Marketing Ideas for Your Book Release

By Jennifer Hallmark

June 17th, 2019.

The time had arrived. My debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, would be released into the world. A book baby that was years in the making. Was I totally prepared for the marketing that would follow?

Uh, no.

Now before you say anything negative, I had prepared somewhat. But when it’s a brand-new, never-done-before, kind of something, preparation is scattered at best.

What do I mean?

Marketing seems to change every day. One day, an idea may help, the next day, it may not. I thought I’d share five resources/ideas I tried and my thoughts on how they helped me.

(1) Blog tour-I started with a two-week blog tour on release day, then two months later had a week-long review tour set up by Paige Boggs. I’m also planning a one-week tour the first week of December to hopefully add Christmas sales.

  • My thoughts: It helped my sales somewhat, but being on seventeen blogs in fourteen days was too many. I survived, but emerged worn out. The review tour was helpful in that it reached a lot of different people.

(2) Facebook party-I shared a Facebook party (set up by Paige Boggs) with another Lighthouse author Hope Bolinger a week after the release. Hope and I both enjoyed it and I sold several books, mostly e-books. Plus made some new friends…

  • My thoughts: I would definitely do this again.  It was a high-energy, fun party. And sharing it with Hope made it even more fun…

(3) Jessie’s Hope Book Launch Celebration-I held a celebration at our church fellowship hall and invited all my friends and family to share the joy with me.

  • My thoughts: I really had a blast. Over fifty people dropped by, and I sold quite a few paperback books. Worth every penny I spent on it for the encouragement I received that day.

(4) Book signings and speaking engagements-I had a library book signing, spoke at two book clubs, and addressed a women’s church group. I also had a book signing at Coldwater Books during the Helen Keller Festival. I have another bookstore signing planned in a few weeks.

  • My thoughts: Speaking is nerve-wracking, but I made it through okay. I sold over forty books at these events and it was a good experience.

(5) Ads-I purchased Book Bub ads and Facebook ads. I also tried Goodreads ads.

  • My thoughts: I had a lot of looks on Book Bub and really moved my book when it was offered for free for a week. I would have done better if I’d had another book to sell with it. I had several clicks on my ad on Facebook and sold a few. Goodreads had a lot of views, but no clicks. They’re in the process of redoing their ads so maybe it will be for the better. I changed my ad often as an experiment and moved more books with a quote from my book than with the tagline.

I would suggest you try all of these (maybe in moderation) and see what you think. I’m learning new things every day about marketing and tweaking my social media and email newsletter also. Spending money on an email newsletter has been a good investment for me also. I’d highly suggest it before your book finds its way into the world. Try some of these ideas and see your book release go to another level…

Click to tweet: Marketing ideas for your book release. Are you ready to launch a book? #marketing #bookrelease

Writing Prompt: Go to Pinterest and check out book release party ideas. There are so many. Here’s my board.

November – Write that novel!

They keep you up at night or wake you early in the morning. They are the characters that are swirling and dancing in all writers. They want out of our brains and onto the paper or screen. It’s time to let them out! Send them on their story journey. Let your characters flow into the story you weave. It’s National Novel Writing Month, your designated month for unabashed writing.

November is the month, and the challenge is on by NaNoWrIMO.ORG to write 50,000 words in November. This equates to a strong and very rough draft of your novel. It’s your jump start to get your story out of your head.

How can this be done? In simplest terms, 1,667 words per day. Just sit down and let them flow. All the excuses are out the window according to a post by NY Book Editors. I need a plan. I need an outline. What about my plot chart? For those of you who are planners, this may be hard. I count myself among you. But when I wrote the first draft of my book during Nano-WriMO a few years ago, it was the most freeing feeling to just sit down everyday and write. My story lines and characters took me in many directions I could have never planned. I ended the month and the draft with 55,152 words and a giant YIPPEE!

To make this fun and a way to connect with others doing the same thing, check out the NANOWriMO website and log in. There are resources and community forums by region of the country, and around the world, that let you know you’re not alone in this challenge. Check around your local community for other writers taking the challenge. Some writer groups hold writing events to help encourage one another. These events include just time to write among other writers, word games to stimulate wordsmithing, and other fun writing exercises for getting those novels drafted.

Move the Halloween candy wrappers aside, and welcome November with a challenge that could be the first step in your next (or first) published book.

I’m in, are you?

7 Tips for accepting the challenge:

  1. If you hit writer’s block, stop and get a glass of water. Drink it. Sit down and write a scene with one of your other characters.
  2. Phone a trusted writing friend if you find yourself slowing down and talk about your story. A fifteen-minute conversation may spur some new ideas.
  3. Even if you are writing a scene and you know there are flaws, keep writing. Something good will come of it in the next draft.
  4. Carve the time anywhere – lunch, carpool, a few minutes before bed.
  5. Mid-month slow-down? Look how far you’ve come! Connect with other writers and keep going.
  6. Feel like you are getting behind in your word count? Keep going. On the off chance you don’t end up with 50,000 words, you will be so much further along.
  7. Remember, no editing, just writing.

Let’s connect:
Facebook and Twitter: @KHRWriter
Instagram: KHRichardson5

The Craft of Writing: Resources for the Journey

By Jennifer Hallmark

Learning the craft, or making our work readable, is one of the more important ways to sell books, gain a readership, and be taken seriously in the writing world. But how do we do that?

College, online courses, or conferences can be a great place to start. But maybe they’re not in your budget or timeframe at the moment. Where else can we find resources for our author journey?

I’m so glad you asked. 🙂 The Crew and I want to share our personal favorites:

 Gail Johnson

Bonita Y. McCoy

Tammy Trail

Kristy Robinson Horine

  • Anything by KM Weiland is useful. Not only is there a blog, and books, she has a podcast that she transcribes so readers can listen or read.

    Brandilyn Collins has some great books out on characters, plot twists, why stories work, etc.  Steven James has a podcast called The Story Blender. It’s pretty good.

Jennifer Hallmark: I’ve read tons of books on craft in the past, but now I tend to read more blogs and listen to podcasts. Here are some of the best (IMHO):

And don’t forget about Inspired Prompt and our resources. Here are three links:

We want to see you become the best writer that you possibly can be. There’s no magic formula. As you study, learn, read, and write, your voice will emerge and your skills will increase. It has worked for our Inspired Prompt Crew and it will work for you.

Click to tweet: Learning the craft, or making our work readable, is one of the more important ways to sell books, gain a readership, and be taken seriously in the #writing world.  #pubtip

Writing Prompt: Commit to either reading a writing craft book, one blog post a week, or listen to a podcast a week to strengthen your writing.

The Importance of Sharpening Your Grammar and Punctuation Skills

By Fay Lamb

True story: I once had a favorite New York Times Bestselling author. I met her once at a book signing in which I traveled 600 miles to see her. Yes, I was a fan. Then one day, she responded to a comment I made on Facebook about the importance of editing well.

In very clear diva-style she said that her publisher paid people to edit her books. Her job was only to write the story. The editors would clean it up. My first thought was, “Aren’t you fortunate to be so beloved that you’ve gotten to the point where editors clamor to clean up your mess.” My second thought was “I’d hate to be your editor.”

Then she switched tracks in her career to an entirely new genre based upon a new interest. She’d gotten involved in a sport and had written two books involving it. However, her New York publishers weren’t interested in taking the risk. She found a small publisher in the South where her new interest is enjoyed by millions of people. This never-heard-of publisher jumped at the opportunity to publish a book by this well-known author. And publish they did.

I read the book.

I suppose this particular publisher assumed the author had a command of punctuation and grammar.

They assumed incorrectly, and if she read the galley, she proved that very well.

Oh, she could tell a story, but she could not spell or place a comma or determine where a sentence ended. And forget those misplaced modifiers or the split infinitives.

In the world of best sellers where this author came from, I’m sure that the editors were paid well to do what they did for her. I can attest. They did a fine job.

Editors who work for small publishers also work hard at bringing out the best manuscript possible, but I’m here as both a writer and an editor to tell you that mistakes happen. It is impossible to catch every mistake that will be made in a manuscript. Oh, I try. Believe me. I try. This is the best reason I can tell you for learning the basics of your craft. Those basics are spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

As a writer, it helps that I do know my stuff. I probably forget half of what I know in the process, but I do know it. When an editor has made a mistake, I can state with specificity why it is a mistake. On the other hand, when the editor calls me on a mistake, I am also able to understand what I’ve done incorrectly.

As an editor, it helps for me to be able to explain to an author why a comma should not go after a conjunction that starts a sentence or why I would use a comma in that instance on occasion. I can also explain to an author why some sentences can start with a conjunction and others should not.

Do you know the answer?

If not, you might want to learn the basics before you become a New York Bestseller and someone takes that privilege away from you.

Click to tweet: The Importance of Sharpening Your Grammar and Punctuation Skills by Fay Lamb.  Learn the basics. #self-edit #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Cecilia couldn’t believe her eyes. On the front page of their town’s daily newspaper…

The Importance of the Craft of Writing

By Jennifer Hallmark

Hi! This month, the Inspired Prompt Crew will be sharing articles about different aspects of the craft of writing.

Why?

Because knowing craft is imperative if you want to sell your book. If you don’t believe me, read a sample of ten self-published books on Amazon with less-than-stellar covers. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Oh, good. You’re back. See what I mean? I do understand that not all books with bad covers are badly written but if you don’t take the time or spend money on the appearance, how much time and money did you put into learning about sentence structure, self-editing, and typos?

You need both art and craft in a book. We want to hear your voice, your art, your creativity. But if you don’t have craft or structure, the real you is lost amidst errors, awkward wording, and bad grammar.

I see you cover your face and wail. “What can I do to learn more about craft?”

(((Hugs))) Don’t fret. Our Crew is here to help with articles on revision and editing, honing the craft, sharpening your skills, even great resources in books, blogs, and podcasts to make your journey a little easier.

There. Now, don’t you feel better? I’ll kick off the month by recommending one of my favorite books on the craft of writing.

Drum roll, please…

Writing the Breakout Novel: Insider Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level

by Donald Maass

In fact, I recommend any of his books. Here’s his Amazon page. 

Enjoy the month and let us know in the comments any questions or concerns you may have. We love to be helpful!

Click to tweet: The Importance of the Craft of Writing. @InspiredPrompt Crew can help with articles on #revision, editing, honing the craft, sharpening your skills, even great resources in books, blogs, and podcasts to make your journey a little easier. #authorslife

Writing Prompt: Determine to read one book this month on the craft of writing. Then read another. Study, read, learn, and practice. Repeat.