3 S.R. Johannes: Marketing on a Budget (Elana Johnson, author of Possession and Surrender)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Marketing on a Budget (Elana Johnson, author of Possession and Surrender)

Elana Johnson's Surrender released last week and let me tell you - it is as good - if not better - than Possession.

Since I have a special place in my heart for Elana, comment on today's post and I enter you in a drawing for a copy of both Elana's books, Possession and Surrender. I know awesome right? :) I will buy them and ship them straight to your front door.

Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque

As part of her Surrender blog tour, she stopped by to talk to us about her marketing tips.

Here she is....


Okay, so I have two books out now! Woot. POSSESSION came out last year, and SURRENDER came out last week.

Marketing a book is something akin to building an ark before a flood. Okay, I haven’t actually done that, but I have planned some marketing strategies for my books. On top of that, I’m a schoolteacher, so I don’t have money coming out my ears, and today I’m here to tell you that you can market your book to the best of your ability with very little money. Okay, no money.

I believe that a large part of why people buy books is because of the author—especially in the online community, which is where a lot of our marketing efforts are focused. As a midlist author with a medium-tier marketing plan, most of what I can do personally has to happen online.

I imagine that most of you reading this today are in the same situation, asking yourselves “How can I market my books better online?”

I believe the answer is this: You don’t market your books, you market yourself.

1.     Be you. Just you. Don’t try to be someone else, with their sense of humor or their tics. People want to get a feel for the real you, and you can do it without naming your children and putting up pictures. It’s all about selecting information you don’t mind if everyone knows about you (like how many of you know what my favorite breakfast food is? Whose picture did I take to my stylist and say, “Cut my hair like this.”?) and play to those things.

When people feel like they know you, and they like you, they’ll buy your book.

2.     Be available. If people tweet you or email you, tweet and email back. Sure, it can take you a couple of days, but act grateful that they contacted you and be positive in your response.

As someone who gets hate mail about my books, I know it can be easy to either not respond or to respond negatively. Don’t let yourself fall into that trap. Remember that people will remember you the next time you have a book coming out.

3.     Be kind. This sort of goes with how you respond. But be kind. Be promotional of others and their work. Put on your happy pants before you get online.

4.     Be helpful. A lot of my fans are fellow authors, either published or aspiring. I’ve been a participant in online forums and blogs for over four years. Every time you help someone, that’s another contact. They’ll remember your kindness and helpfulness when it comes time for your book to be released.

For me, I get a lot of email and fandom from those who’ve downloaded and read my query e-book. I’ve read and critiqued hundreds of queries. I can’t guarantee that all of those people will buy my books—or that they liked my critique!—but I can say with certainty that because I’ve been helpful for years, more people buy my book.

5.   Be a participant. A large part of the online community is the participation of those in it. It’s so easy to let this slide, especially when deadlines come due and you have forty thousand things to do on your plate. The blogging community is very forgiving, but they’re also very forgetful. One of the best things you can do for your marketing plan is participate in the online community.

And that’s it! Everyone can market their books simply by taking a few more minutes each day to tweet and email those that tweet and email them. Be happy and be authentic. Remember that before anyone sees or hears about your book, they see and hear YOU.

Any other tips to market yourself/your books online? Lay ‘em on me!


This week, as part of the SURRENDER blog tour, you can win one of three $15 Barnes & Noble gift cards and become a winner winner, chicken dinner! All you have to do is fill out this a Rafflecopter giveaway widget with what you’ve done. NOTE: One of the options is to blog about a time you didn’t surrender. Go here for full details on this, including how to sign up for your free swag package!

You can find Elana hanging out online at twitter and her awesome blog of 411.


Sarah Nicolas said...

This is some great advice, but since it's morning and I haven't eaten yet, all I can think is "bacon!" ;-)

Be available is a big one. Replying to a tweet can take a second or two, but sometimes it can create a fan for life!

Mary said...

Excellent tips! I think some authors get so caught up in pushing their books that they forget THEY are even more important. If I like an author or respect his/her online presence, I'm more likely to both buy and promote (#bookbully) current and future books.

(And you don't need to enter me in your fab contest--I already have BOTH of these awesome books!!)

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Great advice...from someone who does it well!

Thanks for the contest!

Kelly Polark said...

I agree. Be happy and authentic is great advice! I heart Elana!

Vivien said...

I love Elana!!! She's such a genuine person. I completely agree with everything in this post. Especially being a participant. The online community really does help :)

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Amanda Hopper said...

Great post! I love the idea of just presenting who you really are versus trying to pretend to be someone else solely for a career in writing. My private life (living on a farm) has nothing to do with my writing style, but it is something that makes me stand out from the crowd!

776233f0-4e03-11e1-8277-000f20980440 said...

Yay for Elana and Possession and Surrender!!! Elana always has great advice. I like that she's telling authors to be available, for tweetings and emails and whatnot. I agree. As a reader, I like to know that I can communicate with most of my ffavorite authors in a fashionable time frame. It's nice. Thanks for the great advice Elana! You're a fantastic author :)

776233f0-4e03-11e1-8277-000f20980440 said...

Sorry, I forgot my name and email:
Alyssa Susanna


Dorothy Dreyer said...

I love Elana, she's awesome! Great tips! I have Possession and Surrender on my to-read list, so it would be perfect to win the books. (Hopefully this contest is international. If not—and I win—you can send them to my in-laws' house in NJ, lol.)

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay Elana! Great tips :) Although I'm stumbling over the fact that you get hate mail. That's absurd! You and your books fabulous - some people are crazy!!!

Steph said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I can't wait to read this series!!

Kim said...

I'm curious as to why you get hate mail for your books? That isn't nice! Otherwise, great advice! Thanks!

Doodle said...

I agree! To be successful at anything you have to be able to sell yourself. Great tips!

doodlesbookblog @ gmail .com

Natalie Aguirre said...

These are excellent tips. And Elana exemplifies doing them so well. She's really an inspiration. I've learned so much from her book on querying and all her blog advice.

Let someone else win Elana's books because I own both of them.

throuthehaze said...

Great tips! I have definitely read books (even ones I was not initially interested in) because I enjoyed posts an author has made on blogs, etc.
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Veray said...

I love these books and have been telling all my friends about them. I found out about Elana through Colleen Houck and her book scavenger hunts. I'm glad I found her.

Magan said...

Great post and what I needed today :)

lbdiamond said...

Great tips and CONGRATS on your new book's release!!!!

kathrynjankowski said...

"Be happy and be authentic."
Wise words.

Traci Kenworth said...

Wonderful advice!!

Becky Wallace said...

It's true!! And I can say without question that Elana is one of the best loved authors in the writing community because she is kind, humble, and friendly. If only the world had more Elanas in it!!

Marcia said...

Absolutely -- You don't market your books, you market yourself.

Connecting and relating come first. We join a community. When people ONLY blurb their book, it doesn't work any better than any other kind of spam works.

Dawn Simon said...

Great tips! I agree: be authentic and put on your happy pants before you get online! Go, Elana! :)

Denise Z said...

I just came across Surrender earlier today and realized I am really behind and looked up Possession as well. This certainly sounds like an intriguing series and I would love to read it. Thank you for sharing with us today and for your awesome generosity with this giveaway opportunity.

knightesshope said...

<3 Elana!

You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. I want to award you with one of my homemade awards: the Best Books Blog Award. There are no pass along requirements. This is just to reward you for all the hard work you do!

Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.

Jolene and Family said...

Great post. I have come across a few aouthors out in cyberspace that have come across as friendly and I loved how they interacted with their fans and even readers who have yet to read their book. It really pushed me into rushing out there and getting their books so I could join in the conversation :) Authors who take the time to interact make me a permanent follower :)


Gale Nelson said...

Great advice. These books sound like a great read. I would love to win them. Thanks for the giveaway! Gale pgan427@yahoo.com

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I'm publishing indie in August myself so I loved the tips. These books seem a great read.


Lynne Matson said...

As always, great advice. I adore Elana, and all I know of her is through my on-line interaction with her (Twitter) and by reading her blog. But she does it RIGHT!:) She's kind, funny, supportive, and real, and I'm so grateful for all the guidance she's shared with aspiring authors at different stages of the publishing journey! yay Elana! I LOVED POSSESSION and can't wait to read SURRENDER! And I did initially buy POSSESSION bc not only was the cover & jacket cool, but I wanted to support Elana.:)