Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What Works - Online Marketing Symposium

Hello all! I'm a day late, but I'm excited to participate in the Online Marketing Symposium hosted by Arlee Bird, Yolanda Renee, Jeremy Hawkins, and Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's such a great idea. I look forward to reading the posts.

“On event day you tell us about a marketing idea that you've used and what worked or didn't work. Your post could describe a campaign that succeeded in a big or small way or one that failed drastically. Tell us about a business campaign, an organizational event, a fundraiser – anything where a bit of promotion was necessary!”

I'm an author, so my marketing attempts have been related to selling books. I've tried a variety of things, and although in aggregate, my attempts at marketing have probably increased sales, on the whole, I've felt like I've been putting in a lot of work for limited reward. So, I'm still looking for good ideas and am not flush with them myself.

As for traditional marketing, as in paid ads, I have bought ads through Facebook, Goodreads, and Google. None of them seemed to have a dramatic result, but I am happy with Facebook ads and will continue to use them. They're cheap, and it's an easy way to get more people to see your posts.

However, if you want lots of likes, my best bet has been joining large group giveaways where authors pool money to giveaway a Kindle or the like, and then use a Rafflecopter form where entrants like your page to get entries. I've gotten hundreds of likes that way. Laura Howard's recent giveaway was one of the most successful.

I think that marketing is often about doing a lot of little things that add up in the end, but if I had to choose ONE thing that worked well, the choice is easy.

The most effective sales tool I've found was attending the 2013 YAB Fest, a local author festival. This was awesome for the following reasons:

1) Sales. That's the whole point of marketing right? And, this worked. The festival bought several boxes of my paperbacks to sell at the festival and at their bookstore. I actually made some $$.

2) Connections with authors. I got to sit on a panel with some amazing authors, and met even more in the private author room. I ate lunch across from David Levithan, and sat next to Ernest Cline on the panel! And, although meeting famous people is cool, it's even better that I met other authors more like me--local authors that I became friends with like Krissi Dallas, Rachel Harris, Cory Putnam Oakes, P.J. Hoover, and Mari Mancusi. 

3) Connections with readers. It was so wonderful meeting local readers. I gathered a few new fans that I know will probably keep buying and reading my books, and that's obviously awesome. I have an awesome online network, but it has it's limits. I got to tap into a totally new group of potential readers, and was able to give my book to some new reviewers.

4) Connection with a book store. Because of the YAB fest, I made friends with Danny and Julie Woodfill of The Book Spot. They are likely to buy my future books and have shown interest in hosting a signing for me.

5) Free cupcakes. Okay, I'm joking on this one. But, the free cupcakes in the author room of the festival were really awesome. Thank you Cupprimo!

So, how did I manage to get such an incredible opportunity? I asked! I found the local festival online, and sent the organizers an e-mail, which I set up somewhat like a query letter. And, they said yes! So, it never hurts to ask.


  1. I did ads on Goodreads too but I find them really hard to navigate. I think I might try Facebook next. Thanks for this

  2. Facebook works, huh? Awesome. It think it would be fun to sit on a panel, but then I'd have to wear something other than PJs. Hm...

  3. That's right - it never hurts to ask! And free cupcakes are always a bonus.
    Thanks for participating in the symposium.

  4. Free cupcakes would win me over! :) It's great you've had a wonderful author festival experience. I've been to conventions, but only sitting in on seminars and readings.

  5. Sounds like you're doing all the right things, congratulations, especially for being on a panel, that's awesome!

    Thanks so much for participating - all great information that others can learn from!

  6. food is a plus!! great tips, and so glad I found your cute blog! newest follower, hi!

  7. Thanks for sharing that. I must get to Fests!

  8. You've been part of a panel? Wow, that's a major accomplishment!
    And if you don't ask, you'll never know!
    Sounds like your marketing is on track...
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. You sound exactly like me in this post!!! I'm very excited to be part of the Southwest Reading Festival in March! I'm so psyched b/c I just found out Tyler Whitesides will be there and I'm reading his book, Janitors, to one of my classes right now! And I just found out they're putting me on the local news the week before the festival in an interview. I'm hoping the whole experience will be as good as yours!! Great advice here!

  10. Awesome! "It never hurts to ask" should be a flag we all carry as we launch our promotion efforts. Thanks for sharing your experience, glad it went so well for you!


  11. I just signed up for a reader/writer convention in Atlanta. I don't have my hopes too high that it will make me $$, but so excited to do it. Just the opportunity to meet some online writer friends in person is lure enough.

  12. That festival sounds so fun and I am so glad you asked to be part of it. I've noticed that people sell a TON of books at our local writer's conference, along the same lines. Very cool.

  13. yay!! i'm so happy that was successful!
    and i'm very excited to be doing a conference in march (in atl)
    and trying to get into a local bookfair in May. we shall see!

    ps - almost done with The Charge! love it! will review when i get done =)

  14. “So, how did I manage to get such an incredible opportunity? I asked!” – Sometimes we miss opportunities not because they are unattainable, but simply because we don’t even bother asking. When we ask, we may get a “yes” or a “no.” But when we don’t ask, the answer is always “no.” The first step to being able to successfully market yourself is to be confident. If you don’t believe in your product, chances are, other’s also won’t.

    Rick Flores @ SalesProductivity.Sandler.com

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