As you learned last week, it was a loooooong process to get The Maze: Book Three of The Osteria Chronicles complete, but now that Release Day is looming it’s time to set the book launch plans into motion.

But before the book launch push (aka “be warned, there will be heavy marketing going on in this area very soon”) fully kicks into gear, I’ve been heeding the simplest book marketing ploy ever, trying something that makes me feel dirty, and getting ready for a pre-book launch vacation.

A Little Redesign = No-Brainer Marketing

As I was formatting the print and electronic versions of The Maze (aka “Book Three”), I knew I needed to get into the files for The Trials of Hercules (Book One) and The Voyage (Book Two) and do a little work.

One of the tasks was to give the first two books an overall tidying up since (in trying to be fancy) I had put in some graphics I no longer liked and some information was way out of date. My goal was to give the interior of all three books a very similar look and I have to say, the first two books look much cleaner now.

Another task was updating the front and back matter to include the upcoming book*, give less emphasis to my non-fiction books (which I’m slowly phasing out because some of them are just embarrassing to admit I’ve written), and to update my author bio**.

I had thought of designing new covers for the first two books, but since the cover you helped me pick for book three (thank you, everyone!!) matched the style of the first two, I decided to put that task on hold for now. I did however, make a little color change to The Voyage to give it that same super-saturated warm tone as the other two books.

I’m still not sure about the change since I do like the ominous darkness of the old cover, but I thought the color-boosted cover might be more eye-catching. Any thoughts?

*By the way, to other self-published writers out there, updating your front and back matter to include your list of current books and your updated bio is the simplest way to market yourself and your books. Your readers have one of your books in hand and, if they liked that book, making it as easy as possible for them to find your other work is just smart business sense.

**This need to make updates is why you MUST MUST MUST double check your publisher’s rules about making changes to your manuscript. Some print publishers charge for ANY change (even fixing a single typo); others charge nothing. Keep this in mind when selecting a publisher for your print books.

I Feel So Dirty

Another task made me grit my teeth, but I thought I’d give it a try. A recent book marketing blog post from Written Word Media gave some tips on how to make your books more searchable on Amazon. One tip, a rather painless one, was to include your genre in your book’s title, but to make that genre something more specific than just “fantasy fiction” or “romance novel.” So, I scanned my little brain and decided to add “Greek Gods Epic Fantasy Series” the the title of books one and three to test this idea out. I also followed their advice to update my keywords…something I’m glad I did because my old keywords were terribly generic!

Another tip was far more painful because it feels so “market-y.” The tip said to include a comparison to a popular book or author in your book’s description. I guess the idea is that if someone is searching for “Stephen King” and you put his name in your description you’ll show up in the search and – even though the person is obviously looking for Stephen King – they’ll somehow end up buying your book instead (drunk shopping, perhaps?).

Since I’m not really sure what books/authors my series is comparable to, I opted for Game of Thrones since it’s an epic historical fantasy and my dad mentioned that the book reminded him of Game of Thrones (but with a Greek-type setting instead of a medieval-type setting). So, grudgingly, I worked up a sentence that included “Game of Thrones.” I know, I’m such a whore.

To see if this does anything but make me feel dirty, I’m trying three different tactics: I tacked it onto the intro description for The Trials of Hercules, put it at the very end of the description for The Maze, and left it off The Voyage‘s description altogether. Then I took a shower to wash away some of my shame.

Speaking of Game of Thrones…

Marketing Plans I Hope to Stick With

Another bit of prep work is filling pages and pages of scrap paper with marketing plans including a behind-the-scenes peek at the series, pre-order specials (coming VERY soon), and book giveaways which you’ll be hearing about over the next couple months (hopefully not to the point that I drive you away).

As for me, in about 48 hours Mr. Husband, Finn McSpool, and I are heading off to Hawaii for (almost) two weeks of snorkeling and swimming and sweating in the tropics. But don’t worry, I won’t leave you blog-less. I’ve got several posts waiting in a WordPress holding pattern – posts that…

  • will give you a big hint on how you can boost your book-buying budget,
  • will clarify how to order print books in a way that gets you the best deal,
  • and a very exciting announcement is coming on the 27th!!

Oh, and I’m sure Finn will want to share a picture of himself sipping a tropical cocktail or doing the hula or riding a sea turtle. Hopefully not all at the same time, but you never know with him.

Have a great rest of the week everyone and, as always, I thrive on comments so be sure to leave one!!

Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii


15 thoughts on “A Little Makeover for Super Simple Book Marketing

  1. Sounds to me like you’re making smart marketing choices. Not dirty at all. There are tons of books out there. If you can increase your visibility by doing these things, more power to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Carrie, you’ve taken away a tiny speck of my dirty shame! I might feel a little less awkward about it if I could find a book or series that more closely matched the idea/setting of my own, but the only comparison I’ve gotten in that regard was to the Percy Jackson series, which – since mine definitely aren’t books for kids – I don’t think would be good to put in my descriptions. Still, I’ll try out the GoT thing until I can come up with something else.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooooooh man, I totally know what you mean. Music websites force you to list who you ‘sound like’ … and while I have been highly influenced by, like, the greatest band ever, I feel borderline absurd typing out their name. BUT it *is* super useful for your consumers to get a better picture of what you’re offering. I know there are plenty of people who will have read all of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ (so far) and will be clamoring to get their hands on some similar material! Just take a shower, and you’ll feel better in morning (possibly mostly because you’ll be in Hawaii).

    Also, have you explored around for some indie-type titles in your genre? There might be some lesser known novels that are similar to yours with cult followings. Good luck and have a wonderful holiday!


    1. But really, shouldn’t Greatest Band Ever be just a music genre of its own!? I’m glad no one is forcing me to do this so I can at least play around with seeing how it works. My main fear is that Song of Ice & Fire junkies will read one of my books and wonder how in the world it compares to GoT. Speaking of, when playing around with names for my world, one of the most fitting (since the books are set in the U.S. Northwest) was super close to Westeros. When the similarity dawned on me, I wasn’t enough of a whore to stick with it (so frustrating). And yes, it is on my post-vacation to-do list to scour some popular indie books that more closely fit my books. I just recently found out that Amazon has a category for Greek & Roman Fantasy Fiction, so I’m going to check out some titles under that heading to find a better (and less shameful) match. Thanks for stopping by!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aurghhh *shakes fist at George R. R. Martin* !! Maybe you should just don a little cap and some suspenders and fully embrace the comparison. But seriously, if someone reads your novel and enjoys it, they probably won’t remember/worry about where they got the idea to read it/that it’s different from GoT! And, ah, thanks Amazon! I think a perusal of your pretty specific genre will be really useful.

        I hope you’re having a relaxing holiday away from the stress of marketing for awhile!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Isn’t it amazing how marketing has the ability to make us all feel a little seedy? It’s something I really hate doing, too! But reading over these, the ideas make sense, and they don’t come across as sleazy at all… I hope you see some good results from them! Oh, and would it be worth name-checking the Iliad and the Odyssey in the keywords as well? Maybe not the classical translations, but any written in more modern English?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for making me feel a molecule-size less sleazy. Marketing is an evil evil thing that they really should train you for starting in grade school, then maybe it would come more naturally. If only I’d had a lemonade stand! Im sure I’ll have to continually mix up my keywords to make Amazon happy, so I’ll keep the modern day Iliad and Odyssey treatments in mind (plus, books 5&6) will be mostly based on those two tales, so it wouldn’t be too far off the mark at all.


      1. Woohoo! I’m useful! 😀 And you’re right, I probably would have benefitted from getting marketing training in school, rather than learning calculus and chemistry! Oh no, wait… Can I go back in time and do marketing instead of Phys Ed? Even marketing is better than playing hockey! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What!? You mean you don’t use calculus on a daily basis? I guess since most of my PE time was spent hiding behind bleachers and talking to my friends, that class could have fallen into the category of pre-marketing training. 😂😂😂


      3. Whaaaat? You had bleachers to hide behind? Luxury! On the barren grey hockey pitch of my youth, there was nowhere to shelter from the fury of the gales that whipped across it, or the inexplicable enthusiasm our teacher had for the pursuit of running after a ball with a stick. I feel colder just thinking about it! 😆


      4. Well, ours were football fields (bleachers for seating during those oh so exciting high school football games) that the teachers thought we should run around on the track. Fools! Didn’t they realize I had hair I didn’t want messed up!?


      5. Ah, but the clever designers of the sports world put running tracks around football fields here…each trip around is a quarter mile which should only take a few minutes…unless you get “lost” under the bleachers in a gossip session.


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