4 Creative Ways to Market Your Book – For Authors

You’ve spent days and days, months and months, or even a number of years writing your book. You’ve finally hit go on publishing the final draft and you now have your masterpiece in-hand. Now comes the great challenge of how you are going to market your book to an audience. It would be nice if you could just make a quick Facebook post about your new title and have sales just flow in from there. But unfortunately, that’s not realistic. Having worked with hundreds of authors through their process of self-publishing, we have gathered some insight into the unique ways that some authors choose to market their book to lock down sales. Here are 4 creative ways to market your book:

Giveaways or Contests

High engagement on social media means that the algorithm is triggered to show your post to more people. Social media platforms are set up to both encourage and reward quality content and it is celebrated by expanding your reach. Therefore, giveaways/contests are a great way to produce high engagement on a post and grow an audience. The only cost to you is whatever product you are giving away.

Post a (high quality!) photo of the prize (your book, your series, bookmarks, etc.) and then write out a caption instructing followers to “tag 2 friends in the comments” to be entered to win. You will announce the contest closing date as well, and on that date, you can use one of the many free websites to enter all of the entrees into a jumble to select a random winner.

Not only is this a fantastic technique to grant you high exposure on a post, but it also introduces new people to your page. The friends that are tagged in the comments section may not follow you, so they are drawn to check out your profile when their friend tags them in the contest. You also need to be sure to include the caveat that giveaway winners “must be following you” in order to win. This means that everyone interested in the prize will now be following you and it’s a great way to build your follower list.

Influencer Partnerships

Influencer marketing is growing in popularity. Why? Because people tend to trust their “peers” more than companies or celebrity endorsements. When an influencer posts about, or offers a review on a product, their audience tends to trust their opinion because they have built up that trust through branding themselves and connecting with their audience over time. Reaching out to micro-influencers especially (less than 100,000 followers) can be very effective as they tend to specialize in a niche and have built amazing rapport within that community.

So, for example, if your book is a fantasy book, you might consider reaching out to a local cosplayer and have them post about your book. Obviously, nothing is free, so you usually need to incentivize them to post, in the form of free product, money, or exchange of services.

Ads

There are many places that you can purchase ad space for your book, and choose the audience you’d like to target. A few options include; Google Search Engine ads, Facebook or Instagram ads, and ads on sites such as Written Word Media or EReader News Today. You are in control of how much money you spend, as it depends on your goals. Ads can be fairly inexpensive if you do them right. Do some research into creating an effective ad.

Book Clubs

A good idea to get your book out there is to petition book clubs to feature your book. You can reach out to a member of the book club or donate a copy. A lot of times, the book club members will post about books they liked, or you could request a review online such as a Google review. Sometimes, this can transfer into word of mouth recommendations as well, which are always powerful and effective.

Takaways

Your book could feature a highly attractive cover, a well-written story, and quality printed pages, but if you don’t have an audience, you’re not going to make any sales or get a return on all your hard work. Remember, as an author, you are your own brand. (Please check out our post on building an author brand here.) It’s a good idea to take some or all of these ways to market your book into consideration so that you have the success you deserve.


Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing

There are a number of key things one might want to factor in when deciding whether or not self-publishing is a good route to go for your book. Naturally, there are benefits of either route, so it comes down to personal preference. We have made a shortlist of pros and cons to reference when making your decision.

Pros of Self-Publishing:

  • You own the rights to your book. With companies such as Blitzprint, we do not assume any ownership over a book. We simply print it. It’s completely owned by you.
  • When you self-publish a book, you have full creative control. Meaning you don’t have to answer to a publishing company’s preferences on the cover photo or paper stock.
  • You can set your own deadlines. If you are working on your book as a side project, you can work on your own schedule, without any external deadlines eating away at you.
  • It’s often easier to make changes on a reprint. It’s good to get feedback and apply constructive criticism to future prints of your book. Listen to what worked well, and what didn’t, and use your creative control to make minor adjustments to your next run of the book.
  • Potential for a shorter publishing process (resulting in quicker access to the market).

Cons:

  • It can be a lot of work. Writing a story is a lot of work, and on top of that, marketing your book is a complex and time-consuming process. You have to be ready to apply your passion in selling your title.
  • It is potentially more difficult to access an audience. When marketing your book, you must use a combination of outlets and resources to attempt to reach a target audience. Your network can be vital.
  • You have limited marketing resources (Often times you will have to do your own marketing and sales). There are plenty of guides online to aid you in marketing, but there is an abundance of information, sometimes with conflicting recommendations. Marketing can be overwhelming, but there are contractors or companies to hire for this exact purpose.

All of these points are important to take into consideration when choosing which route to go for publishing your book as they will influence everything from your design process to the way you market your book, to the revenue you earn on sales of the book.

Check out our Self Publishing Guide for more information.


How to Build Your Author Brand

As an author, your brand includes your image, who you are, and what you say. It’s not just your logo. Of course, this brand can circulate around your pen name, but anytime you converse online or in person, you are representing your brand.

Being likable and interesting may entice people to want to read your book, or at least learn more about it. I would argue that your brand is equally, if not more important than the cover of your book. Think of a trade show for example; You probably have your book cover on display, but it’s you as a person that draws in people to visit your booth.

Here are a few tips for your author brand:

  • Have a strong, visually appealing, organized website with an option to purchase directly from the site
  • Ensure your tone on social media reflects your brand. Streamline this across all platforms
  • Use a professional headshot on your book, website, and social media

Establishing a Brand:

One way to develop a personal brand as an author is to ask friends, family, and coworkers to describe you in adjectives. Better yet, if you feel comfortable, I would recommend asking a few strangers for a first impression following a brief interaction with you. There is no preexisting relationship, therefore, this interaction is likely to mirror an interaction at a trade show more closely in terms of how you are received by strangers.

What genre would you categorize your book under? If you’re a children’s author, you probably want to write lighthearted posts that appeal to parents and grandparents and be pretty personable with children. If you’re a romance author, it would play in your favor to be charismatic so people are drawn to you and your books.

Brand Guidelines:

Keep in mind, your brand does include guidelines for materials such as your logo, colors, fonts, and images as well. You want your brand to be recognizable and suiting to what you are trying to portray. Plus, putting together brand guidelines makes it easy to plug and play when creating business cards, bookmarks, brochures, etc.

Next Steps:

Once you’ve established your brand and you are ready to print, request a quote, and then begin getting your book out there!


Tips to Manage Your Time As an Author

I think it’s safe to say we are all guilty of some degree of procrastination. You set a goal and the deadline tends to get pushed back again and again because you just run into roadblocks along the way. Sometimes the roadblocks are in the form of writer’s block, or other priorities simply get in the way. As an author, you do have to be a little flexible with yourself. So for example, if you have an event that you would like to present your finished book at, maybe allow yourself 2 months longer than you think you really need to complete your book. Give yourself some wiggle room so that your quality of work doesn’t suffer from feeling pressure to finish writing. Here are a few tips to manage your time as an author:

Productivity Timing

Everyone has a time of day that they tend to be most productive. For some people, such as myself, they can wake up, have a coffee, scan the news, and then sit down to work by 8:00 am. It’s the afternoon where productivity begins to decline as distractions arise and the mind begins to wonder. For others, however, the evening might be the time when they are most productive. Maybe this person feels a creative spark after dinner, when their day is calm and there are no competing tasks to eat away at their time. Either way, figure out your best time of day to be productive and creative and schedule your days around that.

Calendars

Once you have figured out your prime time of day to write, plug it into a calendar. I personally like Google Calendars because they sync to all of my devices and are user friendly. So if I’m sitting on my laptop I can pull up the calendar and update it, and then it will automatically update on my phone as well.

I color code my calendar based on the activity. So I use pink for hours working, blue for appointments, green for reading/downtime, red for dinners and time with friends, and yellow for volunteer work. This makes it easy to read and set up my days. As an author, I would suggest blocking out time for writing first, and scheduling the rest of the day around that. You have to prioritize based on what is most important for you. Writing shouldn’t feel like a chore, so you don’t want to squeeze in a session among everything else you have going on in a day.

To-Do Lists

A good idea would be to attach a to-do list to your calendar. It feels great to cross things off as you complete them. If you want to take it a step further, you can use a number system of 1-5 to determine the level of priority or urgency of a task. this way you can organize your tasks and not feel overwhelmed.

Reward Yourself

Humans tend to respond well to being rewarded for their work in some way. Something that I used to do when I was in school would be to set a goal such as a textbook chapter I want to complete and then decide that when I accomplish the task, I will reward myself with something such as a nice relaxing bath, or a piece of cake, etc. Not only does this system subconsciously train you to willingly accomplish your tasks, but it also gives you enjoyment so you feel like writing is less of a chore.

Conclusion

Writing a book is an exciting and rewarding endeavor, but it requires strong commitment and determination. Using some of the suggested tips to manage your time as an author and will help you feel in control of your book and all-around more organized.

We have plenty of resources available for authors throughout our website https://blitzprint.com/author-self-publishing-support/. Additionally, feel free to contact us at books@blitzprint.com for any questions about self-publishing.


6 Tips To Design Your Book Cover

The cover of your book is (obviously) extremely important. With so many choices out there, you want to get your book noticed, and a good way to do that is to have a cover that stands out. Your cover design can influence the perceived quality of your book. Here are a few recommendations that you should take into consideration when designing the cover of your book:

  1. Hire a designer
    • A designer can help you apply your vision and they will know the proper way to set up the cover to send to your printer. You do not have to do everything on your own. A good designer should have an artistic eye as well as access to specialized software.
  2. Ensure that you have permission to use the images you choose
    • This is where a site such as Shutterstock or Adobe Stock comes into play. You can subscribe to obtain permission for a number of photo downloads per month or purchase images individually on these platforms. (We will share more information on image copyright in a future post, so stay tuned.) You can also use your own photography, but make sure the photos are taken with a good quality camera in the correct format.
  3. Use images with a high resolution
    • Further to the previous point, if an image has a low resolution, it’s going to reflect that when it’s printed. This is why you should use a good camera if taking your own photos for your book. For example, we do not recommend using a cellphone camera unless they have been set to take high-resolution images. Poor quality images may negatively influence readers when deciding whether or not your book is worth reading.
  4. Don’t overcrowd the cover with images
    • Sometimes, less is more. You want the title to be the focal point of your book cover. Overcrowding images can look cheap, whereas clean, minimalist covers can be attractive to readers because it suggests a degree of sophistication in the content. Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as children’s book covers, biographies, etc.
  5. Make sure the title is legible
    • As previously discussed, the title should be the focal point of your book cover. Pay attention to the font size and typeface, and choose a good color that pops with your background image and/or color(s). Although there are certain genres that tend to have fancy scripted titles, such as fantasy, often you want your title to be easily legible.
  6. Decide if you would like your book to have a matte or gloss finish
    • Check out this blog post to learn more about choosing which finish is best for your book.

For more tips and information about designing a good book cover, get in touch with us at books@blitzprint.com.


Featured Author: Barbara Robin

Author: Barbara Robin

Book Title: I Should have Married a Cowboy

Book genre: Non-fiction

I SHOULD HAVE MARRIED A COWBOY is a non-fiction series of stories told in the manner I try to live my life – with honesty and humor. The oldest of nine children, my formative years were spent in Vanderhoof, Terrace, Kitimat, and Fort St. James; my family, like these communities, all caught up in the post war boom. Through this period of parental wanderlust, I was provided with endless opportunities for adventure and discovery, right up to the moment I was brought to heel by rheumatic fever at the age of 14. Two bouts later, probably hoping to forestall trouble, my parents sent me off to a convent school in the lower mainland. The experience changed my life considerably but that set back did not dampen my romantic curiosity or stop me from becoming a teen-age bride soon followed by the daunting task of raising a handi-capped son.  

Inspiration:

My stories speak to the many challenges, heartaches and opportunities I have faced over the years but it is also a testament to resiliency and determination. 

When I was writing the book I struggled with some of the deeply personal stories and I wondered if perhaps I was being too honest. One day I was discussing my concern with my brother and fellow author, Peter Robin. His comment was, “if your story helps just one woman get out of an abusive relationship you’ve done your job.” Thanks Pete.

Writing and Self-Publishing Process:

If I had the opportunity to change one thing about my writing process it would be to have more patience. If I could start over I would set the book aside, walk away for six months or a year and then come back to it. I know that’s difficult to do, it’s like walking away from your baby but distancing yourself for a period of time allows you to come back and reread it with fresh eyes. 

I am fortunate the staff at Blitzprint were so knowledgeable and patient. It was my first publishing experience and they helped me immensely with the format and design. I made countless adjustments and corrections before approving the final draft but their diligence insured I would be happy and proud of the book.   

I can be contacted on my author Facebook page: “I Should have Married a Cowboy” or at: babsie@telus.net    

*If you are an author that has printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here


Author Website: a How-to Guide

You wrote a book, now what? You need to create an author website. Marketing is key to generating sales for your book or book series, and a strong author website is an important component of this. That is why we have composed a how-to guide to point you in the right direction. There are a few things that you need to think about when creating your website, including what hosting platform to choose, and what pages and information to include. We break it all down for you here;

Why it’s important to have a strong author website:

People appreciate convenience. The easier the process, the more likely someone might be to purchase something. Ensuring that your website is clear and not confusing will play in your favor in generating potential sales. A strong website also can be a reflection, in the consumer’s eyes, of a strong product (your books).

Choosing a platform:

Here are a few of the user-friendly website platforms I suggest to use for your author website. Each of these makes the process easy to learn, and there are many Youtube videos or other articles available if you are unsure of how to do something on the site.

  • WordPress
  • Wix
  • GoDaddy
  • Weebly

Once you have chosen your platform, you need to purchase a domain for your site.

What pages should you include on your author website:

You don’t want to over complicate things, but there are certain pieces of information that are relevant and important to include on your site. These include:

  1. Bio.
    • When people purchase your book or series, they are buying into you as well. You are your brand. If your personal story resonates with someone, they might be more inclined to want to purchase your product. Sometimes, the bio is just an opportunity to connect with others and share a little about yourself.
    • You may include the inspiration behind your story or a little about your history. You can also choose to share personal information such as the city you reside in, your family, and what you do for a living. Don’t go too far in-depth with this information.
  2. Books
    • Include a write up on each of your books. You may choose to offer excerpts from the books as well so people can sample what the content is like. Include photos of the book covers on this page.
  3. Reviews
    • Asking or incentivizing customers to review your book upon reading it is a very valuable tool that you can and should include on your website. People place a high value on the opinion of their peers.
  4. Contact info
    • Having a strong website ties into the need to have strong social media pages as well. Social media is a powerful tool to reach new audiences and connect with current ones. That’s a whole other topic, but it’s important to mention the need to include these links on your website so visitors can check out your pages. Additionally, it’s important to link your website in your social media posts to drive traffic there.
  5. Purchasing section
    • If you choose, you can include a page where customers can directly purchase your book. Alternatively, you can link to another page where people can purchase a copy. Either way, make sure that the available options for purchasing your books are clear.  

Analyzing your website traffic

A website is not something that you should simply create and then never touch again. You should consistently update your site, whether this consists of linking your social media feeds to your site, or writing a blog.

The most important part, however, is the analysis of website traffic. With a resource such as Google Analytics, so much valuable information is available to you. Some of the metrics I would suggest paying attention to include:

  • Bounce rate (generally, you want a lower bounce rate)
  • Demographics (location, age, gender, etc.)
  • Website traffic referral – where is your website traffic coming from?
  • What pages are most visited on your site

Paying attention to these aspects is important in driving your decisions on whether to edit pages, get rid of some, or make other changes on parts of the site that aren’t working optimally for driving sales. Analyzing something such as demographics can influence your other marketing decisions.

Hopefully this author website how-to guide provided some clarity on the layout and contents of your website so that potential buyers can learn about you and your book, and purchase a copy without difficulty.

Looking to print a book? Connect with us at https://blitzprint.com/request-a-quote/.


What size should my book be?

rulerThe first thing that I am going to recommend when deciding what size to make your book is to think about what type of book you have. Is it a novel, a self help book, a family history, etc. Once you have determined what kind of book you are dealing with, think about other books that you have seen in that genre. What did you like? What didn’t you like? Don’t be afraid to walk into a book store and spend an afternoon going through those books, and writing notes about those things. It is a lot easier to make decisions if you know what you like.

Economical Book Size

For book sizes, your most economical sizes often are between 5 x 8 and 6 x 9. They tend to give you a great bang for your buck in size. Those sizes are your most common bookshelf sizes, and when you compare the number of words per page that you get to the pricing, they tend to be the value sizes. Anything smaller will be less expensive, and anything larger will cost more. With digital printing, typically we will print 2 pages, back to back, multiple times up on a sheet. If you go larger than 6 x 9, you will get less on a sheet. With a size like 4 x 7, you will get more up on a sheet. Typical book sizes are 4 x 7, 5 x 7, 5 x 8, 5.5 x 8.5, 6 x 9 and 8.5 x 11. If you want to get wider than 9.5”, you are going to have to, at that point, go from a normal digital or offset press up to a large format offset press. That will cause a price jump that can be quite noticeable.

Common Sizing

Typically 4 x 7 is referred to as a pocket book. 5 x 8 through 6 x 9 are common novel sizes. Typically, most family histories that I see come through are 8.5 x 11. With that being said, there are no limitations to the size that you want your book based on usually’s or typically’s. Make your book the size that you like. It is, after all, your book. Of course, if you are going to try to market your book, try to stay realistic in sizes. People may not want to pay more money for your book just because it is a unique size.

For more information on self publishing visit our website.


Featured Author: Amelia Lionheart, Local Calgary Author

JEACs

These books are Educational, Fun, adventures, where the Facts about the animals are accurate, while the locations, plots, incidents and the characters, are fictional, but plausible. There are five books, so far, in the series, and the adventures are based on animal conservation centres – in different countries (Amelia has lived in, or visited, these countries), with the focus on a different animal in each adventure. In the books, children are introduced to basic information/ideas on topics such as: captive breeding; releasing animals back into the wild; relocation; and other work being done in Conservation Centres, in Canada and around the world, to protect animals from becoming extinct or endangered. The JEACs in the books travel to different countries during their vacation from school and have an adventure!

The books are cosmopolitan, and have basic good values such as: respecting everyone, empathy and caring towards others – especially those not as fortunate as ourselves, self-discipline, humour and the ability to laugh at ourselves, teasing but not bullying, understanding and not discriminating against people who are different from us, etc. They encourage: fundraising, volunteer work, discovery and use of talents, etc. Since French, Spanish, Latin, Hindi, Sinhala, Italian, Australian, as well as some very British words and expressions, are used in the books – each book has a Glossary.  The Snow Leopard and Grizzly Bear books also have a Foreword by Dr. Doug Whiteside. Dr. Doug, is the Senior Staff Veterinarian at our Calgary Zoo, and is an eminent Zoo Veterinarian in North America. He is also a Professor at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. 

Amelia is thrilled that the REAL GROUP OF JEACs in Calgary – incredible and talented groups of youngsters, have done amazing work and have participated in numerous fundraising events with her.

What inspired you to write your books? One of my assignments when I was doing my Diploma (I have a Diploma in Writing for Children and Teenagers from The Institute of Children’s Literature, Connecticut, U.S.A.), required me to “state 5 facts, and then use all, or some of them, in a 2,000 word story”.  I chose to write a story titled “Peacock Feathers” about a boy on a Conservation Centre, named Rohan. My instructor told me it would make a good adventure story; I “fleshed it out” from 2,000 words to around 60,000 words, added several characters, (Rohan being the eldest of the JEACs, and one of the MAIN CHARACTERS, did a great deal of research on conservation centres, animals, etc., created the JEACs groups in the first book (Peacock Feathers), and – Hurray! My JEACs series began! 

I adore animals, I’m a bookaholic who reads an eclectic selection of books, loves series, education, knowledge, learning, and humour and, naturally, big and interesting words; travel and multiculturalism, fundraising, volunteer work etc.!  I have always loved Fact and Fiction, and believe very strongly in the conservation of wildlife and, in particular, the conservation of endangered species; I am convinced that awareness of this issue, when imbued in children at an early age, is a vital step towards saving our planet.  I enjoy working with the JEACs, and other young people who are aspiring authors!

If you could go back and change one thing about the process of writing or designing what would it be? I wouldn’t change the creative process at all, and my publishers are great!

Please visit the following link to learn more.

www.jeacs.com

Email: amelia.lionheart@shaw.ca – Please note, ALL children who contact Amelia, either through her website or email, MUST COPY A PARENT IN THEIR EMAIL.

*If you have printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here


Featured Author: Christopher Warner

Our author, Christopher Warner, spoke a little about his book: Tommy Wants a Guide Dog in today’s blog entry. Continue on to learn about his book and the process of writing it.

Book genre: Children’s picture book (easy reader)

Tommy Wants a Guide Dog is about a young boy with sight loss who is too young to get a guide dog, so he imagines what it would be like to have other animals as a guide. 

April 29, 2020 was International Guide Dog Day, and was also the launch date for my new children’s book, Tommy Wants a Guide Dog. Tommy is a young boy with sight loss who would like to get a guide dog, but he’s too young, so instead, he imagines what it would be like to have other animals as a guide. It’s a fun story for both children and adults, featuring amazing illustrations by Cerridwen Sage Hicks. Tommy Wants a Guide Dog will be available in English, French, and English large print.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book will help support CNIB Guide Dogs.

What inspired you to write your book? I do presentations about vision loss on behalf of CNIB in schools, and occasionally I’ve been asked, “Why aren’t there any guide cats?” After talking about it with a friend, the idea for other animals as guides, and the pitfalls that could happen with each one, started swirling in my head. From there the idea was born.  

If you could go back and change one thing about the process of writing or designing what would it be?  The story had already been written and the illustrator was working on the pictures when an additional idea came to mind, but it was too late to add it to the story without causing a huge disruption. 

Please visit http://www.nakokitabooks.com to learn more.

Click here for a live reading of Tommy Wants a Guide Dog

*If you have printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here