By Bryon Vaughn (Guest Author)
While Neurogarden is my first novel, I have been working with my wife, Tani Hanes, to publish and market her work in the sexy new adult romance genre for the last six years. That is to say, this isn’t my first rodeo on the marketing front. Will that experience help me with my own writing? I’ll have to get back to you on that, but I will be applying everything I have learned for my own work.
Here are the top three tips that I can share with any other budding marketers looking to get their work to the next level.
Start a mailing list for your fans. This is critical. You need to be able to directly reach out to your audience to keep them fully engaged in your work. A list of people that want to hear from you is the first step in building and maintaining a connection to your fans. I have found that giving people an incentive to join is helpful to not only get them to sign up, but to keep them paying attention.
What has worked for me is to brand the mailing list as a VIP Club, where you send bonus content, previews of works in progress, and anything that you think your readers would want to know. Make it exclusive, and they will feel like an insider. Then, when you have a new release, they are primed to buy it directly from your email.
Paid email marketing. Find at least 5-6 email advertisers that are prominent in your genre. This may be difficult if you are in a more niche market, but do your research and you will see they are out there. For the romance genre among others, I can recommend the following, they have been very productive for us:
Red Feather Romance - https://www.redfeatherromance.com
BookRaid - https://www.bookraid.com
BookRebel - https://www.bookrebel.com
They aren’t too expensive, and with a good book and a clear market, these can yield a solid return on the investment.
Create compelling book descriptions. While this is not necessarily marketing specific, having a very well written and compelling book description is vital, and will help you when you are able to get people to the buy page from your other marketing efforts. Amazon allows for some HTML formatting in the descriptions, so be sure to take advantage of that option to call out important points. At one point when sales were leveling off, I went through and rewrote and formatted every book description in my wife’s catalog (26 books!) and sales increased almost immediately.
This is purely anecdotal, but there was no other change to our promotional strategy, so it is very likely to have helped move the needle. Here is the basic formatting structure that I used, in case it helps anybody out there:
<h3><i>Exciting tagline goes here...</i></h3>
Compelling book description goes here…
<h3>Meet the Characters</h3>
<b>Character #1 name</b>
<i>Pithy description of a character trait (e.g., The Sultry Seductress)</i>
More detailed description of the character and their motivation goes here…
Repeat for any main characters you want to call out.
I used a similar format for the book description of Neurogarden on Amazon if you want to see how it looks in practice.
Hopefully some of this information will help other indie authors and publishers out there, and please feel free to share your own findings in the comments section. I look forward to learning from you!
Where can you run when there is no place to hide?
Brenna Patrick is a brilliant technologist specializing in neural-cognitive functions and AI. She has cracked the code to solve one of the most troublesome problems in the field, and turned that into the multi-billion dollar NeuralTech Corporation.
Working quietly with the U.S. Department of Defense, NeuralTech is poised to leapfrog the competition with a revolutionary system for tracking people, starting with the world’s most wanted terrorists. But there are only so many terrorists in the world, so who’s next?
When a pair of Columbia graduate students, Jenny and Leo, stumble on the dark secret of NeuralTech’s success, it kicks off a tense game of cat and mouse. As they fight to defeat the powerful forces arrayed against them, nothing less than the fate of humanity hangs in the balance…
NEUROGARDEN is a roller-coaster ride of a thriller, one that will have readers pondering the nature of memory, and of reality, long after they've read the last page.
Read Lisabet's review of Neurogarden:
Settling into a location near the bottom of the dome, the zone transitioned to red. She pointed toward the red node, and up popped Henry Alan Foster's mugshot, coupled with his current location. The crowd murmured, their faces masks of disbelief.
"What say we send the authorities to pick up Mr. Foster?" Brenna outstretched her arms with her hands giving a "thumb's up" sign as if to ask for the crowd's approval, answered by a rise of clapping and a smattering of cheers. At that moment, Jenny saw how much Brenna enjoyed being not only the center of attention, but the person with all the power. It was a look she had seen earlier in Brenna's office, but in the moment she’d thought it was a look of infatuation, or perhaps love. Now, however, it was clear to Jenny that Brenna relished control more than anything else.
Brenna scanned the viewers at The Podium glass. "Or should we send a bullet?"
The crowd roared its approval, and with that, Brenna turned her thumbs downward as she nodded to her engineer. After a few taps, and about ten seconds, the mugshot of Henry Alan Foster disappeared from the dome and the room erupted in resounding approval.
Jenny watched Brenna bask in the glow of this moment, and while she was still in awe of the majestic raven-haired figure before her, her stomach lurched as if she were dropped out of an airplane. At this moment she wanted nothing more than to be wrapped in Leo's strong arms and to forget this whole day happened.
About the Author
Ever since reading Douglas Adams back in my formative years, I have had an interesting relationship with humor, science fiction, and technology. My first computer was a TI-99/4A, so yeah, I’m old, but only until scientists have cracked the code on transplanting our brains into shiny new vessels.
My body may be showing signs of wear, but I’m keeping my brain tight.
When I am not dreaming of far off worlds and writing, I am living a semi-normal life working in New York City, and watching movies with my wife and her spastic cat, Moss.
Web site: https://www.bryonvaughn.com
Bryon Vaughn will award a $50 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter.
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