Category Archives: Author Blog Challenge

Day 21: Making a Plan #authorblogchallenge

This is it – the last day! So what will you do to keep up your book marketing efforts? What are you going to do to keep the blogging momentum going? What plans do you have to continue your connection with other Author Blog Challenge participants and the new readers you’ve generated for your blog?

I have managed to catch up and am actually completing this challenge on time. That is amazing with the weeks I have had. Still I need to catch up on reading other participants blogs. That may take me a day or two, but I will get there!

Okay so how am I going to keep up my book marketing efforts… Well I have a few ideas for 2017 so here goes:
1. I am going to keep finishing and publishing books, after all this is what I do so with each book I should be able to keep marketing the old ones. I have three books I would like to publish at various times over the next year. So watch this space.

2. I am going to try and do a few more live events. Ideally I would like to do three or four in a year (one each school holidays would be great).

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3. Post regular marketing photos, information and blogs onto all my social media. Run a competition or give away?

4. Hoping to connect with more readers to get a few more reviews up on Amazon, just to get more notice there would be great. Email me if you are interested….

5. Keep promoting other authors through my Stitch Says and Chewie’s News blog posts – if we help each other out we’ll all do well. This is a great way to stay connected with other participants of challenges too!

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6. Produce some more hand outs for live events, letter box drops, any occasion really.

7. Get my website fixed and more active.

That’s a pretty full on list. Along with writing, editing, working, being a mum…. the list goes on. Well needless to say I will have my hands full. It’s all worth it!

Check out more of the Author Blog Challenge here: https://authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com/

For now I am going to get focused on the first book I want to publish next year – loads to do. Have fun!

Day 20: Tis the Season #authorblogchallenge

With holiday shopping in full swing, ’tis most definitely craft fair season. Authors sometimes do well at craft events by virtue of being the only bookseller at an event. Not every live event is for every author – but they can be a great way to show off your book to the public and meet new potential readers. Have you done any live events? If so, how did it go? What’s your best tip for other authors to be successful? If you haven’t done them yet, what’s holding you up? What technique/display/idea have you seen a vendor use that might work for you or other authors?

Live events are the best way to connect with readers and of course to sell books. I was fortunate enough to be a part of a small one the other night. I published a book of student’s stories at the school I work at. They had an event at the local library and I made a speech. In the process I sold a few books (not many, but any sale is a good one) and hopefully I will be more involved at that library for my own books next year.

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I have never tried a craft fair, but have been thinking about it. I would like to combine my books at a stall with a friend just to make it a less expensive day. Most craft fairs charge an entrance fee for setting up a table, which means you need to sell some books just to break even. If you can share that cost then it might work out better. Of course selling books isn’t everything. I always hand out stickers, magnets, posters and flyers. That certainly gets you name out there, but let’s face it we all want to make some money from our books.

Christmas is the best time to promote your books online and in person. People are looking to buy and I believe most kids love getting a new book. I know my two think they are the best presents. So while you looking why don’t you check out my books for your kids or kids you know…. Even big kids like yourself….

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Check out more from the Author Blog Challenge here:https://authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com/

Have fun!

Day 19: Mischief Managed #authorblogchallenge

Mischief marketing is any form of nontraditional – and often outlandish – marketing. Leaving your bookmarks in similar books in a bookstore. Writing your title in chalk on a sidewalk that gets lots of foot traffic. Attending a ballgame dressed up as a character in your book. What kind of mischief marketing could you get up to in an effort to promote your book? The bolder the better. What would it take for you to work up the nerve to implement such a campaign?

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I love this quote from Harry Potter…. As for mischief marketing. I have done a few things. Letter box drops, flyers up in various places, a sticker on my car. Have any of them worked???

I guess you could say. I sold a few books through each. Not enough to rave about, but still I figure any sale is a good sale.

If I was still going to a dog school I could always turn up with Stitch in his super hero costume. He might not be too happy, but it could work. I could run a Christmas promo or join a parade with Stitch and promote my books that way…

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I struggle with this, although my girls have often mentioned to people who I write books. Amazingly I have sold a few this way. Most of the time people want freebies, not something I am interested in. What people don’t realise is it costs me money to get copies of my books so if I give them away I actually lose money. While writing is a hobby it’s not something I want to lose money through. That’s not to say I don’t donate books, but I like to sell a few first or have the opportunity to sell.

I’m not sure I would have the guts to mischief market, but it sounds like fun.

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I look forward to reading some more ideas from other participants in the Author Blog Challenge: https://authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com/

Have fun!

Day 18: The Perfect Person or…. #authorblogchallenge

Who would be the perfect person/company/organization to partner with to sell your book? It might be another author, a performer, a shop owner, a seminar facilitator, a teacher, etc. Pretty much, the answer to this question is limited only by your imagination. How will you reach out to that person/company/organization? What’s the hook for your pitch?

I would have to say the perfect person is simply anyone who is willing to sell your books….

However I have two secret weapons that I will let you in on. Number one would have to be my daughters. Although now they are published authors they want to pump their own books as much as mine. Still it all works together and to make it even more effective I am planning on publishing some of their stories as spin offs to my super hero series. This is really fair as we developed these characters together. They certainly deserve some of the credit.

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My other secret weapon is Stitch (and Chewie, although he is untried). My dogs star in lots of my books. It is great when I get to take them to events. They sell books and create interest.

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Other than that I am working on a few things. Local author meet and greets at libraries, schools, fairs… my hook is that as a teacher and an author I can offer interactive sessions rather than just talking. I love to chat with kids about stories and writing. They ask some great questions, but it’s always better if they bring their parents too. Afterall its the parents who buy the books. That’s really the key to good marketing for children’s authors. YOu have to hook the parents and the children.

Check out more of the Author Blog Challenge here: https://authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com/

Have fun!

Day 17: Jingle Jangle #authorblogchallenge

The holidays will be upon us soon. Ever notice all the holiday commercials that use jingles in their ads? A jingle is designed to be catchy and entertaining. If you were to write a jingle for your book, what lyrics might it contain? What music might you mimic/use? Now that you’ve thought about it, how likely are you to actually go out and create a jingle for your book?

It would have to be something about Obi…

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Not sure about the lyrics, my brain is fried right now. As for music, there would need to be some dogs barking. Maybe they could bark to jingle bells or something.

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Stitch is probably right to hide his eyes. This is not my specialty… Would love to see what other people have to say. Check out the Author Blog Challenge here: https://authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com/

Have fun!

Day 16: Social or Pushy #authorblogchallenge

The first word in social media is SOCIAL. How are you using social media to promote your book, without coming across too salesy/pushy? What aspect of social media would you like to learn more about? What are your next steps?

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It is certainly a fine line. I notice that people tend to ignore any marketing posts, which is really not fair because we all post sales stuff at some point. I guess there is a time and a place. I try to keep my promoting posts on my Author page:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAshleyHowland/
Or Obi’s page:
https://www.facebook.com/Obithesuperpuppy/

Of course quite a few of my friends are following these pages. I also like to post things about my books on Instagram and Pinterest. They are all linked to my Twitter account. That is why I have these social media profiles. I wouldn’t bother if I wasn’t an author. They are my link to my readers.

I have learnt a lot about getting more active involvement on pages. I guess that requires me to spend more time on this type of promotion. I need to be more active in groups. This was something I used to do more of, but I haven’t had the time lately. Would love to know efficient ways of doing this.

You can check out the Author Blog Challenge here: https://authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com/

Have fun!

Day 15: Learning to Draw #AuthorBlogChallenge

Most adult books – graphic novels notwithstanding – rely on words to convey their plots and/or content. But when it comes to marketing – specifically, getting people to remember you – it’s super important to include images to anchor your marketing messages. What kinds of creative graphics (e.g., infographics, comic strips, stick figures, etc.) can (or do) you use to spice up your marketing and get people to take an interest in your book(s)?

This is an area I am working on. At first I thought I could hire an illustrator. Turns out that is far too expensive. This means I needed to get creative. My first illustrated book was The Homework Goblin. I drew the pictures and got my children to help.

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Since then I have been working on illustrations. I decided to teach myself to draw. To do this I have adopted a similar idea to that of producing covers. I utilise my own photos. Then I work on the drawing. This is my logo

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I have begun working on some super hero illustrations too

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I find the kids harder to draw

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I guess practice makes perfect – well I hope so. I do have another secret plan… My girls are getting better and better at drawing. Pretty sure they will eclipse me in no time.

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They may be able to illustrate my books soon! Check out the Author Blog Challenge here: https://authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com/

Have Fun!

Day 14: Teaching Tools #AuthorBlogChallenge

One great way to market your book(s) is by teaching a class or a seminar. The topics may be more obvious for a nonfiction author, but a fiction author can teach, too! Character development, planning a writing schedule, world building, to name just a few. What class or seminar could you develop in order to share your expertise and expand your platform?

Teaching is my day job, writing is my super power!!!!

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I have run writing workshops and even published a book full of stories written by students. All of this is great fun. As a teacher it is difficult because everyone wants you to do these things, but there is often a stall when it comes to you actually selling your books. So I think I need to look beyond school.

If I wasn’t working full time I would love to go to schools and do writing workshops. That would be a great way of promoting and selling books.

This can also be done online and that is definitely something I am going to be looking in to in the future. I would love my website to have an area where you can pay to enter and access writing workshops activities. I wouldn’t charge much, but the rewards would be great. Maybe I could combine this idea with yesterday’s post and run a competition or two!

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Now there’s an idea worth pursuing.

Check out the other Author Blog Challenge ideas here: https://authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com/

Have Fun!

Day 13: In it to Win it #authorblogchallenge

Contests are a great way to inspire interest in you as an author – and in your book(s). Social media is one way to host a contest – but the options are virtually limitless. What kinds of contests could you hold to generate the participation, buzz, and involvement of potential readers? What kinds of prizes could you offer – other than the obvious, a copy of your book?

Another area I really should look deeper into… I have run the occasional promo on Amazon for my kindle books, but have yet to organise a real competition. I find the biggest issue is getting the links and people actually participating. I guess that’s where you need to build a huge platform, but a competition would help with that platform too…

Catch 22…

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Still everyone loves to win something. Maybe I need to think outside the square a bit more. Certainly if I was running a writing workshop I could have a lucky draw or something. That may encourage people to come and participate in any activities.

I know this could be done online too. I could run a competition for the best homework goblin drawing…

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Maybe the best super hero name could appear in my book…

One pair of authors offered readers to add their names to the official acknowledgement in their books. My girls got a real buzz out of seeing their names. That could be a promo too…

Again need time to collate all ideas and then to actually run a competition, but look out because there will be one next year.

I’m keen to see other author’s ideas, check out the Author Blog Challenge here: https://authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com/

Have fun!

Day 12: The next event #authorblogchallenge

Describe your first book signing – real or imagined.

I’ve already blogged about my first book signing so I thought I’d begin to plan my next one. I really want to get my writing journal out there…

Have you got a story busting to be written?

Check out the newest writing journal – it’s different and will get you writing.

The Not So Boring Book #1 – Write your own story

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Ten chapters full of writing activities designed to get the ideas flowing and help you create a story ready to be published. Each chapter gives you the opportunity to work on one story. Follow the book right to the end and bask in your finished product.

This book can be used by anyone (child or adult) who loves to write.

Just get your pencil and begin!

You can get your own copy here:

https://www.createspace.com/5050054

or visit my Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Ashley-Howland/e/B00BQA4XRO

If you live in Australia and would like a signed copy email me at
ashley@ahowland.org

Check it out today and get writing!

I need to do a few writing workshops to get this book into business. I think it would be great fun to gather budding young authors and a few older ones and have a chat about writing. Then I can give them a sneak peek at some of the ideas inside the Not So Boring Book. Some activities I am planning revolve around…
1. Gathering ideas – beating writer’s block
2. Character development – especially villains because they are the most fun
3. Some basic ideas to put it all together
4. Maybe a competition of writing challenge

Then I could hand out some writing paper (with my author info), sign and of course sell my Not So Boring Book #1 Write Your Own Story.

I would also have my other books there and make it a fun, educational event.

Would love some suggestions to make this event work.

Check out more of the Author Blog Challenge here: https://authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com/

Have Fun!