Friday, August 2, 2013

Cover Reveals, Blog Tours, & Giveaways -Publicity 101


Hello, Seekerville. Sandra here to share with you her adventures into the world of self-promotion in this crazy writing business.  First off, I knew I couldn’t do this on my own.  I’m simply not that tech savvy.  When I read about Amber Stokes on one of our Seekerville blogs I knew she was an answer to my prayers.


When I was ready to take the plunge and put out one of my old titles, I contacted Amber and that is when the fun began.  I was immersed into such an adventurous new world, I wanted to share it with all of you. 

Amber Stokes from Editing Through the Seasons has agreed to join us at times today and share what techniques she used to publicize LOVE’S MIRACLES. What makes this exciting is that Amber is going through the same process for the release of her debut novel BLEEDING HEART. So let’s see what  Amber has to say and let her share her publicizing secrets.

1. The first thing Amber did was schedule a cover reveal. Amber, can you explain what a cover reveal is and the purpose of it?

Hello, Sandra and Seekerville! So excited to be back again – thanks for having me! *grin* 

Cover reveals are the best! Everyone loves the excitement of a new cover, right? A cover reveal is like a mini blog tour – short and specific. No interviews, no reviews…nothing like that. It’s just a 1-day blast (generally) designed to build excitement for a book’s upcoming release by revealing the cover for the first time online.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

~ If a cover has been spotted online (e.g. on a retailer site, Goodreads, etc.), it’s already been “revealed.” You could certainly still do a cover tour, but the “flair” and excitement of a cover reveal is in the “newness” of the cover. You’re giving the blog readers a chance to be the first to see a new cover, and that’s always fun stuff!

I think a cover reveal is a great publicity option for self-pubbers, especially, because they are their own publisher (and sometimes their own publicist). Indie authors have a little more control over the marketing timeline than authors with traditional publishers – that’s my understanding, anyway!

~ Cover reveals should feature a great cover. The point of a cover reveal is to get readers buzzing about a book and its release, and readers LOVE to talk about an awesome cover! (Believe me – as a blogger and book reviewer, I know!) Quality cover design is crucial to a cover reveal and every other aspect of book marketing.

~ Cover reveals need to come before a book’s release – but not too long before. The key is to create buzz with the cover reveal and then maintain it as much as possible until the release date and blog tour.

For Sandra’s Love’s Miracles, we did a cover reveal the first day of May and then the blog tour the last couple weeks of May.





For Bleeding Heart, I did a cover reveal the 3rd of June, with the book’s official release date being August 1st.







 I probably stretched mine a bit, but if you could keep the cover reveal and the book release date within a couple of months of each other, I think that’s ideal.

~ A few other tricks of the trade…
·      Gather a list of influencers early on, and hang onto the names of those who help with the cover reveal. Odds are that many of the bloggers willing to participate in the cover reveal will also be willing to participate in the blog tour (more on that soon!).
·      Giveaways are a great tool for catching someone’s interest in your cover reveal (and, hopefully, the book itself!) and for enticing people to help you spread the word.
·      While cover reveals are fairly simple, you should be sure to provide bloggers with the book’s description, an author bio, links, etc., so that readers will know what the book is about and where to learn more about you and your book. I think it’s also a nice idea to include the cover designer – after all, they should get some credit and publicity for the great job they did! (Assuming you hired someone to design the cover – like the amazing Lena Goldfinch, who designed Sandra’s cover and mine!)

2. Amber also scheduled a blog tour.  Can you share with us how you set that up?

To clarify the difference between a blog tour and a cover reveal, the blog tour comes when the book is available for purchase as a way to spread the word about the book’s release – and it usually lasts longer and involves more than the cover reveal. However, each blog tour is unique because each book is unique! They can be as complex or as simple as you want them to be. J

The fairly obvious things about a blog tour is that you need bloggers. I’ve been blogging for over three years and have built up a presence on various social media sites, so I’ve had the privilege of making some great blog contacts. When it comes time to set up a blog tour, I check first with my blogging friends, then work outward – which could mean visiting various sites they follow and looking up other blogs that might fit with the genre I’m promoting, if necessary. Posting the call on Goodreads, Twitter, and other social media sites can help, too! For me, it’s nice to have the author suggest contacts, as well. And if you’ve already done a cover reveal, you’ve already got a list of people who have some sort of interest in your book. Hang onto that list!

As I noted above, blog tours should be unique. I absolutely adore themes – LOVE them! So I try to find a theme when putting together blog tours.

For the Love’s Miracles tour, we centered it around Memorial Day to tie in with the book’s premise of a romance between a Vietnam veteran and a psychologist. We also ran a freebie promotion for the Kindle version through the Memorial Day weekend, and we did a themed giveaway that included a daisy bookmark (to tie in with the symbolism on the cover) and a tote sold by Green Beans Coffee, a company that runs the Cup of Joe for a Joe program for soldiers (which I believe I learned about on Seekerville, actually!).

I just finished up a tour for our very own May the K9 Spy, which included a scavenger hunt to go along with the detective/spy theme, as well as freebie promotions and a reviewers rewards drawing.






And the Songstone blog tour is almost over (a blog tour for my cover designer), which includes a sweet summer giveaway with themed prizes. We tried to push the island and summer themes to go with the season.




What else? There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that goes along with a blog tour. There’s all the communication with the bloggers, making sure they have review copies, responses to their interview questions, book and giveaway information they need for their posts, etc. There’s the promotion on social media sites (I use Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest, mostly), the blog buttons for bloggers to share, picking a winner(s), contacting the winner(s), wrapping everything up… Yep, when a blog tour’s going on, you can expect to spend a lot of time online!

If you’re a blogger who loves book marketing, there’s no reason why you can’t set up your own blog tour – but remember to keep organized, always be courteous to participating bloggers, don’t skimp on cross-promotion, and have fun! If this all sounds like a little too much to think about, there are plenty of bloggers and businesses you can hire to help you with the behind-the-scenes aspects. And if you’re traditionally published, your publisher will probably work with you on your book promotion. But no matter whether you set up a blog tour yourself or someone else sets it up for you, I believe it’s worth the time to get involved. Respond to comments, share a blogger’s post on Twitter or Facebook, etc. Connect with readers, because why else are you publishing a book if not to have people read it? *grin*

3. During the cover reveal and blog tour, readers were given the opportunity to enter a contest . Amber used Rafflecopter.  Can you explain what Rafflecopter is and why it is so valuable? 

Rafflecopter is a site that allows you to create a giveaway form and share it on your blog – or with all the bloggers on your tour! It’s extremely valuable and one of the latest trends in blog-tour promotion. The awesome thing is that you can use it for FREE! Yes, you can pay for an upgrade that will allow you to have some cooler options, like including a picture of the prize(s) in your form. However, I’ve been using the free version with no problem, and I’ve found some ways to get around the loss of certain options. (All of this is not to say that you shouldn’t support the site by upgrading – I think it’s a great tool, and I’m sure the upgrade is sweet! But when you’ve got to pay back student loans, well, free is always nice. *wink*)

Here’s the lowdown…

~ Sign in and start planning a giveaway. Add a prize or as many prizes as you want. My suggestion, though? Keep it simple. You can get all kinds of complicated by saying 1 winner gets this and another gets that, and this is only for U.S. winners while this one’s open internationally. You’re cert ainly free to do all of that, but try to keep it clear. There’s a spot to add “Terms & Conditions” at the bottom, but who really reads those? Make it clear on the form. For example, for my cover reveal of Bleeding Heart, I gave away a set of bleeding heart note cards and some teardrop earrings. When creating the form, I added both of the prizes and a line above them (by “adding a prize,” but really just writing in the line). Here’s how it read:

For 1 U.S. Resident:
Bleeding Heart Note Cards (4-pack)
Pink and Clear Teardrop Earrings

So the terms are clear and the prizes are described. Little room for confusion, even if the blogger doesn’t explain the terms in their blog post (which is always good to do, too).

~ Then it’s time for the fun part – adding the entry options! This is where you can get new followers on Twitter, “likes” on Facebook, and comments on the blog posts. Some of the cool options listed regarding Pinterest and surveys can’t be used unless you have the upgrade. But note this… There’s a button that says, “Invent Your Own Option!” You can use this button to ask people to follow a board on Pinterest, add your book on Goodreads, etc. All you have to do is include a link to the page you want them to go, write some simple instructions, and ask them to share their user name so you can verify their entry! It’s as simple as that. Create as many options as you like – readers like lots of chances to enter, and authors like building up their social media platforms. Win-win!

~ All that’s left is to set the dates (you can’t change the times from midnight, though, unless you upgrade) and then grab the code! You can embed the code in your own blog post, and then share the link the site gives you with other bloggers. That link will take the bloggers to a page where they can grab the code, too, and that way all the entries from all the blog posts go in the same drawing. Pretty
sweet, huh?



a Rafflecopter giveaway



4. What other strategies did you use for LOVE’S MIRACLES and BLEEDING HEART?

Well, we’ve covered a lot of the big things! If you’re self-publishing, coordinating a freebie or bargain promotion with blog tours and such is a great way to cross-promote. But mostly, here are the big things I’ve learned:

~ Be creative! Make your tours fun and easy to promote with an over-arching theme. Discover your brand and incorporate it! And don’t be afraid to explore options with different social media sites. You can do Twitter chats, Pinterest wars, and lots of other fun things to go along with your blog tour.

~ Be organized! Create documents to keep track of those involved in your tours – you might want the names later on, and you’ll certainly want to know who’s doing what. Mark down the interviews you’ve sent, the dates you’ve given to certain bloggers, etc. There’s a lot to keep in mind with book marketing, so don’t let the complexities get the better of you and thereby make you look unprofessional to those involved in your tours. Those bloggers are also your readers!

~ Be involved! Reach out to readers. Interact with those who leave comments. Make the most of your blog tours by promoting them wherever you can online – without being annoying (it’s a balance, I realize). Be authentic, and shine on!

Amber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word - from blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion via freelance editing and self-publishing her debut novel, Bleeding Heart.

You can connect with Amber on her personal blog (Seasons of Humility), the group blog she contributes to (The Borrowed Book), Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Shelfari, and LinkedIn. Want to hire Amber for editing or publicity work? Visit www.editingthroughtheseasons.com for more info!

And here’s the blurb for Amber’s debut novel, Bleeding Heart – now available in Kindle format!

Five bleeding hearts. One profound journey.

Summer 1886

Sally Clay’s livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.

But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others – and hers isn’t the only heart that’s broken. Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal?

A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her.

All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.

Inspirational Historical Romance

We’d love to hear about your book-marketing experiences or your favorite way to promote books!  And be sure and try the rafflecopter to enter in for a giveaway. By the way, the rafflecopter won't be over in time for the winner to be announced in this weekend edition so we'll announce the winner of the rafflecopter in the August 10th weekend edition.  In tomorrow's weekend edition we will announce the winner of a drawing from the puppy dish.  (hey Ruthy can use her cat dish, I can use the puppy dish)  Winner will be able to choose one of my books--Kindle or paperback.   

For snacks today I will be serving treats from Oregon where we are camped.  Fresh blueberries, raspberries and marionberries.  You can order milkshakes made with the berry of your choice, berry cobblers, berry pies, berry muffins and scones.  This is berry nice don't you think?    (I know-corny but that's me)

Have a blessed day everyone.

107 comments :

  1. Thank you, Sandra and Amber. My first book comes out in March and I'm trying to cram all these marketing strategies into my brain.

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  2. Thanks for the marketing tips, Amber.

    Love your cover.

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  3. Christina,

    That's awesome!! Congratulations! :) There's a lot to remember and take note of, isn't there? Making lists and building up your social media platform now can help. :) And I think a lot of it is learning as you go. I've learned a lot in preparation for my own book's release by blogging and by working on a few publicity projects for clients.

    Wishing you well with you release, and thanks for stopping by!

    ~Amber

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  4. Tina,

    My pleasure! I'm honored that Sandra was willing to do this post with me. :) We've had a lot of fun and learned so much working on her projects!

    And thank you! I love it, too. :) So pleased with Lena's work - and now I'm super eager to work with her on more covers, LOL!

    ~Amber

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  5. Sandra

    Just wanted to send up a S/O and thank you for inviting me to join you all on "Seekerville" again! :) I just had some strawberries on vanilla bean ice cream at a restaurant here in Virginia City, Nevada (love this place!), but I might be up for some more berries tomorrow morning. ;)

    ~Amber

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  6. Speaking of self-promotion... Just wanted to share the Amazon link for my new release. ;)

    Bleeding Heart on Amazon

    It's only $2.99 for Kindle. :)

    A paperback version is coming soon!

    ~Amber

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  7. Hmmm, I'm up to my ears in this right now. :) As soon as I get one marketing thing set up, my publicity person sends me another thing to do!

    One of the things I'm doing alone is a blog "tour"--nothing formal because well, I have a baby coming during the middle of all my new release stuff, so I wanted one a day at most and have the article/interviews done before baby gets here so all I have to do is check that blog a few times on the allotted day to respond to comments.

    But I'm not paying for someone to set it up for me, what I did for the last several months is follow 2 or 3 authors of my genre on their blog tours this summer (some paying for a professional tour). But I went the day after they advertised it and went to see how much response they got. If they got 2 comments or 29. Those that got the bigger numbers, I put them on a list to contact when I was ready to see if they'd be willing to schedule me. (Not that I turned anyone down if they had low numbers and they asked ME, but I didn't ask them.) Hopefully, I'll get those same big numbers, maximizing my limited time.

    Also, a strategy I used while doing the numerous interviews was to put in something goofy, funny, intriguing, answering differently each time. My plan is when I invite people on social media to come check out my interview, instead of saying "Come read my interview" all have some fun trivia hook like "Come see what I have in common with a Velociraptor" that way I hope to make it fun for your newsfeed instead of the same "come because there's a link" boring you every day.

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  8. Melissa,

    Seriously - does it never end?? LOL.

    Wow, talk about a lot going on for you! Congratulations on both your soon-to-be-born baby and your book!! I think that's great that you have your priorities in line. :) And I think being able to devote attention to a few good things can be better than being all over the place and not interacting with readers!

    Those are some awesome strategies! Yes, there are definitely blogs where readers interact more, and those ones are great to hit up. :) And unique interviews are definitely important! I've found it interesting that I've received quite a few similar interview questions from bloggers...but I try to respond a little differently each time, so each interview is unique. How you advertise them is definitely key! Creativity goes a long way. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing, and best wishes on your publicity!

    ~Amber

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  9. Amber, great cover! Sweet! And the premise for your book sounds intriguing... Good for you!

    Marketing is such a thing, isn't it? Thanks for setting up some very clear guidelines!

    And I brought coffee. Delicious, fresh, robust, end-of-the-week COFFEE!!!!

    :)

    It's a party weekend here for the grandkids, our "Cousin Palooza!" annual blast with a bounce house, pinata, bounce water slide and great food... and birthday cakes and presents!!! :)

    Which brings me to this: Marketing is a flexible tool... you can schedule around other things, before, after, etc. It's amazing what a little time on the keyboard will do!

    Thank you, ladies! Running off to download books onto my new KINDLE!!!!!

    MAY!!!! I'm getting your book today!!!! PAWSOME!!!!!

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  10. Hi Amber, welcome back to Seekerville. Good morning Sandra. I appreciate you all sharing these great promotional tips. I hope one day to put them to use.

    Thanks!

    (Congratulations Christina!)

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  11. Sandra & Amber -- I love learning all about this. So interesting (this makes a great check list!) and because I'm an artistic sort, I'd LOVE to do my own covers! It's always an exciting time waiting on pins and needles to see what my covers will look like. These are great ideas for getting the word out there!

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  12. Thanks for great information!

    I have to get the rewrites done on this book and not be tempted by the "shiny" marketing responsibilities that can lure me away.

    Tina guards my writer's cave.

    Peace, Julie

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  13. Great tips! Giveaways on Goodreads are awesome, but be forewarned. You're just as likely to get a scathing review as publicity. Often people are just going for the 'free stuff' and may not read/understand/like your genre.

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  14. Sandra, it was GREAT seeing you in person at RWA!

    Peace, Julie

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  15. Hi AMBER, Thanks so much for joining us and sharing your terrific marketing ideas. I love partnering up with a night owl. Thanks for chatting with the late night ladies. smile

    Have fun today with your family. We'll look forward to times you get near Internet and can pop in.

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  16. Hi CHRISTINA, So excited about your book coming out in March. Now is the time to start all of these marketing strategies so they don't overwhelm you in March.

    Have fun. That is the most important thing AMBER taught me. smile

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  17. MELISSA, what great strategy ideas. Another thing to look for in blogs is pageviews. Not everyone who visits a blog comments.

    For example Carolyn Hughey, a friend of mine, doesn't have very many comments but she gets huge number of page hits.

    If you go back to our home page you can see we get thousands of pageviews on Seekerville, but only hundreds of comments.

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  18. Thanks for the coffee RUTHY. I forgot to put on my chocolate velvet. I was so excited about the yummy berries. And your coffee is great because it is strong and will pop open those eyes. chuckle.

    I know you will have fun with those kiddos at the party. I'll be thinking of you.

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  19. Hi JACKIE, Now is the time to start on the social media stuff. You are known here on Seekerville. Hope you are visiting other sites and getting known on those also. And you'll be able to find a list like Melissa did of the places you want to blog. It is best to blog where you are already known. Those people will be so excited for your debut book.

    Seekers get so excited when we hear about any of our friends getting published. It means more when we already know you than if you were a stranger.

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  20. Hi GLYNNA, The cover design is an exciting process. And as creative as you are, you would have awesome covers, I'm sure. smile

    Can hardly wait for your next release in September. yay

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  21. Hi JULIE, It was such a pleasure meeting you also. The best part of the conference (for me anyway) was seeing other Seekers and meeting Seeker friends.

    And I won't dare try and enter that cave with TINA guarding it.

    Happy writing.

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  22. Hi Sherrie, Yep, Goodreads and Amazon both are great promoters. The problem is they promote the title based on reviews, but don't inform the buyer what type of romance it is.

    This makes keywords important when you market. Amazon super promoted CURRENT of LOVE because I had so many 5 star reviews, but then after the big publicity hit, I got some bad reviews and I know it is because those readers were not expecting a sweet romance. You could tell by the comments they wanted steam. lol

    But some bad reviews aren't really a problem because then the reader knows the reviews are real and not set up or bought. Amazon looks for that also.

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  23. Hi TINA, Amber's cover is cool isn't it? I think the model looks like her. Her photo anyway. smile

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  24. Great info, Sandra and Amber. Love the berries, too!

    Both covers are beautiful. I have Sandra's book. Need to get Amber's. Love the blurb and mention of the High Desert, where I lived some years ago.

    Congrats, Amber, on the success of your marketing business! You rock! So does Sandra!

    Hugs and love. :)

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  25. Thanks DEBBY, Always great to hear from you.

    Did you live here in the high desert? We are visiting the high desert now and it is gorgeous.

    Went to the High Desert Museum and what a super place. We were able to see so many animals and even got to touch some of them.

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  26. We lived in the Mojave, which is considered the High Desert. Victorville was where we shopped, about an hour's drive away.

    Where are you? Oregon? Is that called the High Desert as well?

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  27. Good morning, Seekerville!

    Going to try to squeeze in some responding time before I head out and about in Virginia City, Nevada. :) My family and I are ready for another little Wild West adventure! Virginia City is actually one of the settings in Bleeding Heart, and a setting in my first manuscript (the prequel), which I hope to edit and publish soon... So it's fun to be here again!

    ~Amber

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  28. Ruthy,

    Thanks so much for your kind words! :)

    Oh, yes... Marketing is an interesting creature, one that needs to be approached differently in different situations, but always enjoys attention no matter the circumstance. OK, I have no idea if that makes any sense - I'm not usually up before 7:00 am, LOL.

    But yes, it can be quite flexible, too! Each little thing you can squeeze in to reach out to readers and interact with them can be a big help - being personable. :)

    Sounds like you have an awesome weekend planned - what a fun idea for the grandkids!! And you have a new Kindle?? Sweet!! May's books are a great place to start your collection! :D (Believe me, the e-book collection will add up quickly, LOL.)

    ~Amber

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  29. Jackie,

    Thank you - it's so fun to be back again! Hope these tips can be of help to you in the not-too-distant future. :) And keep in mind that this is pretty much Publicity 101 for blogging...so there are plenty of other ways to market your book beyond the book blogging community, too. :) (Although I think the book blogging community is pretty awesome, myself!)

    ~Amber

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  30. Glynna,

    So glad you enjoyed the post! I so agree about covers - seeing a new cover is such an exciting time! I don't think I'm artistic enough to do my own...but I did enjoy brainstorming with my cover designer, and I'm super eager to start brainstorming the next cover. :)

    ~Amber

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  31. Julie,

    You're quite welcome!

    And LOL! Yes, that is a great point... Marketing definitely needs to be kept in its place, as writing and polishing come first. I confess to being a little more distracted than I should be by all the marketing things... *sigh* They are "shiny" and fun, aren't they?

    Keep that writing cave well-guarded! :)

    ~Amber

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  32. Sherri,

    Thanks! And that is a very good point... It kind of comes with the territory when offering freebies, whether the giveaway variety or the KDP Select (Kindle) variety. It's just too easy to click the button and hope for a chance to win something or take advantage of "FREE." Not that that's bad - but I guess you have to keep in mind that there are people more attracted to the "FREE" than the thing itself. :\ It's a tough world for books!

    ~Amber

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  33. Sandra,

    Here I am! Thanks for being so on top of things and already responding to comments! I appreciate you covering for me while I vacation with my fam. :)

    Love working with you, and I'm excited to learn some more about publicity and put what we've already learned into action with your next project! :D

    ~Amber

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  34. Sandra,

    Aww! Love what you said to Christina! Yay for fun - it really is an important part of it all. Because if you're not having fun, how much fun will it be for the readers, right? :)

    ~Amber

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  35. Sandra and Amber, this was great. Thank you! I'm not close to needing most of this yet, but I'm filing all your great insights away in my brain as well as into my "Marketing Read Again" file. ;)

    Amber, I'm going to do an interview as part of a blog tour for a debut author. I'm a fairly new blogger myself, and I'm wondering if you have tips for creating questions for the author?

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  36. Hi AMBER, Glad you have a chance to visit.
    What a fun time you will have today.

    I'm off to practice my pickleball game as I'm in a tournament tomorrow. What was I thinking?????

    I'll be back soon, huffing and puffing. lol

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  37. Sandra,

    I'm loving your responses to everyone! That is so true about pageviews vs. comments. I'm sure there are a lot of "lurkers" out there. ;)

    ~Amber

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  38. Debby,

    Thank you so much!! So appreciate the support and encouraging comment. :) *Hugs* and love right back at you!

    ~Amber

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  39. Sandra and Debby,

    I believe there are high desert regions in several western states. :) I know Wikipedia isn't the best source for constantly accurate info, but for just little tidbits and checking on stuff, it can be nice! So here's there little blurb...

    High desert

    I absolutely LOVE the High Desert Museum in Oregon!! I actually mention it in my author's note at the end of Bleeding Heart. :) So wish I could join you, Sandra!

    ~Amber

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  40. Jeanne,

    Our pleasure! :)

    And awesome! Participating in blog tours can be so much fun. :)

    I LOVE to come up with creative questions - things that the other bloggers probably won't be asking - so that my stop on the tour of what-have-you is something unique and different for readers. :) I also like going with a theme (can you tell how much I LOVE themes?). Here's an example of an interview I did with Anne Elisabeth Stengl for her latest release day blog tour:

    Facing the Dragon ~ Interview and Giveaways with Anne Elisabeth Stengl!

    I hope that helps a little! Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

    ~Amber

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  41. I miss all Oregon berries. I especially miss huckleberries, which are my favorite.

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  42. Sandra,

    Thank you! Glad I was able to wake up in time, LOL. Good luck with your practice and that tournament! I think that's awesome. :)

    Yes, should be a fun day! It's my dad's birthday, and we're planning on enjoying our usual touristy things and then going to Circus, Circus in Reno at some point today. :)

    ~Amber

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  43. Walt,

    I enjoy the little red wild huckleberries we have in Northern California, when I see them along a trail or something. ;) I love this area of the world - it does have a lot to offer, doesn't it? :)

    ~Amber

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  44. AMBER,

    What a great job on sharing those marketing tips. You've become a bit of a guru so quickly!! And I'm so excited about your release! I don't need these now, but hoping someday I will. Trying to not get overwhelmed on the marketing end of things when I still have so much of the writing end to figure out.

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  45. Julia

    So good to see you here! :) Thank you for all the sweet words!!

    You have a great perspective - writing should come first, then the marketing! I confess that I'm easily distracted by the marketing, LOL. I have so much fun coming up with ideas...like putting a "soundtrack" together for the book, and doing themed giveaways, and such. ;)

    ~Amber

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  46. Farewell for now, all!

    I'll plan on checking in again later today, but for now I'm off to go have some adventures. ;) Thank you for the comments!

    ~Amber

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  47. Good morning, Amber and Sandra! Great information!

    I can vouch for the FUN in Amber's blog tours along with her amazing skills with organizing and supporting bloggers.

    Sandra's LOVE'S MIRACLES was my first attempt at book blogging, and both Amber and Sandra were delightful to work with while I learned how to help with a blog tour. (I learned how to insert a Rafflecopter form.)

    May and KC just finished their PAWsome tour with a FUN scavenger hunt. (I learned how to insert a colored letter and that tells you what a beginner I am to blogging.)

    Amber, I'm looking forward to your BLEEDING HEART blog tour!!! (And I'll be asking you for help on how to insert the button-thingy-code.)

    Marionberry shake sounds perfect for today! Oh, and a couple of scones, too, please. Thanks!

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  48. Welcome to Seekerville, Amber! Waving to Sandra. Both of your covers are terrific! Really enjoyed Sandra's book! Bleeding Heart sounds great too.

    Amber, Thanks for all the marketing strategies. My head feels like it might explode from overload. :-) But, I can pull this out when I need it. The reason I love Seekerville Archives.

    Janet

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  49. I'm back! Just for a moment while we're letting our delicious breakfast settle... :) If you ever come to Virginia City, I recommend Edith Palmer's!

    Anywho... Sherida,

    Awwww!!! Thank you so much! I'm so glad you've had fun participating in the tours - it's been great having you be a part of them. Love your Tuesday Tea idea. :) Can't wait to be on your blog later this month! And yes, I will be happy to help you with any questions you have! ;)

    Thank you for stopping by today, and for sharing on Twitter!

    ~Amber

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  50. Janet,

    Lena is so talented, and I loved brainstorming Sandra's and my covers with her. :) So glad you like them!

    Oh yes...I know the head-exploding feeling, LOL. I've been feeling a little like that lately with the business and my book and all that jazz! But it is a lot of fun to be involved in something where there's always more to learn and always exciting things going on. :)

    Hope you find these tips helpful whenever you might need them!

    ~Amber

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  51. Hi AMBER and SEEKERVILLE, I'm back huffing and puffing for sure.

    Wow, you've been busy.

    We have some folks who are trying out the rafflecopter also. I was so scared to try it myself. I'm glad I did though because it is an awesome tool.

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  52. Yes DEBBY and AMBER, We learned yesterday that the high desert is in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Nevada between the Cascades and Rocky Mountains.

    The high desert also meets the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and California. The difference in the two deserts is the elevation is higher so there are cold winters. The Cascade mountains steal all the rain from the Pacific and the Rockies do the same from the storms coming from the east. So there is very little rainfall. l

    This fact makes the high desert popular for sports, esp in the summer months. It is warm and DRY.

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  53. Have fun AMBER. Time with family is so special.

    We have had family camping with us this week. It is special but it does take a lot of time. We have been playing tourist so have seen some terrific stuff.

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  54. WALT, We found lots of huckleberries. I"ll send you some. They are delicious. My favorite way to eat them in huckleberry jam. yum

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  55. SHERIDA, when you learn how to do the button thing will you teach me? Amber made all those nice buttons for me but alas I had no clue what to do with them.

    And I agree with AMBER. You did an awesome job helping us with my first blog tour. I didn't know it was your first also, you did such a nice job and made it so easy for me. I loved the tea idea also. My English ancestors were pleased, I'm sure.

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  56. Hi Amber:

    I’m impressed with your marketing skills. Did you have a marketing minor to go along with your English major?

    Here’s a marketing idea I think might work but would cost more money.

    Have two to three covers made up. Then have the readers pick which cover they like best. Give them a little blurb about the book's theme so they can judge the covers in context.

    Invite comments about the covers. This would be a pre-reveal. A choice of covers would create reader involvement which is something important to getting prospects to read or view all of your ad.

    A great ad from before you were born was a TV ad that ran:

    “Which Twin Has The Toni”.

    It was for a home permanent. The idea was you could not tell which twin had the expensive beauty shop permanent from the home kit. A great ad. It captured the woman’s attention and made her guess and then wait to see if she was right. As a kid, I used to guess, too.

    How about: “Which Cover Would You Like Best?”

    Now this would cost more to produce but it would get you added attention and could produce valuable marketing information. I also think it is more interesting than the typical blog appearance. Just an idea.

    I'm sure this has been done before but it could be done more. Also, if you are testing covers, it looks like you are a bigger publisher with more money and thus able to spend more to edit the book and thus have less mistakes in the copy. I think image is very important for an Indie.

    What do you think?

    You could even have a contest where the people who pick the winning cover are entered into a drawing for a prize.

    Vince

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  57. Waving back at JANET. I'm so knowing what you are talking about when you mention overload. This whole marketing thing scared me so much. But working with AMBER really made it easy. She did so much and made it so fun. Took away the fear.


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  58. VINCE what a great idea. I'm not surprised of course since you are a marketing expert.

    I think we could do it without too much expense. You can use the cover photos with watermarks before you purchase them. In fact, Lena sent me different cover photos to try together. You could easily see the photos, but you wouldn't be able to use it because it has watermarks. Then once the cover was voted on we could purchase the images that were most popular.

    I think I'll do this for my next cover. Thanks for the idea.

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  59. I'm saving this post for future reference. Book covers are outstanding and you've explained all this techy stuff so even I can understand.

    I've helped with two launch parties on facebook. One went great with about 500 comments, and the other not so great. I couldn't navigate, so I wasn't much help. Getting everything set up to make it easy for readers to participate is important.

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  60. Hi ELAINE, Can you tell us what you did on FACEBOOK to have a launch party. I'm still intimidated by FB LOL

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  61. AMBER—thanks for the link. Your interview looks good. And I LOVE the idea of using themes in marketing, media and interviews! I'm going to have to think on this. :) THanks so much for the suggestions and the link!

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  62. Hi JEANNE, AMBER does have terrific ideas doesn't she?

    Thanks for joining us.

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  63. Sandra

    I didn't have a launch party. I was helping out a couple of authors who were launching new books. Drumming up support, you know. We just went into the author's page for the one who was so successful and began commenting. We helpers responded to comments and the author came on and announced giveaways and winners. I don't know how the unsuccessful one was set up, but you had to jump through some hoops to get to the right page, and unfortunately not many did.

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  64. okay, all the list of marketing stuff to do sort of gives me the heebie-jeebies. i don't spend a lot of time online (minimizing 'net presence because of job), so a lot of this - while sounding great - is a whole different world.

    talk about out of comfort zone for me. this post is it.

    i do appreciate the tips and information though. wel done.

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  65. Thanks, Sandra and Amber! I agree with others on here---love those great covers. Thanks for all the helpful info. shared today.

    Sandra, it was WONDERFUL meeting you in person at RWA--you are as kind as I knew you'd be. I just wish you lived in Georgia *sigh*.

    Hugs, Patti Jo

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  66. P.S. OOOPS!! Also meant to say I loved seeing KC and May's cover too! Dog-gone cute! ;) PJ

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  67. Thanks ELAINE, That gives me some ideas. When you said the author page did you mean the author central on Amazon?

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  68. i love the idea of cover reveals and love seeing new covers.

    For anyone needing bloggers for cover reveals or blog tours I am always happy to help promote on my blog. (always looking for new content).

    Thanks for the info on the contest giveaway site (sorry forget the name).

    On giveaways I love when they clearly state who can enter. I have seen many that do not state USA and Canada only and have asked only to be told no you cant enter or have entered to then be told I wasn't able to enter.

    also thanks to all who dropped by my blog this week. last night I posted some of the ways authors have blessed me and have mentioned Seekerville again (all good).

    Still waiting for a specialist appointment but I am closer to an appointment. the wrist has been bad this week thanks to falling again last week but it is improving. I can type longer today but will be going back to the back slab for work at the bookshop.

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  69. Hi DEB H. Join the club. This is out of the comfort zone for many of us. If you don't think you want to do the marketing yourself, start now with a savings account so you will have the funds to hire someone like AMBER to do it for you when you are ready. smile

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  70. This is great stuff! Thanks for sharing.

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  71. HI Mary Jo oops I mean PATTI JO. It was really really fun to meet you too. I love my honey bear. That Georgia honey has been delicious on my morning biscuits. smile

    KC's cover is cute. I want to start reading May's book soon.

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  72. Thanks JENNY for your input. Does Australia have Kindle? I can order kindle from a foreign country I discovered if they have Amazon in their country. I know England does but am not sure about Australia.

    Sorry to hear about your fall. Take care of yourself because we love hearing from you.

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  73. HOpe it helps JAMIE. Happy writing.

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  74. yes love my kindle. we can get most books except LI.

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  75. Oh JENNY, that is great. When I offered free kindle versions of LOVE's MIRACLES were you able to get free copies also?

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  76. I have downloaded... or uploaded... A slew of books onto my Kindle!!!!

    And yes, two May books are among the onslaught!!!!

    SWEET!

    Jenny, why doesn't your Kindle get Love Inspired books????

    Now I'm a little sad about that!!!

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  77. Ruthy its due to Mills & boons having rights in Australia. we can get them through them but a higher cost. I can get LI chgeaper from the book depository with free shipping

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  78. RUTHY you are going to have too much fun with that Kindle.

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  79. Hi Amber, thanks for the cool marketing tips!
    Like your book cover.:-)

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  80. Hi MARY H., Amber did a great job with her cover, didn't she? She worked with Lena Goldfinch.

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  81. Vince, Bethany house did that with Jody Hedlund's third cover.

    here

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  82. Thanks for the information MELISSA.

    Have a wonderful evening.

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  83. Thanks everyone for joining us today.

    There will be a winner announced tomorrow in the Weekend Edition. Be sure and check it out.

    The rafflecopter winner will be announced next weekend on the August 10th Weekend Edition. I can hardly wait to see how they tell you the winner. At my end anyway. smile

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  84. I'm back!

    A day late and a dollar short, I realize... I apologize for taking so long to respond to the afternoon comments! We've been out on the town. ;)

    I still plan on responding to everyone, so if anyone checks back in, here I am! :)

    ~Amber

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  85. Sandra,

    Thank you so much for holding down the fort while I was out playing tourist, myself, with my family! :) I greatly appreciate it!!

    And thanks for the info on the high desert. :) Very cool!

    ~Amber

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  86. Oh, and Sandra,

    No worries about the blog buttons! Those are mainly for bloggers to advertise events and books and such in the sidebars of their blogs, or in their blog posts. :)

    Have you considered doing your own blog?? That could be fun! Although I'm sure Seekerville keeps you busy enough, on top of everything else. ;)

    ~Amber

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  87. Vince,

    Wow!! That is such a compliment coming from YOU! Nope, my minor was actually in biblical studies. :) (Pretty much everyone who graduates from Corban gets a minor in biblical studies.) But I've been blogging for over 3 years, and I think that combined with my love for organization and themes, has made me fall in love with book marketing. :) I love how it stretches your creative muscles and helps you make great connections/interactions with other readers and writers!

    And yes, that's a very fun idea, and could certainly engage readers more! I'm glad Melissa reminded me of the instance when Bethany House did that for Jody Hedlund - be sure to check out the link she shared. :) And Sandra might be on to something with doing watermarked mock covers so that you don't have to pay until the final decision is made, but you can still get readers' feedback! I guess the only thing I'm unsure of with that is whether it's still OK to share a mock cover with watermarked photos...?

    Thanks for your thought-provoking comment!

    ~Amber

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  88. Elaine,

    Awesome! I'm so glad you found this easy-to-follow, and I'm glad to hear you like the covers! I'm so grateful for Lena's skills and friendship. :)

    That is so true about making things easy for readers! I'm worried I might have made things a little too complicated/all-over-the-place with KC's tour... It's important to keep things focused, while still keeping them creative and exciting! Definitely a delicate balance. :)

    ~Amber

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  89. Jeanne,

    Oh, good - so glad you found that helpful! I think themes (or a "brand") are key to keeping things organized and making yourself recognizable and unique to readers. :) Plus, I love how it stretches me to think more creatively! I've had a lot of fun linking the "seasons" theme with my blog and business, etc. :) Hope you have fun thinking about themes, too!

    ~Amber

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  90. Deb,

    Aww, I appreciate the encouragement, even if the topic was a little scary for you!

    Like Sandra said, you can hire someone to help you navigate all this. :) But I think it can also help to start small and just test new things out a little at a time. Hey, you're already commenting on Seekerville! That means you're interacting with readers and other writers, and not just "lurking." That's a great step in the right direction - getting your name out there and letting people get to know you a little more. :)

    ~Amber

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  91. Patti,

    Thank you so much! Here's the link to Lena's site:

    Stone Lily Publishing & Design Services

    I love working with her on covers and other bookish things!

    And aren't May's covers cute? :)

    I'm rather jealous you got to meet Sandra - I just know she must be so sweet in person, as you say! :) She's always been so kind and fun to communicate with in our phone convos and e-mails!

    ~Amber

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  92. Jenny,

    I love seeing new covers, too! Rel from Relz Reviewz always seems to be the first to know about knew Christian fiction covers - she's just awesome like that! ;) Thank you for the offer to help authors out with cover reveals and blog tours! Bloggers are much appreciated. :)

    The giveaway form site I noted today is Rafflecopter - it's pretty sweet once you learn to navigate it. :) And I so agree about making giveaways clear as to who can enter! I've had some issues before with readers not understanding the rules, so I try to be extra careful now to make it clear who the giveaway is open to. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean readers will pay attention even then...but at least then you can note that you're sorry, but you made it clear, you know?

    So sorry to hear you've been suffering. :( Hope your wrist feels better soon!

    ~Amber

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  93. Jamie,

    Yay! So happy you think so. :) My pleasure!

    ~Amber

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  94. Mary,

    You're very welcome! And thank you for the kind words about the cover, and for stopping by! :)

    ~Amber

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  95. Sandra,

    Thank you once again for inviting me back to Seekerville, and for helping me out with responding to comments today!

    If you need any help with figuring out how to pick the winner, you know how to reach me. ;) *Big hugs!*

    And thank you, all for making me feel so welcome and for taking the time to share your thoughts!

    ~Amber

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  96. I like the Rafflecopter. The rules are very clear.

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  97. I'm a little late but checking in!

    PAWSOME post for sure.

    Sandra, I have Love's Miracles in my TBR but haven't taken time to read it yet (been immersed in spy stuff!) but will shortly. Know I'll love it!

    Amber did a terrific job, didn't she? I was very pleased with what she did for May, celebrating her books as eBooks. We were glad to have her expertise in this virtual world.

    Bleeding Heart is bound to be marvelous too! Go Amber!

    We have partnered with Joshua's Pet Treat Bakery, a natural tie-in with May the K9 Spy. She schedules us with festivals and fairs. It's been a huge help. We do other things such as schools and libraries.

    It's all interesting to see what is working for which genre. I look forward to reading through the comments.

    Thanks again, Sandra and Amber, for including us in the Seekerville post today!

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  98. Hi Melissa & Amber:

    I checked out the three covers on the Bethany site for Judy Hedlund’s book. It supports the idea that a big publisher could afford to do this.

    I think this was done only to get attention for the book and not to learn any real useful marketing information. The covers were really just alike. Just slight veriations of the same cover which I’m sure the publisher wanted because it fit in with the other books that Bethany was coming out with.

    An author’s best interests and the publsiher’s best interests may not be the same. A great individual cover for an author may conflict with the other books in the line by destroying the fussion or by looking like another author’s book just released. The publisher must merchandise all their books while the author is looking out for her own. This gives the indie an advantage in selecting a cover. The cover can be 100% designed for the needs of the author only.

    From a marketing POV, the Bethany test was not very good. Not much will be learned and there is little real incentive for the reader to select a cover.

    Here is how a real marketing test would be done:

    The three books would feature different elements of the book to see which really is the strongest draw.

    One book could feature the heroine alone.
    The second book could feature the here alone.
    The third book could feature the hero and heroine together.

    The background could also change. One in the country in the rain. One in a villiage in the sun. One inside a home or on a boat. Of course, all this depends on the story and what scenes in the story best attract the kind of reader who would most likely buy the book.

    Say a romance takes place half on a tropic island and half at a Swiss ski resort. I’d like to know which location was stronger to feature. I might even want a split cover with both scenes on the cover. If you are going to test, then test for the most useful information.

    Now about watermarks. I think it would be fine to make mock ups of covers and ask people to look at them for an opinion. However, to ues these mockups on a blog tour would seem to be a commercial use of them. I would not think this would be fair. But it will all depend on the wording of the licensing agreement. When in doubt, I would ask the owner of the photos. The owners might be fine with this as it could give them free publicity. So I think it would be best to ask.

    Thanks for the link. I liked the Bethany layout. I think if a small indie did a test like this, they would look much more impressive to the reading public.

    Amber: I like what you are doing with the social media. I would not want to do this myself nor would I know how to do it well. So I may be calling on help when I get my nonfiction books ready to go.

    Vince

    P.S. Can you tell which book I am reading in my photo? Hint: it's an old copy.

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  99. Gosh, so much information I had to read it twice -- and now I'll add it to my SeekerKeeper file :-) Thanks for the remark about noting the number of page hits as well as comments. Makes such sense now that you pointed it out :-) Thank you both for your generosity in sharing!

    Nancy C

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  100. AMBER - really like the sounds of your book! The cover is eye-catching. Adding it to my 'to read' stack :-)

    Nancy C

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  101. Mary,

    Me, too! Rafflecopter makes things organized and clear for both readers and authors, and I think it helps both out. :)

    ~Amber

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  102. KC (and May!),

    No worries at all - thanks so much for checking in! :) It was my pleasure to mention our blog tour. I'm happy to be of service, and I enjoyed working with you!!

    Thank you for your encouraging words! And Love's Miracles is a powerful story - I imagine you'll be touched by it, as much as you admire the military and our wounded warriors.

    It is interesting to learn more about how different things work for different genres and different authors/books! You have a great thing going with Joshua's Pet Bakery, it sounds like. :) I think your readers must love meeting May in person, when they can!

    Thank you for stopping by!

    ~Amber

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  103. Vince,

    Those are some fabulous ideas!! I agree that the publisher's and the author's best interests can differ - so that is a nice plus for self-pubbers. :)

    What Bethany House did for Unending Devotion still drew interest in the book, I think - but I agree that it wasn't super helpful in the long term. And I think it was more for Jody's fans and the publisher's current interests, as you noted... But still fun. ;)

    That's a great point about seeing which setting would appeal to readers more on a cover, if the book had 2! Could have been interesting for Bleeding Heart...but doing a California scene probably worked well, in this case, since the other setting will *hopefully* be featured on the prequel's cover, as it was more prominent in the first book.

    Appreciate all your tips and ideas! Good idea to check in about the watermarks...something to keep in mind. :)

    And I'm flattered! Do feel free to look me up if you'd like some assistance with publicity when the time comes. :)

    ~Amber

    P.S. Love's Miracles! I read that old copy and used it to re-type and do some editing for the book. Yep, I'm familiar with it! ;) I'm sure Sandra will be honored to see you with it!

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  104. Nancy,

    Wow - I'm so glad you found the info helpful! I can go on and on about book marketing and anything bookish, really. ;) Love it!

    And thank you so much for adding Bleeding Heart to your TBR!! I'm honored. Makes me so happy to hear the cover and description caught your eye! Hope the story blesses you. :)

    ~Amber

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  105. Okay, Rafflecopter isn't that easy. I just clicked on Add a Winner to see what that was and now we have another winner. ROFLOL.

    Thanks again AMBER for joining us. I was so surprised when I opened up the blog today and found all your responses. How fun. And VINCE was there too. You folks ROCK

    And VINCE how did you get that old copy??? So funny. I really hated that cover and had NO say in it. My hubby said to pretend the trees were second growth redwoods since they are so small and unlike a redwood tree.

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  106. Sandra,

    LOL! So you picked two Rafflecopter winners? Or did something else happen?

    Anyway, it was my pleasure! I'm sorry for the delay in responding, but I hope those who wanted to see responses check back in at some point. :) Thanks again for inviting me!

    And those romance covers can be very interesting, can't they?? Yeah, those definitely aren't redwoods, LOL. Hope you like the new cover a lot better! :D

    ~Amber

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  107. Sandra,

    Oh, I see the two winners on the form! Well, one could be the winner of their choice of one of your books, and one could be the winner of Bleeding Heart, right? :) Or were you wanting both prizes to be for one person?

    ~Amber

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