Saturday, July 06, 2013

THE OTHER 4 TIPS FOR AUTHORS: Tips many may practice, but won’t admit to doing.

By Jeanine Henning

The internet is overflowing with marketing and sales tips for independent authors. Some of it is daunting when you read an indie’s blog about how he or she used social media and SEO to boost sales by 4,000 to 6,000 a day. Or downloads exceeding 100 000! My client, Paul Pilkington, for whom I have had the honor of doing 5 covers so far, has a trilogy out that has now exceeded 2 MILLION downloads! In his case, his books are GOOD. His fan base built itself. But each author is unique however.

The One - Paul Pilkington (Cover Design by JH Illustration)

Another client, Kim Hornsby, released her book on Amazon. Sales and downloads could have been better. So we did a cover redesign, she placed her book in the KINDLE SELECT program and overnight it went to #15 in Kindle Free, #4 in Romantic Suspense and #1 in Ghosts. She had over 7,000 downloads in about 12 hours! Plus, she works VERY hard at her promotions.

So, here we’re not going to discuss ‘normal’ marketing tips for writers. There are MORE than enough out there and I am sure you need fresh thoughts rather than strategies alone. Let’s look at THE OTHER 4 TIPS for Authors, tips many may practice, but won’t admit to doing :)

1. Talk about your book to EVERYONE.
Even the grocer. Dog walker. Random dude or girl at gym. Guy in the beer queue behind you. Every single author client I have has told me how they sold books just by showing off a new cover design to some random person or family member, who then tell other people, who then tell more people. WOM: word of mouth. STILL one of the most powerful marketing tools. So yes – blab! Mention you’re an author to EVERYONE you meet. Drop your book’s name, and -> get the person’s email address so that you can email them the link for your book’s release, and the book after that.

2. Speaking of beer… Combine your book with product.

This happens in the big commercial world every day where brands and stars merge to sell and promote. If you have a friend who is into craft brewing, or has a beauty salon, an art gallery, or custom clothes, coffee shop or whatever the product or service may be – why not combine promotions with them? The awesome thing about independent publishing is – THERE ARE NO CONTRACTS that bind you w.r.t marketing! In return you can name their brand in your book, or promote them on your advertising pages. Whatever the deal – cross promotion is awesome. Other blogs say authors should promote authors. Great. But many then promote authors to authors. You want READERS. My author client, Dan H. Kind, his book features beer. A lot! While designing his cover – I DRANK CRAFT BEER and loved it! My one friend is a craft brewer, and guess what – he downloaded Dan’s book. Just because of beer ;)

3. DO give your social pages swag.
Yes OK so we said no normal marketing talk. This isn’t normal marketing talk though. It’s superficial but important. Before you pay for the Facebook ad campaigns, make sure your Facebook and Twitter page headers are congruent with either you as author, or the book(s) you are promoting. Avoid using low res images or images that have NOTHING to do with your book or you. More and more authors are now paying that extra $20 to get 2 Facebook banner variants, and a Twitter header. It looks GOOD. It looks professional. It adds to your marketing campaign and cover reveal. And yes, let’s say it – it is indie swag and we love it ‘cos we can!

4. Authors…for creative sanity:
DO get out the house when you can. Go sit in a coffee shop. A bar. A park. Somewhere where you can tap into yourself and wherever that creative gift core of yours is located. I think, we authors need to be more selfish sometimes. Yes. I said it. We need to be more selfish with our time and space. Because we are the storytellers that make people buy Kindles, download books, go into book shops and have something to keep them entertained with new worlds and characters. Too often indies put their writing time aside for ‘social’ purposes or expectations. So let this be the devil’s advocate in saying: go to your favourite coffee shop. Disappear for an hour. Or two. And WRITE! It’s your gift, and your right to write.

About the Author of this Article: Jeanine Henning (Twitter: @JenVinci)
Jeanine’s extensive professional background includes 15 years experience in cover design, children’s book illustration and publication, comic book publishing and editing, console game design, and writing. She has worked with editors, authors and artists on many continents over the span of her career, adding to her diversity and flexibility as artist and designer. Jeanine still works closely with traditional publishers on cover and book art.

For more information on Jeanine’s background and testimonials, visit her site at: and author testimonials at:

Click here to visit JH Illustration website now to learn more and find lots of sample covers.

The Dream Jumper's Promise - Cover Design by JH Illustration
Cover Design by JH Illustration

Other Articles by Jeanine Henning:

• Bad Cover = Bad Sales (Why you need Professional Cover Art)


John Ross Harvey said...

Cover design would certainly help, but most of these suggestions require money. I chose to spend money at iUniverse, and got same result as spending none with Lulu. The marketing they offered was not what I expected. I have postcards and business cards and posters for book signings I can't afford to do. The book is old now, and unlike well known authors, nobody is looking. I can't use my common name as a Crime author has it, so I must use my middle name or a psuedonym.

Kim Hornsby said...

Thanks for the mention! I love my new and improved Henning cover!
Kim Hornsby

Kim Hornsby said...

John: you might be surprised how affordable it is if you require a simple, yet elegant cover that doesn't include a photo of a model in front of the Eiffel Tower or something specific. I made the money back for this new cover within the week. Well worth it.

Wednes said...

I will never understand how anyone thinks they should not have to spend anything to create and market a book. Unless you have the skills of an editor, web designer, cover designer, layout designer, marketer, SEO specialist,'re going to need to make an investment in your book. Why should anyone else spend money on it if the author isn't?

Marjorie DeLuca said...

Yes I agree. I'm beginning to realize the value of a great cover. How do you do the Facebook banner thing?

Kelly Erickson said...

Great suggestions. I like the one about talking to Everyone! I now count among my followers: a woman I sat next to once at bingo, my sister's boyfriend's daughter, the deputy who answered the phone once when I mis-dialed my daughter's extension, ...

Anonymous said...

These are great tips. Some I already do, some I will increase, and some I have to get started. I find that when you put a lot of work into writing a book, publish it and you don't get the sales it can discourage you and make you kind of bitter. I really expected I would get more support and have more of a following. So its been hard. I have considered redoing my cover on my 1st book. I still haven't given up and refuse to. I am days away from publishing my 2nd book and will continue to write and publish as long as God keeps putting books in me. It may be hard for writers who are natural introverts to get out and talk about their book and especially for those have that humble shy thing going on but overall I think the things you listed could help authors out alot. Now while I won't use beer (not being my thing) I would use maybe a hair salon owner to maybe do an ad in the book for her to put my book in her salon. Combining two promotions sounds excellent. Thanks again.

Ace Abbott said...

I initially published with iUnverse and found it to be a company that was not author-user-friendly. I purchased their publicity package and it was a sham. I suggest avoiding iUniverse.

Allen Morris/aka Ace Abbott (pen name) "The Rogue Aviator"

Odian Levy said...

Great tips, I am saving that link for the book cover. I think I need a revamped cover!

Suzanne McKenna Link said...

Thank you for No. 4. I needed to read "…we authors need to be more selfish sometimes." Been letting too many 'expectations' trump my writing time.

Suzanne McKenna Link said...

I'm curious to know about this, too!

Jake D. Parent said...

One time I was inside for an entire week and didn't realize it. Thanks for the reminder to go outside. :-)

Edna White said...

Great tips! I never thought of #2 must implement asap! Kudos★☆♡

Virginia Llorca said...

Word of mouth. . . The most important, the most difficult to generate.

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