Author Delilah Marvelle won the Author Interview I offered through the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction this year – thanks for bidding, Deliliah! When we started discussing her interview, Marvelle told me about the marketing pitch she’s making for her second book, and the topic turned to marketing in general.
Marvelle’s website has the details, but the crux of her contest is that:
Despite being sold out of my first print run for my debut book, MISTRESS OF PLEASURE, my publisher will not be finishing the School of Gallantry series. As a result, I am looking to do one last push for the second book in the series, LORD OF PLEASURE, in the hopes that this series can be saved by another publisher who will see more promise in the series. Lord Caldwell, Lord Banfield and Lord Brayton (yes, the virgin) have yet to have their stories told.
I’m hoping everyone can help by blogging, pitching, sending out newsletters, telling their brothers and sisters, ANYONE to buy the book when it comes out August 4th. It is a simple way of announcing that this series does matter….
From August 4 until August 28, anyone who e-mails me at Delilah@DelilahMarvelle.com with the School’s quote from Lesson 27 found in the book LORD OF PLEASURE, will be entered to win one of three $50 Visa Cards. Winners will be contacted via e-mail by September 10th.
What were some of the marketing techniques you used to market book 1 that were most effective? Least?
The most effective marketing I’ve found is focusing on branding myself as an author. Everyone knows that the industry is all about name recognition, not book recognition. But for first time authors, name recognition doesn’t really apply because no one knows who the freak you are. So a first time author, such as myself, has to start by branding themselves. That means everything related to my name has to have a theme that will represent who I am as a writer. And because I write very funny and very steamy historical romances, I make sure everything I put out there reflects just that.
My blog, for instance, reflects what I write. I don’t talk about my dog (of course, I don’t have one…) or anything else that won’t reflect who I am as a writer. My blog, A Bit O’Muslin gets quite a bit of traffic because people know what to expect from my blog. Every first of the month I write about a topic having to do with sex in the context of history. With a humorous tone. I get tons of repeat readers because of it.
That being said, the most effective promo I have found has been doing blogs tours, doing ads in RT, going to the RT Convention (the amount of readers I met there was astounding), getting online reviewers to review the book. I get tons of hits from Night Owl Romance, for instance. Networking with other writers who write what you do. Their audience is your audience.
And last but not least giving away the book itself. Many authors get caught up in making magnets, postcards and pens, but how is that going to get anyone to read your book? The only way to really get them to read your book is to GIVE them the book. Is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth every penny? Yes. Because if that person likes your book, they will buy your next book and maybe even tell all their friends who will also go out and get your book. The least effective? Doing online ads. I’ve never gotten impressive hits to warrant the money I’ve spent.
2. What parts of book 2 are you most proud of?
Parts I’m most proud of? I would say when the hero (Hawksford) finally recognizes that in trying to please everyone he is not pleasing ANYONE. Especially the woman he loves. I also absolutely adore the hero’s interactions with his five sisters and his not-so-proper mother. He’s the only man in the house, after his father passed, and so he is *seriously* outnumbered. I even decided to make the cat in the house female so that Hawksford REALLY feels the whole I am woman hear me roar. Those constant female interactions, however, is what molds him to better understand the one woman he knows he is meant to be with.
3. If there were to be a book three, what story would you tell?
Book 3, Moment of Pleasure, is almost finished. And what I love most about the story is that the heroine is actually more like the man in the relationship and the hero is more like the female of the relationship. The two must learn to redefine their roles toward one another if they are ever to survive in each other’s presence and eventually learn the valuable lesson that society doesn’t define your role in a relationship. You do.
4. Yours is one of the few frank and direct approaches to bookselling I’ve seen in awhile. Why go this route? What’s your ideal goal for this campaign?
Publishers spend very little (if any) money promoting a first time author. And yet a first time author’s sales will determine whether that author will go on to get another contract. With that in mind, many first time authors who find out their sales suck, slink away into a hole and blame themselves. It’s BS. Why be blamed when no money is being spent to promote it? I’ve never been one to slink away into the hole, nor am I choosing to blame myself for “lack of sales.” If my career is determined by the amount of books I sell, and not how well I write, then the frank and direct approach is the only way to go about pimping my second book.
That said, I want people to know what is happening in this industry. I want readers and writers alike to sit up and realize that if we don’t support one another, our books will disappear off the shelves. I hear so many readers complain about why publishers aren’t publishing the sort of books they want. My answer is it’s because they aren’t going out and BUYING those books. They are allowing themselves to only buy what is on the shelf. Most new authors are lucky to have four copies of their book on the shelf and once those books are gone, they aren’t re-ordered by the store and in turn, they simply disappear off the reader’s radar (and sales suck). It’s simply easier for a reader to pick up what is on the shelf at the bookstore as opposed to hunting down new authors and new books themselves.
My ideal goal for this campaign would be to generate enough sales that would enable me to continue to do what I love beyond all else. Writing stories that make me and others laugh and sigh.
Marvelle is definitely taking a different route to promotion for her second book, and I’m curious what you think. What marketing efforts have you seen or used yourself that worked in your opinion? What doesn’t work?
Thank you again to Delilah Marvelle for a frank interview and for bidding on the opportunity to benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research at the 2009 Brenda Novak Online Auction.