Monday, January 20, 2014

Online Marketing Symposium and Love is in the Air

What Works - Online Marketing Symposium

Hosted by Arlee Bird, Yolanda Renee, Jeremy Hawkins, and Alex J. Cavanaugh.

On event day you tell us about a marketing idea that you've used and what worked or didn't work.

Early reviews of any product always helps. You want to start the buzz early and maybe even get a grassroots movement going.

Since I am an author, my tips relate to getting early book reviews as well as stirring interest in an upcoming release. Where do you send review copies and how soon before the release date do you send them? (As always, target ones that cater to your book’s readership.)

Magazines - 4-6 months
Most magazines plan their issues months in advance. If you are hoping for a review or are supplying an excerpt, you need to contact magazines far in advance. Be familiar with the magazine and know who to contact.

Book clubs - 4-6 months
Having your book featured in any of the Book-of-the-Month type of clubs can mean lots of sales. If they select your book, they will order many of them. (And not return them!)

Pre-publication reviewers - 3-6 months
These review books for the industry rather than for readers. Examples - Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal, etc. Most will only accept print copies and few accept self-published books.

Influential people - 3-6 months
Anyone who is an expert on your subject matter, an author in your genre, or a “celebrity.”

Wholesalers and distributors - 3-6 months
With print books, distribution is key, and if you want to hit the market offline, you will need a wholesaler or distributor. They will want a copy (or several) of your book, a detailed marketing plan, promotional items, bio, early reviews, etc.

Book bloggers - 2-5 months
Aim for the sites with large followings and let them know when you need the review. (Do you need it before the book is released or after?)

Specialty reviewers - 2-5 months
There are a lot of small magazines and periodicals, on and offline, that review books. Some genre websites review books.

Bookstores - 2-5 months
If you want a chain bookstore to stock your book, you will need to send a package similar to what you send to wholesalers. Independent stores are just as good, because they will recommend books to their patrons and to Indie Bound.

Giveaways - 2-5 months
You can do them on your own site, through guest appearances, and through Goodreads. (Print books only for the latter.)

Love is in the Air Blogfest

Hosted by The Unicorn Bell
It's a celebration of that little thing called love. Be it steamy or sweet, puppy, kitty, teen, aggravating, first kiss or final goodbye, let your scene tug at our heartstrings.

“Our Movie”

Some people might not find this romantic, but romance comes in many forms.

My husband and I were friends for a year before we ever dated and we’ve joked that we’re a real life When Harry Met Sally. Since that film came out about the time we started dating, we often call it our movie.

But our REAL movie is Midnight Run. Why? Because when we were first dating, I’d visit his apartment and we’d usually watch a movie. Midnight Run was playing on HBO that first month, so we watched it a lot. Since then, it has always been “our movie,” romantic or not!

And I carried over the idea of a romantic non-romantic movie into Book II of my series - Matt and Sarah’s movie is Return of the Living Dead, as they saw it on their first date.

Be sure to visit other participants and check out this upcoming blogfest - 2014 National Wormhole Week! Hosted by Stephen Tremp, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and myself. Sign up herre.


  1. Hi, Diane,
    Half the time I don't think indie writers (myself included) get to cover half of the promotional stuff that needs to be done way in advance so as to have the best chance of having a book that will sell decent numbers. I do understand though that it makes the book easier to sell if the reviews you mention are in place way in advance.

  2. My next books will be novellas under 200 pages. I can finish these soon, then plan for release later this year. You really need six months to plan that far ahead.

    And Midnight Run is one of our favorites. A classic for wifey and me.

  3. I love the idea of the romantic non-romantic movie. My significant other and I have Undercover Blues.

  4. Joy, the early reviews are so important.

    Stephen, six months minimum.

    MJ, love your movie.

  5. I guess I'm out of it, signed up and didn't realize it was today LOL. I posted something else today. It's such a good idea for a blogfest. I love learning about marketing. It's such a fascinating topic, anything can happen!

  6. I like your idea of a romantic movie!
    My publisher sends out the review copies but I try to help find reviewers.

  7. took lots of notes! heck, printed it out! great tips! thanks!

    and love midnight run! sweet story =)

  8. This is a tip that I don't see often and a great reminder, Diane.

  9. I've read so much amazing marketing advice, this morning, that my head is spinning. Such an awesome blogfest!

    And any life experience similar to When Harry Met Sally IS romantic! Good for you and your hubby.

  10. Wonderful tips, and getting started early is the key for reviews.

    My hubby and I claim The Shinning as our movie. It was our first date. Yeah, odd, I know! LOL

  11. Tara, I'm glad you found it helpful.

    Thank you, Elizabeth.

  12. Great tips on early reviews and when to try to get them. I really like the Goodreads reviews and it helps me decide whether I want to read a book.

  13. Great tips. I know I am one of those people who rush things fast, finished a book... share a book in the overall it fails. I do art/designed books and my readership though appreciates the work I have done is not my targeted audience to sell them.

    Jeremy H.

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

  14. Hey, Diane! All good tips.

  15. Diane, I think every should just buy your marketing book and be done with it - it's all there!

  16. Goodness woman! You've got such wonderful advice, and the time line layout is especially helpful. Awesome.

  17. I love all your detailed notes on putting together a marketing plan. A lot of times people wait til the last minute and wonder why nothing works out. Also love that you have a non-romantic movie as "your" movie!

    Thanks for participating in the blogfest, especially since you were double booked!

  18. Excellent tips coming from one who knows. You've done a good book on the topic.

    Thanks for adding your knowledge to the symposium.

    Tossing It Out

  19. Solid, helpful marketing advice. With so many ways to market one's books, it's nice to have a time frame like this.

  20. Apparently, If I plan to publish in April, I am already a little behind. Thanks, I love time table stuff.

  21. This whole blog symposium is a gold mine!

  22. I went to website/blog reviews for my current debut, but next time around I will be pursing more authors I know. My experience with website/blog reviewers is that even though your book is in the genre they read and they accept your book for a review, your story may not be one that they'd typically read and that can translate in a lower rating. Or has for me anyway.

    Great timeline!

  23. Thanks for the timeline advice. It's strange how we all have that 'first' movie that inspires romantic thoughts even if it wasn't that kind of movie.

  24. Karen, LOL - thank you!

    Crystal, glad it helped.

    Charity, most don't plan ahead.

    Chrys, that just goes with the territory though. Eventually someone will read it and it just doesn't fit and you get a low review.

  25. Those early reviewers are crucial. I didn't know that when I published my books. Well, I thought my publisher would know it, but they didn't, either. Now I'm on to what to do and all I have left before me is to write another book! Onward.

  26. Thanks for the tips! I wasn't able to have early book reviews for my three eBooks. I had book reviews when they were already published.

    I like your tips. I'm planning to have early book reviews for my first novel. Thanks!

    The Musings of a Hopeful and Pecunious Wordsmith

  27. Your lead times indicate just how important being organized is to a successful book launch.

    Midnight Run? Who'd have thunk it??? Just goes to show that romance at its core can be in anything:)

  28. Ooooh! Great timetable tips! Thanks, Diane!

  29. As an indie, I can't plan that far in advance because I don't schedule release dates that far out. I publish when the book is ready. However, maybe planning will be easier as I get more books out.

  30. Great tips Diane. Mind if I copy and paste? I saw What Works - Online Marketing Symposium everywhere today. Great blogfest.

  31. Thanks for the tips! I didn't realize we needed to get reviews out that much before a release. Good reviews are incredibly useful in marketing, though.

  32. Thanks for the tips! I didn't realize we needed to get reviews out that much before a release. Good reviews are incredibly useful in marketing, though.

  33. Crud. But this is a good lesson learned for my next book. Planning ahead is paramount. And I learned that the hard way!

  34. Thanks for the great publicity tips. I never realized how much planning it takes! And thanks for sharing the story about you and your husband. My husband and I were friends first before we ever considered's a great way to start a lasting relationship!!

  35. Lee, that's terrible your publisher didn't know what to do.

    Sandra, planning is key. You have to think like a big publisher if you want to compete with them.

    Robyn, copy away!

    Jay, you will be prepared with the next book.

    Kristin, it's the best way to a lasting relationship.

  36. That's really good advice. I never thought about how long it would take for a review to go up and yeah, timing is important!

  37. That is great information to have on your time ranges for getting reviews. I'm gathering such awesome info during this symposium.

    When Harry met Sally is such a cute movie. :)

  38. I'm liking these posts on promotions. Great advice. Also, I've never seen Midnight Run. I'll look it up.

  39. Wonderful, clear and easy to follow advice - should I ever get my book finished I have bookmarked this post :)

  40. Now THAT is a PLAN! Super. Definitely bookmarking this post.

    Love your romantic memories. Real scenes touch my heart like no other. Thanks for participating.
    Author of Wilder Mage at Spirit Called
    Facebook Wilder Mage

  41. JE, getting those books out early means reviews will come in before it's released - and you can place review blurbs on the back or inside the book.

    Medeia, it's a fun movie.

    Huntress, that was as real as we get. LOL!

  42. Midnight Run is a GREAT movie. How wonderful to find out someone else loves it too!

  43. Diane, what an eye-opener!
    This is a handy list of markets on where to send books for early reviews, and you have included the time frames...
    Seems like it boils down to thorough planning!

  44. Great tips! Thanks for providing a list of potential markets. I like the book club idea!

  45. Fantastic tips LD! The timelines are very helpful, too. Bookmarking. :)

  46. It's good to know that stirring up interest well in advance of publication is so helpful. Thanks, Spunk.

    When Harry Met Sally is probably my favorite romantic movie, but you have good reason to find Midnight Run romantic.

    Be well.

  47. Elise, one of our favorites!

    Michelle, yes it does.

    Robyn, as a real romantic movie, it's probably my favorite, too.

  48. Great ideas. I'm adding them to my list. Thanks.

  49. As per usual, Diane, lots of practical, thoughtful advice by your good self.

    I think that's very romantic having your own movie to recollect your first dating experiences with your future husband.

    I wont make mention of that being yet another blogfest!


  50. Great tips about when to contact certain people or media. I hadn't thought about how far in advance some of these things or people might need contacted, but it makes sense to not just drop something on someone last-minute.

  51. It's romantic to have a movie that reminds you of the beginnings of your relationship, whether the movie itself is romantic or not. The War of the Worlds remake is the first movie my husband and I went to see in the theater together, so it's kind of romantic for us to, even though the movie itself isn't.

  52. Great advice, Diane. The best thing you can do before your book comes out is drum up the pre-hype. It will get reviewers at least interested in checking out the book.

  53. Excellent, Diane. You've given me some new thoughts on reviewers. Thank you!

    Mary Montague Sikes

  54. Hmmm, after 45 years we still haven't picked "our movie". Do you think we're hopelessly unromantic?

    Thanks for the great marketing tips.

  55. Not close to writing a book yet, but when I do, will lean on these tips! Haven't seen Midnight Run, but When Harry Met Sally is a classic. Thanks again! Buck Inspire

  56. Great marketing tips!

  57. Awesome marketing ideas. :-)

    I really haven't used any of your suggestions before, so I'll definitely look into them for my next book.

  58. Thanks for the marketing tips. One downfall of indie publishing is that it is challenging to do an early review process. However, I have been thinking about printing out a few copies via another site (Lulu does private as well as public/sales publishing), and then sending the "private" batch out a few months ahead of time for ARCs. I haven't decided yet, since it seems like there are some extra steps involved, but it sounds like it might be worth it.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

    And I love that you and your husband have a nonromantic romantic movie. :)

  59. Ooops - forgot - my hubs and I have a non-romantic romantic song - Breakfast at Tiffany's (90s version).

  60. Just in time for the love month/ Do you mind if I run a story about this on my blog? I also share online marketing tips so I think my readers will find your tips insightful.