Category Archives: Book promotion

Book Marketing: How To Use Short Stories To Promote Novels

Book Marketing: How To Use Short Stories To Promote Novels

Does the idea of book marketing make you wince? You’re working on a novel, or you’ve just completed one. Everyone who’s read it tells you that they love your book. You need to get it into the hands of as many readers as possible, but the idea of selling yourself makes you wince.

As a tribe, authors are shy and retiring. Most are introverts, and extremely reluctant to promote their work.

You’re a typical author, and you want a way to promote your novel that you can do. You’re worrying that it’s impossible.

It’s not impossible. You can promote your novel by writing. You don’t need to dominate social media with “buy my book!” messages, or create a book trailer, or… Whatever. While there are a thousand things you can do to market your book, there’s one way you can do it without hassle — you can write and publish short stories.

Your simple book marketing plan for your novel: how to use short stories for promotion

I spend a lot of time on Amazon. I browse the virtual book shelves because I’m a reader, but I also want to know what’s selling. Over the past 12 months, I’m delighted that traditional publishers seem to be pushing their authors to use short stories and novellas for promotion. Or maybe these savvy authors are doing it proactively.

Either way, you can do what they do.

Here’s a very simple book marketing plan which uses short stories for promotion. Modify it as you wish — make it your own. Don’t forget our fourth step: compile your short stories into a bundle, and sell that ebook too.

A tip: leave your solo short stories for readers to discover. Don’t remove any from publication just because you’ve included them in a bundle.

1. Publish a short story while you’re writing your novel. (Make it low-priced. Or just post the story on your blog.)

You’re writing your novel. Whether or not it’s going smoothly, take a few minutes each day for a week or two to work on a short story.

Use our basic short story template:

Someone — Your Main Character — Wants Something.

He wants to achieve a specific goal. He also has a hidden need. For example, your character, Fred, an accountant, might want a promotion at work. His hidden need is to build his confidence.

Write a page or two so that the reader gets to know and like the character.

Publish the short story while you’re writing your novel.

Vital: create a signup page for a mailing list, and add a link to the signup page in the back or front matter of the story. Any reader who signs up to your list after reading your story may well buy your novel… they like you. 🙂

2. Three weeks before your novel’s publication day: post another short story.

Happy days. Publication day is in sight. You’ve got your cover, and someone’s proofing the final copy of your novel.

Write a quick short story that has some relation to your novel. Maybe it’s set in the same location as your novel, or is a prequel. It doesn’t matter how slender the connection: write the story, and publish it.

Don’t forget to include the link to your signup page.

3. Publish another short story (or novella) a month after publication day.

Publication day has come and gone. For better or worse, your novel is now available for readers… It’s time to write another short story, or a novella, to kick your novel along.

Your novel will appear on various “new” or “just released” lists on the ebook retailers for around four weeks after publication day. This gives your novel a little boost. Then a month after you publish, it drops off those lists.

This is the danger period — kick Amazon and the other ebook retailers back into life with your new short story. It will appear on the “new” lists and gives your novel a boost.

Again, don’t forget to add the link to your mailing list signup page to the back matter.

4. Three months after publication: compile your short stories into a bundle, and sell it.

It’s three months since you published your novel. You’re hard at work on another novel.

Take a few hours and write another short story. Add all your other short stories, and bundle them into a collection. Publish it.

Of course, you’ll let readers know that they can read a novel you’ve published. Add the novel’s links on the various ebook retailers to your signup page.

Remember to use social media to promote your short stories — and your novel too, of course

We’ve talked about writing short stories. Don’ t forget to promote each story as you publish it.

You’ve now got quite a collection of books you can promote… You have the short stories you’ve written, and the bundle, and your novel too.

You’re doing a wonderful job of promoting your novel, and you’re doing it in the way you do best. You’re writing. Kudos to you. 🙂

How To Use Short Stories To Promote Novels

Discover how to write and profit from short stories

Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that’s excellent… Here’s why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction. Discover how, with Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories; it’s now available at ebook retailers.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

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Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →

Write Bestselling Fiction: Your Blurb Needs People (Blurb 2)

Write Bestselling Fiction: Your Blurb Needs People (Blurb 2)

If you’re writing fiction, you hope it will be bestselling fiction. Since that’s the case, your blurb (book description) has just one function: to get its readers to take action.

What action? You want readers to read the book’s sample. Ideally, you want them to go on to buy the book, or at the very least to remember the book and the author’s name.

(By “book”, I mean ebooks too, of course.)

I coach writers, so I read a lot of blurbs. I advise students to focus on people in their blurbs. Readers want to read about people, above all.

If you doubt this, consider your favorite novels:

  • In the Harry Potter books, who’s more important, Harry and his friends, or Hogwarts? (I know that both are important, but go along with me here… :-))
  • In Game of Thrones, do you remember the setting, or the characters?

PEOPLE: who are your characters, and why should we care?

Try this exercise.

Choose your three main characters, and write a one-sentence summary of each one. Yes, just one sentence. Include each character’s major flaw, as well as his biggest virtue.

Here’s an example. “At just 26, Demetria Jones had already had 26 jobs, and she was proud of that.”

Demetria’s flaw: she can’t hold a job. You sense that she’s slightly out of step with the rest of society — and she doesn’t care. Her virtue is that she’s willing to keep trying job after job.

Are you interested in Demetria? Many readers will be interested enough to keep reading, and that’s what you want your blurb to do — keep readers reading. Then you want them to read the ebook’s sample too.

Craft your one-sentence summary while you’re writing your novel

Here’s why you need to craft your character summaries while you write: so that you remember what you’re writing. It’s all too easy, when you’re writing a novel, to wonder off onto weird tangents.

Sometimes this works. You start a scene, and you don’t know quite where you’re headed with the scene, but it seems interesting, so you keep going. If you’ve crafted a one-sentence character summary for each character, that acts as a compass, and you won’t wander too far off track.

With parts 1 and 2 of this series, you now know enough to write excellent blurbs. Have fun. 🙂

Read the first part of our “write a blurb which sells” series

This article is the second in a series.

In Writing Fiction To Sell: Your Blurb’s An Advertisement, Part 1, the first article in this series, we talked about the importance of clarity in writing your blurb. We also gave you a template, and some exercises.

Serial Fiction Bonanza: Get Readers, Get Fans — Make A Solid Income From Your Fiction FAST

Serial Fiction Bonanza: Get Readers, Get Fans — Make A Solid Income From Your Fiction FAST

Serial fiction has been around since the days of Charles Dickens. Self-publishing authors love it. Discover how to write serials in our new four week class. Coaching is included — you’re not writing alone.

By the end of the program, you’ll have published several episodes of your serial fiction. You’ll also be steadily marketing, while you’re writing and publishing.

Join us: you’ll have a lot of fun, and you’ll boost your fiction writing career.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Earn while you learn, with Angela’s Writing Classes..

Writing Fiction To Sell: Your Blurb’s An Advertisement, Part 1

Writing Fiction To Sell: Your Blurb’s An Advertisement, Part 1

This week I’ve been helping several ebook authors write their fiction’s blurbs. That is, their ebooks’ descriptions. I reminded them: “When you’re writing fiction, you’re writing about people. So your blurbs need to be about those people.”

As Henry James said:

“What is character but the determination of incident?”

“What is incident but the illustration of character?”

Your ebook’s description on the ebook retailers isn’t a bland retelling of your story. Nor is is an excuse to cram in as many keywords as you can. It’s a headline, in copywriting terms. A tease.

Here are the problems I found in these authors’ blurbs:

  • Confusion, too many names. Not only character names, but restaurant names, company names… (We’ll look at why including too many names in a blurb is a problem in a moment);
  • Telling what happened. We don’t care about events, unless they relate in some way to people we know. Use your blurb to make us care about your characters;
  • As mentioned — keywords. Please don’t do that. Your blurb is your one chance to advertise your book. Amazon’s algorithm works fine, without keywords in your blurb and/ or (heaven forbid) in your headline;
  • TL;DR (too long, didn’t read.) I used to be a fan of blurbs which were a few hundred words long, back when Amazon offered the blurb further down on the product page. Now the blurbs are right under the title. You only get a couple of paragraphs, then readers must click the Read More link. They won’t click unless you make those initial paragraphs count.

Let’s look at the problems, and how to fix them

1. Clarity is all: eliminate reader confusion

I advise my students to limit names in their blurb: at the very most — THREE names. Less is more.

You’ve got three tools to snag readers’ attention on your product page: your ebook’s title, your cover, and your blurb. But, and this is a BIG but… please don’t try to be too clever.

Clarity is everything. If you confuse a reader, he’ll click away, instantly. So keep your words simple, and easy to understand.

Here’s a simple blurb template.

Adjective CHARACTER NAME 1 wants/ has decided/ discovers STORY QUESTION.

Unfortunately, adjective CHARACTER NAME 2, wants ANTAGONIST’S GOAL.

This means (whatever the CONFLICT is.)

Another tip: complete the bare-bones blurb — using the template above — as soon as you’ve completed your first draft. If you haven’t thought about your story question, and what your characters want, this forces you to do so.

Writing blurbs is a vital skill for fiction authors, so this post is the first article in a blurb-writing workshop. Each post will have exercises so that you can practice your new skills.

Here are the  exercises for this post.

Two fun exercises to help you to write blurbs which sell your fiction

  1. Write a sentence about each of your main characters — two or three sentences for each one. Start by summing up each character in an adjective, and a verb.
  2. Sum up your novel’s (or short story’s) story question in a sentence.
Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99
You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell. More info →
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Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99
Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters. More info →
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Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Amazon Kindle

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