In this magical Episode 10, Wendy is delighted to be joined by Amy Collins the Director of New Shelves Books, one of the best know book sales and marketing agencies in the United States. She shares her vast knowledge and expertise of the industry with insights into how it works and how you can better market your books.
Hi and welcome to the writing and marketing show brought to you by author Wendy H. Jones this shore does exactly what it says on the tin, it's jam packed with interviews, advice, hints, tips and news to help you with the business of writing. It's all wrapped up in one lively podcast, so it's time to get on with the show. And welcome to the magical Episode 10 of the writing and Marketing Show with author entrepreneur Wendy H. Jones. First, some news. I love bringing you this podcast, and it's my pleasure to help you all out in this way. It does take a lot of time out of my writing. As you can imagine. You can support this time by going to Patreon.com/wendyhjones and signing up for only $3 per month. The price of a coffee or as I'm Scottish tea. This will pay for my time in creating the show, and you will get extra benefits. Today I'm going to be joined by Amy Collins all the way from New York. It's exciting to have Amy on for the 10th show, as you will find out when I introduce her. So what of the news in my life? Well, like everyone else. As I record this, we have gone into lock down in the UK because of coronavirus. Wherever you go, you cannot escape it. The one thing you can do is while you're indoors you can carry on writing, you can carry on reading on you can carry on learning and this show is one of the ways you can carry on learning, which is why I am so, so grateful that I started this when it when I did, because it means that I can support other writers even though I cannot go out and give talks. I love the fact I can do that. I hope you're all well. I hope, you're all managing to get lots of writing done. But next I would like to introduce Amy. Amy is amazing. She's a very good friend of mine. But more importantly, Amy Collins is the president of New Shelves Books, one of the best known book sales and marketing agencies in the United States. Amy is a trusted expert speaker and recommended sales consultant for some of the largest book and library retailers and wholesalers in the publishing industry. In the last 20 years, Amy and her team have sold over 40 million books into the bookstore, library and chain store market for small and midsized publishers. She's a columnist for and the board member of several publishing organizations and trusted teacher in the world of independent publishers. I have heard her speak numerous times, and I can absolutely assure you that her advice is absolutely top notch. It's the best you will hear. So without further ado let's hear from Amy. Hi, Amy and welcome.
So, Wendy, thank you. Thanks for having me.
Oh, you're so welcome. Thank you for joining me because I know you're a busy lady. You know, you're always on the go.
Well, I have to say that is high praise coming from a woman who never sits still. I don't know how you do it. I see you and Bertie andand your mystery books out there all the time. You are a prime example of how an author should be. Should be getting it done.
Thank you. That's very kind of you to say so on and I have to say, just for my listeners. I'll say that I'm gutted. I'm not welcoming you to a conference this weekend.
Me too. I am hoping, and I'm hoping to get it on the record here that I will be invited next year.
Well, we'll keep that plan in mind. Shall we say, I can't announce it officially here and now,
Lets put it this way. I plan on coming to your conference next year. What? Even if I'm in it, as an attendee. I am so disappointed that I wasn't able to get over there and see all of you.
I have to say the Scottish Association of Writers members are gutted, that they're not going to be seeing you. But there is always the future we're living in. Strange times. Aren't We
We really are, and things will normalise. Maybe I'll come over this summer when everything calms down.
That would be fantastic. You would be welcome here any time on. To be honest, we are living in strange times, which is why I was really keen to interview you at the moment because we're all in limbo. Everything we knew, the normal there's now a new normal you know, and we all need to work out how to market our books in a totally different environment. And the minute I wanted someone to talk to about that You sprang to mind.
Well, that's very kind. I I have to say that I'm having, um I'm torn . I'm having a very hard time even thinking about or talking about marketing or promoting books during what is a global crisis because it feels it, it it's so easily could go wrong. It could so easily be taken the wrong way. I have already received e mails and seen ads in my feed online that, in my opinion, went way too far. We're not appropriate. They were. I was not pleased with the, uh with the messages that were coming out. The self promotion and tone deaf messages and marketing yourself. And promoting yourself is a is an ongoing process. But what I'd like to talk about today is taking a moment in every week whether there is a pandemic going on or not. Taking a moment to constantly evaluate how you're being perceived and making sure that you remember that not everyone takes things the way you do. We're all different and you can't please everyone, but you can Certainly you can certainly tick everyone off. So what I want to talk about today is how to avoid that, too.
Hey, that's brilliant. That's absolutely fantastic, cause I have to get it with you. I find probably the same e mails and I had one this morning that was literally saying, Hey, how can you sell books in a pandemic? And I was like, That's not a great title, you know, it was not a great title. So I want to speak that. No, no,
but let's be honest. There are hundreds, if not thousands of authors that you and I both know. Wendy, who have book plan who have book launches planned this month and next month.
between the two of us, I bet we easily know a 1000 authors,
I would say, so
whose entire launch is has been scuttled, and the hardest part is not knowing for how long or how what's gonna happen. The uncertainty is killing us. So I wanted to talk to you a little bit about what we can do because there's so much we can't. But there's so many things we can do and we can talk about that or anything you want.
Absolutely. Like my listeners probably want to know a little bit about you. Even though I've already given you a bio, we want it from the horse's mouth. Tell us about your marketing and promotion background.
Well, I was a book buyer. That's how I got started for many years, and the reason why I decided to what they call hop the desk over here. They talk. They talk about how you're on one side of the desk when you're buying books, well you hop the desk to start selling books? And the reason why I do what I do now is because for almost 15 years I sold books to the major chains. There are some chains over here in the U. S. Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart, Michael's Arts and Crafts, Home Depot. There are also a number of stores that don't exist anymore. Crown Books, borders. I have sold for years to chapters in to go up in Canada. I have spent months of my life over in the UK selling over there, and my job for many years was to sell books into the bookshops. But 15 years ago I saw that everything was changing. That direct contact with readers was becoming more and more of a thing that book stores were becoming less and less, um, stable. And what I was really distressed to see is that as the major publishers were seeing the same changes that I were seeing, they were holding all of the cards. And I don't think that's fair. I think that authors and small presses and independent houses and smaller um, and even self published authors If you've got a professionally published fantastic book, you should be able to have all the same opportunities and information that McMillan has now. I don't mean you're going to get the same chances than a McMillan author. Well, that's just not realistic. Yeah, but you should at least have the information and that you should know the name of the buyers. You should know what it is libraries or or bookstores are looking for. And that is what I've been doing for the last 14 and 1/2 years.
Yeah, and that's a great background because you've seen it from both sides of the fence or you say desk and that helps you. It helps you have a unique insight, really. So a lot of authors say that they just want to write. But things are changing. So why is marketing and promotion so important?
Well, it always was and, um, I mean, I come from a long line of literary people on my grandmother, grandfather, great grandmother. My grandmother was a librarian. I mean, I come from, I've got generations of readers and book people behind me and even back then, I will tell you people were saying writers to say, Well, I just want to write I don't want a tour I don't want to promote That was 100 years ago. The reason why Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain became as successful and famous as he was is not because he was a better writer or funnier or more clever than everyone else, he was a better promoter. There's a reason why Mark Twain is Mark Twain today. I promise you there were a lot of people, just as , clever writing books, Just as, good as Mark Twain back then, but the man went out. He rented town halls. He paid to have his own books, printed hissers three books. He self published, he published himself. The man went out and he got it done. And that is why he became the Mark Twain we all know today. Now Mark Twain. Samuel Clemens also had an amazing amount of talent. You have to have the talent, but you have to have the marketing and the the hustle, I'm afraid. I wish it was different. I wish we could all sit home in just right, but we can't and it is key. It's important for this reason, there has never been a time in history that a writer was simply discovered, launched and then got to make a living and become wealthy without actually without doing anything but writing. It just doesn't work that way. It's never worked that way. This is not new. Marketing and promotion is as important to a book as feeding a child. Just because you gave birth to a book or gave birth to a child doesn't mean you're done. You have to raise that book. You have to feed it. You have to clothe it. You have to keep it healthy. There's a lot of work that goes into it. I know giving birth. Well, I don't actually, but I'm told that giving birth is a wonderful, huge experience but giving birth to a book. It's not the end any more than giving books birth to a child. You have to raise that book.
Yeah, I love that analogy Actually, that's brilliant. Being a Children's nurse, I understand that straight away.
You wouldn't turn your baby. Well, some people would. But for the most part, you wouldn't turn your baby over to total strangers with a big cheque and say, You do it. I'll be over here. That's not how that works, either. You have to get involved.
Absolutely. You do, Yes. I think it might be worth clarifying something at this point, because I keep mentioning marketing and promoting and some people might not know the difference between them. What is it exactly?
Well, I think it's different for everyone. I could give you my definition. I've been a very firm with my authors that there's there's advertising, there's marketing, there's promotion, there's PR. Let's talk about all of those different things. Yeah, public relations is is a series of activities that, um that puts your image and your product out to the media, and the media, in turn, shares it with their with their readers, their patrons. So in public relations, in my mind, is a serious of activities that announces you to the media. Advertising is paid. It's not so much an investment of time, but it is paid messages that go directly to your end user. So if you are in author advertising is something that goes to the readers. Marketing is a paid series of activities that markets to that puts your book in front of the market. You will market, to, and you will do marketing with Amazon with Barnes and Noble, with chapters into Go with Home Depot with your local pet store. Marketing is different than advertising in the sense that advertising goes to your readers, marketing goes to the marketplace. And finally, promotion Promotion is the mount of time and activities that you spend getting yourself your message to connect with readers to connect with your end user. I know those are four. It sounds like I'm splitting hairs, but those four definitions all four of those things have to be happening. You need to be advertising to your readers. You need to be reaching out to the media. That's PR. You need to be doing your marketing so that the market place knows you exist. So librarians and booksellers know you exist and you need to be promoting so that people walk into those libraries in those stores in those websites and buy your book. All four of those elements are key.
Yeah, actually, you know, you're right. You're not splitting hairs, and there are four prongs to it. And if you're not doing all four, then there's a part of it missing. So you're not going to be as successful as you could have been. Exactly. Yeah, as good point.
nobody's good and everything. You can always hire people or ask people to help you. Don't get overwhelmed. I mean, right now I can hear people all over hanging up on this podcast. Guys, it's okay. You know, there are plans. There are things you can do. You just have to do a little bit each day. You don't. This isn't this isn't pushing a rock up a hill? No, it's carrying a tennis ball a few steps. It's okay.
Hey, I love again. I love that analogy. It was what, having you just on the show, just for the analogies, even though your advice is awesome, your analogies are also awesome. Greg'sThanks. We're focusing on E books today because we're in a strange time at the moment. What is the importance of e books? Not only in the current climate, but in the wider context.
Well, I am an enormous proponent of e books, and I have been for years, long before it became dangerous to hand paper books to each other. I mean, we're not allowed to touch each other now. I certainly don't want to be, you know, touching books in a library that God knows who's been sneezing on or talking. You know, it's and most of most of our libraries and book shops are closed right now, so getting paper books is is very difficult right now, But my love of e books started long before any sort of global crisis because I feel that e books are by far the more environmentally responsible choice. What we're doing to our planet is a little frightening. And and books Okay, maybe, but newspapers books we could so easily now that the technology is here shift away from paper based reading. And when I hear people say, Oh, but I love books. Well, yeah. I mean, I love lots of things that I mean, I love lead based paint. Love that. I love the fact that, you know, 10 years ago, my nail polish had formaldehyde in it. Um, because it lasted longer. There's lots of things I like. It's not good for us. It's not for our planet. Our nail polish didn't have formaldehyde in it. I don't think that our paint should have lead in it. And I really don't think our books should be made of paper anymore. Forgive me if that angers you, but And for people who are epileptic or who get migraines and whom whom holding hands or or nervous about handheld devices that's different. There are always going to be exceptions. Always. Yeah, Um, but for the most part, the idea that we just prefer paper books. The question. Oh, and Wendy, I'm sorry. I'm going on and on about this, But a few years ago, a woman I love adore her name was Bethany. She said to me, I don't like E books. I need I like paper books. Better e books. Just they don't feel right. And I said, Oh, I said Okay, I said so. What program? What What e book did you read? That didn't feel right. And she looked at me. She goes, I haven't Who
will. Wendy, I get that same answer every time. I have to tell you that 95% of the time when someone says they don't like an ebook And I asked them, Did they read a Kindle? Did they read a nook? Was it on? Their phone wasn't on their iPad. They will tell me that they've not read one. Wow. People who don't like e books haven't tried them. E books are just I mean, they're just books. It doesn't matter if they're paper pixels, books are books
yeah, to be honest, I was a bit like that because I only wanted paper books and was refusing point blank to get anything. Then I was going to Cambodia for four weeks, and it's a lot of books to take with you when they're limiting how much weightload on a plane. So my cousin had had a kindle for these Christmas, so I sort of half inched off him and took it away. That's by the way, for anybody in a medical. Listen, that that means stall it half inched is cockney rhyming slang for pinched, stolen . So I took it from him for a month and I was a convert, you know? So you're right. You need to try it.
Most people are, you know, read 30 pages of an e book, and and I got to take what I love is that I've got an pad by my bed and I've got my phone with me all the time. I'll be out to lunch, and I Right now I'm reading The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel. I've been waiting for this book for years and I'm only, God I'm only halfway through it. I'm loving it. So I read the book on my lunch hour. I'm going back to work. And tonight, when I tuck myself into bed and want to read a few pages and I pick up my iPad, the mirror and the light will be on the very page that I left off at when I was reading in my lunch. Absolutely. And I love that anywhere I go. I have thousands of books at my disposal now, and I love that. Anywhere I go, I can pick up one of my books.
Yeah, it's great. It really is, So moving on to the market and promotion again because I could talk books and e books all day. You know what I'm like? But we need to try and talk about how we can help authors during this time. If a writer's coming out marketing, promoting e books blind. Where would they start? Where should they start?
Well, let I I was prepped for this question in the sense that several people have asked me this recently. Yeah, and there I have a new bit of advice. Something that didn't occur to me until recently. Yeah, I strongly recommend that before, an author releases a book that they make a six month launch plan, that it is not enough to just put a book out, that you actually create a plan where you say, OK, I'm going to on in March and let's say the world wasn't crashing around our ears right now. Let's just assume that this because I'm hoping you guys, you're gonna be listening to this for a long time. If I put a plan together that says that that says I'm going to focus on E books and electronic books for the 1st 90 days and and I in almost all cases for fiction. I think that's a good idea that you focus all of your energy on E books because it is the easiest way two get in front of new readers. It's the fastest way to get reviews. It is the most profitable E books. You make a lot more money on any an ebook. Don't price your e book at 99 cents. I don't care who you are. It please do not join in the global devaluing of your work. You know price your e book. Reasonably. If you've written a 300 page mystery novel in here in the U. S. I can't speak for the UK You that e book should be priced between 4 99 and 6 99 Yeah, and and And put your book out. And for 90 days I want you going after reviewers and bloggers and librarians and asking them to write you endorsements, testimonials, reviews, Spend 90 days carefully, I mean. If you get five reviews in a day, don't announce the mall that day. Hold back. Announced one or two every few days. Yeah, and And keep the excitement building for 90 days in your e book world. Bye at you. Create a plan where you're going to buy advertising on Facebook, where you're going to buy maybe Google ads. I've gotta Google ad running right now, E book only for one of my nonfiction clients. He sold 1500 copies of his e book this month. So far more in the middle of a pandemic. Wow. So putting a plan and you say, Well, how do I do a Google ad? How do you do that? Well, that's what I mean when you say you need help, you need to put a six month plan together and I'm happy to help. Other people are happy to help, but there are experts out there. There are blog's you can read. There are books you can buy that will teach you There are service is out there that will teach you how to run your Amazon ads. And if you are really serious, about being a successful author, you have to learn how to run the marketing, promotion, advertising and PR side of your business, and that means going back to school. In essence, that means learning how to do all these things or paying someone to do them for you. But they have to get done. And then after 90 days, then, if I was a fiction author in particular after 90 days, when I had a lot of reviews and a lot of endorsements, then I'd move on to the library market. I'd spend 90 days focusing on the library market, and then I'd focus on the book market for another 90 days car. So you're you're only one person. There's only so much you can d'oh! But in most cases, that is, Um, that is it's my new advice. I used to say, Do it all, but you can't do it all so focus on one thing at a time, if that's what you have, and that's what I would recommend. And as you're learning as I tell you to go out and learn how to do these things, please, please, please check the dates of the articles you're reading I had someone write me the other day and they had a great idea about how they were going to get Amazon reviews They've gotten from an article, but it was two years old and all of the advice was now outdated.
Absolutely. That's key, actually, because there's so many articles out there now because nothing disappears. Anna
and you are allowed a few years ago to ask people to write an Amazon Review. You're not allowed to do that anymore. Those days are over.
Yeah, absolutely. You've got to be so careful now and even in groups as well. You know Facebook, you get people say, Oh, can someone write an Amazon review for my book and I'll write it for yearyourss and we're like, No,
stop. You're going to get us all band banned.
No, Stop that right now. Yes, so you find you've segued into my next question, which is what are the next steps. But I want to change that slightly and say where would audiobooks fall into all this as well?
Well, remember I said to you a little while ago that a book is a book is a book, whether it's paper or pixel Yeah. A book is a book is a book whether it's paper pixel or audio. I should have said that. Yeah, um there are. There are rules out there that are outdated that you put the hardcover out and then you put the paperback out and and the e book comes out three weeks before and then the audio book. For those of you who are doing your own publishing program, if you're going to spend time and money and effort to promote your book, why in the world would you do that and leave out? If If an audio book is in your future, if it's something you can afford, they're not cheap to do them well. And if it's something that you really can D'oh, I would suggest that your e book, your paper book and your audiobook all come out very close together. You do not wait because you will waste. What if you are promoting a book to somebody who only listens to audio books and they're not going to remember you six months later, when your book comes out, they're not gonna You've got them. You got them right there. You're willing to buy your book, but whoops. You don't have an audio book. You've just lost a sale. You have one chance to commit someone to buy your book. For the most part. Don't waste it. Audio books are very important. They're becoming a bigger and bigger part of our industry every day. And using find away voices or ACX or whatever you have to do, get it done.
That's fabulous. Advice, actually. And it's advice I should take. Really? Because for various reasons, through not quite my own fault, I haven't got the audio book, so yeah, so Hey, guess what I'll be doing for the next three months. No. Moving swiftly on words for my inability to do what I meant to be doing. What?
I love that phrase. Take my advice. I'm not using it.
Yeah, absolutely. I like that. I'm going to remember that. But I am going to use it now. I'm going to use your advice. So you're I'm learning as we go. Which online platforms would you recommend that authors should be using?
Oh there's so many. When you say platform. Wendy, do you have Ah, Can you give me a little more detail?
I mean should we be using And I'm talking? I don't know, really and truly, because there's so many different ways this could go. It could be platforms, like Have you got on Amazon? Have you got on knob? Have you got it on nook? Have you got it everywhere? Or it could mean which social media platforms are you using?
Okay, well, my advice at the moment is that everyone needs to make their own decision. But I would strongly, I would beg you if you're listening. I would beg you to not go narrow. Don't sign an exclusive agreement with Amazon or Barnes and Noble or anyone. You should be on hisas many platforms as possible because you don't know where your readers are. If you are a novelist, if you're a fiction author, you should be on Kindle. You should be on Apple iBooks. You should be on Google. You should be on kobo. You should be on Totino use. Your book should be available through to the library through Overdraft and Baker and Taylor's online e book system in Libby and all of that. I love you. I use draft a digital to make my books available everywhere. I use Ingram Spark to make my paper books available everywhere, and I use KDP for my Amazon distribution, both for e book An audiobook, the a sister company. But Find a Way Voices is a fantastic distribution program for people who want to distribute their audio book. Yeah, turning. Turning your your attention and going exclusive is very appealing, especially on Amazon, because they offer. They practice, they bribe you. They offer you so many benefits to go exclusive with them, and they penalize you if you don't. Yeah, it is. In my opinion, it's still not worth it. And if you're going to go exclusive with Amazon, just do it for 90 days and hold back your national launch until that's over. Um, I I'm not a fan of going exclusive. I think you should be on his many platforms as possible. Now that's distribution platforms when it comes to social media. Yeah, it's different, depending on the type of book you have. If you've written a personal finance book that is helping people get out of debt and turn their lives around, you most likely want to be on Facebook because lots of moms and and older people who are in debt um, you know, it's it's mainly the women who are freaking out about it. But if you written a high end financial guide for CEOs, well, then maybe you want to be on linked in. Yeah, um, very few people. I mean, there's if you're an author who wants to get a publisher and get an agent. Twitter is even though Twitter is dying and everyone talks about how Twitter is foundering, uh, Twitter is still very important, depending on your goals. So, um, if you've written a Children's book Facebook, if you you know it, it depends. But guys don't just stick with what you know. Keep in mind that there's always new things starting. There's, you know, Tik Tok. There's there's for those of you who are saying Instagram is is, um is too new, and you don't feel like dealing with Instagram. Instagram is old. Instagram is over already. I mean, we've moved on, so pay attention to what's happening. Part of our job as authors is we're running our businesses and businesses need to know what's happening out in the world and there are new subscription service is all the time. Used to be what'd pro and radish. Well, there's new ones popping up radishes becoming the grandfather now.
Yeah, yeah, I have to say, you meet you There is a really good point there because very often you'll have people say, Oh, I wouldn't buy a book off Twitter So I'm not using it and I go. But you're not marketing to yourself your marketing everybody else. Why would you say that? You don't want to use that when people other people might buy book off Twitter.
That's so weird. I mean, I knew I adored you, but you and I have been saying the same thing to people because people say I don't like Twitter. I don't like Facebook. And what I say to them is, it's not for you. You're not gonna say Facebook or Twitter for you. You're on Facebook or Twitter to be of help to them, to be of service to your readers.
Absolutely. And to be honest, that came because I used to work in teacher training and people would go, Oh, I don't like using small groups to teach . I said Yeah, but you're not teaching you, your teaching other people. And it's the same thing really in Exactly. Yeah. Um, so what paid promotions? Would you recommend to go alongside those?
Well, if you do them well, we have a lot of luck. We It's not luck. It took us years to learn how to do them, but Amazon AMS The Amazon advertising is almost always a good idea. There are some exceptions. If you are a novelist who's written a romance novel. Amazon paid ads are very tricky. It's tough to make your money back because Amazon has so many of their own romance novels going. Yeah, that advertising on Amazon, if you are a romance novelist, is never a good idea. Um, for the most part. But those same romance novelists can absolutely spend that same money on Facebook and make a ton of money. Yeah, advertising on Pinterest. Really good idea, I tell my authors it's more important that they spend their time connecting with readers, but advertising is important. And for books like yours Wendy and I'm talking mainly about the mystery novels. Yeah, promoting your book through bookbub, promoting your book through the fussy librarian, dropping the price of your e book for 3 to 5 days. Not long term, Yeah, and and getting your first book in a series out through bookbub would be a fantastic use of your money. Because what you've got all these books in a series people buy your first one at 99 cents. It's been promoted to them as a book of quality through a new organization like the fussy librarian or Rebecca's or or book club that they trust. And if they fall in love with your first book, they're then going to go buy the rest of your books at full price.
Yeah, no, that's a good point, actually. Yeah, So I know a lot of people at the moment. Incomes are dropping. It's difficult times for authors. If someone has limited resources where should they focus their efforts in the first instance?
Well, it's kind of funny. You say that I am running a daily homework. Um, and I know you didn't know this, but if you go to YouTube.com/amycollins you will see that I am every day. I am offering for free a tidbit of something that people can d'oh where it doesn't cost them ascent. It just takes some time. So here's a couple of examples of what we're talking about right now. Yeah, first day. Ah, I wanted people to go out and find 12 authors that were very successful in their genre that they did not know about. And this freaks people out, they said, I know all the authors in my genre
you don't know That's impossible. There are other countries, guys the other than yours. Have you checked out of the best selling authors in Australia? Do you know who the best selling authors in your genre are? Um, who you know are selling in the audio world. Don't tell me you know all the best selling authors in your genre. Of course you don't. It takes a little bit of research. I want you to go to librarians and I want you to get on Google, and I want you to get on Facebook and on Twitter and ask people, guys, if if you like Philippa Gregory and and Henry the eighth novels who are some of the author's, you've read and and start asking people and I wanted people to pull together and come up with 12 authors they've never heard of before. Yeah, and then the next thing you do is you go find out what these authors are doing to be so successful. Who's interviewing them? What journals have they shown up in, who's reviewed their books, make a list of what happened and how they became successful? And then I want you to go contact those interviewers, those bloggers, those journalists, those organizations, and offer them your book, your interview, your content. Go find out who their readers are make. They've got a very active Pinterest page, and everybody's repainting them and you can find out that they end up having they've millions of Pinterest followers. Find out what they do on Pinterest, and I'm not saying copy them, but emulate them. Why wouldn't you emulate a successful author? Yeah, it's very, very easy for us to fall into the idea that we know everything we think we should know about our genre. And one of the things you can do right now is go find 12 authors you've never heard of before and and stalk them a bit. Research them. Be a detective, find out what they do and how they became successful. And then I want you to emulate those activities.
Hey, that's cracking advice. I'm writing this down, by the way, as you say it, I don't know why, because I can listen to it, but I'm writing it down anyway just so that I've got it there now, in a world where money is no object, what would be your suggestion then, for marketing and promoting?
Well, I spend money for my clients. I you know, I have clients who come to me and they asked me to put together these three months or six month programs and some of my authors they should be doing radio and podcasts. Some of my authors should other of my authors that they really should be focusing on reviews and journals. Yeah, and so I put a plan together, and but I'm just one person I can't. So there are companies out there. Uh, if you are very, very interested in getting listed on podcasts, I use a company. Now we have our own in house team. But quite often I will use a couple of different companies like up my influence. There's
Can you say that again?
upmyinfluence.com Brilliant. Yes, I like this well, And, um And you know, when I was learning how to do Amazon ads, I leaned heavily on Kindle preneurs and I bought KDP Rocket. Still a very good idea. Yeah, truthfully, some of my programs, my bookstore in library programs and and, you know, my Amazon deep cleans and some of the things that I that I do, they're worth the money If you don't wanna learn how to do your own Amazon html coding. If you don't have a list of of 2700 bookstores and you want some help putting ah marketing kit together, yeah, it's a good use of your money to pay for, for someone to help you do something. But here's my advice. Yeah, try to do it yourself first. There are tools out there likecanva.comIt costs for the professional version. I think it's £12 e among Yeah, but you can create amazingly gorgeous materials with Canva.com. There are free websites like yasif.com that will allow you to find other books and other and and comp titles. So all of these places that I mention, I'm happy to make a list you as if is yasiv.com? Yeah, Kendall preneurs and KDP rocket are very easy to find online. Just google them. But if you're going to spend money, I have There's always five questions I tell my authors to ask before you hire any PR company or any marketing firm. May I? May I share those with you?
Please do. Yes.
All right. The first question is, is my book ready for advertising promotion? PR? Whatever the one of the four things is that you're gonna be doing, is it really ready? Or am I just anxious? So the first question is and and run it through the checklist is the ISBN Do you own the ISBN? Is your cover really done? Or did you rush it? Do you have a price specific bar code? Are you in all the databases Don't rush guys. It there's no point. Do this in a timely manner. So the first question is, is the book. Ready? Yeah. Second question. Is this money I can afford to lose? Please, If I've got I've got a rule. No retirees, no retirement plans. If anyone's talking about dipping into home equity or taking out money on a credit card to do any book promotion, stop. Yeah, and I'm saying this is someone who enjoys getting money from clients to market, their books. I mean, I I would love your money, but I do know please, no credit cards, no home equity loans. Don't dip into retirement. If you cannot afford to do this promotion as a business expense, then please invest your time, not your money. Yeah, that's my second question. Third question. Who's done this before? Who has bought that bookstore marketing campaign? Who has bought a KDP rocket program? Who's gone after, you know and and done the the Amazon deep clean who has done it before? And how did it work for them? Number four, you know, ask them, Is there proof that this actually works for them? And the fifth and most important question is, does this seem like a good idea to my tribe? Whenever an author comes to me and tells me that she's checked something out with her husband or he's checked it out with his husband or, you know, his wife or their best friend. I always feel better. I beg potential authors won't wanna work with me. Check this out with your friends and your family because they will be honest with you. If you're going to spend $2000 on something, I want to know that you check this out with people who cause I get excited about things and I'll like to think something is a great idea. And I will, you know, whip out my debit card before I've really given it much thought.
We've all been there.
So those are my five questions that I always suggests that people ask themselves and that they make sure they can answer honestly before they fork over the check.
Yeah, no, that's ah, really good advice. Actually, that's I think that's key to everything. So thank you for that. So, have you got any final words of wisdom for my listeners
Buy Wendy H. Jones BOOKS
Buy them all buy them as ebooks and read them and stay safe and stay healthy and stay away from each other right now.
Words of wisdom? You know, But you've got a book as well, haven't you? What's your book called? Your marketing book. Your latest.
It's called The Right Way. W R I T E. And it's everything you need to know about self publishing and promotion. It's actually what you can actually download a copy for free from my website. If you go to new shelves new, not old shelves. What? You put books on dot com (newshelvesbooks.com Ah, and go to the store. You will be able to download a copy of the right way for free. I give it away to people. I think the more we know, the better off the whole industry is.
You know, you're a wonderful woman, Amy. I have to say, Not only are you wise, you're generous.
You know what they say? You know, you get what you pay for.
So where can my listeners find out more about you on and the service's you offer? Because I have to say I will say that Amy is absolutely outstanding at what she does, so we need to know where we can get hold of you and look into your services,
if anyone is it all interested in having a free 15 minute consul to with me? All they have to do is is email me Amy at new shelves dot com. Amy AM y at new shelves dot com That's my personal email. It comes right to me. Um, I send you a quick form to fill out so that I can take a look at your book if you even just want to email me your online link to you to your Web page or one of the online stores that has the link to your book. Um, you know, I'm happy to take a look, and we can set up a quick call to find out how I might be of help. I love talking to two authors. I love being of service where I can, and if I can't be of help, I can at least direct you to the other people who can. There's lots of people out there who who are a better fit for some authors, and there's enough of us out there that we should be sharing the wealth and share the information, so please just email me Amy at new shelves dot com, and we'll get in touch
yes. That's brilliant. Amy, thank you so much for your time and for sharing all your expertise with us.
Thank you, Wendy. You know, I'm a huge fan of what you're doing over there.
Hey, I love being an author. I love being in the author community, and I love helping others. And that's what it's all about, Really. So thank you for coming here and helping my tribe today.
That brings us to the end of another show. Thanks, Amy, for sharing your wisdom with us today. I'm Wendy H Jones on you Confined me at Wendy a George Jones dot com. You can also support me on Patreon.com/wendyhjones I'm also Wendy H. Jones on Facebook, Twitter, instagram and Pinterest. Thank you for joining me today, and I hope you found it both useful and interesting. Join me next week when I will have another fantastic guest to help you with your writing and marketing journey.