Today it is my honor to have bestselling author, Emily White on the blog to share her advice on author branding and marketing your fiction novel.
Title of your book(s)?
Elemental (book #1 of The Auri Wars), Fae (book #2 of The Auri Wars), Almost Night (book #1 of Tales of Morcah), and To Love or Die in a Steamy-Reamy World.
How are your book(s) published? (Traditional, small Indie press, self-published)
Elemental was originally published through a small indie press, but I later republished it myself, along with the sequel, Fae. Almost Night and To Love or Die are also self-published.
How are you currently marketing your book(s)?
I’ve used blog tours for most of my books, especially for the release, but most of my marketing comes from my newsletter, reviews through sites like Word Viral, etc.
What do you feel is working best for you to generate sales?
Honestly, just talking about it on Facebook seems to get me the most sales. And releasing another book always helps boost the sales of the rest.
What are a few critical mistakes to avoid when promoting your book(s)?
Overspending. It’s so easy to do this. Everybody wants to help you get your book out there, for a price. And they make a million promises. It’s best just to rely on your close fan base. If you treat them well, they’ll do most of the marketing for you.
Which social media do you use the most and why?
Facebook, and twitter I guess, since I’ve got them linked. These are the best places to connect with your fans every day to keep generating interest, not just in your books, but in you.
Do you read reviews posted on places like Amazon or goodreads?
Sometimes. I admit it. I try not to, though.
How do you respond to book reviews?
I’ve only ever responded to one book review, but it was so over-the-top amazing, I couldn’t ignore the reviewer. Plus, it came during a time when I was feeling really down about my writing. So I sent her a message letting her know how much the review meant to me. Just how much I needed to hear her kind words right then.
How do you react and respond to negative reviews?
Usually in eye rolls, done privately in the safety of my home. As much as it is trendy to say, bad reviews are really NOT meant to be helpful. At least not on Goodreads. They’re meant to excite comments from friends and get as many likes as possible. And that’s fine. I really don’t mind bad reviews at all. In fact, many bad reviews have been the clincher that finally convinced me to buy a book. But it’s frustrating when you see someone picking something apart, claiming something was missing, when you could point to the page number and line where you’d included it.
But I never actually respond to them. That’s just author suicide.
Do participate in blog hops or book blog tours?
I like blog tours for releases. It’s a nice way to get the word out about a new book, especially when you’re just starting to build a fan base.
Do you ever offer guest posts for book bloggers?
On occasion. If I have time, which is very hard to come by when you have kids at home.
Have you ever worked with a blog tour company? What was your overall experience?
I’ve worked with two blog tour companies. The first one was a horrible experience in which I got nothing after having paid a very large amount of money. And when I asked for my money back, I was denied. The second one was amazingly better. I did my research that time. I found someone who was extremely visible, had worked with many big names in the industry, and who answered my initial emails quickly. She did wonders for my book releases and I’ve developed several amazing connections because of all her hard work.
Do you ever give your book(s) away for free in giveaways or contests? Did it generate any sales?
I do. I like to do a goodreads giveaway before a release, as well as a giveaway on facebook. I think it does generate sales, eventually. The winners of those books go on to review them on their blog, or elsewhere, and that generates quite a bit of interest and sales. It just requires patience.
What promotional concepts worked best for you?
A newsletter really is the best way to go, I’ve found. Once you establish a fan base, make those connections, you want to keep in contact with them so they know when your books are coming out. Otherwise, it’s like you have to start all over again with each book.
Do you think book trailers help promote authors?
I think that if they’re done well, they can do a great job. It’s always a good idea to get on as many social media sites as possible, to use whatever visual means you can to get the word out about your book. Youtube is a great place to promote a book to people who may, otherwise, have not heard of it.
How important do you think book covers are in the success of a novel?
EXTREMELY important. The original cover of Elemental came off as very paranormal romance-y. And, unfortunately, it attracted readers who were avid paranormal romance fans. Many of them responded negatively to being surprised with a space opera with very little romance. A cover is a form of communication. It has to pique the interest of your target audience. If you pique the interest of someone who isn’t going to like what’s inside the book, you’ve just wasted your time.
Which media outlets do you think deliver the most power for book promotion?
Twitter and Facebook. It’s too easy to share something on those sites, and that’s exactly what you want people to do.
If you had one piece of advice for someone promoting a book, what would it be?
Don’t get lazy! Promoting a book is a lot of hard work and if you don’t keep at it up until the end, you’ll end up wasting your time. I’ve made this mistake countless times because I just get burned out. But all the work I ended up doing initially winds up being for naught. And that’s just frustrating. :)
Also, my handbook "HOW TO MARKET YOUR FICTION THE RIGHT WAY" has TONS of suggestions on great ways to market your novel!
Hope this info helps. Best of luck!