Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blog and Giveaway--The Affordable Art of Self Promotion: Mystery or Myth? With Guest Blogger Kerri Nelson

I’ve been in or associated with the publishing industry for about a decade now.  I originally started out as a Promotions Chat Coordinator for a very popular author promotions company.  I coordinated and moderated chats on a nightly basis.  It was so much fun to meet the authors, get industry insider information and watch those authors hawk their new releases to the masses.  But I was never really sure if folks were going out buying those books or just hoping to win a giveaway by appearing at the chat.
These days, it seems that blogging has replaced most chat situations.  It is much more convenient than having to be available at a specific time and being stuck at your computer for an hour or more.  Plus, with chats sometimes the screen is moving so fast that you feel overwhelmed to respond to everyone who bothers to show up.  I like blogging and a massive blog tour is something I’ve chosen as a main promotion tool for my latest release, Courting Demons.
Is it affordable?  Yes.  It can be absolutely FREE if you do it all yourself.  I’m attempting to do it that way this time around but I know plenty of folks who hire companies to set up the tours for them.  There are certainly pros and cons to both routes but the bottom line is that you should always seek out ways to save money while still getting the word out there.
Obviously, you can always find ways to spend money while promoting your book.  You’ll see the little cute items I’m giving away for today’s appearance are just two examples of the party favor swag that are popular giveaways.  I’ve also done business cards, bookmarks, and custom designed goodies (look for my own Momwitch Bread Bag clips as giveaways throughout my tour), and once upon a time I designed custom book trailers for myself and other authors.  Then there are professional promotions companies, paid advertising, websites and social media.  Some are free and some are quite costly.
In all my years of writing (and in the past 2+ years since being published), I’ve tried just about all of the above.
And so you ask…
What are you doing to promote yourself?
KN:  I’m searching for the most affordable methods of meeting new readers and capturing their attention without spending a ton of money.  I enjoy the blog tour route (try to find blogs that appear to readers as much as or more so than other authors).  I’m doing some minor giveaways (like those cute promo swag items) but I’m also doing a major giveaway (one Amazon Kindle at the end of my tour).  But other than that, I’m seeking out opportunities where I can find people that might be interested in my book.  I’m on the search for the great niche market!

How important do you believe it is to have your own blog/ website/ FaceBook page/ twitter?
KN:  I believe you absolutely MUST have a decent website.  A blog is very nice if you are committed to posting regularly and I dabble some in Twitter.  If you can manage to keep your number of followers considerably higher than the number of folks you follow—you might get in and out of there without it being a time drain.  As far as that “other” site you mention—I don’t go there.   I believe that if you have the chance to play games and goof off, you’ll find your productivity decrease as a result.  Sometimes it is just not worth it. 

In your opinion, what would be Taboo?
KN:  Too much social networking can work against your productivity (as mentioned above).  I think trying to promote on sites where your subject matter could be found controversial would be another.  Otherwise, I think trying to sabotage someone else’s book signing/appearance or using professional meetings or loops as a place to chat up your own stuff is no good.  There have to be some rules of decorum.  This is a business just like anything else.

In your opinion, what is a complete waste of time?
KN:  A complete waste of time to me are things like high cost print ads.  I like e-cover ads and sell them very cheaply ($5 or less a month) on my promotions blog (www.thebookboost.blogspot.com).  But most of the other sites are charging double and triple digit amounts for a simple banner ad.  It blows my mind at the cost of advertising like this—plus print advertising boggles the brain waves as well.  Have you checked out some of those figures?  Anything that takes a lot of money from you off the top with no personal interaction between the reader and the author, is a waste of time and money, in my opinion.

Any words of encouragement for those just starting out?
KN:  Even before you sell your first book (or particularly if you’ve sold it but it hasn’t released yet), get that website going.  Sometimes the agents and editors like to see your web presence BEFORE they sign you.  Websites are the most affordable and highly effective way of reaching people in the market today.
I also believe that if you can find a good group blog with other established authors (preferably in your genre) that this could be a wealth of great cross promotion for a newbie author.  Ask around your chapters and see if anyone is looking for an eager new blogger.

Whatever you choose to do for promotion…it doesn’t have to be a mystery.  There are definitely folks out there willing to help provide you with every choice known to man and machine.  And, to answer the question…is affordable promotion a myth?  No way.  It is out there and I won’t stop until I’ve found it all.

©  Kerri Nelson 2011

Courting Demons

Paisley Barton was already having a bad day before she turned her husband into a rat.
First, she was fired by her boss and then came home to find hubby in the shower with a naked blonde chick. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but this break-up may just unleash hell on Earth when Paisley casts a spell of vengeance against her philandering husband.
After her spell casting inadvertently opens a portal between dimensions, Paisley finds her family home transformed into a nightly courtroom for settling disputes between demons of the underworld and she’s the judge! If that’s not enough, she’s got to deal with a charming, ancient demon named Camden who wants to be her personal bodyguard while trying to explain her husband’s sudden, mysterious disappearance to sexy police Detective Dalton Briggs.
But Paisley will show them all that an everyday working mom is better equipped than most to deal with the mystical mayhem…and with a tempting demon hottie and a flirtatious young detective vying for her affection, she soon learns that being single again isn’t so bad after all.
“When a wronged wife turns her cheating husband into a rat, you know you have to keep reading! Kerri Nelson offers up a lot of fun and wild magic in Courting Demons!” --Bestselling author Linda Wisdom, Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend

Author Bio:
Kerri Nelson discovered her love of writing at an early age and soon became a columnist for her local newspaper winning the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.

After a fifteen year career in the legal field, Kerri fulfilled her lifelong dream of publication and is now an award winning multi-published author of nearly every genre under the sun (and moon) and also writes young adult fiction under the penname K.G. Summers. 

A true southern belle, she comes complete with a dashing southern gentleman and three adorable children for whom she often bakes many homemade treats. 

Kerri is an active member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America as well as numerous chapters including Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal Writers and her Presidency of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Read more about Kerri’s books at her website:  www.kerrinelson.com
Follow her on Twitter here:  www.twitter.com/kerribookwriter
Visit her industry blog here:  www.thebookboost.blogspot.com

Buy Links (print and e-book versions available 9/15 wherever books are sold but here’s the publisher link—free gift available with purchase of print copy—while supplies last):

Giveaway for the day:
Leave a question or comment to be entered to win today’s prize: A Devil Duck + a Witch Broom Pen Combo Pack!

Then, enter to win my book tour Grand Prize Kindle by following me on tour and e-mailing me the answers to each question of the day at the end of tour.  The more questions you answer, the more entries you gain.
Question of the Day: 
Who sentences Paisley to a year of grievance judge duty?
Details on how to enter to win the GRAND PRIZE Kindle at the end of my “Dark Days of Demons Tour” located here:


  1. Great interview! However, I don't agree that an author should avoid Facebook because of the temptation to play games. One must be able to resist such time-wasters. :) I use Facebook but I don't play the games. There is just no time for it and I'd rather use that time for writing. I do agree, however, that it's crazy to pay triple digits for ads on a web site. I also feel that it's unfair to charge an author double digits just to create a book trailer that will only last for 1 minute. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. @Dawn~Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments. I'm sure I'm in the minority about my views on FB and many consider them all wonderful for promotion but I have many other reasons for staying clear of them as well. But we won't go there as it is outside the scope of the promotion discussion.

    Book trailers--at one time I was very addicted to them--enjoyed making them for myself and others. And you can do them for yourself for a nominal fee (some of those companies charge hundreds of dollars). But as a reader--I don't really watch them.

    I guess it all comes down to that in the end--are you reaching readers? And what will you do or pay to reach those readers?

  3. Since I write for 3 publishers and handle marketing for my brewing company I can speak volumes in favor of a Serious Time Management Program whereby each morning you devote X amount of hours to writing, Y to promotions and Z to whatever else (in my case beer sales).
    Gotta do it!
    thanks for the post
    well said.

  4. @Liz~How neat--beer sales! Bet the guys love you and follow you around, eh? ;-) Yep, I have a class that I taught for a while about time management. Very important stuff. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Hi Kerri! I'm really enjoying the tour. Great blog on self-promotion!
    One question - you said that new writers need to have a Web presence even before they are published. Is that to promote the writer as the "brand"? In a case like that, what would you expect to see on that newbie's Web site?
    I looked at your author site (http://www.kerrinelson.com/index.html) and noticed that you have personal info, interests, classes you teach, news (congrats on the Courting Demons honors in “Brags & Boasts”!), and so on. Just trying to figure out what unpublished authors should have on their sites.
    PS – I never joined Facebook because I know it would be a time drain for me. Eliminate the temptation before it starts!

  6. Enjoying the tour. Very interesting blog post. As a reader I enjoy the tours, they introduce me to new authors and their works. As for social media, I have a Facebook account, but I don't think I am of the generation that my whole world revolves around it. It doesn't control me.

  7. Great post Kerri and Jeannie. As a soon to be published author, I don't have a date yet, promotion is very much on my mind. I'm trying to learn how to get the most bang for my time and buck. I limit my time on social networks, but I do participate in them. I've made some great friends whom I support, and in turn I believe they'll do the same.

  8. Kerri, I hope you have fun on this blog tour, reach many readers and learn some new things about blogging and self-promotion. This was a great post and I agree that it's important to balance promotion and productivity. I have found that being on too many social media sites can actually make me lose touch with people. I feel spread too thinly. I like to stick to a few and connect with my friends there, and save room for people outside of the virtual world. Also, I regularly visit The Book Boost and enjoy it. It's cozy and a place I have learned about many new authors and books.

  9. @Rebecca~You always have great questions (and good for you on FB refrain, ;-) On a newbie's website it can be really simple before you sell. A nice "genre flavor" header or template, your pen name domain reserved, and maybe an "About Me" page with a photo and brief author bio. If you are a member of certain organizations (RWA, Sisters In Crime, or chapters of these type groups) you can link to them and state your affiliation. Just anything such as this to show that you are taking the business of writing as a serious thing. You are setting yourself up to promote yourself and your work as soon as they take a chance on you!

    Good luck with setting it.


  10. @JeanP~Good for you on the social media and thanks for being so supportive of my tour!

    @Jerrie~Never too early to start building that support system and thinking about promotion possibilities. Hope it works out well for you.

    @Na~I know you are one of my "regulars" at the Book Boost and I enjoy seeing you there whenever you visit. Thanks for choosing to follow me on tour. I'm honored.

    Thanks to all for a wonderful day and big shout out to my hostess, Jeanne! xo

  11. hiii Kerry! i stalk ya often as possible tho lately my time has been limmited im so glad this story is finally out and published! I dont watch trailors so it seems a waste to spend that kind of money. Then again i just started book reviews so it shocks me how some ppl charge to advertize some

  12. @SiNn~I understand about being busy and I can't believe it is finally out either--long, long wait on this one! Cool to hear you're doing reviews and hope to see you over at The Book Boost again soon.

    @Marsha~Sorry you had trouble posting to the blog and I really appreciate you taking the time to e-mail your message to me via Jeanne. Glad you like the sound of my book and hope you'll come out and blog with me again soon.

    Many thanks to all,

  13. Great advice, Kerri! Alot of authors spend more time promoting anymore, than writing. Because I LOVE to write, Id rather spend my time doing that. Maybe I should learn to balance the two, better!

    hugs, Kari Thomas, www.authorkari.com

  14. @Kari~Well said...it really is all about balance. Balance of time, balance of energy, balance of attention, and balance of that checkbook (ouch!) Thanks for stopping by over here, too.


  15. **WINNER**

    Via random draw (this time oldest daughter drew a winner by choosing a number) the winner of my daily giveaway (A Devil Duck + a Witch Broom Pen Combo Pack) is...



    Keep coming back on my daily stops for a chance to win more goodies along the way plus that big Kindle prize at the end.

    Thanks to all who stopped by and again, much gratitude to Ms. Jeanne! xo

  16. Hey Kerri, thanks for the prize! And a special thanks to your daughter for choosing my number!

  17. Wish I had known about this blog tour a month ago. Oh, well the Kindle is still up for grabs.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com

  18. @Kathryn~Just glad you found us! The tour rocks on through 11/8 when the winner will be announced. There may be other surprises in store as well. :-)