Dime Free Marketing

Last night I read a blog post about an author that spent $150,000 in marketing to sell about 5,000 books. For those of you familiar with royalty percentages, you’ll recognize the problem with this. Perhaps they exaggerated, but if so, I imagine the real numbers must have been painful to produce such an exaggeration. As a professional publicist for inspirational authors, I’m very hesitant to advise clients to pay for advertisement. There are way too many other ways to get the job done without draining your bank account.

Most often, familiarity wins. Studies have proven this, the very reason political candidates flood your mailbox with material and splatter the community with signs and billboards. Campaign managers know most voters won’t remember the issues or the politician’s views once they’re standing at the polls. When memory lags, name recognition rises to the forefront. This is true for books as well. When standing at the bookstore weighing one book over the next, all other things being equal, readers will often buy the book written by a name they recognize.

So how do you create name recognition without burning cash?

Increase your online presence through blogging, guest blogging, social media saturation, and connecting with other authors.

There are countless ways to do this, but today I want to focus on the benefits of joining a blog alliance. Writing is tough. You’ve got X amount of hours and way too many projects on your to-do list. You can’t sell books if you don’t have a stellar novel, so you need to devote a certain amount of time to your craft. But no one will know about your book if you don’t make it visible, so you need to spend time marketing. And yet, marketing isn’t effective if there isn’t quality to back it up. (You may remember my post about quality vs. quantity blogging.) If a reader doesn’t like what you post on your blog, why will they spend their money buying your book?

This is where blog alliances come in. On Clash of the Titles, we have twenty alliance partners. Each week, we send them quality posts and link to them from our home page. They in turn drive traffic to us when they post our articles on their site. It’s a win-win. The interlinking increases search engine ratings for all sites involved and everyone gains increased exposure.

Thinking a blog alliance might work for you? Connect with like-minded writers and start swapping. Want to join an already established blog alliance? Shoot me an email and I’ll hook you up. If you have a blog alliance you’d like me to know about, or, if you are starting an alliance, shoot me an email so I can point like-minded authors your way. If you’re confused and would like help with blogging or anything related to marketing, I’d love to chat with you. For a one-time, $30 fee, I’ll walk you through effective marketing step-by-step during a personal and instructional phone consultation.

And before I go, I’ve selected four winners from previous posts. Ada Brownwell; Letters, Lectures, and Laughs From Mama; and Susan Karsten won a free 3-page critique through post comments. Tammy Keup won a free 3-page critique through fb sharing WTK (Words That Keep) posts. Winners, I will be contacting you shortly!

For the rest of you, the free three-page critique drawing remains open for this post and all future posts through August. To be entered, leave a comment or fb share or tweet this post.

Happy blogging all!

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About Jennifer Slattery

Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery, also writing as Jen Pheobus, uses humor, grace, and truth to inspire God's children to live abundant, Christ-centered lives. She does content editing for Firefly, a southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com; Internet Cafe Devotions; Faith, Friends and Chocolate; and manages the social media for Takin’ it to the Streets, a ministry that serves Omaha’s working poor and homeless. She’s placed in numerous writing contests and her work has appeared in numerous compilations, magazines, and e-zines.

Posted on August 20, 2011, in Blogging, Marketing, Platform Building and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Really enjoyed your blog. I am currently working on my first book, and everyone has told me this is the easy part. I can’t imagine.

    • Michael, thanks for stopping by! I don’t know if any part of the writing industry is easy. It all involves a learning curve, but that’s exactly what it is–a learning curve. Start marketing now by setting up a blog and developing networks and try to learn one new thing a day. By the time your book releases, you’ll have a great start! And don’t focus on the big-picture yet. That can get overwhelming. Instead, think long-term and focus on continual forward progression in each area.

  2. Excellent post, Jennifer! Great tips.

  3. Jennifer, thanks for your insightful post! I’m curious about the blog alliance concept and exactly how that works technically.
    Donna Winters bigwaterpub [at] gmail [dot] com

  4. Jennifer, Thanks for such a great post!

    I have a blog but do not belong to a blog alliance and would love to have more information. How do I determine what blog alliance I would best fit into? How do I join an alliance? Invite myself? Wait for an invitation? That could be a long wait!!

    Thanks, Jennifer

    • Great questions, Edwina! You can always form your own, but then you are responsible for sending out posts, unless you create a “swap.” To do that, invite bloggers you enjoy and ask if they’d be interested in swapping posts on a schedule, maybe once a month. Or, you can join the Clash of the Titles’ alliance, or Tiffany Colter, the Writing Career Coach (and my boss. grin) is forming an alliance as well. I will shoot you an email either later tonight or Monday telling you more about these two opportunities. And keep your eyes open as you peruse the web. (I believe you’re a member of ACFW, right? Because that would be a great place to start! Connect with other bloggers and see if they belong to an alliance or are willing to start/join one.)

      John 3:16 marketing also does something similar, and then there’s the “Edgy Christian Fiction Tour.” There’s really a lot of opportunities out there and if you keep your eyes open, you’ll find them. 🙂 I’d just make sure they offer content relevant to your target audience.

  5. Hi Jennifer. The blog alliance sounds like a great opportunity. Do you have to be published to join an alliance?

    • Sherri, each alliance will have their own guidelines, but all the alliances I’ve seen only require that you blog. 🙂 And for Clash of the Titles’ alliance, nope. We welcome all bloggers!

      • I am very interested in joining an alliance. My blog is about anything having to do with a life of Christian service, which for me right now includes my writing – fiction and non-fiction – and a non-profit that I am establishing to address needs in my community. I am not published yet and am currently looking for an agent for my first fiction novel.

        My blog is new (since May of this year) so I’m still slowly building a following. I’d appreciate any direction you can give re: an appropriate blog alliance. Thanks so much.

      • Sherri, I will check out your blog and shoot you an email later this week. Have a blessed day!

  6. Very informative blog, Jennifer. Never heard of an alliance before. If I’m writing for a particular genre, should my blog be aimed at those readers? Should I look for an alliance of similar bloggers?

    • As a reader who devours everything from non-fiction to historicals, I’d say don’t focus on a particular genre as much as a target audience. Many readers read across genres and you want to increase your reader base, so branching out is always a great idea. Plus, never underestimate the importance of search engine ratings. Each day I receive 30% of readers on my personal blog came via a search engine. Great content and interlinking increase your search engine ratings.

      That being said, I would look for bloggers with a target audience similar to yours. If you write adult fiction, it doesn’t make sense to join a tween alliance. However, if you write fiction, most any fiction/reader friendly alliance or bloggers would work. For non-fiction, I’d pair up with more article type blogs. For example, I have a client who writes a lot of devotional material, so I secure interviews and guest slots on other devotional blogs. However, many inspirational readers enjoy non-fiction and fiction, so it’s always helpful to write a devo or two, then point readers back to your book or novel.

  7. Great post. I’ve never heard of Blog Alliances. Totally makes sense.

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