Saturday, December 3, 2011

13 STEPS I TOOK TO PROMOTE MY WORK by Mimi Barbour




                                 Available at Amazon
                                   Available at Barnes and Noble
                                     Available at Wild Rose Press



I'm very proud of the 5 star review from TBR - Goodreads


http://thetbrpile.weebly.com/1/post/2011/12/review-and-contest-together-for-christmas-by-mimi-barbour.html

13 Steps I took to Promote My Work:


1. I guess the very first thing I did after writing my first book was to look for a writer’s group in my area. Thankfully, my research took me straight to the Romance Writers of America and, much to my delight, I found the Vancouver Island Chapter. (VIC-RWA) Without the guidance of others like me, I’d still be floundering around and wondering who to turn to and what to do next. All authors need support from their peers, and let me tell you, the input from their collective knowledge was invaluable.

2. Website – This was my first endeavor into trying to promote myself and my books, and since I want to be truthful, when I'd started in the business, I was basically a coward when it came to technological challenges, I hired a wonderful web mistress (Rae Monet) who not only set up my website, but has looked after that area of my work right from the beginning.

3. Newsletter – Soon after my website was up and running, I asked Rae what were her suggestions about the best promotional tactics. She suggested starting up a newsletter. Her idea was that anyone who signs onto your newsletter is interested in what’s happening to you, and they will stay with you as long as you don’t inundate them with too much 'yada yada' (my words) about inconsequential nothings – write when you have news! This has been one of my best-loved choices. Shamelessly, I started the newsletter using all my personal friends names, and then we set it up on my website that anyone who wants to hear from me can enter their e-mail address. It’s lovely to see new people every time I send out another blurb, which I only do when I actually have something super to tell them (new contracts, books being released, contest wins, etc.)

4. Facebook – Does it work? Are there authors who don’t have a facebook page? Not sure that I get a lot of sales through this forum, but I must tell you, it is a great way to keep in touch with others. Just wish I had more time to spend there.

5. Twitter – About six months ago, I decided that Twitter would be one of the best ways to get news out to the big wide social-media world, and so I worked really hard, gave up hours a day and started trying to build my followers. At that time, I had approximately 400 followers, and I am now over the 2000 mark. Again, was it worth all the hours I put into it, the effort it took and the time away from my writing? I did meet wonderful people and wouldn’t give up knowing these new friends for anything in the world. So, yes it was worth it. And the proof came when just recently "My Cheeky Angel" the book I self-pubbed and released in September was chosen as one of five best paranormal books of the month, and I was able to turn to my friends on twitter where I know a great many of my votes came from.

6. Romance sites – About this time I went crazy looking for as many romance sites as I could find. I signed up for All Romance, Novel Sisterhood, Love Romance Café, Rites of Romance Reviews, Authors Den, Book Rix, you name it – I’m there. And I determined that they all have one thing in common. If you don’t interact often, they just won’t be of much help – and sadly, so much to do – so little time!

7. Goodreads – Again, I have to admit to taking on Goodreads with a lot of enthusiasm, which did wane after a while. It’s time consuming for an author - but well worth while. Because as a reader, and I admit to being a reading freak, it’s a wonderful place to find others who like the same kind of books as you. I’ve met some of my favorite people here, people who I now consider friends, and therefore I try and spend as much time as I can in keeping in touch with them.

8. LinkedIn – When I first became aware of this medium of promotion, it was because a friend had invited me to join. Being that I’m always crazy-busy and tend to dive in before reading rules carefully, I joined and the next thing I knew, I had given them access to my whole e-mail list who then received invitations on my behalf. Took me a while to get myself out of that mess, and I will say here, that the contact at LinkedIn was so kind and helpful. On that site, I’ve probably met more authors, like me, who are just trying to survive and make a few sales and it’s been one of my preferred places to be.

9. Wild Rose Press – Once I became published with The Wild Rose Press, I found a wonderful support team on their loops—other authors who were in the same predicament as myself. We try and help each other keep our spirits up through rejections, bad reviews, and even personal traumas. And, we’re also there to cheer on the good news. Unfortunately, like everything else, there just isn’t enough time to keep in touch daily. I wished there was for they are a great bunch.

10. Savvy Authors – Again, this is another site I have to peek in on periodically. It’s a great place to share news of a blog you’ve written or if you’re a guest with someone else. The writers here are supportive and will interact with you as long as you reciprocate. As on any of the loops, if you don't give – you won't get! But sadly…not a lot of time!

11. Guest blog – I love to be a guest and tried hard to get on as many blogs as I could handle. I do believe that if enough people visit the page, it can result in sales…with a good excerpt and a well-written post, that is. Writing new blurbs for each of these opportunities takes a lot of time and effort, but it is a way to get out of your own zone and in front of strangers—hopefully readers looking for a new author to follow. It also helps you to meet bloggers who love to support you and will go out of their way. But there is one very important drawback and uses up the sand in your timer. Those blogs have to be promoted on your loops, facebook, twitter, etc so there will be people to come and read them. And they need to be attended so you can keep up with the comments.

12. Your own Blogsite – This was my latest attempt of promoting my books. (I know! Why wasn’t it my first!?) I just started up my Blogspot “Believe!” in October and couldn’t…ahhh believe that amount of traffic that ended up there. So, now I’m thinking – did I do this wrong? Should my blog have been the first step in getting my books out 'there'? I’m thinking probably YES!!! Today a blog is such a personal way to interact with readers, that it’s a must for all authors who feel they can handle the extra work. Of course, to my credit, I probably couldn’t have handled the technical aspects a few years ago when I first started in the business. But now…I have a back-list of books, I’m much more computer savvy to the point where I self-pubbed the 1st in my series Angels with Attitude, and I've even made a trailer for my newest release Together for Christmas. See how far I've come? I've upgraded from DUHH I can't do that to I'll figure it out somehow! And you can do the same.

13. Trailers – My latest step into the world of advertising was to make my own trailer for my latest release for The Vicarage Bench Series "Together for Christmas". You can see it here on this blog. For me, this was a huge step forward because I had no idea about the creative world of photos and what to do with them except to be able to download them from my digital camera. But How-to videos on U-tube are the most wonderful inventions, and between Windows Live Movie Maker, stubbornness and 12 tries, the movie is up on u-tube – not perfect but the next one will be better. The best part…it was free!!

So my friends, whatever you decide to use as promotional avenues, and in whatever order, please understand one important and absolute fact – you need really well written books to promote. So take the time to become a good writer. Take the workshops and courses to help you get published, and then believe in yourself.

And…the best advice I can offer you in this business is to follow the Golden Rule – do unto others… I wish you all the best!

Visit with me anytime at mimibarbour@hotmail.com or say 'Hi' when you see me popping up on any of the fun sites!






4 comments:

  1. All great steps, Mimi! But you didn't mention Triberr!
    Aloha
    Toby
    http://www.tobyneal.net/

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a big list! I've been adding similar tactics one at a time. I find it takes a while to really understand how to use each new strategy and would become overwhelmed if I tried to add too many at the same time.

    What you're saying about LinkedIn disturbs me. I signed up not really understanding how it works, and stopped going there to pursue other strategies. But acquaintances keep "linking" with me, so I have a mix of fiction and statistics (day job) professionals. I hope the two aren't sending each other promo materials! I'd like to hear more about your troubles there and how you fixed them!

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  3. I've done the same, but started with a blog which I really enjoy. I like twitter and give a bit of attention to facebook, but I dropped linked-in ages ago when the discussions turned into slanging matches or spam. I think it's better to spend the time on Goodreads in groups of readers who like the kind of books you like than a bunch of ungenre-related authors all trying to sell each other their books.

    I've backed off from everything at the moment though, apart from blogging which I love. The rest just got too overwhelming.

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  4. You're so right Toby. Triberr is one of the best steps I've taken. Tried to keep things a bit simple...maybe too much so!

    Marie, Don't take on too much like I did... Eats away at the writing time and I'm not sure all that extra work really helped me...except to maybe have a bit of a web presence. When I first signed to LinkeIn I accidently gave them access to my whole e-mail list and they sent invitations to everyone I knew...not good!! But once I got into the bowels of the site I found a way to shut it off and after I e-mail them to stop sending out these annoying reminders, they were so nice about it and stopped instantly. I like the people I've met there...but must say, they are mostly others in our profession.

    I know what you mean about being overwhelmed, Tahlia. Last year for January and February, I didn't open anything but word first thing in the morning and ended up writing the book promoted here...Together for Christmas. Since then I haven't written hardly anything because all my time is taken up with promotion. Gotta stop and get back to what I love best.

    ReplyDelete