Sunday, January 11, 2009

Revving up the Marketing Machine

Six months out from my next book release date and I have marketing on my mind. Over eight years of publishing, I have learned that each publisher has different expectations and needs for marketing. Each author, also, has different expectations for marketing their work. Some jump in with guns blazing, others stick a toe in and shiver. I hope to be somewhere in between.

Why? Because I have to put enough effort into marketing to get my name out there and let my readers know I've got a new story in a different venue. But I don't want to use up all my writing time on marketing matters- something that is really easy to do.

So, a fine line must be drawn while I build momentum to Mr. Charming's release date- July 31st.

To accomplish this I am setting aside time this month to build a marketing strategy and calendar. In the last few months I have spent time every day building my social networking skills. I have been reading some good blogs and along the way I have increased daily readers at my website by 400%. (I know, I didn't think that would happen. but I just checked my stats this morning and yes, 4 times as many people visit my site on a daily basis.) Also, my google hits have gone up. All this took was a little time on my part-daily- as in 15 minutes a day to say hello-nice to meet you. Will the numbers translate to sales? I'll find out I suppose.

So, what else am I planning? My friend Morgan Mandel's daily blog, has been educating her readers on blog tours, blog following and creating buzz in the blogosphere. So, I'm taking the time to follow her advice and visit a new blog a day-to comment and follow- to say hello!

Add to this strategy planning and executing a blog tour, writing articles for RWA chapter newsletters, and perhaps writing an article for the RWR magazine.

I hope to include the addition of a newsletter to my website, a fan page on Facebook and perhaps a speaking engagement or two. All while continuing to write my next book.

Ugh- you say, throwing your hands up. Who has the time? I don't know if I'll have to time, but five minutes a day, ten minutes a day adds up over the space of six months. In the mean time I get to meet new people and hear new voices which makes my office a cheery place and gives me a smile.

What about you? What, if anything, has worked for you? Any tips for me to think about while I create my marketing plan? This blogger would love to know.


Morgan Mandel said...

Hi Nancy,
Thanks for mentioning my blogspot today.
More places to consider - - see my link below to follow me there.
Also, are you at Myspace? If not, get yourself an account there with your cover as you profile photo.
When your book is out, I'll be glad to have you as a guest at my blogspot.

Morgan Mandel

Nancy J. Parra said...

Thanks Morgan, I'll put you on the blog tour list!

Yes, I'm on myspace. I've heard of twitter-haven't gotten there yet. So glad to learn from you.

Friend me at:

Become a fan at:

Anonymous said...

Well nearly 2000 mailed flyers and postcards netted me zero sales so I would not try that approach again. Targeted mailings do work but you have to be able to afford a good service. I used an inexpensive online mailing service and that is something to avoid. A very costly mistake.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm one of those guns-blazing kind of authors - and it's exhausting!

I've blogged for years, although never really networked properly here, but I am all about the social sites! I have the standards - MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter - plus several others and many author networking sites. My favorite is DeviantArt, due to the fact I am also a professional photographer. My books have traveled to countries such as S. Africa, Belgium and even Singapore because of that site!

Consider articles & guest spots in other author's newsletters. I feature a new YA author every month in my newsletter.

I'm also a road warrior, with over 250 book signings behind me now, and I do a lot of seminars and speaking engagements. It is VERY exhausting though! So only hit the road hard if you can handle it. (I have an article on both of my websites called "Tips From A Road Warrior" if you're interested.)

What boggles my mind are the authors who do next to nothing until the book is out...

Hope that helps!

L. Diane Wolfe

Nancy J. Parra said...

Thanks, these are all great tips!

I've not tried a mass mailing, but I've done plenty of book signings and feel lucky if I sell 6 books.

I like the idea of interviewing other authors on my newsletter. Interesting!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

You are the recipient of a Butterfly Award. See my blog for details.

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Joan De La Haye said...

Hi Nancy. I've found that the social networking really does work. But you have to be smart about it, otherwise it does eat into your writing time. You have to target the right audience, join the groups on My Space and Facebook that have to do with what you're writing about. Twitters also great. You could also join a ning group that has to do with your topic or genre. I've found Facebook to be more user friendly than My Space. And writing regularly on your blog and popping into other people's blogs from time to time is also good.
Good Luck!

Joan De La Haye

Kim Smith said...

Wow! I am a pro photog too and I never even thought of deviantart. Thanks for that Ms. Wolfe!

Nancy, I love your blog, and you know, I cannot wait to be able to buy your book. Is there early booking for it or anything yet?
Who is about to surf over to Deviantart right now!

Marin Thomas said...


I agree with Joan, you have to target your audience or you're wasting time and energy on folks who don't read what you write. Easier said than done.

Marin Thomas
A Cowboy's Promise (April 09)

Marilyn Brant said...

This is a source of constant worry for me--the tremendous amount of time that can (and often must) be spent on marketing when I need and want to be writing. You've been a part of this industry for longer than I have, so I'd hoped to pick up more tips from you!!

If there is one thing I've learned, though, it's that I have to do primarily the promo stuff I enjoy and take a step back from the aspects that I don't--even if they're considered successful techniques by others. I like the personal blogs, so I spend my online time on that. I'm not into MySpace or Facebook, so I'm taking a pass on those. It's the only way I can imagine maintaining any kind of a balance.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Great tips, everyone!

Jane, I'll head over to your blog this morning.

Hi Joan- I'm hosting the discussion on the facebook suspense/thriller writers group this week. I agree. I think those groups make a big difference.

Kim-thanks so much! Hmmm as far as I know we all have to wait until July 31st-sigh.

Marin- I love your newsletter. I hope to do one as well.

Marilyn- I felt the same way you did about the social networks-it took me five years to put my toe in that water. But I find I do like it-especially facebook.

Rebecca Camarena said...

so very nice to see a new person stop by my blog and thanks for following me. Hope you found something enjoyable. Good luck with all your writing and marketing. Look me up on facebook when you get there.

Lynn said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Marketing does take up a lot of my time. Now that I have a new publisher, I'm hoping that will help free me up to write more.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Good luck with the promotion! I know I followed you to your site by reading and enjoying your comment on someone else's blog, so it definitely helps. And, yeah, when I comment on others' blogs I get a lot more readers coming to my own. Bloggers are really good that way. ;-)

Morgan Mandel said...

Hi Nancy,
I just tagged you. When you get a chance, name 6 things that make you happy and tag 3 others to do the same. See my post for more on Saturday, 1/17. Have fun.

Morgan Mandel