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

Advent Calendar4

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.

Unbalanced_scales

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!

Videos R Us banner

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!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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56 ways to use video to promote your book and/or business

Marcie with video camera

We haven’t paid much attention to video yet – but trust me, we will! Of course we reviewed some of our favorite book trailers, which is one very important way for an author to use video. However, there are many others.

The list below, much of which is borrowed from Media Pro Productions, includes a wide variety of video uses. Some of these may or may not directly apply to you as an author. If your book is an extension of your business, many will apply. However, if you’re the author of a novel, memoir, or other less business-oriented title, you may have to stretch to find applications. The goal isn’t for you to take this list and go out and make each and every video on here. It’s to get you thinking about new ways to use video that may never have occurred to you before.

If you’ve been using video for a while, please share the link for your YouTube channel (or other website feed) below in the comments section. And if you’ve got great ideas that aren’t on this list, please share those, too!

Customer-Oriented Videos 

1.   Video testimonials
2.   Video success stories
3.   Video case studies
4.   Man-in-the-street interviews
5.   Prospecting presentations
6.   Follow-up after meeting a new prospect
7.   Thank you for the opportunity
8.   Putting a name with a face after a phone call

 

Product and Service Promotions

6.   Product presentations
7.   Service demonstrations
8.   Product reviews
9.   Mini documentaries
10. Subject matter expert commentary
11. Product comparisons

 

Corporate Videos

12. Company overview
13. Executive presentations
14. Staff presentations
15. Virtual facilities or equipment tour
16. Board of Directors updates
17. Ongoing corporate communications

 

Training and Support Videos

18. Training videos
19. Instructional videos
20. Sales support “expert” videos
21. “Brown-bag” learning
22. Post-sales support videos
23. Maintenance videos

 

Internal Communications Videos

24. Internal communications
25. Event/conference/trade show communication
26. Employee orientation and “get on board” training
27. Health, safety, and legal issues

Advertising, Marketing, and Promotions 

28. Commercials/infomercials
29. Humorous video
30. eMail video
31. Content marketing
32. Landing pages and micro sites

 

PR Support and Community Relations

33. Video media releases
34. PR support materials
35. Community relations video

36. Public service announcements

37. Cause-related promotions

 

Event Video

38. Event presentation video
39. Roundtable sessions
40. Expert Q&A sessions
41. Highlights or “red carpet” video

 

Author Uses

42. Author bios for signings/events
43. Video blogs
44. Book trailers and promotions

45. Contest and giveaway promotions

46. Partnering with other authors

47. Speaking promotions

48. Tie-ins for holidays or special events

 

Other Uses

49. Recruitment videos
50. In-store videos
51. Company lobby/waiting room videos
52. Mobile videos
53. Market research/focus groups/polls
54. Website FAQ videos
55. Video white papers
56. Video magazines

 Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Is it time to make a book trailer? Marcie reviews a few of them

We’re very proud to announce that we’ve recently begun working with new author, Jennifer Laurent, to help schedule and implement the Nov. 27 launch of her book on conscious parenting, Excerpts from the Heart of a Mom. Jenn’s fortunate, in that she’s been able to put together a stellar team that includes publicist Nikki  Pesusich of Coterie Media, a wonderful VA (virtual assistant) named Cassidy Gard, a professional videographer, in addition to her book designer, web designer, printer, and of course, us here at Write | Market | Design. We’ve talked about the importance of a team in the past. Trying to do it all yourself is a recipe for disaster. Surround yourself with the best team you can – chances are you can come up with creative ways to keep the costs down!

As Jenn and her video guy are jotting down ideas for her book trailer, I’ve been busy pulling together some samples for them to look at. Here are links to 10 trailers that seem to cover a variety of book topics, as well as elements of the trailers themselves.

Now, I’m not a professional book trailer evaluator – but I have included comments about each one, indicating the specific components I believe make it work, as well as the things I would do differently.

http://bestsellerlabs.com/the-best-book-trailer-ive-seen-in-years/

This one comes with testimonial. After viewing all of the rest on this list, I’m not sure this is the best book trailer I’ve seen in years. For one thing, the author speaks WAY too quickly – and the thing runs long. I’d say under a minute is a good goal. And for crying out loud, write a SCRIPT for it. Still, the author’s personal story described by the blogger is definitely an asset in this trailer.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyO2k-jApng&feature=youtu.be

This is radically different from Jenn’s book – but incorporates some clever concepts. I like the opening that borrows from a movie preview. Also like the male narrator and the occasional pop-ups with numbers and stats.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar1QYy1Y8Z8

This is a professional trailer from HarperTeen – but it’s proof that even the pros have room to improve. I like the female voiceover – and the fact that she’s reading the text to reinforce it. Sooooo many book trailers I looked at use text and music only – no voiceover. Those are LOST OPPORTUNITIES, as far as I am concerned, to imprint the message with voice, rather than relying on the viewer to read it quickly and correctly and digest it all at once. However, the male voiceover detracts, as the guy sounds so uninspired and bored, I’m wondering how they released the trailer with this guy in it.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaeNWL8rlBI

Again, this one has a clean, strong female voiceover. It’s a  thriller, so the trailer’s got that mysterious feel to it. Not for every book, but creatively done.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6sTyNlJzK8

This trailer does a really nice job of incorporating the book cover into the video – although just once, and fairly briefly. The author also appears in a very nice sequence against a black backdrop. However, she goes too long and tries to do too much with a single video, describing the second book in the series that she’s currently writing. In my humble opinion, that should be reserved for a separate video.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIpRi-lkQt4

Closest thematically to Jenn’s book, this is a clever trailer for a book by a different Julia Roberts. However, they again lose the opportunity to imprint the message by failing to incorporate a voiceover to accompany the words on the slides.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIZ7SbK9ntg

This one has all of the elements I would look for in a trailer, and yet it’s less than inspiring. It’s got footage of the author giving a presentation, a professional female voiceover artist, and the book cover in several places. Perhaps it’s the “broken brain” concept they stress again and again that I find challenging. Overall, it feels more like an infomercial than a book trailer. One thing to be aware of is distilling a complicated theme or subject to just a few crisp, clear sentences.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBgQCz6dI_8

While this trailer use the author to great effect, also incorporating nice imagery to illustrate the points she’s making, it runs way too long, at just about 3 minutes. It appears unscripted – again, a script would really help keep it short!

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzXyVfTpu0Y

This trailer takes a Monty Python approach that is rather clever, but it’s crazyLONG at 4 minutes. It also uses images of the people in the book to really nice effect, and has the author as narrator.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLiv99Xpr2o

By far my favorite of the 50 or 60 trailers I combed through last night, this one doesn’t use a voiceover narration and gets away with it because the music works so well. However, it  wouldn’t have ruined the trailer to have a narrator reading the names of each chapter as they flashed across the screen. It’s a little long, but it’s so well done that you don’t notice the length. Of all the trailers I saw, this left me most inclined to further explore the book.

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A FEW FINAL REMINDERS

Every trailer incorporates the book cover – some to better effect than others. Be sure also to include the date the book will be available, as well as a link to your site. In Jenn’s case, I advised her to make TWO trailers. The first will have her specific launch date and a link to the page on her site that describes the bonuses she’s offering to people who buy her book. The second will be more generic, with the timeless note, Available November 2012, and a link to the home page of her site.

Be sure to leave your link on the screen a while, so people will have time to write it down or type it in. Avoid all caps in most places – particularly if you’re using text slides for thinks like advance praise quotes in your trailer.

More than anything, capture the essence and feel of your book – and share the things about it that would entice someone to visit your site to learn more!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit our website to view/download our Timeline of a Book, where you’ll note that marketing your book should start as soon as you begin writing it. If you’d like help setting up YOUR book marketing strategy, call us today for your complimentary 30-minute consultation! 602.518.5376

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Tell your readers you care with VIRTUAL conversation hearts

We’ve all seen it. Though the after-Christmas sales are still languishing, we’re already onto the next holiday. Red cupids, pink bows, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate stacked to the ceiling. Always one of my favorite Valentine’s confections, conversation hearts don’t have much flavor, but they’re fun to play with – especially the larger ones with room for longer messages. I suppose they remind me of my favorite refrigerator game, Magnetic Poetry. Such must have been the thinking of the folks at Acme Labs when they put together this program that allows you to write your own virtual conversation hearts.

If you think Twitter’s concise, wait till you try to write a couple of these! Nevertheless, why not whip up a few to promote your book this Valentine’s Day? Make sure to right click and save the picture to your hard drive if you want to share it.

These hearts got me to thinking about other cool type/font/graphics programs I’ve come across over the years. If you’re looking for something to jazz up your book trailers, you might want to visit TypoGenerator.

Just enter your text in the box, select your preference for portrait or landscape, and let it do its thing. Be aware that it’s not a perfect system, though. Sometimes you get the same color text and background, which creates the appearance that the screen is blank. Just indicate your text style, text color, and background preferences and hit the gray “generate” bar again. And perhaps again, once or twice more.

Another fun site for creating title graphics, logos, and website buttons is CoolText. They’ve got lots of choices – some aesthetically better than others, in my humble opinion. This program could be useful for developing a number of different options for your website, which you should then TEST with your real-life site visitors.

One side note on your shopping cart buttons: experts suggest that using an “Add to Cart” button results in more sales than the formerly favorite “Buy Now” button.

Lastly, I came across MaleVole’s interesting alternative to the lorem ipsum filler text used by graphic designers for book covers and other printed materials.

 

Before you go diving in, however, it might make sense to learn why we use the lorem ipsum text at all. Read all about the history of this filler at LipSum.com.

Have fun with your graphics!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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