Holiday Gift Guide 2019
We've talked much in our blog about the importance of social media and building an author platform through an online presence. As the leaves change color, consider changing your approach as well. It can be a challenge to make time to keep up online presences but as the leaves go on falling, the world of social media goes on spinning. We get feedback from partners all the time on how important it is that an author have a strong presence online when searched for. An author's social media platforms are used in marketing programs, book awards programs, blog tours and reviews, and even purchasers can find you if you put yourself out there where you can be found.
This fall, we encourage all authors to take a fresh look at their platforms by following three simple steps.
Even if you are not a pro at this, what matters is that you stay active. It really is about connecting to other people which may include other authors, readers and fans, or groups that you are interested in.
A few pro tips
Lastly, if you don't have the desire, interest, or time in doing all of this, search for and hire a virtual marketing assistant to help you do all these things . . . and it won't break the bank! You can specify marketing assistants or social media assistants and hire someone to help build your brand, keep your sites fresh, and work with you on connecting to followers. Search on LinkedIn or Google for people in your area (if you want someone local) or work with people around the globe offering their services. You can also find students at local colleges that may be interested in the job or just through people you know and already work with. Ask around!
Sometimes our greatest strengths can come from what we view as our greatest weaknesses. Robin Elno says this idea was a huge inspiration for him when he was writing the Clown William series, which is about a young man, William, who suffers from a physical ailment we now know as Tourette's Syndrome. After being kicked out of his house by his father in the first book of the series, a self-defense situation teaches him that he has astounding accuracy with a six-gun.
The book series follows this unexpected hero through Colorado and New Mexico as he defends himself and those around him with this unexpected talent. And now, Elno has the third installment in the series ready for readers.
Picking up where book two left off, Clown William and the Wind of Vengeance finds William still in New Mexico. In the book, he is obsessed with tracking down and finishing his war with the man he blames for his life turning out the way it has – Jesse Evans.
As always, William is a target for many. He battles an inner conflict, as well, deciding to wait until Jesse is out of a compromising position before making his attempt on Jesse’s life. William is in a race against his own inner tornado . . . Will he beat it before it takes him out?
Robin Elno brings his experience as a retired army colonel and semiretired psychiatrist to this book series. He says he was also inspired by neurologist Oliver Sacks’s work about the unusual speed and accuracy often displayed by people with Tourette’s syndrome. The third installment in this series, Clown William and the Wind of Vengeance, is now available for pre-sale at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. And, until then, here’s a little sneak peek . . .
An isolated cabin in the New Mexico wilderness, February 1878
A bullet splintered the wood window casing of the cabin where William waited to kill Jesse Evans. William ducked lower. Things had not gone as planned, though one of Jesse’s men lay dead on the snow-covered ground a few yards in front of the cabin. Jesse hid in the tree line fifty yards away, cracking away with his rifle at William.
“You’re a damn fool, William,” Jesse shouted and fired again. “I know you’re fast, but a six-gun against a rifle?”
“This d-d-day has been coming for three years.” William watched the trees, trying to spot Jesse’s position. “Hoot. Ever since you first put a gun in my hand.”
“Seems more like God’s act than mine,” Jesse bellowed. “He’s the one made you defective with your jerks and mumbles. It was me helped you discover the gift that came with that curse.”
“It is no gift.” William fired at the trees. “I hate being a gunfighter. But you and God made it so I have no other choice. I despise you both for it.”
“Your hatred addled your brain. You let yourself be caught under my gun like this.” A shot, the bullet digging another splinter from the cabin wall, punctuated the statement.
The muzzle flash marked a spot in the trees, creating a perfect target for the next time Jesse fired—provided the outlaw didn’t shift to a new spot. William goaded him into another shot. “Your men killed my friend. You drove away my girl, Emily. Sheek, poot. You ruined my chances for a real home in Lincoln.”
“Well, when it comes to killin’, your Regulator pals ain’t any better. How many of Brady’s men have they killed? And locked Sheriff Brady up in his own jail. This war ain’t personal. Hell, I offered you a job on my side.”
“This is personal. I am not riding with those murdering Regulators now. This is about me f-f-finding a place to settle down, in peace.”
“Why're you gunnin’ for me?”
“Because God is out of my reach.”
“And so am I.” A muzzle flash just where it had been before.
William snap fired. And waited.
The sun climbed the sky, and the branches of the trees shed their white sleeves. Ice crystals glistened in the receding snow banks. The air lay still and cold as the top of a frozen stream. The dead man he’d shot that morning sprawled in front of the cabin. The man’s horse stood in the open, its head down, nuzzling snow aside as it pulled at tufts of dry grass.
The waiting dragged on. Was there some way to draw Jesse out? With one eye on the tree line, William threw a side of bacon onto the griddle of the potbelly stove heating the rough-hewn cabin. A pot of coffee simmered beside it—a nice welcoming scent to torment a cold and hungry man. He hoped it would make Jesse act rashly. Come and get it, William thought, revolver ready in his hand.
The bacon crisped and the coffee boiled. Jesse did not take the bait.
William ate the bacon and drank the coffee.
There had been no more shots. All was quiet. Too quiet.
As any author knows, your job is not finished when you finish writing your book. Marketing is key for sales of your book, and, as social media continues to evolve, there are continually more possibilities for how to do this.
Enter the Influencer.
In recent years, influencers have become quite popular, especially in the world of social media. An influencer is someone who has built a following of people that trust and respect their opinions in an area of expertise. Some influencers specialize in fashion, others in food, others in family life, and still others in blogging – just to name a few areas.
Influencers exist, as you may have guessed by now, in the book world, too. And these influencers can be huge assets to you in marketing your book! But, understandably, it can be a daunting task when considering how to go about reaching out to them.
First and foremost, it’s important to look at this like you would any relationship. It should never be entirely one sided. Yes, you want them to do you a favor and promote your book. But don’t forget that, as with anything, these things work best with a symbiotic relationship.
Nice to meet you!
When it comes time to finally reach out, there are a few things you should be certain you do. If you haven’t formally introduced yourself yet, start with that! Keep it brief and personable. Then, give a quick description of your book and why you feel like it connects with her or his area of expertise. When it comes to your ask for support, be clear and concise. Provide them with all resources they will need – obviously a copy of your book, any hashtags or social media handles you would like them to use, as well as any copy you would like them to use when promoting your book.
Show sincere interest
In other words, be sincere. Consider what you can do to help them, as well. If you have the time margin, focus on building a good relationship with the influencer before you ever reach out asking for anything. Simple things like promoting them on your own social media, writing about them in a blog, and sharing things they are working on all contribute to a positive relationship.
This, of course, is easiest to do when you find influencers that genuinely interest and inspire you. Consider who your target audience is, and go from there. For example, if young adults are your target audience, a simple Google search will let you know some influencers in that sphere. Take some time, look through their profiles on social medias, and find a few that you are intrigued by. Give them a follow and begin building the relationship!
Quid pro quo
When it comes to the specific ask for help, be clear with what you want them to do. Consider where their sphere of influence is, and go from there. Do they have a successful blog? Ask them to read and review your book on their blog. Do they have excellent engagement on social media posts? Ask them to post a message of support and a link to buy your book.
If you haven’t heard back from them within a week, follow up in a brief manner. Check that they received the material and let them know you would be happy to answer any questions they may have regarding the information.
Finally, continue to maintain relationships even after they promote your book and continue to follow their posts and offer to promote their content across your sites. You can both be beneficial to each other in the future and become mutually benficial allies in this new online world.
Images by Free-Photos from Pixabay
When it comes to Goodreads, the possibilities as an author are endless. We've talked much in the past about Goodreads as an essential tool for your author platform. (Read a couple of our past blog posts on Goodreads and other social media strategies here).
Goodreads is owned by Amazon and it's a true community of readers and librarians that take their reviews seriously! They are avid readers and writers and make it very easy to connect with others. As an author they offer amazing tools such as a Goodreads Author Profile where you can connect or create a blog, create a giveaway, and participate in a plethora of community groups tailored to various genres and interests.
One major way to use Goodreads well? Book giveaways.
But wait! First things first. It's critical that you spend some time creating a compelling Goodreads presence first. Goodreads makes it very easy to give and get reviews, update your author profile, create or link to an author blog, and connect with other readers and writers.
The more positive reviews you have, the more likely someone is to buy your book if they click on your ad. Spend the time necessary to establish this presence before spending the money necessary on advertising your book and you will be more likely see favorable results.
Let's talk about Giveaways!
Goodreads giveaways have been shown to dramatically increase book sales, and they’re so simple! They come in two options – standard or premium. Read all the detail here and get the quick notes below!
A standard giveaway will cost you $119, no matter how many books you give away within it. Everyone who enters will add your book to their Want-to-Read list, all of your followers and anyone who already has your book on their Want-to-Read list receive a notification of a new giveaway, Goodreads emails the winner of your giveaway reminding them to rate and review your book, and your giveaway is featured in the Giveaways section of the website.
A premium giveaway will cost you $599. You get everything from the standard giveaway, as well as premium placement on the Giveaways page. Additionally, Goodreads will send a message (that you create) to the entrants who don’t win, which could increase your book sales and build relationships with readers.
For the giveaway, you select the span the giveaway runs and how many copies you want to give away. As the author, it’s your responsibility to get your book to the winner in a timely manner and to cover the cost of shipping. While it will cost you less to give away one book, you will get more reviews from readers if you give away more.
You’ll want to make your giveaway description as attention grabbing as possible. Is it an autographed copy? Have you won any awards for it? Why should readers want to sign up to receive a free copy of this? Remember that they can simply check your book listing on the Goodreads site to read the synopsis of your book, so don’t make the only description!
Pro tip: If you schedule the giveaways for a few days in the future, you won’t lose any run time to Goodreads’s approval process. Also, if you select a short span for the giveaway (think 2-3 days), your giveaway will appear on both the newly listed and the ending soon pages, meaning you will get double the exposure at the same time!
A note about self-serve ads on Goodreads
Unfortunately, Goodreads is retiring their self-serve ad feature as of next month. They will focus on giveaways and other advertising opportunities. If you already have a self-serve ad funded and created you can still edit and run it through next February. These ads run (used to anyway) on a cost-per-click model. You set the budget, and your account gets charged for each click until the budget runs out.
Many authors who have used this service say not to plan on immediate results from your ads. However, after time, the momentum usually builds, and the more exposure the book gets, the more interest there is in it.
Check out your author dashboard for whatever new advertising opportunities Goodreads will roll out next or to manage anything current you have going on until February of next year.
This series will focus on Amazon and Goodreads ads and how they are used in helping promote books and helping readers find the next unique find for your library or beach bag!
As an indie publisher and author, Amazon and Goodreads ads can be a great opportunity to promote titles and get visibility for books.
Amazon is currently the largest platform for purchasing eBooks and Goodreads currently garners 300 million pageviews and 45 million unique visitors a month.
Amazon Ads: Sponsored Product Ads vs. Lockscreen Ads
Now for a quick history lesson! It’s important to know that what is now known as Amazon Advertising used to be called Amazon Marketing Services, or AMS. AMS was rebranded to Amazon Advertising back in September 2018. With the rebranding, things have changed!
Before AMS was rebranded as Amazon Advertising, it offered two main types of ads – sponsored product ads and product display ads. Now that it’s been rebranded, it’s out with the old and in with the new… kind of. Instead of product display ads, Amazon Advertising offers lockscreen ads alongside its sponsored product ads.
So what’s the difference between a sponsored product ad and a lockscreen ad, then? In Amazon’s terms, product display ads “promote products to shoppers actively searching with related keywords or viewing similar products on Amazon,” and lockscreen ads are “based on shoppers’ interests and are shown when they ‘unlock’ their Kindle E-readers or Fire Tablets to begin reading or shopping for books.”
In other words, sponsored product ads will help when readers are actively searching for a new book to purchase and your book fits in with the keywords they are searching for (think “mystery”, “fantasy”, “romance”, “quirky,” etc.). Using keywords, sponsored product ads can be very useful! Lockscreen ads, meanwhile, are based on the readers’ interests and habits and not so much on what they are actively searching for in the moment. Both can be valuable, if used correctly!
These types of ads are both great because they cater to a very specific audience, and, when it comes to ads and the sales of a book – the more specific the audience, the better! It’s also important to note, however, that lockscreen ads are only for Kindles and Fire Tablets; therefore, your exposure and target audience will be much smaller and more limited with this option than it would be with a sponsored product ad.
Maybe you have noticed when you search for something on Amazon and your first several results have the “sponsored” label at the very top? Those are sponsored product ads! If you’re a Kindle or Fire Tablet user, chances are you’ve probably come across some lockscreen ads catered to your own interests and habits, too.
Would you be more likely to buy what comes up as a sponsored product or a lockscreen ad?
We'll have more interesting info on Amazon and Goodreads ads and giveaways in the coming posts , so stay tuned!
As we've shared in many past posts about author marketing, it's important to use a variety of tactics to generate awareness for your books. You can leverage givewaways and ads on Goodreads, reach out to bloggers and journalists for reviews and articles; run organic and paid social media campaigns; participate in talks and events; publish articles, opinion pieces, and become of guest blogger; get interviewed on podcasts; and even expand your author social media accounts by creating profiles for fictional characters from your books.
A reluctant 1870's gunslinger with Tourette's and
a quick draw . . .
While the battle for Lincoln, New Mexico, rages on, William is consumed by his own war against Jesse Evans, the man he blames for the loss of his friends and the start of his life as a gunfighter.
But when William finds Jesse at his most vulnerable—jailed with a gunshot wound—he can’t justify pulling the trigger. A gunfight must be fair.
William braves hostile military territory to orchestrate his archenemy’s release—only to discover he has become the prime target for an army of bounty-motivated gunslingers.
Can William defeat his internal tornado before he becomes one of its victims?
Clown William, the first book in the series, is the winner of the Arizona Authors’ Association Literary Award and a Silver Winner in the Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Awards. Clown William and the Lincoln County War is Winner of the National Indie Excellence Awards and books one and two are Bronze IPPY Winners for Best Series. Clown William and the Wind of Vengeance is the third book in the series.
Clown William and Clown William and the Lincoln County War available now in print and e-book everywhere books are sold. Clown William and the Wind of Vengeance will be available this fall in print and e-book.
Robin Elno is a retired army colonel, semiretired psychiatrist, and full-time author. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, where he is an active member of the San Antonio Writers' Guild. Elno’s Clown William series was inspired by the work of neurologist Oliver Sacks, who wrote about the unusual speed and accuracy often displayed by people with Tourette’s syndrome. Intrigued by the idea that strengths can rise from differences, Elno created the unique and compelling character of William. Elno’s novels are often set against true historical backdrops like the Wild West. Follow the author at amazon.com.
Congrats to IE Authors Megan Wong, Jeffrey Meyer, and Robin Elno for placing in the 2019 NextGen Indie Awards
IngramElliott Publishing is proud to announce that three of our titles have been named as Finalists in the 2019 NextGen Indie Book Awards! The Next Generation Indie Book Awards is the largest international book awards program for indie authors and independent publishers. In its thirteenth year of operation, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards was established to recognize and honor the most exceptional independently published books in over 70 different categories.
We congratulate our winning authors!
Award-winning author Vince Bailey recently participated in a unique event hosted by Arizona radio station KJZZ. The Arizona StoryFest and Authors Showcase is designed to help patrons relax, learn, shop, and play. The event features some of Arizona's top talent at the Authors Showcase & Reading Stage, where experienced storytellers entertain audiences on the main stage. The event also featured an Author's Workshop hosted by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU.
Thanks to our friends at Green Pieces Press, for highlighting Vince's book to their Literary International Network in conjunction with the event!
Vince Bailey at Arizona StoryFest featuring his novel Path of the Half Moon.
Vince Bailey, recent First Place Winner of the Paranormal Fiction category at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, hosted fans and passers by at his booth.
Path of the Half Moon is a truly unique and edgy novel. It's the first in a series following the story's hero, young Curtis Jefferson. This paranormal historical fiction tale is set in a remote detention facility for wayward boys in the early sixties. Curtis is an African American youth whose character and physical endurance are tested by a murderous inmate and a century-old Apache curse.
The novel presents an edgy and thrilling escape from the ordinary, and is being recognized for it's strong thematic elements, including the blurry edges between reality and the supernatural.
Vince is currently working on the second novel in the Curtis Jefferson series, Courses of the Cursed. Learn more and follow the author at www.vincebaileyauthor.com and on Twitter @vincebailey20.
IngramElliott Publishing honored with four winning titles by the 13th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards
IngramElliott Publishing is proud to announce that four of our titles have been named as Finalists or Winners in the 13th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards! The National Indie Excellence® Awards (NIEA) celebrates indie publishing and is proud to be a champion of independent presses "going the extra mile" to produce books of excellence in every aspect.
IngramElliott Publishing truly appreciates the NIEA recognition for these amazing titles and we congratulate our winning authors!
Earlier this month, the Clown William series won the Bronze Medal for Best Fiction Series in the 2019 IPPY Awards and book one in the series, Clown William, was the 2018 IPPY Silver Award winner for Best First Book/Fiction. Set in the late 1800s, this fresh twist on the Western features an unlikely gunslinger with Tourette Syndrome.