Stacey Kayne is a multi-published author of western historical romance. The second book in her WILD series, Maverick Wild, blazed into bookstores this January. Watch for the second book in her BRIDE series, The Gunslinger’s Untamed Bride, coming this July.
Awards: Stacey is a four-time Golden Heart finalist and multi-award-winning author.
Maverick Wild: Haunted by a promise he couldn’t keep, and a past he can’t forget. Chance Morgan locked his heart away from the world—until part of his past travels halfway across the states to find him. Plagued by horse thieves and marriage-minded females, the last thing Chance needs is a woman on his ranch. Cora Mae Tindale is more than a distracting array of curls and curves . . . she holds the key to his heart and unleashes a desire he refuses to trust.
Stacey Kayne’s WILD World of Promotion
On July 24, 2006, lightning finally struck and I sold my first book! Two days later I was flying off to Atlanta for RWA National and had an amazing time cheering and celebrating with all my writing pals. My plane touched back down in California a week later, and that was when it hit me . . . in eight short months I would have a book on the shelves . . . that gave me four months to prepare . . . in the midst of meeting new deadlines—aaahhhh!!!!
For those on the brink of taking the fast drop from “When will I ever sell a blasted book!” to “Oh crap! I have a book coming out!!!” here’s some helpful tools to guide you into that rollicking world we call BOOK PROMOTION.
Stacey’s Promo Starter Kit:
- Website—nowadays many websites are free (Go Daddy, HostMySite.com) or cost next to nothin’ and everyone is on the Internet! Websites are awesome for keeping your readers up to date with new books and what’s happening in your career.
- Online Newsletter–don’t wait for that book to hit the shelves, get that book info up on your site and start growing your reader list during the excitement of your sale! Life flies by and many months pass before your baby makes it into bookstores. With a newsletter, you can help out those like me with memory-deficiency disorders, letting me know the book I’ve been waiting for is finally available. Some online newsletter services are actually free until your member list hits a certain number. I use Constant Contact, and I have friends who use Mail Chimp.
- FREE Promo–ya just can’t beat it, and those promo dollars add up quick, so don’t pass these up! Your book is HUGE NEWS!!
- Send a press release (one-page announcement with book info, cover, a little bio and picture) to all your local newspapers, local news shows, online and local writing chapters.
- Book reviews–does your publisher send out for reviews? If not, this is another free promotion opportunity you want to jump on early, as most reviewers like to get the book 3-4 months before its release. Many review sites allow you to upload a pdf file of the book, which is handy and saves postage. Some quick review sites: Romance Junkies, All About Romance, Love Western Romances, Romance Reader At Heart, CataRomance, The Romance Reader, Historical Romance Club, Novel Spot, Arm Chair Reviews, New and Used Books . . . (there’s a ton–Google).
- Many online book review sites and industry blogs (perhaps your agent’s *g*) offer Author Interviews and Guest Spots–great venue for meeting new readers. Check it out and get hooked up!
- Bookmarks–readers, booksellers, and reader groups love ’em! They’re handy, useful, and easy to pass out. I use Earthly Charms for mine (sample posted on my blog), but there are many online bookmark sources available. If you’re going to do bookmark promotion, I also suggest using Pat Rouse’s Reader Group List. The list is purchased through Pat for around $80, and lists just about every Reader Group in existence with names and contact information, genre preferences (this alone is fabulous, because you know you’re sending your bookmarks to folks who read your kind of book), and ready-print Avery mailing label files with all the addresses and the number of members in each reader group. Romantic Times also offers a program called RT Booksellers That Care program—you send them 7,000 bookmarks bundled in groups of ten, and for about a hundred dollars they’ll distribute the bookmarks to bookstores across the U.S.—info can be found on the RT website. Personally I prefer Pat Rouse’s list, simply because I hear back from booksellers who’ve appreciated my bookmarks—if you can do both bookmark programs, even better.
- Author Promotion Site–such as Fresh Fiction, The Romance Club, Author Island (to name a few) reach a broad audience and offer all kinds of promotion packages. I’ve used features on each of these and have a membership with Fresh Fiction. Running a contest on these sites is great for building an online Newsletter list—Fresh Fiction offers an Excel spreadsheet of entrants (can be in the 1000s!) that is easily uploaded to online Newsletter sites.
- Online Book Banners–reader sites and review sites often have space for website book banners that link to your website (sample posted on my blog). Some review sites and author promotion sites create banners that can be fairly inexpensive, $10-$50. Some sites will post banners for free, others charge between $10 and $25 a month.
- Magazine Ads–personally, I do three mag ads for each book–Romantic Times, The Romance Writers Report, Romance Sells. All have to be reserved 3-4 months in advance. If you have a release date, it’s never too early to reserve your spot. Because I like one-stop shopping and Su at Earthly Charms is great to work with, she also designs my ads for me, but you can do them yourself if you’re far more computer savvy than I am.
- Group Blog–I joined up with Petticoats & Pistols, a western authors’ blog started by Pam Crooks, a site devoted to western readers. This year some other writer pals and I launched Writers At Play, a multi-genre group blog. I love group blogs for two specific reasons, cross-promotion (sharing of friends and readers), and shared responsibility—blogging is time-consuming, but a day or two a month is manageable (usually!).
- Extras–totally not a necessity, but a couple things I like to have for book signings and writing conferences are fridge magnets with my logo and pens with my website and logo. I also offer them free to my readers who want to mail me a SASE. I used Earthly Charms for my pens, and have purchased buttons and magnets with my logo on them from VistaPrint.com and Zazzle.com. A logo is another option. I went with a dragonfly theme because I wanted something that was visually appealing and, well, I love dragonflies. Perhaps not the best branding strategy, but they sure look nice on the fridge or pinned to a conference badge!
And last but not least, an author’s best promotion is to write another great book.
So, that wraps up my spiel on quick-start promotion—a list I wish I would have had a year and a half ago. Anyone else have promo tips that have worked well? For the readers out there, help us out—what type of promo items do you like best?