If you’re like me, one of the most important considerations after writing your book and getting it published (either with a publisher on through self-publishing), is marketing. I wanted to provide some guidance in this area (and get some myself), so I asked an expert!
Introducing, Michelle Hoppe, Marketing Manager at Liquid Silver Books. Welcome, Michelle!
Thank you for having me as a guest on your site.
What drew you to the book business?
Over the years I’ve work in a couple of different fields, including accounting and sales, however, my passion has always been writing. Working in marketing and promotions has allowed me to nurture that passion.
My experience is varied and includes writing radio and television commercials, designing and writing print advertising, designing websites and writing website content and advertising, as well as creating full marketing plans for start-up companies. In 1994, I started my own advertising agency in rural Washington to help local small business owners establish their online presence and create a foundation for their entry into the global marketplace, which in the early 90’s was harder to sell than it is today. I believe in the power of online marketing for both digital businesses and brick and mortar businesses and have achieved success in launching several companies in to the world of online marketing. I’ve learned a lot in 30 years and love what I do.
The book business was a natural step, as it allows me to combine two passions – marketing and writing erotic romance. My first book was published in 2003 by Liquid Silver Books and I’ve been part of the family at LSB ever since. I’ve done behind the scenes work over the years, and when asked to manage sales and marketing, I saw on opportunity to do what I love for a company I believe in.
What’s it like to market romance?
Fun! Well, at least most of the time it’s fun. The romance authors I get to work with are great – I mean what’s not to love – they write about hot hunks, strong women, and sex! And I get to market their books. It can be a challenge. Social networking keeps me busy and staying on top of the quickly changing landscape of the internet makes marketing interesting.
Do you think marketing this genre is like marketing a movie? How so?
Yes and no. I think there are elements in marketing that cross all lines of entertainment. In order to market movies, music, and books you need to grab your audience, get their attention, and sell them on your product in under a minute. With the scope of entertainment options available, your message needs to hit the mark, fast!
What are the most enjoyable/fun aspects of your job?
The staff and authors at Liquid Silver Books. LSB has created an exciting environment where everyone feels like part of the family, and with so many talented and creative people, the energy level is high.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
Keeping a step ahead in a fast-paced, technology-driven market. It’s not easy and I depend on many sources to keep me updated on what happened yesterday, what is going to happen today, and what I should expect to happen tomorrow and next week. As you might guess, a lot of reading is involved, and unfortunately, there is no sex in my daily newsletters and email updates.
What advice can you give to authors who are looking to market their book(s) effectively?
Market yourself! I can’t say this often enough. Every book you write has a new title, however, your pen name stays the same. Market you. Whenever I get asked “what’s the best way to increase sales?” I give the same answer — write another book. Also, team up with other authors to share the time and expense of marketing. One person making the rounds of social network sites can soon find themselves swamped. Divide that between 5 or 10 authors and suddenly you have time to do what you do best – write. Take advantage of free or inexpensive promo opportunities at romance sites and get involved with your publisher’s online efforts. Having your own Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channel is great, but chances are, your publisher has a larger audience. That audience is looking for interaction from the authors and you should take advantage of that.
Are there any marketing pitfalls writers should avoid?
How long is this blog post? No seriously, it’s a long list. How about I give you the top 5:
- Spreading yourself to thin: Don’t spend so much time marketing that you forget you’re an author. Concentrate your efforts in one or two areas at a time, do it for 2 or 3 months, than move to the next venue.
- Not having a plan: Plan your marketing and stick to the plan.
- Ending a marketing option too soon: Don’t toss out a marketing option before it’s had time to gel because you think it’s not working. Posting your information once at 20 different sites is not as effective as posting your information 20 times at the same location.
- Not making it easy for your visitor to find you: Tell your audience where to find you! Include one web address and a live link, if possible, on every post, every ad, every interview. You may have 5 or even 10 links, like Face Book, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, 3 Publishers, etc. Overwhelming your audience with multiple links is never a good idea. Give them one, make it the same on everything, and make sure that link works, has all your information, and is easy to navigate. Update your main site on a regular basis so there is something new and fresh for return visitors.
- Give your visitor a call to action: Make sure you have a working, clickable buy link that is easy to find and stands out on the page. Once you’ve pulled them in, don’t make them search for a way to buy your books!
The marketplace for romance is enormous and varied. How does a publisher stand out? What does an author need to do to stand out?
Wow, the 64-thousand-dollar question. Both publishers and authors need to build a brand people trust and recognize. Remember who your customer is and give them what they want and make it easy for them to get it.
Liquid Silver Books has gone international. How do you appeal to audiences in other countries? Are there limitations?
Can we come back to this question in a year? LSB has gone international and we are still learning what does and does not appeal to the audiences in other countries.
As for limitations, I’ll let you know if I find any ~smiles~.
2013 has just begun, what can you share with us regarding upcoming marketing initiatives?
Like technology and everything around it, things change daily, so it’s impossible to give you specifics. We plan to continue building the brand, producing a quality product, and expanding our market.
Thank you so much for chatting with me, Michelle. You’ve provided lots of excellent information, and it was great getting to know you a little better.
Comments? You know what to do!