Thursday, August 25, 2011

Marketing in Today's World & Book Giveaway

We're finishing off our week with Sandra Orchard here on Faithful Romances. It's been a pleasure having Sandra enlightening us this week, and today's topic is Marketing a novel in today's world. I've asked Sandra to highlight what her marketing plan is.

Marketing. The word alone is enough to send icy chills down my spine. Promoting oneself just feels…wrong.

But the days of publishers marketing our books is long gone. (Although with Harlequin, it’s still pretty good.) Readers expect to be able to find and interact with authors online. So at the insistence of my agency’s publicist, I started a Facebook page.

Figuring out how it all worked was a huge learning curve for me, but I have to admit, I’m enjoying it. I still get a thrill every time an email pops up to let me know someone “likes” me. Not sure how pathetic that is to admit. But there you go.

I always click on the person’s profile and learn a little about them. Because ultimately, I’m not there to promote my book, but build relationships with my readers. It’s fun. It’s addictive. It can quickly swallow my time.

For that reason, among many, I had avoided social media like the plague in the past. I didn’t want to spend any more time online than I already was. I wanted to write. When I interact with friends, I prefer one-on-one emails. I’m a fairly private person, and the idea of posting generalized comments for the world to read (or even just my “friends”) was uncomfortable to say the least.

I still feel embarrassed to announce the latest stop on my blog tour, or my latest personal blog post on my FB page. After all, how many times do my friends and fans want to read an interview or review on my new release?

Yet, I want to promote the blogs of the wonderful bloggers like Eileen who invite me to share my story with their readers. Generally, I try to post items that give value to readers, such as the latest free Ebook offerings etc., or share some humorous or newsy items about what’s going on in my life. I’m still searching for a happy balance.

I also started a blog, Conversations About Characters, and am thoroughly enjoying writing it. I didn’t think I could possibly think of enough things to say in a blog, and am surprised by the ideas that keep coming. I’ve designed it to be interactive, and am very grateful for the comments of my faithful readers. I’ve already made some wonderful new friends.

But to be honest, I’m finding it difficult to find time to actually write my novels!

Since Love Inspired books are only in stores for one month, I decided a blog tour would be the best means to get the word out to potential readers. I was blessed to receive dozens of invitations, and as a result, I have been very busy answering interviews and writing guest posts. I know this is just a season, and once I get caught up, I’ll find my rhythm again.

And hopefully, people who follow several of the blogs that are hosting me, won’t be so sick of hearing about my book that they’ll run the other way at the mere mention of my name!

I haven’t looked into Twitter or the gazillion other marketing opportunities out there. I don’t want to market myself. I want to build relationships with people. So I need to find a pace that works for me. The one thing I’ve committed to do without fail is to personally respond to every reader who emails me. I am sincerely touched when someone takes the time to send me a note.

This is an exciting time to be an author. The opportunities to reach people around the world are truly amazing. Just last week, an editor of a German romance magazine emailed me to ask for an interview for their September issue. I was thunderstruck. I mean, how cool is that?

The best piece of advice I’ve received on marketing came from fellow Canadian author Anne K. Albert. Her editor told her, "Self-promotion is not a sprint, it's a marathon." Now, whenever I feel overwhelmed by the long list of things that publicists suggest I do from press releases to book signings to bookmarks to blogging, I remind myself to pace myself. It doesn’t have to all be done today, or this week, or even for this book’s release. If I do a little each day, that’s good.

Ultimately, the best way to keep readers happy is to write fabulous books and keep them coming.

Sandra, It's been a real pleasure having you visit and share this week. Thank you so much! I wish you all the best with your writing and sure look forward to all your books to come!!

Last Day to Get in on Deep Cover Giveaway:

Leave a comment on this post or any of the posts here this week and you'll be entered to win a copy of Sandra Orchard's debut novel, Deep Cover.

Good Luck everyone!

Surrendering to Him,


Jessica Nelson said...

Great advice, Sandra! Do a bit at a time. :-) Have I liked your page? I'll have to go see.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

One piece at a time is good advice. It just gets overwhelming when you get involved in too much at once.

Sandra Orchard said...

Hope you will, Jessica :) It's kind of funny you should ask, because it illustrates that even though people may "like" my author page, they may rarely actually read it (or their newsfeeds). I added a "subscribe to newsletter" button to my blog and website for that reason. Few have signed up, and if they actually read FB, they'd already know what's in it anyway. But at least it's an option for those who want to be kept apprised of new releases without having to follow me.

Sandra Orchard said...

Yup, Lisa, slow and steady, kind of like training for your marathons?

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I didn't know you had a newsletter, Sandra! I went and signed up.

I'm with you on the one small step at a time. But I do believe the earlier you start the less stressful it will be in the long run.

Sandra Orchard said...

Absolutely, I really dragged my feet at getting started. Yet...there are so many blogs and such out there these days, it's getting harder to be heard amid the cacophony. (My big word for the day :) ) Okay, and now I need to write!!

Loree Huebner said...

Sandra, thanks for sharing your marketing tips...and everything else this week! The marketing part is something I've been putting off thinking about until just recently. It's overwhelming. I like that advice you shared about self promo being a marathon, not a sprint. I'll remember that one.

Your blog looks great. I joined as a follower!

Eileen, thanks for your hospitality and introducing us to Sandra. I feel so at home here at your blog. It's a great place to have my coffee and grow as a writer.

Shauna Renee' said...

I originally joined Facebook through the Jerry Jenkins Christina Writers Guild because they had developed an online group at the site. From there, I've reconnected with classmates from years gone by, developed friendships with other writers I've found the CWG and through links they've posted on their own blogs or Facebook pages. But, like you Sandra, I have found it can really drain my time. I have friends who say they suffer from insomnia--unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your view, I do not suffer the same malady, and so I have difficulty finding time to read everything I want to read and then still write. (I also am still working full time,am a scrapbooker, and full-time wife and mom.) All that said, I really enjoyed your post. Thanks Eileen for hosting. And when I'm done here, I'm going to be adding another feed to my blog list!

Deirdra A. Eden said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sandra Orchard said...

Loree and Shauna, thanks so much for joining my blog, too! I'm having so much fun reading everyone's profile and blogs, I'm not getting any writing done!!!

Hey, Shauna, I did the CWG apprenticeship course, but I didn't stay on as a member afterward so I hadn't heard about the FB page. I'll have to check it out. My daughter also did the one for youth. And has become quite the freelance writer I might proudly add.