Monday, March 8, 2021

One Thing That Works For Me with guest Amy Lynn Green: Know Your Bribery Tiers for Marketing Strategy

 


Good Monday morning, Seekerville! I (Carrie) am excited to kick off our new monthly blog series - One Thing That Works For Me - with one of my favorite people on the planet, marketer extraordinaire Amy Lokkesmoe aka author extraordinaire Amy Lynn Green! Welcome, Amy!

Know Your Bribery Tiers for Marketing Strategy

by Amy Lynn Green

I’ve seen a *lot* of author marketing. I’m in year eight as the fiction publicist at Bethany House, which puts me right there alongside authors, answering their questions, checking in on what worked and what didn’t, and analyzing sales stats. Then, when my debut novel, Things We Didn’t Say, came out in November 2020, I got a chance to switch to the other side of the desk.


Do I have time to do everything as perfectly as I would like? Of course not! Have a learned a thing or two about strategy? Mmmhmm. And here’s a big one I want to share that’s been helpful to me.

Basic idea: Authors know they should promote. But they aren’t always sure how to market effectively.

If that’s you sometimes, listen in! Lots of practical tips coming up.

(Disclaimer: Using jargon like “leads” and “bribe” can feel impersonal, like people are only useful if they give us money. This is not true. When you’re interacting on social media and in real life, every person is inherently valuable, even your cousin who thinks romance is dumb or that one reader who always asks when your book will be free. However, when it comes to deciding how to use your time and money, we’re going to focus on book sales.)

The Categories Defined

Stick around the marketing world long enough, and you’ll hear people talking about temperature when referring to how to create customers. Here are some examples for the writing world.

Cold: Someone who has had little or no interaction with you or your books. Such as…

·         A librarian at a conference.

·         A member of a Facebook group for your genre.

Warm: Someone who has interacted with you before.

·         A casual follower of your Instagram or Facebook page.

·         Someone who downloaded your free or discount ebook.

·         A reader who joined your email list to enter a multi-author giveaway.

Hot: Someone who has bought and enjoyed your books before.

·         “Super-fans” on social media who comment and leave reviews.

·         Your street or launch team members.

Key Strategy Questions

When I think through a promotion I’m planning, I first ask myself, “What am I trying to get people to do?” (Leave a review, pre-order a book, join my newsletter list, etc.) Then, I ask, “What category are these people mostly in, and what is needed to motivate them to do that thing?”

Which leads me to what I charmingly call…

Bribery Tiers!

Not everyone needs the same incentive to do something you’d like them to do. Once you determine what category a group is in, you can move on to the strategy thoughts below. This is as close as I can get to the process I use for planning. (Without all the ridiculous rabbit trails…you’re welcome!)


Option One: I’m making this request to mostly cold leads—not people on my social media or newsletter list already, but totally new readers!

Good for you! This group might not need a lot of motivation to be interested in your book, but they’ll probably need an incentive to stay connected with you in some way.

What Might You Bribe Them For?

·         Newsletter subscriptions

·         Social media follows

·         Event RSVPs

·         Anything else that takes them from “cold” to “warm.”

What Might You Bribe Them With?

·         Giveaway prize: your book(s) plus something else (others’ books or a themed item or two) would be ideal. (No need for a huge prize—we’ve found at Bethany House that complex prize packages don’t get any more entries than giveaways of several books.)

·         Newsletter freebie: aka, “lead magnet.” This is something—a short story, a novella, a Top Ten Swoony Kisses PDF, whatever—that people get when they sign up for your newsletter.

·         An event or contest: whether it’s a virtual trivia night with other authors or a coloring contest, this dangles the bribe of “fun experience.” (Note: online book launch parties don’t count here. Those are mostly for warm and hot leads.)

My Example: I started a one-day book discussion for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (a book similar to mine). It had questions and a few simple giveaways, and I invited followers on my social media and total strangers in reader groups online. About half of those who joined hadn’t read my book. My last post in the event included my social media links with an invitation to join.

Option Two: Since I’m mostly sharing this promotion on my own social media, most of these people are warm leads already.

Great! This group doesn’t need to be persuaded to connect with you (they probably already are), but they might need an incentive to support or purchase your book.

What Might You Bribe Them For?

·         Pre-order campaigns

·         Requesting your book for purchase from their library

·         Sharing a giveaway or event

What Might You Bribe Them With?

For this group, a mid-level incentive might be:

·         Feel-good factor: if you’re asking for something simple, like adding the book on Goodreads, tell readers how excited you are about the book and how GR adds help people find it. This is often enough motivation for people to take action.

·         Pre-order incentives: I usually recommend keeping these simple, and I prefer digital goodies to ones you have to mail for time/effort purposes. (Ex: soundtrack playlist, downloadable art, recipes, deleted or extra scene, etc.) Having some simple goodies might make warm contacts more likely to buy a book.

·         Signed bookplates and/or simple author swag: unlike cold contacts who need more universal prizes, these people would care about something specifically branded to you and your books.

My Example: I announced on Facebook and Instagram that I’d do a giveaway (of cute stationary) when my book got to 100 reviews on Amazon and 200 on Goodreads. I also talked about how much authors appreciate reviews. A week later, we’d met the goal—most people just needed a prompt.

Option Three: This is aimed at people who already love my books. Hot leads, one and all.


What Might You Bribe Them For?

·         Sharing your cover reveal on social media

·         Leaving a review

·         Going “above and beyond” in some way to spread the word about your books

What Might You Bribe Them With?

·         Sneak peeks: early excerpts or even full advance copies for a select few are GOLD here.

·         A handwritten note or personal email: the #1 thing street team members for Bethany House authors said they appreciate is personal interaction with their favorite authors.

·         Exclusive online event: with a smaller group, to make it more special.

·         Personal prize: if you really want to give something away, make it something simple and close to you, like a DVD you love or your favorite kind of tea.

My Example: I asked on my social media and in my newsletter for volunteers to participate in a cover reveal for The Lines Between Us, my 2021 release. 88 people responded. The only perk was getting the prologue and first chapter of the book.

Concluding Thoughts

Going through this process has saved me time, money, and sanity. I hope it helps you too as you go out there and share about your book.

Any questions? Want me to help you place a group or promotion into the right bribery tier? Comment with details below and I’ll stop by and answer as many as I can.

 ~*~*~*~*~

Amy Lynn Green has been the fiction publicist at Bethany House Publishers since 2013, and her debut novel, Things We Didn’t Say, released in November 2021. It received a starred review from Library Journal and Booklist and is a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards. You can eavesdrop on her own marketing (just promise not to judge!) by signing up for her newsletter at amygreenbooks.com or joining her on Facebook or Instagram. She and her husband live outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and both love reading, hiking, and playing strategy board games.

 

47 comments:

  1. Getting reviews is very difficult for an Indie author. https://usbookreviews.com/ is an affordable service to get high-quality reviews and gain visibility for your book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! Are you an indie author yourself who has used this service, or a rep from Us Book Reviews? I'll admit I tend to be quite wary of any way of gaining reviews that involves payment like this. I'd rather tell indie authors to connect with online communities where they can build relationships and find influencers who will love their stuff.

      Delete
    2. Agree, Amy! Lately I've been inundated...I say inundated...perhaps twenty? emails have arrived over the last few months offering help with promoting my books if I'll just fork over some cash. And the claims are outrageous. 450,000 newsletter subscribers. Boosted on twitter 88 times per day! I delete them as spam.

      Delete
    3. My heart was falling apart, my emotions were dying slowly, i was gradually losing my beauty, All because the man i got married to 4 years back was no longer the same man again, he started going out with women , drinking in all the bar, all he do say was we getting a divorce ASAP that i look old to him , i cried my life , i apologize to him to forgive me if i had done any wrong to him yet all he was saying was his done with me and he has found a new woman for his self not until i came across a post online on how people were talking about a love doctor who has helped so many people to get there lovers back so i made no hesitation to contact him via his WhatsApp ( +2348100368288 ) and also wrote a mail for him on his Email: ( priestazibasolutioncenter@gmail.com ) before i finished explaining my problems to him he already told me all about my life , i was very surprised and he told me what to do in the process for the love spell and in less than 48 hours everything was ready , he sent me a package and i did as he said so at night i was on my bed sleeping when i saw my husband kneeling down at my front begging for me to forgive him, i thought it was a dream till today, i am so grateful to you PRIEST AZIBA, please anyone going through sure problem should contact PRIEST AZIBA for your solution before it become too late for you. DR Email: priestazibasolutioncenter@gmail.com DR WHATSAPP: +2348100368288 we still have Angels on earth.

      Delete
  2. Very interesting post. I am not published but if that day comes, this will be helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad that you're bookmarking it for later, Sandy! And trust me, the more you know about marketing (even hearing terms or seeing others' strategies), the more you'll be prepared for putting together compelling book proposals or talking with agents and editors.

      Delete
  3. Thanks so much Amy for breaking this down like this. As an author living in Australia I especially appreciate the ideas for ‘bribes’ that don’t involve posting overseas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's such a good point, Carolyn! Digital bribery is the way to go...since you don't want to spend all of your writing income on postage. Glad it was helpful for you.

      Delete
    2. As readers we love getting in on the 'inside track' with previews or being asked to help with cover reveals or getting fun 'exclusive' lock screen wallpaper for our phones with a quote from the book or etc. No postage required :)

      Delete
  4. Amy!!!! Hi!!! Welcome to Seekerville.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Mary! Thanks so much for having me. This has been fun.

      Delete
  5. This is so helpful! Learning to hone in on the one action I wanted from a particular marketing idea has revolutionized my thinking about marketing. "Buy my book" was too broad, and often too hard to quantify. It's much easier to be specific and see rather quickly whether a marketing effort had the desired result. And I love that in both the Hot and Warm reach groups, it's about getting to know people and making connections.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad it was helpful, Erica. And yes, making connections is a huge factor in both, and something authors are a lot more comfortable with than a "hard sell" approach to marketing.

      Delete
  6. Hi Amy! It's so good to see you here on Seekerville!

    This is a great post. I love it. Marketing is something that I always struggle with, and I've made 2021 the year to hone my skills.

    Thank you for coming at this subject from both the perspective of the publicist and the author. That is so helpful!

    And I'm looking forward to reading your book. By the way, I loved the way you made your "book baby" announcement on Facebook last year! Kudos on getting your hubby involved. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wasn't that cute? Amy is so creative & fun!

      Delete
    2. I'm so glad it was helpful, Jan! And I'm also delighted you enjoyed the "book baby" posts with the letterboard and countdown. Those were so fun (and easy) to create. I made them all in one afternoon and had content to share for months!

      Delete
  7. Thank you, Amy. I'm passing your post on to other authors at my publishing house who might also be struggling with marketing and promoting. So much helpful guidance here. I especially appreciate your advice to get to know people and make connections rather than a hard sell. Thanks to Carrie for this monthly blog series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat! Great to see you here :) Glad you found the post helpful!

      Delete
    2. Glad to hear it was helpful, Pat! And I hope it starts some good conversations among your writer friends.

      Delete
    3. Hi Pat! Great to see you back in Seekerville. As they say in the South, don't be a stranger! We've missed you! :)

      Delete
  8. Thank you, Amy, for the insightful and useful tips you shared. I really enjoyed reading them and will do my best to put them into practice. I was especially intrigued about Street Teams. I have one, but after reading your advice, I need to be more proactive with them, and have readers on the team that aren't just there to get a freebie. Any advice on building one's street team?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rita! Such a great question. That's always the struggle! My advice to authors on this topic varies, but here are few good places to start.

      Ask author friends if they have any recommendation of avid readers in your genre who are actually getting interaction on their reviews. You can also search hashtags for books that are similar to yours on places like Instagram and reach out to see if they'd be interested in a review copy. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all influencers (or street team members) need to be typical bloggers. The woman who owns a B&B in a town like the one in your novel or the tour guide at the museum where you went for research could be great contacts if you established a relationship with them. Local bookstore owners, librarians, book club coordinators, all of those might be good contacts to begin accumulating.

      Generally, I'd say that smaller and more dedicated street teams are much better than broad ones, too.

      I hope that's helpful!

      Delete
    2. Hi Rita! We also had a great post on street teams by Rachel Dixon that addresses weeding out those people only in it for a freebie - you can check it out here if you'd like: https://seekerville.blogspot.com/2021/01/so-you-want-to-start-street-team-by.html

      Delete
  9. Amy, thanks for being with us on Seekerville today and thanks for all the great marketing information! Waving to Carrie for hosting today!

    I loved how you divided readers into three groups! Plus, you make it sound so easy. If only! Congrats on your writing success. Your stories look delightful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. waves back at Debby - howdy neighbor! :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much, Debby! It was fun to be here.

      Delete
  10. Hi gang! I'm baaacccckkkkk in Seekerville after a long hiatus.

    Amy, I'm so glad I popped back in today. Your suggestions are just what I needed. I must confess, I hate marketing and self-promotion, but I know they're necessary. I've always been on the editorial side, and effective marketing has always been a mystery to me. I think I've used the shotgun approach, which isn't terribly productive. Thanks for your advice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAY! Barbara! So good to see you back :)

      Delete
    2. Barbara, it's so good to see you!!

      Delete
    3. Hi Barbara! Glad some of these tips could be of help. I find a good plan is the best way to make things that feel uncomfortable or scary less so.

      Delete
    4. Barb! So good to see you! You've been missed!!

      Delete
  11. So many great ideas in this post. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amy! Good to see you here today :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much, Amy! I hope they come in handy.

      Delete
  12. Hi Amy, sorry to be so late checking in, but I've been teaching all day. These are such wonderful tips. I love how you broke it down according to the level of interaction you already have with people. I've previously done a one size fits all approach, but your targeted approach makes so much more sense.
    Your book sounds fascinating. Thanks for sharing with us today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cate! I hope the framework is helpful. Obviously won't fit every situation, but it often helps.

      Delete
  13. Amy, thank you for all this great information! I will be bookmarking your post to save these helpful ideas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful! Thanks, Missy! We're all figuring out the details as we go along.

      Delete
  14. Thank you for the great tips, Amy! I'll be doing my best to begin implementating them for my upcoming releases.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so welcome, Tabitha! I hope they are useful.

      Delete
  15. Amy, what great information. This area of the writing business always stumps me. What in the world do I have to offer readers (or potential readers) to bribe them into taking the next step to becoming fans? You've offered so many great ideas, this is a keeper post. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad that my brainstorming out loud was helpful to you, Audra!

      Delete
  16. Welcome Amy! Great post. I love your "bribery" tactics. Lol.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

If you have trouble leaving a comment, please "clear your internet cache" and try again. You can find this in your browser settings under "clear history."