Ideas for Promoting a Series

ideasAs the author of the Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles, I’ve run into a few challenges with promoting the other books in my series after Book 1.

The biggest challenge has been trying to get people to review the 2nd, 3rd or [insert #] book in my series when the reviewer hasn’t read the previous books. Though the books in my series can be read as standalones, there is the over-arching storyline the reader might miss out on if they read the books out of order.

So how do you catch a reader up to the main storylines of the previous books without them having to read the books? The Synopsis!!

I know…I can hear you groaning now, but the full synopsis can be a great marketing tool! AND if you convert it to an eBook, you can send it to the reviewer with a nice cover image, your publishing and copyright information and buy links. Continue reading

Attn: Bloggers – Please Put a Search Feature on Your Site

Blogging Tip: Search Feature

This post is primarily for bloggers, but this can apply to authors, too, because they usually have their own websites and blogs as well.

I’m going to get to the point immediately: PLEASE PUT A SEARCH FEATURE ON YOUR WEBSITE or BLOG.

Why? Because the next question will be a mute point and make everyone’s life easier.

Is Your Blog Easy To Navigate?

That question is SO relative, it’s insane. Everyone is used to whatever websites they visit and if something isn’t in the same place as the websites THEY visit, they’re going to get frustrated and leave. So, you can do all the research you want to on what’s commonly found on websites similar to yours–and you’d do yourself some service (and your visitors) if you did such research–but someone will inevitably have a hard time finding something on your website.

So what do you do as a fail safe for any visitor? Continue reading

Mailing List Plugin Review: MailPoet

I might add more to this later and give updates in my comments, but I’ve been playing around with the MailPoet plugin for about a week now and I have good and not-so-good things to say about it. In all fairness, I still have some comments/e-mails to the MailPoet support team and I’m waiting to hear back from them on some of my concerns, but here’s my initial review of the plugin.

How To Get the Plugin

For those of you who have a WordPress website, you can find the plugin either by going to their plugin page on WordPress OR by going into the Plugins section on the admin side of your site and looking for “MailPoet”. Personally, I think it’s easier to install it from there.

My Initial Observations

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Mailing Lists 5 – Newsletters

mailing-list-serviceThis is the final post in a five-part blog series about how to create and manage a mailing list. Here are the links to the articles in the series:

Newsletter Frequency

One concern I’ve heard often is, “How often do I send a newsletter out?” If you implement a plan like I’ve outlined in this series – a drip campaign that feeds your readers regular freebies of your short stories and whatever else your talents will allow – that would be weekly. Which means…you’re already sending out newsletters automatically, so don’t stress! That’s the beauty of the drip campaign and the plan I use.

The next question I usually hear is, “Well, if all the newsletters on my drip campaign are about my backlist, when do my readers get to hear about new releases or current events?”

That’s what the occasional one-off message or manual campaign is about. In short, your entire Reader Club will consist of weekly messages that go out based on when someone signed up AND the manual messages you send to keep your readers up to date on what’s happening with your new releases and general author happenings. As you’ll see below, those manual messages will help keep your automated drip campaign from sounding…well…automated.

I’m going to give you a bunch of suggestions and examples of why you send out a manual message in addition to your already-running drip campaign. So relax! The pressure is off!
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Mailing Lists 4 – Growing Your List

mailing-list-serviceThis is the fourth in a five-part blog series about how to create and manage a mailing list. Here are the links to the articles in the series:

UPDATECLICK HERE for for my recent article on How to Build Your Mailing List Quickly.

STEP 3: How to Grow Your List

Many authors use social media to post buy my book ads, ask authors to share new release posts and cover reveals. Though you can certainly use social media for that, it’s not very effective and doesn’t generate a lot of sales. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a huge proponent of building your mailing list!

And that is precisely what social media is perfect for! Social Media and ads are a great way to promote your mailing list and I want to encourage you to direct your campaigns and readers toward signing up. THAT should be your priority! If you implemented a plan like I’ve described in the previous posts, you’ll have plenty of freebies for your readers, which creates an incentive for them to want to join, so people are going to want to stick around if they enjoy your books!

And regardless of how you promote your newsletter or even your books, having a STRONG CALL TO ACTION is important! Any post or ad you create should tell readers what to do.

  • Don’t just say, “If you join my VIP Club, you’ll get vampire freebies!”
  • TELL them to join: “Join my VIP Club to get vampire freebies. CLICK HERE!”
  • Don’t just say, “I’m giving away a $10 gift card at my Facebook party!”
  • TELL them to go there. “CLICK HERE for a chance to win a $10 gift card at my FB party!”

Here are some ideas to get the word out and help you grow your list:

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Mailing Lists 3 – Creating a Plan

mailing-list-serviceThis is the third in a five-part blog series about how to create and manage a mailing list. Here are the links to the articles in the series:

Part 3: Creating a Plan

Before you get all excited and announce your Reader Club, be sure you have everything set up! I made the mistake of announcing my VIP Club and THEN said, “HOLY HELLO! I have to make the freebies and create the autoresponders for next week!” Talk about pressure!!! Learn from my mistake and draft your program FIRST, set it up, THEN announce it!

As I said in the previous post, how you set your program up will depend on how many books and freebies you have. But let’s start with the basics…
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Mailing Lists 2 – Creating Your Newsletter

mailing-list-serviceThis is the second in a five-part blog series about how to create and manage a mailing list. Here are the links to the articles in the series:

In this post, we’ll talk about how to create a reader club (aka newsletter) that will give back to your readers and encourage them to not only stay, but sell your books!

STEP 2: Creating a Reader Club (aka Newsletter)

Part 1: The Name

Personally, I’ve found more success in gathering people for my mailing list by NOT calling it a mailing list. That term tends to have a “spammy” air about it and many people shy away from joining a mailing list for fear of their inbox being filled with a bunch of advertising and useless information. A “newsletter” is coming close to that, but it is a little more acceptable. Continue reading

Mailing Lists 1 – Why Have One & Finding a Mailing List Service

mailing-list-serviceThis is the first in a five-part blog series about how to create and manage a mailing list. Here are the links to the articles in the series:

Mailing lists and newsletters!

A daunting topic, and one that has popped up a lot lately, so I thought I’d give my two pence about what I’ve learned and how I manage my own mailing list. In the comments below, I’d love to hear what’s worked for you!

First, let’s go over the basics. Continue reading

Bay Area Book Festival Writers BEWARE!!!

If you’re an author and you are NOT following David Gaughran’s Blog, I HIGHLY recommend you go over there now and subscribe (free, of course) so you can get updates on when he posts. Do it now…I’ll wait.

Welcome back!
WHY should you follow David Gaughran? Here are several reasons why…
  1. David is a very successful self-published author, so you can’t go wrong by listening to his advice. He’s walking the walk and talking the talk. And the proof is in the pudding: He is a NY Times bestselling author ON HIS OWN….not through a group, boxed-set project. Yes…with his self-published books.
  2. He’s written GREAT books about self-publishing, sharing all of his methods that led to him being such a success. Let’s Get Digital and Let’s Get Visible. Go out and get them NOW! You won’t regret it.
  3. He is ON TOP OF the news about what’s happening in the self-publishing industry. If you don’t know where to look about such news or have problems finding it yourself, David’s blog is a great place to start!
  4. He is diligent about informing authors about Author Solutions and their SCAMS. This is a Penguin-Random House company that supposedly specializes in self-publishing services. Worse than a vanity press, which charges a LOT of money for self-publishing services, Author Solutions totally rapes authors for services that are not only overpriced but are nothing but fluff and useless. They even lure authors into thinking that if they self-publish their book through Author Solutions, there’s a chance their books could land a contract with the Big 5 publisher. You have the same chance of landing a contract with them if you submitted your manuscript to them for free. *shakes head*
David’s latest post on the Bay Area Book Festival highlights that not only is Author Solutions sponsoring the event, the organizers behind the festival don’t care that AS is a scam operation and that they have a class action lawsuit against them for deceptive practices.
Check out David’s post HERE.
And for your convenience, here are the books I mentioned above:
Good luck with self-publishing and if you follow David’s advice, you won’t regret it!!
That’s my two pence…

Lessons Learned from Boxed Sets

highland-shifters-3d-new_2000I’m no expert on the subject, but I did have some “lessons learned” from two boxed sets to which I recently contributed. I had certain expectations going in…

  • I’m going to make a lot of money!
  • I’ll get lots of new readers!
  • This will be easy to do!
  • I’ll get on a list!

Some of those expectations were satisfied…and some were not. And if you’re not familiar with a boxed set or what’s involved–like I wasn’t–the following information are things I wish I’d known going into such a project.
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