Tag Archives: marketing

Monday Tips: How to Market Your Book

Last month, I told you  that I decided to confine myself to running Facebook ads and doing more videos to publicize my campaign.

This month, I’ve reversed myself. Why? Because the numbers aren’t working for me. As of today, only 22 people have seen my video on YouTube. And the numbers for my last Facebook Ad campaign weren’t that great: For an ad that targeted over 20 million users, I only got 79 clicks. When I looked at the traffic on my website, I saw that it had dropped off when I stopped the Google Adwords campaign. So I re-started my campaign. In the last 14 days, I’ve received 17 clicks. Obviously, I’m going to have to carve out some time to make my ad campaign more successful!

Then I read a couple of articles about Goodreads, and how helpful that had been for getting a book known. At the beginning of March, I started Goodreads Giveaways, and hands down that has been the best investment of time I’ve spent. For about $6 (the price that it costs me to mail the book across the US or Canada), I’ve gotten about 520 people interested in participating in each giveaway (I’ve run three so far), and of those people, on average 70 people have put the book into their to-read list! Stay tuned for updates.

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Filed under About Cynthia, Promoting Yourself

Monday Tips: Strategic Marketing

“Strategic marketing” is a phrase I’ve come upon lately. Basically, it means giving yourself a plan or roadmap of how to go about marketing.

I am always making plans. It comes to me naturally. But I still don’t think I’m a good marketer. For example, I only found out through glancing at my credit card statement that I’d had a campaign running on Google Adwords during the whole of January that cost me $94. Oops. Totally forgot about that one. And I wasn’t happy that Google Adwords hadn’t actually given me any alerts or reminders about it. So I cancelled that campaign.

I’ve decided to restrict myself to running a Facebook ad campaign once a month, and doing more videos to publicize my work.

I experimented with Twitter recently, by actually diving into one person’s conversation and chiming in as opposed to just finding people to follow. The result? I was offered an interview on that person’s website!

Stay tuned for more marketing tips and have a great week!

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Filed under How to Publish Your Novel, Promoting Yourself

Monday Tips: How to Avoid Burnout

Those of you who do yoga, or play the piano, or do a sport know that you have to be patient. Some days are better than others. And it is vitally important to know when to back off, otherwise you could injure yourself.

So it is with book publishing. You have to force yourself to do less than you want to because otherwise you are going to burn out.

Every day, I force myself to carve out two hours in the morning so that I can devote them to my writing. I could easily spend that time marketing my novel. I could easily spend time marketing my novel 24/7.

But I have a husband to think of. And friends. And various other commitments in my life. It is frustrating to come home at 6pm, feeling that you haven’t done much with your day. Naturally, evenings are when I get most of my work done. For example, here I am on a Sunday evening typing this sentence. At two minutes to nine.

But I’m going to quit soon. Not later than 10 pm. So that I can get a good night’s sleep. Don’t forget to do the same for yourself.

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Filed under How to Publish Your Novel

Monday Tips: Do your writing BEFORE you do your marketing

Here is a tip on how to organize your time:  Do your writing before you do your marketing.


I know that’s not what people usually tell you to do. Most people think that you should do the stuff you have to do first, before you get onto the stuff you really want to do.


But I’ve put the writing first, because if I don’t do any writing…I tend to go insane. (Just kidding).


My point is that you should do what you’re passionate about first, before you get on with the stuff you have to do, so that you don’t get resentful.


As always, put the timer on for 1 or 2 or 3 hours, and stop when it beeps. Get up, stretch, do yoga, grab a snack. Then sit down and get on with the marketing, or whatever it is that you really have to do that day.


Having spent some time doing something you really care about, you will find that you’re ready to focus.

Do you have any organizational tips you’d like to share? Feel free to drop a comment in the box below.


Have a great week!



This piece first appeared in the August newsletter. If you would like to read more such tips, or hear about how my progress on THWARTED QUEEN is going, please sign up for the newsletter by clicking on the appropriate link to the right.


Filed under How to Publish Your Novel, Promoting Yourself

Let’s talk money: Author royalties, or how much do you think you should be paid?

As I said last week, things have gotten increasingly difficult for new writers. No longer do editors and agents proffer a helping hand to those of us who have a fabulous manuscript that needs some help. Instead, writers are not only expected to write a brilliant book, and do impeccable research that underpins their flights of fancy (especially true for historical novelists) but they are also expected to sell their books.

The shocking thing is that this is not just true for those of us who choose to self-publish, it’s also true for those who choose to go the traditional publishing route.

The dirty little secret is that publishers will not help their mid-list authors. And these authors typically don’t find this out until it’s too late, when the 3-4 month window of opportunity for selling their book has passed.

But that’s not the worst of it. The worst part about it is the low royalties that authors are expected to accept. Typically, authors are paid 6% to 10% on the NET price of the book. Net price means the price listed on the cover that’s been discounted by anywhere from 40% to 66%.

Let’s do the math. Supposing the price listed on the cover of your book is $15.95. The net price of your book will be around $8, if 50% is knocked off. What’s 10% of $8? It’s 80 cents. What’s 6%? It’s 48 cents.

Think about that. Think about all the hard work you’ve done to write your novel, and you get paid less than a dollar per book. It’s insulting.

When I think about my novels, I think about how I poured myself into them. I think about how emotional they made me. I think about the considerable amount of thought I had to put into each one, in order for it to be interesting (and easy) to read.  And I think about the fact that writing a novel is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, including writing a PhD dissertation.

This is not just about money. It’s about self-respect and respect from others. Do you like being used? Do you like having that feeling of being screwed over when you’ve poured yourself into your novel? Of course you don’t.

What can you do about it? How about self-publishing? Let’s do some more math. If you sell your novel for $2.99 on Amazon, you pocket 70% of the proceeds. How much is 70% of $2.99?


What does that mean? By publishing it yourself, you make anywhere from TWO AND A HALF TO FOUR TIMES what you would make with a traditional publisher. And considering that a traditional publisher isn’t even going to bother to market your book (unless you happen to be that lucky author with a blockbuster on your hands), you might as well publish it yourself and pocket the proceeds.

OK, so what’s the catch?

The catch is that you’re going to have to spend an enormous amount of time marketing your work so that it actually moves. I have seen e-books sitting on Amazon, dead in the water, because no-one knows they are there. Yes, you have to sacrifice the time you would spend writing your next novel to market this one. And that is a big decision to make.

Image: 80 cents from raisetheroop.com

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. ONE SEED SOWN, TWO MURDERS REAPED is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear. HE MUST BE SOMEONE is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Filed under How to Publish Your Novel


I was going to write about something else today, but I’ve just finished reading Dan Poynter’s THE SELF-PUBLISHING MANUAL, and I think this is such an important book for an aspiring writer, that I’ve decided to share my observations.

The history of publishing in the last 100 years, has been one of increasing difficulty for writers. (And I’m not even talking about the insultingly low royalties that writers are expected to put up with! ) Up to the 1980s, it was not unreasonable to hope that an editor might take you on, even though you were an aspiring writer with a flawed first manuscript. Then editors got too busy to do that, so agents took over that role, and found publishing houses whose job it was to sell your books.

As many of you know, the new reality of publishing is that traditional publishers no longer see it as their job to sell your book, unless they think it is going to be a blockbuster. Too many authors have assumed that publishers will market their books, only to find out too late that very little effort was expended in that direction.

This is why Dan Poynter’s book is so valuable, both for those who choose to publish with a traditional publisher and those who choose to self publish. Why? Because I have never met an author who was so thorough and conscientious at explaining all the ins and outs of something.

You want a marketing plan for selling your novel? Buy this book, and flip through it. The chapter outlines will tell you exactly what to do. If you’re still unsure, Appendix 1 gives you a calendar of what to do, while Appendix 2 gives an exhaustive list of resources. Need more help? Go to his website, www.parapublishing.com, and you will find more articles, some free, some for a modest price.

If you do nothing else, buy this book. No-one else is going to care as much about selling your novel as you are.

I know. You would much rather be writing than selling, and thinking about selling gives you indigestion. But if you want people to read your books, you are going to have to do something to make them more visible.

Best of luck, and feel free to share your experiences by commenting below.

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. ONE SEED SOWN, TWO MURDERS REAPED is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear. HE MUST BE SOMEONE is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Book Review, How to Publish Your Novel, Promoting Yourself