Category Archives: Marketing Tips

Introduction and Table of Contents to the Series of Blog Posts

UPDATE: The first sections of the novel are now published on the blog. To view the Table of Contents, click here. To go directly to the first chapter, click here. To read the latest novel post, click here. Subsequent sections will be blogged every other day thereafter until the complete manuscript is published.

These initial posts are a description of my efforts to create a marketing platform for my upcoming novel, Pleasing María, that will be published late 2015. I’m documenting these efforts in a series of posts so that they, if successful, may serve as a useful guide to others facing the daunting problems of getting their novels noticed amid the deluge of #BookSpam on Amazon and other publishers.

If the information in these posts is useful to you, please let me know. If you’d like to receive announcements of future blog posts, join the mailing list on the right side of this page. To contact me directly, reply to this post, or click on the CONTACT Guy ORDINARY link at the top of this page. Visit http://PleasingMaria.com to read the novel as blog posts starting November, 2015. If you know of good solutions to the problems I’m trying to solve, please contact me. Good luck with your novel!

All the contents of this web site are Copyright © 2015 by Guy Ordinary, all rights reserved. The contents have been registered as a published work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Yet More Super Boring Technical Details about Twitter in my Author’s Marketing Platform

UPDATE: The novel, Pleasing María, is blogged at website PleasingMaria.com. To view the Table of Contents, click here. To go directly to the first chapter, click here. To read the latest novel post, click here.

If you thought the last post was boring, this post is much worse – hit the back button now and escape, otherwise…

Quotes, and the processing thereof:

I’ve continued to scrape quotes from various websites, and have several thousand quotes, of varying quality accumulated. These quotes fall into many different categories, which presents several management difficulties. Because the novel I’ll be soon publishing is romantic erotica, I want to tweet quotes primarily in these categories:

  • Erotica/Romance
  • Writing/authorship/self-publishing
  • Travel/erotica – for subsequent novels in the series.
  • Inspiration/motivational

The last category is chosen on the advice of Michael Rogan in his eBook, “Twitter Marketing That Doesn’t Suck”. With thousands of quotes to manage, I’ve had to find and build some programs to help manage them. Working in the Linux and Windows environments, building my Author’s Marketing Platform has been interesting and fun, especially coding the C programs on Linux, an area where I worked for many years. Some specific tools:

  • sort -u – to eliminate exact duplicates in the quotes database. A standard Linux program.
  • shuf and sort -R – programs to shuffle and randomize quotes. Standard Linux programs.
  • vim – a text editor with Regular Expression capabilities. This makes cleaning-up web scrapes pretty easy. A standard Linux program now ported to Windows. This is a text editor intended for programming, not a word processor. Its command set is archaic and obtuse, but if you need to work with large quantities of messy text, its implementation of Regular Expressions is unbeatable.
  • similar – a program to find duplicate quotes with small variations (they’re not exact duplicates) using a string distance algorithm. String distances between 25 and 30 work best. This is a small C program that I wrote.
  • strip140 – to separate out quotes that are too long for tweets. A trivial C program.
  • SeparateQuotes – a program, to review (by eyeball) quotes and assign them to my categories. A small C program I created.
  • VirtualBox – allows me to run Linux on my powerful Windows computer (and my Netbook). Available for free from Oracle at https://www.virtualbox.org.  I installed a minimal Linux, Tiny Core. This is not for the faint-hearted.
  • ManageTweets – my personal program to combine quotes, twitter user addresses, URLs, and hashtags into Hootsuite format. This is a larger C program that I’ve continued to refine as my understanding of Twitter has evolved.

Regarding tweets and Hootsuite, there are several issues:

  1. Tweet real-estate is very limited – 140 characters max.
  2. Hootsuite reduces tweet length to 125 characters if you include a URL.
  3. Hootsuite allows a maximum of 350 tweets to be bulk scheduled. This is ridiculously low, as socialoomph.com allows 5,000 tweets to be scheduled.
  4. Hootsuite doesn’t allow duplicate quotes.
  5. Hootsuite auto-shortens URLs (good), but only puts their auto-shortened URLs at the end of the tweet (bad).
  6. Hootsuite’s strongest advantage over other bulk-scheduling programs is the ability to schedule tweets at specific times. The negatives are: 1) only one tweet can be scheduled at a specific time, and 2) times are at 5 minute boundaries.
  7. I’ve discovered that many of my followers are located in the UK and farther east; Hootsuite’s ability to schedule tweets at specific times is useful for reaching those folks during their time of peak usage.

My tweet management program, ManageTweet, works around issues 2-5 by implementing substitution macros within the tweets that are substituted for twitter addresses, URLs, or hashtags as the tweets are created. For example, the macro %DA*% is changed into a twitter address; the macro %GO36% becomes “http://GuyOrdinary.com/?p=36”; the macro %HER% becomes the hashtag “#EroticaAuthor”. I can redefine these macros dynamically to change their meaning and can put the macros anywhere within a tweet, so a URL can be put at the front or in the middle of a tweet, for example.  Regarding issue 6, I can set schedule interval times and increase tweets at peak times. (I warned you that this would be boring!) My personal Twitter management tool is now basically complete; I still need some hashtag improvements.

Immediate projects I need to work on:

  • Understand the full power and etiquette of hashtags, and incorporate them better into my tweet management program.  At the moment, I mainly use #EroticaAuthor to inform readers of my non-kinky quotes of my principal focus.
  • Categorize my quotes, find more sex related quotes, and improve their quality.
  • Launch-time promotions for my novel. I’ve got some interesting and novel ideas for these promotions, but will keep them under wrap until they are better developed.

If you’d like to receive announcements of future blog posts, join the mailing list on the right side of this page. To contact me directly, reply to this post, or click on the CONTACT GUY ORDINARY link at the top of this page. Visit http://PleasingMaria.com to read the novel as blog posts starting in November, 2015. If you know of good solutions to the problems I’m trying to solve, please contact me. Good luck!

All the contents of this web site are Copyright © 2015 by Guy Ordinary, all rights reserved. The contents have been registered as a published work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

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Super Boring Technical Details about Twitter in my Author’s Marketing Platform

UPDATE: The novel, Pleasing María, is blogged at website PleasingMaria.com. To view the Table of Contents, click here. To go directly to the first chapter, click here. To read the latest novel post, click here.

The challenge of Twitter is to find and form relationships with other folks where there is mutual interest. As a writer of romantic erotica (RE), the people I would like to meet are readers of RE first, then authors of RE, then eBook marketers and publishers, and then the vast group of interesting people of many interests.

  • The first group, readers of RE, are hard to identify as they are not nicely self-identified by hashtags, for example.
  • The last group, interesting people, are even harder to find, yet this group is very important – they will be the source of many writing inspirations.
  • Twitter is a real-time broadcast medium – your tweets go out when posted to your followers, and then will probably be buried within seconds by the tweets of the other people that your followers are following. In other words, you need to post your tweets when the people you’d like to talk with have their eyeballs on the screen.
  • So, you need to be watching and tweeting 24 hours per day to reach your worldwide audience.
  • If you ‘mention’ the Twitter address of someone in a tweet, and they are tracking their ‘mentions’, then there is a far greater chance that they will see your tweet. However, this direct addressing may be considered spam by many recipients and by Twitter.

As I’m unable to be on Twitter more than 2 hours per day, how can I get noticed and induce the groups of twitter users that interest me to follow me? Then how do I get my tweets to them in the moment when they’ll actually see it? I’ve searched on Amazon for what other authors have done, purchased their eBooks, and extracted and modified their techniques for my own use. I’ll identify and describe the authors/books that I found most useful in another post. Up to this moment, here’s what I’ve done:

  • To provide 24 hour tweeting with interesting content, I’ve followed the advice of Michael Rogan in his eBook, “Twitter Marketing That Doesn’t Suck” – I post interesting, humorous or thought-provoking quotes periodically 24 hours per day.
    • I use Michael Rogan’s suggested ratio of tweets – 80% pure content tweets, 20% promotional tweets. The content tweets are quotes; the promotional tweets are references to blog posts, such as this one. The content tweets include the hashtag #EroticaAuthor to give recipients of generic quotes a clue about me.
    • To find appropriate quotes, I’ve scraped quotes from numerous websites, choosing quotes in subjects that should appeal to the folks I want to attract. This is very, very tedious work, requiring hours-on-hours of searching and reformatting. Fortunately, I’m an old Unix/Linux programmer so I know how to use regular expressions to reformat scraped quotes. This is ongoing work.
    • For 24 hour scheduling, I use the tweet scheduling function of Hootsuite (HS) because HS allows scheduling at precise times. This service costs about $10 dollars per month.
    • To generate the tweets that will be scheduled by HS, I wrote a program (on Linux) that combines content quotes and promotional messages in the desired ratio, Twitter user addresses (if desired), hashtags, URLs, and tweet times into batches of tweets in HS format.
    • At the moment, @TheGuyOrdinary is my focus Twitter username, so one-to-four tweets are scheduled every hour. @PleasingMaria and my other Twitter usernames tweet once per hour.  When my focus changes from eBook marketing to the novel itself, these periods will flip over. The program I mentioned above increases the number of tweets during my followers peak on-screen time.
    • I’ve connected Twitter to my blogs, GuyOrdinary.com and PleasingMaria.com, and to my Facebook pages, Guy Ordinary and Pleasing Maria.

If  you’d like to receive announcements of future blog posts, join the mailing list on the right side of this page. To contact me directly, click on the Contact Guy Ordinary link at the top of this page. Visit PleasingMaria.com to read the novel as blog posts starting in November, 2015.

All the contents of this web site are Copyright © 2015 by Guy Ordinary, all rights reserved. The contents have been registered as a published work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Developing my Author’s Marketing Platform

UPDATE: The novel, Pleasing María, is blogged at website PleasingMaria.com. To view the Table of Contents, click here. To go directly to the first chapter, click here. To read the latest novel post, click here.

In the chapter, “WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING” from his book, “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!”, John Locke gave 11 general activities for developing an author’s marketing platform:

  1. Set goals – project goals, not sales goals.
  2. Join Twitter.
  3. Develop a brand.
  4. Keep writing books.
  5. Create a website with a “contact me” button.
  6. Give interviews and participate in guest blogs.
  7. ePublish at an unfair price.
  8. Love your readers and personally respond to them.
  9. Think of your books as employees.
  10. Develop a list of guaranteed buyers.
  11. Target marketing. Selling downloads is nothing more than writing to a specific audience, and knowing how to find them. Your specific audience is your niche. Finding your niche is called target marketing.

For first-time, unpublished authors (me), activities 1-5 establish the foundation of your eBook marketing platform.
The remainder of this post is technical, probably boring details. Here’s my progress:

#3 – The name and concept of Guy Ordinary (just an ordinary guy in extraordinary situations) is my primary brand, the protagonist and author of the first book, Pleasing María. Because the Pleasing María series may comprise additional books, it’s a secondary yet important brand also. To cement the brands, I’ve established website/blogs for both brands, GuyOrdinary.com and PleasingMaria.com, registered these as users at both at Twitter and Facebook, and also registered hashtags for both at hashtags.org. Boring detail: registered the domain names (easy and cheap, about $25), and installed WordPress (easy and free). I found some photos on stock photos sites that I thought expressed the tone of the book, about $75, and used them for the blogs, twitter, and facebook.

#2 and #5 – done.

#4 – Even before publishing my first novel, I’ve started working on subsequent novels in the series, at this point, sketching out the outlines and writing some of the significant scenes. This is wild, creative fun.

#6-#12 – These kick in when I publish the first novel, probably late 2015 or early 2016.

If you’d like to receive announcements of future blog posts, join the mailing list on the right side of this page. To contact me directly, click on the Contact Guy Ordinary link at the top of this page. Visit PleasingMaria.com to read the novel as blog posts starting in November 2015.

All the contents of this web site are Copyright © 2015 by Guy Ordinary, all rights reserved. The contents have been registered as a published work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

What I did Wrong

UPDATE: The novel, Pleasing María, is blogged at website PleasingMaria.com. To view the Table of Contents, click here. To go directly to the first chapter, click here. To read the latest novel post, click here.

Like spontaneous combustion, my novel, Pleasing María, burst from my soul onto paper without the slightest regard for whom, if anyone, might ever find and read it. Wanting even my first novel to be successful, I decided to delay publishing until I was ready to properly market it. Where do I start?  John Locke in “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!” provided the big picture of failure:

“WHAT YOU’RE (Probably) DOING WRONG

“If your book is decent and you’re not selling lots of copies I know exactly what you’re doing wrong. It’s one or all of these four things:

  • You didn’t have a plan for writing your book.
  • You didn’t have a plan for marketing it.
  • You don’t know who your target audience is.
  • You don’t know how to find the target audience.

“If you don’t have a plan for writing and marketing your books, the only way you can become successful is by pure chance!”

The first point above was moot – I had already written the book! And I had broken the first rule of writing (the third point): know your audience. Realizing that the novel must be marketed to be successful (the second point), I wondered how I would find my audience (the fourth point). I found this answer by John Locke in the same book:

“But the key to my success is I write to a specific audience (niche), and know how to find them (target marketing).”

“The best way to find your target audience is to write something original! When you’re truly original, the mainstream readers of that genre will often consider your work outrageous, or shocking, or insane, or unique, or weird, or all these things, but that’s okay. If it’s your original voice, stand proud and pick one of your books to slam down the throats of the entire obvious audience. Then be strong enough to deal with the high percentage of hate reviews you will certainly get from those who don’t “get” your work.”

“If you’re not offending a significant number of readers, your writing is probably not very original. And the less original you’re writing, the less loyal your fan base will be.”

So, even though I wrote my novel without knowing my specific niche within the Romantic Erotica genre, I can still find my specific audience by targeting the entire genre, knowing that I’ll get a lot of negative feedback from the folks I offend. I can handle that. And having found my audience, I can learn to market to them.

Future posts will describe my plan and the detail of implementing the plan. If you’d like to receive announcements of these future blog posts, join the mailing list on the right side of this page. To contact me directly, click on the Contact Guy Ordinary link at the top of this page. Visit PleasingMaria.com to read the novel as blog posts beginning in November 2015.

All the contents of this web site are Copyright © 2015 by Guy Ordinary, all rights reserved. The contents have been registered as a published work with the U.S. Copyright Office.