Our Guest Blog today is by Ann Lee Miller, Author of Kicking Eternity and The Art of My Life.
I have to admit, I usually find self-published books disappointing--including my own. AnnLee Miller's books are a definite exception to that rule. Her writing is dynamic and fascinating.
My first book debuted June and my second in September, so this is more of a beginner’s testimonial than the last word on book marketing. I don’t have the time or inclination to get a marketing degree, but I know Someone who’s been in the business a long time. Prayer is the foundation for my promotion strategy.
The wacky idea I’m using is to give a book away—forever. I’ve got four novels coming out in a year. The people who read and like free Kicking Eternity should cheerfully buy The Art of My Life (released in September), Avra’s God (due out in December), and Tattered Innocence (expected to release in March of 2013). Smashword’s Mark Coker’s lists free books as Secret No. Eleven in The Secrets of Ebook Publishing Success. Motoko Rich of the New York Times concurs (LINK).
Blog Tour: I scheduled a blog stop each day of June for my first book. I took several book marketing classes online from Melissa Foster of Fostering-success.com. At her recommendation, for The Art of My Life, I am only scheduling blog stops every two or three days in order to better promote the appearances.
Via Facebook, e-mail, and online groups, I asked friends to read my book and post reviews. I gave them two weeks, but two months is a more realistic time frame. With the second book, I also requested reviews from bloggers I met on Twitter.
Joel Comm recommends in Twitter Power building relationships on Twitter three-fourths of the time and selling one-fourth. His philosophy goes well with my personality. However, my one tweet a day probably didn’t accomplish much in either area. For Art of My Life, I am following fifty new people each day, offering the free book to anyone who follows me, and setting up numerous tweets each day via hootsuite.com.
Indie authors have to earn respect, and this fact was never more obvious than when I sought speaking engagements. I was ignored by twenty universities, one of which I attended for two years. Even the high school I graduated from, served as vice president of my senior class, and as a member of the homecoming court did not respond to my e-mail. My alma mater, where I earned a BA in creative writing, would not allow me to speak to students in writing classes. I did succeed, however in slating seven Christian groups related to my alma mater and denomination. In the Spring, I plan to visit my hometown, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where a book launch will be held for my books, and I will visit area book stores and gift shops to ask them to stock my books.
I’m sending news releases about my book launch to newspapers in all the places I’ve lived. To my delight, a reporter from the Hometown News in New Smyrna Beach interviewed me for an hour on the phone and published a feature. Also, a nearby Daytona Beach News Journal reporter loved my news release and printed two shorter articles. I will approach these reporters again with each book. Also, I will send press releases to the town where I now live and my college alumni magazines.
On Launch Day I opened a Facebook Event called “Ann Lee Miller Free Book” as an efficient way to
spread the word to my friends so they can “invite” their friends. It was a tad confusing because no event actually took place. In the first week, about 8,000 people heard about my book through the event. It was a huge success, but Facebook took it down without explanation, even though I wrote to inquire why. I’m hesitant to try it again because I don’t want to do something that might be against Facebook’s rules.
You never know what tidbit from your life could be an asset in promoting your book. The newspaper reporter called because Kicking Eternity landed First Place Long Contemporary in the 2009 RWA Faith, Hope, and Love Contest. I marveled that God had put this into place three years ago.
Another asset was living on a sailboat while my parents’ marriage melted down. Not a happy time, but an experience that lends credibility to my two books set on sailboats. We all have plusses if we dig around and look for them.
I asked a couple of traditionally published friends if they would read Kicking Eternity and write endorsements which I view as huge assets. This is what they gave me:
“Ann Lee Miller writes stories straight from the heart with characters who'll become friends, remaining with you long after you turn that final page. You won't want to miss Kicking Eternity!” Jenny B. Jones, author of the Katie Parker Production Series from the Think and The Charmed Life Series, and others from Thomas Nelson.
“In Kicking Eternity, Ann Lee Miller masterfully weaves the delicate web of emotions experienced in that turbulent ‘twenty-something’ stage of life. Powerful family dynamics, intense loyalty challenges, and tender new loves find their niche in your heart as this story unfolds layer by lovely layer.” Mesu Andrews, Author of Revell titles Love’s Sacred Song and Love Amid the Ashes, which won the 2012 CBA Book of the Year, New Author Category.
Contact me through AnnLeeMiller.com for a free e-copy of Kicking Eternity. If you’ve read this far you deserve it!
Back cover of The Art of My Life:
Cal walked out of jail and into a second chance at winning Aly with his grandma’s beater sailboat and a reclaimed dream of sailing charters.
Aly has the business smarts, strings to a startup loan, and heart he never should have broken. He’s got squat. Unless you count enough original art to stock a monster rummage sale and an affection for weed.
But he’d only ever loved Aly. That had to count for something. Aly needed a guy who owned yard tools, tires worth rotating, and a voter’s registration card. He’d be that guy or die trying.
For anyone who’s ever struggled to measure up. And failed.
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes And Noble, and Smashwords.
Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but she left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her pastor husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.