Spring is here. Time to clean house. Even writers can benefit from a little spring cleaning.
After launching three titles in three months at the end of last year, I realized that I actually have a pretty good start on a portfolio of novels–6 to be exact, as well as a novella, three short story collections and a couple dozen standalone shorts running around. I’m not a one-book author anymore. I like them all individually, but as a group, they don’t have a very cohesive look.
I decided it’s time to streamline my brand to refocus on the novels, which is what I prefer to spend my time on. Time to give my author platform an upgrade. Go for a more professional look. That means taking down the short stories that were cluttering up my author pages, getting new book covers, updating the look of my blog, writing a new bio, and even setting up a professional/business Facebook page.
Brighten Your Brand with New Covers & Blurbs
If your covers are more than a year or two old, it might be a good time to take another look at them; maybe even update your branding a little. It might take a while to find the right cover artist, but the right cover artist can make a huge difference. I’ve just uploaded new covers for my Hand of Fate series. On the recommendation of a friend, I finally settled on Lou Harper, and was absolutely blown away by the results. I found Lou to be reasonably priced and easy to work with.More than that, I feel almost as proud of the new covers as I did of the books when they launched.
And of course, with new covers, it’s time to take a second look at the old blurbs, too. Analyzing the current bestsellers in your genre can give you some good clues about what sort of cover copy is hot right now. Author Marketing Club and CopyBlogger both have some good tips and training videos.
Expand Your Reach into New Markets
And how about expanding your reach? Seems like every day there are new markets for ebooks: 24Symbols, Inktera, Scribd, and Tolino are just a few of the new players. Have you tried Audio yet? After several earlier unsuccessful attempts at producing and audiobook at ACX, the Audiobook Creation Exchange (an Amazon Company), I finally connected with the right narrater, and I’m hoping to launch my first audiobook in the next week or two– Stars That Make Dark Heaven Light is a novella. It’s two-hour recoding time is short enough to be worthwhile, but not quite as big an investment as a novel for a first-time project.
Helpful Marketing Tips from the Experts – Gaughran, Penn, and Stephenson
Spring is a good time to re-examine your categories and keywords–the basic tools that help your books get found by readers. David Gaughrans’s latest book, Let’s Get Visible offers a lot of good tips on marketing and explains the concept of popularity and how it works with categories and keywords on Amazon. Since every author and book is different, there is no one piece of advice that can help you choose the best categories and keywords for your book, but by experimenting, you may be able to improve your book’s popularity with some new keywords, and in time, grow your audience.
Joanna Penn’s recent post on The Creative Penn talks about her latest brand iteration and offers some productivity tips, such as dictating first drafts. I do know several successful (and prolific) authors who write this way. Maybe it’s time to give it a try.
And Nick Stephenson has a pretty amazing bunch of free videos that look at marketing and what it takes to be a successful indie author. His perspective is refreshing, and his enthusiasm is contagious. He’s got me thinking about marketing in a different way.
I’ve spent the last six weeks working on the updates, and I’m feeling pretty good about it. To be honest, it was hard work, and will be a while before I see any results, but I’m glad I made the effort.
Time to get back to writing.