Monday, April 16, 2012

Market Smarter, Not Harder

Okay, so today we're going to have another installment of marketing tips. Now that I've been around the block once, I've learned some things. Here's hoping this will help some of you, no matter if you're releasing your first book, your fifth, or still waiting for the publishing deal.

1. In publishing, you want to know a lot of people. Take the time to make meaningful relationship with people. It's not about numbers, it's about the connection. Not sure if that makes sense, but it does inside my head.


2. Begin early and focus on organization. Release dates can seem extremely far away, but they have a way of sneaking up on you. This is where Excel can be your best friend... Well, maybe that's just me. I am such a spreadsheet junkie. I put everything in there. Names, dates, blog sites, emails, the works. Then I can stay organized with who's doing what, and when.

And have you become familiar with Google Cal? Because, dude, it will save your life when you're planning a blog tour. Here's a shot of mine on the "Agenda" setting. It's AWESOME to color-code things--I made the blog tour stops RED--and can see the blog address right there. 

It helps me to know what's coming up. In the notes section inside the event, I detail what I'm doing (interview, review, guest post, contest, etc.) so everything is available no matter where I am. (Because let's face it. I have this thing on my phone too...)

You'll see 5 calendars here. That's because my family and I schedule our lives on this thing. Three of those calendars are mine (green, orange, and dark blue). The other two are my husband's and son's.




3. Make your noise different. It's no secret that there's so much NOISE out there. Everyone has a contest you can enter. Everyone has something to say on twitter and Facebook. So why should someone listen to you? Click on your link? Enter your contest?


Your noise has to be different. I can't tell you what kind of different, but you can take note of what's out there already. Watch what other authors do that you like, that you think worked. And do a version of that. Your version of it. 


Dedicate some time to thinking about it. Lay it out in front of you. Get your friends from #1 to help you. If you begin early enough, your release will "sound" different from what's already out there. 

And that's how you want to market smarter, not harder.

So what have you seen that you've taken note of? How are you planning to tweak it so yours isn't the same noise everyone's heard before? 

33 comments:

Christine Danek said...

That calender. I do color code mine too, but mine is not as full. I will check that out. Not sure how to change my noise yet. I'm working on it.
Thanks.

Christina Lee said...

AWESOME! Also, I live and die by my Google calendar!!! xo

Stina Lindenblatt said...

My eyes hadn't quite focused when I read this. I saw Google Cal as Google Cat. I was terrify that I would have to learn something new. lol Guess not. I just have to remember to use it more often.

I love your marketing tips, Elana. Keep them coming!!!!! :D

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great tips. I don't use Google Cal. I'll have too.

You need to add my interview at Literary Rambles on June 4th. Don't forget!

Laura Pauling said...

Love these. I keep seeing that everywhere - start early!

I use my ical but the Google cal might be more functional. I use it to keep track of my writing responsibilities mainly so I don't forget!

With A Spy Like Me - which is out now and a little early - I'm planning a spies, murder and mystery blog series in May where I'm inviting authors from all routes to guest post and then offer their books as prizes. It's a little different than they traditional blog tour, so we'll see!

Great tips! Thanks!

Adam Heine said...

Good advice. I wish you could be more specific on #3, but obviously you can't :-)

And I totally get what you mean by "It's not about numbers, it's about the connection." I admit I roll my eyes just a little when I see someone follow me on Twitter along with 16,000 other people (esp. when they unfollow and then follow again if I don't follow back).

Wendy Paine Miller said...

That's brilliant advice--making your noise different. I think people quickly tire of the same marketing ideas. I think with this we need to not be afraid to try new things and fail.

Always get so much out of your posts!
~ Wendy

SA Larsenッ said...

These are all great points. I think the most important is being unique and genuine. Being different will catch peoples' interest. Being genuine will keep it. Just my philosophy....

Kelly Hashway said...

Such great advice, Elana. I so appreciate it since I have my debut YA coming out in January. Thanks!

Gina Conroy said...

Great advice on making your noise different. I try to do that with my noise, but there's always something you can learn from someone else's noise!

LM Preston said...

Wonderful advice! I'm so using the google calender *hit hand on forehead* never thought to use it before. I write all of mine down.

Donna K. Weaver said...

*takes notes*

I'm so intimidated by this whole thing.

Julie Daines said...

I'm loving your marketing posts! I've still got over a year before my novel comes out, so I'm eating all your advice right up. I'm a firm believer in learning from those who have gone before!

I love the color of your books. For some reason, they make me want a fruit smoothie! Thanks, Elana!

Sarah Allen said...

Fabulous tips! I spend a lot of time trying to think of different things to do. My post today was on niche marketing, which I think is key to reaching your particular audience. I'm actually having a difficult time determining the target audience for the book I just finished, but regardless, these are some great tips. Thanks!

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Theresa Milstein said...

Excellent advice, as usual. The spreadsheet idea I'm taking! It must be hard to be heard over all that noise. With all the self-pub promo, it's noisier than ever.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're right - it's the connections that matter! And while I don't use anything as fancy as Google Cal, I do keep a file and notebook so I can keep track of where I'm supposed to be when.

Melanie Conklin said...

I too am a compulsive spread-sheeter. When my CPs saw my agent research document, they thought they'd partnered up with a real looney this time :)

Still, I cannot wait for the day when I have that much to chart and plan on the writing front! Thanks, Elana, for always taking the time to put what you've learned into words for others. It's a good thing.

Melanie
www.melanieconklin.com

Carolyn V said...

I love all this information. Now I just have to remember it all. ;)

Leigh Covington said...

I love it Elana! Your advice is priceless, and I'm so glad that you share your knowledge with the rest of us! :) *bookmarking!*

Jessie Humphries said...

I am going to give away weird stuff, like a free divorce, or child custody trial, or ice cream or leather couch that reclines...whatdya think? :).

Jemi Fraser said...

I've never heard of/used Google Calendar - what a cool thing! :)

I love my spreadsheets too. They're SOOOOOO helpful!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Elana. Great post. I don't use Google Calendar, but I also don't have a schedule like you do.

I like to use a combination of a planner and a calendar that hangs on the wall.

Susanne
PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

Stephanie Thornton said...

I have some ideas, but it's hard to think of new promos that haven't been done before. On the plus side, there are tons of great things that people have already used that can be tweaked to make your own!

Robin Weeks said...

Ooohh. Spreadsheets and Google Calendar? I knew we were kindred spirits.

Leslie Rose said...

Hello pretty calendar. I will definitely be playing with that. Thank you for the great advice. Bookmarking in progress.

Martha Ramirez said...

Another fab tip! Thank u. How do you add emails in Excel? I seriously need to do that. Please email me :)

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm so with you about networking being a connection and not just a rung on the ladder. People are PEOPLE--regardless of the job. And those people that care about the connection are the people I WANT beside me on the ladder.

Matthew MacNish said...

I know this is off topic, but man, those four covers look seriously awesome together there at the top.

Patti said...

Thanks for the marketing tips. Hopefully I'll be able to use them someday.

David P. King said...

You're a marketing master. Thank you for sharing your secrets with the rest of us. It will be a great asset when the time comes. :)

Jennifer Jenkins said...

I wish I could copy your marketing brain and paste it to mine. I'm seriously intimidated right now. *STRESS*

Adventures in YA Publishing said...

I love what you say about building relationships and about making your own kind of noise. You are such a smart cookie. And we're SO looking forward to having you visit the blog in June. Woo-hoo!

Can't wait to read Surrender!

Best,

Martina

cleemckenzie said...

You've given so much good spot-on information. Truly appreciated.

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