A native of Colorado, Mrs. Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, currently resides in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, with her husband. Mrs. Bryant is a published author, freelance writer, novelist, editor, ghostwriter and a literary and entrepreneurial advocate. She is the founder and owner of YolandaMJohnson, Literary Wonders! and Bryant Consulting. She is a columnist for Examiner.com, RAW Sistaz Literary Services and other literary venues. Mrs. Johnson-Bryant is a member of The Nussbaum Entrepreneurial Center, Women of Leadership and Learning (WELL Women) and Toastmasters. She also conducts workshops and classes on writing and entrepreneurship and is also a member of several reading and writing groups.
Start Planning Now
If you haven’t already, now is the time to start planning your spring and summer marketing strategies and campaigns. Whether you are marketing an old product or a new one, the spring and summer seasons resonates freshness.
Check with your local libraries for author events and festivals. Many libraries host author panels and events in the spring. If your library does not do this, why not suggest it to them or set up a book signing with them. Conducting a book signing in your city is a low-cost way to market your book and create sales.
Soon many school-age and college students will be going on spring break. Contact your local library, recreation center, or community college and offer to conduct a creative writing workshop. It is even possible to set up a book signing at a local college or university bookstore. Other organizations such as Junior Achievement look for volunteers to teach various classes, including creative writing and other workshops that deal with the literary industry.
Research literary events, festivals, and conferences where you can participate and market your work. Keep a spreadsheet or some type of record that includes annual literary events and contact information. Many events that are conducted annually will usually have some type of information or point of reference about their next event at the end of their current one. For example, Book Expo America, best known as BEA is held every year and mostly in New York. Shortly after last year’s event, an announcement was made to announce the place, date and time of this year’s event. Keeping track of these events will help you better plan your campaign and ensure that you have the funds to participate.
If you are unable to attend an event, contact the event coordinator and ask if you can submit marketing material. Many times, marketing materials and signed copies of your book are entered into drawings, gift bags, and book giveaways, giving your work exposure to the masses.
The best way to start your event list is by word of mouth. Talk to other authors and readers and find out what events they recommend; research them and add them to your list. Another great way is to set up Google Alerts. By utilizing Google Alerts, you can stay abreast of industry news, such as book signings, conferences, literary festivals, and other literary events. Set up an online blog tour or find out how to get your work into bookstores.
I have several Google Alerts set on my account. Some examples are literary festivals, book signings, literary conferences, Christian fiction conference, blog tours, marketing tips, local libraries, local library, and Greensboro public library and so on. It is also a good idea to Google yourself. This is a good way to see what others are saying and writing about you. Make your first experience with Google Alerts, if you don’t already use it, a vanity search. Enter your name as an alert, the title of your book as another, and also your Website and blog as alerts.
Google Alerts are easy to set up and you can control how often you get results, whether it’s as the information happens, daily
digest, or weekly digest. You can receive these alerts via e-mail or RSS feeds. In your results you can include searches from the Web, blogs, news, video groups, and other options. Google Alerts are one of the best tools an author can have.
Book Trailers can be beneficial for authors. With the use of some basic software, an author can make a Book Trailer, thereby gaining reader interest almost better than they could by a basic review. If you are unsure of how to work video software, you can hire a professional to create a Book Trailer. Research to find a company that fits your budget. Ask to see work they have done and request references. Ask other authors to recommend a reputable Book Trailer designer. I see them advertised all the time on social media sites.
Blog tours are the way to go if you don’t have the funds to travel to promote your book. Blog tours are becoming all the rage and a must-have for book campaigns. Several companies and businesses offer blog tours. There is the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance that does three-day blog tours. They are the owner of this magazine and they also place their blog tour books on the Home page of this magazine as well as a monthly blog tour rundown on the CFBA Blog Tour page accessible from the Home tab.
Again, in addition to researching them, you can find great resources for blog tours on social media sites. My favorite so far would be Tywebbin Creations, owned by Tyora Moody because Tywebbin is also provides Design and Marketing services. Tyora is professional and does a great job promoting your blog tour, including making certain that authors get reviews of their books posted on social media and sites like Amazon. Get out there and promote your book. It’s a new year and this is YOUR year!