Monday, September 30, 2013

Guest Post by Joan Rylen

Make Your Mark with these Marketing Tips

It doesn’t matter if you’re self-publishing or going traditional, one thing is for sure - marketing yourself is a must. Many cringe at the thought, but there are some ways to make it less painful and more productive.

1.      Press releases are a priority.

Take time to write a good one. You’ve put a ton of time into your book, so don’t flub on the release. Give your story a good hook, something that will catch the eye of a reporter or editor. We, being the eccentric girlz we are, go the extra mile to hand deliver our releases in a whimsical way.

We have just launched our third mystery, Big Easy Escapade, which is set in New Orleans so the press kits included purple, green and gold tissue paper, a French Quarter magnet, an alligator and beads along with the book, press release and our business card. We spent about $7.00 each including the cost of the book.

Our first book, Getaway Girlz, was set on the white-sand beaches of Mexico. Therefore, our press kits were delivered in hot-pink sand buckets and included a Getaway Girlz koozie and pen, the book, press release, business card, and small bottle of white sand (direct from Mexico) that was labeled with a picture of the book cover and our media contact. This kit got us noticed by the Houston Chronicle and Getaway Girlz was chosen as one of their “recent releases worthy of attention.” Getaway Girlz also attracted the attention of CultureMap Houston, which led to our first interview and feature story. Our hometown newspaper, the Pasadena Citizen, ran our story almost word-for-word from the release.

Timing your press release is important, as well. We send the first announcement about our book launch one month out, the actual press kit and book at two weeks out and a shorter “reminder” email two days before the launch. Each press release needs a slightly different angle, but should boil down to the launch of the book. We customize the releases depending if we’re sending it to our local media in Fort Worth, our hometown of Houston/Pasadena, New Orleans, etc.

2.      Plant a person at your book signings.

Another of our marketing strategies is the Barnes and Noble “plant.” We have a friend meet us, wearing their Getaway Girlz gear. We put them front and center at the entrance of the store, holding our books and greeting folks as they come in. They let customers know about the book signing and point them in our direction. If they can hand them a book, perfect! Hand it back-cover up, so they see our (fantastic) picture and read the back blurb. After that they’re usually hooked. Just a side note - most people assume our plant is a Barnes and Noble employee, so be sure they know where the restroom is - a common question.

3.      Get out and about – work it!

This may not be easy for everyone, but because we write as a team, we meet at local restaurants and bars to work. We are connoisseurs of the local happy hour, always checking in on Facebook so people can see us hard at work. In the process we’ve had restaurants hang our books on their wall. We turned it into celebrations inviting our fanz to watch as the art was unveiled. We recently found out that a couple who met at our book unveiling just got married! Press release time!

4.      Cash and carry.

The most common thing we do is carry our books with us in our big ass purses (sorry guys), business cards, Square credit card reader and change for a $20. It’s easy enough to ask your lunchtime waitress, the person next to you on the plane or anywhere else “do you like to read?” Nine times out of ten they’ll say “yes,” and you can ask what types of books are their favorites and go from there. Johnell recently sold two books at a blackjack table. She lost her ass otherwise, but sold the two books she had in her purse. Winner winner chicken dinner!

5.      Paid promotion can help you prosper.

During the July 4th holiday Getaway Girlz was featured on Bookbub, which was our first paid advertising. The results were phenomenal! We received more than 48,000 downloads which led to additional sales of Rocky Mountain Mayhem. Getaway Girlz hit #2 in the bestsellers Kindle store, top 100 free. Thanks, Joe, for blogging about Bookbub!
About the authors:

Texas gals and life-long friends, Johnell Kelley and Robbyn Foster, a.k.a. Joan Rylen, can be found vacationing across the globe with their favorite Getaway Girlz, stirring up trouble, then writing about it! Visit us at

Best of luck in your endeavors!