For those who aren’t familiar with my stories, I write science fiction romance and contemporary romance, ranging from sweet to erotica. I have included sexy aliens and clones in my stories which are set all over the universe, some in present time and others in the future. And in each story, my characters face personal challenges as well as the struggle to find love. While my SFR titles are heavy on the romance and light on the science fiction, it still takes a great deal of effort to get my name out there. And promotion is the only way to do it.
Heather asked how much time I put into promotion. To be honest, it varies. Right now, I’d say more of my time is put into promotion than usual. I just had a new release in December, and then two more this month. During release week, I managed very little writing on my wips, but I did write a lot of blog posts. It’s still writing, and still worthwhile as I’m getting my name out there.
What do I do to promo?
There are so many things I do. I’ll include all of the big things.
Newsletter – I send this out monthly. Sometimes I send a second out in a month if I have a new release or if there is a promotion or something similar that I didn’t know about at the beginning of the month. I get followers by posting a newsletter sign-up on my blog, having people sign-up for my newsletter to gain extra entries in a giveaway, and through participating in The Romance Studio events. More on those later. My newsletter is also not just about me. I spotlight new releases from some of my author friends, and I make sure my readers not only know where I’m going to be, but also who’s going to be visiting my blog.
Blogging – This is a VERY important promotional tool. Not only do I blog on my own blog, but I visit other blogs, have guests on my own, and belong to multi-author blogs.
* My own blog – I very rarely write long and involved posts on my own blog. What I do write are posts telling readers if I’m going to be blogging on another blog that day. I participate in blog hops, and author memes, such as Hump Day Hook. These efforts bring in authors and readers alike.
* Visiting other blogs – If you’re going to get your name out there, this is an important way to do it. But don’t limit yourself. Don’t stick with only certain blogs. Don’t limit yourself to blogs of a certain genre. The only way to find new readers is to find them in new places.
Since I write science fiction romance, I do visit the blogs of science fiction romance authors and SFR-related sites, but I also visit romance authors and bloggers. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read comments from readers saying they have a hard time finding science fiction romance. So, if we limit ourselves to SFR blogs, we are not going to find these readers that don’t know about all of the wonderful SFR stories out there.
Never ever be afraid to ask a book blogger or author to visit their site. The worst they can say is no. And with many authors, if you offer to reciprocate, they will likely say yes, if they are not already booked. This tends to be more common when you have a new release, but don’t forget to blog when you don’t. You still want to keep your name out there. Remind those who have seen your name before that they still haven’t bought your book, but it is on their TBR list. Plus, you can gain new readers at anytime.
* Hosting guests on my blog – This is truly win-win for both the author and the host. Not only are you putting the author in front of your own readers, but they are bringing their readers to you. Just another way to gain new readers. And if you work with a tour company, they will also send their followers to your blog. This is a fabulous thing when you don’t have a new release, as you’re still bringing possible readers to your site.
It is very important though that your blog looks presentable, and that the post is readable. Check your formatting before you schedule or post! I’ve visited some blogs where fonts aren’t consistent, background colors make the post illegible, or there are huge spaces between paragraphs. I simply closed that tab and didn’t finish reading. If you don’t check these things beforehand, it’s not fair to your guest, and it isn’t going to help you at all, either.
* Multi-author blogs – This is another great way to gain readers. Many of the authors involved in these already have a following, and their readers are likely to visit the blog looking for updates. If you have a post there that they see first, you just may grab their attention. This can also include your publisher’s blog.
Blog hops – Yes, they are part of blogging, but I’m giving them their own category, as they are one of the biggest ways I have gained new readers. It is in the comments of my blog hop posts where I have heard most often that I am a new author to them, or that they love SFR, but haven’t been able to find it. Plus, you have multiple authors spreading the words about the hop to all of their readers. If there’s a grand prize, like a Kindle or gift certificate, even better. That brings out even more people. For the $5-$10 donation toward a grand prize, plus the prize you donate, you are still spending less than you would to get your cover posted on a big name site. Plus, you’re pretty much guaranteed visitors with a blog hop, about 50% of them being new visitors.
With my giveaways, I use rafflecopter. The only form of entry that I require is that visitors leave a comment on my blog post. But, they can gain extra entries by following me on twitter, liking my FB page, subscribing to my newsletter, liking my book on Amazon, adding my book to their to-read list on Goodreads, and more. I usually participate in one or two a month, but in March, I’m feeling really crazy, and participating in three. (Shameless plug time – Heather Long and I are hosting the Rites of Spring blog hop March 20-23. Feel free to sign up if you’re interested.)
The Romance Studio Parties – These have been another place I have gained so many new followers. Not only do they host twice-monthly new release parties on Thursdays, but they also host week long parties throughout the year. What do I do? First of all, I always introduce myself at the beginning of a party. Then I introduce my book(s). During new release parties, you can only talk about your new release, but during the other parties, you can talk about whatever books you want. I usually share excerpts, give insight into the characters and the story, share book trailers, and more. Plus, I donate to the party giveaway. It can be an ebook of a backlist title, a gift certificate, swag, or something else. It doesn’t have to be much. But people are reading your name again. It does involve blogging, but once you familiarize yourself with wordpress, it’s so easy. Another bonus is that some of the entrants for the giveaway agree to subscribe to an author’s newsletter.
Besides on my own blog, and visiting other blogs, I also promo on the following:
* Amazon Author Page – DO IT! Go to Author Central and add your Amazon Author Page. Claim all of your books. Add your twitter feed. Add your blog’s RSS feed. Add pictures and book trailers. Add events if you have them. Most of my sales come from Amazon. This is the page that I always make sure is up to date.
* Goodreads – Get an author page and ADD your books to Goodreads. It is not hard once you do it a couple of times. I, personally, look up books first on Goodreads before on Amazon or anywhere else. Plus, I trust the reviews on Goodreads more than the online book retailers. Plus, if you leave it up to your readers to add your books (which they can do), the information may not be accurate. This is not a huge way to gain readers, but if someone is looking you up, you want to make sure that all of your books are listed. One title may not interest them, but another may. You can also have an author page and list your books at The Romance Reviews. Plus, on both you can add your book trailers, too. Romance Novel Center, The Romance Studio, and Author’s Den are also great places to have an author’s page.
* Twitter – Be sure to balance your social interactions with straight promo. This can be very hard, especially when you want to turn off all social media to just write.
* Facebook – Make sure you have your own author page. If you have a series, you can also have a fanpage for the series.
* Yahoo Groups – There are many author and readers groups (on Facebook, too) where you can promote your work. Be sure to read the guidelines first, or you may get yourself kicked out and turn other authors against you.
These are the main ways I promo. The two that I notice the biggest correlation with my participation to my sales are blog hops and TRS parties. I hope this helps. If you’ve had results elsewhere, please let me know. I’m always open to more ideas.
One last think I want to talk about is Triberr. I know initially, the blog amplification platform got a bad rap because people would approve posts from their tribe(s), and the posts would flood their twitter feed all at once. Things have changed though, and you can now space out your approved tweets. The default is every 15 minutes, but if you go into your settings, and then content settings to change the spacing all the way up to 24 hours. The Science Fiction Romance Brigade has a tribe, and I have one, too, called Romance – from Sweet to Erotica. Triberr is a great way to get your name out in front of even more people without having to do it yourself. Plus, it helps to bring in more visitors to your blog. You HAVE to reciprocate though, and approve the posts of your fellow tribemates as well.
The biggest keys to promotion is to not only promote yourself, but to promote others. They remember, trust me. And never, ever limit your efforts. You may find readers in places you never expected.
Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from her readers.
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Made For Her:
After terrorists murder the love of her life, Colonel Mikayla Jones trains squadron after squadron of the clones he brought to life, to take to the skies. When she discovers a young clone of her husband in her newest class, her world spins out of control. How can she command the look-a-like when she can’t help but yearn for him to fill an ache in her heart?
Dare was created to be the best. As the first Daniel clone to leave Onatria labs, he needs to prove he is more than just a DNA copy. To do that, he must rely on the wife of the man who donated his genes. But when she refuses to train him, Dare faces discharge and returning to the labs. Can he convince Colonel Jones to finish his training and find a way into her bed? Or will long kept secrets unhinge the entire clone project?
Colonel Jones eyed each one of her new cadets, examining the neatness of their uniforms, while inspecting for signs of stress or over-anxiousness. She’d never seen the telltale muscle twitches or sweats in any previous clones, only in human-borns, but she had to look for them anyway.
The first generation of clones didn’t live long enough to become cadets. Their hearts gave out within a year after incubation. But the scientists at Onatria had plowed on, utilizing more of Daniel’s research, speeding up the aging process with hormones to create the perfect generation she saw before her.
She’d had female clones in previous squadrons, but the government filled the one in front of her with testosterone-driven masculinity. If she’d been younger, she’d have a hard time concentrating. But her days of crushes and fantasies were long over. She was devoted to serving her country and planet, and nothing else.
That didn’t stop her from going out on the town for a stress-relieving fuck from time to time. But these young men in front of her appeared so virile, sure to last longer than any of her previous sexual partners.
No. As junior officers, and more importantly, as clones, they were off limits.
Inspecting them gave her the opportunity to check out more than their fatigues and tics, but if they knew her thoughts, they’d walk all over her. She’d be done.
They were of varying nationalities, builds, and heights, all fit to serve the planet. None of the cadets revealed any indication he would put the lives of others in jeopardy. This will be an easy squadron, every one of them ready to fly in a matter of weeks.
She reached the last cadet and froze. Her stomach clenched. No, they couldn’t have!
She pivoted on her heel and rushed off the tarmac, leaving the squad without an instructor.
For your chance to WIN swag from my new releases and an ebook copy of one of my back list titles, leave a comment telling me the how you found out about the last book you read. Contest is international. Winner will be notified by email on January 31, 2013. Good luck!