Learning About Marketing
guest post by Ronel Janse van Vuuren
The past couple of months have been a steep learning curve. I was shoved from my placid little pool of writing and submitting into being published.
How? I won a competition where the prize was the publication of the winning entry. Since the night a box full of “Eens…” paperbacks were handed to me, I’ve been scrambling to learn how to sell it.
I knew enough about publishing to know that eBooks sell better than paperbacks (at least, that’s what I got from all the different publishing blogs I’ve been reading for years), so I got that all set up for my book.
But how do you sell it?
You can go around and do the hard-sell: corner someone, tell them about your book, and get them to buy. It does work… Think about those samples in stores with the salespeople who smile nicely and tell you all about the product. Who hasn’t bought something that way?
And friends and family will, of course, buy your book ‘cause they love you and don’t want you to end up like Van Gogh…
But what about long-term and global sales?
This strategy is much easier for writers who prefer not to have to sell face-to-face. Though, some might take the relative anonymity of the internet too far and ram books down people’s throats: don’t do that!
Step one: set up your author brand.
Luckily, I’ve been working on that for years. It includes your author platform (website/blog, social media networks, guest posts, Goodreads, etc.), author photo, and what people immediately think when they see your name.
I had a guest post in April by Rachel Thompson from BadRedHead Media explaining how to do this properly.
Step two: build an email list.
This is the best way to ensure that everyone who actually likes your writing will know about new releases. It’s also a good way to stay in touch with your readers.
An incentive like a free eBook can make people willing to part with their email address. Make sure they know when to expect updates from you – make it regular enough (say, once a month) so they won’t forget that they’ve signed up. Newsletters should be fun, informative and worth the time the reader takes to read it.
Remember to adhere to all guidelines regarding privacy, using an accredited service provider, etc. to stay on the legal side of things. (Don’t spam, don’t share your subscribers’ information, etc.)
Step three: publish the best book you can.
Don’t skimp on editing, proofreading or cover design. This is the product you wish to sell and what customers will remember. This book can sell the next one – or stop readers from returning for the next book.
Step four: set up a street team.
Ask your writing/blogging friends to help you spread the word about your book.
Book blasts (blurb, cover, buy links, excerpt, author bio) are popular. So are author interviews and guest posts (like this one) where information about the book is shared as part of the post. Reviews by your street team are important too. You can even ask your email subscribers if they want to receive ARCs (Advance Review Copies) to write reviews about your book on their blog/Goodreads/wherever else book reviews are posted. (I should’ve thought of doing this… Luckily a member of my street team thought of doing a review.)
Your street team doesn’t have to be restricted to hosting you on their blog. Some don’t have the time for that – or don’t blog. But your friends on other social media networks can be very helpful in spreading the word about your latest release.
Step five: what to do during launch week.
Visit and comment on the blogs hosting you. Share those posts on social media. Be social!
Step six: to keep momentum going.
Create more promotional stuff. Using Canva/Adobe Spark you can create visuals with quotes from your book to share on social media. You can also mix things up by creating book trailers on Adobe Spark to share.
Just don’t overwhelm your audience. One of each a week on each social media platform ought to be enough – you don’t want to be all BUY MY BOOK! all the time, either.
Step seven: social karma
This might be obvious, but do for your writing friends what you wish they would do for you. Share their stuff, buy their books, review their books, host them on your blog, etc.
And make more friends!
All of this is free.
Step eight: (because I like symmetry) it’s not just one book!
Use all of your rights. Your book can be a paperback, hardback, eBook, audiobook and other things too (maybe a movie?). And it can be translated into other languages. Making it another paperback, hardback, eBook and audiobook with endless possibilities.
I did that for the Afrikaans edition of “Once…”: it is available as an eBook, paperback and audiobook. I’m working on the audiobook for “Once…”.
See? Two languages, one book, several editions.
I’m learning about marketing every day. The point is to let people get to know you, have them like you, make them trust you, and hopefully sales will come from that. If not, at least you have great friends.
Thanks for having me, Michele.
Ronel Janse van Vuuren is the author of New Adult, Young Adult and children’s fiction filled with mythology and folklore. Her dark fantasy stories can be read for free on Wattpad and on her blog Ronel the Mythmaker. She won Fiction Writer of the Year 2016 for her Afrikaans stories on INK: Skryf in Afrikaans. Her published works can be viewed on Goodreads.
Ronel can be found tweeting about writing and other things that interest her, arguing with her characters, researching folklore for her newest story or playing with her Rottweilers when she’s not actually writing.
All of her books are available for purchase on Amazon.
Her newest release is coming May 23
Explore the world of “Once” by Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Damsels in distress, curses, echoes of faery tales and tragic love affairs swirl together in sixteen stories found in a dragon’s lair by a curious half-fae.
Unexpected changes to reality causes more than one damsel to turn into a strong, independent woman who takes charge of her own life.
A collection of short stories about Faerie and the fae that live in the human realm. A few of the stories had won competitions and all of them had enchanted readers.
Learn their secrets and enter the realm of the fae…
Mortals cannot perceive the veil unless they are invited to – or extremely gifted. For centuries, Man and Fae have been kept apart, for nothing good ever comes from them mixing. The collection of The Adventures of Saphira the Faery Dog is proof of this.
Still, there are magical creatures that side neither with Man nor Fae.
Dragons are such creatures. They hold the knowledge of both worlds. Some even collect it in the written word, keeping it safe in their lairs.
An inquisitive half-fae once broke into the lair of a dragon known to hoard books. The knowledge she found was too much to keep to herself…
Here are a few tales, myths and legends from Faerie. Some may sound remarkably similar to legends held by mortals, while others are… well… as otherworldly as the fae themselves.
Universal Book Links for Afrikaans and English versions of this book:
My Books Page https://ronelthemythmaker.wordpress.com/my-books/
Universal Book Link (UBL)*
ISBN EPUB: 978-0-6399476-2-4
ISBN Paperback: 978-0-6399476-3-1
Publication date: 23 May 2018
Available on most online retailers.
Also available in Afrikaans as “Eens…”.
Connect with Ronel on:
Ronel the Mythmaker: https://ronelthemythmaker.wordpress.com/
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