Category Archives: Promo Tips

Six Marketing Tips for Pleasing an International Audience

Man's hands hold a cell in front of a digital map of the world, while the post title, "6 Marketing Tips for Pleasing an International Audience by Zsofia Macho is superimposed on the top.

by Zsofia Macho , @maifosz

While some factors are outside our power (like the preferences and trends of a particular market), there are things you can do to influence your international success as an independent author. This article does not aim to give you general marketing tips: there are plenty of guides on building a consistent brand across platforms. (Just to recap: be everywhere that counts and use the same picture and colours so people easily recognize you.) I am, however, giving you some very specific tips authors should consider in terms of branding.

  1. Creating globalized blog content

Having a blog is a powerful marketing tool most authors utilize and readers of this blog know a lot about. If you aim for a global audience, though, bear in mind that people speak a different English everywhere.

Writing for an audience that speaks English as an additional language is a profession with its grammar guidelines to make machine translation easier – if you are a fiction writer, you probably don’t want to go to that street, but if you write nonfiction, you should consider not using many idioms like the one I just have.

Even if your main target is English-speaking countries, consider not only that British spelling could look old-fashioned and pompous for a considerable chunk of your audience, but that you can’t treat certain cultural themes and items as ‘norms’.

While I’m not saying that you should ditch your style just to become more easily understood, you could consider using ‘international friendly’ measurements: while I only have a rough idea about one ounce of something, one cup is clear and saves me from doing a Google search, wander off and never come back. (The same goes for dates: if your readers can’t easily figure out if 03/05/17 is the 3rd of May or the 5th of March, they’ll probably go elsewhere.) Continue reading Six Marketing Tips for Pleasing an International Audience

Teaser Chapters

Photo of a book open to a page. The corner of the page is folded down. The title of the post 'Teaser Chapters' is superimposed on the top of the photo.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Back when I was writing the Southern Quilting Mysteries for Penguin Random House (I’m writing the series independently now), I knew that I would need to have to have a teaser chapter ready for the next book in the series by the time the current book was in production.

This was a bit of a challenge for several reasons. For one, I knew the next book in the series wouldn’t be coming out for a year. That’s the way traditional publishing worked. For another, it required me to already have an outline in place for the next book.  For another, I knew that Penguin Random House wouldn’t want any major changes in that chapter–I needed to have a lock on the character names, etc.

Their focus at the time was mainly still print.  The teaser chapter was a gimmick from an earlier day in the print world.

I’ve used teaser chapters in my self-published books in the past, but now I’ve moved away from the practice…mainly because I’m not wild about teaser chapters as a reader.  Since I read most books digitally, a teaser chapter at the end of a book can make me think that I have more of the book to read than I do.  Besides, reading a teaser for a book that hasn’t yet been published can be frustrating.

Maybe back cover copy would be better. Wouldn’t use up as much room. Or even something like “Next book is “Title.” For updates on the story as I write it, subscribe to my newsletter at _______.

Here are my thoughts currently on the better use of teaser chapters:

If we do include a teaser at the end of the book, consider making it a short one so that readers won’t think they have a lot of book left to read.

Perhaps we should be sensitive to readers and not include a teaser chapter if the book’s release is anticipated to be many months or a year away.

To reach more readers (and not irritate them by including a teaser for a book that won’t come out for a long while), we could consider trading short teasers with another author in the same genre (for theircompleted book).

Or, if we write more than 1 series, put a short teaser of the first book in the other series in the back.

If we put a buy-link in that we can track (through bit.ly, etc.), we can assess how well the teaser is working.

Do you use teaser chapters in your books?  What are your thoughts on them, as a reader?

 

Instafreebie’s New App

A hand is holding a cell phone and the post title 'Instafreebie's New App' is superimposed on the left side of the photo

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

In the early days of digital reading, we had to carry a device around to read on.  I still have two very early model kindles at home.

But now it makes so much more sense to be able to read on our phones.  We’re already carrying the devices and we’ll always have something to read if we have an app…no need to try and remember to bring an extra device along.  I’ve found that I get so much more reading now that I’ve got my book with me wherever I go (and reading is vital to writing).

The problem my mother had with devices and phones was how to get her book onto the device. I wrote her a detailed set of instructions, but it was still difficult for her.  She had librarians show her how to put library books on her kindle account, but it never really sunk in.

During giveaways, I’ve found that there are plenty of my readers who faced similar confusion about transferring the books to their phones or devices. I tried to walk them through it, but it was always tricky.  I’ve found that Instafreebie has helped a lot.  I’m able to provide readers (giveaway readers, ARC readers, the occasional disgruntled reader) with links to the free books and Instafreebie’s instructions (and support) are usually enough to guide them through the process. Continue reading Instafreebie’s New App

Inexpensive Promoting

A pink piggy bank is on the left side of the picture. The post title, Inexpensive Promoting, is on the left.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig 

Anyone familiar with this blog knows that I’m not a fan of old-fashioned promoting. I think I’ve sold a lot more books by using better book metadata and following best-practices for SEO on my book pages on my website.

But sometimes…you’ve got to promote the old-fashioned way. In my case, it’s usually by request.  My audiobook producer is big into old-fashioned promo: going out into bookstores for events, doing book tie-ins, and that type of thing. He’s really, really good at it. In the past, he’s asked me for free printed copies of my books to tie-in with the audio versions for giveaways at all kinds of special events. I’ve sent them over to him…just very happy that I wasn’t doing the promo legwork myself.

It’s expensive, though. Even getting the author copies from CreateSpace.  There’s the buying of the books, and then the shipping of the books.  If you’re talking a fair number of books or doing something regularly, it does add up.

This time I told my producer that I’d like to do something a little different (and basically free on my end).  I used Canva to design bookmarks especially for my audiobooks and then added an Instafreebie code to provide a free ebook. Realizing a lot of other writers might be going to summer events, I thought I’d share what I did. (And I used to be a VistaPrint customer…nothing wrong with that, except this particular project required immediacy. I couldn’t wait). Continue reading Inexpensive Promoting

Responding to Reviews and Comments

Picture of a hand thumbing through a book with the post's title, "Responding to Reviews and Comments" superimposed on the image.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

One of the most awkward things about being a writer is handling reviews and reader comments.

The rule of thumb is to never reply or comment on reviews: good, bad, or indifferent. In many cases, this is my own personal policy (I list exceptions below). Reviews are for other potential readers, not usually intended for the author.  Responding to reviews is a special kind of author intrusion. And authors, especially responding to a poor review, can come across as argumentative.

But a recent post by Crystal Otto on the Women on Writing blog made me reconsider my policy, at least in terms of book bloggers.

In the post, she states: “Feedback is so important. The best way to say thank you to an author is to leave a review. As authors we can encourage this behavior by in-turn thanking the reviewer. I often receive a thank you or a ‘like’ on Amazon after reviewing a book or product. Do you make this a common practice in your writing life?” (Emphasis hers.)

She wrote a thoughtful post with many good points. I try to practice gratitude both professionally and personally, but her article was an excellent reminder. Continue reading Responding to Reviews and Comments