Sunday, March 2, 2014

Help me market my novel

My comedic novel set in a pet shelter was unleashed upon the world last July.

Here's the good news. Reviews have been almost universally excellent - four and five stars on Amazon and Goodreads, and even a very nice one from the pros at Kirkus. So, great, right?

Well, not exactly. Truth is, I'm just not selling many books. Here's the dilemma, no doubt one faced by many self-published authors. I'm not reaching my audience. If the book had lousy reviews - or even no reviews - I'd give it up. But people LIKE it, and many absolutely LOVE it.

So I'm seeking help: I need some fresh ideas to market the book without bankrupting myself.

Before you start to make suggestions, I'm going to outline what I've done so far.

Social Media
Twitter: I've strategically acquired nearly 70,000 Twitter followers, most of whom are animal lovers and/or avid readers. I promote the book regularly on Twitter, and send new Twitter followers a welcome message containing a link to the book on Amazon. Plus, I engage my readers daily with witty, fun, thoughtful content. And Twitter, my friends, has been the sole successful effort to date. Nearly all my readers come to the book via Twitter. I definitely need to diversify, which I'm trying to do. Read on.

Facebook: Created separate Facebook page for the book, and post there as well as on my regular page.

Goodreads: Contacted top reviewers, mainly women, and requested reviews. A few did so, with mostly glowing reviews. Results: some sales, I guess. Not tons.

Amazon: The mother of them all. Like Goodreads, sent review requests to top reviewers who seemed a good fit. Again, received great reviews. Enough to generate business? Nah.

Pinterest
: Have a bunch of followers there, and the book is part of my profile.


Women's interest e-newsletters

Sent the actual book or link to Amazon page to: Daily Candy, Pure Wow, Urban Daddy, Fab, Joyous, Hello Giggles (Zooey Deschanel's site) and Rookie. Guess the outcome.

Book Reviewers

Sent review requests to People, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle and even The New York Times (now there's a waste of postage).

The Dodo

This is in a category all its own. I read in the NYTimes that founder of BuzzFeed was funding his daughter's new animal focused website The Dodo. So I sent said daughter a copy of the book, and The Dodo featured a story I wrote about my dog on the site, with a link to the book's Amazon page. Guess I sold a few extra copies the days the story was featured.

Bookstore Readings
Did readings at two local stores. Frankly, don't have time to pursue this further and doubt it would do much for me. I also sent the book to one or two well-known independent bookstores around the country. Zilch.

Blurb and PR requests
Sent copies of the paperback to around sixty celebrities who are known animal lovers (yes, including Ellen DeGeneres) and to chick-lit writers, asking them to write a blurb for the book - or even, in some cases, option it for the movies. Yes, I have delusions of grandeur. Result: I received a lovely, handwritten note from author Meg Cabot, informing me that she was no longer doing blurbs, but wishing me luck, and - TA DA - an envelope containing nothing but an autographed picture of Charlize Theron.

Charity Tie-In
I approached animal oriented charities - ASPCA, The Humane Society, PETA and the World Wildlife Fund - offering to donate to them a percentage of the profits from sales of the book if they would promote it on their websites. All turned me down, though PETA does have an online store where I can list the book for $500. I'm considering it.

Pet-oriented businesses
I sent copies of the book to PETCO, Petsmart and a few other national pet supply stores to see if they would carry the book. All declined. Also tried a few local independents - same result.

Vets' offices
I tried my local veterinarian's office,which is part of the VCA chain. They said they couldn't make the decision to carry the book, and that I would need to approach VCA's national headquarters. I did so, and contacted the other big veterinary chain, Banfield, as well. Never heard from either - and yes, I did make follow-up phone calls.

Pet-centric writers
Sent copies of the book to a few columnists who write about animals. Nada.

What I've considered and haven't done
Placed copies of the book on subway seats and in airport waiting areas with a note asking finders to post reviews and/or spread the word any way they could in exchange for the free book. Any thoughts on this?

So, bottom line. I've done every free thing I can think of. Please share with me your ideas (whether more unpaid things or things I'd have to pay for) so that I can help my little baby find the audience it deserves. You can post here or email me at andib88@comcast.net.

HUGE THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO READS THIS, BOUGHT ANIMAL CRACKER, OR MAKES A SUGGESTION.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Animal Cracker alive and well!

And she's off! The Kindle version of Animal Cracker has been out for 10 days and selling like crazy! If you're one of my buyers, thank you so much! Here's where you can buy it.

The best part is the comments from readers:

Been reading Animal Cracker, can't put it down. Almost burnt dinner. Great book!


And Kirkus Reviews weighed in: Wry comic voice,smart and enjoyable..funny..extremely satisfying

What a fun ride! Animal Cracker has great characters and a plot that keeps you turning the pages as fast as you can. Plus, the writing is lively and laugh out loud funny. Original and clever as well.

What a great book! Andi Brown has created a brilliant cast of characters and a serious, yet comical story line. Loved Diane Salvi! Definitely a recommended read!

"Animal Cracker" is one of those books that captures your interest from the moment you pick it up and you just can't put it down until you finished reading it. I started reading "Animal Cracker" in the early evening and I stayed up until 4:00am reading it. The character development is superb and you get caught up in the drama right from the moment you start reading. I highly recommend this book to other readers.

We've all had lousy bosses. But this one truly takes the cake. Diane is a believable whistle-blower who is joined by an entertaining cast of supporting characters. I read this in two nights, staying up way too late to find out what happened. A smart "beach read" for any time of year.

This is one of my new favourite books. After discovering the author (@andibrownauthor) on twitter and she promoted her new book which I am so glad I purchased. It is entertaining and so hard to put down! It has mystery and animals- a brilliant combination. You'll understand the picture on the front once you've read it! Cannot recommend it enough!

I am so glad I found Andi on Twitter! This is a fabulous and fun read. The story kept me engrossed from the first page to the last. I just kept wanting to know what was going to happen next! The characters are very believable, we all have a Hal and Betty (to name two) in our workplace. Put this book on your 'must read' list. I highly recommend it to everyone :-)

So far, most of my readers stem from Twitter. I have several other promotional arrows in my marketing quiver. To be continued...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Animal Cracker reading by the author

Animal Cracker is out and selling like crazy! My book launch party was held Wednesday night at the fabulous Newtonville Books. I talked about my journey as a writer, and read from the book. Even if you couldn't attend, you can still "be" there via the magic of video. I will be posting additional videos from that evening, or you can find them yourself on Youtube.

You can buy Animal Cracker at Newtonville Books or on Amazon. If you prefer Kindle, never fear! The Kindle version will be available on or about July 9th. Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Animal Cracker is out...and another book too!.

Attention! At long last, Animal Cracker, my comedic novel set in a pet shelter, is out! Currently available in paperback, it will be published for the Kindle too shortly. Animal Cracker is currently available at a "launch special" price for a limited time only. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I liked writing it. And if you really love it, I'd appreciate a tweet and/or Amazon review.

You'll notice that I have another book for sale. (A)Musings, for the Kindle only, is a collection of humor pieces, a travel memoir, some recipes and a few surprises.

Here's where to buy: Amazon.com

Thanks for your support!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

PUBLICATION - FOR REAL!

The day has come....almost! On WEDNEDSDAY, JUNE 12, Animal Cracker will be published. Warning: on that day, I will be bombarding the twittersphere with hourly exhortations to BUY MY BOOK. Apologies in advance. Animal Cracker will be initially available as a paperback and in a few weeks, in a Kindle version as well. I hope to make it available for the Nook too at some point.


And...ta - da - a bonus! I'm also publishing another book that very same day. (A)Musings is a collection of short humor pieces, travel writing, some recipes and other miscellany. It will be sold only for the Kindle, at least for now, for just $.99. Double the fun and buy 'em both.

Thank you,blog followers, for sharing this journey with me. I hope you enjoy my work!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Animal Cracker - another excerpt

Countdown to publication of Animal Cracker, my comedic novel set in a pet shelter, that debuts in just a few weeks. To whet your appetite, here's another excerpt. Scroll down to read two more.

I headed to the lunchroom for some late-morning mud. Who was this? Philosophy major/would-be rock star/poet judging from the milky pallor, height of around 5’6,' black geeky/cool rock star glasses, and a hairline inching backwards. Andrew in everything but hair.
“Where’s the sugar around here?” he asked as he poured some java into an APA mug featuring our logo and a trio of basset hounds.
I obligingly opened the cabinet above the sink, inquiring “One envelope or two?”
He took three, saying “It’s gotta taste like coffee ice cream.”
“Hey, me too,” I replied.
“So, I guess you work here?”
“Writer in residence. PR, brochures, stuff like that. You?”
“Actually, I write too. Working on a novel.”
“Starving artist.”
He laughed. “I manage to put food on the table.”
“All legally, I hope.”
He laughed. His teeth resembled perfectly formed Chiclets.
“ Since I left Colgate junior year, I’ve been lifeguarding, bartending, rewriting unintelligible Japanese appliance manuals.”
“You sure have lots of variety in your day.”
“You could look at it that way. I look at it as a bunch of checks.”
I took a slug of coffee.
“So, what’s your interest in APA?” I asked.
“My dad works here. I’m picking him up for lunch.”
“Really? What department?”
“Actually, he’s the big gun. You know, Hal?”
Nothing came out of my mouth.
“You look like you just swallowed a bug.”
“I did, I did.”
But of course he was Hal’s son. He had his eyes, though the mouth definitely hailed from the Joyce side of the family.
Let’s take inventory here. My boss’s son appeared to be flirting with me.. A boss about whom I was starting to harbor some serious doubts. Rule Number One in that great workplace manual in the sky: No dating the boss.* *Or his offspring.
“I’m Diane Salvi, the Communications Director.”
“Mark Mason.”
“Well, I guess I must go do some communicating,” I said, giving him a cute little grin. Yikes, was I actually sorta, kinda interested in a man?
I texted Genie.
guy in lunchroom flirted with me, semi-adorkable. p.s. he’s hal’s son.
She texted back, You finally show an interest in someone and that’s who you pick???? Stay away.
I let my imagination take a brief and unexpected stroll down romance lane, picturing Mark and me ambling along the Esplanade on a warm spring day, arms entwined. Dining in a candlelit North End Italian trattoria. I told my fantasies to take a hike, played a quick game of online Boggle, and probably would’ve played a few more had Betty not interrupted me to reschedule my next meeting with, who else, Mark’s father.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Publication, Part Two

I just finished a phone call with my "publisher" - CreateSpace, a division of Amazon. Next steps: final edit of manuscript, confer with book designer, fork over some money. In about two months, I'm the proud parent of Animal Cracker, a real live book, available for the Kindle and as a paperback.

Could I be more excited? I could not.

If you haven't already, you can scroll down in the blog where I've posted two excerpts. Enjoy!