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Get The Immortal Druid for free, toady only….
I’m not doing this often, so don’t waste time thinking, just get your copy and add it to your reading list. Embark on an epic journey as Lisa takes her first step down the road of destiny. Don’t wait any longer to acompany the young, fated couple as they explore love, friendship and danger along the way, with only one goal, to save mankind. https://www.amazon.com/Nicole-Kiefer/e/B00MCZZ1M8/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
As I mentioned yesterday in Promotion Part 4, another way of gaining readers and keeping those you have happy is offering additional merchandise. I said as well that it needs some graphic and/or artistic talent for designing, unless you want to hire someone, or use crowdsourcing.
Whichever road you chose to get the design, there is always the bottom line, investment. Only the rare lucky indie author actually makes enough money to make big investments. Meaning the smaller the investment, the easier it is on us and the greater is our own profit, because in the end we all want to have something in our pocket instead of a wallet that has moths flying out the moment we open it.
Now how do I imagine this works, because as organized and informed as I usually get before starting anything, this is something coming from gut instinct. Usually my best ideas come from that, but well, you don’t need to trust my gut. The idea behind adding fan merchandise, before you have or while you try to gather actual fans, is this.
Scenario one: You have your book – people read your book and fall in love with it – those people buy fan merchandise
Scenario two: You have beautiful artwork on merchandise that relates to your books – people buy that merchandise because it looks cool – then they buy the book and read so they don’t look stupid when someone asked them about their T-shirt, hoody or mug and what it means. In addition they run promo for you and payed for it…
The second version is kind of stolen from big companies, actually the whole concept is, and since those companies make millions of dollar, it seems to be working. So why not copy it.
Ok, we all get the idea behind creating addition fan merchandise, but how do we do that without spending money we don’t have. The same way we do with our books, or many of us at least, by using POD services, that handle the selling for us as well, and we just need to help and promote.
From using Creatspace I know that importing a product can bring up additional costs, so if you are located in the US try to find a service located in the US, same for CA or any other country. Most of all check out prices and compare them. Sometimes, as – again – with Creatspace it can be more affordable to import them. Sadly that’s kind of a try and error run until you know for sure.
In any case here, are three companies that I thought have acceptable offers and concepts.
http://www.galloree.com/Site-Articles/Open-a-store.php this is the one I’m going to give a try, but finding those companies is fairly easy, just type T-Shirt on demand printing service into Google and add your country, lots of results come up.
Now, my criteria, and they might not be yours, are these.
I want a wide range of merchandise, not just T-shirts, all of them individually customizable with my own designs.
That I retain all rights to my artwork, so I can spread it over several platforms if I like to do so.
That they don’t have a minimum payout amount and either work via wire payment or PayPal, never by check, I hate that.
And that I can have my separate store, but chose to use their selling platform. Which is what sold me on this service.
If it will work is something I can’t tell you, now. In half a year I might tell you it was the best idea of my life or the greatest flop. The thing is, even if it won’t work for me, it might for you.
If you’re talented and have the software to produce high-resolution pictures, then you have nothing to lose aside from time.
In previous parts we talked about promotion options that are easily done and something anyone should be able to do. Now, these ideas are a little more complicated and not for everyone unless they want to hire someone to do them. These tips and ideas are for the graphically able.
Creating a fan base for your brand (you the author) and/or your product (the books) is a very important part of business. And it doesn’t really matter if you have only standalone books or a series.
Now, as much as I am against stealing or copying others, in this case it’s different. Look at what big publishing companies are doing, or movie companies, comic books and so on. Have you ever wondered why they use pictures, posters, or TV ads to promote? Why even the promotion letters you get in the mail, or promo postcards are colorful and filled with pictures?
Because the human mind works on a very visual basis. A smile will convey happiness, a stern look concern. From the day we open our eyes for the first time, images, colors and expressions bombard our brain and get connected to emotions, sounds and become part of our decision making.
What do the big guys do to make a use of that? Well, first of all of course the cover of your book. We say don’t judge a book by its cover, but in fact the cover is what makes people look and notice the book. It gives them the first glimpse of what might be hidden inside.
If you are graphically able you can design the cover yourself but get feedback through Facebook or Google+ groups. Or hire a cover designer.
You might wonder by now why I’m talking about book covers when this is about promotions, because your book cover can become a strong promotion part, in form of a poster. When you design a book cover, keep the background picture without the texts as a separate file. If you have one designed ask the designer for a copy of the picture.
You can use those picture and offer them on your website for free as poster or desktop background for free. You can use them for competitions as price. For example you could say “sign up for my newsletter and win a poster of my book” if you are able to print it, or have an affordable printer at hand, you can make that even a signed poster. Here is an example of the posters I offer on my website for free, http://www.nicolekiefer.com/Free-stuff/free-stuff.html as you can see I offer one version without text and one with the Title worked in.
But your book cover can be used for more, another thing which is promotion outside of cyberspace, is postcards. You can use your front cover and size it to postcard size for your readers to print out. Place a phrase like “I’m reading now…. Book Title” or “Look what I’m reading” on the front with your Title and Author name. If you can afford it you can print a few off yourself and have them with you on readings and signings. If you are willing to invest a little bit more you can send some out to bookstores, or other retailers to let them know of your new masterpiece.
Another thing you can do with some but not all of the covers is make them into bookmarks, which you can hand out with your books on signings.
If you are graphically able, you can use the elemental parts of your book cover and redesign/rearrange them to create several versions of all I said above.
At last something I haven’t tried myself, but seen on several occasions, using the same graphics for T-shirts. Personally I think this is something to be used when the book I want to promote that way is either a very good sale or if you can find a service that works similar to a POD service, just for shirts. I have it on the back burner for my Utopian Sage once more than half the books of the series are out. However, I can imagine that it is a wonderful way to promote, and it gives you additional items to sell when you’re at a convention or book sale, trade show and wherever you put up your table. If they are placed strategically they might lure people to your table that weren’t looking for a new read but are infatuated with your shirts and then buy the book as well.
In addition if you are really good with graphics you can add pins and keychains to the inventory, selling them or giving them away when someone buy’s your book.
All these things can be effective but in my experience work best with series. In addition to all I said so far, you can open a fan page on Facebook dedicated to the series you are writing or have written. It will help direct your target audience and keep the focused. However, share a post from your author page or other fan pages from time to time, to remind them that you have more than just that one series to offer. For example when you run a free promotion, or a giveaway, promote those things across all your platforms and social media.
There are all kinds of ways to promote, book trailers are one of them. Yet not everyone has the time, patience or talent to create one. Personally, I use PowerPoint to create mine, but I know that there are several programs and options, sadly I don’t know them. So unless you have PowerPoint or a program similar this won’t help you as much as those with. Yet the principles stay the same.
When I create a book trailer I start with a list…, yeah right the person that usually goes by gut instinct uses a list…. truly I do.
On that list goes, the mood I want to set for the trailer, meaning romantic or sad, action ridge or dark, or a mix of those things. That will determine the kind of music I’m looking for.
Then I write down the things I think are important to the book, things I believe might wake the interest to read it. In most cases, if you have a text for the back or description for your Amazon version, you already have those points/parts and just need to arrange them the way you like to present them.
Then you need to think of pictures that will go with those points/parts you just wrote down. For example, I would write down -exasperated child- for the part about struggling with learning, or -crying child- for the part where she gets bullied. So in the end, I have something like a shopping list. Telling me the kind of music and pictures or videos I have to look for. Again, as I said in part 2, make sure you don’t violate any copyright while gathering those things. YouTube has a large collection of copyright free music and melodies, and there are lots of websites offering graphics under CO0 licence. Or if you can afford it you can buy the rights to use them, which is up to you.
Now some trailer have nothing more than the pictures and video clips with music in the background and the title. Personally, I don’t like them and find them boring, but that’s my personal opinion. When I do mine I often use the text on the back and split it up into several slides. A fitting picture in the background and the same goes for the music. Others might only have a static picture that goes through all slides and moving text. I like both and have used both methods. Here are mine as example
This is the one to The Immortal Druid
As you can see the background is static, only the text is moving. With this one, I tried to have the text come and go with the change and speed of the music. To some degree I managed to do that, making the impact of the words stronger.
Now this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4e4GWW
Bank is for my bio, it’s a very long trailer, but that’s because I wanted this specific song and took a long time to find a version that would not violate copyright. Here I have impact rich photographs with text in addition to a song that many will recognize and some might even remember the lyrics or the video, which adds additional impact. However, I asked a lawyer who knows copyright law before I used the music to be on the safe side. Please do the same if you aren’t sure.
The third one was also my first trailer and was created for Waiting in the Wings. The story itself has pretty dark parts, some people compared those parts to horror novels or true crime novels. In the trailer, I wanted to bring out the lighter parts, without hiding the darkness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sWRCkAxIyw
As you can see I used bright pictures with the graveyard a sign for death is in the sunshine, even the picture of abuse is worked over so the figures have a bright lining, the man waiting on a cliff looking into the distance, stands there in brought daylight. This way I have the words that tell of loss, pain, and hope, but also the lightness in the pictures that make it lighter and represent the hope. Not sure if I explain that right, in any case, there is some logic in my madness.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide how you want to combine and represent your novel. If you want to know if it is a well working tool, I can’t really answer that. I don’t think that they made much of a difference in my sales, but I think that help spread the word and might make some people take a closer look at you and your book. In any case, unless you invest a lot into licencing, it’s one more free tool you can add to your tool box.
Get it this weekend because I don’t know when or if I run another giveaway
Get it this weekend, any review will be highly apreciated.