Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Marilyn Meredith Offers Marketing Advice for Authors

 Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Raging Water from Mundania Press. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel us No Bells, the forth from Oak Tree Press. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America.
Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com
Follow her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/

Marilyn borrows a lot from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area.

Here's What Marilyn Has to Say About Marketing:

Marketing is as Important as Writing the Book
by Marilyn Meredith

Today, some publishers are asking for your marketing plan right along with your query. In fact, I know one publisher who only accepts manuscripts from authors who have strong marketing plans.

So what does this mean for authors? While you’re writing your book you should be thinking about how you plan to market it. As an author who writes for a small press, I do some things differently than an author who is with a New York publisher.

Over the years what works to market your book has changed dramatically. Though there are still writers who are going on book tours, I don’t plan to many regular bookstore stops. I do have a couple of bookstores where I’ll give a talk usually to writers’ groups who meet in the store. So my plan will include scheduling a visit to those stores.

What I’ve found works better, at least for me, when selling books face-to-face, are craft fairs and book festivals. I always keep on the look-out for those and have a couple of regulars I always attend. This fall I’m trying a new festival that’s in the Northern part of the state. At Christmas time, the art gallery in the next town has a craft fair and I’ve been invited to sell my books there.

Libraries can be good venues too. Giving a talk about any aspect of writing is always welcome. Some libraries even sponsor author events.

With every book I plan a book launch in local places. This year, because my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Raging Water, is set in the mountain community of Bear Creek which has a strong resemblance to the town I live in, the launch will be held in the Springville Inn. Of course there is a Bear Creek Inn in the book. I plan to serve a cake decorated like the book cover.

One very special aspect of this launch is the fact that someone I based an important character on will be the guest of honor.

Then there’s the online promoting, something that takes a lot of time but is very important. I like to do blog tours for all of my books—and that’s what I’m doing now. I’m always happy when the blog host asks for a particular type of post. Planning your own blog tour is time consuming from finding the blogs that are willing to host you, coming up with a contest that might keep readers moving from blog to blog, and writing something interesting and unique for each blog.

Once the tour begins, it’s up to you—or me, in this case—to let people know where you’re going to be each day and ask them to visit and leave a comment. You can do this on all the listserves you are a member of, and of course on all the social sites you’re a part of like Facebook, etc.

If you have other marketing ideas, do leave them in a comment. And remember, the person who comments on the most blogs during this tour will have a character named for him or her.

About Marilyn's Latest, Raging Water: Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s investigation of the murder of two close friends is complicated when relentless rain turns Bear Creek into a raging river. Homes are inundated and a mud slide blocks the only road out of Bear Creek stranding many—including the murderer.

Contest: The person who leaves comments on the most blogs will have his/her name used for a character in my next book—can choose if you want it in a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery or a Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel.

Important SideNote From Marilyn - I know there are some people who like to read a series in order, but let me reassure you that every book is complete. Though the characters grow through each book, the crime is always solved. Here is the order of the books for anyone who wants to know: Deadly Trail, Deadly Omen, Unequally Yoked, Wing Beat, Intervention, Calling the Dead, Judgment Fire, Kindred Spirits, Dispel the Mist, Invisible Path, Bears With Us, Raging Water.

Contest: The person who leaves comments on the most blogs will have his/her name used for a character in Marilyn's next book—can choose if you want it in a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery or a Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel.

You Can Visit Marilyn Meredith at her website: http://fictionforyou.com
and blog http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com

Please be sure to welcome Marilyn and Leave a Comment!


Margot Justes said...

Welcome and thank you for the wonderful tips.
I find marketing to be the hardest thing to do.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Marilyn,

Thanks for being with us at Acme!

Marketing is such a tricky thing to track. I wish there was a foolproof way to see which method works the best and to correlate exact sales with each. With some methods, like live book signings, this can be done. But especially with internet promotion, it's more difficult to assess.

Would you say your books are cozy mysteries or are they more on the graphic side?

Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to Acme Authors Link, Marilyn! You are such a busy author!

Morgan Mandel

Kathleen Kaska said...

I always dread having to write a marketing plan, but once it's finished, I'm so glad I did. A marketing plans gets those ideas out of my head and on the paper so I can can organize them and follow up. It also lets my publisher know that I'm serious about doing my part to promote my books. Good post, Marilyn.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Hi, Morgan, thanks for having me on the Acme blog today. I see some folks found it before I did. (Of course I live in California, might be part of the reason.)

Hi Debra, my books are more on the cozy side, at least in the area of not using bad language or on scene sex. This book has two little dogs in it, but I don't always have animals.

And Kathleen, great to see you here. I have been able to tell by my royalty reports that blog tours to help my sales.

Cheryl said...

Great information, Marilyn. You continue to amaze me with all you accomplish.

Wishing you the best,


Marilyn Levinson said...

I've been to a few book fairs, and they haven't always been a success re sales. Any tips re what I can do to encourage more people to buy my books? Also, for those books that are only available in eform, how can we promote sales at book fairs, etc?

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Thank you, Cheryl. You've been a big help to me along the way.

Hi, Marilyn. I have some xtra books that I offer free if they buy another book. Make a flyer with the ebooks only listed with links.

Always have cards to hand out with any pertinent information.

Lorna Collins - said...

Marilyn, I'm passing this on to my writing group. Yo have some great ideas.

Cindy Sample said...

Marilyn, you are the queen of marketing, on-line and off. It is difficult to gauge the results of some of our marketing activities & events. I frequently have events at local wineries and Girls Night Out. There seems to be a common element that brings on the sales:-)

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Hi, Lorna, you've done some pretty great things too. I love your home book launches--and was privileged to be a part of one.

Cindy, I've just been at this a long time. I love the winery idea, the problem is we don't really have any here. Girls Night Out is a terrific idea!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

ha ha, I just noticed those two glasses of wine sitting in front of me, do you suppose that accounts for my grin?

Dani said...

Well, you know how I feel about blog book tours, Marilyn. ;) I'm writing the guide even as I type this. Good luck on your tour! You are so amazing and such a good example for other authors! (Let's try to get through Captcha code once more. Fingers crossed. Third try now.)

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I'm not thrilled with the Captcah code either. 8 times was my max. Thanks for stopping by, Dani!

Heidiwriter said...

Good tips, Marilyn. I have good luck selling books at arts & crafts fairs around Christmas too.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I agree, Heidi, craft fairs are great near Christmas.

Lou Allin said...

If you are the only local author in a tourist area, ask the Welcome Center if you can leave a pile of books with them. Add a promo card with your pic and blurb. Cut them a deal, say to give you ten bucks for a fifteen dollar trade paperback. People love to take home a souvenir like this. Check in once a year in the fall to collect and restock.

Deb Larson said...

Welcome to Acme Authors, Marilyn. You always have such great advice. I really like your comment about local launchings in a relative spot as in a book.
Have a great book tour!!
DL Larson

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Marilyn,

I haven't reached out to libraries yet, but that's a good idea. Thanks!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Hi, Lou, that's a great idea about the Welcome Center.

Thanks for the welcome, Deb, I love visiting here.

Hi, Kathy, thanks for stopping by.

I hope I gave some new ideas for people.

Jake said...

Marketing is key to attracting readers. I find blog tours allow me to meet new authors for my reading pleasure. Thank you for an insight into what writers must do to get my attention.

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