How to Promote a Book Series

Do you have more than one book in a series, perhaps featuring a central character (for example, James Bond), or a common genre (for example, historical fiction)?

If so, marketing your series (and even publishing your series) is a little different from publishing a single non-fiction book, for instance.

Take some cues from runaway success, and Outskirts Press author, Linda Rae Sande, on 3 suggestions to make your series as successful as it can be.

1. Make sure the cover design is consistent

Ms. Sande was diligent in ensuring that each of her romance novel shared very specific characteristics on the cover. One need only look at her boxed set to see exactly what we mean. Check out the spines of each book. The title is consistently in the same font and consistently in the same place. Ditto her name, and the “type” of image used both on the cover and the spine.

2. Promote from within

It goes without saying, probably, that readers of one book of your series are bound to be interested in the other books within that same series, right? So don’t miss out on that marketing opportunity. Make sure the front and/or back pages of each book in the series mention all the other books within that same series (including very specific ordering information, maybe a cover image, and certainly any reviews and/or awards that you wish to promote).

We hear what you’re saying: “How can you mention book 2 and 3 in the pages of book 1?” Well, that’s the power of print-on-demand. Publish book 1 as you normally would and while you’re writing book 2, start collecting reviews and awards for book 1. Publish book 2, and within the pages of book 2, insert promotions about book 1 with your accolades. Simultaneously (a writer’s work is never done), work on book 3 as you start to collect reviews and awards for book 2 and continue collecting accolades for book 1. See the pattern here? When the series is complete, make the necessary revisions to all of them to include all of them. Then it’s time to publish the all-important “boxed-set.”

3. Make a boxed-set of your series

Once you have three or more books in your series, create a boxed set that sells of them for a slightly discounted price (see image above for a perfect example). Unlike the convenience factor you experience with the zero-inventory “print-on-demand” aspects of your physical Outskirts Press books, “boxed-set books” are inventory-driven physical products, and as such, they demand a different mentality, and higher level of personal involvement, but it’s worth the effort. Here’s what to consider:

  • BOX DIMENSIONS – Determining the dimensions of the box requires measuring the dimensions of the books to be included. If your box-set is going to include three 6×9 books, for instance, you have two of the required dimensions — the height and the depth. But you also need the width — that is, the size of the “opening” of the cased box itself. Say the spine of each book is 1 inch wide. That means your box must be approximately 3 inches wide. Of course, there is no such thing as “approximately” when producing physical products, so further down we will point you to a printing/manufacturing vendor who can assist you in determining your exact specifications (and produce your boxes for you).
  • BOX DESIGN – Once you have determined your box’s dimensions, you need to determine what the boxed set is going to look like. It’s easiest (and least expensive) to duplicate your cover art on the outside of the box (since that high resolution artwork already exists). But, alternatively, you can produce a unique piece of artwork for the box itself. You’ll need to determine the artwork for the sides, top, bottom, and back of the box. You’ll also determine the “color printing process” to use. 4-Color is the best.
  • BOX PRODUCTION – Like nearly any physical off-set products, the more units you order, the cheaper each unit is, so your printer’s quote will usually provide you with quantity/unit/price breaks. Remember that for each box you order, you’ll need to order enough copies of each of your books to insert into the boxed sets.
  • FINALIZING THE BOX – Once your boxes arrive from the manufacturer and the copies of your books arrive from your publisher, you’re ready to finalize your boxed-sets. This is about as easy as you would expect. You’ll slip one copy of each of your series of books into the box. If your box dimensions are correct, the books should fit snugly inside the box with very little wiggle-room, and just enough space to pull them out one-by-one. You may even decide to produce two different boxed-sets, an “author signed” boxed-set (which is more expensive naturally), and a non-author signed boxed set. You could sign the box itself and/or each of the copies of the books inside.
  • MARKETING THE BOX – Once you have a final boxed set, take several digital pictures of it so you can promote and sell it. People will want to see what your boxed set looks like. Then, upload the image, details and price to your author webpage and/or website. Since you will be handling the fulfillment of those orders personally, you will need to create a merchant account to accept secure online payments and receive notifications of orders. The easiest vendor for this kind of thing is Pay Pal (http://paypal.com) but Stripe (http://stripe.com) is also a good option. Once you have a way of taking and fulfilling orders for your boxed set, your marketing efforts will mimic the marketing steps you’ve taken to promote your books individually — that is, through social media outreach efforts, virtual book tours, promotional materials, blogging, interviews, etc. The advantage of having a boxed set is that for the same effort it takes to promote one single book, you can promote three (or more) books all at the same time, with a much higher price. The higher your price, the more flexibility you have with your margins, and therefore the greater discounts you can provide to your buyers as incentive.
  • SELLING THE BOX – In addition to the Pay Pal and/or Stripe merchant accounts you will need to set-up for collecting orders from your own author webpage/website(s), you will also want to submit your boxed set to Amazon.com. In order to do this, you need to open up your own merchant account, which you can do by clicking here. Once your merchant account has been set-up, it will be in your best interest to also set-up a Fulfillment by Amazon account here. That way, you can send them multiple boxed sets in advance, and then they handle the individual order fulfillment for you, plus they notify you in advance when you need to supply them with more boxed sets. Another bonus: your customers will qualify for free shipping through Amazon Prime, which is something you won’t be able to offer with a simple merchant account.

If you’re interested in more marketing tips, there’s never a better time than now to inquire. Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com and check out our Marketing Solutions menu. You can also access our wonderful Free Marketing Resource Center where you’ll find countless further recommendations to suit your marketing needs!

 

Making the Most of Book Fairs

Book fairs are a great way to promote your book, meet accomplished colleagues, and learn about the publishing industry. While each state in America (and actually almost each country nation-wide) celebrates writers and books with their own local/regional fairs, there are five massive, international book fairs each year that no self-publishing author should miss: Beijing, Bologna, Book Expo of America, Frankfurt, and London.

While the Bologna Book Fair focuses on children’s books and juvenile/young adult, the others are more general in their appeal and focus, making them primary spots for an active marketing effort, whether in person or “via representation.” Many companies, and probably your own publisher, offer co-op opportunities to have your book on display at these international venues and represented on your behalf. Sure, nothing beats a trip overseas, but if that’s not in your budget, check with the opportunities your publisher or marketing professional can secure for you.

If you plan to attend in person, here are some tips for getting the most out of book fairs:

  • Take plenty of business cards, and make sure your cards are professional and eye catching
  • Find out which journalists, bloggers, and other influencers will be at the event ahead of time (by conducting some targeted keyword searches on Google — said bloggers and influencers are probably talking about it endlessly) and send them a copy of your press release in advance
  • Host an event at your stand. Be sure to advertise your stand event
  • Join the Book Fair group on Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with contacts and other attendees
  • Do your research. Find out as much as you can about the scheduled events, market audience, attendees, etc. before the event
  • Don’t forget to market on social media before, during, and after the event

Save 15% Now on Your Global Book Tour

This month, Outskirts Press is offering 15% off our Global Book Tour marketing option. The Global Book Tour is a convenient, economical way to get your book exposure at the four most prestigious international book events: London Book Fair, BookExpo (America), Beijing International Book Fair and Frankfurt Book Fair.

For just $993.65, a savings of $175.35 off the already bundled price, Outskirts Press will handle all of the details to register your book for these popular events and you will receive …

  • Prominent, face-out display of your book with select other Outskirts Press titles
  • A representative on-site to personally answer questions and promote your book to interested attendees
  • Valuable industry leads
  • Inquiries forwarded directly to you for follow-up!

To exhibit your book and save 15%, enter promo code GoGlobal-Save15 at checkout when you purchase the Global Book Tour before the offer expires!

 

How to get the most out of your author webpage

An author webpage is more than just a “pretty face” on mobile devices and desktop computers.  It can also be a powerful sales and marketing tool; and you will increase your chances of getting the most out of your author webpage if you follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Market All Your Books

If you’ve published multiple books with Outskirts Press (and many of you have), then your Author Webpage automatically features an “Also by” section in which all of your other book covers appear, each of them clickable to their own author webpage.  It’s like a dynamic author website that automatically grows with your writing career. Plus, it is a proven fact that readers of one of your books are more inclined to be readers of your other books, too, so be sure to publish multiple books to automatically add this cool section to all of your Outskirts Press author webpages.

  1. Link Your Webpage to Your Social Media Accounts

It probably goes without saying that every author should have a Facebook account and a Linked-In account.  If you’re more experienced with social media you may also have  a Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and/or Pinterest account.  That’s great! And guess what?  Your Author Webpage can link to ALL those social media accounts directly from your “About the Author” section — but ONLY if you tell your webpage how.

First, click on the “Edit My Profile” in the upper right-hand corner of your Publishing Center. Or, alternatively, you may have a “My Account” link. In either case, clicking that link will open up your Profile Page, where you can Edit Your Profile, provide Social Media Details, and set your Royalty Payment Details, among other things. In the Social Media Details section, enter in the URL for each of your social media profiles. The easiest way to do that is to go to each of your active social media platforms and go to your “home” or “main” page of your account, and then cut-n-paste the URL from the Internet Browser and place it into the appropriate field of this form. Don’t forget to save your changes. It’s as easy as that!

  1. Add Some Multi-Media

Your Outskirts Press Author Webpage features an “optional” menu item specifically for “Media” which includes book video trailers, audio excerpts, and/or audiobooks. The audio excerpt is included with many of our packages, so if you have recorded your audio excerpt, it is available from your author webpage already.  The book video trailer a very popular marketing option so if you didn’t order a book video trailer with your publishing package, you can add one at any time from the Marketing Options tab of your Publishing Center.  The most recent addition to the Media section is our new AudioBook Publishing Option. It’s half the price and twice the quality of our competitors, and opens up a whole new market for your book, so be sure to check it out from the Marketing Tab, or by clicking this button right here:

 

 

5 Tips for Using Social Media to Market Your Book

With the exploding popularity of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest, it’s easier than ever to connect with people all around the world. But, if you’re not sure how to get started or are unsure about how to make connections with your target audience, don’t worry! Here are 5 easy tips to help you!

1. Determine what your goals are.

  • Increase awareness? The average person spends nearly two hours on social media every day, and therefore social media is one of the best places to grab a reader’s attention.
  • Drive traffic to your book? Drive visitors to your author webpage or to your listing on Amazon.
  • Generate new leads? These are people who have indicated interest in your book in some way, shape, or form, but haven’t yet purchased it.
  • Build your royalties? You can use social media to turn your audience into paying customers.

2. How often should you post?

  • Facebook – Two or three times per day
  • Instagram – Once or twice per day
  • Instagram Stories – Eight to 16 Stories, twice per week
  • Twitter – Three to ten times per day
  • LinkedIn – Once or twice per day
  • Pinterest – Five to ten times per day

3. When should you post?

  • Twitter – 1-3pm weekdays
  • Facebook – 1-4pm weekdays
  • LinkedIn – 7-8:30am and 5-6pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
  • Instagram – 5-6pm weekdays and 8pm on Mondays
  • Pinterest – 2-4pm and 8-11pm weekdays with weekends being the best
  • Google+ – 9-11am weekdays

4. What should you post?

  • Facebook – Post videos about your book, live videos of you talking about your book or at book events, photos of you and your book, blog posts and curated content.
  • No matter what type of post you’re sharing on Facebook, the copy you add alongside your content can be key in how it performs.
  • Instagram – Post hi-res photos (your cover, your author photo, any images or illustrations within your book), behind-the-scenes photos of your book events, quotes, user-generated content (sharing other photos, such as attendees at a book signing) but give credit to the original creator (known as a re-post), and Instagram stories. Captions are limited to 2,200 characters, and after three lines of text, they become shortened with an ellipsis (those 3 dots you see on posts). You want to grab the readers’ attention with your opening line or two.
  • Twitter – Post news about your book, blog posts, photos of you and your book at events, curated content and images. The type of copy in your tweets can drive huge improvements in your results.
  • Pinterest – Images are the best thing to post on Pinterest. Post hi-res photos of your book, the cover, book events, step-by-step photo guides and infographics.
  • LinkedIn – Post professional information about your career as a writer. Since LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, the most suitable content will revolve around you as an author. Share news about your book and milestones on your LinkedIn page, particularly if the book involves career advice.

5. Automate, engage, and listen

  • Automate posting of your social media content. A tool like Buffer is great for automation. It allows you to create all the content that you want to, all at once, and then place everything into a queue to be sent out according to whatever schedule you choose.
  • Social media requires engagement. When people talk to you, talk back. Set aside time during your day to follow up with conversations that are happening on social media. These are conversations with potential customers, references, friends, and colleagues.
  • Don’t forget, the ultimate purpose is to sell copies of your book. So always be polite, helpful, and generous. Book sales will follow.

For more information on marketing your book, log into your Publishing Center for a complete list of marketing options and to access the free Book Marketing Resource Center.

 

Resolutions Every Author Should Have for the New Year!

Structured and manageable goals are important to those of us who consider ourselves works in progress. Well, it’s that time of year when we all start thinking about those goals — in this case, New Year’s resolutions. They’re especially necessary to moving a book from an unknown publication to a chart-topper. It’s a big project!

But, whether you’re just starting to figure out marketing or already a best-selling author, there are simple things you can resolve to do in 2019 that will make you an even better at selling … or simply a better you. Here are resolutions for published authors or anyone bent on self-improvement.

  1. Set goals. “Wait, I thought a resolution was a goal!” Well, yes, it is, in a sense. Ideally, your New Year’s resolution is the culmination of your goals throughout the year. It’s important — and ultimately more productive — to make goal-setting a habit, not just a tradition we do once a year and promptly forget. So set lots of small, attainable goals rather than one insurmountable to-do you never actually do. For example, if your resolution is to sell 2,000 copies, break it down into smaller goals. Resolve to promote one giveaway in January, schedule a book-signing in February, then a book fair in March and so on for the entire year. Or, set a goal to schedule 20 book-signings next year and average 10 sales per event. Way less intimidating, right?
  2. Facilitate goals. If you’ve resolved to sell big in the new year without so much as a marketing calendar in the house, you’ve not facilitated your goals or your year’s resolution. Remove barriers to progress and instate conditions that help you achieve. Buy an entry-level PC for getting on social media to promote or gather a list of bookstores you can call to set up events. Then, resolve to reach out until you get the bookings you need to fulfill your resolution.
  3. Make marketing a priority. Once you’ve divided your marketing resolutions into smaller goals, it’s much easier to give them top priority. Knock out those little to-do’s first thing in the morning!
  4. Read, read, read. Top-notch authors are always top-notch readers. Get to know your genre not just by practicing it but by being an avid consumer of it. That way, you’ll get to know your audience and what appeals to them.
  5. Master the basics of social media. No matter what your stripe, there’s are many others with similar interests on social media. Facebook “friend” other authors and readers, and learn from them. Follow publishers. Rub elbows with book clubs. You’ll find kindred spirits in the virtual world who can enlighten you with real wisdom. Use that wisdom to refine how you communicate with potential readers.
  6. Try something new. Make 2019 the year you branch out. Start a blog. Meet new people with similar interests. These new experiences will all enrich and inform so many other aspects of your life. At the very least, you’ll be a more social and well-rounded person. Hey, you might even discover a whole new audience for your book!
  7. Just do you. Yes, you should be reading a lot, meeting people and making connections that pay off in sales. Ultimately, you’ll assimilate all these influences into a voice that is uniquely yours, and you’ll find your true audience. Don’t fight it — feed it.
  8. Consider “cheating” a little. Many of us are afraid to ask for help. It feels lazy, like we’re cutting corners. Let us put your mind at ease: It’s not cheating to ask for help reaching your marketing goals! In fact, it’s pretty smart, if you ask us. And, if you’ve tried new things, delved into social media and checked off other goals, you likely have crossed paths with new people who may be able to help you get past the hump. Reach out to friends and family to help you get the word out or purchase inexpensive marketing service options to help you reach the goals you set on the road to your resolution. (Even full-time professionals parse out their duties from time to time.)

Whatever your resolution, the important thing is to keep moving, to take whatever steps necessary to move you toward fulfilling the great things you planned for your life.

Need help moving toward your New Year’s resolution? Consider hiring a Personal Marketing Assistant for 5 hours of expertise and a Custom Marketing Plan. You can log into your Publishing Center to see what book marketing options are available to you or chat with us using the live chat option on our website (www.outskirtspress.com).

 

What Does it Take to Market a Memoir, Biography, or Autobiography?

Memoirs are a tricky thing to write, much less market, and their cousins the autobiography and the biography are equally so. When an author draws from real life and the history of a moment in time, it can seem daunting to do the deep research, trap the sands of time on the page, publish a finished book … and then also have to market that book! And given the fact that your book is deeply invested in, the facts, there is a widespread reluctance on the part of memoir, biography, and autobiography authors to pump up the drama in the heightened emotion of the kind of sales copy you’ll find tied to works of both literary and genre fiction. That said, there are some reliable and useful ways to market your work of non-fiction drawn from real life that ought to prove helpful as you set out to start marketing your latest book.

1. Identify your readers and where they “live.” We bring up this point often, as it applies to marketing for so many different genres in so many different ways. When it comes to memoir, biography, and autobiography, we’re talking about a very specific subset of readers. Readers of these branches of non-fiction are not always hugely prolific readers, in that they may not read widely on many topics, but they are incredibly deep readers and will often read more than one book on the same topic, to ensure they have a thorough picture of a time, place, or life. As a result, they’re not necessarily shopping for their books or their ebooks in the same place as everyone else; they’ll be just as likely to turn up online in history forums dedicated to particular time periods or particular military campaigns or particular Napoleonic-era war ships. Don’t be afraid to get hyper-specific in your marketing: identify key bloggers and other authors writing about the same subject, place, or time as you are and reach out to them. History buffs hosting influential profiles on Instagram, YouTube, and podcasts are another great resource to identify and consult about doing a social media or blog tour!

2. Get in touch with your local history buffs. Do not underestimate your own community’s potential hunger and thirst for non-fiction in the memoir, biography, and autobiography subgenres! Memoirs by small-town retired war vets routinely pack out libraries hosting readings and signings, and travelogues and tell-alls too. People are excited to expand their world and taste of other lives, and they haunt libraries, museums, and local businesses looking to connect with those stories. When you start to market your book, make sure you include a book reading or signing at your local public library as one of your first and most highly publicized events, and reach out to local organizations such as the VFW, Elks, Rotary, and Kiwanis clubs as well as your local museums, universities, and archives for partnerships. All of these organizations take an interest in preserving history and in expanding the career prospects of young entrepreneurs. What better way to inspire the next generation than with a book about a well-lived life?

3. Bring it home. That is … don’t be afraid to make this book, and the marketing of this book, personal. After all, the average reader picks up a memoir, biography, or autobiography in the first place because they’re fascinated with the outline of a life–and because that reader wants to fill in some of the blanks! Don’t shy away from making the most of your personal experiences or the personal experiences of the historical figure around which you’re centering the book in your marketing campaign, and make sure to touch upon the perspectives and worldview that have informed your writing; just as you want your book to ring true on fact-checkable details, you also want all of your marketing copy to ring true to your personal voice. Even if you didn’t draw from your own life for the content of your book, there’s room in the margins for your story. Think of Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks–Skloot herself is present in the text as narrator, and the author doesn’t shy away from including her very hands-on research process as a part of the braided story of the book. That braiding continued in her marketing of the book after its release. You can always share significant places, things, or aspects of your story, and engage your readers with all kinds of digital media (blog posts, pictures, videos, and social media posts) during the marketing process. So, start thinking of what makes your story unique, and think of how you can use that to draw readers in — outside the pages of your book.

No matter what steps you intend take to market your memoir, biography, or autobiography, we’re with you on your journey–and eager to help you travel that path as smoothly and effectively as possible! And if you’re still not sure where to get started in marketing your book, it may be time to lean on an expert. There’s never a better time than now to inquire about the wonderful lineup of marketing options available to you through Outskirts Press; simply visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com, where you’ll find countless further recommendations to suit your marketing needs.

To see our staff picks of amazing memoirs, biographies, or autobiographies from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

 

Why the Holidays Should Be on Your Marketing Radar Now

For many of us, the red-and-green bling and piped-in Christmas music at the local big box store — usually before the kids’ Halloween candy is even inspected — is the first tip-off that the giving season is around the bend. It always seems ridiculously early to think about the holidays … but is it really?

If you’re a self-publishing author with plans to market a book, it’s certainly not. In fact, it should be on your mind now, even as summer is at full sizzle. Let’s work backward on the calendar to illustrate why.

By Black Friday, the official kick-off for holiday shopping, most print news and magazine organizations have already planned and sold out advertising space in their regular editions, gift guides and other special holiday publications. If you want to reserve ad space on time, you’ll need to think one to three months ahead; this means you should have your holiday marketing ducks in a row even before those trick-or-treaters come knocking.

That brings us back to October. By some estimates, one-third of shoppers are already buying gifts in the fall, taking advantage of Labor Day sales when the fervor is less aggressive. This can be a golden time to grab the spotlight with a print ad or polished social media banners with less competition than you’re likely to encounter in December.

To prepare, you should create marketing pieces or work with a copywriter and/or graphic designer in September to have your materials ready in plenty of time for a Labor Day push. Consider it a dry run — a chance to gather valuable data you can use to refine your approach to Christmas. (Then get started on Christmas, asap!)

In the two months leading up to Labor Day, focus on a marketing calendar and budget. Spend August saving your coins, determining your marketing budget, researching where best to allocate your money and drafting a marketing calendar specifically for the holidays.

So, now that you know how short time really is, start planning! You’ll be way ahead of the competition — and, dare we say, far less stressed — by the time your happy holidays roll around.

Want to expedite your marketing plan and marketing calendar? Consider purchasing time with an Outskirts Press
Personal Marketing Assistant for help preparing your holiday promotions.