FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY

How many books could you get with a $100 Amazon Gift Card? Huh? Enough to make a serious dent in most wish lists, I’d bet! Wanna know more? Read on . . .

There’s only a couple of days left to enter this amazing giveaway run by my publishers, Myrddin Publishing Group and it’s so easy to do. Just click on the picture below which will take you to Rafflecopter. A couple of easy clicks and you’re in the draw!

If you want to know more about Myrddin Publishing, just click on the logo in my sidebar and it’ll take you straight to the website.

Good luck in the draw and remember, you have to be in it to win it!

Myrddin Giveaway

Self-Marketing My Way

The third post to appear on the Heart Search Blog Tour was hosted by the lovely Maree Ward-Russell in New Zealand, home to the film sets of the fantastic Lord of the Rings films (among others, of course, but this series is probably the most famous one filmed in that lovely part of the world). Maree asked me to write about marketing tips and this is what I came up with.

Being an Indie published author means you have to do all your own marketing, right from day one and it’s a daunting task if you’ve never done anything like it before. Although I’ve done a great deal of marketing in my day jobs, marketing yourself online is a whole different story. However, some of the same general rules apply, which are:

1.         Word of mouth / recommendations are the best form of advertising

2.         All consumers (and books/e-books are no different) consciously or subconsciously have one thing in their minds when they see advertising – “what’s in it for me?”

3.         You need to create demand for your product

I’m going to start off with number three first (just to be different) as it’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last couple of months.

I’ve been talking about Heart Search a great deal on Twitter, Facebook and my blog. I’ve also had some really cheap but good quality postcards printed with the book cover on one side and on the reverse are the book blurb and my contact details. These have been handed to people during conversations – as soon as I find out they like to read they get the card shoved in their hands. Even during a recent trip to the hospital, I got chatting to some of the staff and ended up handing out about six cards and one said they would pin it on the staff notice board.

Secondly, I’ve been leaking teasers in advance of the book launch. About three or four weeks prior I revealed the cover and blurb and publicized it and two weeks before I revealed the book trailer, making sure I created anticipation with teasing blog posts leading up to it. But I haven’t done this alone. I decided, the best way to get a buzz going and get people to know about and talk about my book was to run a Blog Tour. I did this well in advance so the people who signed up could also participate in the pre-launch unveilings too.

Obviously, the more people who sign up, the more the word spreads and the more people get to hear about it. The majority of those who signed up for the tour, have also revealed the cover and trailer on their sites/blogs, and publicised it through social media channels. Now if we stop for a moment and think of reach, just from Twitter, let’s assume for a moment that every person who is on the blog tour has 1,000+ followers and there are twenty people of the tour, straight away you’ve reached twenty thousand people. Now if ten per cent of those twenty thousand retweeted the post(s), that has reached the followers of another two thousand people and so the cobweb or network grows of people who now know my book exists.

During the blog tour which is running from 8-31 October, there will be a minimum of two and a maximum of four different blog posts appearing every single day throughout the tour; reviews (which will be posted to Amazon and Goodreads as well), interviews, excerpts and guest posts like this one, plus a giveaway (and everyone loves to get something for nothing! Yes I’ve had to spend some money to put the giveaway together, but I believe it’s money well spent, especially if it has the desired effect of bringing my book to the attention of more people). Each posted blog item will be publicised and so the cobweb/network grows again.

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Okay, let’s now look at number one – Word of Mouth/Recommendations. This is something I have little control over. If people love my book, they will tweet about it or share it on Facebook/other social media platforms and they will tell their friends. Hopefully, this will result in more sales. What I can do is use social media platforms to publicise good reviews. If someone gives me a five star review, you can bet I’ll be sharing it on all my social media sites and the more I get the more I’m going to share it. I’ll be taking a key phrase from a review which showcases the book at its best and tell everyone what this reviewer said – after all, a five star review is a recommendation and I have to capitalise on it!

If I get messages from people saying how much they enjoyed my book, I’m going to ask them politely if they would recommend it to their friends and maybe even write a review. A review doesn’t have to be 200 words long; it can be one or two sentences just saying something like “I loved this book and would recommend it to everyone” and ask them to give me a star rating. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, right?

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Right, now let’s look at number two, which in some ways is the hardest. Everyone has different expectations from a book; some like lots of suspense, others like twists and turns, and some like lots of description so they can connect with the characters and scene. I have no way of knowing what people’s expectations are, what drives them toward a particular book so again reviews play a part in this. A well-written review is worth its weight in gold as it will usually say whether they loved the suspense/twists and turns/description, so by taking those phrases and publicising them, I’m going to be meeting the needs of those people who look for that particular characteristic.

The rest of this one is guesswork. I’m going to be picking out key sentences or phrases from the book which will address the main needs of the consumer and publicising them. I’ll be mixing them up so one day I’ll pick something descriptive, another day a little suspense and so on. One of those is going to strike a chord with someone who’ll be interested enough to want to look at the book blurb and then you have a potential sale.

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I think networking plays a large part in getting your name and your book out to a wider audience. I have joined groups who are only interested in Fantasy and Paranormal. I’m making friends within those groups and publicising my book with them. Lo and behold, I begin to create another set of cobwebs within each group, just like with the Blog Tour.

I also think making myself accessible to my readership is very important. I will never turn away or ignore a reader who takes the time to contact me. If they’ve had enough faith in me to spend their hard-earned cash buying my book, the very least I can do is give them some of my time in return. In fact I’m seriously considering setting up a page on my website for that very purpose.

Finally, I will be running a few special offers and doing a little bit of advertising on those sites where I feel I’m going to get maximum exposure without it breaking the bank!

This ‘list’ is not exhaustive and I’m sure I’ll learn more as I progress, but I happen to think it’s a damn good place to start.

What are your thoughts on marketing? Have you got any marketing tips you’d like to share?

I Am Blessed! (Blog Tour – week 3)

It’s not until you undertake something like a Blog Tour that you realise just how supportive the writing community is and what good friends you’ve made during your journey.

Every single cast member of my Blog Tour have gone out of their way to promote not only their own posts, but those of others in the tour. Each person has presented their posts in a wonderful and appealing way to give followers and readers the best experience they can. Some have been rather creative in their presentations too, which is only to be expected really as we writers are a creative bunch! [chuckles]

On social media platforms, mainly Twitter and Facebook, information has been shared and retweeted by other authors not taking part in the Blog Tour – such is the ethos in the writing world: Authors Helping Authors. I’ve been gobsmacked by the support I’ve received thus far and we still have a week of the tour to go! What other surprises have they in store for me? I can’t help but wonder.

I truly feel blessed to be part of such a wonderful community and thank everyone for their fabulous efforts on my behalf in bringing news of Heart Search: Lost to the world.

We’ve only got one week to go until the climax of the tour on All Hallows Eve, so let’s finish this as we started, with lots of noise and an almighty BANG! And if you haven’t entered the fab giveaway yet, get in quick! The answer you seek is in my previous post and the link for the giveaway is in the sidebar! Good Luck!

Heart Search Blog Tour – week 2

Hi Everyone,

Wow! What an amazing first week on the Blog Tour. Not only has everyone involved been posting and promoting (thank you all so much), but Heart Search: Lost has received 5-star reviews on both sides of the pond.

As we’ve now moved into week 2, there’s plenty more to feast the eyes on; more excerpts, interviews, reviews and guest posts written by yours truly. All cast members are doing a fantastic job of showcasing each item for your enjoyment. And don’t forget, every excerpt, interview and guest post is totally unique and has been written or picked solely for the Tour.

We’re also getting entries into the Giveaway, which is fabulous. I’m excited at the prospect of sending swag out to deserving winners and with that in mind, I’m re-posting the Heart Search; Lost Prologue below to make it even easier to answer the question. So without further ado, here it is:

His hiding place was perfect; darkness surrounded and comforted him and he became one with it. He had chosen well. The ancient ruins were totally hidden by overgrown shrubs and trees. From this place, he could venture out before dusk, completely obscured by the dense canopy of the primordial trees; the sun struggled to break through even at midday.

He was close, closer than ever before; so close the flavour of the human’s essence coated his sensitive tongue. The one sought was nearby – he could sense him. He had searched for a very long time to find someone this special. Sure he’d found talent along the way, but this one, this human was something else entirely.

The excitement was building inside like a volcano preparing to erupt. His tongue ran over his teeth; venom pooled in his mouth and he savoured the flavour. There would be a new flavour to add to it soon. Very soon.

He first detected the scent two days ago. Unfortunately, an opportunity had not presented itself and he had become frustrated to the point of anger as strategy after strategy was thwarted by the most stupid and pointless of reasons. He was tenacious when there was something he desired and right now there was nothing he desired more than this human. There was a plentiful supply around to quench his thirst – that was not his aim.

His reverie was interrupted – a familiar scent wafted on the air that permeated the shelter. It was the human – the one he sought – and so near, too near to be allowed to escape again. Once more venom collected in his mouth.

He moved swiftly through the darkness with perfect vision towards the exit hidden amongst the foliage. The closer he got to the outside, the stronger the scent, and the more eager he became.

It was time.

Okay, so click the link of the Rafflecopter Giveaway on the sidebar to enter. To buy a copy of Heart Search: Lost, click on the cover to be taken straight to Amazon.

Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy so far – I really hope you like it! I hope you enjoy all the tasty titbits we have in store for you this week. There’s definitely plenty to sink your teeth into!

HEART SEARCH: LOST Launch and Giveaway

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe the day has finally arrived – YIPPEE!!!! Heart Search – book one: Lost is now available from Amazon UK http://amzn.to/PhC0Gu and Amazon US http://amzn.to/OLwU59

The Blog Tour begins today as does the Rafflecopter Giveaway. If you want to win one of the amazing prizes, visit one of the host blogs, visit my publisher website at http://myrddinpublishinggroup.com, enter here or do all of them to increase your chances! Good Luck and I hope you enjoy the Tour!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Heart Search Launch: Giveaway Hosts

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe we’re so close to the launch day for Heart Search: Lost; am I getting excited? Hell, YES!!!

Anyway, as promised, here are a list of blogs who will hosting the Rafflecopter Giveaway:

mariavajohnson.com

alisondeluca.com

neverjudgeabookbyitscovers.blogspot.co.uk

donnalsadd.wordpress.com

racheltsoumbakos.blogspot.com.au

stephenswartz.blogspot.com

joykeeney.wordpress.com

adarasdreams.blogspot.co.uk

mcswainandbeck.wordpress.com

thecollegecrawl.blogspot.com

joan-hazel.blogspot.com

MadelineDyer.co.uk

And of course, it’ll be on here! There may be one more blog hosting the Giveaway – I’m waiting for confirmation on that.

In the next couple of days I’ll be posting the entire list of blogs taking part in the Blog Tour. I might even tell you what each blog will be hosting  . . . or shall I leave that part a mystery? You’ll have more fun finding out if I keep that bit of information to myself! I know, I’m teasing again (but you know you love it, really)!! :-D

Interview the Writer. Who Me? Yes, You!

I’m in the mood to try something different! The sun is shining and I’m in a quirky mood today!

I’ve read quite often that readers like to get to know authors. I know this to be true as there are authors I would like to know more about than the public persona they portray.

You quite often see interviews with authors on blogs, but how many writers open themselves up to be interviewed by their followers? I don’t think I’ve seen it yet (and I follow quite a few blogs, even if they’re not all listed here).

So, here is your chance to interview me.

Send me your questions by commenting on this post and I’ll answer them – it’s as simple as that. I’ll be totally open and honest with you, but I would hope that you won’t try to embarrass me by asking anything too personal! I’ll even answer questions about my first novel, but I won’t give too much away! :-)

Ok peeps, over to you and just to make things even more interesting, the best question will win a free book download from Amazon!