Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vivian Zabel Dishes On What She Learned at a Conference and How She's Using It

My guest blogger today is author and publisher Vivian Zabel. She has published the books of others and several of her own books, so she isn't new to this. Still, she found new ideas at a conference she recently attended, some of them with new twists I hadn't heard about before. She shares with you here:


One strong point brought out by a recent speaker and best-selling author, publishers don't do much for promotion unless the author is already famous. That idea isn't a surprise to most of us. Even James Patterson pitches his books on television. Therefore, Dana Stabenow decided she would do a major promotion for her books herself, using the Internet.

For her first major promotion Dana used her Web site to present one chapter of the book per month starting four months before its release, and she used only the first four chapters, no more. She gave a free ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of the book each month for those four months. For subsequent books, she only posted an excerpt once and didn't give out as many ARCs for prizes.

I'm using this idea, but with modification. I posted the first chapter of my upcoming novel Stolen on http://Stolen.yolasite.com, but I won't post other chapters. I'm holding a contest with two prongs:

1. Readers will post a short comment on my Web site and then send me an e-mail with an idea for the ending of my book (not the ending they're submitting, though, because we don't want others to copy them). Their name will go into a drawing to win one of two ARCs of my book, Stolen.

2. Anyone who promotes my book on their blog between June 15 and September and has at least 100 people, other than the host or author, will be eligible to win one of two other ARCs.

I will add a few contests in the months ahead.

Dana wrote and posted a transitional chapter linking book one to the next book, or the book before the current book to the current book. She covered what happened to her main characters (which includes a wolf) and community from one novel to the next. Since I don't have a previous book or prequel to Stolen, I can't do the transitional chapter. However, I'm keeping a blog written by Torri, the main character, giving background and "memories" she has about her life and family, helping readers to "know" her and be interested in her story.

The Stabenow URL (http://Stabenow.com) appeared on everything, everywhere she could place it. Her Web site offers great advice for writers, too. I discovered how to personalize a signature with my blog URL, my contacts on Twitter and Facebook, and to promote Stolen. \

This signature, includes logo/widgets to Facebook and Twitter and appears on everything except my business e-mails:

Vivian Zabel
Experience the Emotion
Love - Mystery - Love

Coming this fall: Stolen
Contact Me
Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap Asking for help - for others


Dana paid for a professional trailer, which she discovered was not cost effective. Not one not done by a professional, but of good quality, does the job. I'm planning on using Slider.com and put together a slide show for my novel once I can discover how to have some images other than the cover to complete the side show.

Dana puts out five newsletters each year, with an active "buy" link in each e-newsletter. This I need to learn how to do. I imagine I could manage to find the material for four or five newsletters a year, since I do more than that for Writing.Com, but I have no idea, yet, how to have active "buy" link.

The ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of my novel will be sent to reviewers all over the country. They will be used for contests and to tempt people to want a copy of the novel. ARCs in themselves are great promotion tools.

Visit the Stolen Web site and learn more about the promotional activities and the novel itself.
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Other books by Vivian include:



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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about it:

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