In these times of uncertainty and constant readjustment, digital marketing has never been more important. Quarantine and stay-at-home orders may have affected your event plans, but there are countless ways to market your book online and on social media. Read on for some helpful and creative tips for marketing your book from home! Social Media Social media is crucial for promoting your book. Though platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook might seem intimidating at first, they are a great way to grow your audience, boost publicity for your book, and further establish you as an author. Social media is a space where you can be as creative as you want, and invite your readers along for the ride. Here are some ideas to get your readers engaged and your book selling! Using the “Live” Feature Most social media platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, have an option to “go live”, or livestream. This feature allows you to broadcast from your phone. Your livestream will be available for your followers to watch in real time, or to watch later if you choose to keep the livestream up on your profile page. This allows you to connect with your readers and supporters directly and personally. There are so many ways you can use this feature! Virtual Events Virtual events are an amazing way to actively promote your book through quarantine. Maybe you were planning a reading at a local bookstore, but it was canceled. No worries -- just set up your phone and you can host your very own event right from your living room! Looking for a fun way to show off your amazing book cover? Throw a virtual cover reveal party! Not only is this a great way to get your readers excited, it’s a wonderful tool to get your readers engaged. Let them join in on the fun! Virtual events can be accessed any time anywhere in the world. Without geographic barriers, so many more people will be able to attend your virtual event and hear all about your new book. Virtual Book Club Another way to keep your readers engaged is starting a virtual book club! You could even choose your own book, hosting a discussion where you can get feedback from your readers and even answer their questions. Not only does this encourage followers to buy and read your book, but it asks them to think critically and connect with the book on a deeper level. What better way to promote a book club than a Q&A with the author? Giveaways and Contests Hosting games like giveaways and contests is a great way to engage your followers and drum up excitement for the grand prize -- your book! There are so many ways you can get creative thinking of different rules and reveals. Maybe all your followers need to enter the contest is to use a special hashtag, or post a photo promoting your book, or simply follow your profile page. Giveaways and contests work well across all social media platforms, though Instagram encourages more direct communication and visual marketing. Collaboration Collaboration in quarantine? It’s easier than you think! Let’s go back to our earlier scenario -- a canceled reading at a local bookstore. You could host a reading on your own, or you could collaborate with that bookstore’s social media pages. You could “go live” on the live feature with the bookstore, take over their “story” feature for the day, or even just collaborate on a post for their profile that promotes your event and your book. Do you have a few writer friends? Throw a virtual festival! Have everyone read their latest story or poem, again on the “live” feature. Strengthening connections will not only help you promote your book, but develop a great network of fellow writers. Maximize Your Online Presence Right now is the perfect time to work on developing your online presence. Platforms like social media and a personal website will help readers find you and your book online. Check out our previous blog post, “A Guide to Starting Your Author Website” to walk you through creating a website and all the online services Brandylane Publishers provides. Blogging Blogging is a valuable way to communicate with your readers and start building a community. There are countless ways to make blogging work for you. You could update your readers about any book news, milestones in the publishing process, and ways they can support you and your book. If you have a website, regularly posting on a blog will incentivize readers to continue visiting your site. This will give your website more traffic, which will boost the site in search engines. Newsletters If you have lots of information or fun things to share, a newsletter is a creative and direct way to ensure your readers keep up to date with any news and events. Your newsletters don’t have to be purely informative however, you can get as creative as you want! Whether you send out a monthly wrap-up of writing, book news, and publicity or you send out a poem every day of the week, a newsletter allows you to solidify a subscriber base of readers and keep them engaged with you and your book. There are plenty of platforms where you can design, write, and send out your newsletter for free, like Mailchimp. You can also see the analytics of each newsletter, meaning you can see how many people sign up for your newsletter and read your emails. Reaching out to reviewers and publications Digital networking is so important right now, and a great way to grow your network is reaching out to reviewers and publications. There are countless reviewers, bloggers, and social media influencers in the book world. Reaching out to these reviewers will grow your network, boost publicity, and gain access to new audiences. While you’re at it, reach out to a few small publications as well. These publications could review your book, feature your submitted work, or interview you about your book. Marketing your book from home has never been more important. Luckily, it’s also never been easier. Marketing online and on social media can be daunting, but we hope these tips will inspire you to get creative and get posting!
Check out this video about Sara Arnold's The Big Buna Bash: https://ethiopianege.com/archives/11155
Have you heard the secret to gift shopping for your loved ones? Something they want, Something they need, Something to wear, and Something to read! You can give people their “something to read”! It’s no secret that the holiday season is one of the busiest shopping times of the year. Make the most of book sales in preparation for winter! Events Develop activities and presentations that tie your book into a holiday theme. If your book is about baking, host a holiday cookie baking class. If your book is about dogs, host a talk about dangers that dogs may face during the holidays that they may not at other times, like chocolate under the Christmas tree. If your book is a memoir, prepare a talk about how religion affected your childhood, especially holidays. Attend holiday events that have been planned by other people, like holiday craft shows or winter book fairs. Drive Sales Offer discounts on your cover price or offer free shipping. Black Friday is November 29. Cyber Monday is December 2. Here at Brandylane, we offer a sale that lasts all of Thanksgiving weekend, Thursday through Monday, to make the most of these events. Offer bonuses with the purchase of your book like: Downloadable content. Games, coloring pages, or learning materials are great options, especially for kids’ books. A free ebook with the purchase of a print book. Sell only autographed copies of your book. Special gift wrapping, perhaps with themed paper, either as part of the package or at an added cost. Discounted or free shipping, or free local dropoff. Include bookmarks, printed coloring sheets, or other paper goods with a purchase. Include an ornament, candy, or other holiday item that ties into your book -- or just as a fun bonus! Promote Online Boost a holiday-themed post on Facebook or Instagram using a fun, seasonal graphic. We recommend utilizing Canva to easily create eye-catching graphics! Add holiday decor to your website to make it jazzy and up to date. Post social media pics of your book(s) with holiday decor. Send out a holiday e-blast to subscribers that frame your book(s) as a holiday gift. Host an Instagram giveaway. (See Marketing Tip #25 to learn more about Instagram giveaways.) Host a literary advent calendar! Offer twelve days of gifty content. Host twelve giveaways with different prizes: Paperback Hardcover Ebook Gift card Journal Anything else literary! Host twelve days of different deals: Free ebook download Free shipping 25% off the cover price Anything else you can think of! Simply run an advent-themed campaign where you post twelve pictures of the same theme across twelve days. Your twelve favorite books Twelve books you’ve read this year Twelve winter book pictures
If you’re on Instagram, a giveaway can be an effective way to connect with your followers and develop your following. If you’re new to Instagram, a giveaway can help you to get a lot of followers quickly by attracting people to your profile. A giveaway can also help spread the word about your book by familiarizing people with its cover image. This is a great way to build a buzz around your book before or after its release. Decide what to give away. You can give away: a signed copy of your book any other book(s) selections from your bookshelf (winner’s choice from your bookshelf or from a specific stack you’ve curated for this purpose) bookish accessories (like bookmarks, book sleeves, or bookish merch) a gift card to a retailer (like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, etc.) General giveaways often have more appeal. People participate more when the prize is monetary and they can choose their own book in some way. However, giving away your own book will center all of the buzz around your work. Which works best for you? Figure out the logistics. Once you figure out what you are going to give away, it’s time to make some other important decisions. The most important one is deciding on a timeline. How long and when are you going to run this giveaway? Generally, we do not recommend running a contest for more than seven days. Most interest is drummed up in the first week, and after that it fades away. How will you keep your entries organized? This is especially important if you are going to permit bonus entries that include disappearing actions like posting to stories, as opposed to permanent posts you can return to later. Some people use spreadsheets or digital or written lists of all entries and assign each entrant a number. No matter your preference, you’ll need an easy way to randomly choose a giveaway winner when the time comes. What works for you? Where will this giveaway take place? If you want to host an international giveaway, be sure to familiarize yourself with international shipping rates. Some giveaway items, like a digital Amazon gift card, can be distributed anywhere, but shipping a hardcover book to Greenland may cost more than you would like to pay. If you don’t want to offer international shipping, be sure to state in the rules that this giveaway is only open to residents of your country. Develop rules for the entrants. Post clear and comprehensive rules for a giveaway to provide entrants with a straightforward understanding of what they have to do to win. LIKE-FOLLOW-COMMENT is the golden rule of Instagram giveaways. Here is an example of the rules for this typical giveaway structure: In order to participate: LIKE the post FOLLOW @brandylanepublishers *please do not follow to unfollow* COMMENT and tag 1-3 friends who would be interested in the giveaway. Instead of asking entrants to comment and tag friends, you can ask them to comment which book they would choose if they won, or answer a question related to the book you are giving away. (For example, if you were giving away a fantasy book, you could ask what special power they would have.) Bonus entries can be fun, but don’t forget that you will have to keep track of them diligently. Here are some examples of bonus entry options: Bonus Entries: SHARE the post in your story. You must TAG @brandylanepublishers for a bonus entry to count! SIGN UP for the Brandylane mailing list using the link in our bio *notify us via DM once completed* Tag up to 10 additional friends for one bonus entry per tag. Though not technically a “rule,” you will want to draft a brief disclaimer to post along with the rules. Here is an example of a giveaway disclaimer: Giveaway is not associated with Instagram/Amazon/Book Depository. Must be 18 or have parental consent to enter. Giveaway ends ______ at _____ EST. List the date and the time the giveaway will close, and don’t forget to include your time zone, since IG connects people all around the globe. If you have any other restrictions on who can win, be sure to add those: This giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada. Must be able to receive shipments from Amazon or Book Depository. Launch the giveaway. On your start date, share a post to let people know your giveaway has started! Share a picture of the prizes or another related picture. In the comments, post the comprehensive rules. Don’t forget to hashtag! Take a look at other people’s book giveaway posts that have had a lot of interaction and emulate their tags. Consider coming up with your own hashtag for the giveaway, like #brandysummergiveaway. Once you post your master giveaway post, share in your Instagram story and on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The goal is for as many people as possible to learn about your giveaway! Promote and maintain the giveaway. Promote the giveaway daily in your Instagram stories to let people know it’s still going on. You can also share another regular post about your giveaway. Be sure to indicate if people have to enter on the original post, or if they can enter through followup posts. Continue to share on other social media platforms as well. Keep track of entries, especially if you are accepting bonus entries for things you may not remember or be able to access later. Stay organized, and you will thank yourself when you’re trying to pick a winner. You’re probably getting a lot of notifications by now, but it’s important not to disable your notifications. Stay diligent about checking your Instagram account regularly. If someone asks a question about the giveaway, answer within a few hours. When new people follow you, check out their accounts and follow them back if you like what you see. The best part about giveaways is making a ton of fun, new connections! Close the giveaway. When the giveaway ends, post right away to let your followers know it’s closed. If you’re closing your giveaway in the middle of the night, schedule that post using a tool like Buffer. Go back to your original giveaway post and add a line at the top: ***GIVEAWAY CLOSED***. Be sure not to accept entries that are posted after this time. When you’re ready to choose a winner, you may choose to assign entrants numbers and draw a random number. (If one person did bonus entries, add their name additional times under additional numbers.) You may have some other way you want to select a winner. However you do it, be sure to check to make sure the winner followed all of the contest rules. If they didn’t, keep drawing until you find someone who did. Once you find a winner, share them with the world! Have fun with this part. Maybe do a video with a random number generator picking the winner, or do it on Instagram Live. There are a ton of different ways you can draw in an audience with this. After you reveal the winner, message them individually to let them know they have won. Ask for any information you need (choice of book, shipping address, favorite color, etc.) and let them know how long they have to respond before another winner is chosen (24-72 hours is a good window for this.) Not everyone checks their Instagram every day, but you should not have to wait forever. Send the winner their reward! Make this fun! Wrap their book, add a thank-you card, and use stamps or stickers to decorate. Make the winner remember you and this wonderfully fun giveaway they have won! The prettier their package is, the more likely they are to share about it on their own accounts when they receive it. That’s a whole new audience for you and your book. Instagram giveaways can be complicated, so planning is key. They are a surefire way to build your audience, spread the word about yourself or your book, and connect with “Bookstagrammers” in a way everyone can get excited about.
Brandylane Publicity has heard the same question from authors a hundred times over: “Should I pursue this marketing opportunity?” Whether it’s a paid review site, social media opportunity, festival, or something else, the answer is usually the same—We don’t know if this one path is right for you. We never want to recommend you spend time and resources trying to garner publicity from entities we’re not sure about. Odds are, we haven’t heard of them before, as there are a million and one ways to market your book, and Brandylane can only approach a select list of contacts that pack a punch. But lack of experience with a company, blog, or advertiser doesn’t mean we can’t make an educated decision about it. Below, we’re going to teach you how to analyze new marketing opportunities yourself to make informed decisions. We use Publisher’s Weekly (PW) as our example throughout, but you probably already know that PW is a very popular resource for publishers and authors to seek reviews, both free and paid. We submit all of our new releases to PW. What’s the best that could happen? What’s the worst? When considering a new publicity avenue, start by comparing the potential outcomes with the risks. Sending a digital copy of your book to an Instagram reviewer who may not review it is low risk. You’re sending free files digitally, and the worst-case scenario is they might ignore you. Submitting a book to PW takes about ten minutes and costs nothing, so that’s low-risk with the potential for high reward, since PW is well circulated. On the other hand, sending large amounts of money to an unknown third-party publicist is high risk. They could take your money and disappear. Money isn’t the only thing you could risk. You may be risking time, your privacy, or even your reputation if this publication misrepresents you in some way. However, these things cost money much of the time, and if someone is scamming you, odds are they’re in it for the money. Even if someone is not intentionally scamming you, the opportunity they're offering may not be the best use of your time and resources. Read on to learn how to evaluate marketing opportunities as they come to you. Approach technology critically In school, you learned to read critically. It’s important that you approach digital technology with the same critical eye. If you are considering sending your book to a blog or paying an online company to run ads for you, take a close look at them. What does their website look like? Is professionally designed and well organized? Are there grammatical or formatting errors? Is it hard to find concrete information, like what services in particular will be provided, or where they are located? Is it aesthetically pleasing? While busy, the Publisher’s Weekly website is organized, grammatical, and easy to navigate. It’s obvious right away that they do a lot of business with a lot of affiliates, which indicates that authors trust them. Search further. Most bloggers and companies have social media accounts. Inspect these closely. If a company promises to promote your book on their social media accounts, they should have a considerable following to make it worth your time and money. Don’t send your review copy to a Bookstagrammer with only 75 followers. There are Bookstagrammers out there who have 75k followers and will happily review your book. PW has 165,000 followers on Facebook and 778,000 on Twitter, but only about 1,000 followers on Instagram. Clearly, this business focuses on Facebook and Twitter, which is common for larger companies, especially because PW only accepts digital copies, which do not photograph well for Instagram. Based on social media following alone, PW is a good company. Ask questions If you are unsure about pursuing a promotional avenue, contact them and ask questions. Anyone can Google Brandylane’s phone number, call our office, and ask questions about the submission process, book production, printing, publicity, and more. While not everyone is available by phone these days, you should be able to fill out a contact form or track down an email on a company’s website to ask your questions. Be specific. “Will you get my book featured on blogs?” is not the same question as “How many blogs can you guarantee will feature my book? What kinds of followings will they have?” If you like, you can even ask for references. If they can’t provide any, perhaps you can find your own. Read on . . . Ask around For starters, Googling “[company name] scam” can often yield helpful results. Pro tip: You can use this method for anything in your life you suspect may not be completely safe. If a website or company is a scam, odds are, you’re not the first person to encounter them, and other people will have shared their experiences online. In the same vein, if you Google a company and little to no information populates, that lack of online presence should be a signal to you to steer clear. Just because something is not a scam doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good route, though. Rather than asking if a certain opportunity is a scam, ask other people if they’ve had experience with the company or person in question. This can be as easy as a Google search or asking a friend. Word your searches carefully: “Publisher’s Weekly reviews” will yield review articles from PW itself. However, “Using Publisher’s Weekly as an author” may give you better access to other authors’ experiences. If Google isn’t your style or isn’t giving you helpful results, ask fellow authors or people who may have had experience in this field. Ask questions in online author groups like those on Facebook. (If you haven’t joined the Brandylane Publishers and Belle Isle Books Authors FB group yet, you should!), Alternately, ask the internet at large by posting your question on Twitter or Reddit. “Has anyone tried submitting to #PublishersWeekly? Thoughts?” If someone who has had a bad experience reads your message, they’ll probably want to let you know. Final Words We are still more than happy to help you figure out if an opportunity is right for you. At Brandylane, we pride ourselves on offering unparalleled personal attention to our authors. However, we want to give our authors the tools they need to publicize their own books, when possible. If you take the steps outlined above and you’re still not sure what path to take, then of course—reach out and ask.
Social media is a big part of contemporary marketing. Many of you already have a strong presence on one or more of the “big three” platforms—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—but, for this month’s marketing tips, we’d like to encourage you to branch out and diversify your presence on the internet. Below you’ll find a run-down of some alternative social media sites. Have fun exploring! YouTube You’ve probably seen a number of YouTube videos, but you may not be familiar with the work that goes on behind them. It takes a lot of time and commitment to “go viral” like some of the videos you may have seen; however, maintaining a fruitful channel may be easier than you think. YouTube provides a great opportunity for everyday people to experiment with broadcast media. As an author, you will already have some experience necessary for creating a polished, engaging channel. Your background in writing will give you a leg-up when planning videos, and your talents in storytelling will enrich more spontaneous videos like vlogs and Q&As. Famous YA author John Green doesn’t exclusively make videos about books; he has several videos in which he further explains themes or passages from his books, announces and promotes his books, and recommends other books. All of this generates excitement around his books and allows him to connect with his audience. Here are some general tips for getting started on YouTube: You don’t need fancy equipment to film and edit a video. Most smartphones have high-quality cameras and come with free editing programs. If you are filming outdoors or recording a live event, be sure to check the sound quality of your recording device (the microphone built into your smartphone) in this environment before you begin. People aren’t going to stick around to finish your videos if they can’t understand what’s being said. Editing can really help to develop raw footage into a crisp, clean video! Play around with different angles, sound clips, and transitions. There are many good editing programs out there for your phone and computer. Finding the right one and figuring out how to use it will take a bit of research, but the effort you put in will definitely be worth it. In the meantime, check out this video to learn some general editing tips. If you plan on being in front of the camera, expect to initially be a little camera-shy. It takes time to get comfortable with recording yourself on video. Any nervousness you experience is normal and should not deter you from pursuing video work. Here are different types of videos that are popular on “BookTube,” but feel free to be creative and make something new! Book Review Book “Haul” Book “Tag”: themed questions about books you like or don’t like; there’s a tag for just about anything! (ex: fall book tag, Disney book tag, Halloween book tag, etc.) Writing Vlogs Learn more about YouTube Tumblr Tumblr is a great way to connect with other writers, artists, and fans through shared interests. However, the site can be a little daunting to newcomers. Although this platform is technically a blogging site, you won’t find many Tumblr accounts dedicated to the sort of “day in the life” posts typical of traditional blogs. Tumblr is a digital scrapbook and vision board where you can share pictures, quotes, videos, art, and anything else that reflects your interests. On Tumblr, you follow other users who post things that are relevant to your interests or your book, and you can repost your favorites onto your own Tumblr account. In turn, your followers will be able to repost these from you. For example, if you have written a fantasy novel, you may want to follow others who frequently post about world-building ideas, obscure myths, popular fantasy lore, cool paintings of dragons, and other applicable content. There are also several Tumblr blogs just dedicated to writing that include writing techniques, advice for other authors, writing prompts, and other things that might pique your interest as an author. You can also create content yourself. Before you go crazy with this, though, you may want to spend a bit of time on the site to see what sorts of posts are interesting to your potential readership. Then you can post sketches of your characters, excerpts from your upcoming novel, updates about a project you're working on, or whatever else you think your audience might enjoy! Be sure to tag your original posts with relevant keywords so new followers can find you easily. You can also field questions from followers by turning the question asking feature on and off as you please. Overall, your Tumblr should be a mix of original and reposted content that keeps your followers engaged and eager to check out your upcoming title. Still confused? Watch a tutorial of how to use this platform in this video. Learn more about Tumblr LinkedIn Like Facebook, LinkedIn endeavors to build your online social network. Instead of connecting you with friends and family, though, LinkedIn allows you to find work associates and make connections within your professional sphere. Having a LinkedIn typically lends a professional air to your social media presence. It is also a great way to stay in touch with people you meet in a professional capacity. Have you done a signing at a local bookstore? Connect with the owner on LinkedIn. Know a venue that’s always happy to host read-alouds and Q&As? See if they have an account on this site. LinkedIn has a built-in tutorial that will guide you through the process of setting up your account. Learn more about LinkedIn Pinterest You’ve probably seen Pinterest used for craft ideas and baking recipes, but did you know that it can be a handy tool for authors, too? Pinterest can help you promote and refine your writing. Like Tumblr, this platform allows you to browse other people's posts through tags. You can, for example, search “fantasy creatures,” “sci-fi fashion,” “victorian slang,” or whatever else might inspire your next writing piece. Once you have found a post you like, you can “pin” it, or save it, to one of your digital “boards.” You can have multiple boards organized by theme. For instance, you may have one board dedicated to writing tips, another committed to marketing advice, and one that helps you curate the aesthetic of your novel. Users who like your boards will follow you to see what you’ll pin next. You can also follow other users who save pins and create boards that you like. When you are ready, you may want to start posting content of your own. Post writing tips using examples from your book, post about the publishing process, or even post some illustrations from your story. Be sure your original content includes eye-catching graphics and links to your book! For more information on how to get started on Pinterest, check out this article. Learn more about Pinterest We hope you found our introductions to these social media sites helpful. If you do decide to build your presence on these platforms, please let us know! We will be happy to promote your content and help you along the way. And, of course, we are always here to answer questions the best we can.
As a writer, you’re going to need pictures. Professional author photos appear on the back of your book, in event documentation, rock your social media pages, and more—there are a ton of ways you can use photography in your favor. With technology improving more rapidly than ever, the general public is getting better and better at spotting amateurish photography. The good news is that professional-looking photography is no longer only for professional photographers. Basic Tips There are a few basic tips to keep in mind whenever you are taking any kind of photos: If you have access to one, use a real camera. If you don't, try an iPhone, as they have excellent cameras. Make sure your light source is in front of the subject, meaning the light source is often behind the photographer, not behind the subject. Capturing the sun or another bright light in the background can overwhelm the shot. Taking photos through shadows of tree branches will cut up your shot visually. Take photos head-on when possible. This is more important when photographing books than people, as the linear outline of a book reveals an off-kilter shot more obviously than the roundness of someone’s head. If the shot is going to be crooked or off-center, make sure it’s deliberately so. Take many pictures, then scroll through to find the ones that are most attractive, level, and in-focus. Taking Excellent Author Photos Your author photo is the only image most of your readers will see of you. If you can’t have professional headshots taken, here are some tips for getting that perfect shot: Have someone else take the photo. It's clear when your author photo is a selfie, which is a more casual kind of photography. Wear something with no logos or distracting images and in a color that makes your features pop! Have your photographer stand back far enough that they can capture more than just a close-up of your face. We should be able to see your whole head and an inch or so above it, plus at least your shoulders. Check out the staff page of our website to get a better idea of what an excellent headshot looks like. Photographing Events Enlisting a friend or family member or hire a professional to photograph your event will help you a lot. If that’s not possible, or if you need to offer guidance to your designated photographer, consider the following: Take dynamic photos from a variety of different angles. Snap shots of different things: the speaker or presenter, the venue, any table or display, activities, and more. Avoid taking photos of children’s faces without their parents’ permission. Filters Most photo editing programs come equipped with “filters”. As on a traditional camera, a filter is used to modify the entire image by changing elements like the color, light, contrast, or focus. A digital filter can be found in the photo editor that comes preloaded on your phone, on Instagram, or in some other photo editor. A filter can enhance a photo to make its colors more vivid or crisp, but it can also easily overpower your image. Scroll through all your filter options to choose the best one. Often, you can click a filter twice or perform another shortcut to find a gradient. Using this, you can apply the effect of your filter only slightly or as high as it goes. When it comes to filters, a little goes a long way! Choose something subtle that enhances certain features of the photo. Cropping We’ve all seen a photo where the subject in the foreground looks great, but then you notice someone picking their nose in the background! Whether it’s a silly stranger, an ugly setting, or just too much empty space, cropping your photo can help bring attention where you want it and omit distractors. The “crop” icon always resembles this symbol: When cropping a photo, the finished product should feature the subject of the photograph in the middle of the picture or artfully balanced in some way. Crop a photo when there is something in the background that distracts from the main subject. Other tools One of the best ways to get the hang of taking excellent photos on your own is to simply mess around with the tools you have. Below is an example of the different ways you can adjust the look of a photo using iPhoto for iPhone. They all do slightly different things, and it’s better to try them out than to explain them all here. Here are some of the more notable ones: Brightness can add light to a dim image (though beware of overdoing it, as seen in the image below, which is clearly too bright. Contrast can add more brights and darks to a bland or dull image. Color can be helpful if your image has an unpleasant hue. For example, if your image is a little green due to light being filtered through water, you can add a light red layer over this, balancing out the green. When you know what you’re doing, photography can be a ton of fun! It can also strengthen your online presence and add a new skill set to you CV. So go on—it’ll be fall soon, and the perfect time of year to get outside and practice snapping shots!
It may seem like marketing, especially self-promotion, is geared toward extroverts. Many marketing agents and publicists thrive in their positions due to their bold, outgoing natures. However, there is a place for introverts in the land of marketing, as well. If you’re an introvert, the typical schmoozing, corresponding, and shouting from the rooftops that take place in a promotional campaign may be your worst nightmare. We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way! There are things you can do to use your personality to your benefit. Extroverts, feel free to skip this one, or pass it on to an introverted friend who may be in need. Introverts, buckle up and take notes. Maximize Interactions Take advantage of one-on-one marketing opportunities. This will allow you to: Make more personal connections Communicate your ideas clearly Be open about your needs and don’t be afraid to be honest: “I’m going to need a few days to think about this; if I don’t get back to you within a day or two, definitely feel free to reach out.” “I’m thinking about this and will get back to you later.” “I need a walk to clear my head and formulate my thoughts.” Christina Kann, Brandylane’s in-house publicist, is always available to talk marketing with you! Feel free to reach out to her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss promotion. Be Prepared Here are some strategies we have found help authors feel comfortable, prepared, and confident when being interviewed or making contact with booksellers/venues: Write an outline or script of what you want to say during a phone conversation before you make the call. This way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting something. Practice reading through the script before you make the call. Have a friend or family member role-play so you can practice your conversation in a realistic situation. Develop several scripts for different uses. You can leave blanks for people’s names and more so you can tweak it for each audience. If you have a phone interview, ask them to email you the questions ahead of time. Prepare answers so you’ll experience minimal surprises. Asking for questions ahead of time is a normal request, and interviewers should be happy to accommodate you. Public events can be daunting, but preparation is key. Practice what you want to say with a friend before presenting. You can build confidence, and they can give you tips to help improve your performance. Bring notes — either notecards with phrases and keywords or actual sentences. Sometimes if you are nervous, stringing words into a competent sentence is hard, and having the sentences already composed in front of you will help. Catering to Introvert Strengths Find a medium that works for you. Low-interaction methods can often be the most comfortable. Email, social media, and blog-writing are great ways to garner a following without actively engaging. It’s important to follow up. If you made a phone call the first time, you can switch to a more comfortable form of communication, such as an email, to reduce your stress, but mention in your email that you’ve previously contacted by phone. Schedule your marketing efforts (like social media and email), as trying to do many things at once may be overwhelming! There are plenty of great scheduling programs for any social media platform. Here at Brandylane, we use Hootsuite for Twitter and Buffer for Instagram. Facebook has a built-in scheduling function for professional pages. Take Care of Yourself Schedule “me” time to recharge. You will be better able to market your work when you don’t feel drained. If you don’t feel up to doing something like making a phone call, and it isn’t time sensitive, wait until you feel more comfortable and are able to best represent yourself. Remind yourself of all your unique strengths that can augment your marketing: Your ability to listen to the consumer is a valuable asset. You think before you speak.. Don’t worry, you got this! Promotion can be a challenge, but it’s an important part of being an author. Once you start to get in the habit of using some of the tips mentioned above, you will find it easier to champion yourself and your work!
When you’re thinking of establishments that might carry your book, what comes to mind first? Is it a bookstore? Authors often immediately think of bookstores when they’re seeking out places to carry their books, and why wouldn’t they? After all, a bookstore is a perfectly logical option, and a great start. However, it’s important that authors move past the bookstore market, and keep in mind that there are countless alternatives besides bookstores to consider when looking for book carriers. From bakeries and coffee shops to toy stores and museums, there are a wide range of unique places that might want to carry your book based on its subject matter or just because they love your book! It just comes down to finding them! Here are some suggestions: Children’s book authors might look into toy stores, children’s museums, children’s libraries, children’s hospitals, daycare centers, restaurants, and clothing stores in their area that might consider carrying their book. There are many specialized museums in the US that could relate to your book’s content. These museums could be great places to contact. Check out the American Alliance of Museums for a list of potential markets. This site allows you to narrow down your museum search by location and type, so it’s even easier to find a specialized museum close to you! After selecting “Richmond, VA” and “History Museum” in the drop down menus, we were able to find The Valentine Museum, Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Holocaust Museum, and American Civil War Museum, all fantastic options for authors who have written books that have a historical focus. Organizations and associations that relate to your book's subject matter are also great options. For example, non-profits can be a great market, especially if there are fundraising opportunities for them. Check out the Directory of US Associations to find an organization that fits you and your book. The free trial option for the Directory of Associations site is 48 hours. Here is a general list of US organizations and associations for your reference. Brandylane author Caley Cantrell (Dogs Do NOT Love Holiday Cards! and You're Bringing Me a Baby?!), who has had great success in finding unique places to sell her books, offers her advice: “Do a little brainstorming about your book. Think about it as a 'product' and not the labor of love that you spent so much time with. Where are 'natural' places for your book to show up. Is your book tied to a season in any way? Christmas, Spring, Mother’s Day? Can you make any connection like that? Then gift shops that thrive on those holidays may make sense. Take a piece of paper and write your book’s title in the center. Then create a wheel of 'spokes' around your book, each is a possibility of a different, yet related, place your title can live.” Books can be sold almost anywhere! Explore new and unique sellers, and watch your market grow. Keep an eye out for even more marketing tips, and feel free to contact us here at Brandylane/Belle Isle Books for any questions or concerns you may have!