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Ep 010: “Book Marketing All-Star Panel”

Welcome to the 10th episode of The Author Hangout, a “Hangout on Air” designed to help authors, especially self-published and indie authors, with marketing their books and improving their author platform. Authors struggle with various aspects of marketing and we are here to help!

“I love the author hangout because it offers information and advice to guide me in this writing journey.”– Kathryn C Lang

“I love The Author Hangout because I can learn all the way from South Africa!”– Christopher Muller

“I love The Author Hangout because it gives real-world advice from credible sources, and its episodes are full of practical applications for book marketing, self-promotion and reaching an audience among readers, helping to give beginning novelists like me a firm foothold to build up from where normally we’d be guessing!”– Celeste Miller

Book Marketing All-Star Panel

Four months ago, we started The Author Hangout with an idea to help authors with this exciting new medium! Since then, we have had 9 amazing episodes with 9 great guests, 3,000+ views of The Author Hangout, over 1,750 podcast episode plays since we launched the podcast in March, and it’s all thanks to you, our fans!

We’re wrapping up The Author Hangout for the summer, to rest, regroup, and come back even stronger in September! WE WILL BE BACK! To go out with a bang, we’ve invited back all previous guests, and we will be joined by a 6 guest panel, for an hour-long show and Q&A with all of our previous guests to discuss book marketing and get your questions answered!

We were joined by previous guests, Jason Wiser, Tara Meyer-Robson, Cristin Harber, Kathy Meis, Randy Ingermanson, and Tim Grahl! We discussed how authors can use social media, getting your mailing list going, finding your readers, and helpful tools for authors!

The Author Hangout – Episode 10: “Book Marketing All-Star Panel”

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Episode Resources:

Free guide for authors: The Ultimate Author Checklist

Authors and Social Media

We know that author responses to social media hover between confusion, how to use it, do I just post about my book all day, what do I say, etc?

Our panelists had a great discussion about using social media as an author:

“Social media is a waste of time when it comes to selling books. The biggest reason is that people look at it and try to use it for something it’s not very good for. They think things like ‘If I get enough followers, or enough people like my fan page’ that it is going to get enough book sales. What I have seen testing against people who have 200,000 following or bigger, it just doesn’t convert the way you think it should…. People think that it’s a way to grow their fame, when in most cases, it’s a reflection of your fame already.”– Tim Grahl

Kathy Meis countered and took a little bit of a different approach to using social media:

“I think that there are a lot of authors who find that the engagement with readers is a great way to stay connected and to talk with people and to slowly build a presence and a brand. Converting to book sales is tough on social media. I do think it is a point of discovery for new authors and new books… It’s a great way to start the conversations. You can find that engagement really helps you to build a brand.”– Kathy Meis

Jason Wiser agreed…

“Social media is for building your brand, getting your face out there, making relationships, finding people…”– Jason Wiser

Jason also talked about not overwhelming yourself with trying to be on all social media platforms:

“First of all, publishing a book is hard enough on its own, let alone trying to be everywhere and spread yourself all over. If you’re trying to be on Pinterest, and Facebook, and Twitter, you’re not using your time efficiently… who has time to be on all of these social networks?”– Jason Wiser

Cristin Harber also weighed in on using social media:

“When you have Twitter followers, I don’t see book sales coming from that. I do see Facebook paying off for me in dividends. It hasn’t been my author page, it has been the private messaging the readers. The people who thought that a real life author wouldn’t write them back. They ask questions about the characters, and invite their friends into the conversation…”– Cristin Harber

Tim Grahl circled back around…

“I think the thing to point out here that I want to not miss is, the way that you’re describing that it works is much more one-on-one connections with people. You can easily communicate with one person at a time or a very small group at a time. There’s this mentality out there that authors think that if I dump a bunch of time into Twitter, and i build a big following, that it’s going to get a bunch of sales. It [social media] is not a way to stay in contact with a lot of people for a long period of time.”– Tim Grahl

Kathy Meis showed how social media is to be used by authors:

“Authors really need to think like marketers, so when you start a conversation, it needs to be optimized so that you are drawing them towards your work, and have a fully optimized website where that email capture occurs. When you do engage with a reader, someone who can potentially become a fan, you get to go to that more intimate space of email or private chat.”– Kathy Meis

Jason Wiser created a fantastic sound byte, and made my job easier by summing it with this:

“Social media is not for selling, social media is for engagement. Your website is for selling, and even better, your newsletter is for selling. Use your social media to cast a wide net, to meet people, to shake hands, to get the word out, to do some networking, and invite them into your world. Once they trust you, invite them onto your list. “– Jason Wiser

Talk about the perfect segue…

Using Your Mailing List To Sell More Books

A mailing list is key… we have done an entire episode on it. If you’ve been putting off creating an email list, it needs to jump to the top of your priority list.

Listen to these experts talk about why a mailing list is key.

“There’s 3 stages of marketing that you need to work each of your customers through. The first is attraction. If they don’t know you exist, they need to be attracted to you in some way. Social media is great for attracting people. The second stage is engagement. You can engage people pretty effectively on social media. But, social media sucks at the 3rd stage, which is conversion. You want to actually get them to pull out their credit card and buy your book. Social media doesn’t work well for that.”– Randy Ingermanson

Randy dove deeper into these 3 stages of marketing in our episode about using email for book marketing, linked above.

Shawn asked about the components one needs to do email marketing, and Randy answered:

“You really only need two things: You need a website where people can signup, and some professional email marketing tool.”– Randy Ingermanson

Tim Grahl then takes it to the next step you should get setup when creating a mailing list:

“The very simple next step that many authors miss is that you need to setup 2 or 3 emails, they are called autoresponders, which automatically gets sent to people when they signup. They should introduce who you are, what you do, and then invite them to buy your books. If you do that, you’ll have this automatic system, and they will automatically be sold books.”– Tim Grahl

Tara totally agrees:

“One of the things I wish I had done is BEFORE I had a book: start an email list.”– Tara Meyer-Robson

She also talks about some great tips (at 19:00 in the video) on various ideas for fiction authors on what to send to readers on your mailing list. Don’t miss out on those!

Jason then talks about the permission you get when someone gives you their e-mail:

“When you get them to this point, once they’re on your list, you’ve already taken them through enough hoops, to get them down this channel, this is the point when it’s okay to sell your book. It’s okay to tell people ‘I have a book’.”– Jason Wiser

Jason also talks about how this is NOT spammy, and he talks about what IS spammy. (20:45 in the video)

Cristin shares her experience with email marketing and how she used it before she even published her books:

“Before I even had a book to sell, I did character interviews, I dropped a couple snippets and people were signing up. Now what I do is, unedited snippets, sneak peaks at characters and scenes that people are interested in. I tell people on Facebook and Twitter that I’m going to be sending out something exclusive, and I have them sign up then. I always see a big jump in signups.”– Cristin Harber

She also talks about how she doesn’t just push the sales, and how she works the sales into the emails. (22:50 in the video) Watch the video to learn more about this.

Tim also talks about how important the email list is, and how all of your marketing should revolve around that:

“I think one point here is make building your email list, and getting all of your fans on the email list, your number 1 marketing goal. Tattoo it on your forehead. Everything that you think about when you think about promotion or marketing, the goal is to get them on the email list. My number 1 question is, ‘Will that get them on the mailing list?’ If not, I don’t do it.”– Tim Grahl

Finding Your Readers

We know that many authors struggle finding your readers. While we did a whole show about it with Cristin Harber, it was great to get the opinions from all of the guests on this topic.

Tim Grahl nails it with this:

“The best way to find new readers is to find where they are already congregating and show up there.”– Tim Grahl

He also talks about some real world examples of ways that authors he knows were able to reach different audiences (27:50 in the video).

Jason then puts finding readers into perspective, showing how long it’s really going to take:

“Go and visit with [readers], start talking about them, talk about their interests. It’s a slower process… but that’s how you’re going to win. One person at a time.”– Jason Wiser

Kathy then shares some great tips as well:

“There are reader groups on Facebook, on Google+, on Goodreads, where people congregate around specific genres. Those are a great place to start.”– Kathy Meis

Randy Ingermanson also shares one technique that attracts readers:

“Let me tell you… nothing attracts like free! I did an experiment a few weeks ago. I had a 3 book series that was published years ago and I brought it back into print. I made the first book permanently free. My sales are close to quadruple over last month. Nothing attracts like free.”– Randy Ingermanson

Speaking of free… if you use bargain and free promotions for your book, Book Marketing Tools is launching ReadingDeals.com to help authors reach more readers!

Cristin then weighed in on what she did when she first started out:

“I didn’t just ask people to buy, I asked people to share. People were sharing that there was a new series. I made the effort to ask for the sale. I am not scared of self-promotion. I am not scared to ask for reviews either. That helped a lot.”– Cristin Harber

Tim offers his own take on the word “self-promotion”…

“For my book, I confidently promote it. It’s $6. It’s so much more value than the $6 you’ll spend on it. Even in the fiction realm, it’s the same way, it’s like ‘Yes, buy it, you’re going to be happy you spent the money.’ It’s not about promoting yourself, it’s about making sure you’re inviting people to be a part of how you’re trying to make this world a better place.”– Tim Grahl

Tim made sure he knew he wasn’t talking about how Cristin referred to it, what she does is correct, but he wanted to help those authors who push back against the term “self-promotion”.

Kathy also shares her view on self-promotion:

“The best book promotion is a fabulous book and if you created something that’s a wonderful experience, explaining to the world that it is a wonderful experience is not self-promotion, it is simply sharing something with the world.”– Kathy Meis

Cristin brings it all back around and reminds authors that they are business owners:

“The idea that we are the CEO, CFO, CMO, we are business owners. We have to promote ourself being the author, or the series. Promoting is something people are scared of. I think that people are nervous about doing that when they think they don’t have anything to offer.”– Cristin Harber

Cristin talks some more about how she is an entertainer and the different ways she entertains her existing and potential audience with different kinds of content. (42:00 in the video)

What tools do you use for writing, marketing, promoting your book?

Tara:

Vervante.com – “They do print on demand. It’s extremely high quality! They do distribute to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.”

Randy:

Snowflake Pro – “It walks me through story development.”

Scrivener – “Scrivener is just an amazing writing tool ,and what I love about it, is at the end of it, you can press a button and it will create the ebooks for you in mobi and epub, and you’re done.”

Kathy:

Bublish.com – “Our platform is here to help authors promote their books.”

Tim:

Evernote – “To keep track of things. I think everyone should use Evernote.”

Cristin:

Go Chime – “It helps you to target your Facebook ads better.”

My Crit Partners – Cristin talks more about her critique partners in this episode here.

Wrap Up

Phew! That was seriously an amazing episode with tons and tons and tons of great information for authors!

This was our season finale, but we’ll be back in September with more and more great information, awesome guests, and help book marketing tips for authors!

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