Marketing 101 – I made this quick overview for my sister’s superhero crime fiction series set in New Orleans about criminal Kings that seized power after Hurricane Katrina and their teams of Jesters that do their dirty work. You can substitute in the keywords/etc., relevant to your genre/subgenre. Some may not apply to non crime fiction genres, etc.
Basically, it’s brainstorming!
Step 1 – preparing the ebooks to maximize exposure
Make sure your website, FB/other favorite social media page and ‘also by’ info is at the back of your ebooks
For Amazon books, include direct links/covers/blurbs (or excerpts) to the next book in the series or another of your books, if it’s a non series. For aggregators, do the cover/blurb but don’t put links cuz they hate that. Just say they’re available wherever ebooks are sold
Add a – ‘join my mailing list for exclusive updates, list-only giveaways and sale notifications’ or similar and include link to mailing list sign up blurb at end of every ebook
Add a – ‘go to my website to see XYZ’ (online character bios/trading cards, in my sister’s case) OR ‘follow me on XYX’
Step 2 – define and find your market and whose books they’re buying
Define likely demographic for your books (male/female, ages, traits specific to this demographic). You can have a primary, secondary and even tertiary market if you want.
Define keywords associated with other books similar to those in your market. (vigilante crime fiction, anti-hero crime fiction, New Orleans fiction, whatever) Pick five solid ones that best represent your work and use these to find authors and readers
Make a list of big name authors who write in your genre with comparable themes
Make a list of other indies/mid level and above authors who appear approachable and have decent followings
Identify Goodreads groups dedicated to your genre and find what books/authors they worship
Find out if there are blog tours for your genre/theme
Make a list of traditional and blogger review avenues that cater to your audience
Step 3 – target your market
Create FB/Goodreads/Twitter/wherever ads targeting your demographic by targeting the authors whose books they read
Do a giveaway on Goodreads for the first book, combined with the ad
Identify conventions (like Comicon or crime/mystery conventions) that might cater to your audience
Identify bookstores where you can have signings.
Put in for a Bookbub and maybe Book Gorilla mystery/thriller ad when you have at least 3 books out
Tell mid level/approachable authors you are giving away one of their books and or having an Author XYZ all day feature (or whatever) on your page/site and ask if they’ll share the feature/giveaway
Set up blog tour once you have at least three books out
Buy a signed book off ebay/elsewhere for one of the most popular authors of your genre and raffle it off across your social media. You can ask people to tag or tell friends who like this kind of fiction, too, or to recommend the book via GR or whatever.
Submit your book(s) to traditional publishing industry review magazines/sites as well as blogger sites. For traditional review sites, submit as far in advance as possible. To entice bloggers to feature you, offer up a gift card or autographed copy for them to give away.
Step 4 – Play with pricing
Identify what similar books in your genre sell for. Pay attention to lengths of books.
Put books on sale or otherwise manipulate pricing to test waters. You can try bundling books, too, where they save $ if they buy the bundle instead of the individual books.
After Bookbub/other ad, consider making first ebook permafree and advertise via free ebook sites.
Step 5 – Swag, conventions and other physical stuff
Where possible, find out what kind of things your primary market likes in terms of swag/other hobbies that you can tap into
Attend 1-4 of the top conventions tailored to your audience. The first year, a lot of authors scout the convention they want to exhibit at as an attendee. If money is an issue, choose the convention with the best access to your audience and do your best to go. If not possible, choose the one geographically feasible for you to drive to, even if just for the day, and go. Always take bookmarks or other handouts. When you can afford it, exhibit and bring a plethora of freebies.
Tailor swag/handouts to your audience and books. Example: buy character cards to hand out instead of bookmarks; design mini maps of New Orleans with the different Kings’ territories marked, etc. Be unique
Idea: Create a game – either online or physical – for the Kings and their Jesters (might be expensive but might not – would totally get to your male gamer/comic book types) You could start this process with a quarterly online scavenger hunt or similar where they have to find x, y, z – all of which would be tied to your series somehow – and would win a prize if they got it right. Prize could be simple: a one year ebook subscription to all your books OR naming a main character in your series or similar. It costs you nada but is a pretty cool prize. Got the money to put into it? Amazon gift cards, paperbacks (yours or others), gift cards to other stores where your audience shops, etc., Kindles/iPad Mini/etc., are all super cool
Combine first 1- 2 books into one paperback book for conventions OR give out the first one for free and combine #2 and #3 or similar. OR have booklets printed with excerpts.
For book signings at stores, see if you can do a reading to pull in passersby. Take tons of handouts. In down moments, circulate and hand out bookmarks/etc.
(Note: for physical handouts, make it brainless for people to sign up for your mailing list. Do a giveaway or offer a free ebook if they do and use a QR code or similar so they can do it while standing in front of you.)
Step 6 – other ideas
Create pitch for producers and pitch via Virtual Pitch Fest (if you’re interested in this)
Research print magazines (book and non book) catering to your audience. Query for review possibilities and if none are available, consider an ad.
Create a trailer to encompass the general theme for the series rather than each book
Giveaways are always good – just make sure the people who enter are interested parties. Do like tailored giveaways for mailing list members, those who have reviewed your book or something, those who visited your booth or saw you at a convention, etc.
Watch other authors and try out new marketing techniques as needed.
Keep your marketing plan flexible.
Experiment, experiment, experiment!!!