Category Archives: Angells 4 Authors

How to Plan a Marketing Schedule

Hello Lovely authors!

The key to success as an author: strong marketing! The first step to that is having a marketing plan. Every year, I spend from Thanksgiving until Christmas putting together my annual business plan, and one of the key elements of that business plan is the marketing. ??If you didn???t do this yet, it isn???t too late. Here???s how to get started.

  1. Plan Around Your Publishing Schedule

geralt / Pixabay

The first step in planning out my marketing schedule is knowing when I plan to publish each book in the year. Book launches are so important, and having that plan on your schedule is KEY to getting your marketing schedule set up.

I like to have a physical calendar and use sticky notes of different colors to mark out what will be happening when. After I set my book launch date, I count back 12 weeks and add a sticky for each marketing task needed: creating the media kit, preparing ARCS, planning the book launch details. (My Maximize Virtual Book Tour Masterclass is a great tool to get the information that you need to plan all the date and time information on your calendar.)

  1. Planning OffLine Events (AKA I Know We’re Hermits, But We Gotta Get Out of The House!)

The next step to planning my marketing schedule is to plan three conventions that I know I want to go to that year. I stick the dates of the conventions, the date fees are due for the conventions, and a reminder about a month before the due date so I make sure to have the money ready in time. ??One that always goes on my calendar is B2B CyCon because I can do it from the comfort of home, and the bang for your buck just cannot be beat!

Unsplash / Pixabay

I also pull up a local events calendar and plan book signings around those events. Nothing sucks more (And I know from personal experience) than to set up a book signing and do all the work that goes with promoting it, only to find out that there’s an arts festival across town that same weekend. The competition is too steep and really isn’t worth the fight. Pick a better weekend, trust me!

The third thing I do is plan signings around trips. If I know that I’m going to Massachusetts for a family reunion, you’d better believe that I am planning book signings for before and after. This allows you to tap into a new audience, and as a bonus, you can write that vacation off on your taxes. Seriously!

  1. Holidays are Great Inspiration for Marketers!

teadrinker / Pixabay

The third piece to planning my marketing is to tag all the relevant holidays I can use to market my books. I aim for one event a month, and I go out of my way to find obscure holidays relevant to my books. For example, Hell School: Fresh Meat is about a girl who is being stalked. Most stalking incidents end in rape if they are not stopped. April is sexual Assault Awareness month. It’s a natural fit. In the Clear Angel Chronicles, Clear is a psychic who prefers pets to people because it gives her social comfort without being overwhelmed. I use this awesome Pet Holidays Calendar to plan events around that. ??

Think about important features of your books. Find holidays to use for promotions. Every business under the sun uses the big ones (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter, Halloween) and you can too, but you will find yourself not having to compete in so much noise if you find those special holidays.

Make sure that you are not neglecting the offline opportunities for these holidays, either. For National Adopt A Pet Day, go down and do a book signing at a local animal shelter, offering half of the royalties to go to donations. People LOVE that kind of stuff. And marketers love what people love, because it gets people to buy. Truth.

  1. Save the Nitty Gritty for Your 90 Day Plan

Once I knock out those broad strokes, I work a 90 day plan. I pick three key marketing things over the next 90 days to focus on. That could be a book launch, that could be building my email list, that could be boosting my social media presence, or focusing on a holiday event. Whatever it is, only focus on those three key areas, because that keeps you from getting overwhelmed. We aren’t full time marketers. We are authors. Marketing can be a full-time job, or you can end up suffering from “Shiny New Marketing Idea” syndrome and then you never get anything finished. If you complete one of those tasks well before the 90 days is complete, you can add another task to fill it’s place.

Two weeks before your 90 days end, do an evaluation and see how everything is going, and start planning your next 90 days. Maybe one of those things needs to carry over. (building my email list is always on my 90 day plan!) Maybe one of those things isn’t working the way you want. (I went through this with Facebook ads.) Can you switch things up? Is it time to let go of one marketing strategy to try a different strategy? Get those plans in place so that when you start your next 90 days of marketing, you are ready to tackle it head on. Trust me, if you work this plan, the plan will work and that’s what marketing is all about.

Well, there are my general tips for planning your marketing schedule. Looking for more? Here is a great panel from Go Indie Now of some top book marketers (Yup, I’m there too!) discussing how we plan for marketing.

What are your burning questions regarding planning your marketing? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

This post was originally published on Angells4authors, with permission to reprint by the author.

Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac, and wordsmith. When she isn???t writing or reading, she enjoys helping fellow authors on their writing adventures. Learn more about how Heidi can help you at Angells4Authors.

How Authors Can Use Rafflecopter to Boost Engagement

Hello Lovely authors!

I have a lot of favorite tools to help me make an impact in my marketing strategies, but one of my favorite is Rafflecopter. It allows you to offer giveaways, build your audience, and protects you from accusations of favoritism for free. Plus, you don’t have to set up a google form, which can be quite the hassle!

Rafflecopter is a great tool for impacting your #marketing strategies. #Writerslife Click To Tweet

And I love their snark! But it takes a savvy marketer to finagle Rafflecopter for free. Just like every app out there, they are looking for a way to make money. (Hey, we are too, don’t hold it against them!)

But if I had to pay for every tool I use, I would never make money at this whole writing gig. I think you can sympathize!

So, let’s get back to how to use Rafflecopter free to achieve your best results!

Once upon a time, every person who entered a Rafflecopter had to provide their email address to be notified when they won, and Rafflecopter would provide the host of the giveaway those email address. No more. They still collect the email addresses, but they don’t send it to you. Thank Can-spamm for that. But there are still some pretty neat features and if you plan ahead, you can do some great stuff.

When you go in to start a giveaway, it asks you to tell us about your giveaway. To show a picture, you have to pay. Don’t let this lure you in. You can simply put an image in the announcement that you do for the giveaway, so ??no worries!

After you enter the prize(s) you are offering during your giveaway, you enter the things that people can do to earn entries for the giveaway. Rafflecopter offers a pretty awesome list of options pre-established. Once upon a time, those were all free, but now most of them cost money. Sneaky, what they did there, right?

You can have them visit your Facebook fan page for free, but that doesn’t really help unless they actually like the page (and thanks to Facebook’s limiting features, that doesn’t really do any good either. But you can add an Invent Your Own option asking them to visit your Facebook fanpage and comment. This will boost your page’s reach.

You can ask them to tweet a message. This is pretty awesome, especially if you take advantage of hashtags. Enough entrants tweeting your event and you could trend! You can also have them follow you on Twitter and build your following there. You can get them to leave a comment on your Blog Post, boosting your blog engagement.

The rest of the features all require being paid. The best features, require paying.

Or you can creatively take advantage of that Invent your Own button and MacGyver a solution to your problem!

I prefer to use Rafflecopter to build my email list, and as Mailchimp provides a link for forms, I simply add that as part of the entry process. I have my notifications set up to show every person who subscribes, so I save this when I do a Rafflecopter so I can verify that they did actually enter if that is how they are chosen.

You can do the same for getting them to like your social media page, simply verifying they liked your page. There is no limit to what you can do for Invent Your Own options, except your imagination!

After you set your giveaway options, you need to set the date. Make sure this is planned well in advance, because once you set it, you cannot change it unless… you guessed it, you pay!

After it is all set up, their installation page provides you with a variety of ways that you can share your giveaway. Embed in your blog in website provides you the HTML code to be able to add the cute mini graphic. This is convenient for you to send to bloggers if you are doing a tour.

There is also a feature that allows you to add it to your Facebook page, so everyone on your Facebook page will know and be able to enter as well. Pretty nice, right?

There is also the option to share the Rafflecopter through a link.

And there you go. How to use Rafflecopter. Rafflecopter also provides a lot of marketing tips to promote your giveaways, and I enjoy their quarterly email, so you should sign up for that too.

Any questions about Rafflecopter? Let us know in the comments below!

What other help would you like with marketing? Let us know in the comments.

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

This post was originally published on Angells4authors, with permission to reprint by the author.

Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac, and wordsmith. When she isn???t writing or reading, she enjoys helping fellow authors on their writing adventures. Learn more about how Heidi can help you at Angells4Authors.

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