Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Gifted Writer

Putting together a marketing and promotional plan for you novel is one of the hardest things you will do. Many of us would rather have a root canal instead of asking people to buy your novel.

There are several ways to get your novel in the hands of readers that will help spread the word. But you can't just start when the novel comes out. You have to start when you begin writing the novel.

YES! There is nothing better than giving back to your readers before they give back to you! We need the reader, and the reader needs to be respected by us. After all, it's the reader that keeps our drive going to write the next book.

I'm talking about simple things.

1) Street Team.
How many times can I stress the STREET TEAM concept? I have over 100 people on my STREET TEAM and it's only been up and running for one month. In that month, I have connected with my readers. We have discussed books, other than mine, what author swag they like to receive, and what is going on in their life.

I have truly invested in them. I host a give-away each month and it was so much fun sending the first one in the mail. But I know that when A Charming Crime is released next month, I can count on them to help me spread the word.

2) Author Swag.
I came up with author swag a few years ago before I had a novel out! I made blog swag to give out to commenters on the site or different holiday contests. Readers love to feel value and I VALUE THEM...A LOT!!!

It can be simple and inexpensive. has a lot of great deals and some of them are free!!
Or what about The Dollar Tree? YES! I'm not kidding!! I recently purchased large, nylon beach bags in four different colors for $1 each!! They are huge and I ironed on my STREET TEAM LOGO!! The iron-on paper was the most expensive item for $20 from Hobby Lobby! I will use those for reader swag give-away.

Oriental Trading has great items too! For my novel,, I purchased mini-magnifying glasses and hot-glued them a postcard (I got the postcards from Vistaprint for FREE!!)

3) Thank you!
A simple thank you is always appreciated! I get a lot of reader mail. I make sure to take the time to read each one and write a personal note to them. It's so important to let them know how much we value their time.

Think about that! TIME! Do you have any?? The reader gets up in the morning, goes to work (or stays at home with kids, etc...), does their daily duties like we do, get their kids to extra-curricular activities, cook, laundry, cleaning, etc....They take the time to sit down, open their e-reader/book, and invest their precious time in your words. WOW! I'm so honored they spend any time on me...and so should you.

What do you do to give back to your readers? I'm always looking for new ideas.

REMEMBER: You can find more marketing tips and tricks, plus great websites for reader swag in my craft book THE TRICKED OUT TOOLBOX!

Great articles:
The Top 7-ways Authors Mess Up Marketing
To My Wonderful, All-Knowing Readers


  1. How on earth do you find the time to hot glue magnifying glasses to post cards and write thank you notes to everyone?!!!Holy cow, Tonya, you're amazing. You've been hanging out with DD Scott too long, LOL.

    I'm a relative newbie with three books indie pubbed since last September. I have a slow growing and decent following through FB and Twitter. I'm on pinterest, though not investing much time there yet, have a presence on Goodreads, have not had time to pursue Kindle or Nook boards and know I should, and I have about 300 emails a day to weed through with all of the writer loops I belong to. Oh, and I'm still working my day job 20-30 hours a week. I am STRUGGLING to carve out time to write the next book and continue promoting my others, and no I don't own a glue gun:-) I love the idea of a street teem and I have several "super fans" who are clearly invested in helping me succeed. I interact with them regularly and have sent them swag and books (one of them has become a beta reader and is fabulous), but I'm almost afraid to create an official Street Team because I know that it is one more HUGE investment in my time. I don't want to do it half way and not do justice to the people who sign on.

    Maybe I'm just not quite there yet, but I can see how very important it is. Thank you so much for all you do!

    1. Hi, PJ! Thanks for stopping by! I guess I'm always finding a little time here and there. I take everything with me so it's easy to find five minutes here and there. LOL, I don't know DD Scott outside of her on-line persona, so I'm not sure how she works with her readers.

      Writing is a full-time job on top of my full time job. As a matter of fact I was at Orange Leaf with my youngest and the line was fifteen minutes long. I pull out my phone and did my tweeting. That is how I get those little minutes in:))

      You should join my street team just to see how I run it. I takes little to zero time:))

  2. Another fantastic and fascinating chunk of shared knowledge. As always ... THANK YOU!!

  3. Tonya, you are a wealth of marketing information. I was really impressed with all of the ideas and suggestions you have in "Tricked Out Toolbox." I'm working on my marketing plan now and your book was totally helpful. I love the idea of the little magnifying glass. How cool is that!

    1. Gerri, I'm so glad you are enjoying the book. Please let me know what your favorite idea is.

  4. Tonya, you always have a positive spin on things! I so agree with you about connecting with readers BEFORE you are published. I belong to a lot of reading and writers groups. I want to know what the reader is reading and what they think about the characters in the books they are reading.

    I want to know what the writer is doing to market themselves, make connections, find out if their frustrations are the same as mine. Most importantly it is networking both ways.

    While I am still in the aspiring stage of my new career my eyes have been opened ten-fold to the world outside the one I am creating on a blank page.

    BTW, I love being a part of your Street Team. Now can I have a mug, pretty please? LOL

    1. Oh, Lizzie! I love that you get it! Readers are so important. I'm so excited to see what my next journey with my readers is going to be:)) I love you being part of my street team. I'm working on those mugs!

  5. I'd LOVE to have a Street Team, but I'm afraid I just haven't built up a big enough readership yet. I'd be lucky if 100 people have even *read* my books. I'm good with thanking them by giving them something in return for their time and effort - and just because I appreciate them! But tchotchkes don't interest me personally - they're just junk to throw away. I'll have to give some thought on something little that's still of value, that my readers might like. I do know that if I love a book, I'll tell people about it anyway - I've told a bunch of people about!

    1. You only have to have ONE! And that one will lead to three, then ten. . .Be great to one reader and they will spread the word. That way you will have a leg up . I give my readers gift cards or tote bags. I just drew the first winner and sent a $25 gift card. It will vary. I might send them a copy of your book next!

  6. What a great list. And I'm so glad you put reading at the top of it. I blogged on the same subject today--great minds think alike!

    1. Oh, Anne! I'll have to pop over and see!!