Tag Archives: Book marketing

To Blog or Not to Blog My Novel

I have been going back and forth trying to decide whether or not to publish my fiction book titled My Stolen Diaries, traditionally, independently, or chapter by chapter on my blog The Teri Tome.  

For several weeks I have been thinking about how the process of organizing and arranging the chapters would come together while researching examples of formats other bloggers have used to post their books online.

So far, I haven’t found any articles that explain in detail or show actual examples of how blogged books are laid out.

I’m guessing I couldn’t find explicit samplings of how to blog a novel because writers either aren’t blogging their novels, or they haven’t found a functional fiction format.

I did find a few articles about how to blog a nonfiction single-topic book, but in my opinion, the process of blogging a book lends itself well to nonfiction vs. fiction.

Additionally, all of the articles I found regarding how to blog a single-topic, non-fiction book, suggest that to blog a book, a separate blog needs to be created to support the effort.

But my blog The Teri Tome gets over 30,000 page views a month, so why would I want to start all over with a brand new blog that nobody has ever seen or heard of?

I don’t want to create a blog called My Stolen Diaries. What I want to do is blog my novel My Stolen Diaries within my existing blog, The Teri Tome.

The question is: how to blog my novel within a blog?

An actual novel moves methodically page by page through the storyline allowing the reader to pick up where they left off, so blogging my novel is going to be challenging.

What I hope to do is to cohesively blog my novel and weave it all together post by post or chapter by chapter to tell the story in a way my readers can keep up with it, without having to search around for the beginning, middle and end.

And the last thing I want my reader to do is to get to the end of the book before the beginning. Nobody wants to be the victim of a spoiler, and I would totally never want to be that person.

Since I found nothing to guide me as to how to blog my novel, I decided to make my best effort to test out some formats and see what sticks.

While I didn’t find any articles that showed me how to blog a novel, I did find some generally useful articles, although I disagreed with many of them:

  • A blog should have 10-15 categories. [My blog has a hefty 21 categories before I even add My Stolen Diaries so sue me.] 
  • A new blogger should post often if they want to bring significant traffic to their blog (At least three times per week – each post approximately 300 words long, until they reach a minimum of 1,000 posts). [I never post that often, I still don’t have 1,000 total posts and as I stated earlier, I enjoy over 30,000 page views a month. So there.]
  • A dedicated and seasoned blogger should blog their book daily – each post approximately 500 words long). [Blogging a chapter a day of my novel seems highly unlikely, and as the queen of verbiage I need to write way more than 500 words per post. BTW, this blog post is over 1,600 words! And I would consider myself both dedicated and seasoned. So, as they say in my neck of the woods: fuggedaboutit.]  
  • How to create a book flyer. [Here is my post about creating book marketing flyers. As the late great Yul Brynner aka Pharaoh once said: So let it be written; let it be done. And okay, after a gazillion hours of mailing out flyers, I gave up on that too. Sorry not sorry.]
  • How and who to hire for search engine optimization (SEO). [Now I have to worry about SEO? Who the heck has time to write? But okay I went on the website Fiverr, and I’m working on that.]
    • How to add your blog to a blog directory. [The directory most recommended was Blogarama.com, which boasts millions of visitors, so I happily submitted my blog. There is a free and paid part to their site. Since signing up for the free section, I receive regular emails from them, letting me know that they have been indexing my blog posts. But try as I might, I never found any of the supposed indexed posts, so good luck with that.]
  • The best format for creating an About the Author section is to write your achievements, expertise, and experience in the third person. [I originally wrote my About page in the first person, so I changed it up. Click here for everything you wanted to know about Teri (or not) but never asked or cared to ask. Oh, and speaking of asking;  if you wanted to ask but thought better of it, NO my novel Our Romantic Getaway is NOT about me, and YES I am wearing a top in my author photo.]
  • How to set up Google alerts so you can track your business, yourself, or any other kind of stuff. [I went on Google Alerts and added my websites, my name, blog to novel deals, how to blog a novel, worldpress.org, The Teri Tome, and terischure.com. FYI: My g-mail account is now inundated with useless alerts, but don’t go by me.] 
  • Understanding Web traffic. [Quick and easy: Concentrate on your Monthly Page Views, Visits, and Unique Users.]

Back in 2014, I published my first novel titled Our Romantic Getaway, and while it makes some money, it’s a pittance compared to the number of hours over the five long years I spent writing it.

I know, I need to market it, and I will. I might even blog a few chapters of it.

In 2019, I was finally able to finish and publish my children’s book titled The Day It Snowed Popcorn, which I wrote back in 1970 at seventeen. It has already won an award and I am very excited about its future.

And…I have the beginnings of a cookbook sitting on the back burner. [Pun intended.] 

But My Stolen Diaries has always been the bucket-novel I’ve dreamed nonstop of publishing.

Plus, My Stolen Diaries seems like the perfect novel-on-a-blog project, mainly because of its diary format.

So, after much thought, I decided my novel-on-a-blog should be called a Novelog.

I started writing My Stolen Diaries back in the 1990s. So far, I have 168 pages and 117,653 words.

If I assume that each average post will be 1,500 words in length, I need to write at least 78 blog posts for My Stolen Diaries.

Now I recognize, that’s a ton of posts/chapters, so here’s the dilemma:

How do I present the posts/chapters in a way that readers can easily catch up with the earlier posts/chapters they may have missed?

And will anyone take the time to slog through 78+ posts/chapters?

After racking my brain, trying to figure out what to call each post: Chapters, Episodes, Scenes, Events, Entries…

After going back and forth, I decided to keep it simple and go with Chapters.

What have I got to lose?

What harm could it do to post some of my novel chapters into cyberspace and then analyze the traffic?

Worse case, I’ll post a few chapters of My Stolen Diaries and give up if I see that the Page Views don’t warrant my time.

Plus, what better way to test-market my dream book than sharing it with my readers?

And since my novel is only partially written, it won’t be like I’m giving the entire store (in this case, story) away.

Note to my readers: Your opinion about My Stolen Diaries will help me to determine whether or not to keep on keeping on, so I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. Okay, let’s be honest, I NEED your thoughts and suggestions, so please help me with your comments?

And now tada! Click here to read my novelog My Stolen Diaries.

Book Marketing Flyer for Dummies

Anyone with Word can create this easy do-it-yourself sell sheet.

As a member of the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs (NABE), my novel Our Romantic Getaway was recently included in their marketing efforts at the 2015 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Show in Portland, Oregon.

As a follow-up, I wanted to send a marketing flyer to all of the potential buyers who visited their booth and/or had expressed interest in my book.

I went online and researched how to put together an effective sell sheet, but was unable to find anything that I could tailor for my personal use. I am a fan of Vistaprint.com for printing postcards, business cards, and other advertising materials, but they had no templates available that appropriately fit my marketing needs.

So I did a little cut and paste job in Word and voila, I came up with an attractive, cogent marketing tool.

I purchased white 8.5 x 11 card stock (65 lb) and fed the paper through my printer feeder—the front page first, and then placed the completed front page back into the feeder for the back section.

You can download this PDF to see the final product. Our Romantic Getaway Book Flyer

Below is a quick and easy guide to a DIY marketing flyer:

Keep your sell sheet clean and simple. It’s better to include detailed information about a couple of things than to have bits of partial information about a lot of things.

Include a quote, excerpt of a review, blurb, or endorsement from a well-known person or well-respected authority. Including any awards, your book has received will give you credibility as an author.

Flyers with color will almost always stand out from plain black and white flyers. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on the flyer, and if you have a color printer you can print them yourself. If you don’t have a color printer and don’t want to spend the money to have your flyer professionally printed, you can use brightly colored printing paper with bold black text to make sure your flyer stands out.

You don’t want to risk producing a flyer with sub-standard print quality, so while it may be cost-effective to use your own printer, Kinkos, Staples, Office Max, or any similar retail printing establishment can provide affordable flyer printing services. You want your final product to look as professional as possible, so make sure your printer can provide the quality you need.

And don’t forget to make sure your contact information is easy to locate. Offer clear instructions on how to reach you or how to take advantage of your promotion.

If you set up your flyer in Word, your first side should highlight your book cover only. That’s what you’re trying to sell right? The second side of the flyer will include all the other information.

Here is what I included on my flyer:

    • A photo of the book cover (I copied a jpeg of my cover and pasted it into Word)
    • Title of the book (I also placed an award sticker on my front page)
    • Author name
    • Brief description (See my article Write the Perfect Book Blurb for tips)
    • Publisher
    • Category
    • Format
    • ISBN#
    • Pages
    • Retail Price 
    • Contact Information (Mailing address, e-mail, website, blog, telephone)
    • Author Photo (I printed out a photo, using double-sided tape to added it to the flyer)
    • About the Author
    • If you are available for book signing events, add a line saying so
    • A quote, excerpt of a review, blurb, or endorsement from a well-known person or well-respected authority.
    • Relevant PR or marketing plans) (only if you have room)

If you are mailing the flyer, try to call ahead and get the name of the manager. If you don’t know the name of the manager you can address it as “Attention: Book Buyer.”

If you are visiting the local bookstores in your surrounding area, ask to speak to the manager of the store. If the manager is not available, leave the flyer anyway. But make sure to ask for the manager’s name so you can contact or mail them at a later date.

Introduce yourself as a local author, and encourage them to order your book and stock it in their store. Emphasize the fact that you plan on promoting your book extensively in the area and would like to tell people where they can find it for purchase, i.e. recommending their store. You may also decide to leave a copy of your book for their review.

If the bookstore enjoys lots of traffic, etc. and you wish to conduct a book signing there, ask the manager if he or she is interested in hosting a book signing. Most bookstore managers love hosting events, particularly with a local author that will encourage patrons to buy books from their store.

If your flyer is more of a marketing tool for readers, let them know where to purchase your book. If the book is carried by only one or two wholesalers, list them. If handled by a distributor, make sure to include the distributor’s name and 800#.

Sometimes it takes more than one mailing to interest a potential buyer so don’t give up too quickly.  And don’t expect miracles. Marketing is a process. It takes time. Look how long it took you to write your book!