looks like out of the 209 who’ve signed up, about 90 left the box checked. Whether this is because they missed it, or wanted it, there’s no telling. I’m not sure why those 100+ people want the book but don’t want it on their ‘to read’ list. I can’t imagine anyone thinking they’ll make money winning free books and reselling them. It’s quite the mystery.

But here it is, in case you’d like to join the teeming hordes.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Long, Hard Look by Joel D Canfield

A Long, Hard Look

by Joel D Canfield

Giveaway begins October 19th and ends October 27, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

End date is next Monday, so I’ll have some nearly complete numbers on signups and reading list adds.

Goodreads: Making the Decisions

GoodreadsOnward with our experimental Goodreads giveaways. Yes, plural.

Here are the questions we raised in the last post:

When?
The sooner the better. A 1-week giveaway as soon as I can set it up, then a 1-week break, and another 1-week giveaway, to maximize the benefits of being on the “new giveaways” list and the “ending soon” list.
How many copies to give away?
One. This is an experiment. I see no value in spending more than the minimum until we learn something. The experiment with Story Cartel reminds me that even the perfect tool might not be perfect for me.

… more … “Goodreads: Making the Decisions”

Story Cartel: A Postscript

Story CartelJust had a great phone call with Joe Bunting, one of the founders of Story Cartel.

There was a flaw in my experiment, and it wasn’t until we were chatting that I realized it. Rather than telling you right away, I’ll make it into a long story because that’s what I do.

Last week, Joe emailed his regrets that Story Cartel hadn’t worked out for me, and asked if I’d have time for a phone call to chat about my experiment. As I mentioned in my response, he and Jeff Goins‘ reputations were one reason I opted to try Story Cartel. They’re a couple of guys who genuinely care about other writers and their readers. They’re not about making a quick buck, and that’s driven home by the fact that Joe took the time to ask me some good questions and really listen to the answers.

Big Discovery

… more … “Story Cartel: A Postscript”

Goodreads Giveaway: Gathering the Info

GoodreadsFirst step to doing a Goodreads giveaway is to upgrade your account so they list you as an author, not just a reader. It’s free. They give directions on the site. (Dear Goodreads: Please have a data specialist organize your site and make things easier to find. Thank you.)

Next, you’ll need to be sure your book is listed at Goodreads. If you just released it, you’ll have to fill out the form and wait patiently for it all to coalesce. They recommend searching for the book first, in case someone else has already added it. I recommend it too, because A Long, Hard Look was already there. (Perhaps Sue added it.)

Now, decisions about the giveaway itself. Here are the questions we’ll have to answer:

When?
As we learned from Catherine, a few short giveaways will be more effective than one long one. How many? And when? How much time between them? Goodreads sets no limitations except it can’t overlap itself, which seems logical.
How many copies to give away?

… more … “Goodreads Giveaway: Gathering the Info”

Next Experiment: Goodreads Giveaway

GoodreadsStill learning little bits from the Story Cartel experiment: two new 5-star reviews — both from people in my own network, not Story Cartel. And their explanation of the “every download is an entry” is that making folks write a review is the legal equivalent of making them buy something to enter a sweepstakes, which isn’t legal in the US. I make no comment. Yet.

You deserve more of this wild entertainment, watching me flail my way through some forms of marketing I’ve never done. After reading a great article by Catherine Ryan Howard, who does not post nearly often enough Cath are you listening? I’ve chose Goodreads as my next skydive.

Best Beloved and I will research what’s involved in doing a Goodreads giveaway (hopefully in more detail than I “researched” Story Cartel’s process) and report what we do and how it works.

What do you know about Goodreads or giveaways? What would you like to know?

Story Cartel Just Doesn’t Add Up for Me

Story CartelShort version: unless greater benefits roll in over time, I didn’t get anything from Story Cartel which I couldn’t have done just as well myself, without spending $25.

Update: maybe it was me —> Read more

Big Ol’ Nonsense Alert

Stop the presses and hold everything. Fellow writer Libi Astaire pointed out a line in the drawing rules I’d missed:

Every reader who downloads a book gets one entry.

They are rewarded for downloading your book, whether or not they have any intent on reading it, any interest whatsoever.

This violates my primary principle of free: it is not a price, it is a strategy.

“Here, download this” is not a strategy.

The founders of Story Cartel are authors. And they may be good at marketing their service. But they have a long way to go to be good at marketing our books for us.

Long version:

Your genre or network may deliver completely different outcomes, so this isn’t a sweeping condemnation of the tool. It does what it claims to do. My book was exposed to a wider audience, and I got reviews. It just didn’t add enough value to offset the cost.

During the experiment, I got two 4-star reviews from Story Cartel readers. In the same time period I got two 4-star reviews plus one 5-star review from my own network.

Some folks responded to my email to the 23 addresses Story Cartel provided. At least a dozen, more than half, didn’t participate in any manner beyond downloading the book. No review, no response to my two emails, nothing.

One old friend tried to download, couldn’t sort it out, and bought a print version instead. There’s a sale which may have been triggered by Story Cartel, but was consummated because he’s been a friend for 20 years. (I offered him a free copy, but he graciously wanted to reward me for my effort.)

… more … “Story Cartel Just Doesn’t Add Up for Me”

Story Cartel Home Stretch

Story CartelThe free downloads closed last week, with a total of 23 copies downloaded.

9 of those happened before I even started promoting it. These are clearly Story Cartel regulars who grabbed the book. One of them left a 4-star review of A Long, Hard Look so that’s super.

During the time it was free 14 more people downloaded it. I recognize 6 of the names from my newsletter or other places.

What’s not clear, or even possible to know without asking, is whether the other 8 downloads were the direct result of our promotion, or just more Story Cartel regulars who would have downloaded anyway.

… more … “Story Cartel Home Stretch”

Story Cartel Promotion Process Details

Story CartelLast week I shared some details about setting up my promotion at Story Cartel. I’d like us all to see what an author gets for a $25 investment (which, if I recall correctly, includes Story Cartel giving copies to the winners of a drawing, meaning the author doesn’t shell out on the back end, only the front end. I’ll confirm this detail for you by the end of this series.)

Today, the details of the promotion itself: the messages we used, how often we used them, and the response we’ve gotten.

The Messages

Here are the messages we used. Twitter has its 140-character limit, so I wrote 3 short ones to fit that, and when I realized one of them was perfect for longer-format networks as well, only wrote 1 more long one. Twitter benefits from more frequent posting, which is why we created more short messages than long. … more … “Story Cartel Promotion Process Details”

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Special edition post; I’ll keep it brief and direct.

Get a free digital copy of A Long, Hard Look at Story Cartel. Write a review, and you’re entered to win a print copy.

More importantly (to me) you’ll be spreading the word about my writing, and giving me honest feedback on my latest book.

Don’t say no.

Download it right here: http://storycartel.com/books/a-long-hard-look/