2014 MARKETING PREDICTION TAKE-AWAYS FOR BOOK AUTHORS

When you’re a marketer, you have your own perception of time – you’re always seeing ahead, and trying to sell people what they don’t need today or tomorrow, but what they’ll need months from now. In today’s climate, book authors are marketers too, and need to incorporate these strategies in their marketing platforms.

Fact: This year, Target, BJs and other major retail stores put out their first glossy Xmas advertising circulars, BEFORE Halloween.

Fact: This year, marketing pundits began touting trends for 2014, BEFORE the school year started in some states.

Let’s look at some of these projections to see what we can take-away so we can hit the ground running in 2014.

EXPLOSION INTO SOCIAL MEDIA:

Use of social media and interactive marketing has moved from a little something extra to a mandatory component of every marketing campaign. Some current predictions tag social media campaigns as the major component of next year’s marketing budget.

Take-away: You can no longer put-off building your social media platform. Establish a presence on at least three social media sites, say Facebook, Pinterest and Google+, NOW!

BOOM IN MICRO-VIDEO:

As pointed out by several pundits, our society is becoming less and less patient, so much so that today’s social media sound bites are being replaced by their younger, quicker cousins. Twitter’s Vine and Instagram’s video sharing feature are examples of the move from 120 character posts to sentence bites and from three minute Youtube videos to 15 seconds video bullets.

Take-way: You have less time to capture your audience and sell your product.

EMERGENCE/DOMINATION OF GOOGLE+:

Citing the tremendous growth in user numbers, the pundits state 2014 is the year Google+ emerges as either a serious contender to Facebook or becomes the market dominator.

Take-way: Get on Google+ NOW! If you are already on it, update and upgrade your presence.

In contrast, according to Statista*, Facebook is the primary driver of website traffic to publishers, with Pinterest a not very close second, Twitter a distant third, and Google+ last behind LinkedIn. This obvious disconnect between future predictions and the current reality may be connected to the belief that Google should be able to figure out how to get Google+ members clicking on content.

BACKLASH TO NON-DIGITAL MARKETING AND PRODUCTS:

In an A Sneak Peek at 2014 Marketing Trends and Other Hot Topics from the Marketing Forum Conference, Forbes Contributor Kimberly Whitler cites from two conference speakers regarding some trends showing consumer backlash in response to over-digitalization.

– There is a movement away from digital purchases to buy original products, like vinyl records and old cars. Rohit Bhargava, www.15trends.com.

– The importance of non-digital word of mouth (WOM) marketing. For WOM marketing to work, you must have a credible social component that motivates consumers to share. Example, Oscar Meyer’s “Baconbarter” campaign where comedian Josh Senkey used bacon to barter for his travel across the US.

For every movement, there is a counter-movement, and one where the nostalgia for the “good old days,” when people talked directly to each other instead of tweeting or texting or emailing, has gathered momentum. Henry Grabar, a columnist for Salon.com who writes about how technological innovation impacts urban development, says, “In situations where politeness and concentration are expected, backlash is mounting against our smartphones.” According to Grabar, people have begun to carve out spaces and events as wire-free zones and activities.

Take-way: Tap into readers’ increasing nostalgia by publishing your Ebook as print book too. Do it, NOW! With print-on-demand there’s little-to-no associated cost. Establish incentives for readers to share in your marketing. For example, have a buy-one- get-one-free- to- share campaign that rewards readers when they give away copies of your book. Create social component marketing by supporting causes you believe in with free books for giveaways, or other donated items. Do not undervalue the personal touch in your marketing efforts.

More-than-ever, we live in a world with 24/7 social contact and marketing opportunities. Writers can light a fire under their personal brand by dedicating some time every day on marketing, with emphasis on social media, while not neglecting their home base and WOM marketing. By examining trends in media dominance, writers can choose where to spend their time so that they reap the biggest pay-off.

Incorporate a few of the suggestions made here to help ensure your success in 2014!

For more reading, click below:

http://get-susan.com/2013/10/22/social-media-marketing-trends-to-watch-out-for-in-2014/

The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014, Jayson Demers, Contributor.

Social Marketing Trends to Watch in 2014, Chris McMurphy.

A Sneak Peek at 2014 Marketing Trends and Other Hot Topics from the Marketing Forum Conference, Kimberly Whitler.

Pinterest Drives More Traffic to Publishers than Twitter, Felix Richter.

Smart Phones Are Killing Us — And Disrupting Public Life, Henry Grabar.

Whew! We got there!

100SMALLFIFRESCREATSPACEcoverfinal

Spouses, siblings, parents, significant others of writers or anyone within six degrees of a writer, your loved one or friend needs marketing help!

Writers: Are you self-pubbed, indie-pubbed, traditionally-pubbed, crowd-sourced, rock- etched, or hair-woven – news flash – you need marketing help!

Now, the good news…

Marketing help is a few clicks away, and… it won’t break bank.

100 Small Fires to Make Your Book Sales BLAZE! is now in it’s second edition, updated and fully revised, and…

$2.99 for the ebook, or $7.29 for the paperbook; that’s less than a cup of plain Joe from McDonald’s or a super large, super fancy, whatever-your-poison.

Get them here:

eBook:

100 Small Fires eBook at Amazon

Paperback:

100 Small Fires Paperback at Amazon

Happy Holidays!

TK Read

Well, our free days have been a rousing success so far.  Today we’ve been #1 in our category at Amazon, and we’ve got the screen shots to prove it! See one below:

We made it to #1 in our category on Amazon.

We made it to #1 in our category on Amazon.

If you haven’t had a chance to download the book, do it now! Our free days end at midnight Pacific time. See above for the page with the download link.

Visit us later in the week for the strategies we used to get there.

 

YA and MG Authors Should Get Their Game On to Fire-up Book Sales.

With it being Super Bowl Sunday, it’s a great time to discuss the type of games that are relevant to writers.

“Gamification” simply means to make a product or marketing campaign interactive and engaging by adding game design elements to it.  The goal is to create customer engagement in a particular activity, like watching for clues in your book trailer, while winning their loyalty. *The use of games can, but does not have to, include contests and the awarding of prizes; but where you chose to do so, make sure you are not violating any state or federal laws. Generally, you cannot require a purchase to enter such a contest. *

YA or Young Adult is typically (and very loosely) defined as a book whose target market is 11-19 year olds. MG or Middle Grade is generally written for children between 9 and 13. In reality, and as seen by sales for blockbusters like The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series, all age groups read books written for these markets.  For more on what makes a book YA or MG, read author Joanna Penn’s excellent blog article on the subject here:  http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/01/18/writing-marketing-ya/.

So why should writers for these markets focus their publicity strategies on gamification?

Games are the interaction method of choice for  members of these markets. It’s safe to say that virtually all teens and children in the intended YA and MG markets have been exposed to, own, and/or play video games, computer games, games on their phones or other hand held devices.  Playing interactive games is a huge part of their lives. If you want a sure fire way to attract their attention, you need to gamify your book marketing.

For a great example of the engagement possibilities using gamification to attract middle grade readership, check out Author Sarah Prineas’ best-selling, The Magic Thief series. On her publisher’s book page, you’ll find links that let you explore the book setting through an interactive map, read one of the main’s character’s lost journal entries; obtain a recipe for biscuits eaten in the book, play a game where you learn what animal you’d become by casting a spell from the book, learn about sword fighting, down-load images from the books as your computer wallpaper, and decode ruins for a chance to win an exclusive incentive. Take a look here:  http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/kids/gamesandcontests/features/magicthief/.

Whew! While that seems like a lot, Sarah went even farther in her gamification odyssey, and The Magic Thief has been made into an inter-active online game by Adventure Quest. Find it here: http://sarah-prineas.com/2012/03/magic-thief-event-is-live-at-aq/.  For more on Sarah and her other books read here:  http://sarah-prineas.com/books/the-magic-thief/.

Erin Morgenstern’s best seller, The Night Circus, book launch was accompanied by a free on-line game developed by Failbetter Games. While there has been extensive on-line debate on whether the work should be classified as literary or YA, for our purposes we’re treating  it as YA because it has teen protagonists and is marketed to teenagers and adults. The game involves the books characters and story world. Here’s the link for the game: http://www.nightcircus.co.uk/Home/Auth, and for Erin’s home page, click here:   http://erinmorgenstern.com/about/ .

The game (along with great writing, strong publisher support and host of other factors) was instrumental in pushing The Night Circus to the top. It was a central component of an overall marketing strategy that won Erin’s publisher the “Best Marketing Campaign of the Year Award” from the Book Marketing Society.

If you want to keep abreast of book marketing trends, and gamification ideas, for your own marketing efforts, it pays to review the Book Marketing Society’s monthly awards as well. Start here: http://www.bookmarketingsociety.co.uk/2012/10/winners-announced-for-the/.

You may be thinking, “Hey, I’m not a big publisher. What can I do to bring to gamification into my book marketing?”

Well, formulating your own strategy to engage readers through games doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated or time consuming. You can add the interactivity of a game to your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ listings without spending a great deal of money or time.  Here are some examples of how:

–          Run a Tweeting Contest:  Popular Mechanics Magazine recently featured a DVD giveaway where prizes were awarded to the first ten twitter users who posted a particular tweet on a specific date and time.  You too can do this!

–          Add Word Game Challenges to Your Social Media Sites. Run a one week crossword puzzle challenge. Change your profile pic to a shot of a cross word puzzle with a couple of letters already filled in. Make sure the word or phrase is an important one from your book, but not necessarily one that anyone could just guess.  Start an Event Page or comment line where you state your rules for your game, clearly and distinctly, including the number of winners, date and time contest begins and ends. Give clues throughout the week from this page/comment line. Have people email you’re their guesses to your designated email account and award the first so many a prize (bookmarks, magnets, signed copy, etc.).  Be sure to post notices of your contest to your blogs, twitter accounts (using appropriate hash tags), and other social media sites frequented by your readership at least one week before you begin your contest. Also, for the week of your contest, make sure you change your access perimeters to allow the public access to your Facebook or Google+ page so everyone who is interested can enter.

–          Add Free Games to Your Blog and Web Pages. If you have a bit of blog/website administration know-how, you can also add word puzzle games right to your homepage.  Eclipsecrossword allows you to download their crossword puzzle app for inclusion in your website for free. Find it at http://www.eclipsecrossword.com/.  For WordPress users, simply search “puzzles” in the Search Plugins menu and you will find more than a baker’s dozen word games that you can upload to your blog. Find one you like, and with a little imagination you can figure out a way to use it to interact with your visitors.

Now… Three. Two. One!

Go!

Get your game on!

For more ideas using Gamification to fire up your book marketing, you can also buy our book!

100 Small Fires To Make Your Book Sales BLAZE!

Find 100 Small Fires To Make Your Book Sales BLAZE! here:  http://amzn.to/QPEmx7

 

 

Making a YouTube Video on the Cheap.

As part of the marketing for our new Ebook, 100 Small Fires To Make Your Book Sales BLAZE (for sale November 18th on Amazon), I made a YouTube/Indiegogo video. In keeping with our promise to share the good, the bad and the ugly, below you’ll find exactly what I went through to create Arthur Author’s adventure with 100 Small Fires. Of course, what I’ve written will make a lot more sense if you watch the video first, which you can do here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOBX3HAIfYM&feature=player_detailpage

A couple of things you should know. The marketing for 100 Small Fires To Make Your Book Sales BLAZE, and thus the budget I had to work with on the video, was constrained by my agreement with my sister, Kathleen Vrona, my co-author, to spend as little as possible without embarrasing ourselves.

I think the video achieves this. It is if nothing else, clever and perhaps unintentionally funny in places where it isn’t supposed to be and at a whopping cost of $3.00 undeniably cheap. In short, it’s good, bad and ugly!

Here are the materials (I’ve starred those purchased specifically for the video – the rest were pre-owned):

Lenovo Ideapad Z585 15.6 inch is my laptop. At $500.00 it is a deal and runs memory eating programs like Photoshop with ease;

Nikon D5100 camera with 18-55mm lens (about $600.00);

A black coat of smooth but non reflective material which I draped over a black leather chair to provide a makeship studio setting for taking pictures of Arthur and Reluctant Readers. I took the photos in a dark room at night with one spot light (of the clip on variety) and using the camera flash on portrait mode;

Photoshop for crisping and cropping the photos and changing Arthur’s face when I needed another emotion;

Microsoft Word 10 for writing the script;

Microsoft Power Point 10 for creating the video, using the file “save as video” feature;

*Voice Changer phone app which was downloaded for free and used on my Iphone for recording the script in the different voices;

*Skull Sugar Cookie from Dollar Store for The Ghost of Authors’ Past. Cost – $1.00;

*Skull tombstone to be tomb of authors’ past. Also from Dollar Store;

*Packet of spiderwebs with plastic spiders for ambience. See above for procurement details;

Stack of old books

That’s it. I purchased three things and spent less than $5.00 to make the video. Even if you apportion part of my Photoshop license, which I got on Ebay for $129.00 for the year, that only increases the cost by maybe another $5.00. Maybe.

That’s the good.

Now for the bad.  Since I had a steep learning curve, the entire production took me about 20 hours, including subbing out the turtle voice which I’d orginally used for Arthur’s because it was p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y slow, and dragged the whole thing into the death by boredom territory. So, #1 tip on using voice changers for video? Never be tempted by the turtle. Never.

Also, Connie Fleming, my wonderful friend and fellow www.writerandwannabe.com  author, donated the clothespin dolls. This saved me at least a few dollars in supplies and probably another couple of days in time. It also saved us from having a really horrible video, because my concept puppets were hand-drawn faces on popsickle sticks. Not the most appealing little guys.

But, I digress.  Here’s the order of what I did:

1)      Wrote script with help of my partner, my sister

2)      Obtained dolls from the fabulous Connie (did I mention I’m eternally grateful?)

3)      Set up corner of house as studio with coat, chair and light

4)      Took pictures of dolls

5)      Loaded them into computer

6)      Photoshopped

7)      Copied and pasted script into Power Point

8)      Uploaded photos into Power Point

9)      Recorded voices with phone and emailed to self

10)  Uploaded voices into Power Point

11)   Went through production and decided that with turtle voice dragging it down, most people would put it out of its misery rather than watch the whole thing

12)  Re-recorded, emailed and uploaded voices

13)  Re-watched and changed seconds per slide from 5 to 4 to speed it up even more

14)  Recorded as video and emailed to Kathleen

That’s it! Not as bad as it seems. If you’d like to see some of the stills from the video, take a look at page on the blog titled, “Stills From 100SmallFires and Arthur Author And His Book, My Masterpiece.”

Prior to this week the only experience I had in Photoshop was making our book cover. See our archives for more on that. However, that was easy peasy compared to changing Arthur’s face.  I actually had to watch some “how to” Photoshop videos to figure it out. So I Googled, and then picked my candidates based on the least amount of time each professed to take to teach me what I needed to know.

My experience in Power Point was ancient history, but I found that much easier to pick up as I went along.  No instructional videos required.

Now, about the sound quality. Yeah, it basically sucks. However, I did not previously own any recording equipment (not even a cheap computer microphone or an old recorder) and could not justify the expenditure when it would exceed everything spent to this point.  Instead of  buying recording equipment we added words to each screen and went with what I had. Was that a good call?

Maybe, maybe not.

I recorded each character’s lines to my Iphone on the Voice Changer app, then emailed the recordings to myself.  I then manually pieced together conversations by replaying, re-recording and re-emailing. Definitely not the best process.

The first thing I’ll buy for my next YouTube or Kickstarter venture? A Blue Snowball or Yeti microphone.

All in all, I think the video is cute, and maybe even a little clever; but no-one’s saying our “monstrously good tale about Arthur Author and his book, My Masterpiece” will win any production awards. Without a doubt, with a bigger budget, and maybe even without, you can make a better one.

So, skip Starbucks this week,roll up your sleeves, and get to work!