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Melissa Cook's 26 Marketing Tips for Writers

04/07/2024 11:49 | Andrew Call (Administrator)

Wyoming Writers Board of Directors' Melissa Cook Shares Her 26 Marketing Tips for Writers

Find Melissa's book, The Last Frontier: The True Story of a Woman's Twenty-Year Alaska Adventure, on her website

Before You Publish

1 - Have your manuscript professionally edited. My husband served as my content editor since he lived the same life. I had 14 beta readers (FB ad) and gave them a timeline and questions. I used their comments to improve the book and for promotional material later. Then, I hired a copyeditor and sent it through two proofreaders and my three endorsers. Three rounds of professional editing is costly but well worth it.

2 - Request endorsements from well-known authors in your genre. Most authors will help others, but be sure to give them a quality manuscript using the editing process mentioned in #1. I have three endorsers who later became friends and, in a way, cyber coworkers. Funny how that works. A shout-out of gratitude to Aaron Linsdau, Larry Kaniut and Ann Parker.

3 - I developed a database using Tap Forms (no affiliation) to track my contacts, invoices, and marketing efforts and to prevent harassing people by knowing when I last contacted them and how.

Post Publication

4 - I called the small store owners in the major airports and tourist shops in Alaska and told them about my book after I had 250 ratings and an award to show the book's quality. I check in with them in February and July to see if they need more copies.

5 - I send postcards once a year to the bookstores and tourist services such as lodges, smaller stores and airlines. The postcard contains my book cover, award stamps, one endorsement, who could benefit from the book, where to purchase it at wholesale, contact information and a call to action. For a personal touch, I sign it in colorful ink.

6 - I appear on shows, including YouTube, podcasts, Facebook Live and radio. My book has a thread of my multiple sclerosis (MS) story, so I have been on MS and Alaska-related shows. I post most of these under media on my author page. If you have a show, do a crossover with another author who has a show.

7- During the launch, I gave author talks in libraries and towns within 2.5 hours of my house. One library recorded my presentation and put it on the local TV channel. Later, I gave presentations in Alaska.

8- Before each author's talk, I contact the local newspapers one month in advance, offer them a copy of my book and ask if they are interested in announcing the event with an article about my book to increase attendance. Most reporters write a comprehensive article before the presentation and a short article following it.

9 - I contacted the press in the region where my book took place and asked if they were interested in writing an article to post the week of my book's release.They did.

10 - I attend local author book signing events.

11 - I respond to emails and social media posts from fans. I also take fans on adventure-related day trips in the summertime as part of my YouTube show, which creates super fans for my book, channel and blogs.

12 - I help other authors by sharing my experience and limited knowledge. We are all somewhere in the learning process, meaning someone is ahead of me, and someone is behind me. And the fact is, we all have Swiss cheese knowledge. I am at the point in my publishing journey where I can give my endorsers, Aaron and Ann, pretty good tips in return.

13 - I write articles about other authors in my genre who then link posts or content back to my articles - this type of marketing sells more books than most of my other promotional writing activities.

14 - I meet other authors and readers, take photos and post them on social media. I post a daily photo or video on my accounts, which gives me more support from the social media platform for being a "content creator." My social media is adventure-related.

15 - I know who my target market is through analytics and save time by focusing my efforts on the right people–not everyone is an adventure fan.

16 - I always have business cards on meone for my book and one for my YouTube channel and I hand them out whenever appropriate. I leave my YouTube show cards on adventure vehicles like mine. If they watch my show, they will see my book ad at the beginning of each episode.

17 - I put a 5-second ad at the beginning of my YouTube episodes. These ads are not always the same but are always about my book. I already had an adventure YouTube show before I wrote my book, which has come in handy.

18 - When my first book proof arrived, I opened it on my show during one of our adventures and included a more extended ad about my Alaska story in that episode.

19 - My author's website includes links to purchasing signed copies, Amazon links, blogs (Alaska & MS), social media, a color photo gallery (from my book), media (appearances), about, contact form, social media icon links, awards and endorsements.

20 - Think out of the box for new ideas. This list is only part of what I do or have done. Every day is different. My book has been out for 26 months, so honestly, I can't remember everything. Look at successful authors to see what they are doing. Watch Craig Martelle's Five-Minute Focus and 20BooksVegas on YouTube and participate in a regional author's group. Many of my tips on this list came from watching Craig's show.

21 - Paid advertising. I make back every dime I pay in tourist magazine advertising because I strategically place my ads for my target audience. I do not always bring in more than I pay when I use social media or Amazon ads. I keep these ads to a minimum due to my lack of knowledge despite my effort to learn them.

22 - Always be friendly to everyone you meet; they may know you even if you don't know them, especially if you have a YouTube channel. Gone are the days of being the unhappy customer because that one moment you were justifiably upset may come back to bite you if you are not nice about it.

23 - Learn to say no. Not every opportunity is worth the time required. If you put more time in than you gain in profit, you must do it for other reasons, such as enjoying the author's ride. That ride is a blast initially, but you will run out of steam and writing time (for the next book), so choose events and offers wisely.

My Future Marketing Plans

24 - Write regular newsletters and swaps. I have yet to start a newsletter because I am unsure of which genre to write in. I will dive deep into it once I decide. In the meantime, I have a link on my author's website for fans to sign up. I should be putting out something now; once I send out a newsletter, I know some subscribers will drop, but again, it's time.

25 - Giveaways. I have done one giveaway on my YouTube channel, which has given me a little experience in this department. I need to write the next book before I worry about this.

26- Create another YouTube channel and social media groups with appealing content for my target reading audience. I started one FB group focusing on Alaska. I can post about my book in this group, though I follow my rules and only do it once a month.

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