Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An Author's Best Friend, Kim Castillo on Author Marketing

Kim Castillo truly is the Author's Best Friend. A life-long bookworm, Kim started out with the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew, and then turned her love of great fiction to the romance genre. Now alpha heroes and happily ever afters are a pre-requisite for her bookshelves.

Kim was rescued from the drudgery of a 9-to-5 job when she discovered that she had a passion and knack for marketing. Soon her marketing and organizational skills found a niche in the romance novel industry she loves so much. As a freelance personal assistant, she spends her days working with the crème de la crème of best-selling and award winning authors such as Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Madeline Hunter, Mary Jo Putney and Julia London, to name a few.

The work Kim does for authors – everything from bookseller outreach to managing websites and contests – makes her authors’ lives easier, giving them more time to write and be with their families. Visit Kim's website at http://www.romanceauthorsbestfriend.com/





Kim Castillo and her friends, JPerry and Santa



Marketing: When Time and Money Matter

There are several questions I get asked over and over again: How did you start doing what you do? followed closely by, What exactly is it you do? (Don't ask, I don't even know!) From authors I get: What are the best promotion ideas? and, Where will I get the most bang for my promotional buck.

My answers to all of these are an assortment of "ancient Chinese secrets" and "if I tell you I'd have to..." It gets tricky. There are no clear cut answers to what's the best promotional approach. The biggest thing you can do, even before you sell your first book is to write the best book possible. That's the one thing that is quantitative and over which you have absolute control (at least until your editor gets a hold of it). When you write "The End" you need to know that the story you told was the best you could tell.

Aside from that, here are some of my standard promotional suggestions:

Website! You MUST have a website and you MUST update it regularly.

Networking sites. It is vital that you're out there networking. Consider it a 365-a-day cyber RWA conference. I already hear some of you saying "it takes too much time" or "I don't want to." Yes, it does take time. Set your timer to ten-fifteen minutes, send out a few friend requests, respond to messages and wall comments or twitters, put up any new information you have, and then log out. Also, turn your chat feature off.

Bookseller outreach. I can't tell you how important I feel this is. Booksellers are a direct bridge to readers. Educate them, court them. It doesn't have to be extravagant, but you need to reach out to them in some way.

My other biggest suggestion/piece of advice is when you get into promotion, you need to set boundaries. Decide what your dollar budget is going to be, look at the promotions you'd like to do, get estimates, and then see what you can afford. Only do what you're comfortable with. If the thought of a blog-tour makes you queasy, don't do it.

The biggest problem with promotion is that in the book world, you can’t break down the benefits to your business in cold hard cash. You know how much you’ve spent on promotions, but how do you really gauge how successful it was. You can do promotions a, b and c for books 1 and 2. Book 1 might hit the list and the top ten of Bookscan. Book 2 might not even register on Bookscan. There's no telling why. Maybe there was an issue at Levy/Andersen. Maybe there was a snowstorm in the entire Midwest that halted deliveries for two weeks. Charlaine Harris might have the top fifteen spots on the NYT. One or all of these reasons may come into play which is why I say, only do what you're comfortable with. At the end of the day all you're going to be able to do and say is, "I wrote the best darn book I could. Now it’s out of my hands"

What's the coolest promotion for a book you ever saw? Did you buy that book?
Please ask any question you'd like! I'll be popping in and out all day and will answer as best I can.

I have one copy of The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists: Insider Secrets from Top Writers to share with someone who comments today. My dear Eloisa James contributed to this book and she also donated this copy!

80 comments:

Tammy Schubert said...

Hi, Kim. Thank you for blogging with us today.

You mentioned being rescued from the 9-to-5 job by matching up your knack for marketing with a need in the romance industry. How did this happen? Your job as a personal assistant to some great writers is a dream job. How did this opportunity come about?

Debbie Kaufman said...

I'm so happy you found your dream job. I recently booked a blog tour for a local author as a favor. Whew! That was more work than I thought.

I'm a book video fan. For me, the videos (if well done) or written excerpts are some of the most effective forms of promotion if an author wants my attention.
Postcards are another one I like.

My questions: How do you choose effective sites for blog tours and do you think blog tours are effective?

Lindsey said...

Go Kim! Great blog and great advice. You're a superstar! What do you like best about being assistant to all the stars of the genre?

Chicki said...

Thank you, Kim. Learning this kind of information before you're published is essential. It's wonderful that you're so willing to share.

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Kim--thanks for dropping by and for sharing such gems of wisdom. I'm going to get my web site, I promise.

Sally

J Perry Stone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J Perry Stone said...

I have to say, my darling Kimmie, ever since reading an early version of this post, I've been friend-requesting like crazy and I just got back to Tweeting. My problem, as always, is getting caught up in such and then 2 hours have gone by. Setting a timer is great idea.

As to courting booksellers, how does one go about that? Is this something only the published need need worry about?

The other thing I want to ask is how do we figure out what sort of promotional budget we might be comfortable with? Is it necessary we get burned first to realize what our boundaries might be, or would you, as an author's best friend (and also aspiring author's best friend ;), be able to guide us? Are there basic monetary rules of thumb??

Janga said...

Hi, Kim!

I love it when you blog. Just thinking about your story warms my heart.

What's your proudest achievement to date? (related to your job, that is. I know Anthony tops the list.) And I'm sure you must have had some amusing experiences. What's the funniest thing that happened to you as an "author's best friend"?

I have a new favorite promo item. I received a mini-bookmark last week that an author made herself. It's the coolest thing!

Maggie Robinson w/a Margaret Rowe said...

Kim, you've reminded me, just when I want to slither off in my writing cave forever because of impending deadlines, that I have to peek out once in a while.Lately though I'm feeling kind of a romance information overload. Your suggestion about the timer is simply perfect (my husband teases me I never use the one on the stove, but I'll figure out how, LOL). And I spent all night long dreaming of Eloisa's paper doll, so I'd say that promo was pretty effective!

J Perry Stone said...

Ooo yeah. I forgot to answer the coolest promotion question.

For me (and my daughter) it's Eloisa James' new downloadable Georgian Paper Dolls.

Seriously, PFHT's. Go to www.EloisaJames.com to print out paper dolls for all the little girls in your life--including you.

Peg said...

I've heard people say that blogging is basically "over." How do you feel about author's blogs? As a writer, I love the ones who blog about their writing process, but I'm not sure how that appeals to non-writers.

Barbara Monajem said...

Hi, Kim!

Re updating the website, how often is often enough? I was thinking about having a link on my site that points to a blog which I would update regularly -- weekly, maybe -- and save updates on the website for every month or whenever something of major significance happened. Is that sufficient?

I'm also wondering about blog syndication. Some authors seem to post the same blog in several places... A guest blog, a group blog, their personal blog, MySpace, Facebook... This seems like a good idea to me because it reaches the widest audience with the minumum of work. What do you think?

'Nother thing -- I noticed at RWA National this year that very few authors put pens in the Goody Room. So disappointing -- I love the pens I collect every year! Is this a trend or just a result of the economic downturn? Maybe people feel pens are too expensive to be efficient promo.... Just wondering what you think.

Kim said...

Good morning everyone!! Wow, sorry I'm a little late to the party. My alarm didn't go off. Let me grab a diet coke ;)

Tammy-Author's Best Friend is all credited to Eloisa James. We were good friends. I kept offering to help her out with stuff and one day she took a chance on me. I still have that email!

My work in marketing came from working in merchandising. If you don't know what merchandising is its sadly underpaid grunt work but its all very strategic marketing. It was horrible work but I loved it and I absorbed every bit of it.

Kim said...

Debbie-blog tours are a lot of work! One thing, I ask my client what their time constraints are. For some reason book releases always seem to coincide with the deadline from hell. If that's the case I pick the three best blogs and try to schedule them.

When choosing blogs I try to research and find the blogs that fit that clients genre, personality and fan base. Yes, you want a blog that gets a lot of interaction but that's not always my number one decider. You have to remember that anytime you put something up on the internet that's public only about 5-10% of the people readin are actually commenting.

So HELLO to all you readers out there! ;)

Kim said...

Lindsey!!! Everyone, this is the fabulous Lindsey, she's one of my great friends. AND we just found out that our workshop got picked up for the RT convention 2010! So if you're going to RT join us so you can learn how to SAVE AN AUTHOR-READ A BOOK. Its going to be great fun.

Linds-the perks of course!! LOL. There are so many, I don't know. The biggest is that I love my job and there's not one day that I don't count that blessing. And I work with the best people in the world. Romance writers are the nicest people you could ever meet and its wonderful to have them as my friends and clients.

Ohh, and I get my name in books. Julie Anne Long just included me in the acks to SINCE THE SURRENDER and Eloisa always includes me. THIS DUCHESS OF MINE was dedicated to me because I titled it. That still makes me cry!

Kim said...

Hey Chicki and Sally! Thank you for joining us.

Sally-get on that website. Truly.

I have a small word doc that has my tips and opinions on setting up and maintaining a good website. If anyone would like a copy please email me. I'm happy to share it!

Kit Donner said...

Hi Kim,
Thanks for your great advice. Since I've been unemployed for several months, I wrote my 3rd book AND spent hours trying to figure out how to market on the internet, which costs time but not money. I'm on facebook and twitter but I find I don't have a lot of interesting things to say, while some people can make anything sound interesting.

Nicki Salcedo said...

My favorite promo was the pink Wallflower hats that Lisa Kleypas gave away a few years ago at RWA. I was near the end of the line so Lisa's mom handed me several hats. I love the hats and I actually read that series because of them. Strange, but true. My daughters and I wear the hats when we hangout in the kiddie pool.

Kim, for unpublished authors you mentioned writing the best book possible first. Should we wait to do the marketing until after the first sale or be marketing along the way. Have you noticed unpublished authors who spend to much time marketing and not enough time writing or selling their first book?

Kim said...

Aww, J, I lubs you!

Booksellers-this is a big expense so I would wait until you're published. And then I would wait to coincide with your book release. You can't do much to affect buy in-that's done with the buyers and the corporate publisher heads. BUT you can affect compliance and hand selling. You want to send them a short, to the point letter and some bookmarks. You MUST include a visual of your book cover. People are so visual that even if they glance at your book cover as they're tossing it in the trash their mind is going to remember it. When they're unpacking those books its going to trigger. When a customer asks for a good romance, its going to trigger. You'll be fresh in their mind. Make sense?

I keep a database of 500+ romance friendly bookstores that I encourage my clients to do a mailout to with each book release. And I encourage every author to start from day one building their own bookstore address book.

Budget-nope, no hard fast rules. A lot of authors spend their whole first advance on promo. Setting up a website can be hugely expensive. But its an investmate in your career and your brand so you have to go with what you think truly represents you and your writing.

Everyone's situation is so different that I think once you get going past that first release you need to decide "okay, this is how much I can afford to safely invest (all promotion is an investment!)". Do your research, ask your friends, look at author promotion you liked from a reader point of view. Crunch the numbers and decide what you can and can't do effectively. Does that make sense?

Kim said...

Hello my darling Janga!! Everyone this is another of great friends! Don't I have the best friends? I couldn't do what I do without Janga. She's so amazing. She's one of the fabulous moderators on the Eloisa/JQ bb and she does a great contest every month.

My proudest career moment-so many! I think #1 was when Eloisa called me that WHEN THE DUKE RETURNS hit #10 on the NYT. I just sobbed!

Funniest-hmm, on the Metro with Julia London is up there. I was trying to video interview her and asked if she were the famous Jack Ludlow. She cracks up and says "Its Ludlow and he's dead!". It was pretty hysterical but ended with a chocolate strawberry smooothie. LOL

And you know, I always have my embarrassing moment from RWA. This year I said the f-word in front of Brenda Novak. She had a good belly laugh. I'm creeping up on giggling about it at this point. ;)

Kim said...

Maggie-we need you out here visiting us! We miss our Mags when she crawls in the cave.

Aren't those paper dolls exquisite? Love them!

Peg-well, I've got mixed feelings about blogging. Yup, its hard to build up a successful blog. Look at how much the PFHT put into it!

On one hand, this goes back to your reading audience being much bigger than your interacting audience. Blogs can be great if their done properly. You need to tag them so they get picked up by search engines. Even if you're not getting direct feedback you're still getting information out there.

One thing I go over with my clients about blogging is the time constraints. Blogging does take creative energy. You have to take that into account. Sometimes for a writer having that blog and being able to cleanse their writing pallet feeds their muse and helps them write the story. Others it just drains the muse.

My bottom line is, if you want to blog, do it. Just do it the way you want to do it, use it well for search engines and don't have super high expectations.

Kim said...

Barbara-ONCE A MONTH. You really need to update your website once a month, every month. Even if its just a new contest or welcome message. You need to give readers something to look at so they keep coming back.

I don't know if I would do an external blog. You could set up a "welcome message" or newsflash on your homepage that could be updated easily. No matter what you do you want to always direct traffic to your website. That's always your ultimate goal.

ABSOLUTELY! You have to remember that while you'll see a lot of the same faces you're still reaching out to vastly different groups on each site. Yes, some people will see the same thing a couple of different times but for the most part you're really extending your reach. So, definitely syndicate.


Pens-*sigh* I'm with you. I love those pens! Okay, here's a obscure tidbit about me. I collect pens. Have 2 shoe boxes full of them. When any of my friends travel I beg them to bring me one back. LOL.

Yes, I do think its a sign of the economy. Everyone is tightening belts and for authors the first thing to get cut is promotion/swag. I hope it turns around.

Kim said...

Hi Kit-I'm sorry you're unemployed. I hope something happens for you soon!

For interacting on Facebook and Twitter; just be yourself. Let your fun side shine and just pretend you're hanging out with your good friends.

You'd think that I would always twitter about marketing but you know what I twitter about 99.99% of the time? Food! LOL.

The point of social networking is to let people see the real side of you, to make new friends. If you're really introverted try to spread your wings a little bit and take baby steps.

Ask questions. People love to be interacted with!

Kim said...

Hey Nicki!

Don't you just love Lisa Kleypas? I'll tell you guys-it always stuns me a bit when I think about her. She's so wonderful, sweet and kind. It floors me that we're friends.

hmm, you ask the tough question! *G* If networking/marketing is taking away from your writing time then yes its too much. But yes, you need to be out there before you sell. As soon as you know you're writing to sell you need to get out in the reader/writer community. Does that answer your question??

Kim said...

I've got to go do the morning thing but I'll be back! Ask your questions!

J Perry Stone said...

You know what I'm doing, Kim?

Cutting and pasting.

Your visit is an author's goldmine, I tell you.

Oh and hi Janga. Hi Linds.

Susan May said...

Kim,
Thanks for being here with us today. I was the one who helped you put out Eloisa' books and material before the luncheon at national. I was impressed with now hard your guys worked. Thanks for the promotional info. I have a nonfiction book out "Nick's New Heart" and I'm always looking for new and better ideas for letting people know about it. I'm a member of all the online groups but I'm not using them like I should. I'm going to start doing that, now.

www.susanCmay.com

Kim said...

Hi Susan!

Thank you so much for helping with the luncheon! You guys did such an awesome job.

Get out there!

Dianna Love said...

Kim -
Congrats on finding a career you can be passionate about and thanks for all that you do to promote our industry.

I'm looking forward to reading through your site.

Vanessa Kelly said...

Hi Kim! Thanks for all the great advice. I so agree that writers must do a big push with booksellers. That's where a lot of my promo energy goes. For my first book, I sent over 200 ARCs and cover flats to romance friendly booksellers. I think it was the single best thing I did, in terms of promotion. I also did tons of mailings to bookstores and romance clubs in bookstores. If the book doesn't get in the store, no one's going to read it!

I love the promotions that Eloisa does - that cut-out doll is just great.

Freedom Writer said...

Hi Kim,

I'm a aspiring writer and am working on 2 manuscripts. When I eventually publish I expect to use a pseudonym since my real name is not very memorable. I have a pseudonym in mind, but I understand that publishers sometimes don't like the names that authors invent for themselves.

So my question is, how do I market myself before I have a publishing contract and approval of my desired pseudonym?

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Wonderful post, Kim! I'm reading along and nodding so much my head might just hit the screen any moment. :) You've given me lots to think about.

Carol Burnside said...

Kim, it's great to have you here. We met at the Eloisa James/Julia London reception at Nat'l. You did a terrific job putting that together. Very enjoyable!

I'm unpublished, but have purchased my website address and have a blog in addition to this one (though it's sadly neglected at this stage). Any tips for finding something, no matter how small, to blog about each day? For me, it does feel like a creative drain. Is there any correlation between the length of the posts and attracting readers?

Love the timer idea. I recently bought a digital one that should do the trick so this internet business isn't such a time-suck. Thanks for reminding me to put it to use in a different way than for writing. :)

Tawny said...

Hey Kim *waving* I love that you found your perfect career - and its one you totally rock at. I'm curious, how much has your idea of author promotion shifted since you started? Did you have any ideas that seemed huge in the beginning that didn't pan out, or others that surprised you by being so successful?

Sin said...

Hi Kim! Like everyone else, I'm so happy that you found your niche and that you're so fantastical at it! You totally deserve lots of success :)

Kim said...

HI Dianna! Thank you for joining us!

Hey Vanessa! Those are awesome mailings. Its wonderful that your publisher supplied so many arcs. You have to let the booksellers know you're out there.

Kim said...

Hey Freedom-all you can do is choose the pseudo you want to go with and get out there. If your publisher insists you change it then just piggyback the names, sort of combine them at first until you get the one you'll be using established. BTW, I think your real name is lovely. Email me and I'll go over some stuff with you and sight some examples.

kristan higgins said...

Just wanted to add my two bits to the love fest...I hired Kim last December to do some publicity and promotion for my upcoming book. She did, and it hit the bestsellers list on BookScan and Amazon. Coincidence? I don't think so! She makes it incredibly easy to get the word out there if you're shy and retiring like I am.

Kim said...

Thank you, Lynne! Be careful, don't hurt your noggin ;)

Carol-Hi! Thank you. I'm so glad you had a good time. Kudos to you for getting the domain secured! Find something you love, that you don't mind talking about everyday and then it won't feel like work. Do you have pets? Do a pet chronicle. What are your hobbies?

For blog posts, keep them short and to the point. 400 words is a good range to stick in. You don't want to overwhelm the reader so they just scan. Include fun images. Keep it interactive. Engage potential readers.

Diana Cosby said...

Hi Kim,
Wonderful blog on promotion. You love what you do, which gives you a major edge. You're smart = step up #2. The final clincher is that you're super sweet! *Hugs*

I second your promo tip, I only do what I absolutely love. Like writing, your like or dislike will come across, however much you try and hide ie.

The neatest promo I ever saw was the electronic games coming out for some books. Mega neat, it definitely targets the younger conputer sage generation.

Diana Cosby
www.dianacosby.com
Romance Edged With Danger

Kim said...

Tawny, my sweet! It has! When I first started it was just about helping Eloisa out. She really taught me so much and I learned from her example.

I've definitely had some contest ideas that fell flat. Flat as a pancake.

One idea that always hits a home run is offering promotional packets as prizes. Readers love to get envelopes stuffed with coverflats, bookmarks, etc. I had no idea, but the first time it was gangbusters!

Hiring out ads. I encouraged one client to try a pretty expensive blitz based on some wonderful comments I'd heard. The results we got were really disappointing and I felt a lot of anguish over it; that I'd wasted her hard earned promotional dollars.

Thank you for popping in!! You're the best.

Kim said...

Sin! You're the awesomest!

Kristan! You make me blush. Thank you! Honestly, ladies, it was all her. She writes awesome contemporaries.

Diana! Thank you, dear. Ladies, here's one of my dearest friends! I love those games too. They're totally addicting.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Kim! Great post and great info. You really make some great points. I'll also say a big WOOT and offer my recommentation to anyone who might be thinking of hiring you, Kim. YOu do awesome work. Grins. Go you!

Pamela Varnado said...

Kim,
I enjoyed your post and plan to implement your suggestions. I just sold a story to a The Wild Rose Press and wanted to know if I can use the same marketing techniques to for an internal sale?

Pamela Varnado said...

Kim,
Ignore my last post, I meant to say that I just sold a story to The Wild Rose Press and wanted to know if I can use the same marketing techniques for an internet sale?

Kim said...

Hey Jeanne, my friend! You're too sweet.

Pamela-do you mean to promote an e-book?

If so, then you definitely need to be out there working the social networks. I would skip the booksellers. But you'd still want to have a good website and a huge internet presence since that's where your target is. You would want to hit a blog tour heavily as possible and always include links to purchase your book to help fight piracy.

If that's not what you meant let me know!

Kim said...

Here's a tip. One thing I like to do is to take one small detail from a clients book and create a contest or other added value that highlights it. It gives a depth to your story and it intrigues readers to find out why you're mentioned that one item. It could be a location, a piece of jewelry, etc. Check out Julia London's contest. There's a reason we chose those items. ;) Oh and learn to tease too. lol

Marilyn Baron said...

Thanks for blogging with us today. Wow! I think you may have established a record for most comments on our blog! Your advice was great, especially the advice about write the best book you can.

I'm unpublished and don't have a Web site yet, but I am a member of this wonderful Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Web site. Would that be enough to start? We update our blog daily and although it's not dedicated to an individual writer, collectively I think our blog has impact.

A second question is: I'm writing a book with my sister. I don't see many books with both authors listed on the cover. It's probably unwieldy and difficult to promote. Is it better when you have two authors to use a pseudonym?

You have a great job and we appreciate you sharing your expertise with us.

As far as promotions, I like the postcards and of course trailers are great.

Marilyn Baron

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Kim,

This is awesome information! I’m running out of ink printing everything!!!

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today. We can’t thank you enough for sharing such valuable information with all of us.

The one promo item that sticks out in my mind was a paper body bag I received last year at M&M. The author brought in a whole slew of them for the goody room filled with gummy body parts and lots of neat items. Of course, they went like hot cakes. Since I was working the desk, I didn’t get my bag with her name tag or the items in it. When she came back later to see how they were going, she handed me a handful to take home with me. I’ve used them for my son’s lunch bags and he LOVES them!!! The problem is, I can’t remember the author because I didn’t get a bag with her sticker on it and when I got home I couldn’t remember who she was. You better believe I would have bought her book if I could have though.

A question I have for you is about the newsletter e-mail sites out there. I am on several newsletter lists that send out e-mail blasts with multiple authors listed. I admit that I have bought several books by authors I didn’t previously know because of them. BUT what do you think about the expense? Is it something a newly published author should consider (I’m not there yet, but am curious about where to put the advertising money in the beginning of that phase)?

Again, thanks for all your wonderful advice!!!

Tami

cail said...

great blog Kim!!! My favorite promotions are guest blogs and book marks! I'm also a fan of Julia London's JuliaTubes.

As for Peg's question about whether or not blogging is going out, I have to say that many of my new author picks are either guest bloggers to my favorite blog or suggestions from my friends on that blog's forum. Kathryn Caskie and Sophia Nash became release day buys for me after their visits, and I bought two books by Joanna Bourne on suggestion of a friend from that blog at RWA. I loved them, told my friends on the forum, and know of at least one other friend who picked them up as a result. Blogs are a great resource!

Kim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim said...

Hi Marilyn!

For now, yes this blog is an excellent way to be out there. Once you get to a point where you're ready to query I would put up a website. As an unpublished author looking to secure an agent and then sale, it looks good to them that you're out there. It shows them how you want to be presented and lets them get to know you a little bit.

Definitely, I would combine your names for one pseudo. It seems to just make it easier.

Kim said...

Tami-I would love to know who that author was! How fun.

Yes, those newsletter services are worth it especially to a new author. Fresh Fiction and Writerspace are both great to work with. They have huge lists and you're getting all that exposure.

Kim said...

Hey Cail!! I love Julia's JuliaTubes too. She's so hilarious. My favorite is the Thanksgiving one. LOL. You should hear us on the phone. I give her these crazy ideas just to see if she'll bite. I love her.

Christine Wells said...

Hi KimPossible! I'm supposed to be deep in the deadline cave (trying to take care of item #1 on your list!) but just stopping by to say what a wonder you are, Wonder Woman. I'm taking notes on all this!

Hugs,
Christine xx

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Miss Kim, as ever, you offer brilliant advice. Seriously, I love that you help me out. You're great.

Is there anything you thought you knew when you started that ended up being completely wrong? I find this industry is a continual learning curve!

Amy Nichols said...

Kim,

This is great advice. I'm not published yet and am just beginning this journey. What suggestions do you have to help me start establishing a presence on the web or should I wait to be published?

Thanks,
Amy Nichols

Vanessa Kelly said...

Hi Kim - this is just such great advice. Thank you! I second the comment on Fresh Fiction. It's great exposure.

BTW, I had my own ARCs made up for my first book. It wasn't cheap, but it was worth it.

Santa said...

Hey Kim! Fabulous blog and so chock full of great info! J is going to forward me her cutting and pastings.

I, too, am a pen collector. It's such a great promotional tool.

I have been toying with starting a blog but fear it's too early in the game for me. I have taken your advice and started to be more of a presence on FB and am going back to the spots I've been away from like the BB, here, the Riskies, Goddesses, bellas, Vagabonds and my pirate maties at romancewritersrevenge.com to name a few.

I think I need to go on earlier and that timer idea is spot on!

Santa
*waving to all my cyber-pals*

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Kim, I avidly read every word of your posts as I know from personal experience how amazing you are!

Cathie Linz said...

Great information Kim! I'm sorry I missed your workshop at Chicago RWA chapter. Even after 55 published romances it's still challenging to come up with new pr stuff. But I love facebook - and am still learning how to handle twitter. Like you I confess that I post and talk about a lot of other stuff like music and videos and cool stuff I find online NPR -National Public Radio and PBS always have cool things they post to fans on facebook. Our genre is lucky to have you! Cathie

MariElle said...

Hi Kim,
My book is in editing- it's an eBook- do I need a website right away? Does that mean investing $$ before it comes out?

Great reading all your good ideas... did I see there's a book being given away here?
how does that work?
hugs 2 ya girlfriend,
Maribeth

PJ said...

Great blog, Kim! You always have such wonderful words of wisdom and,honestly, I don't know anyone who works harder than you for the authors you represent.

Count me among those who love promo pens and was disappointed to come away from RWA National with three measly pens. It's a tragedy. ;-)

Shobhan Bantwal said...

Great blog, Kim! All the words of wisdom you've been advising me about are in there. Well written, too. I'm so glad you're my assistant, too. My writing can't hold a candle to all those lovely bestselling authors you handle, but you take care of my humble needs with just as much kindness and enthusiasm. and I love you for it. Keep doing what you're doing.

I told my friends about your blog today. I'm sure they're visiting.

Shobhan Bantwal
www.shobhanbantwal.com
Author of THE SARI SHOP WIDOW

Kim said...

My Aussie gals are here!! *waves* to Christine and Anna. You two never fail to make me laugh and I know you're both hard at work on your next fabulous novel.

Kandy! You guys, Kandy and I did the most fabulous thing at RWA. Her debut novel, Love is a Four Legged Word, had just debuted. This was her first RWA, she's from Australia, and she wanted to highlight a brownie recipe that was in her book. So, I made these brownies. OMG, they were THE most decandent thing I have ever made or eaten in my life. Seriously, and I've made a lot of desserts in my life. Kandy wrapped them up super pretty in celophane and pretty ribbons. Her daughters who were in shirts with her book cover were passing the brownies out. They were a huge hit!

That was a perfect example of taking a small detail from a book and highlighting it.

Kim said...

Amy-start now! Get out there on Twitter and Facebook. Not only will you be getting your name out there but romanceland is such a wonderful supportive place. There's a wealth of knowledge shared every single day in these networks.

Kim said...

Anna-sorry I missed your question. I don't think there's anything so much that was completely wrong. Like you said, this is definitely a learning curve. Mostly its just keeping up with the changing environment. There's always something new. First it was MySpace, then Facebook, now Twitter. There were book trailers and now podcast. Its a challenge to always keep up with the latest ways to market yourself AND even harder to know when to bail on something you've been doing.

My motto is onward and upward. That's always what you have to achieve for! Keep on top and do what you can.

Kim said...

Vanessa-OMG, I can't even fathom the cost of that!

Santa-hey darlin'! How's my deli diva today?

Kim said...

Hi Cathie! Thank you so much! You're right, it is a challenge to come up with new pr. It takes just as much creative juices as writing does, I think.

Hi MariElle! Yes, you should have some sort of web site. You can do it economical, it doesn't have to be a huge cash drain. You can do some really awesome stuff with wordpress now.

Yup, there's a book to be given away. One of the PFHT gals will choose the winner and announce it.

Kim said...

Hi PJ! Thank you for joining us! 3 pens? That is a tragedy. Lucky me got to take home a bag of your amazing chex mix so I'm not going to worry about those pens. ;)

Shobhan! You're such a sweetheart. I adore you. And you write incredible Bollywood books too!

MariElle said...

Kim- I just thought of something and wonder what u think.
Before I had settled everything out with EC on Roman Rapture- I had chosen a pen name MariElle... they felt I needed to have a 2nd name so I added Betz making me now
MariElle Betz
BUT my facebook is listed as
MariEllewriter because I set up my author/reader fb page before that decision was made.
Do you think I should create one as MariElle Betz and close out the MariEllewriter one?
What do you think?
thnx
M (for all of me 8~)

Kim said...

MariElle-yup, you want to have your full writer name. You should be able to just change the name on your current account instead of closing the account. That way you won't lose your friends.

MariElle said...

I tried- don't know if it worked or not.
It still says Marielle Writer at top of pg.

Maxine Davis said...

Kim,

It's late. I just got in, but this is just a fabulous post!! I really appreciate all the wonderful information and tomorrow I am going to buy a copy of "The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists: ISfrom TW!! I can't wait.

I'm working on the best possible book I can write and certainly intend the next one to be even better!

You have some great suggesions and I intend to follow them. Wasn't going to get a website yet, but I guess I'll work on that and get one soon. What if my writing name changes? When (not if) I get published, can "they" change it?

Linsey Lanier said...

I'm sooo late with my comment, but this is a fabulous post. Thanks so much, Kim, for all the great information! This one is a keeper.

Linsey

Kim said...

MariElle-it might take a day to change.

Maxine-Thank you! I'm not positive but I would assume so. You would just have to buy the new domain name and redirect the site there. It should be good.

Linsey-Thank you!

Kim said...

Thank you so much, PFHT for having me! This has been great fun. There's nothing I love more than talking promo *G*

Its beddy by time for me! Tomorrow's a big day, I'm getting ready to go away for the week end with my husband *G*

Ana Aragón said...

Kim, if you happen by later on, I just wanted you to know I am in awe of you and your talents, and your willingness to share them with other authors.

No wonder you have the best friends! Have fun this weekend!

Ana Aragón

Keira Soleore said...

Popping in late to say, this was a fantastic blog. Kudos to Kim for taking her business to where it is today.

And...

Do you need an assistant? Jus' checkin'...

Jennifer Richter said...

Always late to the party, but have I mentioned how A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I think you are?!

You rock, girlfriend!