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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

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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.

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Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing

How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily.

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Book Marketing Secrets For Budget-Conscious Authors

Book Marketing: Advertising Ideas For Budget-Conscious Authors

You’re writing your book. Writing, writing, writing… have you considered that NOW would be a good time to market? Few writers want to think about book marketing at all, ever, let alone when they’re in the middle of writing.

But now’s the perfect time.

Here’s why: when you focus on marketing now, it will help you with your writing. Because:

  • You’ll consider your readers;
  • (If you’re writing fiction) you’ll give thought to entertaining readers (start by entertaining yourself);
  • (If you’re writing nonfiction) you’ll think about how readers can get real value from your book;
  • You’ll be motivated to finish your book.

All good reasons to market. Here’s a bonus reason: you need to book in advance for some of the best promotional venues.

Start marketing your book now

What’s your budget for book marketing? Yes, you’re all about free, and so am I. To give your book its best chance however, you’ll need to open your wallet a little. You don’t need to go wild, and run up a huge bill on AdWords, or even a mini-bill on Facebook.

However, you do need to spend some money.

Matt Manochio’s article will give you some ideas:

BookSends ($15). Reach: 100,000 overall subscribers, 17,000 in the Horror category, although the web operator said those numbers are a little outdated and should be 15% to 20% higher. Results: 125 clicks, 47 sales. Put BookSends on your advertising list right now. I mean it. It cost me $15 and I more than made that back in sales.

Find your own venues — reader blogs, book blogs, and websites

Matt lists some wonderful venues in his article, but scout out your own too. Where do your readers — or prospective readers — hang out online? Ask them on social media. Then book an ad on any venue you choose, in advance, following Matt’s method.

Blog tours are popular with some writers, but they take lots of time. You can save time by advertising on websites. This means that rather than spending a month writing blog posts, you can spend that time writing another book.

Lowering the price while you’re advertising, as Matt does, is a good idea, because it will increase sales. The increased sales will help you to get onto more of Amazon’s lists.

Vital: set up a website with a mailing list

You’re spending money on advertising, and the best way to get a long-lasting return on that advertising is to ensure that you have a way of contacting readers again. When I coach authors, the first thing I do is encourage them to set up a mailing list, if they haven’t already done so. I’ve been using aweber for lists for a decade, but there are many mailing list providers.

Ask others where they’re advertising

Authors will often share the results of their advertising adventures on Writers’ Cafe, and on private forums. Make a list of advertising options to check out, and as we’ve said, book your advertising now, while you’re still writing.

When you know you’re running advertising in three or four months, you won’t dither on completing your book. Similarly, if you have a favorite editor, contact her about your book now, and reserve her time.

Book marketing can be exciting, and fun — so get ready now.

Writing programs to increase your profits, from today — closeouts mean you SAVE

Writing programs to increase your profits, from today -- closeouts mean you SAVE

To meet my goals for 2015, I’m closing out some of our bestselling programs, so that I can focus on coaching and publishing.

This means that you get special offerings on some of our current programs. When they close, they’ll close for good. And yes, you receive coaching with them too. 🙂

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Amazon’s Reining In Affiliates Promoting Free Ebooks

The Digital Reader’s been studying Amazon’s new rules for Amazon affiliates promoting free ebooks, and says that Amazon may have killed “free ebook” promotions:

According to the new 80-20 rule (my name for it), Amazon affiliates will be penalized in any month that one, their affiliate ID shows up on more than 20 thousand free Kindle ebook purchases, and two, the total number of paid Kindle ebooks account for less than one in five purchases. If an Amazon affiliate can’t comply with the rule, they will lose their income for the month.

It seems that the free ebook promotions are costing Amazon money, and affiliates will somehow need to police their own promotions. As the article rightly points out, affiliates can’t control what happens when someone clicks a link and goes to Amazon.

Free ebooks are too popular

Amazon’s in business to make money, and ebook authors use free promotions because they work.

This is a hard ruling for affiliates to obey — indeed, I can’t see any way in which can be sure that they won’t fall foul of the new rules.

Since affiliates stand to lose their commissions, they’ll need to restrict themselves to promoting “paying” ebooks, but they still can’t control what their customers do when they get to Amazon.

This means that authors can’t rely on the “free ebook downloads” sites to do their promotions, they’ll need to do their own.