My Week in Review…

It’s been a while since I updated you on my travels.  As you know, I’m currently touring the southern part of our country making appearances for my latest novel. So far, it’s been terrific!

When last I wrote, I was still in Indianapolis completing the recording of the audiobook version of Mirage.  After a couple of glitches – – one day of technical difficulties and another where my voice turned on me and I sounded like Wolfman Jack, we conquered these mini mountains and completed the task at hand last Friday. Of course, my little Lola was the perfect lady throughout the recording sessions.

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On Saturday, before leaving Indiana, I had the opportunity to see one of my cousins that I haven’t seen in 14 years.  He took me to Cerulean, a wonderfully eclectic restaurant that he knew would be right up my alley.  If you’re ever in the Indianapolis area, I highly recommend you visit at least once. Though I looked like a tourist, I couldn’t resist snapping pics uncontrollably – – here are just a few:

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I left IN and spent a couple of days in Illinois and Missouri.

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In Effingham, IL, I was able to view the world’s largest cross.  It’s quite beautiful, and unfortunately, the photo doesn’t capture all of that beauty.

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The next stop on my journey was to Little Rock for a photo shoot with my photographer of nearly 10 years, Lamont Campbell and visits to a few local book stores.  I just about fell in love with this cozy literary haven, Wordsworth Books and Company.

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I visited Little Rock Marketplace and climbed Pinnacle Mountain while I was there, as well.

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Alas, my Little Rock adventure came to an end, and I had to move on to my next stop in Tennessee.  So, here I am getting a bit of rest and preparing for my next book signings in Memphis on Friday and Saturday.  I do plan to do a bit of sightseeing, and as always, photos will follow!

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50 Things Under $50 to Promote Your Book

There are some great ideas here! Thought I’d share this article…

50 Things Under $50 Bucks To Promote Your Book

Penny C. Sansevieri
Sep 12, 2013
Huffington Post

These days it seems like everyone’s book marketing budget is a little tighter. If you’re feeling the pinch, or if you’re just looking for some great free stuff to do on your own, here are some tips that can help keep you on track. Along with the tips, I’ve also linked to other articles I’ve written on the various topics, in case you want to dig deeper:

Buy your domain name as soon as you have a title for your book. You can get domain names for as little as12.95. Tip: When buying a domain always try to get a .com and stay away from hyphens, i.e. penny-sansevieri.com – surfers rarely remember to insert hyphens. You should also consider using your keywords in your domain because it’ll help you rank better. Social media is great, but don’t use your Facebook or Twitter pages as your “website” – you should own your domain and have a site. Period. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/how-to-build-the-perfect-_b_1932184.html

Head on over to WordPress.com and start your very own blog (you can add it to your website later): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/ten-reasons-why-you-shoul_b_839231.html

Set up an event at your neighborhood bookstore. Do an event and not a signing, book signings are boring!

It’s all about content these days so why not create a calendar for content? Often if you aren’t sure what to write, or when, a content calendar will keep you on track. You can plan the calendar around your free time (though you should blog weekly) and around holidays or events that may tie into your book.

Then, while you’re at it: brainstorm content ideas and start a content folder you can always refer back to when you aren’t feeling “inspired” to write anything.

Check out other, similar authors online and see if you can do some networking.

Do some radio research and pitch yourself to at least five new stations this week. Here’s a great place to find radio stations! http://www.radio-locator.com/
Ready to get some business cards? Head on over to Vistaprint.com. The cards are free if you let them put their logo on the back, if you don’t they’re still really inexpensive.

Put together your marketing plan. Seriously, do this. If you don’t know where you’re going, any destination will do. If you don’t feel like doing an entire “plan” then pick ten things you want to do this month to promote your book.

Plan a contest or giveaway. Contests are a great way to promote your book. Make sure to mention the contest on Facebook!

Time to get yourself onto Wattpad. Never heard of Wattpad? It’s a place where you can run your content, chapters, short stories, whatever you want, and it’s a fantastic way to build fans and get feedback on your work!

Send thank-you notes to people who have been helpful to you.
Send your book out to at least ten book reviewers this week.

Do a quick Internet search for local writers’ conferences or book festivals you can attend: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/eight-tips-to-make-your-n_b_850665.html

Create an email signature for every email you send; email signatures are a great way to promote your book and message.

Ready to pitch bloggers? Excellent, then start by doing a search for the right ones on Google. You can also head over here and plug in your search term to find the top blogs in your market: http://www.invesp.com/blog-rank/

Enhance your Amazon Author Central Page by linking to your blog, Twitter feed or adding a video if you have one: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/sell-more-on-amazoncom-un_b_3670424.html

Plan your free eBook promotion. If you’re on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) drop your price to zero for one day or three days. You’ll want to schedule this a week or so out, then head on over to sites where you can list your freebie. There are tons of them but here are two to get you started: http://www.igniteyourbook.com and http://www.ebookswag.com

Write your bio and have someone who can be objective critique it; you’ll need it when you start pitching yourself to the media.

Schedule your first book event!

Start your own email newsletter; it’s a great way to keep readers, friends and family updated and informed on your success.

Start a Twitter account and begin tweeting. If you don’t think Twitter is significant, think again; it’s been a major part of our marketing strategy for over two years now (before anyone even knew what Twitter was).

Develop a set of questions or discussion topics that book clubs or online book clubs can use for your book, and post them on your website for handy downloads.

Start a Facebook Fan page. Fan Pages are much better than a personal profile for marketing because they’re searchable in Google.

See if you can get your friends to host a “book party” in their home. You come in and discuss your book and voila, a captive audience!

Find some catalogs you think your book would be perfect for and then submit your packet to them for consideration. If you’re unsure of what catalogs might work for you, head on over to http://www.catalogs.com/ and peruse their list.

Go around to your local retailers and see if they’ll carry your book; even if it’s on consignment, it might be worth it!

Don’t just offer this at bookstores either, see if your local dry cleaner, gift shops, and restaurants will take it.
Often local establishments are very supportive of their local authors!

Visual is so important these days, how about getting an account on Vine or Instagram and doing short videos and pictures about your book or topic?
Visuals are a great way to sell a book!

Write a review for someone else’s book that’s similar to yours. Not sure how this relates to your promotion? Well it’s called networking and it’s just a great idea to always do outreach.

Get yourself on Library Thing or Goodreads and start gathering friends and building your profile there: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/how-to-become-a-goodreads_b_3719161.html

Make sure your blog is connected to Amazon via their Amazon connect program (yes, it’s free). (You can do this through your Author Central Page)
Ask friends and family to email five people they know and tell them about your book.

Leave your business card, bookmark, or book flyer wherever you go.

Subscribe to Talkwalker.com or Mention.net and make sure that you are getting alerts under your name as well as your book title(s), brand, and keywords.

Pitch yourself to your local television stations.

Pitch yourself to your local print media.
Work on the Q&A for your press kit. You’ll need it when you start booking media interviews!

Schedule a book giveaway on Library Thing or Goodreads. It’s a fantastic way to drive new interest for your book! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/the-power-of-the-goodread_b_3736965.html

Is the topic of your book in the news?
Check your local paper, and write a letter to the editor to share your expertise (and promote your book!).

Stop by your local library and see if you can set up an event. They love local authors.

Do you want to get your book into your local library system? Try dropping off a copy to your main library; if they stock it chances are the other branches will too.

Go to Chase’s Calendar of Events (www.Chases.com.) and find out how to create your own holiday!

Going on vacation? Use your away-from-home time to schedule a book event or two.
If your book is appropriate, go to local schools to see if you can do a reading.

Got a book that could be sold in bulk? Start with your local companies first and see if they’re interested in buying some promotional copies to give away at company events.

Don’t forget to add reviews to your website. Remember that what someone else has to say is one thousand times more effective than anything you could say!

Trying to meet the press? Search the Net for Press Clubs in your area, they meet once a month and are a great place to meet the media.

Want a celebrity endorsement? Find celebs in your market with an interest in your topic and then go for it. Remember all they can say is no. Check out the Actors Guild for a list of celeb representatives.

Ready to get some magazine exposure? Why not pitch some regional and national magazines with your topic or submit a freelance article for reprint consideration?

Work on your next book or work on writing mini-books. Sometimes the best way to sell your first book is by promoting your second, but also many authors are writing and promoting mini-books to keep readers engaged while they wait for their next book to come out. How long do mini-books need to be? 50-75 pages. That’s it!

Indiana — The Journey Begins

Alas, I’ve started my journey! Before my first book signing in the south, I will spend the next few days in IN recording my latest novel on CD. I had several requests while at my MN signing, and of course, I always aim to please! It was a great honor to even be asked.

I spent my first night at a Flying J in New Haven — can you say, RVers dream?!?” Filled up the necessary tanks, emptied the others, watched a bit of telly, and had a very peaceful sleep. I was very tempted to get a bite at Huddle House, but I stayed on the healthy side and cooked instead.

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After riding a couple of hours, I saw a wonderful spot to have lunch…

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…and finally, this was the highlight of my day as I traveled through Anderson — a GIANT Nestlé bunny! It’s great that we can hold on to a little piece of the child that still lives inside of us!

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I felt so comfortable at Flying J last night that I found another that will be my domicile this evening. Goodnight, all!

Graduation Bust…

As I indicated in a previous post, I planned to attend my friend’s graduation today. Note to self and fellow RVers — Downtown Minneapolis is NOT the place to try to find parking.

Most parking facilities come in the form of towers and ramps, and obviously, with clearances of under seven feet, these are a definite no-go. Now, there are some lots, several in fact, that could accommodate a rig. At under 21′, mine wouldn’t be an issue, however, at a couple, I was told my vehicle is considered oversized and I’d have to pay for two spaces. That wouldn’t even be a problem, but they were too far from the convention center and I’d need public transportation to get there. Also not a problem if I had more time.

The major issue was that these lots were unattended, not secure and came with a warning from the locals that break-ins were commonplace. Enough said. No one wants their car broken into — for me, it would be my car, home and office! No thanks, I’ll pass.

After driving around a maze of one way streets, tourists and construction cones for over an hour, I was done. I was quickly reminded of why I have yet to find a downtown area for which I have any affinity and why I love nature filled environments. I decided to head to the site of the book signing to make sure that I wouldn’t run into this issue tomorrow. To my great pleasure, it is in a vast strip mall with hundreds of parking spaces right in front! Good stuff!

I’ve decided that I will stay here in the Brooklyn Park area rather than venturing back to Bloomington. This morning’s debacle wore me out and now I’m ready to have a nice cup of tea whilst pondering the readings I will share tomorrow. Last night, I traveled to Lebanon Hills Campground in Apple Valley to fill up on fresh water, so I’m all set for boondocking my last night in MN!

Oh, I almost forgot. While on my wild parking space hunt, I got to see this Peddle Pub — once again, the sites haven’t disappointed 🙂

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Twin City Adventures

Twin City Adventures

I arrived last evening in Minneapolis. I drove nearly 13 hours straight through, which kind of defeats the purpose of having an RV, but in addition to my book signing on Sunday, a friend of mine is receiving her Master’s … Continue reading