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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Marketing and her New Book with Anne Carrole


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Anne Carrole. Anne  will be talking about marketing. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Anne Carrole has been writing stories since she was in elementary school but back then the hero was more likely to ride a bike not a horse and share a stick of gum rather than a kiss. Raised on a farm with horses, dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits and whatever other animals she could convince her parents to shelter, she’s married to her own sweet-talking hero and is the proud mother of a college-aged daughter. They all share their home with a sleek black cat with way too much attitude. When not writing or reading, you can find Anne puttering in the garden, playing tennis (poorly), watching football, or sharing a laugh with friends.
Beverley: How important is marketing for an author?
Anne: No matter how wonderful your novel is, if no one knows about it they can’t buy it so marketing is very important.  There are many well-written books that go undiscovered due to the crowded field of published books.
Beverley: What free marketing is available for authors?
Anne: An author newsletter has to top the list. Most services that help you distribute your newsletter, like Mailchimp and Mailerlite don’t start charging for their services until you get around two thousand subscribers. But I am not of the school that thinks getting thousands of subscribers to your newsletter is an effective marketing tool if they come from on-line solicitations for free books or free anything. Some authors swear they have found that getting subscribers this way sells books but when I look at their book’s ranking on Amazon and see that their book’s ranking is in the hundreds of thousands, I am skeptical.  I would rather have a few hundred subscribers who subscribed to my newsletter because they loved The Hearts of Wyoming Series, than thousands who subscribed because of some giveaway and then never open my newsletter.
There are many groups on Facebook that allow book promotion, many authors do group launch/event parties on Facebook, and organizing a Tweet Day with other authors where you retweet each other’s posts about your books can help with visibility though, personally, I have never seen huge bumps in sales from these.

Lining up blogging opportunities can help to increase visibility, particularly if those blogs attract readers interested in your genre, is another free marketing option.
Beverley: What marketing is available for a fee for authors?
Anne: There is a whole industry of people willing to offer their marketing services to you for a fee from people offering Public Relations services, to building your newsletter subscribers, to putting you on a blog tour, to getting reviewers. I have used none of them. I have yet to see proof that they sell books. They may get you subscribers, and blog dates, and a small number of reviewers but I have yet to see these translate into sales.

What does work, IMHO, is putting your book on sale (.99) for a limited time (or free if you must) along with snagging a Bookbub ad, which run in the hundreds of dollars. This strategy is particularly effective if you have other books that can benefit from someone discovering your work, particularly if it is a series. Short of a Bookbub ad, which is the holy grail of advertising because of the number of newsletter subscribers they have that actually are interested in reading books, you can coordinate the discount on your book with advertisements in other reader newsletters such as E-reader News Today (ENT), Robin Reads, and The Fussy Librarian, to name a few that I have found effective.  These advertisements rarely cost more that $50-$100 and are easier to get than a Bookbub ad, but they are also not quite as effective. While some authors have experienced downloads in the thousands from a Bookbub featured deal, you can probably expect 50 to 100 downloads from these other venues. However, that can be enough to push your book up in the rankings so your book gets in the top twenty of your genre list on Amazon, generating more sales from that visibility.
Beverley: How much should an author spend on advertising and how does an author make that decision?
Anne: I calculate how many books I must sell to get a return on investment for my promotion and, based on past experience or the experience of others, determine if it is feasible. However, sometimes, such in promoting a free book, you are looking to increase your visibility in a crowded field and in that case, you have to look at it as a long-term investment to build your brand, in which case the return on investment will not be immediate. I track my sales (my publisher allows me to see sales in real time) during promotions so I have an idea if a promotion is working.  This helps me decide how much I should spend the next time I promote.  For instance in March my publisher placed one of my books on sale for $0.99. I spent $525 promoting it and earned more than seven times that in royalties. For me that was a good return on investment, particularly since I could track bumps in sales based on where it was advertised.
Beverley: How have you marketed your books? Have you used someone to do your marketing for you? Why? Why not?
Anne: No. I looked into several services but the fees were in the thousands with no guarantee of a return on investment. As an author still trying to establish myself, I do not have the leeway to take that financial risk. I did read an account of a debut author who used a marketing service and paid large sums for advertising including an ad during the movie Fifty Shades of Grey and it paid off big for her. If you have the means to make that type of investment, go for it!
Beverley: How have you marketed your books?
Anne: I use Facebook Ads, ads in various reader newsletters such as ENT and Robin Reads.  However, the most effective promotions to-date have been the promotions my publisher, Kindle Press, an imprint of Amazon, has obtained for my books whether it is a 99 cent month-long discount, enrollment in Amazon Prime Reading, or targeted emails to likely Kindle readers.  My marketing efforts have largely been in support of these promotions.
Beverley: What did you find worked best?
Anne: Things I find effective:
Facebook Ads that boost a post. I have close to 3K followers on my Facebook page who are all fans of Western Romance, which is my genre, so those ad boosts tend to be effective for me. I generally set my budget for between $5 and $10 daily, target my audience, set my end date, and let Facebook do the rest. 
Reader Newsletter ads. As mentioned above, Book Bub ads, which can cost over $600, have, by all accounts, a great return on investment, but I have never been fortunate enough to land one. Other places where I have tracked favorable payback are E-readers News Today, Robin Reads, Choosy Bookworm, and Reading Deals.
Least effective for me have been giveaways (you get mostly people who are interested in the freebie, not in buying your books) and Facebook event parties (seems it has become oversaturated and takes a lot of time relative to the number of attendees—unless you are in one with a big name author.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Anne: My first published novella was with the Wild Rose Press in 2011.
Beverley: What genre do you write in and why?
Anne: I write both contemporary and historical romance set in the West. For some reason, maybe because I grew up on a farm, my muse comes wearing a Stetson. I also love the history of the Wild West as it was such a unique time period. The lore of the cowboy is heroic and iconic and the fact cowboys have always had a little outlaw in them keeps things interesting. My latest series, The Hearts of Wyoming, has three books published and I am working on the fourth and counting, with no shortage of stories to tell.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Anne: Since I was in elementary school, I have been writing stories so the desire has always been there (I was an English Major in college, lol). Many people influenced me along the way from professors to the authors I read like Austen and Trollope. But I fell in love with romance , literally, when I started to read the novels of Linda Lael Miller and Rachel Gibson.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Anne: Finding the time to devote to learning and honing the craft of writing was the biggest obstacle.  As a mother running my own consulting company and looking after an aging parent, there was never any time. After my mother passed away, the need to do something I’ve always wanted to do became too strong to ignore, and, by that time, my daughter had grown up!
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Anne: Reading about the history of the West, watching a rodeo, taking a trip, hearing someone’s true life experiences—in short, life! My most recent novel, The Rancher’s Heart, is based on an adverse possession lawsuit that allows the heroine to take land from the hero without payment. My own family was once victim of an adverse possession lawsuit related to our family farm and this sparked the idea for The Rancher’s Heart.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Anne: My own inner editor. I have to push through and keep writing rather than listen to the little voice of doubt. Norah Robert has said she can fix a bad sentence but she can’t fix a blank page, or something to that effect. I try to keep that in mind when I’m writing.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Anne: I’m an eggs and bacon kind of gal.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Anne: Few things are more comfy to me than a pair of well-worn jeans and a soft cotton top.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Anne: At my desk in my office. For some reason, I don’t write as well at a lap-top or on a tablet. I think it is too many years of sitting at a desk. It just feels right to me.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Anne: The Minions crack me up.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Anne: The families featured in the show The Last American Cowboy (no longer on the air). They gave you a window into the realities (not the romance) of ranch life.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Anne: Besides writing? I would probably head to the beach if the weather was nice. I live close to the coast and find sitting on the beach and listening to the surf a wonderful place to work out plots
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Anne: I am working on the fourth book in my Hearts of Wyoming series, The Loner’s Heart, which is Trace’s story.  Trace nearly took over the second book in the series, The Maverick Meets His Match, which was his brother’s story. He’s the strong, silent type masking a vulnerable heart. When he finds out, unexpectedly, that he has a five-year old daughter who needs him, this man who always pushed people away, suddenly has to ask for help.  The outgoing, forward woman who comes to his “rescue” is like no one he’s ever encountered before…and therein lies a story.


Blurb for The Rancher’s Heart:
A feud reminiscent of the Hatfields and McCoys, a love story worthy of Romeo and Juliet

Despite growing up on the Pleasant Valley Ranch, single mom Cat McKenna doesn’t know a thing about cattle. But even with her preference for high heels instead of cowboy boots, she’s determined to save the family ranch she inherited for her son. She just needs to hire the right foreman. Neighboring rancher and town heartbreaker, Cody Taylor, might be perfect for the job, even though their families have been feuding over land and water for generations.
Living in the shadow of the wealthier McKenna
ranch has not been easy for the Taylors. But buried under a mountain of debt after his late father’s illness, the only way out for Cody may be to accept Cat McKenna’s job offer.
Can Cody keep his pride and ranch intact while helping the one family in all of Wyoming that’s the sworn enemy of the Taylors...and the one woman in Wyoming who is capable of stealing not only his land, but his rancher’s heart?

Buy Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Ranchers-Heart-Hearts-Wyoming-ebook/dp/B01MYTS6SB

You can find Anne at:
Website: http://www.annecarrole.com
Blog: http://annecarrole.blogspot.com
RSS FEED  http://annecarrole.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneCarrole
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annecarrole                         https://www.facebook.com/lovewesternromances
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Carrole/e/B008DI46LA

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview. Next week we'll be discussing Settings. 

7 comments:

  1. Just a note that my publisher put The Rancher's Heart on sale for $1.99 until the end of the month!

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  2. I love the cover! Thanks for the information on promotion. All the best!

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    1. Appreciate the comment on the cover. :) And glad you stopped in and found the info helpful. All the best to you too, Melissa. Hugs!

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful marketing tips I am a children’s book author and always looking for ways to promo my books.
    Vivienne
    Twitter: @MyPalBuddee2015
    Website: http://mypalbuddee.blogspot.com

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    1. So happy you found it helpful. Thanks for stopping in.

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  4. Exceptional tips in every way. Thanks, Anne All the best to you.

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    1. Thanks Charmaine. And all the best to you too!:)

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