Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Cindy C Bennett's Top 10 Marketing Tips for Authors

For today's Blogger Book Fair post, I have author Cindy C Bennett here sharing some fantastic marketing tips for authors. These days, whether you're traditionally or self-published, you have to be a marketing machine, and these tips are so helpful.

Top 10 Marketing Tips for Authors
by Cindy C Bennett

Marketing is one of the necessary evils of writing (the other being editing). Without marketing, your book is dead in the water, whether you self- or traditional-publish. It’s up to you, the author, to market your books. You need to become familiar to your potential readers because, let’s face it, we all read books that are from an author we know. Most of these marketing tips should be started before you ever publish a book, but if you’ve already published, it’s not too late to begin now. You’ll figure out what works best for you, but these are my personal top 10 tips for marketing. 

1.    Blogging: The importance of blogging can’t be emphasized enough. Why? Because if you want people to follow your blog, and therefore follow you, you’ve gotta have an active blog. Active means you’re posting on it a minimum of three times a week. I’ve gone to blogs before where it’s been weeks, or even months since a post was written. Makes the blog feel abandoned, kind of like a ghost town, and I don’t have any desire to return to that blog anytime soon. If you’re going to be out of town, preschedule blog posts to go up automatically in your absence. Blog about your books and your writing, of course, but also blog about other books, about personal (though not intimately personal) things, movies you like, about your last vacation, about things happening in your life. That’s what your readers want to read. 

2.    Facebook: I think this is one of the most overlooked pieces of free marketing out there. Millions of people are on Facebook each day, and if you can build a good followership, it’s a really great way to keep your name, face, and books out there in front of people. Don’t constantly write about your books, or people will begin to avoid you. Talk about other things as well. Read and comment on others’ posts. DON’T spam your book. That’s the fastest way to get yourself un-friended and/or blocked by people. It’s really bad form to comment on someone else’s posts for no reason other than to pimp your book. Unless they’ve specifically asked you to talk about or post about your book, then don’t, other than on your own wall.  

3.    Twitter: Twitter is confusing to a lot of people. It’s not that difficult once you grasp the idea that it’s simply like posting on Facebook, only you’re bound by 140 characters per post. Follow the basic etiquette on Twitter as you would on Facebook (no spamming). The biggest difference is that on Twitter you’ll be posting several times a day vs. the once or twice a day you’ll post on Facebook (I mean original post, not commenting). Also, if someone mentions you in a Tweet, you should re-Tweet their post. They’ll appreciate it, and it’s an acceptable way of spamming. 

4.    Save Yourself Some Time: Marketing can become deeply time-consuming.  Here are a few tips for saving yourself time:  
1.    Only have a blog or a website, not both. It’s too difficult to try to keep both maintained. (Note: If you go with a website, make sure you can easily blog on it as well)
2.    Tie it all together. Connect your blog, Facebook, and Twitter so that when you post on your blog, it shows on both FB and Twitter, and when you Tweet it shows on FB. That way you only have to post the info once. Huge timesaver.
3.    Tweet from your phone. Not only does this spread your Tweets out through the day, it makes it easier to think of what to Tweet. Tweet about what you just did/saw/ate/bought.
5.    Goodreads: This is where authors, readers, and bloggers intermingle the most. It’s a site dedicated to books and reading. Be active on GR, join groups and then play the games others start, join in writing games they’ll have, review others’ books, put books you’ve read or plan to read on your bookshelf. This is where you’ll meet bloggers who may help you when you publish a book by either being willing to review your book, or being part of your blog tour. Become familiar to potential readers. Spamming rules apply here the same as anywhere: DON’T do it!

6.    Join a Blog Hop: In case you’ve never heard of a blog hop, this is where a specific blog will host the hop, you sign up to join, on the day of the hop your post something to do with the hop (for example, a Summer Blog Hop you might write about a fun summer memory, or what you love about summer), and then you host a giveaway. Give away your own book, a gift card where someone can buy a book, or a book someone else has donated. For the giveaway, you can have certain requirements for the reader to enter. I highly suggest that you only have one absolute requirement for them to enter. Require too many and they’ll just skip on by because it’s too much effort. However, after that one requirement you can add extra options for additional chances to win (make sure you follow the guidelines set out by the hop host). The point of this is to drive traffic to your blog where they’ve “hopped” from another blog by clicking on the list that will be at the bottom of everyone’s posts. You can use entry options like following your blog, liking your fan page on FB, following you on Twitter, following you on GR, adding your book to their shelf on GR or Shelfari, etc.

7.    Friend Book Bloggers: Until I became an author I had no idea this whole world of book bloggers were out there influencing how books are read. Bloggers generally have avid followers who will buy—or not buy—a book based on the bloggers opinion. Bloggers can make or break your book. After you’ve written a good book and had it well-edited, get yourself some bloggers who will review your book, or at least spotlight you and your book. Without bloggers, it’s going to be very difficult for you to get your book out there for the world to discover. They are the biggest marketing treasure you’ll find.

8.    Other Social Media Marketing: Joins sites such as Pinterest, Shelfari, Library Thing, LinkedIn, etc., in order to broaden your reach. We live in an electronic world, and that’s how you’re going to sell your book—by getting word of it out into the world. These sites are all free to join. Just be careful to not overextend yourself—only join as many sites as you can reasonably keep up with.

9.    Bookmarks: This may seem a strange marketing tip, but it’s one of the most valuable. Create business cards and most people are going to toss them or file them somewhere and never look at them again. But everyone (who reads anyway) loves a bookmark. Don’t make homemade ones, or go to your local printer where they’re going to be overpriced or cheesy. If you do that. People are going to throw them away rather than keeping them. You can have nice, 2” x 8”, fully laminated, full color bookmarks online for around a nickel each (or less if you order more) (online from that people are going to hold onto because they’re very nice, very professional, and look like they weren’t cheap. For that amount of money, it’s really easy to hand them out in droves. Give them to everyone you know. Include them in books people buy from you. Send them to bloggers to use for giveaways. Having a book signing? Probably won’t sell a lot of actual books, but if you’re putting your bookmark into everyone’s hand that is there, you’re going to have online sells later. 

10.    Don’t Expect Someone Else to Market for You: Whether you self-publish or traditionally publish, no one is going to market for you. Many authors have the unrealistic expectation that if you have a publisher, they’re going to be out there pushing your book, creating posters to hang up, and billboards, and all you have to do is sit back and wait for the checks to roll in. Unless they’ve given you a $2M advance, that isn’t going to happen. It’s utterly and entirely up to you (they may do a little, but not enough to force your book into any kind of decent sales numbers). This is your baby, your career, your income on the line. So get out there and market the heck out of your book—without spamming which will kill you as much as not marketing. Be smart, watch what other author’s do, learn everything you can, and help your book to become the success it deserves to be.

Cindy C Bennett was born and raised in beautiful Salt Lake City, growing up in the shadows of the majestic Rocky Mountains. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs. She also has two sons. She volunteers her time working with teen girls between the ages of 12-18, all of whom she finds to be beautiful, fascinating creatures. When she’s not writing, reading or answering emails she can often times be found riding her Harley through the beautiful canyons near her home.

Find Cindy Online:

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Amazon Barnes & Noble Deseret Book photo Deseretbook_zps877b35a8.jpg
Amazon Barnes & Noble Smashwords CreateSpace
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Amazon Barnes & Noble Smashwords

Amazon Barnes & Noble Smashwords CreateSpace

Thanks so much for being here today, Cindy, and for sharing these great tips!

Be sure to check out my Blogger Book Fair giveaway for a chance to win one of eight books, including two of Cindy's!


  1. Great information there! I'm really glad I read this.

  2. Thanks for the great tips, Cindy. Reading your tips I made a lot of mental notes :)

  3. Thanks, Marie, for letting me stop by!


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