Let's talk Marketing with Best-Selling Author Chelsea Cameron.
"I think the single greatest marketing force is book bloggers."
Hey Hey again!
No, it's not Monday. Yes, that was only yesterday. Don't panic. I've been lucky enough to get to interview Chelsea Cameron regarding marketing and felt that deserved its own post, even though it isn't our normal day.
"I was much more liberal with review copies, because I wanted to get it in the hands of as many readers as possible."
Chelsea Cameron is the New York Times/USA Today best-selling author of My Favorite Mistake. My Favorite Mistake is a New Adult novel that has rocked the NA world, and has helped bring attention to it. Not only that, but it's a great novel!
Here's a little about Chelsea:
Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times and USA Today best selling NA/YA writer from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.
She is the author of five books, including Nocturnal, Nightmare and Neither, the first three books in The Noctalis Chronicles, Whisper, the first book in the Whisper Trilogy, and My Favorite Mistake. Coming January 12, 2013, Deeper We Fall.
Yesterday, I talked about marketing on the blog. Chelsea was awesome enough to let me continue that theme and discuss marketing with her. Take note, people, take note! I think it's safe to say that Chelsea definitely knows what she is doing when it comes to this.
LG: Did you have a marketing plan prior to releasing your novel?
Chelsea: I never really had much of a plan for my previous books, but since My Favorite Mistake was in a new genre, I wanted to go for it. I stalked other NA author's blogs, including Tammara Webber and Colleen Hoover and Jamie McGuire. At that point, I barely had any of the book written, but I wanted to be organized and prepared. Even before I knew how the book was going to end, I was on the lookout for cover images and writing a blurb. Weirdly enough, writing the blurb before the book helped me focus the story more, and it's something I'll continue to do. I released the cover and blurb two months before the book was slated to come out. I had a small following of book bloggers from my other books, so I gave them ARCs as soon as I had them available. I also put the first chapter of M. Leighton's The Wild Ones (which has since become a NY Times Bestseller) in the back of my book, and she did the same with the first chapter of MFM. Her book came out first, so I got the better end of that deal :) I also started planning a blog tour for right after the book released, and posted lots of teasers on Goodreads and my Facebook page.
LG: Do you have any previous experience in marketing?
Chelsea: I have a degree in journalism, so I'd done some marketing in school, and my mother runs a small business, so I hope a little of her expertise has rubbed off on me. I think my philosphy when it comes to marketing is that I'm willing to take risks. You never know what's going to work until you try it.
LG: Did you do anything specific for this novel that was different than what you did for your YA novels?
Chelsea: I was much more liberal with review copies, because I wanted to get it in the hands of as many readers as possible. I also posted a lot of little sexy teasers that I wouldn't have if the book was YA. I think reaching NA readers is just as hard as reaching other readers. There's no magic formula. All you can do is write a good book, edit it, give it a good cover, put it out there and hope for the best. If there's anything I've learned about this experience, it's that you can't force a bestseller. They just happen, like lightning.
LG: Did you have problems with tagging the novel as New Adult when it came to amazon, B&N etc?
Chelsea: From the very beginning, I stated that this was a New Adult book. I took the category by the horns, so to speak. I wasn't able to place it in that category on Amazon or any of the other online retailers, so I just stuck it in Contemporary Romance and hoped for the best. I also put a disclaimer on the blurb stating that it was New Adult and intended for mature audiences.
LG: Since NA is so new, it seems to me that marketing it is very similar to the marketing an Indie author has to do. What do you think?
Chelsea: I think that indie authors have grabbed onto the NA category much more so than those who are traditionally published. I find this hilarious because of how many people I've heard of that were told by publishers that NA didn't exist and no one would buy it. Now publishers are falling over themselves to get their hands on indie NA titles. Every week there's news about a new indie being picked up by a huge publishing house, myself included.
In terms of marketing, what I've been noticing lately is that the indies lead the way. One of them will try a marketing strategy, it will work, and then the publishers take notice. Indies are the poineers. The crazy ones who decided to go for gold, even when everyone tells them not to. I think the single greatest marketing force is book bloggers. They MAKE bestsellers. One recommendation from a respected blogger can turn a book into a bestseller. NEVER underestimate the power of book bloggers.
LG: Any other words of wisdom you would like to share?
Chelsea: I'd say take risks. Sure, you may fail, but you'll learn something. My Favorite Mistake was a huge risk for me, but I felt so strongly about it, that I re-arranged my entire life to make this book happen. I've never written a book so easily, or felt so consumed by it. I felt that way about my other books, but this one just felt like MORE. The book I'm writing now, Deeper We Fall, is the exact opposite. It's fighting me every step of the way, but I know in the end I'll get there. It will be worth the effort because I'm passionate about the characters and their journey.
Write the story that burns inside you. The story you can't get out of your head. Don't be afraid to contact book bloggers. Seriously, they're the best people. Have I told you how much I love them? I DO. Make a killer cover. I made all of my own, but recently hired Sarah Hansen, from Okay Creations, and I'm so happy not to be fiddling around with stock images anymore.
NEVER, I repeat, NEVER publish a book without having someone with at least a little editing experience read it and go over it. Do NOT cut corners when it comes to editing and covers. I hear a lot of people say that they can't afford it, but the thing is, if you put out a poorly-edited book with a crappy cover, no one is going to buy it anyway, so why bother? You're much better off waiting until you can afford it, or trying to find someone to help you who knows what they're doing. Visit Kindleboards.com. Don't go it alone. The indie community is AWESOME. Take advantage :)
Can I second that, Chelsea? Nicely said and so true!
Thank you so very very much Chelsea for letting me, and the blog, talk marketing with you!
Seriously, people, she's so sweet. And a great writer. Go read her novels. Stat.