MKTG #22 – Wrap-up

Greetings, SE’ers. It’s Jan again. Since July 2021, I have explored a variety of different avenues of book marketing opportunities, and I’ve come to the end of that journey. This is my last Story Empire post for 2022 and my last book marketing post. That’s not to say I won’t pop back in with something new if it comes to my attention, but for now, I’m leaving the subject of marketing behind.

Image courtesy CANVA

After extensive research and exploration of various book marketing avenues, what did I learn?

  • Book Marketing is by far the hardest part of an author’s job
  • What works for one author or one book may not work for the next
  • There is no magic bullet
  • You can spend a lot of money on book marketing
  • Marketing can be time-consuming and exhausting
  • The ROI on most book marketing is not worth the money or effort

So why do it?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

If we don’t try to give our books the best shot we can within each of our own budgets, then we are doing our stories a disservice. Who is going to see them if we don’t try? We can say we write for ourselves all day long, but let’s get serious. We WANT others to read our books. We need that kind of interaction and validation.

What does work?

From all of my extensive and sometimes expensive research, there are two truths that stand out above all the rest.

  1. By far, your best marketing tool is your blog. We’ve talked a lot about it, and the word consistency is the keyword to a successful and fortuitous blog. Your blog posts do not need to scream “Buy My Book!” In fact, if they do, you will lose readers faster than a leper loses friends. But it’s so easy to weave things into blog posts that can relate back to your books. Things that are interesting and personal.
  2. The second most successful marketing tool is an active newsletter. Building an email list is hard and takes time, but it gives you a one-on-one with an audience and is invaluable. If you don’t subscribe to Staci Troilo’s newsletter, you need to go right now and sign up because she provides the perfect example of how a successful newsletter should look. It’s always a good idea to promote a fellow author’s book in your newsletter.

Neither of these two invaluable tools costs a lot of money. You can use the free version of MailChimp for your newsletter, and your blog expense depends on what you choose, but at the most, is inexpensive.

So, after all is said and done, YES, we need to do our best to market our books.

But it should not consume all of our time and energy.

Is it possible for the marketing aspect to devour your creativity for new work? YES! It is certainly possible. It’s easy to get discouraged and question why we bother to create new stories when we struggle to market the ones we have.

The solution is balance.

Do what works for you. Maybe writing first thing in the day is what works best. Or maybe marketing first, then writing works for you. It’s totally up to you to find your balance and make the most of the allotted time you are given.

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed all of these book marketing posts. I have enjoyed the research and experimenting. I wish I had better news to report, but the reality is that marketing is hard and expensive.

I am looking forward to a new year and beginning a completely different series here at Story Empire. Thank you for tagging along, and I hope that somewhere along the way, you picked up a helpful tidbit or two. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them if I can.

I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year!

See you in 2023!

If you missed any of the Book Marketing Posts, you can revisit them here:

#MKTG Part 1 – OVERVIEW – BOOK MARKETING OPTIONS

#MKTG Part 2 – FACEBOOK ADS AND PASSION PAGES

#MKTG Part 3 – FACEBOOK ADS DETAILS

#MKTG Part 4 – TWITTER ADS

#MKTG Part 5 – INSTAGRAM

#MKTG Part 6 – PINTEREST

#MKTG Part 7 – IN-PERSON EVENTS

#MKTG Part 8 – GOODREADS

#MKTG Part 9 – AMAZON

#MKTG Part 10 – More AMAZON ADS

#MKTG Part 11 – AMAZON A+ CONTENT

#MKTG Part 12 – LinkedIn

#MKTG Part 13 – BOOKBub Ads

#MKTG Part 14 – Book Blog Tours

#MKTG Part 15 – Paid Book Blog Tours

#MKTG Part 16 – Rafflecopter

#MKTG Part 17 – TikTok

#MKTG Part 18 – Building an Email List

#MKTG Part 19 – Book Awards

#MKTG Part 20 – SCAMS

#MKTG Part 21 – BookStores

70 thoughts on “MKTG #22 – Wrap-up

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  3. First, so sorry I’m late to respond.

    Second, fabulous wrap-up to this series. You say you learned a lot doing this research and experimentation. But I learned SO MUCH just from reading your posts. So, thank you. I’ll be revisiting these often. (And probably asking you questions directly.)

    Third, thank you so much for the newsletter shout-out. I’ve made a real effort this year in sending one monthly and coming up with a suitable format to follow. I’m delighted you think I’ve found the right balance. Much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great info, Jan, thank you. Funny about me and newsletters. Everybody seems to like them, but I skip over the newsletters in my email box and go straight to an author’s blog (or Twitter) to get back-and-forth interaction with the author. But that’s just me. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make a good point, Priscilla. There are some newsletters I read and some I skip over. I often will respond to a newsletter, but as you say, the author’s blog is the best place for interaction. Thank you for chiming in! Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind words, Michael. I am definitely no marketing guru, but I had fun exploring different avenues for promoting our work. You are right that many of the things I experimented with are usable for other marketing purposes. I with you a fantastic holiday season!! Thank you for all of your support and for reblogging!

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  5. Happy holidays, Jan. You do a nice job of balancing interesting posts and content, book reviews of others while occasionally bringing attention to your own stories. It’s tricky because, as you say, those who offer nothing else but self-promotion lose me quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a quick way to lose a potential follower, Pete. I appreciate the kind words about my blog. I do enjoy sharing different content but what I love the most is supporting others. Thank you for visiting today. I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s been a great series, Jan, thank you. I have enjoyed exploring some of your suggestions too. It’s good to know I’m doing two of the most important things, a blog and newsletter. I agree both are very useful and fun at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed the series, Jan, and I took your advice in several different areas. One of the things I decided to do this year is to dedicate 4 hours a week to marketing. I’ve blocked them on my calendar. It always feels daunting, but I think carving out the time and putting a limit on it will help me feel less overwhelmed. Thanks for the extensive research and for trying out so many different avenues. Have a wonderful holiday break and a joyous new year. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This has been a really helpful series, Jan. I’ve devoured each post. This one agrees with what my gut tells me–that the ROI on most book marketing is not worth the money or effort and that my best marketing tool is my blog. I spend a lot of time mixing it up with blogging friends. It has been not only a necessary activity but a lot of fun. See you in 2023!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jacqui, for coming along on this marketing ride and leaving comments. I agree with you. Not only do I enjoy blogging, but also the interaction within the blogging community. Have a wonderful holiday season and YES, see you in 2023!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This was a terrific series, Jan. I like your summary too. I still don’t have the energy for a newsletter, but who knows? I think the idea of launching and selling books has become less attractive to me as I age. Maybe my twilight years will be spent just writing stories. Good job with the series.

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. I have not been able to follow along with my favorite blogs this last year as often as I like & want to do, but I’ve managed to save quite a few links to various Story Empire features that I knew I’d want to study in detail when I felt better. This series has been one of those. Thank you so much for the research you’ve done and the very helpful information you’ve shared with us. Even this wrap-up post is super useful to me, as marketing has been a gigantic pain in the backside, and something for which I’ve really needed guidance. You’ve provided loads of that, and I’m super grateful, Jan!

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday season! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. (Can’t wait to see what you find to share with us in 2023!)
    🎄😊🎄

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, Marcia. I am happy that my research provided some helpful information for you to use going forward. Let’s face it. Marketing is never going to be easy for us. So, we can all use as much help as we can get. I wish you all the best going forward! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for this series, Jan. I like your take on blogs and email as the best marketing source. Now that I have more free time (Ha!), I plan to devote more time to blogging. One of my 2023 goals is to resurrect my newsletter and grow that list.

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This has been a truly valuble series – mainly because you’ve gone through each idea yourself and reported back honestly about them. I’ve bookmarked it and will refer to it when I next have the strength and courage to give it a go! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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  15. I’ve bookmarked the series, and will be going back to reread the Facebook ones and the Bookbub one in particular; I don’t have the energy to try most of the others, or I HAVE tried them and they are not suitable for an author with (now) two volumes in a mainstream literary trilogy out.

    I’m an oddity: most literary novelists aim for trad pub, as those publishers are trying to continue to persuade readers that they alone identify non-junk (while trying to hide some of those outrageous and expensive celebrity books under very short skirts).

    When it takes you 22 years to write the first two books in a trilogy (15 and 7), your marketing options have to be different. Especially when they’re BIG books. The SP techniques are not effective, especially the ones which depend on putting out many books quickly. I will find the right technique, and finish the third volume, at about the same time – right now the writing takes up what energy I have, and I think I’ll have an easier time marketing a trilogy of a half-million words when it’s FINISHED.

    The awards post hits the right spot. I’ve tried several so far for the first volume, PURGATORY, but had some unusable results: one of the contests I applied for turned out to make anyone who wrote a book with proper punctuation and capitalization a finalist – I removed that one from my site! When there are 50 finalists for a single category, something isn’t right; even now, when people celebrate their finalist status in that contest, I cringe.

    I applied for those where the combination was feedback/review PLUS entry to the annual awards, figuring I’d at least get something I could use out of the experience. And was quite startled when PURGATORY was awarded 2021 Best Contemporary novel!

    It hasn’t made any noticeable effect on sales, but all the benefits you pointed out – self-confidence, the badge and ‘Award-winning author’ note you can put on the cover (working on it) – those are very real benefits. ‘SOMEBODY loves my baby’ is quite powerful to the WRITER, even if you already knew it was a certain quality (we fool ourselves, but not really). Especially if you had gotten into the habit of saying, “Oh, well,” and pretending it didn’t matter. Congratulations on YOUR awards: they matter.

    This year, and for the recently-published NETHERWORLD, second in the trilogy, I gritted my teeth and applied for a significant award – which was quite reasonably fee’d for what it is. I’ll let you know if this one, open to SPAs as well as traditionally published books, does anything. People say things such as “They’ll never seriously consider self-published books, but they let them apply – for the money,” and they may be right. But the only part that was under my control was applying, and some times you have to go for it just so you don’t have regrets later; if they’re doing it for revenue-enhancement, they are not the people I think they are, and the loss (or complete lack of consideration) will be a throwaway. I can afford to try (Hint: it was MUCH less than a Kirkus review, and under your limit). I hope, instead, that they are actually looking to shake up their awards, and a good indie book – maybe even mine – would be the wedge. Just because traditional publishing insists the ebook revolution, Bezos, Kindle, and publishing for anyone don’t exist (while trying to benefit from them, some) doesn’t mean they’re right.

    In other words, I’m an optimist. Or I wouldn’t be writing at my age, and riding around the retirement community on an Airwheel S8 (a bicycle seat on a hoverboard, nothing to hang on to, nothing to lean against). Keep reminding yourself we only get one life.

    Thanks for the lovely marketing series – I will be using them, and you were kind to write.

    Liked by 4 people

    • First of all, Alicia, I want to applaud your tenacity and determination. Tackling a series is not easy at any age, and you already have the first two under your belt. Fingers crossed for a positive result from entering the contest. You are right about the fact that not all contests are legitimate. There are some out there who, as you say, only take your money and don’t add anything to your book baby status. And they are our babies. We birth them. Thank you for chiming in today with your thoughtful comment. I wish you very happy holidays and a prosperous new year!

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  16. You certainly covered the topic of marketing thoroughly, Jan. There are a lot of options to choose from, so authors can find what suits them, or just experiment.
    My own feeling is your expectations for your book or books determines the effort you spend on marketing. If you want to sell a lot of books, you have to find ways to promote them that will achieve those results. But if making money isn’t your main objective, that changes things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are absolutely right, Audrey. If getting your books into the hands of readers isn’t a priority, then I suggest you skip the difficult marketing part and just write. I’m happy you enjoyed the series and hope you got some tidbits of information that are helpful on your writing journey. Thank you for tagging along and leaving comments!

      Liked by 1 person

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