Happy Monday, All! Today I’m super excited because I’m handing my blog over to the uber talented Christina C. Jones! Today is release day for Christina’s latest novel, Catch Me If You Can, and I have to tell you folks: I cannot wait to read this novel! I recently read Finding Forever by Christina and it made me an instant fan. In fact, Christina is probably one of the most talented and prolific writers I have the pleasure of knowing, so if you haven’t read one of her books, do yourself a favor and get your copy of Catch Me If You Can. Yesterday.
Christina was kind enough to stop by and share a few tidbits with us about marketing. I hope you enjoy!
I’m Christina Jones.
I’m a self-published author with nine (pretty well-reviewed, might I add *dusts off shoulders*) books under my belt. I write contemporary romance/women’s fiction, with an intentional, specific focus on characters with various shades of brown skin. And african ancestry. So… I write about black people. 🙂
When the opportunity to write a post here on Quanie’s blog came about, I was very, very excited. And then I found out what she wanted me to write about (to be fair, I kinda begged her to come up with a topic for me, cause I’m terrible at that), and I got really, really scared. Cause I’m supposed to be writing about marketing.
Take a wild guess at what else, besides blog topics, I’m terrible at?
You guessed it.
Well… maybe not terrible, but I’m certainly no marketing genius. What I can do is share the things that I feel have worked for me, and if you’re an indie author, they probably will for you too!
1. Make friends. This would probably be first on list for any topic. (even though I’m really not listing in particular order.) You need other author friends, and your pursuit of these friends should have nothing to do with marketing. You need people who understand the frustrations, understand the pressure, and understand you. Period. You need someone on your side to tell you to take down that subtweet about your negative review, someone to (jokingly)tell you when you make a grammar mistake on Facebook, etc. It matters, really.
2. See also: Be a friend. Genuine, sincere interaction with other authors is one of the best things you can do. It’s not about being, or phony, you have to really mean it. I share book releases, cover reveals, sales promotions, etc for other authors often, and it has nothing to do with waiting on reciprocity (although if someone does this for you, you should do it in return. Because manners.). I do this because I want to see other indies authors succeed. If you think another author in your genre is your competition, you’re thinking wrong. I’ve talked about this before with a friend, using vacuums as an example. When you buy a vacuum, you’ll have that thing for years. Won’t need another. There’s competition in vacuum sales. But with books? A person is gonna read it, and guess what… they’re gonna put it down and want to read another. You want that fire to keep burning, so absolutely put other other authors in their path, so they’ll still be in the mood to read when it comes back around to you.
3. Don’t be a jerk. This is self-explanatory, but don’t be mean to people. And if you’re naturally mean… do it somewhere else. Snark is cute until you’re trying to sell a product. There are a handful of authors I will never read (or read again) because of the way they treat/talk to to people. Everything you put forth publicly is a part of your brand as an author. Respect your brand, and more importantly, your readers, by at least trying not to be an asshole. (Can I say that Quanie? Is that okay?)
4. Social media posting. I’m definitely terrible in this area, but I know it’s important. You have to make your books visible to readers, and these days (especially for an indie) the way to reach those people is via social media. I post on my fan page, my personal page, my twitter account, my blog/website, and occasionally on instagram. These are the places your readers will go to connect with you, so you should make those available.
I do a lot of teasers, excerpts, etc in groups and on my personal page, because that’s what seems to get a good response. OH and a newsletter! I typically only email my subscribers when I have a new release, but that’s why they signed up! Take advantage of that by not forgetting to reach out when you have important news. Please don’t email your readers because you finally got that popcorn kernel that was stuck in your teeth.
5. Write more books. I know, I know, you’re sick of seeing this advice for indies, but SERIOUSLY. Write. More. Books. And I’ll even go one further and say: Publish more books. SERIOUSLY. Sitting around looking at your finished, formatted, edited book doesn’t do anything for you. (And neither does chasing down flaky, super-busy agents, waiting three months at a time for reject— wait a minute, this post isn’t about that.) Reading about publishing can only do so much. Reading about writing can only do so much. You need practice. You need critique. You need readers giving you their feedback. I firmly believe that in indie-publishing, experience is the best teacher.
So… there you have it! I sincerely hope that you were able to pull something good from my randomness. I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve done pretty well in the year that I’ve been publishing, and I’ve got a good solid fanbase that seems to be growing pretty steadily.
Obviously, there’s things I haven’t mentioned, like purchasing ads, and getting into one of those mega-newsletters, etc, and that’s because I haven’t had any real experience with those. Someday, maybe I will, but for now, I’m pretty happy with what my laid-back approach to marketing has done for me so far!
Thank you so much to Quanie for having me, and thank YOU for reading! Have a great week!
Diligence. Focus. Agility.
For Naomi Prescott, it’s not just a cute little saying. It’s a critical mantra, words to live by if she wants to retain her freedom, and more importantly, her life. Impeccable planning is the only way to ensure she sets off the small flutters that will trigger the big ripple she needs to pull off the score of a lifetime — no matter the stakes.
FBI Agent Marcus Calloway is a straight-shooter… if you overlook his sometimes unconventional, law-skirting, expensive ways of solving a case. A big arrest would do wonders to restore his reputation, and he has one woman in mind: Jolie Voleuse
Unforeseen circumstances force them into a closer proximity than either — especially Naomi — would like to be. Sparks fly, and as surely as fire ignites,eventually their undeniable chemistry combusts into a passion that neither expected as they join forces in the dangerous pursuit of a common bounty.
Christina Jones is a budding author on a mission to show the beautiful — but not always pretty — journey of love in all stages, with a focus on people of color. When she’s not immersed in writing it, Christina is an avid reader of her favorite genre, African American romance.
Her first published work was released in November 2013, and since then, she has released nine titles:
Love and Other Things
The Trouble With Love
A Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Didn’t Mean To Love You
Catch Me If You Can