Marketing my #scifi novel “Earth Quarantined” #marketingtips



Marketing my sci-fi novel “Earth Quarantined”


I really wish I could write a detailed tutorial on how I’m marketing “Earth Quarantined”, but the truth is that I’m flying all over the place like a cat chasing a laser dot. I’m cherry-picking bits from here and there and using what works for me and also some new ideas. I have a clunky spreadsheet that could benefit from being tidied up, but who cares? It’s just a database. I’ve printed off checklists from tutorials and websites that I could collate and print out neat little documents. Who has time? I searched the net everywhere I went and emailed myself a bunch of links and websites to check out. Again, who has time to compile all of these together?


So apologies that this blog isn’t a neat ‘how to’ guide. All that takes time that I’d rather spend writing and promoting. But this is the rundown of what I’m doing to promote “Earth Quarantined”.


GATHERING THE ARMY


Basically, most of my planning at this time is geared towards gathering an army of readers, followers, bloggers, and anyone else who will talk about the book.


Pre-launch checklist:


A few months ago, I signed up to do an online author tutorial by Alessandra Torre on marketing. There was a downloadable checklist for marketing 6 months in advance which I’ve used. I can’t share this documents, but here is the link to the site. It's a very valuable marketing course. The checklist starts at 6 months out, then 3 months out, then two months, one month, two weeks, one week…you get the drift. Once this book is released, I’ll see if I have time to make this tailored to me.


Create a swipe page:


I need to be able to grab all the information about me and the book quickly. So I’ve created a ‘swipe page’. Never heard of it? A swipe page is a word document where I store all the links and blurbs and bios for a book, because every single promo site will want different information, or the same, and this saves you having to type it over and over. So you open this document and you ‘swipe’ the information and copy it to the source. Here is a link to my website for you to download a blank swipe page. Copy and paste a link every time you create one, so you don’t have to keep going back and forth. Trust me, this is a timesaver. Update this document as you go and create a new one for each book.


TIP: Much of this information will also go into your Media Kit, which is a lovely word document that you will send to your bloggers with book details and purchase link so they can copy and paste to their blog. They will not appreciated having to find this information themselves.

Newsletter:



Every writer points to the newsletter as their number one way to directly link to their readers. I have a small newsletter, they’re loyal readers who have been with me since 2011. But I know the importance of increasing the subscriber numbers, so I have an ongoing Facebook ad where I’m giving away 3 free reads (these are not novels, these are a deleted chapter, a fun read, and a short story collection) to sign up to my newsletter. I use Mail Chimp for my newsletters. Once you know what you’re doing, it’s pretty easy to use. 


One of the problems all authors face isn’t just getting new subscribers, it’s keeping them. Last month, I decided to do a monthly giveaway of a $5 giftcard exclusive to my newsletter subscribers. A few months prior to this, I was getting 3-4 unsubscribes after every newsletter. I don’t have a gazillion subscribers, so it hurt to see this number decline. Since doing the giveaway, I haven’t lost a single subscriber.


Bloggers for new release blast and reviews:


They say the key to success is ‘word of mouth’. This is why I’m a huge fan of book blogs. My number one reason why I always, always, always! do a blog tour is that these are run by passionate readers and reviewers. Who better to promote my book than someone who loves promoting books? You can only badger your family and friends for so long, and you can only write the same message on your social media sites for so long before people zone out. And too much self-promotion can put readers off.


Many bloggers review books. They love reading and reviewing, however, it’s not always possible to get reviews because their reading piles are enormous, but they will always post an excerpt of the book, the cover, buy links. Search Google for ‘blog tours’ and you’ll get lists of sites that can do the work for you in setting these up. You can also save money and contact the bloggers yourself. This takes time but it does give you an advantage.


For Earth Quarantined, I decided to contact every blogger myself. Here’s a few reasons why. 1) I had done a blog tour recently and I wanted to reach a new audience. 2) I wanted to target sci-fi bloggers and reviewers. 3) I also wanted to give them a personal email from me.


To give you a comparison. For WTTA trilogy book blast – I ended up with 30 stops over 3 weeks (Mon to Fri) by using a third party at a cost of $90 USD. A ‘stop’ involved a showcase of each book plus an excerpt. Contacting bloggers myself, in one week I have so far landed 10 release posts and 4 reviews. I still have many more bloggers to contact and two months before the tour starts.   


TIP: I always run a giveaway where the criteria is to join my newsletter. Use Rafflecopter, it’s easy and free.


How to find bloggers:


Here are a few sites I’ve used that have a list of bloggers. You will need to check their review policy and check if they have contact details listed.

Book Blogger List

Book Sirens
Published to Death

TIP: check when they were last active. Bloggers do come and go so don't bother with sites that haven't published in the last month.


How to capture data for the blog tour:


I created a document in Google Drive for everyone to sign up. They’re already familiar with these forms so that’s why I went with this option. I’m offering two giveaways – one to readers and one to blog hosts of $15 giftcard each. Be sure to put a condition of the giveaway is that everyone must subscribe to your newsletter.


Getting reviews:


Paid for reviews:

I no longer wait until the book is out to start getting reviews. One month before release, I’ll send out my Advance Reader Copies to my blog reviewers, and I will pay a third party site to upload my book to Netgalley. Netgalley is a preferred site for reviewers because this is often where publishers post books for reviews. There is a cost to load a book for review to Netgalley. But there are a few author services sites that  will upload the book for you to their account. I’ve done this twice now, both times for my previous sci-fi novel “Welcome to the Apocalypse”. The first third author service site got me 6 reviews. The second site got me 16 reviews, plus the company emailed me the download report where I could send friendly reminders to the readers about leaving a review.


I use BooksGo Social. Sign up to their newsletter to get alerts on how to do this.


Advance reviews can be quoted on Amazon and Goodreads in the editorial review section of the book, as well as put on my website and social media banners.


Here are a few sites to contact reviewers:
Published to Death
IndieView

TIP: check when they were last active. Bloggers do come and go so don't bother with sites that haven't published in the last month.



Goodreads:


Goodreads is full of readers. There is nothing else promoted on the site and that why I’m becoming more active on Goodreads. I will create blog posts and send events to friends and fans when the book is released. Nearly all reviewers will leave a review on Goodreads because it’s free. Join groups and communities. Some groups will put up read and review requests where authors sign up and readers review the book. In the past I’ve gotten 10-14 reviews of books using this method.



What else I’m trying and testing:

Back matter: Don’t worry if you don’t know what this is. I didn’t know what it was called. It’s the ‘blah blah blah’ at the back of the book to encourage readers to sign up to be notified of the next book in the series. I also created a landing page on my website which is an online version of the back matter. I updated the back matter of WTTA to include a sign up to Earth form, then I discounted WTTA ebook to 99c and paid a small fortune to get it sent out of blast emails. I didn’t do this to get a return on my money spent, because at 35c royalties a book, I knew I wouldn’t get my money back. I did this to get it into the hands of as many readers as I could. I ended up selling over 50 copies, which is well under my target. I wanted 200 copies sold. Still, that’s 50+ more than I had a month ago. But so far no sign ups to the Earth alert. I’ll wait to see what happens with this.


The Facebook sign up form: I’ve paid to have an ad running with the giveaway of 3 books, but so far this has slowed right down after the initial ad. We’ll see how it goes long term. Maybe over 6 months I might get enough subscribers to call this worthwhile.


 Bookbub followers: I was part of a giveaway to gain followers on Bookbub. I got well over my expectations on this. I thought I’d get 180 followers. I ended up with 289. So when Earth is released, Bookbub will then send out a new release alert to all these followers. I won’t know till November if this is effective or not.


Amazon followers: There’s no way of knowing how many followers authors have, but one way to get followers is to do a giveaway. The criteria is that they follow you on Amazon. Then when your book is released amazon will send out a new release alert.



That’s it! These are just some of the major marketing ploys I’m using this time around. Some are new, some are tried and tested. It’s a lot of work, enjoyable but exhausting. I’ll know if this has been worth it on November 15 when Earth Quarantined is released.


D L Richardson links mentioned in this post: (You didn't think you'd get to the end of the post without an attempt to get you sign up, did you? I'd love for you to join me, and you can get free books and win $5 giftcard.) 


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Netgalley
Amazon
Swipe page

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