by Narelle AtkinsLike many aspiring authors, I spent years dreaming about my first book sale. My dream came to fruition in February this year, when my debut book, Falling for the Farmer, was released by Love Inspired Heartsong Presents.
It’s exciting and fun to celebrate a book release. My favourite part of book promotion is interacting with readers. This includes blog visiting and social media. I did a blog chase and blog tour for Falling for the Farmer, including an ACRBA tour in early March. I blogged about my first blog tour on ICFW last month.
I researched book promotion and marketing in the months leading up to my book release. I learned what the marketing experts suggest a brand new author should consider doing for their book launch. I adapted this information to take into account a few unique factors relating to my book.
I couldn’t ignore geographical factors, which can present different challenges and opportunities for international authors. I live in Australia, and my home market is North America. I can’t contact my local Walmart store in the US and organise a book signing. I only spotted my book on a shelf in an Australian book store a few weeks ago, nearly 2 months after it released in the US. On the plus side, I’m marketing my books in North America and Australia/New Zealand, potentially reaching a larger audience.
My books are part of the Heartsong Presents category romance line. My publisher, Harlequin, sells the Love Inspired and Heartsong Presents books via their Reader Service. I was blessed to have the opportunity to write an article for the February inspirational issue of Harlequin’s Simply Books magazine that is sent to their Reader Service subscribers. There are inbuilt marketing benefits for books belonging to a known brand. I recently set up a Goodreads group with my Heartsong Presents author friends.
I currently have a six book contract, which means I’ll have a book releasing every three months from February 2014 to May 2015. My second book, The Nurse’s Perfect Match, releases next week on May 1 (ebook) and May 6 (print).
A number of books and articles that discuss book marketing and promotion seem to be based on the assumption that the author’s next book may not be available for six months or longer. This doesn’t apply in my situation, and isn’t relevant for a growing number of indie and hybrid authors who have learned there are marketing benefits to be gained by having more frequent book releases.
My economics background means that I look at book promotion from a cost-benefit perspective. If I invest X amount of time and money, what will be the tangible outcome? There are many marketing books that provide great ideas that we can try, but the outcomes appear to be hit and miss. How can authors measure whether or not they are receiving value from their marketing efforts? How can they link specific book promotion and marketing activities to book sales?
The time cost of book promotion and marketing is a huge factor that I need to consider. If I spend more time on book promotion, I have less time to write my contracted books. At the moment I’m revising and rewriting book 5 (deadline June 15), and I need to start writing Chapter 4 of book 6 ASAP (deadline September 15). I also have proposals to write for my agent as we look ahead to seek future contracts. The proposal ideas are in my head, but I need time to map out the story outlines and write the first 3 chapters and synopses.
Debut books are special, and I did more online promotion for Falling for the Farmer than I’m planning to do for The Nurse’s Perfect Match.
I’ll be posting my complete book promo schedule for The Nurse’s Perfect Match on my blog next week.
I’m kicking off my book release celebrations today with a print giveaway (worldwide, wherever The Book Depository delivers) of The Nurse’s Perfect Match. To entry the drawing, please leave a comment on this post and complete the Rafflecopter information below.
NURSE AMY WILKINS HAS COME HOME
After her marriage ends in tragedy, Amy returns to Snowgum Creek to rebuild her life. There she meets widower Ben Morton, who's not looking for romance, though his young children are eager for Amy's attention. She's given up on her dream of being a mother, but can't ignore how she's drawn to Ben's little ones, and to their handsome farmer dad.
As love kindles between Ben and Amy, she worries how she'll ever measure up to the wife he lost. And Ben is concerned about how Amy will ever truly fit into life on the farm. They could be the answer to each other's prayers—if the secret Amy is keeping doesn't tear them apart.
Have you struggled to balance writing time with marketing and promotion? Are there any particular marketing strategies that you’ve found effective? Do you have any insights on how to quantify and measure the effectiveness of book marketing and promotion? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
NARELLE ATKINS writes contemporary inspirational romance and lives in Canberra, Australia. She sold her debut novel, set in Australia, to Harlequin's Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line in a 6-book contract.
Her debut book, Falling for the Farmer, was a February 2014 release, followed by The Nurse's Perfect Match in May 2014, The Doctor's Return in August 2014, and Her Tycoon Hero in November 2014.
Narelle blogs regularly with Australasian Christian Writers and Inspy Romance. http://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.com/
She is also a co-founder of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA). http://acrba.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins
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