Book Marketing – What Works? (Part 3): Interview with YA author Jordan ElizabethPosted: September 18, 2017 | |
In Part 1 of Book Marketing – What Works? we heard from self-published author, Cynthia Vespia, and in Part 2, we met traditionally published co-authors Mark Todd and Kym O’Connell Todd, to get a glimpse into their marketing strategies. While Vespia preferred face-to-face marketing strategies such as conferences and book signings, the Todds use Internet marketing such as websites, blogging and social media. Today, we’ll talk with an author who utilizes paid advertising via the Internet.
Small presses may take some of the publishing duties away from the author, such as cover art, and of course, the actual publication of your book, but even then, a lot of the marketing and promotion may fall upon the author. Therefore, traditionally published authors are faced with the same challenges of getting their books out there where readers can find them as independently published authors are.
I’m pleased to welcome Jordan Elizabeth to Writing to be Read today. Jordan is a talented young adult author, who is published with a smaller independent press. I have reviewed many of her books and anthologies where her short fiction has appeared, and she’s weighed on publishing, with an interview in my ten part series, Pros and Cons of Traditional vs. Independent vs. Self-Publishing. Although she may not have as much control over the publishing details, she maintains the brunt of the responsibility for the marketing of her books.
Kaye: Would you share the story of your own publishing journey?
Jordan: I always knew I wanted to write. I had written a ton of stories by high school (none of which will ever see the light of day). I finally wrote my first “real” manuscript sometimes around 12th grade and started sending it to publishers. They rejected me right away. After some research, I understood you need an agent to get your foot in the door. I queried over 4,000 agents before I landed mine with COGLING.
Kaye: What is the strangest inspiration for a story you’ve ever had?
Jordan: I get most of my ideas from dreams, but I would say the strangest inspiration was for VICTORIAN. I volunteered at Fort Stanwix and worked for the Victorian Leisure Fair, both in Rome, NY. The positions involved dressing in costumes and explaining history to visitors, while having fun. I had the best adventures in Rome!
Kaye: Have you ever had places that you travel to end up in your books?
Jordan: Yes! I love to travel, and we used to do 3-4 vacations a year before I had my baby. The places I go to especially come out in my fantasy novels. The homes in COGLING were based on a lot of historic sites and tour houses, such as President Buchannan’s house in Pennsylvania.
Kaye: Do you participate in KDP Select on Amazon? Do you feel this program is conducive to selling books?
Jordan: All of my published novels except for one are on Kindle Unlimited. It depends on the publisher’s rules, so I don’t have a say if they are or aren’t. I do find it conducive, as someone who might not want to buy my ebook has the freedom to borrow it for “free.” I’ve heard from quite a few people that they used Kindle Unlimited to read something I wrote.
Kaye: Do you use social media to promote your books? Which social media is your favorite for promotion and why?
Jordan: I use Facebook and Twitter. In the past, I’ve found Facebook to be the best, but the world seems to be moving away from that. I’ve had bad luck with my past few Facebook ads. I’m going to try to utilize Twitter more and see how that goes.
Kaye: What type of marketing strategies have you tried with your books? What worked and what didn’t?
Jordan: I post on Facebook and Twitter, aim for one book signing a month, and take out ads. The ad in BookBub was amazing. I’ve also had good luck taking an ad out in Fussy Librarian. The more reviews you have, the more people are excited to read your book, so I am always open to giving a blogger a book in exchange for an honest review. That hasn’t always worked out in the past, as some bloggers will take a book and never read it. Book review tours have never worked for me. I’ve paid for multiple companies to send out my books to x-amount of reviewers. Each time, I’ve only gotten a handful of reviews. It hasn’t been worth the price.
Kaye: You have publishers for your books. How much non-writing work, (marketing & promotion, illustrations & book covers, etc…), do you do yourself?
Jordan: The publishers all take care of editing and book covers. I do about 85% of my own marketing. It takes a lot of time and effort, but I enjoy it. It gets my face out there and helps me connect with my readers.
Kaye: You and I made a connection through a member of your street team, when I reviewed Escape From Witchwood Hollow, and I’ve been reviewing your books ever since. Could you explain what your street team does for you? How do you go about building a street team?
Jordan: My street team has actually disbanded, but I did have a street team for many years. It started when a few girls told me they loved my books and asked me about the process. When I told them how I’d gotten published and all the time spent on marketing, they asked if they could help out. Of course! They contacted reviewers for me to see if anyone would like to read one of my books in exchange for an honest review. I had an awesome group of supporters and we had fun brainstorming new marketing ideas.
One girl dropped out of the street team to concentrate on going back to college and the other two started getting hate mail from reviewers because they felt that I should be the one contacting, not them. I personally don’t see anything wrong with having someone else contact a blogger on your behalf, but I also see where it can become tricky. You don’t always know if the personal contacting you is legitimate.
Kaye: What works best to sell books for you, as far as marketing goes?
Jordan: Taking out ads and book signings. In those cases, I know how many I sell. I don’t know why people who buy my books on a day-to-day basis bought them. Did someone tell them about the book? Did they see it on Facebook? At least when I see a jump in sales on the day an ad runs, I know it is because of the ad.
Kaye: How much work do you contract out? Book Covers? Editing? Marketing? Etc…?
Jordan: I don’t contract anything out. Ah, if only I had that luxury!
Kaye: What kind of Chinese food do you order all the time?
Jordan: Peanut noodles are my favorite. Oh, and Chinese donuts. I eat the entire container in one sitting unless my husband grabs on first.
Kaye: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Jordan: Don’t give up, because you need to write for yourself. Even if publishers aren’t biting, write because you love it. Also, make sure to understand marketing is going to fall on you. I was surprised and a little taken aback at first. Authors need to realize that publishers have 100s of books out there. They can’t donate 100% of their time on marketing your book. You need to do your share of the legwork too.
I want to thank Jordan for joining us today and sharing her marketing experience with us. You can check out my reviews of Jordan’s books and anthologies in which her work appears by following the links below.
Reviews of Jordan Elizabeth Books:
Reviews of Short Story Collections from Curiosity Quills Press Featuring Jordan Elizabeth’s Short Fiction:
Be sure to check back next week for Part 4 of Book Marketing – What Works?, where I’ll interview a veteran author that has traveled both the traditional and self-publishing routes and will share what his learned about marketing after writing books for ten years, author Tim Baker. Don’t miss it!
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