Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Marketing and Promoting Your Book with a Facebook Event, Part 1

A Facebook author event is an on-line Facebook page set for a specific time frame and either an invited or open-to-the-public happening. Most often there are games, giveaways, contests, and content provided.

It’s not that planning and running an author event on Facebook is so difficult, but there are a lot of moving parts, so I split this post in two with Part I this week and Part II next week.

Part I will focus on the prep for a Facebook event.

Part II will focus on how to set it up and what happens during and after the event.

Planning an event or happening on FB is a little complicated, but not too difficult. Just be well-planned before you go to set it up, then fill in the blanks. Set it up. Let ‘er rip.

With adequate prep, the event should go off smoothly. But before the event there are decisions to be made and materials and/or resources to accumulate.

Planning your Facebook Author Event:

1)   What kind of event are you planning?
A book launch? A connect-with-you event for fans? An “Author Takeover” event to allow connection with multiple authors? Fundraiser for some cause important to you and connected to what you write?

In an Author Takeover, gather a variety of authors in your genre (from around the world if possible). Or perhaps you are in an anthology. Get those authors to participate. An example of the fundraiser might be raising money for Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue if your books feature a rescue dog as an on-going character.

Name your event and select a picture to represent the event! Choose something memorable but short like “Pastabilities Book Launch.” The picture, of course, would be the book cover. Create a description that is concise, punchy, and use hashtags to aid in the spreading the word of the event.

2)   Allow 2-3 months prep time.
You need this time for planning and gathering materials and resources, but mostly for building buzz about the upcoming event. Drop hints on your FB author page, your blog, and your website. Post things like “Save the date! July 15th is a BIG event coming your way.” Or, “Be my date. I want to spend time with you on July 15th? Got a couple of hours?”

If there are multiple authors involved, set up the schedule for when each must be available for their part of the event. Have them promote the same way you are on your social media avenues. Provid them with copy so all they have to do is copy/paste.

Be sure to invite those attending to follow you on your FB author page and to subscribe to your website. Post that information periodically throughout the event (people come and go) or have it permanently available on the event site.

3)   What is your timeframe?
Will this event be a marathon 24 hours? Happen for two hours? What time frame works best for your fans in various time zones? What date has the least conflicts with other stuff in your life?

Make it easy for people to attend by making the time and location easy to find. Ask them to respond to the invitation for attendance and to spread the word to others.

4)   Who is going to help?
Even if this is a “simple” event lasting two hours, you will need at least one other person to help out. So get a good friend or friends to pitch in. Doing what, you ask?

If you have contests going on, someone has to monitor the entries and decide on the winner. If you have a successful event, you will have multiple conversation threads occurring simultaneously. When people post something, someone on your team needs to respond quickly.

I accumulate memes, questions to answer, lists of culinary books and authors, recipes, cooking tips and hacks, giveaways, polls, mini-mysteries to solve, etc. that are posted every several minutes. Accumulate enough to post at least 15 times per hour. See why you need 2-3 months?

You have to keep things happening, moving. You 
want people to stay for a long time and not leave 
because the event is boring. With so much 
happening, you need helpers to post and to respond 
with you.

Okay, you’re now ready to set up and run your Facebook author event. Come back next week to see how that works. If you have some suggestions to add, please comment below. I’m always trying to get better at this promo stuff!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

10 Tips for Passive Advertising for Authors

Marketing a book requires more than picking out your business cards and setting up a Fan Page on Facebook. One big area authors often neglect is identifying a budget for marketing. How much do you have available to spend and where will you spend it?

Of course, we all know that the best advertising is word of mouth because you wrote an incredible book. That’s a given. But what else can you do?

There are two types of marketing in any business, and book selling is no different: active and passive advertising.

Active marketing is aggressive, requires campaigns, money and people resources, and is deliberate and purposeful. The point is to make each dollar and each hour spent return more than was spent.

In passive marketing, authors create materials/experiences and then let them spread the word in an on-going, rather than event, way.

Sometimes authors combine active and passive advertising, and, in fact, I think they should. Before a book’s release and immediately after, the author should assign a major part of marketing dollars to spread the word on availability. Linked to simultaneous passive advertising, the author should see some effect from the efforts. One of the hardest areas to gauge is the effect of various marketing strategies on sales given the lag time for sales data. And who knows who might later remember your book when going through paperwork and happening on your business card? How would you know that new sale was tied to the card?

This post focuses on passive advertising. We want to create maximum exposure with minimal effort or money. Here are xxx ideas for you to try, too.

1) One of the first recommendations here is to establish a Fan Page on Facebook. This is a place to interact with your readers, link to your blog posts, announce book signings and book releases, share content connected to the kind of book you write, and keep readers updated with what’s going on in your personal life and your writing. You can link readers to your website and blog to expand the content available to them.

A Caution: do provide more related content than in-your-face book selling. Nobody will come to your fan page to see you running the same book ads continually and solely.

2) My business cards take advantage of the valuable real estate on the back of the cards. See what I wrote about business cards when my first two books were published. Rather than use the back to list more about me or about my books (list of books, synopsis, etc.), I created content related to each book and gave people a reason to keep my card rather than trashing it.

For my culinary mystery, I printed a recipe on the back from the book title on the front. It’s an easy recipe that even kids could make. And it’s delicious and fast. A quick and cheap dinner recipe is content to keep!

For my erotic romance, I listed my protagonist’s “Top Ten Sex Tips.” That gets peoples’ attention, and I give away lots of those cards. Some people even ask for additional ones to give to friends. Now that is passive advertising!

Here’s a tip from an author friend of mine. When dining out, write a brief thank you to your server on a business card and leave with the tip. You never know who might see that card!

A Caution: Make sure the content is engaging enough that people will hang onto your business card and make sure the content connects to the content of your novel.

3) When I first saw the ad for car magnets, I knew I had to have them. They come two in a package and in different sizes. Lots of printing companies provide them. Probably your business card vendor has them available. The book title and your name should attract attention. I’ve had people in the grocery store parking lot ask me about my book.

A Caution: Getting the right size graphic to fit the space was a challenge for me. You don’t want to cut off your name or the title. I am spatially challenged on a good day. On a bad day . . . well, don’t ask.

4) Pens and other swag have been around a long time, but don’t discount them just because they’re not a new idea. People love getting useful stuff. I get pens printed with my book titles and names and hand them out in lots of venues. Again, there are lots of sources for stuff like this. My advice to go with a middle of the road pen, pricewise. Too cheap and they give out early, frustrating your potential customers. Too expensive and it’s not cost effective to give them out at book signings and other events.

5) Include your author name, book title, and publisher in your e-mail signature. Very easy to do and as passive as can be, not to mention free!

6) Seek more book reviews. If you have 20, set a goal for 50. If you have 50, set a goal for 100. On Amazon, we all look to see how many reviews (and the rating) that books we’re considering have. We are more likely to buy a book that a lot of people read and reviewed than one that few or none have read and reviewed. I don’t know the ratio of books read to how many end of being reviewed, but I know that more read than read and review. So if I see a book with 50 reviews, I would guess that thousands read the book. That gets my attention.

There are services that will provide you lists of people who review books like yours. Consider spending some of your marketing dollars on a service, then contact those people to ask for reviews. Once you have done that, the reviews that follow provide you with passive advertising for years to come as people dip into past articles and find you.

7) Seek more followers on your Fan Page. Keep building your list of people who follow your author page on Facebook (or Twitter or other social media sites you use). Continually add to your list by posting a request to be followed in various groups you belong to. The more people who see your Facebook listings the more potential book buyers you have.

By the way, do you follow me on Facebook? I’d appreciate it if you would. I have four Fan Pages for the different genres I write:

8) Guest blog to get exposure beyond your own fan base. Provide a link to your website, blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook pages, and how to buy. Each person you guest blog for has a set of readers who are likely unfamiliar with you. Give them good content and a way to connect to get more followers and buyers.

9) Set up a Pinterest page with a story board for each book. Also provide content on other boards that relate to your book contents. I have recipes and cooking tips on my site for the culinary mysteries as well as beauty tips and elegant clothing for my romances. Check mine out (and follow me, please) at:

10) Create a short PDF book to give away on your website or when people subscribe to your newsletter. Once the book is done, the passive part kicks in. The book can be past blog posts collected on a topic like how to keep romance alive or recipes you posted. It is sent to them for following you or for participating in a contest or as a bonus if they send proof of a book purchase. Make sure the free booklet has your book titles and how to buy.

There are lots more ways to passively advertise your work. Please share your favorites below. I’m always looking for ideas!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Newsletter: Black, White, and Blue All Over

An apology. I have been remiss in posting here. My daily Month-of-Recipes on another blog interfered with keeping up with the other three blogs. But, I’m back and will post weekly again.

I’ve been working on the development of a monthly newsletter, Murders with Taste. The newsletter will include information about my books, upcoming events, the occasional book review, and a recipe or kitchen hack, among other things. Isn't the graphic for the newsletter too, cute? I think it signals "cozy mystery" very well.

So what’s the problem? Why am I blue? Well. Here goes. My confession.

I’ve never had a natural affinity for spread sheets or desk top publishing programs. I’m pretty good with Word, and that’s about all I can claim.

When my new publisher suggested her authors should all consider doing a periodic newsletter, I perked up. I love new projects. I love the challenge of identifying interesting content. I can work to deadlines (I write two monthly food columns). And I love new projects. Did I already say that?

How hard could it be, I told myself. Writing content is pretty easy for me. After all I keep up with four blogs weekly, what’s the big deal about a short monthly newsletter?

Uh, a lot, as it turns out.

I didn’t even know the questions I needed to ask until I hit the hurdles, road blocks, and detour signs. I thought I had done my due diligence. I had read newsletters. I read about how to produce newsletters, but there were a few gaps between reading about and doing that had escaped me.

The articles I read about producing newsletters were about creating fresh content and keeping the newsletter a balance of news and promotion and using appealing graphics.

But, um, how do you get readers? How do you let people know you exist? How do people have 10K subscribers?

So I read a few more articles about how to attract followers to your blog/website/Facebook page, et al. I attended a couple of workshops on social media and how to build a following.

Here’s a news flash: This.Does.Not.Happen.Overnight.

Yeah, naïve of me, eh?

So I put out a call to get people on my mailing list and I finally (after viewing a tutorial) learned how to add names in MailChimp. I do not know a whole bunch of other stuff, however. For example, can I just send the newsletter to new subscribers after the initial mail out or do they have to wait until the next month. And there’s more, but I won’t bore you with what I’m still trying to figure out.

I also learned, to my dismay, that I must use the publishing program in MailChimp. I can’t create it in Word and import it. See above for me and desk top publishing issues.

I also would like to use MailChimp for mailing to subscribers content that isn’t created in the Mail Chimp program. But at this point, I can’t see a way to do it.

So the newsletter is done—content-wise. I can’t get the formatting right. I can’t get the pictures/graphics right. And I am very frustrated.

I learn best by doing with someone who know what to do. I read well, but there’s a big step (for me) from reading how to do and learning how to do.

I’m a pretty visual person. So show me. Don’t tell me. Don’t give me only written instructions. Written instructions work best (for me) as a back-up, a reminder of what I was shown to do.

Oh, and so much more is tripping me up. Can you tell I’m frustrated?

So, if you’re one of those already subscribed to Murders with Taste, I apologize that a newsletter I wanted to publish in mid-January still isn’t available. I am working on it, but it’s like working in the dark.

Hey, are you interested in subscribing to my short monthly newsletter? If so, give me your e-mail address, and I’ll pop you into MailChimp. This will happen. I promise!

Facebook: Have you struggled with creating, publishing, and distributing a newsletter? Have you had any of these struggles or are yours different? Sharon Arthur Moore bares her pages for you. http://bit.ly/2FdnpuJ

Twitter: #Authors, have you created a newsletter? Did you struggle with these issues as @Good2Tweat describes? http://bit.ly/2FdnpuJ

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Facebook Author Pages

I’ve mentioned in this series of posts that I’ve been attending workshops, reading books, and finding articles about using social media outlets as an author. “Marketing R Us” should be emblazoned on any work about becoming a writer.

Don’t like it? That’s kinda too bad. ‘Cause this is the reality for a professional writer. And that’s you, right? Professional writers do what they must in the craft and business parts of the professional writer’s life.

One aspect that I’m paying more attention to after one such workshop, is my Facebook Author Pages. That’s right. Pages. When you write more than one genre, you need an identity for each, even the as-yet unpublished ones. I subscribe to Christina Katz’s perspective, Get Known Before the Book Deal.

That book was the first book I read on marketing. The year was 2010. She convinced me since I wasn’t known and had no book deals yet. Since then, I’ve published with two traditional, if small, presses and will publish with a third this fall. I’m a believer.

Back to Facebook Author Pages, I didn’t have all four at first. In fact, number four, Caroline Adams Writer, was added this summer. I think by next summer, I may add number five, Olivia Lucas, who writes women’s fiction.

By the way, I’d love it if you’d follow me on all four! Links below. Is that a cheeky ask, or what? Just click on a name to go to the Facebook author page.

So what do they all write, in the order I created the pages, and what do I post for each of them every day? As a side note, the postings I suggest here also work for Twitter! Get a two-fer by posting the same content both places.

Sharon Arthur Moore-Author writes cozy culinary mysteries. Her first book, now unavailable, was MISSION IMPASTABLE. The book will be re-issued from a different publisher as PASTABILITIES this fall. The “Murders with Taste” series is planned as a six-book series with recipes that mostly reflect the titles. A second culinary mystery series (in the planning stages) will be set in Alaska.

She belongs to several affinity groups on FB related to mystery writing and to cooking. On her FB page, she posts recipes, mystery book links, food holidays, and cooking tools and facts. She is also starting a newsletter she is trying to get subscribers for.

Angelica French writes about relationships: romantic, familial, friendship, and business. She is all about communication and empathy. Her first book is an erotic romance (180 degrees from culinary mysteries, thus the need for a pen name. STREETWALKER is a story of trust and redemption.

She belongs to several Facebook affinity groups for romance writers. On Angelica’s FB page, I post links to books I get from other Facebook groups, articles I find online, and links to articles about popular culture.

River Glynn-Author has a bit of an identity crisis. She is, as yet, unpublished, but she’s written a novel with a ghost story and has written a full-length play with a “ghost” in it. She also likes science and science fiction and has some books outlined for topics like the Voynich Document and a future dystopian society. River is also a high fantasy fan and would love to do a fantasy series with paranormal elements.

She belongs to some FB paranormal groups and also follows a lot of them as well as science folks on Twitter.
She posts science events (past and present), weird holidays, links to paranormal, scifi, and fantasy books, links to articles about science facts and paranormal tales.

Caroline Adams Writer is my newest persona. She writes historical fiction and Intrepid Women biographies for middle grade readers. She has an historical fiction romance, LUCINDA, that is as-yet unpublished, though there has been some interest in her work from agents and editors at conferences. She wants to write about a Singuan woman she thinks was one of her previous incarnations. She also has plans for a Viking-settlement historical fiction novel. She is fascinated by many eras in history. Too many? Possibly.  

Caroline belongs to historical fiction affinity groups on FB. I post for her links to historical fiction books, archaeology finds, articles about historical eras, and historical trivia facts.

See, it’s easy to find stuff to post for your FB author page and Twitter. Just keep the focus for your persona.

FACEBOOK: Authors, do you struggle with what content to post on your FB author page or Twitter beyond links to buy your books? Struggle no more with these suggestions that will help. http://bit.ly/2EjWU6b

TWITTER: #Authors sometime struggle with what to post on Facebook and Twitter that isn’t just links to their own books. Try some of these ideas from @Good2Tweat. http://bit.ly/2EjWU6b

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

10 Tips to Build Your E-Mail List

BookBaby says your number one marketing goal is to build your email list.

If you’re an author, and not just an indie one, you know the mantra about the need to have a mail list. This is a tidy way to contact your followers, and most of us don’t spam readers with multiple e-mails in a month. And we NEVER sell or share our lists. Readers have an expectation of our professionalism when handling private information and taking their valuable time. We honor that.

In fact, quite the opposite of too many emails, lots of authors start a monthly newsletter and after a while it ends up being “periodic”. There’s just so darn much to do as an author and we have the same 24 hours the rest of the world has. But somehow it seems we’re supposed to fill all 26 of them.

Being able to get in touch quickly and easily with a large number of people is important to authors. So, I buy books on social media presence and attend workshop sessions in an effort to learn how to build a list organically. I might be able to buy email addresses, but really??? I want fans and followers, not bots.

So, one very important tip I’ve picked up is to have sign-up buttons everywhere. Now, have I done that, yet? Umm. No. But I’m working on it. Give me a break. I’m still figuring out MailChimp!

So on MailChimp, I can get a url that I can attach to social media sites I have (website, Facebook, Twitter, et al.) so that folks just click and they are added to my email subscribers list. So, I’ll figure that out and do it.

The other important piece, however, and this is the hard part, is how do folks know you exist with this amazing content?

One of the most interesting ways I’ve found is from Jeff Goins (whom I subscribe to for marketing tips. Contact him at jeffATjeffgoinswriterDOTcom) and an interview with a guy who went from 0 subscribers to tens of thousands. In a short time. With almost no effort.

Did that get my attention? Oh, yeah!

His guest interviewee, Benjamin Hardy took blog posts that had lots of hits and posted them on medium.com. He was discovered there. And with the url button available he got thousands and thousands and thousands of people following him on his website and blog.

Let me repeat. He took content he already produced and re-posted it. And sometimes, he tweaked it a bit and re-posted it again. He has a huge following on medium.com now.

Of course, I did it, too. I have not been discovered. Yet. By the same token, Ben said he wasn’t discovered immediately. He kept posting. Once one post hit big, he grew incrementally. And, I have only put up a few posts. My new marketing plan includes posting once a week at medium.com. Easy peasy since the posts are done. A past post that has 500 to 1000 page views should attract attention on medium.com, too.

What are some other tips on building an e-mail list that I’ve garnered?

1)   Put a link at the back of your book for readers to follow and click to be subscribed.
2)   Good content in a newsletter gets shared and your name gets out.
Keep your content relevant, not overselling your books, and keep it interesting. Word will spread. In fact, ask people to share your newsletter with others.
3)   Offer something of value when someone subscribes and require e-mail to get it.
(I am creating a PDF of recipes for one mail list. Another blog post is coming on this one.)
4)   An informative blog is the most common way to grow an e-mail list since people liking your content will often subscribe and tell others about you.
5)   Put an e-mail opt-in form on your website.
6)   Seek guest blogging opportunities and let people know they can be on your list.
7)   Encourage people to forward your newsletter so others will read it and subscribe.
8)   Vlog and give your address for e-mail opt-in to get more content.
9)   Create a closed section on your site that can only be accessed by members who gave an e-mail address.
10)  Collect e-mail addresses at events like book signings.

Facebook: Need tips on building your e-mail list? Here are ten ideas Sharon Arthur Moore culled to share. http://bit.ly/2BCJrkz

Twitter: 10 tips for #writers for building an e-mail list from @Good2Tweat http://bit.ly/2BCJrkz

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Professional Development for the Professional Writer

I attended another workshop on marketing and promotion last Saturday run by Holly Roberts, USA Today Best Seller author. We can never get enough of this stuff, right?

In the fall, I attended one at our local Historical Novel Society meeting. I paid nothing for this one and gained a purse full of gold from Marylee McDonald’s stellar presentation.

I buy books on marketing and promotion. I read articles on marketing and promotion. I take classes when I can. Since this is not an area I feel confident in, I seek the information from knowledgeable others. As a professional writer, I have a responsibility to keep learning and growing. It’s my career, so I must assume the bulk of the responsibility for my success while being grateful for support from my publishers.

Every source says first write a good book. Well, I try. I do the best I can, but when I compare myself to Louise Penny, Jaqueline Winspear, Diane Mott Davidson, and others, I can see that my writing is not at that level. Yet. But I’m working on it. Honest.

However, the marketing thing can take over your life. At last Saturday’s Holly Roberts’ workshop, I learned so much about how to create a compelling ad, what I need to do on Facebook, and more. With four Facebook author pages, I need to up my game and post more content on each.


To figure out, maybe, how to be more efficient while being more effective with marketing and promotion, I am “attending” a Facebook group’s marketing strategies week-long focus beginning next week. For free! Maybe this one will be the magic bullet. Care to join me? Check out the 12-Minute Book Launch Challenge for yourself. 

I’ll be writing a limited series of what I’m learning/have learned about marketing and promotion. Come back next week for tips on building your mailing list and how to use it.

What are you doing that’s been effective for marketing your books without sucking up your whole life? Please share below.

Facebook: Are you struggling with the book marketing energy-time drain, too? Commiserate with Sharon Arthur Moore at http://bit.ly/2F6ntIO

Twitter: Are you struggling with the book marketing energy-time drain, too? Commiserate with @Good2Tweat at http://bit.ly/2F6ntIO

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Professional Writer Makes Money

Well, that’s the idea, isn’t it? We write these tomes, and we would like to be paid a working wage. In fact, many of us don’t consider ourselves “professional writers” until we’ve pulled down some royalties.

But the odds of making a living from writing are slim. And there is no one to petition to raise our minimum wage. Marketplace purchases decide your royalties.

Here are some facts I gathered from online research of surveys and polls about writers’ incomes.

One in ten authors can make a living from their writing without a supporting, secondary job.

The typical writer earns less than minimum wage.

17% of authors earn $0 a year despite 98% of them having something recently published.

5% of authors earn 42.3% of all writing income. That’s 95% of us sharing the remainder. Talk about the haves and the have nots.

Women writers earn 80% of what male writers earn.

77% of indie authors made $1000 a year.

1.3% of traditionally published authors earned $100,000 a year. But only 0.07% of indie published authors earned that amount.

Oh, there are more of these discouraging stats, but why go on. Your writing is almost certainly not going to support you. If it does, well, bully for you. For the rest of us, we’d better have a back-up plan.

These stats are the reason that fewer presses give advances to new authors. Most new authors don’t earn out the advance in future royalties. The publishers gave more generously in the past because the expectation of future books was that over time the money for the advance on the first book would be recovered by the publisher.

So what do writers turn to for earning a living wage while waiting to get into the 1.3% who do succeed financially?

The majority of writers I know have a job unrelated to writing. But the mortgage gets paid and the kids have milk to drink. In their “spare time” they crank out their books and indie or traditionally publish them. The dribbling royalties justify their identity as professional writer. I tell folks rude enough to ask what I earn that my royalties are in the hundreds not the tens of thousands.

A very large number of my professional writing friends supplement royalties by providing editing services for other writers. These are professionals who are using their talents with others’ words. That service is almost certainly going to return more than royalties. So some authors are able to quit their day jobs and focus on their own writing and ancillary writing, keeping, thus, to the same field.

A smaller number of professional writers I know of supplement royalties by offering other services and/or teaching on-line and in-person classes. I’m hoping to be in the latter category.

I was an educator for thirty-nine years. Even as an administrator, I taught whenever I had the opportunity. It’s in my blood. Therefore, teaching writing classes, for me, is not just about being a professional writer who is paid for her expertise (if not her writing), but it gives me pleasure to be part of another’s understanding of complex materials.

I have approached Writer University with a couple of ideas. Writer University is not just any on-line writing classes group. It began in 2005 when Mary Buckham and Laurie Schnebley Campbell connected over their desire to create quality, affordable on-line classes for writers. They have expanded course offerings and instructors over the years, but the quality remains at the same high level they always envisioned.

The classes are in the categories of business/craft classes, basics, master classes, super classes, and private classes. The topics range from plotting to writing synopses to working on the first draft to so much more. The classes are two- or four-week experiences. And the price is right! Most classes are as low as $35 for four weeks of instruction and targeted homework. These are some of the best classes I have ever taken for any price.

I would love to teach classes for this group. So, wish me luck as I plan and try out a course or two. I’ll be looking for a few hardy folks who want to take the class to help me refine it before making it a general offering. Are you one of them?

Please spread the word about this post. Thanks so much!

Facebook: Can you earn a living from royalties as an author? Well, maybe, but it’s not likely. So how do writers make money? http://bit.ly/2EKYWZI

Twitter: #Writers, tired of trying to live off paltry royalties? There are other ways to use your writing expertise and get paid for it. http://bit.ly/2EKYWZI