Promoting a back list can be frustrating, if a little boring, as we naturally want to concentrate on our latest shiny novel. However, all our books are worthy of attention for as long as they are available for sale. There are several ways to keep the back list titles fresh and you can actually utilize the change in seasons to plan it.
Firstly, can you categorize your books by season. Look at the season the narrative is set within or it’s genre and use that as your starting point.
Summer: romance/vacation adventures/a beach read/contemporary summer town story.
Spring: a character’s new life/moving to a new town, school or college.
Fall: chilly horror/mystery/monsters and Halloween.
Winter: isolation/struggles of survival/Xmas romance.
I think you get the idea.
Here are some other ways to keep the older titles fresh.
Do a live reading (if restrictions allow) or read on any social media site or streaming site.
Upgrade the cover.
Revise the content – new edit, additional information, add book club questions and new reviews.
Write a prequel.
Arrange guest blog posts centering on the back-list book(s).
Create a readers guide for book clubs.
Use niche topics to promote.
Utilize a podcast interview to promote all your books.
Request new reviews.
Offer a sale price.
What methods do you use to keep your older books fresh and saleable?
I don’t normally track my blog statistics but it was interesting to see how my blog has grown over the last nine years. From a tentative start to promote my first children’s book, Rumble’s First Scare, to currently connecting with my readers and the reading community ,as well as engaging and supporting the writing community, it has been a fascinating journey.
Through trail and error, I have found that posting twice a week is the most popular for my readership. As you know this year, I split the two weekly posts so they are specifically aimed at readers on Tuesday’s and writers on Thursday’s. This has proven very popular. Looking at the growth of my blog, the statistics speak for themselves.
First years stats: 2011 views 1424, visitors 0 posts 37
Last years stats 2019 views 14830 visitors 10640 posts 108
It has been a steep learning curve, and continues to be! I know there are things I should be doing, but with full time work, writing, publishing and promoting my books, as well as ‘normal life stuff’ there are never enough hours in the day. However, I am compiling a strategy to improve all aspects of my writing business, so watch this space.
For me the best part of having this blog is connecting with people from all over the world. It is so neat to see my flag map. I truly reach a global community.
In this time of COVID, we need connection and a blog is a way to gain that. Whether you post weekly, monthly or less frequently, you are reaching out to others. Stay safe, stay well.
I would love to know:
How did you start your blog?
How often do your post?
Do you have any tips for new and established bloggers?
Once we transition from writer to published author, there are many things that change. No longer can we sit in isolation, hide from the world or pretend it’s a ‘hobby’. Words we created are available to the public and so begins the promotion bandwagon.
Our writing becomes a business – expenses and income need to be reported for tax purposes, we create a ‘store’ whether virtual or real, and we become a public entity. We are no longer completely anonymous.
Over the last nine years (since publishing my first book), I have gathered information, advice and ‘tricks’ on how to promote myself and my books. At first, it felt foreign to ‘be out there’. Now-a-days, I utilize all my social media and this blog to promote my books, events, interviews and my freelance writing business.
However, promotion does not come easy! It is a constant workhorse of creating posts, commenting, liking and linking. It is not enough to have two weeks of posts when your book first comes out. You need to continue promoting forever! Yep – that’s right – forever.
You can’t discard your previous creative efforts once a new novel comes out. It’s like ignoring your first born when another child arrives. They all need the same amount of love.
Look at each book – it’s concepts, genre, theme, topic and utilize any and all social media posts – far and wide – to mention that book. For example, I have a children’s picture book called Rumble’s First Scare. It is set at Halloween so I create posts before then to create awareness. And usually hold a colouring contest. I also use any ‘monster’ mentions as a link back to it.
You have to be creative and think how you can make a comment or post refer to your book(s). If it is set in a specific historical era – find similar posts, articles about that era etc. Join social groups on the many platforms that would be interested in your story’s genre.
Always assess what you can use for promotion. Yes, it is time consuming but so was writing your manuscript! Put the same amount of effort into the ‘business’ of selling your book. You wrote it to sell it didn’t you?
Create contests around your book – give prizes, such as a physical gift basket or a free/discount on your book.
Do you have any tips for other authors on promotion? Please share them, after all we are one big community.
As writers and authors, we are formidable in our ability to create narratives but we also have to learn how to market the ‘end product’ of those many months or even years of creativity. We become a book business.
The first avenue many authors take is social media, which can be seen as a ‘soft’ option. After all we are not up close and personal with the public but at arm’s length. However, due to the countless sites available just choosing the ‘right’ one or two can be overwhelming. Then there is the matter of maintaining our ‘presence’ on each platform. We need to research which avenues of promotion will work best not just for our genres but also our ability to sustain them. Do your research on similar authors in your genre and see what they use (and of course ‘follow’ them).
2. Following selected authors, genre based bloggers, book reviewers, and writing groups allows you to gain followers but also to learn about your particular genre and gain a reader base. When someone is interested in your genre they ‘search’ for more posts, articles, links and books within that specific field. While you are doing that follow 10 ‘friends’ of friends on Facebook and 100 people on Twitter – this can gain a wider audience. However, in light of these two platforms losing participants also follow people on Instagram. (We have to keep up with the ‘in’ thing!)
3. Improve your author bio on all platforms to entice and inform as many followers as possible on all sales sites, your blog and social media platforms. Ask yourself – does it reflect you as a writer as well as a person.
4. Use hashtags specific to writing, authors, books, genre and associated links – look at what other authors use.
5. Then there is the personal touch, which means organizing or being involved in author readings, attending book events and participating in Q&A panels. Search your local area for book related events, get to know your local bookstores, inquire at your library, join a local writing group, the wider your reach the easier it will be to find avenues of sale for your book.
6. Merchandise is another way of promoting your book. It can be as simple as custom bookmarks to T-shirts with the book cover/main character on the front. Make up a prize basket for a contest to be collected at an event (good photo opportunity to use on social media) or create an online contest for a free autographed copy of your book.
7. An easy promotion is to leave five of your author business cards in local businesses, at the doctor’s or dentist’s office, or anywhere you visit on a regular basis. Many places have community boards too so pin some cards or a poster of an event you are attending there too.
Do you have any promotion tips you would like to share?
What inspired your latest novel? It was the film Lord of The Rings that inspired me to write Illusional Reality duology. By the time the ride from the cinema was over I had the initial story and characters. The Quest is the concluding part Illusional Reality and was written after watching Two Towers.
How did you come up with the title? If you suddenly woke up and found you were in a magical land; wouldn’t you think you were dreaming. That it was an illusion? But you see, when Becky learns who she really is, Thya, her previous life becomes the Illusion and her life in Tsinia is now her reality. The Quest was named as such, because Thya is forced to travel to locate a crystal called the Darkeye.
I’m normally pretty good with word play and don’t have a problem coming up with suitable titles.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Gosh, there are messages running all the way through the two books, but it’s been my readers that have found them. I didn’t deliberately add these messages. Each reader can take something different from it.
How much of the book is realistic? The Quest which is the second book of the duology is fantasy. When you write fantasy everything and anything can be believable. That’s why I had so much fun writing the books.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? No. Total fabrication of my warped mind.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog? http://bit.ly/PKKFB FB personal http://bit.ly/FBFPKK FB fanpage http://bit.ly/INSTKK INSTAGRAM http://bit.ly/TwittKK TWITTER http://bit.ly/BLOGKK BLOG http://bit.ly/KKGRE Goodreads Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone? The Quest is the concluding part of Illusional Reality duology. My next book is a collection of flash horror stories. Called A Flash of Horror. I also have a MI5 thriller, Broken Chains, to finish and an erotic horror called Predator. So, plenty to keep me going for a while.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? It would have to be the MC, Thya. I have lived in her shoes and mind for many years and we’ve been through a lot together. Thya is head strong, selfish and argumentative, proving she’s more human than a Bora.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I do. I’m a prolific author and write in most genres. I do have a passion for the MC thriller genre, because of my past and I had so much fun writing the fantasy duology, Illusional Reality.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
Both. I start with an initial plot and then once the story takes off, I let the characters takeover.
What is your best marketing tip? Market yourself as an author before you market your books.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? Can you imagine where we authors would be without SMP(Social Media Platforms) Even if we are taken advantage of, that’s where most of our readers are and where we get our sales. Readers want to get to know you before they part with their cash, and SMPs help with that.
What do you enjoy most about writing? Being creative and using my imagination and allowing my warped mind free reign.
Where is your favorite writing space?
I love sitting outside a coffee shop watching the world go by while I’m listening to rock music through some earphones. That’s where I love to write.
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
S.E.Hinton, author of The Outsiders is my favourite author. Her books Rumble Fish, That Was Then This Is Now, Tex and Taming of The Star Runner, just sparked such a feeling in me that I had to pick up a pen and write my story. My first publication, In Times of Violence has been labelled as The Outsiders on motorbikes. What an honour that is. In Times of Violence was my first novel and still remains my bestseller to date. I would love to meet, thank her and let her know how much her books mean to me.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be? I live in Greece and I’m sure many would love to swap with me. Lol I would love to have a small cottage in the Cotswold UK. I have roots in Canada and Ireland so it would be nice to visit.
Do you see writing as a career? It started off that way. I think we all dream of becoming best selling authors with a nice fat monthly royalty check and an agent who has just signed a deal for the book to be made into a movie for the big screen… after a while that dream fades. I’m happy to know my books are being read and people are enjoying them. That’s why I write. I also run Author Assist, offering an Ala Carte menu of affordable author services. So, I spend most of my time helping authors with their book promotion and making sure their name and book/s are known around social media.