Thursday, July 8, 2010

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Kim Kouski sits down with Ellen C Maze

This week, I was interviewed by writer and blogger Kim Kouski about marketing your novel. It was so much fun, I want to re-post it here. You will find all of Kim's delightful and informative blogs here, as well as information on her writing endeavors.http://kimkouski.com/ ~ ellen



FROM KIM KOUSKI.COM
"I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend Ellen Maze, the writer of Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider regarding the marketing of her novel. She has in the past given me a glimpse of her marketing techniques, but I finally nailed down the Rabbit Writer and learned her secrets and what awesome secrets she has!!!! (May I also add, she’s sold almost 800 books in 6 months.)"

Hi Kim! I’m honored to be invited back for another interview. I have called myself a self-marketing Guru and I’ll happily share everything that I’ve learned with you and your readers today.



1) What marketing techniques do you use for your books?

There are literally dozens of ways that I market my books and hundreds more that I haven’t even glanced over yet. During the course of this interview, I will name as many as I can, but let me start with the number one technique: Facebook. Yes, more than MySpace or Twitter, Facebook is every author’s best friend.

Set up a personal profile page for yourself to make friends with people, and also set up a ‘Group’ for your novels. Some authors make a personal page, a novel group, and a separate Author’s Fan page. I have found that if you have enough readers, you can make as many groups as you can imagine. And in case you didn’t know it, all of this is FREE.


Please check this link for my personal Profile Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1027516409 and this link for my Facebook Novel Group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=96952574559 .

Also, if you’re reading this blog and you haven’t ‘friended’ me yet on Facebook, please do!

Now, if you were paying attention, you caught me marketing right then and there. I told you about my links in an interview and then asked you to join me! This is a major part of self-marketing and self-promotion—friendly and open communication with potential readers and fellow authors!

Once you have your Facebook all set up, it’s time to set up a Twitter account, using your author name and inserting your novel’s web site into your profile there. Do the same at MySpace.com, Shoutlife.com, Goodreads.com, Librarything.com, Shelfari.com, authorsden.com, and the list goes on and on. I’ll attach a more comprehensive list of social networking sites at the end of this interview.

2) How did you make your video book trailer?

My homemade video book trailer turned out beautifully and it was my first attempt. Using the Movie Maker included in my PC, I taught myself the program and had it completed in about five hours. Because of copyright laws, every part of the video had to belong to me—music, photos, and text—so I took the time to make it all legal. I went downtown and took the appropriate photos, my musical husband wrote and played the music, and my graphic artist daughter did the titles and book cover. All in the family, we made a $300 book trailer for nothing. Here’s a link to the trailer (please watch ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDXTyk3uSOI .

My publisher, Outskirts Press, also made me a video book promo for $95. It is plain but gets the job done. Here’s a link to that one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyWr9I9_CkY&feature=related

I have signed with a publicity company recently called Apex Reviews http://www.apexreviews.net (ya’ll jot that company down. You’re going to want to use them when the time is right!), and they are making me a 3rd video book trailer. I haven’t gotten it back yet, but for less than $75, they provided a host of services included a professional book review, listing on dozens of web sites and blogs, and this trailer. I recommend the usage of these publicity companies when you are self-publishing. Some other pay-companies I have used and liked: Premium Promotional Services http://www.premiumpromotions.biz and Kingdom Expansion http://www.christian-book-marketing.com/index.html . So far, I’ve never paid more than $75 a pop for their services, and to me, that is very reasonable considering the exposure they provide an independently published book.

3) Which marketing techniques have you used that work well for you?

As aforementioned, Facebook has had the largest impact and found me the most readers. But I have to work the system there and that is a talent in itself. Another biggie that is just as important, if not more so, is for every serious author to set up an author profile on Amazon.com. You must sell your book on Amazon, and you can publish a Createspace Kindle version for FREE. Seriously. Buy this book: SELL YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON. If you follow even 50% of his advice, you will see your title on dozens of different web sites within the first few hours, and it is perpetual. I still see reviews and lists I created on Amazon last year create new online searches for my work now. Amazing exposure for FREE!

Listen up friends—for self-promotion, you’ll dedicate 10 to 20 hours a week promoting a new title, and 10 hours a week between new books. It has to be done. Even authors published by the larger houses do these steps. It’s the only way in this tough economy and isn’t likely to change. If you don’t have it in you, ask your sister to do it for you. Maybe you’ll get lucky.

4) Which ones would you not recommend or tell others to avoid?

I do not recommend paying hundreds of dollars for services you can do yourself. Unless money grows in your backyard, don’t pay for reviews. You can get book reviews for FREE if you seek out your reading audience and find the bloggers who like your genre. With a little cyber-footwork, you can find literally dozens of reviewers who will read and review your book for you for the cost of mailing them a book.

5) Do you do book signings and do they work well for you?

I love book signings. To make it successful, advertise it as much as you can beforehand. On all your social web sites, as well as local print papers if possible. Put up a poster in the store a week or so before and leave bookmarks for the cashiers to put into customers’ bags leading up to the event. Then, go to the signing prepared to meet only one reader. You might meet more, but maybe not. To fill the time, take some drawing paper (people LOVE to watch people draw), set out snacks (people in bookstores are hungry), set out bookmarks (people love free stuff), and if all else fails, pull out a manila pad and start writing the sequel. There’s one fact you just can’t skirt—if you want to sell more of your first book, write another one!

6) What is the hardest part of marketing your book that you have encountered?

Hmmm. Good one. The biggest challenge is the time element. Ideally, we’d all be able to spend 100% of our day writing the next great novel. But these marketing steps must be taken, and unless you’ve hired a publicist (Milton Kahn and Asso. For a 3-month campaign, $15,000: nice folks, great work, hefty price tag. But he’ll get you on Oprah! http://www.miltonkahnpr.com ), you will have to put in the hours. I have heard it boils down to 50% time spent writing, 40% time spent marketing, and 10% time left for the rest of your life. But what can we do? We were born to write!

7) Does one need a lot of money to market their book?

NO. 99% of my marketing efforts are FREE or only cost me the price of one of my books. The time is what costs the most. Networking and meeting authors, readers, and movers of the industry who can help nudge your book ahead in the ratings.


8 ) How would a newbie writer who has the book in her hands start marketing her book?

Make sure you have a bang-up professional web site. The web site doesn’t have to cost anything, just be professional and easy to navigate. My site is fun and its look matches my unique personality. Check it out here: www.rabbitnovel.com. I don’t think you should pay more than $100-$150 to have one built, so shop around. It used to cost upwards of $500 for a simple site, but there are so many web designers out there now that they had to come down. My sister, Marty Hersh, is a professional designer and she will create you one for around $100. She designed all of my sites, although I changed the look of them along the way, she set me up and taught me how to maintain them myself. Here is her web address: http://www.spiderwebsdesigns.com

Get set up on all those Top social web sites I mentioned. Seek your audience on those sites. Say your on Facebook and you wrote a book about vampires. Search the Twilight, Trueblood, Sookie, Vampire Diaries, Cirque Du Freak, etc. groups and join them. Start talking about your book to these people in a friendly and open way. Send friend requests to hundreds of them and build your online presence.

9) You once said you go to where folks are talking about your book. Can you expand on this and what do you do? How does this help?

OMGee this is important. Go to Google.com and set up your google alerts. You will be able to make Google alert you whenever anyone on the internet searches your book title, name, or any other word phrase you request. Also called, internet clipping service, it’s a way to know when you or your book is being discussed in cyberspace.

Let me go through the steps to find the alerts, as they are hidden on the main screen. Go to www.google.com . In the top line, near the middle, the highlighted choice is ‘more’… drop that down and all the way to t bottom is ‘even more’. Select ‘even more’. The first option on the left is ‘alerts’. Click this and follow the instructions. It’s that simple! I have alerts for all my book titles and my author name. Now I know when a store in India is selling my book AND if some woman in Newark, NJ is blogging about it!

10) I haven’t published my book yet, but I’d like to create a following so when I sell it, I’ll be ready. What you recommend for me?

Go ahead and start up a fan club on facebook! Present yourself as an author, tell them about your book, and when you suspect it will be published, if you know. When I started my facebook group, I had no idea that I’d be self-publishing my first book. I just knew I was submitting my novels to publishers and would soon find a taker. I had collected 200 fans before I even had a date for the first release! I’d like to have a thousand fans, but right now, it is at about 560. Half-way there…

Also, create a blog that chronicles your writing efforts. The more you mention your name and your titles on the internet, the more searchable you become. Ideally, when someone Googles your book title, your book title will take up the first 10 or 12 pages of Google searches. When I began my marketing efforts, one Ellen C Maze came up for my novels. Now, if you Google RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER (Published in Nov 2009), you will find that the first 15 pages are dedicated to stories regarding that book. I have my marketing efforts to thanks and it didn’t happen by itself!

11) Anything else you can think of.

I want to say, be kind to each other. Go to goodreads.com and meet some authors of books or genres you like. Befriend them and try to get them to read and review your book. You can exchange reviews if you like. Make as many friends online and in person as you can, because people don’t like to buy from a snob or a morose person. Be happy, smile a lot, and put yourself out there. Don’t be too private –readers get a thrill from being able to ‘friend’ you on facebook and email you personally. When you’re self-published, word-of-mouth is so important. So, be excellent to each other.



12) As always, you’re the bomb, baby!! Thanks.

Thank you Kim! Here is a list of social web sites your readers might like to copy and paste: (Either google them by this name, or add .com to the back)
BEBO
FRIENDSTER
ORKUT
WORDPRESS
BLOGGER
HI5
TAGGED
LIVESPACES
PICZO
YAHOO
LIVEJOURNAL
BLACK PLANET
MY YEARBOOK
FREEWEBS
VOX
TYPEPAD
XANGA
MULTIPLY
IGOOGLE
NETVIBES
YOUTUBE
PAGE FLAKES
MIGENTE
AMEBA
LIVEDOOR
EONS
OVERBLOG
Just to name a few…

3 comments:

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  2. Ellen,
    This is an amazing interview and packed with lots of practical suggestions. As a "newbie" author myself, I have learned that networking with authors such as yourself is not only a tremendous blessing (I love making new friends!), but they each have unique expertise and valuable wisdom that I can learn from.
    Thanks for your friendship AND your great ideas!
    Lynn
    www.shootthewounded.org

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  3. Ellen, your marketing knowledge is a blessing! Thank you sooo much for sharing it!

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