Archive for the ‘Book Marketing Advent Calendar’ Category

Book Marketing Advent Calendar – Day 6 – Use Your Book Cover on Personalized Stamps and Phone Cases

Advent Calendar6

Christmas – er, the holiday season – is a great time for experimenting with new gifts and gadgets. Why not start by making custom phone cases with your book cover on them? OK – I got this idea from Shanan Winters, author of RISING: Book One of The Adept Cycle and fellow member of Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion. But it’s a kick-ass idea, so I’m sharing it with you.

Make custom phone cases with your book cover on them!

Cases for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy, and Samsung Note are available at Stan cover phone caseMyCustomCase.com. There are a LOT of options, but for such amazing personalization, the price range I saw from low $30s to about $50 seems quite reasonable. Offer them for sale on your website, or use them as prizes in your next giveaway! Place your order before December 17th to receive your case(s) by Christmas.

And speaking of personalization, if you’re mailing greeting cards this season, why not use personalized stamps that feature your book cover on them? That’s right. You can add your own book cover to real postage stamps you place on envelopes you mail to people. The colloquial term is “snail mail,” but anyone older than 20 knows it as just plain old mail. Think of how many eyeballs land on a letter between its leaving your hands and getting deposited into the mail slot of the recipient! Make sure your website is on there, running the length of the stamp. Even if it’s tiny, it will make an impression.

Use persoStan cover stampnalized stamps featuring your book cover on your holiday cards!

Order personalized stamps through Zazzle.com, PictureItPostage.com, or Photo.Stamps.com. Starting at $21.55 for a sheet of 20 stamps, they’re not cheap – but they will make a statement. If you’re not ready to do this for your own book, they’d make a great gift for an author! Order by December 17th to receive your stamps by Christmas, too.

Please be aware that these stamps are good only for domestic mail at this time.

Time to get busy customizing!



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Book Marketing Advent Calendar – Day 5 – Offer a Bonus for Buying Your Book


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People love free stuff. Ever seen lines for the samples at Costco on the weekend? People will actually stand in line for a bite of something they (a) don’t even know what it is, (b) don’t like whatever kind of food it is, (c) would never buy the item – but because, hey, it’s free, so let’s go get some!

Same thing at a trade show – and why it’s not a great idea to put candy on your table at a book signing. You want people to stop by your booth/table because they have an interest in talking to you about your book or business – not because they’re making a beeline for the candy dish only to grab a piece like a frog after a fly and then flee as quickly as possible, on to the next bowl of free sugar.

So since people love free stuff…

Give them something straight from your website as a bonus for buying your book.

You should already be doing this to build your mailing list – but here we’re talking about a special “thank you” gift for BookTree3purchasing your book. What could you offer? Hmmmm…

  • Favorite holiday recipes
  • A video story with a new spin on an old holiday tale … your character in the lead role
  • A coloring book related to your story or topic (these can be PDFs!)
  • A special report
  • Back stories on your characters
  • An epilogue that’s not in your book

Come on, people. You wrote these books, didn’t you? You can come up with something creative, fun, and exciting to give shoppers just that little extra nudge. I know you can.

Things get a bit more challenging if you’re selling through an online retailer or site other than your own, but it’s not by any means impossible. Just request that each buyer forward you a copy of their receipt. The best thing about this whole idea is that they’re no longer anonymous. It give you access to them and their email address … so you can begin a relationship with them. The meatier your giveaway, the more likely they’ll be to take this extra step with you.

We already dismantled the fear of giving stuff away in our Day 3 Advent Calendar post, so in case you missed it … here’s the link.

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As you may know, I am taking part in the Holiday Author Event for the next 6 days. PLEASE BE SURE to stop by the Holiday Author Event page TODAY to view some of our authors’ video book trailers. Comment, like, and share to be entered in today’s drawing!

Happy bonusing…



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Book Marketing Advent Calendar – Day 4 – Offer a big discount

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OK – seeing as Cyber Monday has passed, this will be one you tuck away in reserve for the 2016 holiday season. Not only did it pass, but sales were up by 25 percent over Cyber Monday 2014, hitting $3 billion+, worldwide. That’s a lot of people buying a lot of stuff online.

Which, as an author, is where you are probably spending a lot of your time looking for sales.

I’m old school. I like books. I like people. I especially like people who like books. My husband swept me off my feet in his response to my Craigslist ad by comparing classic books to classic rock:

So lately for me it’s been a lot of F. Scott, Hemingway, and Steinbeck. All great books – I can’t pick a favorite. It’s kind of like comparing The Beatles and The Stones, in that both are superior in different ways. Although Steinbeck would be more like Springsteen. He takes characters that F. Scott and Hemingway wouldn’t even think about and turns them into poetry. That, at least, is my literary analysis which serves me well in my vocation as a plumber.

So it follows that I very much enjoy face-to-face bookselling opportunities. But I’m also a pretty savvy marketer, so I know that you have the opportunity to reach exponentially more readers by focusing on Internet sales than you do by spending hours on end trying to cobble together a brick-and-mortar book tour. In reality, this isn’t an either/or situation – a smart author will do both. But put head-to-head, the Internet market is just bigger than the meet-people-in-person market unless you have the vast resources and unending energy to do a very long book tour.


So, if Cyber Monday sales were up 25% over last year, what will they do next year? Well, the trend says they’re going to keep increasing. So it will be the perfect time for you to get in on the game, right? One of the best ways to do that if you’re not a particularly well-known author is by offering a special holiday discount on your books.

I don’t typically advise competing on price, but if you’ve got some leeway with your pricing as a DIY publisher, it might make sense to take advantage the holiday book-buying season to:

Mark one book down with a low price, or create a special bundle of books you don’t normally sell together.

Much like the alleged advantages of enrolling in the KDP Select program (I hear good things and bad things about it, so DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE), a markdown probably works best as a means of promoting your most current title OR promoting one specific book, with the goal of introducing your work to new readers. Then, because you’ve written such an amazing story or offered such fantastically helpful advice, those readers will (a) want to buy your next book, and/or (b) gleefully tell all their reader friends about your book.BookTree2

A reduced price when you’ve only got one book for sale can work, so long as the low price is low enough to incentivize buying while being high enough for you to make money without having to sell too many more books.

And just so you feel like you’ve gotten a deal by reading this blog post, I have two special gifts for you:

  1. Read this most excellent blog post about Cyber Monday by marketing expert Jeff Goins. He loathes Black Friday but has some great ideas for places to invest in yourself as a writer.
  2. I will offer a $5 rebate on any ebook in the Holiday Author Event bookstore that you purchase between now and Christmas 2015, provided you put MARCIE BROCK in the comments area. NOTE: This offer is exclusive to EEEEEbooks.

Happy discounting!

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As you may know, I am taking part in the Holiday Author Event for the next 6 days. PLEASE BE SURE to stop by the Holiday Author Event page tomorrow to view some of our authors’ video book trailers. Comment, like, and share to be entered in today’s drawing!

Happy discounting!



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Book Marketing Advent Calendar – Day 3 – Give your writing away for free

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It occurs to me that perhaps the whole concept of “Advent calendar” could use some explanation. According to Wikipedia (yes – I know it’s not a 100 percent reliable resource), the season of Advent is “a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the [birth] of Jesus at Christmas.” The term derives from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” Growing up Catholic, we looked forward to Advent as the colors of the priests’ vestments and altar cloths changed from green to purple. We always had an Advent wreath with its three purple candles and one pink (hope in the middle of the darkness, I believe it indicated), one candle for each Sunday of Advent.

An Advent calendar is a special calendar used to count or celebrate the days leading up to Christmas. Since the date of the first Sunday of Advent varies, falling between November 27 and December 3, the Advent calendar typically starts with December 1. Advent calendars can range in theme and format, from cardboard sports calendars to phone apps to … book marketing blog posts.

As I mentioned in my reply to a comment from author Kebba Buckley Button on my Advent calendar series, “I knew I wanted to do a Christmas-themed series … the Advent calendar idea came when I was trying to come up with a cohesive logo.”

Our Day 3 tip for the 2015 Book Marketing Advent Calendar encourages you to jump on the Advent calendar bandwagon:

Create an Advent (or pre-Christmas or Hanukkah or Festivus) series.

Do this by giving away a piece of your story or a tip from your book every day through Christmas. This may involve some nerve-calming, in terms of the decision to give away your material. Some of us seem to make ourselves a little crazy with the idea that if we give our best work away, people won’t buy our book(s). Thing is, giving away our work can often be the best thing we can do to increase our sales. Check out these seven benefits to giving away your writing, from author Bryan Hutchinson, as published in a post on DailyReckoning.com:

  1. It helps generate word-of-mouth buzz about you, which can lead to you becoming a known author.BookTree1a
  1. It’s a way to generate reviews more quickly than waiting around and hoping people buy your book, which can take a long time if you are an unknown author.
  1. Give people a reason to support you. “Most people love to reciprocate generosity; it’s built into our DNA!
  1. The number of people who download your free offer can help you estimate what your real market reach is.
  1. Your giveaway will attract readers to your website and to any other books you may have published or will publish.
  1. It helps you create “exposure, exposure, exposure…”
  1. If your book is good and resonates with the people who downloaded it, their response to it will help generate sales after the promotion. Sales you might not have had otherwise.

Of course, there’s something to be said for being strategic about what you give away, how you do it, and what your expectations are for your return on this little experiment. Entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuk, who wrote the best-selling Crush It, about using social media to initiate his meteoric rise to fame and fortune, has a few words about the strategy behind your give-away.

Main point: Get over yourself and give some writing away. Send it out via your email list. Post it on your blog every day. Put it on Facebook. Tweet it. Use whichever platform matches your audience and your goals. Just be generous. Think of it as donning your virtual Santa suit.

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As you may know, I am taking part in the Holiday Author Event for the next 8 days. PLEASE BE SURE to stop by the Holiday Author Event page today to find questions from some of our other authors about their websites and blogs. Answer the questions via email and you will be entered in today’s drawing!

Wishing you a splendid Advent!



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Book Marketing Advent Calendar – Day 2 – Find a reason to send Lumpy Mail

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If you’re selling books through a brick-and-mortar store, through Amazon, or any other online distribution channel, it probably works like this: you agree on a percent of royalties; you provide copies of your book; the store/website makes your products available; you make the occasional sale; and down the road somewhere, you receive a royalty check. It’s all very anonymous, and you never get to know who bought your book so that you can thank them or contact them or create any sort of a relationship with them.

This is a flaw in the current book-selling system. A book is a product, but most of them are not commodities like a pair of shoes or snow tires manufactured in a factory by a nameless person or a machine. A book has an author, an originator, a creator who put his/her thoughts down on paper to share with the end user, the reader. To that end, shouldn’t the idea creator be able to connect with the idea receiver?

When you sell from your own website (or a bookstore like the one for the Holiday Author Event), you have the opportunity to take things to the next level because you know who bought your book. Our Day 2 tip for the 2015 Book Marketing Advent Calendar takes this a step further:

Offer to give something away that requires the receiver to give you a physical mailing address.

I can hear the groaning from here. That means I’d have to mail them something! Are you crazy? Postage is through the roof!

Yep – postage costs more than sending an email through MailChimp (free for the first 12,000 messages each month). And guess what? The return is bigger. This is the chance to start a relationship that could lead to … a raving fan who will eagerly anticipate your next book and be more than willing to tell others about it, before it’s even published. Worth the $3-$5 in postage you spent? You do the math.

Keep these things in mind before you brush off this idea as crazy.

  1. You can limit your giveaway to the first however many takers your budget can accommodate.
  2. You can offset the cost – if it will really make that much of a difference to whether you do it or not – by asking your readers to pay a nominal shipping fee to receive the “gift.” Of course, asking for $3 makes it less gifty, so consider whether you really want to go this route.
  3. Not that many people are going to take you up on the offer anyway, because they’re busy, it’s extra effort, and it requires them to give up something personal and private.

Giveaway Ideas

Well, what’s your book about? Think of something that makes sense to keep the book top of mind once the person receives your gift. The sky is the limit here, but these come to mind off the top of my head:

My forthcoming novel is about a guy who travels around the world. I could give away globe pencil sharpeners. Just $8.99/dozen from Oriental Trading.

sharpener globe

Since it’s the holiday season, I could also give away SNOWglobe pencil sharpeners. These are on sale for just $7.98/dozen.

sharpener snow globe

  • Fitness author? How about a personalized pedometer. You can get them for a couple bucks each.
  • Cookbook author? Why not send a small sampler (literally a pinch of each) of your favorite spices? So use some common sense and don’t send saffron, right?
  • Book about Fido? Dog treats are always a welcome gift for pet owner readers.
  • Patriotic theme? There are probably a thousand places to buy flags in bulk online.
  • Fiction should be easy – find a doll or toy that represents your character or setting. Safari Ltd. has a “Knights and Dragons” bulk bag, with 42 pieces for about a buck apiece.

Need more help? My friend Helen Goldman is an expert in the promotional products business. She can help you find the perfect gift to match your theme and more than likely keep it within your budged. Contact her through her website, Primo Products.

Think about all the bills and boring stuff you get, when you still get mail. Wouldn’t it be fun to receive something extra, a bonus or gift from a writer you love? Well, one of the only ways you can do this in today’s marketing climate is by asking for the mailing address and giving away a bit of the surprise. The payoff can still be quite rewarding.

Read more on the value of “lumpy mail” in small business marketing from direct expert, Dan Kennedy.

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As you may know, I am taking part in the Holiday Author Event for the next 9 days. PLEASE BE SURE to stop by the Holiday Author Event page today to read the blog posts from a some of our other authors. Great stuff – and you will be entered in today’s drawing for every comment/share/like you make on the posts!

Happy mailing and blog hopping to you!



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Book Marketing Advent Calendar – Day 1 – Partner with other authors to create a package deal

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I have long been a proponent of the Power of the Group. It’s why I took over hosting the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup, where I blog monthly on this very topic. The Power of the Group lies in the sharing of the work, the effort, the expenses – and book marketing is an excellent place to put this to work.

Our Day 1 tip for the 2015 Book Marketing Advent Calendar comes straight out of this theory:

Partner your way to success.

Reach out to several other authors – in your genre or an allied one (e.g., a YA author partnering with several children’s authors) – and offer multiple books as a bundle for a discount price.


  • In order for this to work, it’s important to research your partners ahead of time. They don’t have to be authors BookTree1you already know in person, but they do need to be people you can trust to hold up their end of the bargain.
  • Decide how many books you will offer.
  • Decide what the discount bundled price will be.
  • Come up with a catch name for the promotion. A logo would be great, too.
  • Determine how long you will run this promotion.
  • Write out some turn-key tweets and Facebook posts you can all use to promote this special.
  • Promote this special on Goodreads and through each author’s blog.
  • Each author should take a picture of all the books together (if they are print books) and post it to Instagram and/or Pinterest. Make a collage of the covers if they are ebooks.
  • Each author should make a short video promoting the special to post to YouTube and/or your various social networks.
  • Don’t forget your email list! Send a note to your list, advising them about the special. Be sure to ask them to share the news with their contacts.

Get a group together and leverage the power each of you can bring to the party. Wishing you success and prosperity this holiday season!



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