Posts Tagged ‘virtual treasure hunt’

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

Advent Calendar3

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.

Virtual Treasure Hunt banner

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!



We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.


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Growing a fiction platform is radically different than nonfiction…

Day 27 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks participants to describe the things they’re doing to grow their author platforms. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.


Day 27 writing prompt:

What are the three most important things you are doing to grow your platform?

Certain terms become so overused that their meaning gets diluted. There may be a danger of this when it comes to “author platform” – but it’s too important a concept to ignore. As we’ve shared in the past on this blog:

An author’s platform is his/her ability to reach their audience of book-buyers, or their plan to do so. It is a measure of your EXISTING INFLUENCE and your ABILITY TO SELL to your market. This is why celebrities find it much easier to land book deals than unknown writers they already have a built-in audience.

In learning to think like a Savvy Book Marketer (SBM), you’ve got to tap into all the ways and places you can start creating demand for your book (before it’s even printed) and expand your sphere of influence. This includes things like:

  • Public speaking
  • Radio and TV interviews
  • Articles, on- and offline
  • Social media
  • Blogging
  • Video marketing

The good news in my situation is that I’ve got a pretty good social media presence, a lively speaking career, a solid blog following (thank YOU for reading!), and the wherewithal to get video marketing underway. The challenge is that I’ve spent the better part of the last 15 years building my business of helping other authors make and market their books, so that’s where my attention has been focused. It remains to be seen whether the audience converts Ballet of the Unhatched Chicksto support me as a novelist.

Just in case you’re wondering, I’m not counting any unhatched chicks (to borrow a favorite phrase from my mom).

Marketing a novel – and building a platform as a fiction author – is a different beast than using books to support an existing business. Generally speaking, fiction readers want one thing from you if they like you: more novels. But a successful novelist also knows how to cultivate relationships with his/her readers by offering behind-the-scenes glimpses into their characters’ world.

In the case of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, as opposed to, say, a sci-fi or paranormal story, there’s lots from reality to draw on. Articles about the social issues. Talks to travel groups and arts organizations. Pinterest boards with images from the countries Stan visits. But a really creative fantasy novelist will be able to build such a realistic world for his/her readers that they can treat it similarly. Who’s to say that a gay cyclops who feels ostracized by his peers couldn’t be the perfect jumping off point for a conversation about diversity at a youth center?


Stan and Isis have their own blog, which will get much more attention in the days to come. Their interests and focus will be more focused on the above-mentioned social and travel issues than Marcie’s posts, which will continue to focus on book marketing.

I’m also planning a virtual treasure hunt that will take participants along the same trail Stan follows.

The goal is to grow Stan’s platform organically, one valued, enthusiastic reader at a time.

What steps are YOU taking to continue to grow your author platform? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Please be sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll go into detail about how I am using/plan to use social media to get the word out about #StanTravels.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to meeting all kinds of wonderful characters in your waking life!



We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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