Saturday, May 21, 2011

What is a Book Launch Anyway—and Slowly, Please, I am New at All of This, Part 4 of 6, John 3:16 Marketing Network



What is a Book Launch Anyway—and Slowly, Please, I am New at All of This
Part Four
John 3:16 Marketing Network

By Lorilyn Roberts

A few years ago at the Florida Christian Writers Conference, I took Randy Ingermanson’s marketing class. If you ever have an opportunity to do so, take advantage of it because he is thorough, honest, and entertaining. Now that’s not something you can say about most physicists! At the time he was working on one of his many books and made the comment that his goal was to hit number one on Amazon when it was released.

Of course, being the newbie that I was, I didn’t know exactly what he meant, but it sure sounded impressive. I had no idea how one would even begin to accomplish such a feat.

I have found many authors are pretty much like me when I took that marketing class. And while they may be on Facebook, they don’t know how to use it very well (or how to make a fan page). Most groan when you mention Twitter, struggle with uploading a .jpeg, don’t know how to resize one (you’ve seen those monstrosities that take up a whole blog page), don’t know how to use widgets—the first time I heard the word, I thought it was a wizard—or make a video, use an URL shortener, or follow someone’s blog (where is the button), or the importance of even having followers.

Authors know how to do one thing—they know how to write. That is what they are passionate about. I would also rather write than do marketing. I would pay someone to do it—except I am too poor. But I don’t want to take my baby (my book) that I gave birth to and present it to another writer’s conference and have no one look at it.

When an agent and an editor told me to “Come back and see me when you have a thousand on your opt-in list (I had twenty-six at the time), my thought was, you just wait. I was challenged to do something that two people at the conference made me feel like I couldn’t do, and I wanted to prove them wrong.

I set about doing all the things writers do to begin marketing when they don’t know what they are doing—except I had just taken Randy’s marketing class, which ran for four days, and I learned A LOT.

And then the reality set in. Have you ever tried to get a thousand followers on an email opt-in list? Even though it’s easier now than before with the growth of Facebook and Twitter, it still takes time and effort.

Recently I went into the hospital to have an outpatient procedure done (one of those rites of passage when you turn fifty). The pre-op stuff was a lot less fun than the actual procedure itself, but unless I did the pre-op, the doctor wouldn’t have been able to see what he was looking for. It’s the same with a book launch. You must do all the steps I have talked about up to this point in order to have a successful launch.

One of my goals with the John 3:16 Marketing Network has been to help authors who come into the network who can’t do the above things. I am surprised at the number of authors who join who are still using a 54K dial-up modem. An author will be at a huge disadvantage if she doesn’t upgrade to something faster. I can’t imagine being handicapped to that degree and being successful at marketing, though anything is possible. But I would recommend a person have a cable modem or a fast connection, much faster than dial-up.

I was told when I took a class, “How to Launch a Best-Seller,” that people would be more than willing to help. That has not been true for me. Most people never respond to my emails unless they know me personally. Getting reviews is not always easy (many don’t know how when you ask them or are too intimidated to post anything on Amazon). Getting someone to read my book is hard (authors who like to read books and write reviews are already overcommitted, including myself). I have sent several copies of my book to people and never heard back from them. Sometimes I think those are the books that show up later on Amazon for a bargain price that you don’t get a cut of. I found it to be a lot harder to get partners than I ever thought it would be.

That is when the idea of the John 3:16 Marketing Network was born. If we had authors who were willing to come together and help each other, who understood the process and cared about others in the network, it would be a dream come true not only for me but for others as well. There are far too many authors like me with good books waiting to be read and no way to effectively market them.

Out of my need for a way, God laid it on my heart to form the John 3:16 Marketing Network for Christian authors. I thought about what impact we could have, changing the landscape of book marketing and publishing with sheer numbers and personal commitment, pushing Christian books higher in sales to best-seller status, and impacting what kids and adults read with a Christian worldview.

That leads to the question, “What is a book launch anyway?” A book launch is a 24-hour event. You tell everybody in your little world (or big world) about your incredible, awesome, one-of-a-kind book, and then you get all of those people to tell everybody in their little world (or big world) about your incredible, awesome, one-of-a-kind book—and, as a result of the amazing world of mass media, everybody will hear about your book, and able to receive all the unique, one-time free e-gifts that will be offered if  he buys your book on “launch day.” The other key factor is all the sales must go to one specific location; i.e., Amazon. The book sales over that period will surge, enabling you to hit best-seller status in one or more categories. Again, to incentivize people to buy your book on your launch day, you offer free e-gifts that are immediately downloadable; but only on launch day. Then the e-gifts go away.

We have over 125 authors as of this writing in the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Some are beginners and some are pros, but we are all Christians. We are individuals blessed with the passion for writing.  We help each other with book launches, blog postings, book reviews, following each other on social networking sites, and on and on.

I am reminded of Hebrews 12:1 from the New Testament in the Bible: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the AUTHOR and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

One of our members, Amanda Stephan, is preparing some tutorials for the John 3:16 Marketing Network which will be available Tuesday night during the Facebook Event to be held on the John 3:16 Marketing Network page, 8-9pm EST (the tutorials are listed toward the end of this article).

We have marketing gurus who offer free advice on the forum. And I guarantee you, if there is some marketing opportunity out there that you have a question about; i.e., is it worth the money? Is this a good publishing company to use? Is this business venture a waste of my time? With the numbers we have now, somebody will know the answer, and the best answer is usually from someone who personally knows or has experience dealing with whatever it is you are asking about.

When the big day arrives, what happens? Your partners will send out Facebook and Twitter announcements. Those with big opt-in lists will announce your book to their subscribers. Some of your partners (friends) will feature you on their blog, host an interview by you or post some of your articles. Hopefully glowing reviews on Amazon and other sites will entice the public to push that “buy” button; and, you will have some fabulous bonus gifts for your buyers—free downloadable e-gifts available right after the buyer receives his confirmation email—available nowhere else!

What is a good launch? At the John 3:16 Marketing Network, we look at rankings. If we hit best-seller status in a category, we are thrilled. If our rankings get pretty low in terms of book sales, we are happy.

It’s important to note. Whether you reach best-seller status or not, you are gaining exposure. Others are tweeting, Facebooking, and sharing your book with their social networking contacts. It’s all about exposure. Oftentimes, people have to hear a name many times before it starts to register, “I need to watch that movie,” or “I need to buy that book.” We tell our authors not to get discouraged if you don’t sell as many books as you had hoped. Remember, it’s all about process, not outcome.

From Wednesday, May 18th through Tuesday, May 24th, we are hosting a membership launch featuring some of our members in a blog tour. Our Facebook party will include many events which you won’t want to miss. Mark your calendar—Tuesday, May 24, 8-9pm EST, when you will have an opportunity to win eight free books. During that hour, we will have members online to answer your questions, and we will be offering tutorials on how to do some technical operations for internet marketing. These tutorials/tips will include:

1.      How to upload a .jpeg to Facebook/blog
2.      How to resize a .jpeg and load it Facebook/blog
3.      How to copy and paste widgets on websites
4.      How to set up a twitter account.

The information will be useful whether you apply to the John 3:16 Marketing Network or not.

In addition to an opportunity to win a minimum of eight free books, on Tuesday, May 24th, if you submit an application to join the John 3:16 Marketing Network , you will be able to download free e-gifts

For more information on the John 3:16 Marketing Network and to submit an application, please visit my website at Lorilyn Roberts.

Again, Tuesday, May 24, will be the membership launch day. If you summit your application on Tuesday, May 24th, you will be able to download free e-gifts offered by some of our authors.

Today on our Blog Tour we will meet Elaine Marie Cooper.

Elaine Marie Cooper grew up in Massachusetts but now lives in the Midwest with her husband Steve, her three dogs and one cat. She has two married sons and triplet grandbabies, who are often referred to (by her) as “the most beautiful grandbabies in the world.” Elaine’s only daughter Bethany passed away in 2003 from a brain tumor.

A retired registered nurse, Elaine has been a magazine freelance writer for many years, and is a regular contributor to a blog on the Midwest called The Barn Door (www.thebarndoor.net) and a blog on Christian living called Reflections In Hindsight (ReflectionsInHindsight.wordpress.com)
She is also the author of “The Road to Deer Run” and has just completed the sequel "The Promise of Deer Run" which should be available by fall.



Elaine’s debut book, The Road to Deer Run, received the following awards:
Honorable Mention in the Romance category at the 2011 Los Angeles Book Festival Awards
Finalist in the Religious Fiction category at the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Winner "Best Romantic Moment" in the Clash of the Titles contest, February 2011


                                                            


The Author Jeopardy Question to win Elaine’s book, The Road to Deer Run  during the Facebook Party on Tuesday, May 24, 8-9pm EST, will come from our discussion below:

Question: Who has been the most influential person in helping you to achieve your dream as a successful author?

I would have to say my husband Steve has most influenced me as a writer. I have been interested in writing since I was a child, penning poems and prose and lyrics for songs. When I was a stay-at-home Mom with three little ones, I began creating poems about the craziness of motherhood.

Steve worked at a newspaper at the time and decided to ask if one of the sketch artists could illustrate the four-liners. One of the editors there saw my writing and asked Steve if I'd be interested in trying some feature freelancing. I was thrilled beyond words! Steve coached me on a few key points and once I got the drift, I took off writing. Soon I was given two feature columns a week. Just to prove I could do more on my own, I went to another newspaper and offered to freelance for them as well. I was soon interviewing, arranging for photo shoots, and typing my fingers off.

When we moved for Steve's job to Iowa, most of my writing went on hiatus. I worked at a hospital part time and went to nursing school to get my RN. For several years my pen lay dormant, until I went part time as a nurse and started freelancing again, this time for magazines.

Steve really became my cheerleader when I decided to write my first novel. Even after a long day at work, he would come home and edit my chapters as I went. He has been my supporter, coach, and wonderful friend through many hours of editing. While I give God the credit for any talent I may have, my mentor in technique has been my husband and I count him as my greatest earthly blessing.

Don’t forget, during our Author Jeopardy Game, you will have an opportunity to win      Tuesday night, The Road to Deer Run, May 24, 8-9pm EST during our Facebook party at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christian-Book-Launches-John-316-Marketing-Network/145412252147289

Monday we will be featuring, Why Should I join the John 3:16 Marketing Network, Part Five, from the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Our guest author will be Lynn Dove  hosted by Elisa Maria Crites (on her website).


If you missed the previous postings on this blog tour, here are the links, topics, and highlighted authors:


Wednesday, May 18
Location: Lorilyn Roberts
Featured Author: Jay Miller
Featured Book: Sal and Sally
Featured Author: Sherrill Cannon
Featured Book:  The Magic Word
Featured Article: Are There Secret Formulas or Short Cuts for Making the Best-Seller List on Amazon-Part One of Six on the John 3:16 Marketing Network

Thursday, May 19
Location: Paulette Harper
Featured Author: Dr. Ray W. Lincoln
Featured Book: Innerkinetics™
Featured ArticleWhat it Takes to Have a Winning Team - Part Two of Six, John 3:16 Marketing Network

Friday, May 20
Location: JD Holiday
Featured Author: Dr. Robert McGinnis
Featured Book: Paradise is Where You Find it

Featured Article: Roaches That Eat Your Best-Seller Dreams - Part Three of Six on the John 3:16 Marketing Network 

All the posts in this series can also viewed at http://john316mn.blogspot.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are There Secret Formulas or Short Cuts for Making the Best-Seller List on Amazon?

Are There Secret Formulas or Short Cuts for Making the Best-Seller List on Amazon?
John 3:16 Marketing Network
Part One of Six

?  + ? = ?

By Lorilyn Roberts

If I knew of a secret formula, I would be a millionaire—and so would you, because secrets promising success don’t remain secrets for long.

There is one sure road to the best-seller list, provided you have a good book, and that is hard work and networking. I don’t know of any other way to do it. What I have discovered, however, is many authors spend a lot of time and money in less productive ways, thus coming away feeling discouraged and defeated.

Examples of comments I have heard include: “I can’t get anyone to review my book,” “my sales are non-existent,” “I don’t know where to begin,” “I spent money doing ‘this thing’ and got no results.”

You also have heard this if you have been marketing for a while. I could tell some fabulous tales of “drain holes” I thought would work and didn’t.

One of the reasons I made becoming a member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network free is so people would not feel like they paid for something and got less than their money’s worth; and most authors don’t have a lot of extra money (like me). 

I also didn’t start the John 3:16 Marketing Network to become a marketing guru. God gave me the vision, but He gave me the passion to write. But without a way to promote my writing, I knew nobody would read my books because nobody would know they existed.



I will share a short story about my first book, The Donkey and the King, which I published using a Print on Demand publishing company. When my book arrived, I was ecstatic. I could at last say I was an “author.”

But, sadly, I didn’t know any other authors to share my excitement with and I did nothing to market it. I made no announcement and told nobody about my new book, except my closest friends and family. I did nothing to promote it, not even with people in my church. ZILCH! NADA!

I am sure you are wondering how many copies I sold—maybe ten copies. Yep, I probably made the Guinness Book of World Records for the “worst-selling” book that year. Why didn’t I do something to promote it?  First, I didn’t know how; and second, I was too shy to talk about my own book.

A couple of years later, I went on Amazon to see if The Donkey and the King was listed since as I had never checked. Sure enough, it was there. I had one review by someone I didn’t know with a rating of five stars. That was the first time it occurred to me that somebody out there might like to read my book besides my closest friends and family.

I have gone from that day to this—because God put it on my heart to start the John 3:16 Marketing Network.



The John 3:16 Marketing Network is based on John 3:16 from the New Testament in the Bible: “For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

To become a member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network requires only two things:

  1. You believe in John 3:16.
  2. You have an active blog/website.
     
Over the next six days, several of our John 3:16 Marketing Network authors are hosting a guest blog of different authors as part of our twice a year membership launch. Each day I will share a marketing article, and the guest author for that day will share something about herself and her writing career.

Before we are authors, we are people uniquely gifted and loved by God. Once we look beyond what someone does and see him as we see ourselves—a human being with needs, wants, struggles, hopes, and dreams, we can relate to him better and discover things we have in common.

That brings me back to the question and the title of this piece, Are There Secret Formulas or Short Cuts for Making the Best-Seller List on Amazon?

The short answer is no, there are no secret formulas, but yes, there are short cuts to make marketing easier. I will share some of my thoughts and what we do in the John 3:16 Marketing Network to help Christian authors launch their books.

From Wednesday, May 18th through Tuesday, May 24th, we are hosting a membership launch featuring some of our members in a blog tour. Our Facebook party will include many events which you won’t want to miss. Mark your calendar—Tuesday, May 24, 8-9pm EST, when you will have an opportunity to win eight free books. During that hour, we will have members online to answer your questions, and we will be offering tutorials on how to do some technical operations for internet marketing. These tutorials/tips will include:

1.      How to upload a .jpeg to Facebook/blog
2.      How to resize a .jpeg and load it Facebook/blog
3.      How to copy and paste widgets on websites
4.      How to set up a twitter account.

The information will be useful whether you apply to the John 3:16 Marketing Network or not.

In addition to an opportunity to win eight free books, on Tuesday, May 24th, if you submit an application to join the John 3:16 Marketing Network , you will be able to download free e-gifts

For more information on the John 3:16 Marketing Network and to submit an application, please visit my website at Lorilyn Roberts.

Again, Tuesday, May 24, will be the membership launch day. If you summit your application on Tuesday, May 24th, you will be able to download free e-gifts offered by some of our authors.

Today on our Blog Tour we will meet two authors Jay Miller and Sherrill Cannon.

The Author Jeopardy Question to win Jay Miller’s children’s picture book, Sal and Sally, during the Facebook Party on Tuesday, May 24, 8-9pm EST, will come from our discussion below:

Question: Can you tell us a little about yourself.

Jay Miller: I am a retired Electrical Engineer and now spend time writing children’s books. I have been married thirty-three years; have seven children, and 13 grandchildren.

God gives me the opportunity now to bring Him into the lives of young children so they will learn to love Him in fun ways that they can understand. These books will also teach them to have fun reading, while learning to love and respect everyone else and all the Critters that God has placed upon this earth.

Question: Ten percent of the proceeds from your books go to the Grace for Children Foundation. Can you tell us a little bit about what the organization does?



Jay Miller: The Grace Centre project is an integrated, holistic Christian approach to meeting the needs of a broad range of children. Children of all ethnic and religious backgrounds will be accepted, based only upon the recognized genuine need of the family.

Over the past 40 years the families of Ethiopia have suffered drought, famine, civil war and more recently the AIDS epidemic. Families have been stripped of their wage earners, and traditional multi-generational support. Infant mortality is high (16.5%) and literacy low (less than 30%).

Overall, Grace Children’s Centre aims to work together with families to provide a means of improving the lives of their children. This means the children will be given the opportunity to grow up into people who can change their world in a positive way with a hope and vision for the future.

Sal and Sally: ISBN 9781935028130 (ages 3-8)  
Book Trailer



Two little fish learn to blow colorful bubbles in the sea. Soon all the other sea critters are learning to blow them, too. Nasty Nick, a hungry long nose cowboy shark, wearing a red cowboy hat, swims up and tries to break up the party, but he is unable to pop the bubbles. He soon tires and decides to head back to Texas, but they convince him to stay and blow tiny bubbles through his long nose. Soon, everyone is blowing bubbles and singing songs of praise to Jesus.


The Author Jeopardy Question to win Sherrill Cannon’s children’s picture book, The Magic Word during the Facebook Party on Tuesday, May 24, 8-9pm EST, will come from our discussion below: 



Question: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sherrill Cannon: I am the mother of four and a grandmother of nine. All of my books are in rhyme and all teach something like good manners and caring for others. My husband and I just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last June!  We travel in our RV from the East Coast to the West Coast each year to visit our children and grandchildren... sharing my books along the way!



Question: Was there a particular experience that motivated you to be a writer?

Sherrill Cannon:  After I read the story of the Nativity to my granddaughter, she looked at me and asked, "But where's Santa?"  That night the entire story came to me in a dream, and when I sat down to write, the words just flowed—with ideas I hadn't even thought of. I thank God every night for allowing me to write Santa’s Birthday Gift.

Don’t forget, during our Author Jeopardy Game, you will have an opportunity to win      The Magic Word  and  Sal and Sally, Tuesday night, May 24, 8-9pm EST during our Facebook party at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christian-Book-Launches-John-316-Marketing-Network/145412252147289


Thursday we will be featuring What it Takes to Have a Winning Team, Part Two of Six, from the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Our guest author will be Dr. Ray W. Lincoln, hosted by Paulette Harper (on her website).

ALL THE POSTS IN THIS SERIES CAN BE VIEWED AT http://john316mn.blogspot.com


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Inspirational Book Completely Whole by Paulette Harper



Oftentimes, many people try to seek fulfillment from money, relationships, accomplishments, or material things. Others choose to cope with difficult problems by using drugs or alcohol, but they often come up short and soon have to realize that such things do not bring true happiness and fulfillment in life. How then can we successfully solve the problems that we face and find true happiness and peace in our lives? Well, author, Paulette Harper, in her latest book, Completely Whole, shows readers how to overcome suffering caused by alcoholism, substance abuse, poverty, and other obstacles blocking the path to a life of wholeness in spirit, soul, and body.



In her well-written, resource-filled guide, Harper provides readers with practical and biblically-based solutions to overcome everyday problems.

Completely Whole features prayers, meditations, and powerful scripture passages to allow readers to interact with the text and to apply it to their own lives. Harper uses personal experiences and biblical principles to place readers on a path to be in connection with God. This life-changing book will help readers to transform their spirit, soul, and body through Jesus Christ, so they can live a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment.



Special Today Only! May 9. Buy a copy of Completely Whole by Paulette Harper and get immediate access to amazing Free Bonus Gifts and contest giveaways.


Visit the link below for more details...


http://bit.ly/CompletelyWholeBookLaunch



Saturday, April 30, 2011

"...And My Daughters from the Ends of the Earth" - A Mother's Day Celebration

by Lorilyn Roberts




I gazed through the broken window admiring the grandeur of the Himalayan Mountains twenty miles west of China. I felt like I was starring in a movie as I sat nervously waiting in the dusty, dingy office of the Chief District Officer of Dolakha, Nepal. The room was mostly dark, lit with only one uncovered light bulb. Old wooden chairs lined the bare walls and scraped the concrete floor. A dark-haired, three-year-old little girl named Manisha sat beside me.


The C.D.O., a man in his early 30's, sat at an oversized desk with my papers before him. Wielding incredible power over my future, I needed his approval to adopt Manisha. It was hard for me to fathom how I had put myself into this situation, except that I knew God was leading me. My thoughts flashed momentarily back to my failed marriage of eight years.


"I don't love you anymore," my husband told me one night after I confronted him with evidence that he was seeing another woman.


I replayed scenes of the long hours I worked as a court reporter putting him through medical school. I remembered the wine bottles and cheese that I uncovered in the garbage upon returning home after visiting my family in Atlanta. I recalled the night he contacted the police after I confronted him in his office at the hospital. Two weeks after our divorce was final, the other woman gave birth to his child. I was devastated and hurt. Only a loving God could help me to start over and begin a new life.




A few years after my divorce, I received a letter from World Vision, an evangelical organization that sponsors children in Third World countries. The beginning of the letter, dated February 13, 1993, read: "Over 150 million children worldwide are trapped by hunger, sickness, poverty, and neglect." I took the letter and put it on my refrigerator and thought, someday I am going to adopt a child from another country. The letter ended with a quote from Proverbs 13:12 (LB), "Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but when dreams come true at last, there is life and joy."


Now, eight years later, after much forgiveness, prayer, and healing, God had lead me to Nepal. I looked at Manisha, and with piercing, dark brown eyes focused on me, she spoke softly in very clear English, "I love you."


I responded back, "I love you, too."


I did not know how she could have uttered those words because she could not speak English. It gave me the assurance I needed over the next few days that God was in control. The C.D.O. poured over my documents and after awhile looked up and asked, "You're not 40?"


"No," I said, "but I'm almost 40."


"It's the law you must be 40." He gave a cursory glance through the rest of my documents. He and Silas, my facilitator, exchanged a flurry of words in Nepali. Some elderly Nepali men sitting in the room stared at me. I had the feeling that Silas was talking about my infertility. I felt exposed that such personal information was being bantered about. I saw worry in Silas's eyes and knew my hopes of becoming a mother were precariously in limbo.


"We can go back to Kathmandu and try to get special permission from the Home Minister for you to adopt, but there is nothing more we can do here."




I pondered in my heart what Manisha said to me, "I love you." I had to trust God.

The next morning I heard a knock at my hotel door. I opened it and there was Manisha. She looked beautiful in her new pink dress and checkered blue top, smiling and laughing. My heart was full of both worry and hope.


Before we left the hotel to meet with the Home Minister, I called my Mom and asked for prayer. Isaiah 43:5-6* came to mind, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east...and my daughters from the ends of the earth."


"O, Dear God," I prayed, "Please let this be Your will. Manisha needs a forever family, hope, and You."


The sun shone brightly and it was a beautiful day as we arrived at the courthouse.


"They don't like me at the legal office," said Silas, "because I refuse to give them money. In America, it's called bribery, but in Nepal, it happens all the time."




Nobody wanted to help us. Silas spoke in Nepali to a male secretary and he motioned us into another room. An errand boy, after an extended discussion with Silas, went into the Home Minister's office. We waited for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, he reappeared speaking in Nepali to Silas.


Silas breathed a sigh of relief and anticipation.

"The Home Minister has granted his permission for you to adopt Manisha."

My eyes filled with tears as I remembered Manisha's softly-spoken words in the Himalayan Mountains, "I love you." It was as if God had said to me, "I love you."


Yes, Manisha, I love you, too.




Just as God loved us so much that He gave us His Son and adopted us into His family, God had given me the first of two daughters to love from the ends of the earth.


*NIV Translation

The full story can be read in Children of Dreams, available at Amazon at http://amzn.to/mP32cu , Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/lZtyOX , and other bookstores. The medical mystery uncovered in the book was featured in Animal Planet’s “Monsters Inside Me,” Episode 210, “Shape Shifters.”
You can watch the episode at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZYic3eNj0c


Manisha arrived home on Mother's Day, May 8, 1994. I dedicate this story to all mothers for Mother's Day!

http://lorilynroberts.com/
http://lorilynroberts.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 25, 2011

Words of Wisdom for Marketing Books by Best-Selling Author Eddie Snipes



I recently met Eddie Snipes when he joined the John 3:16 Marketing Network. He launched his book, I Called Him Dancer, the first of April, and it hit the best-seller list in two categories on Amazon.



Following his launch, Eddie shared some of his thoughts with the John 3:16 Marketing Network authors, and I asked him if we could pass along his insights in a blog interview. Words of wisdom can help all of us to become better at marketing our books. Enjoy, and please feel free to share your thoughts on this important topic.


Question by Lorilyn: Eddie, If someone were to ask you what you learned from marketing your book I Called Him Dancer over the last several weeks, what would you tell him?



1. Self Evaluate


Authors must first step back and evaluate their plans. We all claim to be in this for the Lord, but are we really? If we are honest, there is a bit of selfish ambition in all of us. And we must guard our ambitions to keep them in check. Otherwise we'll find ourselves with a runaway ego, or grumbling with disappointment.


When we present something for an audience to hear or read, it's only natural to want that message to reach as many people as possible. However, not every message reaches the masses. You may be called to reach one person, or you may be entrusted with a best seller. If it's truly a ministry, is it for us to decide?


I say all of this because as Christians, we should examine our motives. There is nothing wrong with marketing your work, but there is a balance we must keep in perspective.


Having said this, let's take a look at marketing. Unless you have already hit the bestseller list, no one knows who you are. Plopping a book on Amazon's store won't sell books. To sell books, people have to know your book exists. The real nuts and bolts of marketing don't begin when you publish, it begins now.


2. Networking is crucial.


Networking is all about relationships. To establish relationships you must get involved in the world of writing. Writers conferences are a great place to meet people. Facebook and blogging are great ways to meet people. You don't have to have a popular blog to be a successful author. If you enjoy blogging, do so. At a minimum, every author should have a landing page to direct readers to. But if writing blog entries is a burden, don't burn yourself out or beat yourself up over it. It is a tool, but isn't a necessity. But getting involved with other authors is.


Identify a list of blogs that fits your style and interests, and begin commenting. Be an encourager. Over time, you will build a relationship and when it comes time to publish, other writers will be eager to help you. An example of this is a very popular blogger and speaker I know. When it came time to market my book, her blog had a three year waiting list for author interviews. It would not have been fair to bump another author down the list, but she still managed to help my book by posting a blurb and giveaway at the end of the current interview. Fellow authors will do that for friends, but don't expect much if you approach someone you've never interacted with.


Helping others is a great marketing tool. Promoting other authors on facebook, twitter, and if you blog, do so there. Then others will be willing to return the favor once you publish. No one wants to feel used, so build relationships now – before the time comes to market your book.


John316 marketing is a great tool in your selling arsenal; however, don't rely exclusively upon one networking tool. Think of launch day as it is intended to be. A launch. Once launched, you have the problem of sustained marketing. Otherwise your book will fall to the ground and be forgotten. None of us want our work to find its place in the graveyard of forgotten books. Writing is not for the faint of heart. As the Bible says, the race isn't to the swift. It takes persistence and endurance


3. Looking for a break.


Every bestselling author got a break. Is it luck? Not really. Think of marketing as a wall of doors. Most doors will not open, but some will. You cannot know which doors will open until you knock and ask to be invited in. Authors must be thick skinned, for most doors will be closed to anyone who is unknown. Sometimes the person behind the door will be hurtful. Don't give up on all the doors because most don't yield success. There are thousands of doors to try, and you won't find the ones that can benefit you unless you keep knocking. Who knows, behind a door may be someone who believes in your book and will give you that special break that pushes you over the top. As the cliché goes, "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity." In a nutshell, opportunity is what you are looking for. And you probably won't find it without perseverance and being prepared.


4. Make it easy for readers to find your book.


Post it everywhere and use every opportunity to make it easy to find and buy. Make it available as an ebook in as many formats as possible. Use smashwords.com to reach the ebook markets for Apple, Sony, Barnes and Noble, etc. Amazon has great tools for the Kindle format. All these tools are free. The goal is to get the book as high in the rankings as possible. This is so readers can find your books. Each category has a top 100 list, but unless you can get in the top 20, readers probably won't find your book. Seldom will readers browse through more than two pages of information.


John316's strategy is great for getting your book off the launch pad, but one day of ranking won't keep you airborne. The goal is to get a sustainable ranking. There are some good ways to do this. Facebook and blogs are the best tools for no-name authors. Do blog tours. You'll be surprised how many readers will buy because they read about it on their favorite site. Don't give a bland author interview, but make yourself likeable with humor, anecdotes, and tidbits about you that intrigue readers.


5. Take advantage of social networking.


Facebook is a great tool, but you need a lot of contacts to be effective. Begin friending people – even those you don't know. Remember, this is a marketing tool. You can create another facebook account for personal friends if you'd like. Focus on other writers. Writers friend writers because they also are trying to build up their contact base. Currently, I have over 2,200 FB friends. Only a fraction of those will respond, but each one is a potential contact. And a potential promoter. When your book comes out, have a giveaway where facebook friends get entries for posting links to your book on their profiles. Or links to your landing page. Each person that posts expands your marketing exponentially.


Twitter isn't as effective as facebook. In fact, the response is usually quite low. Yet, it's still a free marketing tool and since tweeting takes seconds, it is still worth the effort. At this stage, every little bit counts.


6. Price your book reasonably.


Unless you have specialized knowledge that's in high demand, you won't sell many books if you price them over $10. The best marketing in the world can't overcome an overpriced book. Avoid vanity presses like the plague. Most make their money by selling you overpriced packages and care nothing about selling books. There are exceptions, but few. To verify a press, go to their store and see how they are pricing books. If the press sells 28 page books for $10-12 or a full page novel (300 pages) for $18-25, walk away. Readers will not pay that for a famous author, so a new author won't stand a chance. This is why I started my own imprint. Start an imprint, or partner with someone who has.


7. Ebook prices are also important.


Don't sell an ebook for $9.99. The cheaper the book, the more the sales. If you want to get attention, sell it for .99 cents. I know most authors baulk at that price, but consider the facts. You are a no name author. People will take a chance on spending a dollar, but they won't toss out $10 for someone they've never heard of. Your family and friends might, but once launch day is over, your sales will plummet. I've used this philosophy, and my launch day put my book in the top 10 in two categories. It's now two weeks later, and I still bounce between #8 and #15. People are still buying as word spreads and they see the price.


Consider the business world. How do new businesses attract people? They offer great values at low prices. The introductory marketing plan is not designed to make money, but to build a reputation. Grabbing customer's attention and becoming known is the initial focus. If you're an independent author, you should approach marketing with the same philosophy. It's not a get rich quick scheme. Marketing your writing is a slow and deliberate process. Create value and draw readers in. Build your reputation with the first few books and work toward reaching a sustainable income.


8. Get influencers.


One or two reviews will not present a good impression to readers. Contact people who are interested in the genre of your book and recruit influencers. Provide them with a free book for posting reviews. The purpose of an influencer is to influence the market to look at your book. If you locate reviewers from your genre, they can post honest comments about your book and rate it. This builds your book's credibility. For a few dollars, you will have gotten advertising that's invaluable. When you market your book, readers want to see if it is worth their time. Reviews give a good indication of the value of your writing. Readers can tell if the reviewer is sincere, so don't pad your ratings. If customers feel deceived, they will sink your ratings with bad reviews.


9. Give books away.


Allow bloggers to give away free copies of your book. They post the interview and blurb, they appeal to their readers and handle the contest, but you must ship the book free of charge to the winner. Some new authors don't like this idea, but let's face it, $10 for focused advertisement is a great deal.


10. Look at marketing as a long - term effort.


Don't launch and then let your book plummet to the ground. Launch, and follow up with marketing. Then market some more. Let the marketing pay off for a week or so, and then start a new campaign. Find new ways to reach readers outside your circle of influence so you aren't wearing people out. Don't saturate your market; find ways to reach new ones. Be creative. Make connections. Build relationships. Remember, it's about people, not just your book. Take care of people, put in the work, be persistent. Then let the book sales take care of itself.


You can purchase a copy of I Called Him Dancer at your local bookstores and on-line, including Amazon.com, at the following link: http://amzn.to/gbN8vc