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ASK EM — Promo 101

Keyboard with Tips and Tricks Button.

I get a ton of questions about promotion. What is the best way to promote?

Disclaimer: There is no one surefire way to promote, but here are a few ideas to toss around.

1. BLOGGING

Everyone and her Aunt Miriam has a blog. Some blogs have a lot of followers and some don’t. But when you’re searching for places to promote, don’t just shoot for big blogs. All you need is to find 1 reader. If I find 1 new reader per blog post, I’m a happy girl.

What do you blog about? Anything that pertains to your book–inspiration, characterization, your hero’s favorite fried chicken recipe, a dog rescue that you’re donating a portion of your sales to… Think outside the box and try not to dump the same old excerpt and buy links on every blog. B-O-R-I-N-G

2. Giveaways

Do they work? In my opinion, if you’re giving away a book on every blog post, are you selling any? Or are readers holding out to see if they won? Typically they don’t check back to see if they’ve won, let alone to buy your book. I like to give gift cards for small amounts as prizes.

But I believe in giving good content and a laugh as a prize that will REALLY engage readers and keep them coming back for more.

Other items to give away are mugs, tote bags, pens and sticky notes. Personally I don’t consider a business card and glossy post card featuring a book cover prize-worthy. If you’re giving a prize, dish out something good yet reasonable. What would you like to receive?

3. Ads

Purchasing ad space is pricey. Most authors make under $500 a month in royalties–many make much, much less. So buying ads is a huge investment. Do they work?

I do purchase ad space for big book releases. For instance, I run ads on sites such as Dear Author or The Long and Short Reviews. These places typically provide you with information on how many people have seen your ad and clicked it to reach the buy link.

Do I see a good return for my money? Sometimes. Making sales off ads goes hand-in-hand with my long-standing belief that selling books is like hitting a lottery. Sometimes you play and win $5. Sometimes you hit bigger. And sometimes you throw the junk ticket in the trash.

If you’re looking to place a less expensive ad, there are plenty of blogs and review sites that offer cheaper rates. And you can often find a group of authors to chip in on a bigger print ad, say in RT magazine, to cut costs.

Next Monday on ASK EM I’ll talk about 3 more ways to promote. Again, these might work for you. They might not. They might even work for this book and not the next. Think about the lottery. You don’t have the winning numbers this time, but you’re going to keep playing, right? So switch up your number choices and see where it leads.

The ultimate goal is selling books, but to do that people need to remember your name. Ads, blogging and giveaways help to get your name in front of readers.

Thanks for reading!

Em~

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