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Point of View: Shaking Up My Marketing Plan


Hey all…

On paper, I’ve been doing all the things authors are supposed to do to market themselves and their works online. I have my Facebook pages (personal and Author). I am very active on Facebook and have a great network of author and reader friends. I talk about myself more often than I post about my works, showing suitable writer modesty.

I have a Twitter account that I also post to regularly.

I have an Amazon Author page, a Goodreads Author page, and an ARe Author page.

I have my own writerly blog, with regular, unique content – a weekly Author Spotlight, serial fiction post, and writing column (you’re there now), along with other good content. The blog has a beautiful, prominently featured “buy my stuff” page, with author comments and nice links to everything.

I have done Facebook ads, massive blog tours, big review tours, and online podcasts.

I have been to Rainbow Con, NijiCon, the DSP Retreat. I am planning to visit YaoiCon and GRL too.

And yet, I am not a massively successful author, sales-wise. Not even really a moderately successful one. I know. It takes time. I have to get some novel-length works out there, and just keep writing until I have a decent backlist. But maybe I need to try something new.

So yesterday, I did. Or rather, we did.

Mark and Scott

Aren’t we all biker-geek-sheik? I dragged my husband Mark along with me, and we took a tour of Sacramento on bike:

Road Trip map

That’s about a 12 mile round trip, hitting just about every coffee shop in East Sacramento, Midtown and Downtown. I took along my handy box of River City cards:

River City

…and plastered them on bulletin boards and across tables all across town. On the way, I did some live videos on Facebook, including this one where I stop at one of the main sites from the story, the location of Ragazzi restaurant:

The whole time, friends followed our journey, commenting on the videos and posts, and I as able to interact with them as we went. :)It was a lot of sun, great exercise, and gave me a list of places I can stop by regularly, whenever I am near one of them, to refresh my stack of promo cards.

Will this bring more eyeballs to the story? It’s frankly too soon to tell. And there were a few things I would have done differently in retrospect, including more promotional lead-up time before the tour, and maybe reaching out to some of these places to involve them in it. And yet, it was amazing to get out there and do something physical to promote my own work directly to the public.

So what are some things you have done to promote your own work that are totally out of the box?

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11 thoughts on “Point of View: Shaking Up My Marketing Plan”

  1. Honestly, I haven’t gone out of the box because, I’ve no idea what works and what doesn’t online, but I’m a huge introvert. What I have been told the #1 route to more sales is? Writing more. Publishing more. It appears to be true. The more prolific authors do have more of an audience, which relates to more sales for each book, even if not all books are a huge success. Crossing genres and lengths also seems to be important–niche authors tend to be viewed as just that, which can be detrimental if you primarily write outside the contemporary romance genre that is most popular in gay fiction.

  2. I have tried almost everything (except newsletters), and nothing seems to make any appreciable difference. There is a huge component of luck involved, getting the right person to read and live your book and suggest it to others, that we have no control over! I have no interest in writing the sort of romance that is popular… Your idea sounds as good as any, fingers crossed you pick up a few super fans!!

  3. I’m by no means “successful” if you define success by sales (unfortunately our publishers need to since publishing is a business)… that being said I’ve got an opinion based on my limited experience.

    I find more readers when I write in romantic sub-genres that people love: Hot Rockers & BDSM… when I write about my sexy zombies & transgirls = crickets… So if I want to sell more books what should I be writing?

    Look on the top 10 list on Amazon/ARE/sci-fi what’s selling? Most authors need to prioritize what they want… if they want to sell books they might not have the luxury to write their heart’s desire (& if they do write the song in their hearts awesome but it might not find a big audience and their success should be putting onto the page their heartsong).

    Cause & effect really is a thing.

    Who is your audience? What are they dying to read? How can you feed them?

    But again wtf do I know? This is only my opinion based on my very subjective experience.

    Good luck!!! (And if you find something that works let me know!)

    Big Hugs, Z.

    • All very good points, Z. I think you have to find a balance between what sells and what your soul can bear to write. 🙂 xoxo

  4. Love the post, Scott, and the bike tour reminds me of the “old days” where authors did book tours physically. 🙂 Before my author time, for the most part. I missed the facebook posts and so forth—too much to do too little time, which I’m sure you understand—but I think it is a great idea!

  5. My applause to you, Scott, for plugging away and putting your name/brand out there! You are doing the right things and the bike tour is a wonderful idea! Not a writer I know (including me) hasn’t gotten discouraged at some time! And I’ve found that a business card you can give/leave can be a good marketing tool!

  6. Fantastic guerrilla marketing! Found your business cards promoting River City Chronicles at the AMTRAK Starbucks and just read more about your website and how this all came about. I’m just learning about social marketing and you have the best show of force I’ve seen. Wish you much luck in your efforts. Just wanted to write a few words to show support on your writing journey. Keep it up!

    • Thank you so much! I never know how many of those cards actually end up in reader hands, so it’s great to hear this one did. 🙂 What are you marketing for yourself?

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