Thursday, June 16, 2011




06 Who's Your Daddy: Identifying Support Groups
Each author needs a promotional resource list which provides the name and link of places to share info about books. Granted, a mystery author might have different sites from a writer of westerns, although some sites will be common to both. To help you build your list, here are a few I use.

1. This is a list of editors whom I follow on Twitter.

2. A listing of places that want author goodies (conventions, book fairs, etc.), and lists of contests for authors.

3. Coffee Time Romance's calendar of events. Authors can add their own contests, chats, and events

4. Forum where authors can have a free forum page, teach and attend webinars, take part in monthly programs, and interact with readers. Completely moderated and well run.

5. Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

6. and Bitly and Tinyurl both change very long tags (such as purchase links) into smaller ones that don't break in email or on groups/forums. Both can create customized links.

7. Need a royalty-free, no cost picture for a video or ad? This is an excellent source with good, clear photos.

8. A step-by-step guide to planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from a book

9. A unique insider’s view of the inner workings of how books start from a concept and end up in your hands.

10. Article on how to get your Facebook page to show up in the Facebook News Feed (found on Beneath the Cover).

11. Review site which also provides specialized pages, blogs, and active Yahoo groups for various heat levels. Low cost "featured author" status, which provides superior opportunities to blog, hold contests, take part in giveaways, release parties, and holiday-themed events. Inside scoop on special sales for members, with highly reduced prices (i.e., 2 [or 3] for price of 1 specials

12. Review site with active Yahoo group, "featured author" status, holiday-themed events, and other contests. Ongoing giveaway program for author promo goodies (you send them buttons, pens, postcards, bookmarks, etc. and they ensure they go out to readers)

13. Yahoo group which allows authors to promote books, contests, blog info, hold chats, and interface with readers.

14. Blog featuring multiple guest authors each month, offers spots for blog tours, book releases, and gives special consideration for holiday-themed books during their season of importance. Often booked three to six months in advance, so ask early. Postings are automatically generated on Facebook.

15. Joining this lets your blog postings show automatically on your Facebook page, and the pages of all those who belong to NetWorkedBlogs. Great visibility with no work.

16. A good blog article on using reviews and how to store them. Great reading.

07 Announcing Promos
Use this template to provide readers with all the information they need to find your chat, author day, interview, feature, or what-have-you. It's similar to the classic party invitation we've likely all sent at some time in our lives. The last page is a blank template you can use for any event. Not all the information listed may be necessary for every event, but always include the basics of when, where, who, what, and why. And remember, every email, add your signature and website every time. What it should say:

•Email subject: Put important info first. Yahoo truncates long message titles.

•Event Name: This could be included in your subject.

•Hostess (or host: Your name or the author hosting you

•Hosting group: (if applicable)

•Event Type: chat, author day, interview, etc.

•Event Description: Be creative here and engage the reader. Gear the message to the tone of the occasion. If it's a memorial service for an author, funny might not be good, but it is acceptable for other events. Use your writing skills and make the reader want to be there.

•Where: URL or physical location, including the email to post messages on the group. Use the entire URL and write it out with AT and DOT instead of the symbols so that it will show in Yahoo Groups.

•Date(s): It doesn't matter whether you write out the month, abbreviate it, or use numerals, so long as it's accurate. You can also add the day of the week (Friday, etc.). Keep in mind that your international readers may be attending your Friday night event on their Saturday morning.

•Time: Add the time zone in which the event will be held. For example, if it says Noon Central, and you are in Eastern, it's 11am for you. The time zone list below is a big help. Readers love this and I get good comments when I use it.
Time Zones (for events with specific time periods)

Using the pattern below, change the times to fit your schedule. If you start at 5pm Central, this is perfect. If you start at 9pm, change it to reflect the same time difference in other zones. This helps time-challenged readers and authors, and helps avoid guests arriving after the chat has been labeled a no-show. FYI - not a good way to make a first impression. Paste the entire table (including the title) in your message.

Time Zones (start times.)
7p Atlantic
6p Eastern
5p Central
4p Mountain
3p Pacific

If you are outside the US check the World Time Clock here:



Email subject: Free Workshop Jan 2011 - Create a Marketing Plan
Event Name: Free Create a Marketing Plan Workshop
Hosting Group: Marketing for Romance Writers
Host(ess): Kayelle Allen
Event Type: Workshop held forum-style on a Yahoo group.
Event Description: Learn how to create a workable, personalized marketing plan that will save you money and time.
Dates: Jan 3 - Jan 28, 2011 M-F
Time: Open, attend at your leisure


Email subject: Se is back! Yep, Se. Fun chat w/Selena Illyria
Event Name: Selena Illyria group chat
Hosting Group: Romance Lives Forever
Hostess: Kayelle Allen
Event Type: Author Chat with a party atmosphere

Event Description: Se's back! Selena Illyria doesn't just "show up." She pounces into chat rooms, hugs everyone and whirls over to her infamous list of melt-in-your-mouth decadently delicious recipes and posts them between excerpts. Never attend a Selena Illyria chat hungry. Bring a snack. If you're dieting, no problem. The RLF Pool Boys will be serving cyber snacks the entire time, as well as anything else you want. Excerpts, recipes, and a contest. Se usually brings an author friend to give us extra excerpts, so bring one of your friends too and join us for a fun time.
Where: (via email or right on the group. Your choice.) romancelivesforeverATyahoogroupsDOTcom

Date: Saturday, Jan 22, 2011
Time: 6-8pm Eastern. Other times below.

Time Zones (start times.)
7p Atlantic
6p Eastern
5p Central
4p Mountain
3p Pacific

If you are outside the US check the World Time Clock here:

Blank Template (copy/paste into email)

NOTE: You may not need each of these details for each chat or appearance, but ensure the most important aspects are shown: Who, Why, Where, When, What.

Email subject:
Event Name:
Hosting Group:
Event Type:
Event Description:

Time Zones (start times.)
7p Atlantic
6p Eastern
5p Central
4p Mountain
3p Pacific
If you are outside the US check the World Time Clock here:
Kayelle Allen

08 WIIFM* or When Shouldn't You Promote?
WIIFM = What's In It For Me. We're going to discuss when is the best time to promote by looking at the worst times. What might some of those be?

When Not To Promote

1.During another author's chat day or featured time period.

2.On a group on days set aside for other activity.

3.In the comments of another person's blog.

4.In an area that doesn't pertain to your writing's subject. (ex. Posting your Cowboy Romance promo on a site called "For Goths Only"). Of course, if your cowboy falls in love with a goth girl, then by all means - go for it! Otherwise, steer clear (pun intended).

What other times / places might be inappropriate?

1.When a conversation is underway on a topic unrelated to your writing.

2.When you're not sure it's the right time or place.

3.During or after a sensitive period related to your writing. A good example occurred after 9/11. The Spiderman movie was scheduled to open the weekend after. It was delayed because the ending had to be reshot - originally, he caught the bad guys by stringing a web between the Twin Towers.

4.When you're not sure it's the right time or place. Yes, I repeated that. Go with your gut.

09 Your Marketing Plan Template
Here are the instructions, followed by a template for your own use. Feel free to alter this to suit your abilities, purposes, and preferences.

For the last few weeks, we've focused on finding places to promote our work, identifying sites that support what we do, shared goals, discussed how to fill our calendars with appearances ahead of time, and learned how to send out announcements for them.

This week, we'll cover how to put all that information into a workable format to create a plan that will help you market your work. You may discover that each book you write will have its own flavor and often appeal to an additional niche of people. Don't be afraid to create a marketing plan for each book, or for a series, and then refer to your plan when a marketing opportunity presents itself.

There are five aspects to consider when you discover a promo opportunity. The promo should receive a yes answer to all of the questions below.

•Does this further the objectives or goals you set for yourself, your books, and your image?

•Will this reach your target audience?

•Does this relate to your identity as an author (i.e., your "brand")?

•Does it fall within the guidelines of your plan of action?

•Is it within your budget?

If the answer to any one of these is no, you must determine if the undertaking is worth the risk. At best it will work out, and at worst it's money, time, and/or resources wasted. If two are no's and you still want to take part in the promo, write down the reasons it appeals to you. In addition, consider whether it will enable you to:

•Gain exposure on a wider level
•Partner with a person of interest
•Partner with a high profile entity or site
•Take advantage of a trend
•Work with a fellow author whom you trust

Use your list of reasons to help you determine your true motivation. You may find it's worth the risk. If you sleep on it you may discover that your reaction was due to impulse. In some cases, you may have a "gut feeling" that it's the right thing to do or the right place to be. Only you can decide whether to proceed. If you discover that more than two items are no's, the promo likely does not fit your marketing plan. In this case, you may lose more than you gain.

Use your plan to determine every aspect of your marketing.

The template for your Marketing Plan is below.


Marketing Plan


Record the goal or goals you set for yourself earlier in the course.

List your target audience (or list of audiences).

Who are you as an author? Do you have a recurring theme? What is your brand? For example, I use two distinct catch phrases, and my books fit them. One is Romance Lives Forever, and the other is Unstoppable heroes, Uncompromising love, Unforgettable passion. Record yours here. If you don't have a brand or theme, take a look at what you write and try to determine what it is. Do you write gothic romance? Western? Horror? Sweet inspirational? Create a phrase, catch-word, or slogan to capture that essence.

Plan of Action

What steps will you take to achieve your objectives? Will you hold book signings, chats, blog frequently, create a fan page on Facebook, etc.? Make these plans short, to the point, and high level without detail. This is more of an outline for what you'll do than a detailed step-by-step instruction guide.
That's truly the bare bones of a marketing plan. You can make it as complicated or simple as you like.

Items to consider

Gauge your promo plans by comparing them to your marketing plan. Will a particular event or endeavor fulfill part of your plan? Will it take you far outside it? If it doesn't fit the plan, consider why you want to do it. I have a personal policy that if I have to make a snap decision because it's "now or never" I will almost always go with "never." Why? Because too often a rush to decide is simply a salesperson creating a perceived urgency that is not truly there.

Let me share a short and personal anecdote. I recently decided to drop coverage on a pay-as-you-go cell phone. I received an email from the company promising me that if I added $10 to my account by the end of April, that they'd add $5 as a bonus. I decided that I didn't want to bother with it, for various reasons. In May, I received another email stating that because they valued my business, they were adding $5 to my account as a thank you. If I had given in to the urgency of their "do it now" pitch, I'd have added money to a phone I really didn't want to keep. Instead, I used the $5 as an emergency fund on the phone, which came in handy at a recent conference. I'm still switching phones, but it was helpful to have the free minutes. Sometimes it pays to wait, or simply just say no.

If you consistently see opportunities that you want to try, but they don't fit your plan, perhaps you need to reconsider the plan itself. You may need to add a new detail to your plan in order to take advantage of these opportunities.

One other item to keep in mind. Can you do something for yourself that you are currently paying others to do? Depending on your schedule, your personal life, and your editing deadline, paying for help might prove expedient. Only you know what type of time pressure you are under, and whether paying for help relieves stress and helps you accomplish more. Sometimes, doing things yourself not only saves money, but also provides pride in a job well done.

10 Your Personal Resource File
How many of you have bookmarks in your browser? Pretty much all of you I bet. Earlier this year, I had a major malfunction with Internet Explorer 8 and couldn't get it to play videos no matter what I did. Eventually whatever caused the issue snowballed into other problems and I finally had to bite the bullet and switch permanently to using Mozilla Firefox. In the process of reinstalling IE, I lost all my latest bookmarks.

Fortunately, I'm in the habit of backing up files and one that I save quarterly is my internet Favorites folder. Favorites can also be imported from one browser to another, and isn't that a great option!

Your Personal Resource File is a composite of the most-used and most-effective bookmarks, as well as a list of who to contact for various aspects of promoting. Note: not all will apply to each author and/or publisher

•Publisher's in-house review coordinator
•Review site submission eddresses* and contacts
•Promo site contacts if you work with one
•Yahoo group moderators and owners for groups where you participate
* An "eddress" is an email address

Keeping these in a single document can be helpful. It puts everyone a click away. What types of sites are most important to you?

Kayelle Allen

(content has been modified for the purpose of this blog but only in deletion and nothing has been added)


Christopher Hoare said...

Thanks for posting this workshop, Karen, and thanks to Kayelle as well.

Too busy to do more than rush by today---have galley prooks to do, but will study the whole workshop on the weekend.

Chris H.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Wow, Kayelle, this is terrific. And all in one place. Can't thank you enough!

Lin said...

One of the many wonderful things we have going for us here at Muse is the support from every part of Muse that we have established.

Karen, you continually find ways to raise the bar on what you do for us. Today's postings add to that ever rising core of your generosity.

As a disabled author, promoting is more than just many ways it is beyond possible.

Kayelle you have given even me a blueprint I can now put to work and hopefully help my fellow Musers as well.

Thank you both for sharing your wisdom. Authors are the TRUE, though all too often, unsing celebrities.

Bless you both.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for stopping By Chris, especially when you are so busy.

Joylene, Kayelle is certainly a mentor through and through, huh? darling I just love it that you stopped by too. Kayelle is the reason I've been so motivated to do as many different things as I can. Stretches me a bit thin but once I get her guidance on scheduling down, it'll be a snap. LOL, right..huh? You with the 1000 blogs. Hugs.

Cellophane Queen said...

Your info is terrific and comprehensive. It makes me want to bash my head on my desk until I go into a coma. I'm trying to line up a teensy little blog tour and that almost put me over the edge of sanity.

Now to go copy/paste, then lose on my hard drive all information you've provided.


Unknown said...

Oh Marva...been watching you too. You've got quite a thing going on yourself. Thank you so much for stopping by. You too, are amazing.

JerryR said...

Another wow kayelle. And ty for posting these 2 lessons Karen. I'm saving both for future use. :)

Charlie said...

Sorry I didn't get to respond yesterday. But I've read and reread this wonderful information. Talk about tools I CAN use! Wow. Thanks so much for this treasure box of goodies!
C.K. Volnek

Unknown said...

Thank YOU Charlie. Kayelle is amazing and your appreciation is validation of that fact. You know I'm a fan of yours...xo

Kayelle Allen said...

I'm pleased to have helped in any way. Thank you Karen for sharing this info. Your outreach is in a different direction from mine, which means a different set of authors who can benefit from the info. It's my hope each of you shares with someone else. Often, the way to success isn't a big secret; it's simply work. Here's to working smarter, not harder. :)

Wendy said...

Thanks again Karen and Kaylene.
I'll be watching for more of your seminars, Kaylene at Coffee Time Romance.

Anonymous said...

This is a huge list. Thanks for sharing. Just visited your site I can definitely learn a lot here.

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