Tag Archives: Marketing

Author Lulu M. Sylvian – How Writers are Like Burlesque Dancers

Please help me welcome author Lulu M. Sylvian with an interesting article…

burlesquedancer

The Art of the Tease

… or why authors reveal a bit at a time.

Sneak peaks, previews, movie trailers, “coming up next on…” are all ways to pique your interest in a new upcoming work.

The reveal is a way to lure you in, get you interested, make you, the viewer, want to come back.

Burlesque dancers know about the art of the slow reveal, building anticipation, building the need, the desire to see more. The dancer knows not to show off everything at once. From a slow costume reveal with the removal of a long coat, to hiding behind a large feathered fan a burlesque dancer takes her time exposing only what she wants to expose. The dancer knows the audience’s pay off will be more satisfactory, more explosive if they are made to wait. The dancer builds an audience, and cultivates fans by beguiling her viewers.

Authors who slowly reveal excerpts, covers, and character profiles are doing the same thing. They are revealing a literary shoulder here, and a paragraphical midriff there. The whole point is to tease the audience just enough to make them want more. As an author the goal is to intrigue the reader, and have the reader long for the ultimate payoff, keep them chomping at the bit. There is an art to teasing the reader for long enough to keep them hooked, but not too long so they lose interest when it comes time for the full reveal of the complete story.

The whole purpose of teasing the reader is to make them hungry for more. So hungry that they follow the author on Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and any and all other social outlets, just to catch a glimpse or a hint of the new project. Of course in the end the payoff for the reader is to have their hands wrapped around the pages of the new book, or cradling their digital device with that new novel on the screen. For the author the pay off is that reader coming back for more glimpses, more teases, more book sales.

Just like the dancer who practices, and spends money and time preparing for a performance, authors spend countless hours behind the scenes. A well planned program of marketing (the drawn out tease) leading up to a book release involves scheduling, creating graphics, programming, and deciding which snippets will lure the reader in the most. These are the costuming and rehearsals and makeup of an authors’ enticing performance.

A good tease will lead the reader by the hand into more excitement and more build up. Some authors will expand the reveal into the hype and thrill of pre-release with more and longer glimpses into the work: blog tours, well timed give aways, and launch parties.

In the end, it’s the fluid movement of the dancer, and the show that brings their audience back for more. The tease may keep them on the edge of their seat, but its the delivery of the entire performance that has them sitting back in their chair, closing the book and sighing with satisfaction.

 

Lulu is an as yet un-published author. She writes paranormal and contemporary romance, and is learning the marketing dance that all authors need to know. Release of her first novel, Protective, is in the works for 2017. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. She collects resources for marketing and other author tools on Pinterest. She practices the reveal tease and interviews on her blog at www.lmsylvian.com.

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Attention Authors: Yes, You HAVE to Promo, and Here are a Dozen Tips…

I hate to shatter your fantasy (and my own :(), but there is no magic formula, no one way to ensure you will sell tons of books. However, there are some ways to get yourself and your book out there, to gain exposure, make friends, and use your precious time wisely.

Marketing can be stressful and frustrating, but don’t let it drive you nuts.

nervous young business woman at the desk with a laptop

Take a deep breath, decide on a strategy, and make it happen.

Here are some suggestions, tips, and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

  • Do not spend so much time on marketing that you ignore your writing. The best way to gain exposure is to keep publishing new books. Trust me, you can do both. Decide on how much time you would like to devote to marketing, my suggestion is perhaps 15 minutes per day, and use ONLY that amount of time.
  • Do not put your eggs in too many baskets. Between Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, google plus, tsu, pinterest, linkedin, tumblr, etc, etc, you could go insane. Choose two or three of these and focus on only those. Let the others go. Facebook, I believe, is the most popular way for readers to find books, so you might want to make sure that is one of the avenues you choose.
  • Do not constantly toot your own horn. Cross-promo with other authors is a great way to spread the word about your work, without being too ‘in your face.’ Team up with a group of authors and find ways to promote for one another. You want to also interact and play the role of readers in addition to that of author. I created a Yahoo loop called ‘Authors Helping Authors’ where we have an organized method of promoting one another’s work. If you are interested in checking it out, go here: (The only requirement to join is that you’re a published author, whether it’s traditional, self-pubbed, mid-list epub, etc)

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/AuthorsHelpingAuthors/info

  • Newsletters – This is a fantastic method for engaging with readers on a regular basis, but sometimes, it can be too much for one author. I teamed up with three other authors and we have a combined newsletter we send out monthly. We offer a monthly contest where readers can win a $25 gift card.
  • Offer something – Readers love getting stuff for free, whether it’s a book, a gift card, swag, etc. They also love the opportunity to help authors name characters, etc.
  • It’s not all about the books – You’re not promoting your books, you’re promoting yourself. Share things with readers such as your writing process, where you got ideas for your books, your personal life (although, not too personal, you don’t want to scare them off ;)), etc.
  • Even the big guns have to promo – Don’t expect your publisher to do all the promo for you. In today’s world, authors are expected, and with many publishers, required to do a certain amount of marketing. Publishing is a business, and you must approach it with a business mentality–that you will work hard to put out the best product you can, and to let consumers know where to find your product. I heard NYT Best-Selling author, Eloisa James, give a talk, and she said that she is 50% author and 50% businesswoman, and that she knows she must work to promote herself and her work. If even SHE thinks it’s necessary, guess what? It’s necessary.
  • Give away samples, but not too much – I see blog posts and Facebook posts with lengthy excerpts that are often, quite frankly, a bit tedious. Tease your readers with snippets of your work and make them want more. People are in a huge rush these days and they do not want to get involved in reading lengthy posts. We actually have a great FB group where you can post samples of your work. Here is the link if you want to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/610037685802608/
  • Be consistent – One of the most important factors of promo is consistency. If you start a weekly blog, or a weekly Facebook game, post, etc, be sure to post something each week. Bi-weekly is fine too, but whichever you choose, make sure you don’t skip. Readers who follow you will lose interest if you don’t deliver as promised.
  • An excellent way to market is to focus on something other than the actual book. For example, choose a non-fiction element from your story and spotlight that. Is your character a deep-sea diver? A stamp-collector? A knitter? A race car driver? Blog about those aspects, find other blogs or message boards devoted to those topics and join in, first as just a commenter/participant, then, as time goes by, you can slip in a mention that you’re an author who wrote a book about such and such.
  • Choose a few of your favorite authors who write in your genre and who have active blogs. Follow those blogs and begin interacting. You will meet readers who, if they like that author’s work, might like yours.
  • Hire someone to help you. An Author Assistant can be a valuable asset in helping you with promotion. Many of them are reasonable and you can set up a budget amount and ask them to only work for you a certain amount of time per month. This is supposed to be a good site to find an assistant: http://authors-assistant-agency.com/

See…nothing to it!

Relaxed young woman lying on couch

Misc. tidbits…

Your Amazon link might not work in other countries, but here is a site where you can, for free, get a ‘universal’ Amazon link that works for everything:

http://booklinker.net/index.php

Use Twitter wisely – Engage with others, RT and reply to their tweets, become involved in ‘trending’ hashtags that interest you. It’s best not to use any more than two hashtags per tweet, because it can look like spam if you do. Balance your tweets about your books with social tweets and with tweets about other books.

Some great resources for writers and some sites I’ve found that, while they cost a little money and have certain requirements, I did find a boost in sales using them:

Robin Reads http://robinreads.com/author-signup/

Kindle Books and tips http://fkbt.com/for-authors/

Ereader News http://ereadernewstoday.com/

http://www.genrepulse.com/

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Book Bub – It’s costly and difficult to get accepted, but worth it.  https://www.bookbub.com/home/overview.php

Places I’ve heard were good but haven’t used them:

http://kindlenationdaily.com/

http://www.bookgorilla.com/k

Here is a list of several sites:

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/book-promo-sites/

Final advice, do not sink a ton of money into promotion, but try to invest in places that will give you some kind of return. Such as, perhaps an author assistant is a better investment than paying to have your book promoted?

Please feel free to share info about promo you’ve found that works for you, and what doesn’t. All comments/questions are welcome!

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Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor