Diary of a Book Marketing Plan-Final Entry-Reviews & More

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This is the final series post in which I share tasks and progress on my book-marketing plan for my second book. Gift of the Magpie came out August 15, but all my diary posts share my activities from two weeks in the past.

Among other activities, my prior posts covered my setup, recruiting influencers, guest posting, a book launch party, a newsletter, blog interviews, Facebook parties, Ask David Tweets and a Goodreads Ad.

Today, I share all my promotion activities and my evaluation of each thus far.


image by skeeze

Two thirds of my fifteen influencers posted reviews so far. I’m told I need 100 influencers to “gain any traction.” Wow. I’m still asking my faithful few to promote events, such as the multi-author Facebook party. About 25% of my influencers have been super active.


Newsletter: A better than average rate of subscribers opened my email (52.5% mine vs. 23.6% industry average). Clicks for the industry average is 2.6% clicks; mine were 4.9%. Hard to track sales.

Email list: I’m working on growing my 280 with people I know are readers. 

Authors Cross Promotion/Reviews

I’ve received requests from 17 readers/reviewers for my book through this service. I sent preliminary emails to make sure the people wanted the Kindle e-book version, and 53% responded. So far, 5 wrote reviews. I’m confident I’ll receive a few more reviews. I like this service; I’m building my email list and relationships with these readers.

Vessel Project

I purchased this service, which keeps my book in front of readers in my genre for a year. Hard to track sales.


Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon ads are exposing my book to many people. I don’t know how effective they are for sales, though. My ten-day-old Goodreads ad has had 36 views but 0 clicks. Not so good. But I only pay for clicks, and readers are viewing my book. My publisher has placed an Amazon ad, but results aren’t in.

Ask David Tweets

I’ve published half my 60 tweets. On my evening tweets, I’ve received 0 – 7 retweets and 0 – 2 likes. Ask David suggests I retweet and like my tweets after they post them. Using good hashtags for my audience is important. Hard to track sales.

Guest Blogs/Interviews

Five blogs have hosted me, and two more are scheduled. I enjoyed interaction with commenters. Hard to track, but one sale was verified. My influencers promoting these posts helped me reach more people. Choose blogs that have high traffic. I prefer to do interviews because they better expose the book.


I signed up for the October giveaway for Sweet Romances with Authors Cross Promotion. This will significantly grow my email list with more readers. I’ll give away three e-books. 

Facebook Party

I’ll host a half-hour slot on a multiple-author Facebook party. So far, 48 people are going and 39 are interested. Although its hard to track sales, this gives me an opportunity to build relationships with readers.

Book Signing

After concentrating on online promotions, I’ve now scheduled a book signing at the local bookstore. I sold 11 copies of my first book there, which is around average. My basket giveaway signup grew my email list. I’ve also scheduled a spot at a retirement center’s craft fair.

Book Launch Party

I mailed 120 invitations to my book launch party this week. I’m looking forward to sharing my talks and visiting with my friends and acquaintances.


I’ll lead a workshop at the Virginia chapter’s American Christian Fiction Writers Annual Conference – another opportunity to pay forward the help I’ve received, meet people, and expose my book.


I plan to schedule talks with women’s groups. I’ve scheduled a library workshop for 2018 to promote my non-fiction book on writing, but I’ll also offer this book.

Book Marketing Diary–Final Entry: Reviews & other actual promotion activities. Click to tweet.

Authors, how do you encourage reviews?

Amazon Link

Amanda Larrowe’s lack of trust sabotages her relationships. The English teacher and award-winning author of middle-grade adventure books for boys has shut off communication with friends and family to meet her January 2 book deadline. Now, in the deepest snow accumulation Richmond, Virginia has experienced in years, Camden Lancaster moves in across the street. After ten years, her heart still smarts from the humiliating aftermath of their perfect high school Valentine’s Day date. He may have transformed into a handsome, amiable man, but his likeability doesn’t instill trust in Amanda’s heart. When Cam doesn’t recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it’s safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong.

50 Ideas for Author Newsletter Content

image by Maialisa
image by Maialisa

Enlist Outside Help

1.  Interview an author in your genre.

2.  Post readers’ contributions (reviews, a book-related how-to, or their takeaway from yours or other authors’ books).

Employ By-Products

3.  Share handouts from your speaking engagements.

4.  Include book research and photos.

image by Unsplash
image by Unsplash

Provide Your Perspective

5.  Discuss hobbies, places, or events you enjoy.

6.  Share helps that have made your life easier.

7.  Recount your experiences at book events.

8.  Give your thoughts about the writing industry.

9.  Introduce your team; provide short bios on your agent, editor, etc.

Help Subscribers Get to Know You

10.  Write fun facts about your writing process.

11.  Relate lessons you’ve learned from writing a book.

12.  Recount personal experiences that appeared in a book in some form.

13.  Give subscribers a slice of your life as a writer.

14.  Include a photo of your writing space.

15.  Share writing milestones: signing an agent, book contracts, book releases, book awards.

16.  Share life milestones: marriage, new baby, educational degrees (best to post only milestones for personal information).

17.  Add a specialty corner: writing tips, book-related recipes, historical facts, gardening tips—anything you have expertise in.

image by Comfreak
image by Comfreak

Pique Interest in Your Books

18.  Reveal a book cover design.

19.  Share the story behind the novel’s story.

20.  Tell what sparked book locations, plots, or characters.

21.  Report writing progress on novels.

22.  Provide a sample chapter or excerpts.

23.  Print a deleted scene.

24.  Note outside news or events related to topics in your book.

25.  Pass on endorsements, a quote, or a discussion about your book.

26.  Discuss social themes associated with your book.

27.  Display book trailers.

Highlight Your Characters

28.  Impart supplemental information about your characters.

29.  Add character photos.

30.  Hold character interviews—discuss issues your character faced.

31.  Enlist a character to host the newsletter post.

32.  Reveal the expanded backstory you used to develop a character.

image by geralt
image by geralt

Dazzle Subscribers

33.  Include images, artwork, and personal photos.

34.  Offer interesting quotes.

35.  Drop clues throughout the issue that’ll solve a puzzle.

Keep Subscribers Returning

36.  Offer installments of short stories or multiple aspects on the same subject.

37.  Involve subscribers in surveys.

Invite Subscribers to Your Events and Specials

38.  Announce book signings, speaking engagements, and other events with detailed attendance information.

39.  Direct subscribers to articles you’ve recently published.

40.  Alert subscribers to promotions, special pricing on your books, and when pre-ordering is available.

image by zimnijkot0
image by zimnijkot0

Become a Fellow Reader

41.  Feature book reviews of others’ books.

42.  Tell what you’re currently reading.

43.  List your favorite books.

44.  Ask what subscribers are reading.

45.  Request and publish subscribers’ nominations of the best book in your genre.


Give away Freebies

46.  Offer giveaways—yours or others’ books in your genre, gift cards, or book-related goodies.

47.  Create a contest.

Include Helps and Links

48.  Add a table of contents (lengthy newsletters).

49.  Insert links to blog, website, Amazon and Goodreads author pages, and reviews.

50.  Display social media links.

Try these 50 suggestions for author newsletter content. Click to tweet.

What have you used successfully in your newsletter?

5 Tips to Diagnose Your Website for Problems That Confuse Visitors

“In an endless jungle of websites with text-based content, a beautiful image with a lot of space and colour can be like walking into a clearing. It’s a relief.” —David McCandless (data-journalist, and information designer)

image by bykst
image by bykst

I think watching what your website visitors do is important.

Tip 1: Make sure your visitors take the action they think they’re performing.

I learned that a visitor had come to my blog and thought she’d subscribed to Follow my Blog Via Email. She had subscribed to my newsletter.

image by geralt

About that time, I found out I wouldn’t be able to announce my blog on an email loop. I invited those on the loop to subscribe to my email notifications. Immediately, someone signed up for my newsletter. An aha moment. My Newsletter sign-up was at the top of my blog sidebar. I immediately moved the Follow my Blog Via Email to the top of the sidebar.

Why was this important? After all, I’d acquired subscribers to my newsletter. But suppose they didn’t want another newsletter coming into their inboxes. Not realizing they had signed up for my newsletter, they may mark my Newsletter emails as spam.

Tip 2: Remove events promptly when events you’ve announced on your website have passed.

I have a countdown calendar I use for events. Letting it sit with zeros from the last event, suggests I’ve neglected it. On my calendar on the day after the event, I need to schedule time to change it to my next event. If I don’t have an event coming up, I can set it for the next conference or workshop I plan to attend.

image by Body-in-Care
image by Body-in-Care

The same goes for my Speaking/Events page. Leaving these events on the page for a week past the event date to show what I’ve been doing is probably fine, but after that, my events are old news and my page looks neglected.

Tip 3: Refresh information.

My Home page had a prominent announcement that advertised the availability of my novel, Calculated Risk. It said, “Available November 2014.” The same announcement resided on the page’s sidebar, my Book page, and my Blog sidebar. My husband suggested I change it. As November 2015 approaches, some visitors may see only “November” and think Calculated Risk isn’t available yet.

Tip 4: Try updating, moving, or adding content on your sales page.

On my Books page, I think my endorsements by other authors may speak to readers better than other content. Yet, I wondered how often visitors read to the end of the page where the endorsements for Calculated Risk lie. So, I moved one to the top.

Also, on my For Readers page, the fun book trailer resided after the content, which is a repeat of my Books page content. I moved the trailer to the top for visitors to enjoy.

Tip 5: Cut clutter from your pages.

image by Biedermann
image by Biedermann

Busyness tends to overwhelm visitors. I keep my pages simple and to the point, with plenty of white space. However, after reading today’s quote above, I added a picture to my Book Club and Speaking/Events pages.

5 Tips to stop confusing your website visitors. Click to tweet.

What adjustments have you made to your website that made your content clearer?