Finding New Ways to Shine

Hey folks. It’s been a busy month since we last met. PJ Sharon here, on this first Thursday of March. I’ve been finishing up edits on my contemporary YA romance called PIECES OF LOVE, due out the first part of June. I also spent ten hours in the recording studio hammering out the theme song for the book!

I’ve had to bump my production schedule back after some, hehemm…technical difficulties with my cover artist. Basically I’m starting from scratch with someone new on the project so I’m excited to see what they come up with but I’m chomping at the bit to get it done. Admittedly, I also wanted a little more time to prepare for my launch this go round. As many of you are writers and authors, you know the importance of preparation when it comes to marketing and promoting your books well—especially in today’s competitive marketplace. But how do we find new ways to shine the light on our product?

I’ve been trying to think of some out-of-the-box ideas to add to the tried and true methods that others are using to launch their books successfully. Many of these ideas came from an awesome workshop I recently took with Amy Atwell and her pal Kelli at Author EMS. This was my takeaway from the workshop (which offered sooo much more), and what I came up with specifically for my book. There’s much to be done but I’ll try to implement at least the following over the next few months:

1)     Happy Couple Cover Reveal-Introduce a piece of the cover each week for three or four weeks leading up to launch (“Pieces” of love…get it? **ggg**). You guys get the first peek right here! Along with an excerpt, I’ll share each piece with newsletter readers first, and then on my FB page, attempting to gain momentum for the full reveal date—which I will advertise profusely as soon as it becomes available:-)

2)      Get reviews-this is my first time pushing for reviews ahead of launch, but it makes sense to me to get as many as possible before launch day to create buzz and to have enough reviews to get an add on Book bub and ENT-which have to be set up weeks ahead and budgeted for.

**If anyone is interested in an advanced reader copy (ARC) in exchange for an honest review, I’ll have those available in the next few weeks. Just leave a comment below and let me know you’re interested or e-mail me off loop if you like at pjsharon64 (at) gmail (dot) (com).

3) Pre-orders-Smashwords offers a way for Indies to do pre-orders…YAY!!! Mark Coker. Thanks, man. On a limited basis, Amazon might do this as well, but I’d have to look further into that possibility. If any of you has done it, I’d love to hear how.

4)      Release of song to i-Tunes. Yes, PIECES OF LOVE, the theme song to my book will be available for a .99 cent download on i-Tunes in the very near future! I’ll keep you posted as to when it’s available for sale. Part of the song will be used for the book trailer, which will hopefully cross-pollinate attention for both the song and the book, and bring something unique to readers of YA fiction. A link will be available within the e-book so readers can listen to a song that Lexi writes and sings in the story. I’m very proud and excited about the finished product.

And NO—I’m not starting a new career as a recording artist. This is something I did for fun and for my love of music. I think readers will get a kick out of hearing the author’s voice. Now, I know that not everyone can write music or sing, but how cool would it be to add within your e-book, a link to a pod cast or a personal message to readers about your book? Maybe a three to five minute interview about where the idea came from and so on.

Multimedia integration is where the industry seems to be headed, so why not get creative? Beyond having links to your other books, your newsletter sign up, and social media sites, you can offer live chats or book club discussions. Or maybe offer access to a private page on your website for readers of that particular book, giving them deleted scenes, playlists, a contest or some other special privileges unique to your books theme.

4)      Release book trailer—see above. There are several sites that promote book trailers, one being the USA Today HEA blog. I’ll try to get the trailer out to as many as I can find that are within my budget. Hear that honey? Get working on that book trailer!

5)      Launch book-There are a dozen or more steps that have to happen before I get to this point, but on launch day, the plan comes to life. A FB party launch seems to work well these days. Although teens are hanging out less and less on FB and more on Instagram, I have a pretty enthusiastic cross-over market with adult readers who enjoy my contemporary YA romance novels. (Yes, I will set my FB feed to jump over to Instagram at some point.)

For PIECES OF LOVE, I’ll focus on the Mediterranean cruise theme. It will be in June, so I can invite readers to take a trip with Lexi and Ethan to the Mediterranean. I’ll have excerpts from the book, pictures taken throughout Europe, and of course punch and Spanikopita for everyone. I’m currently trying to find dolphin themed swag in reference to a recurring totem throughout the story, and of course there will be giveaways and free books. Mediterranean cruise 2011 005 (2013_02_16 18_14_38 UTC)I plan to reach out to other authors who might want to use my launch to offer some of their books for free through Smashwords coupons or PDF copies. I know Gemma Halliday does this. Her readers love it and authors can find new audiences through another author’s fan base.

** Anyone wanting to offer up e-books or even signed print copies, let me know in the comments below and I’ll connect with you about how to get your books into the hands of a potential new reader.** (Sweet romance only, please. I do have to consider my YA audience.)

6)      Blog tour-I’ve done blog tours in the past with mixed results. For this launch, I will do a focused tour and try primarily for review sites and YA bloggers.

**If any f you YA authors or book bloggers out there would like to host me in June, July, or August, let me know in the comments section below or email me off loop.**

Well, there you have it. Those are just the basics, and I may not get it all done, but that’s where you’ll find me for the next few months. In my free time, I’ll be writing book three in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy due out in the fall of 2014. When I see you next month, I’ll reveal the title! Stay tuned.

What new ideas have you seen that are helping books stand out in the market?

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14 thoughts on “Finding New Ways to Shine”

    1. Thanks so much Allie! I’ll contact you off loop about the details. i love your name.

      My character in POL (Pieces of Love) is named Ali, short for Alexis. Her grandmother changes it on her and starts calling her Lexi–which she adjusts to quickly once 18 year-old stranded-on-a-cruise-in-the-Mediterranean Ethan Kaswell, starts calling her that:-)

    1. Thanks, darlin’. Book three in the COLC trilogy will be out in late fall of this year. POL is actually my fourth YA contemporary! How did that happen? It seems like just yesterday I was wondering if I’d ever see my books in print, LOL. Time flies…

    1. Thanks Katie, but I can’t take credit for that one. Amy Atwell with Author EMS gave me tons of ideas in her workshop. I highly recommend taking it. I think she’s offering it again starting next week??? BEST $50 course I’ve ever taken!

  1. Hi, PJ,
    Very cool idea to record a song! I hope your launch goes great.
    I have a contemporary YA novel slated with a publisher for a June or July release; I’d love to donate a PDF copy of that to your giveaway (though depending on timing the winner might have to wait a bit for their prize). I’d also be more than happy to host you on my blog this summer.

    1. Congrats on your upcoming release. We can definitely work somet good in out to include your book in my launch party and I’d love to be u our guest. I’ll email you regarding details for both!

  2. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading
    through some of the post I realized it’s new
    to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

    1. Hey, Rhonda. Yes, I’ve heard of others who are including music with their books. Although it wouldn’t be cost effective for me to add an actual CD to print copies, I’m thinking I’ll add a free i-Tunes download code with the print version. I have to work out the logistics, but that might work. Thanks for stopping in!

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