The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Tag: book promotion

Now taking commission orders on Halloween knits, and other fall-related blather

Heads up: I’m currently taking orders for Halloween and the holidays for Marzipan Pie. There are a lot of great knit and crochet kid costume ideas on this Pinterest board, but you’re certainly not limited to those ideas. Or to stuff for kids, for that matter. Just let me know what you want and I’ll let you know if I can do it and quote you a price. And I promise not to use any of the yarn from the cat pee bag.

The new novel, which currently has the working title Panic, is still in the outline phase. The NEW new novel, i.e. the Restless Spirits sequel, is still in the germinating ideas and jotting down notes phase. And Midnight Snacks is still with the beta readers. I’m planning to do a cover reveal for that one soon, but I still need to move the cover file off of the old laptop, which is a PITA.

I’m currently working in my craft room, in the rocker which is more comfortable than I remembered (though not enough to make me change my mind about wanting to replace it). Lately it’s been easier to get the creative juices flowing in this room — another reason I’m glad I finally took it back from the cats.

This week, I’ve been working on decluttering the living room and putting out the fall decorations — of which I have pitifully few. But now that I’ve got my craft room back, I’ve got plenty of plans to make more. I’ve also started hanging pictures on walls — something we’ve done pathetically little of in the SIX years we’ve lived in this house — but my first go at that ended in tragedy when my attempts to straighten a picture holder I’d just hung caused it to fall and break a hand-painted ceramic egg commemorating our wedding that my aunt made for us. Don’t tell my Aunt Faye, it would break her heart. It certainly broke mine.

Anyway, there’s a stack of frames here in the craft room that either already have photos that I want to hang or that will be repurposed for photo collages and other crafty “art” so we can finally get stuff on the walls and look like we actually live here. There’s also a stack of awesome Serenity propaganda-style posters somewhere that I need to dig out and put up and stop waiting until we can afford to have them framed.

I’m hesitant to write this down lest I jinx it, but I think I have finally achieved a pretty good balance between freelance work/writing fiction/home care/self care/having a life. I’m at a point where I want to look for ways to “work smarter not harder,” i.e., finding more lucrative work instead of just more work. Of course, it would also help to be more diligent about marketing and selling my books, and sideline businesses like Marzipan Pie that help fund my yarn addiction certainly can’t hurt. To that end, I’m thinking about setting up a dedicated website for MP instead of just relying on the Facebook page (which needs a makeover, anyway).

I’m also thinking about ways to expand my fiction audience, like maybe getting audiobooks made, and submitting short stories to online markets. And, of course, writing more books. I really need to get around to finishing setting up my own book shop here on this site, too. Oh, and I also need to set up a separate website for my editing and publishing services, because just having a page for it here on this site isn’t working.

And that’s a lot of thinking “out loud” in that last paragraph. I need to remember that this is my most energetic time of year, and while I need to take advantage of it while I can, I also need to be careful not to write checks that my S.A.D.-afflicted future self won’t be able to cash.

Halloween Book Sale!

Jean Marie Bauhaus Halloween book saleWe’re already halfway done with October and I’m just now finding time to tell my readers about my annual month-long Halloween book sale. That… is not an effective way to sell books.

At any rate, all of my e-books are only 99 cents all month long, everywhere that they’re sold. They’re also marked down on all of the international Amazon sites, so whatever the equivalent of 99 cents is in pounds or Euros or Canadian dollars or whatever… that’s what the price will be through Halloween.

Paperbacks are also marked down considerably.

All of my books so far have a paranormal/horror bent, so they’re perfect reading for the spooky season.

Get ‘em here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Createspace

How To Market Your Novel (Or How Not To)

So, remember last spring, before I became way too busy to blog, how I had begun a series on self-publishing how tos and wherefores? How’s about we pick that back up with a look into my marketing plan. This isn’t so much an expert How To on marketing your book, so much as it is me thinking “out loud” about building a marketing plan for Dominion of the Damned. Let’s all learn together, shall we?

Yes, let’s.

You may recall, if you’ve been hanging out with me a while, that I didn’t really have any kind of marketing plan when I published Restless Spirits. That book was all about the learning process, and everything I did, I did by the seat of my pants (including writing it, actually; I’m normally much more of a plotter, but I totally “pansted” that one), and the majority of my efforts to publicize it happened after it was already published.

So I’m trying to be more organized with Dominion, partly for SCIENCE — let’s do a comparative study to see if pre-publication marketing, and an actual marketing plan, make a difference to book sales. Of course, it’s also partly–mostly, I’d say–motivated by the hope that indeed it will make a difference and I’ll sell a lot of books.

So let’s look at what I’ve got planned, and some of the ideas I’m still kicking around, to publicize Dominion.

  • Build a website. I’ve already done this, actually, although, as usual, I have plans to spruce it up with a custom layout if I ever find the time. For now it’s just a basic WordPress site with basic customizations. Right now it’s on a subdomain on this site. I’m on the fence about whether I should register a proper domain for it, mainly because I’m still at a place where I need to watch my spending. If money weren’t an issue, I’d go ahead and register the domain.
  • Build a mailing list. I’ve set one up already, but I still need to come up with something to entice people to take the trouble to sign up.  I also need to figure out exactly what to do with it once people do sign up. It will probably involve exclusive previews, giveaways and discounts. Maybe even the occasional flash fiction or something you can only read — or get to read first — by signing up.
  • Post an excerpt — also done. I’m also planning to include it in the back of the short story I’m currently working on, which I’ll make free for the first month or so. I might also put it at the back of Restless Spirits and do another sale or giveaway of that title. And a lengthier preview might be part of what I offer my newsletter subscribers.
  • Do a Kickstarter campaign to pre-sell copies? I’ve been kicking this idea around for a while now. I fear I don’t have enough fans just yet to make this worthwhile, but it is another avenue of publicity and raising awareness. Also, I only need to pre-sell about ten copies to raise the funds to buy the stock images I want to use on the cover, plus a few extra for the next item on my list…
  • A book trailer. I’m currently unconvinced about the effectiveness of book trailers to actually sell books, but I am convinced about the effectiveness of a good YouTube video to drive website traffic and boost SEO, so it’s worth the efffort, I think.
  • Goodreads giveaways – something else a Kickstarter could help finance. If I can’t afford to give away paperback copies, though, I can still do some sort of e-book giveaway here on the blog. And if I DO do Kickstarter, that campaign will involve various giveaways and prizes, too.
  • A blog tour — I don’t know if I’ll actually have time to organize a formal blog book tour, but I did sign back up to the IWU Blog Tour, which I think was responsible for generating the majority of my sales on the last book. Oh, and that also means that you guys have more guest posts and interviews from other Indie authors to look forward to in the near future.
  • And of course the social networking. In lieu of going into detail about that here, I’ll break down the individual networks in future posts.

So that’s the gist of my marketing plan this time around. What do you think? See any flaws in my logic, or any opportunities I’m missing? Don’t be shy about telling me so in the comments.

Indie Author Spotlight: Katrina Parker Williams

Trouble Down South & Other StoriesMy guest this week is Katrina Parker Williams, a prolific indie author who teaches English composition and grammar at a community college. She is a Barton College graduate with a B.S. in Communications and a Masters of Education in English from East Carolina University. She is the author of a novel titled Liquor House Music, and three short stories, Rock, Missus Buck, and Slave Auction. Her works have appeared in Charlotte Viewpoint, Muscadine Lines, Usadeepsouth, and on the Wilson Community College website. Her writings have previously been published at The Saints’ Placenta, All Things Girl, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Pens on Fire, and Muscadine Lines.

Her latest release is Trouble Down South and Other Stories. Here’s the blurb:

Enslavement, murder, abuse, illness: there’s real trouble for the characters in Trouble Down South and Other Stories. The short stories take the reader on a journey to the past through a collection of interestingly crafted pieces of flawed humanness, social injustice, and redemption, and even humor. The short story collection of historical fiction chronicles events spanning more than 150 years and addresses a wide range of experiences from African-American perspectives. The stories are set in the South amid a changing landscape in which the characters are forced to wrestle with the social issues surrounding Native Americans, slavery, racism, Prohibition, World War I, the Korean War, Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, health, religion, mental illness, and education.

Learn more at troubledownsouth.wordpress.com.

Throughout July, Trouble Down South and Other Stories is available FREE on Smashwords with coupon code SSWSF. It’s also available for the Kindle on Amazon, and for the Nook on BN.com.

Check out Katrina at her blog, katrinaparkerwilliams.wordpress.com, and don’t forget to like her book on Facebook!

Lessons In Book Promotion

I don’t really have a plan for promoting Restless Spirits beyond simply telling everybody in my social circle about it. After all, it’s the vanguard, sent out to raise awareness of my name and writing and hopefully generate some good feeling toward both in time for Dominion of the Damned to take Amazon by storm, and if it made a little extra money in the process, that’s just butter on the toast (and so far it’s earned enough to buy us a large pizza. Ka-ching!). Since DotD is the book I’m currently pinning the majority of my hopes and dreams on, I was going to save all of my marketing energy for its release.

But that’s still a few months away, and it will be kind of hard for RS to win me any new readers if, y’know, nobody actually reads it.

So I’ve been trying to do at least one thing a day to get the word out about it. So far, this has mostly involved telling people I kinda-sorta know: here on LJ, on Twitter, on Facebook, on my other blog, etc. So far, this effort has managed to convince about one person a day to buy the book. That might sound like a pitifully small amount to you, but I’m just thrilled that it’s selling, period. It’s making me want to put in the work to get the word out to more people. And wouldn’t it be helpful to experiment with promotion techniques to see what works best and develop a solid plan for Dominion?

The problem is, I’m out of ideas. As I tweeted the other day, even though I don’t generally consider other writers that I follow on Twitter to be d-bags for constantly promoting their books on there, that doesn’t stop me from feeling like one if I mention mine more than a couple of times. Not just a couple times a day — a couple of times, period. Clearly, I need to get over this. I don’t have the time to set up a blog tour — essentially, soliciting book & writing blogs to either interview me or let me write guest posts promoting my book. I also don’t have time to participate regularly in forums, and I’m back to feeling like a total d-bag if I just pop into a forum I rarely-to-never post in just to drop a link to my book.

Pretty much, this “one promotion thing a day” model is all I can fit in with my various freelance jobs, attending my health issues and assuring my husband that I haven’t forgotten he’s alive. Oh, and the actual writing.

Part of me thinks I need to suck it up and figure something out–maybe at the very least hunt down the rare book review blog that deigns to review self-pubbed e-books and send them a free copy. But part of me thinks that the best “marketing” I can do is just to get more of my writing out there, and that I’m better off keeping my head down and writing as much as I can, as fast as I can.

I think it’s obvious that I have a lot to learn yet about the promotional end of being an indie author. And I’m not going to learn it by sitting around here blogging.

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