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Marketing novels in the virtual arena -

Recently an author who is signed with a small press publisher asked a host of other authors this question:
What do you find are the most effective marketing techniques for a digital novel?

Firstly, what is marketing? I like the definition in Norton Paley's book The Marketing Strategy Desktop Guide. It states, Marketing is a total system of interacting business activities designed to plan, price, promote and distribute want-satisfying products or services to organisations and household users in a competitive environment at a profit.

When you break the above explanation down you get these four components:

1.    Plan - The marketing plan is used to grow present markets, spot growth markets, recognise new product innovations, and stay alert to new opportunities.
Why do some books sell and not others? We need to look again at the explanation and consider perhaps the most important aspect of the definition - to deliver want-satisfying products. If customers don't want what we're selling, it may be that we need to have an intensive look at the market and see what gaps we may be able to fill instead.

2.    Price - The strategy you use to determine the price you need to sell your product for and make a profit.
Publishers set the price of the ebook and print book generally using the follow-price method and the slide-scale method. The follow-price method is just that, it looks at what similar products sell for and matches it. The slide-scale method is where the book sells for $X until all advances and marketing costs have been recouped and then the price is reduced. What is alarming in today's market is that many new authors are willingly selling their digital works at low prices or even giving their books away for free. What these authors need to remember is price wars are like fire. Norton Paley says about price wars, "Those who persist in such actions are ultimately consumed by them."
3.    Promote - advertising, networking, sales promotion, internet marketing

There are 75 million books listed on Library Thing. How is a new author without the financial backing of a major publisher supposed to cut through that much chatter? Indie authors need to be proactive with our promotion, we need to work smarter not harder, we need to become innovators. The downside of working in a giant corporation is that you lose the drive that compels you to try new things and often you're afraid to try new things in case you fail and lose your job. The upside of being an indie author is that you have nothing to lose and you're never afraid to try new things.

4.    Distribute - the channels you use to get your product into the hands of your customers

Don't confuse distribution with product. Distribution does not mean either print or ebook. Print books and digital books are the products, not the distribution method. The distribution of books is how we get our product to our intended market: direct or wholesaler, exclusive vs non-exclusive, distributor vs retailer. For indie authors, we have the benefit of being able to distribute direct to our customers, and also through retailers such as Amazon and Books-A-Million.

Over the next few weeks I'll track down some helpful tips on marketing novels in the virtual arena. Today, my guest, young adult author Brinda Berry has been kind enough to provide me some insight into a new and simple to use form of marketing in the virtual arena, a new social media tool called
Marketing novels in the virtual arena -

Brinda Berry on

Twitter and Facebook are two social media tools which allow you share news. is a free online service I use to see everything my friends are sharing in a visually pleasing newspaper format. I love it so much that I share it with my followers. In that way, I can help to promote the articles and images that my friends are talking about online.

Although I could use for both social media platforms, I use mine only for Twitter. Additionally, I only publish and promote  the news of select groups of people. I follow over two thousand people and it would be impossible to read everything they are sharing. So, I use Twitters lists to filter and see the news from a common group of people.

First, login to be creating an account using either your Twitter or Facebook login. Here are the steps to create your first paper.
1. At the top of the page, you'll see a brief menu. Click the +CREATE A PAPER.

2. Screen 1: Give it a name that is catchy and represents content. Also, you will choose the frequency that you wish to publish your paper automatically. I usually choose DAILY for this.

3. Screen 2: suggests some content for your paper. I ignore these. I choose MY ACCOUNTS at the top left on the menu. My Twitter profile shows up in the middle frame since I log in with that. Click on the > at the immediate right of your profile to expand your Twitter source and show specific things you can load into the paper.  My choices are:
a. Your Timeline
b. Your Tweets
c. Saved Searches
d. Your lists (both the ones I've created on Twitter and the ones that I subscribe to)

4. Choose one (or more). For this example, I'll choose the search called #yalitchat . This is an active chat that occurs every Wednesday night with a group of YA authors. You select it by clicking on the + sign at the right of the title.

5. Click the green DONE button.

6. Voila! You have a beautiful paper you can read and share. Others can also subscribe to your paper.

7. When you log in to your paper, you can always click the EDIT MODE button at the right top corner to make changes. Beside that button, you'll see a "gear" button where you can make changes to sources and appearance.

Have a great time publishing content in a fun format.

Brinda Berry

YA Fiction — Hang on for a Wild Ride



  1. Thanks for posting my article. I hope it helps someone. I love how you've placed the widget in your sidebar.

  2. I use this link as my daily news feed. It's great. Thanks for putting it together.


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