Category Archives: Promo Tips

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

Getting Our Books into US and International Libraries

A tremendous library with soaring ceilings is in the background to emphasize how writers can get their books into libraries.by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I’ve always felt it was important to get my books in libraries. That’s not only because I like the idea of being discovered there (I’ll take readers however I can find them), but because libraries have always been a place where I felt recharged.

My trad-published books are in quite a few libraries (you can always see where your books are if you look on WorldCat) , but I really wanted my Myrtle series there.

Now when I look at WorldCat, I see my Myrtle Books in libraries scattered around the US. Continue reading Getting Our Books into US and International Libraries

Selling to Readers on Etsy

Two women browse walls of books in an independent bookstore--an image to demonstrate how writers can sell on Etsy

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I’ve always heard that smart writers think beyond the story in terms of book marketing. Publishing expert Richard Nash has called it the”commodification of the book” as cited in this interview with Jane Friedman.  He mentions methods of connecting with super fans in the post. But I was always more interested in the personalization of books (signed copies, personal inscriptions) or maybe book-related merchandise.

In a recent Facebook post, Mark Williams of The International Indie Author mentioned selling on e-commerce site Etsy.  I had never in a million years considered making my books available on Etsy. Etsy is the site where I buy crafts and jewelry for my daughter or sister or other family member. And yet…I know writing is a craft. Somehow it just didn’t connect with me that I could set up a shop there.

Things to consider:  Continue reading Selling to Readers on Etsy

Better Images for Social Media Sharing

Boat on lake at sunrise demonstrates the importance of good images.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

For a long time I was oddly resistant to rethinking the way I approached images on my blog.

I knew there was a better way than the method I was using, but I didn’t want to find the time to figure it all out. I also am terrible at design.  Additionally, I didn’t really see what the big deal was, although I kept reading that better use of images can help us in terms of sharing. Images can give a post more views, especially on platforms like Facebook.

I finally got the memo when Twitter suddenly got more visual.  I also noticed that when I’d share links on Twitter, if the image on the writer’s post was optimized, it would automatically share the image with the text of the tweet.

I have a feeling that my process here is slightly convoluted, but I’ll share it anyway, along with resources that I know of to make better blog (and other platform) images. Continue reading Better Images for Social Media Sharing

What I’ve Learned in 2016

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by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

2016 felt like a very busy year for me, although my production slowed down slightly. I wrote and published two books and am sitting on a finished third until after the holidays.  Usually I’d be halfway through a 4th book by now.

I think the reason it felt so busy was because of all the promo-related and distribution-related things that I learned and all the various platforms I tweaked.  I sat down and tried to compile all the different things that I’d read about, studied, and implemented and came up with a list to show myself that I’d been even busier than I’d thought.

Here’s a roundup of some of the things I learned in 2016:

I  learned how to find more newsletter subscribers. I participated in more group-related promo for my genre and was part of several massive giveaways with fellow cozy mystery authors. Readers entered by signing up for newsletter lists. My newsletter list grew very quickly in 2016 because of this (from a free to a paid list) and my open rate remained nearly the same.

I found that I can keep my income relatively stable, even though individual book sales are down, by producing more books, in more formats, available at more retailers. Continue reading What I’ve Learned in 2016