Marketing: Societies, Associations, Meetups and Clubs

A tiny shiny hummingbird on a branch

Like this tiny hummingbird, our books need to shine to be seen.

I apologize for neglecting you last week, dear readers. I received the fully copy-edited version of my chapter book and dove into choosing agents to query and revising my query letter. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, querying is a nerve-wracking full time job. Today, I posted my second revision, after many helpful critiques, on Agent Query Connect and hope I am getting closer. But that is for tomorrow’s topic.

In the past I’ve looked at writing societies and associations and didn’t see past the expense to the value. Now that I have two self-published books to promote and another that I’m trying to get agented, I joined both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I’m also really enjoying a biweekly writer’s social meet-up and many online clubs.

So, what are the benefits?

SCBWI: SCBWI is an international society with local chapters. Once a member, you have access to current information in every aspect of children’s book writing, illustrating and publishing. That alone is worth the membership price.They also offer many tools to promote your work and connect with other professionals. They have conferences and an online members’ bookstore.

PNWA: They have a member library to show off members’ work. As a member, you get a discount to their convention (which I’m thinking I might attend this summer). You can attend meetings from home on a conference call when you don’t have the time to drive out to a meeting.

Meetups and Clubs: These are great places to make personal relationships with other authors. I’m hoping the aforementioned are too, but I personally have found meetups and clubs to be a good place to ask questions and get feedback. You can also see what topics are important to other authors and learn from their experiences.

An important part of marketing is getting your book into people’s hands to create word of mouth. Meeting people through local associations, societies, meetups and clubs can help you get the word out.

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My first interview as a children’s book author!

I planned on re-posting the fun interview Andy Mulberry did with me, but that’s not working, so I’ll link to it instead.

Here are the first few lines from Andy’s post:

Welcome Maria L. Berg, Children’s Book Author | Guest Post

It’s Sunday! Which means, it’s time for a fun Q&A with a children’s book author! I’d like to welcome Maria L. Berg to my blog! She’s a fellow Goodreads author and recently released a photography picture book, called… 434 more words

Thank you, Andy, for taking the time to support your fellow authors. What a treat!

New Book! Gator McBumpypants in Herman Learns to Fly!!

Front Cover Herman Learns to Fly

Front Cover of new book Gator McBumpypants in Herman Learns to Fly

Back Cover Herman Learns to Fly

Back Cover of new book Gator McBumpypants in Herman Learns to Fly

Now that the second book is finished and available in both paperback and kindle, I will be back to my regular blogging schedule, finishing up my free guide to self publishing children’s books and exploring guest posts (activities that went to the back burner to simmer while I finished my book).

So, today being Monday Marketing, I am happy to report that my marketing efforts with Gator McBumpypants, specifically with facebook and a targeted email list, resulted in first day sales. Because knowing what works is the only way to wade through all the money traps for self promoters, I am glad I found some freebies that actually work. Be careful with both facebook and email lists to make sure you target to trusted friends and family, then groups specifically interested in your genre — your target audience, then (hopefully) fans, and people who truly want to work with you.

I noticed early in my marketing, my responses came from other marketers who weren’t marketing anything to help me and would have loved to have my money for no reason whatsoever. This almost turned me away from blogging and self publishing, but then I started finding good blogs with my interests. I also focused  my reason for marketing which is selling my Gator McBumpypants books to support my writing and photography obsessions.

I hope my readers will find what they need here on this blog and my other sites as I continue to focus my time on publishing all of my projects. Next steps: An agent for my middle grade fiction book and revising my adult fiction novel while writing the novel all of this has been practice for: Within the Lahar.

Exploring: Kindle Free Downloads – Lots of free books, why not?

Mt. Rainier reflected in Lake TappsSince I’ve been pushing my free kindle download all week, I decided to go explore the free kindle download offerings. I was pleasantly surprised.I now have an eclectic library on my Kindle Cloud Reader. I found children’s picture books. I found books on social media marketing. I found cookbooks. I found an exercise motivation book (which I needed). I found books on speed reading (so I can read all these books really quickly) and of course Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise. Last day, folks. Don’t miss your chance to download it for free!

So with all these fabulous free kindle offerings out there, why aren’t people’s libraries exploding? I have to admit, the kindle cloud reader and library weren’t exactly straight forward to use at first.

When you download a kindle book, it opens in kindle cloud reader while you’re at amazon.com, but when you go back to amazon.com, your kindle cloud reader isn’t on the menu. It is at https://read.amazon.com/. Also, when you search free kindle ebooks in the amazon.com search box, you don’t get the nice selection of kindle ebooks. I finally found them here.

Have fun exploring all the fabulous free books!

FREE! – Promoting Kindle Free Days and Diving into Social Media

Herman rides on Gator McBumpypants' Head

Gator McBumpypants and Herman on an adventure through the internet.

Today is all about announcing my kindle free days to the world! For all you self-published authors who used createspace, or went straight to kindle direct, or are working with amazon in another way, this post is about using your kindle free days the best way possible to let the world know about your book. First, my plug, then I’ll share my advice from everything I’m learning.

Get Your Free Download of Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise

In anticipation of the soon to be released second book in the Gator McBumpypants adventures series, Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise is available as a free download from Today Nov. 24 – Friday Nov. 28.

Don’t have kids? No problem. The beautiful pictures and fun story bring a smile to the kid in anyone.

Don’t have a kindle? Also, not an issue. You can read it in the kindle cloud at amazon, or download free kindle software to all your devices.

After you’ve read it, PLEASE share with friends and take a minute to write a review to tell the world how much you love Gator McBumpypants .

Okay, so now the dirt! When I published Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise, I decided to self-publish because I read that breaking into the children’s picture book market was harder than becoming an NFL Football Player. I loved writing Gator McBumpypants and spent almost a year putting it together. My niece was really excited about it and the other children I shared it with were enthralled, so why not self-publish, right? I was ready to see the dollars roll in, so I could spend all of my time taking pictures and writing books.

Though I originally imagined a big, long, hard-cover book, Create Space’s 8″X8″ paperback–that I decided would work best with my original concept–turned out great, and I really like it. So, why haven’t the dollars started pouring in yet? Emails to my friends, my website mbercreations.com, this blog, goodreads and an amazon author page were not enough.

Why not? Because these reached very few people. I love you guys, but I’m still new at this blogging thing and your numbers are at the moment few. Plus, I attract other authors, and many of us don’t have the money to buy each others’ books.

The answer? I had to dive into social media. I had a rather strong relationship with social media before it hit the stock market. Then I got upset that our friendships became a commodity to be traded like fossil fuels and corn, so I removed myself. However, as a self-published author, or any self-employed self-promoter, we need any word of mouth we can get. Most of you are probably way ahead of me here.
So what IS working? Make sure you give yourself at least three days before your planned free days and choose all five free days.. I recommend starting at least a week before. I, of course, did all of this starting last Friday, but mostly Saturday and Sunday ( I did NOT want to do facebook and twitter, but now I’m happy to see my friends and what they’re up to).

Gator McBumpypants on FACEBOOK! – Not that I want to promote it for personal info after all the stories I’ve heard (actual local businesses) of people getting fired (or arrested) because they posted stupid stuff on facebook, but facebook is working to get the word out. I was able to create a separate page for Gator McBumpypants and invite my friends to like it. I can also wander facebook as Gator McBumpypants and like other books and authors.

Gator McBumpypants on Google+ -Though I have yet to see results here, I was able to create a separate Gator McBumpypants page which corresponds to a Youtube channel. I plan to put up little promotional videos throughout the week.
Twitter  – I’m haven’t created enough presence here yet, but I have four more days to figure this out. Please click on this and find me with your 140 character tips on how this works for you. In the meantime, I did find out how to link to my free days in a tweet. The amazon URL is WAY too many characters to put in a tweet. TinyURL.com is a great free service for easily turning that long web address into something that fits into Twitter. I have yet to use a POUND SIGN (=hashtag: isn’t pound sign more sexual, wouldn’t that be more popular? just sayin’.)
eReaderPerks.com – I found a lot of sites that say they will promote your kindle free days. There are many services and blogs that will kindly take your money to promote for you, but the majority were not geared toward my needs. Out of more than 50 sites, I found ten that were free and didn’t need more 5 star reviews than I had.  The ten I submitted to were:

FreeBooks.com

Indiebookoftheday.com

Freebookdude.com

Ereaderutopia.com

Bookangel

eBookLister.net

eReaderPerks

Freebies4mom

Jungledeals&steals

Onehundredfreeebooks

The only one that listed my free kindle download was eReaderPerks.com. They listed it as an “Activity Book” which makes no sense, but they listed it. As a friend of mine said, “Reading is an activity” and I agree, but then all the books should have been listed as Activity books, right? I did only give them two days prep, and my give-away goes until Friday, so there’s still hope. I’ll come back to this list throughout the week if any others post my free download.

Other sites: Think about all of the sites you interact with on the web. These days, almost every site has some sort of social aspect. As I started my announcements this morning, I kept coming up with more places to put them. I’m part of a writer’s meet-up that has a page for announcements and my neighborhood has a nextdoor.com site that has a free stuff page. I have an old MySpace page that, though it confused me and seems to be owned by Google now, still has my original music on it, so I posted there too. Why not?

I still have much to explore. Pinterest? Reddit? Instagram? Flickr?

Results? From looking at the stats at kdp.amazon.com, I’ve gone from no activity to 17 downloads, just today and I have a new review.

My first day results are very exciting! Because I used all five free days, I have time to work on my platform and connecting all my sites to motivate more people to read my book throughout the week. Hopefully, people will be sharing Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise with their families for Turkey Day/Thanksgiving and buying the sequel for Christmas and Winter Holidays. I will be truly Thankful!

A Good Reads Give Away for Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise

Gator McBumpypants

Gator and Herman stop to smell the flowers.

Happy Monday! This is the second week of my new posting strategy and I want to thank all of my new followers and commenters for making this part of my writing life so much fun! I’m enjoying these targeted daily posts: They are not only fun to write, they inspire me.  So as a thank you (and a marketing strategy suggested by readers), I’m having my first Good Reads giveaway. Over the next month, you can sign up for a chance to receive one of two signed copies of Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise. The winners will receive their copies in time to give them as gifts! That is if you can bring yourself to possibly part with all that cuteness.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise by Maria Berg

Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise

by Maria Berg

Giveaway ends December 10, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Any other authors having giveaways you want to tell us about?

Do you have other promotion suggestions?

Creating a Marketing Plan for Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise

Gator and Herman Marketing

After publishing Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise, I focused my marketing plan exclusively on creating an internet presence. I created author pages, joined good reads, sent out email announcements and created a Gator McBumpypants page on my website. Now, I feel ready to expand my marketing plan. To do that I need to know my customers better. Though my intended audience is a small child with a healthy imagination, I need to concentrate my efforts on appealing to his or her parents. So, this week plan to spend time researching parent magazines and blogs. I’m going to look closely at how children’s books are advertised and try to find some tips to share about promoting children’s books. I found one blog that I’m going to request to review my book. Next week I should have more information about requesting blog reviews.

I’ve ordered physical copies of my book to sell at a local Holiday Craft Show along side the holiday crafts I’ve made. While I await their arrival, I will be busy creating a media packet to take to local bookstores, libraries, schools, and any other outlets I find that sell children’s books. The physical marketing aspect of my marketing plan will be more difficult for me. I’m hoping a good response at the Holiday Fair will motivate me to reach out to these other outlets.

Have any other marketing ideas for self-published children’s books?

I can’t wait to hear your success stories.

Changing my approach to posting

Jack-o-lanterns in the wild.

Jack-o-lanterns in the wild.

Hi everyone,

I think I’ve figured out a better way to share everything I’m learning in my writing life. So far, I’ve had trouble keeping up with a weekly blog because I’ll have ideas during the week, but when I finally sit down to write, I’m overwhelmed by how many things are happening in my writing life that I want to share with you. So, I’m going to try short daily posts Monday thru Friday with each day dedicated to a different aspect of my writing life. I’ll try this new idea through the end of the year. We can review the decision in the new year. Okay?

The three main aspects of my writing life are: Marketing my self published children’s picture book Gator McBumpypants Hears and Scary Noise and its sequels to come, finding an agent for my middle grade fiction story, and rewriting/finishing my novel, so I’ll separate those three topics into Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I also want to focus on the importance of reading and improving  writing through reading so I’ll talk about that on Thursdays and Writing exercises and exploration on Fridays. I hope all of my followers don’t mind this change. I think it will help me be more efficient and informative and hopefully make this part of my writing experience more fun for me as well.

That said, as this is Thursday, I want to talk about the importance of reading. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been on a mission to find books similar to my work in progress and I have finally had some success. I’m writing a psychological, character driven thriller, so I tried Paranoia–Fiction in the library Keyword search, I also tried Agoraphobia–Fiction because one of my main characters, though not agoraphobic, is a self-proclaimed hermit, and looking up hermit didn’t get me anywhere. So, it took a couple weeks, but now I have three books I’m reading that I think relate to my novel in different ways.

One of the main focuses of my rewrite is to bring depth to my characters’ motivations. I want the reader to feel that the actions of my characters are justified and I think in my rough draft I kept a lot of those motivations to myself out of fear of writing them down and also because I may not have delved far enough into my characters’ histories. Finding similar characters in these novels is a tool I hope to use to compare their motivations to those of my characters. I also want to find creative ways to make my characters’ motivations apparent.

Any tips on how you make your characters’ motivations clear?

Any thoughts on my new approach to this blog?

Happy reading.

AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! I’m off to carve my pumpkin. My trick or treaters will be met by a Luchador (Mexican Wrestler) playing the theremin. What are you doing for Halloween?

Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise

Picture Book Cover 00 Back Cover Yellow

I am excited to announce that my children’s picture book Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise is now available on my create space estore. It is also available at amazon and can be purchased for Kindle.

Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise is a full color picture book  about a friendly stuffed alligator who investigates a noise that is interrupting his happy day. Unlike most picture books these days, Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise is illustrated with photographs. My favorite response I’ve had to the book so far was from a little girl who asked, “Are there really alligators in the lake?”

For those of you who are interested in self publishing a children’s book, now that I have a nice product I am proud of, I will write up a detailed account of the steps I went through and make it available to you as soon as I’m finished.

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